Analyzing and Judging the Havoc Demon Hunter Talents


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Greetings fellow Demon Hunters!

This article is going to briefly analyze every Demon Hunter talent available for our selection, and explain where it may connect with our abilities or other talents overall. There are simply my opinions, and others can either disagree or agree with them as is their right. I am basing these thoughts through my analysis and understanding of the Demon Hunter spells/talents, as well as through some of my testing which can be found here:

Note: I am analyzing each talent as they are currently constituted on July 20, 2016. There is still a chance that by the time Legion goes live, some of the talents below will have been changed or modified.

Ignore the selected talents here, this is merely for visual imagery to refer back to in terms of whhich talents are on what row.

Level 99 Talent Row:
Fel Mastery:
Increases Fel Rush damage by 50%, and grants 25 Fury when Fel Rush damages at least one target.
Thoughts: If you are using the momentum build and are expecting to use Fel Rush a many times across the raid area, this talent might be the best from the other two choices. However, it is highly situational, as there are other talents to take that increases fury generation without losing out on a better overall talent (such as Demonic Appetite).

Chaos Cleave: Chaos Strike hits an additional target for 50% damage.
Thoughts: This is a great talent for fights that will require you to cleave adds in a rather grouped area. Chaos Strike will almost certainly in all fights be your highest source of damage, as it’s our main fury spender. On average, Chaos Strike typically accounts for 20-30% of your total damage, so cleaving just 50% of that can be quite powerful. However, once again this is another situational talent, as you will most likely not gain anything from its selection on a fight like Nythendra or Elerethe Renferal.

Blind Fury: Increases the duration of Eye Beam by 50%.
Thoughts: Through all my permutations, Blind Fury was part of six out of the top eight DPS outcomes (including the very top one), which hints at it being the best pure single target talent of the row, and the least situational of the three as currently constituted. Not only is Eye Beam a decent single target cooldown with this selection, but its AOE capabilities (which was Eye Beam’s strength to begin with), becomes even greater. This is generally the safest of the level 99 talents, and will typically be the most consistent per its usage in fights as well.

Level 100 Talent Row:
Reduces the cooldown of Vengeful Retreat by 10 sec, and generates 40 Fury over 5 sec if you damage at least one enemy with Vengeful Retreat.
Thoughts: If you are using the Momentum build, this sort of becomes a must take selection, as it allows Vengeful Retreat to have even more usage, when it becomes a potent fury generator in your rotation. Moreover, it can find some usage in fights where there is a tremendous amount of movement required such as Il’gynoth to get yourself outside the boss area (avoiding instant death) or when you need to separate yourself from the raid due to you being applied with the Nightmare Corruption debuff.

Demon Blades: Your auto attacks have a 75% chance to deal additional Shadow damage and generate Fury.
Thoughts: Some Demon Hunters swear by this talent (which is rumored to be nerfed), but I personally find it to slow down our fury generation significantly. Even if combined with Demonic Appetite, the swift fury generation and somewhat decent DPS of Demon’s Bite simply outperforms Demon Blades in all my testing, and is simply not worth selecting at this moment in time.

Demonic Appetite: Chaos Strike has a chance to spawn a Lesser Soul Fragment, and consuming any Soul Fragment grants 30 Fury.
Thoughts: Originally, I underrated this talent and would commonly select Prepared as I preferred the Momentum build. However, after significant testing, I have found it to be a great source of fury generation, and meshing quite well with my preferred Nemesis/Chaos Blades build. As Demon Hunters, we are constantly moving around in raids (as are many classes), and it becomes far easier to consume these Soul Fragments in such a setting. Therefore, if you prefer the Nemesis/Chaos Blades build, and don’t want to feel forced into using Vengeful Retreat every fifteen seconds, this may be the best talent choice for you.

Level 102 Talent Row:
Charge to your target and deal 560% Fire damage. Demon's Bite has a chance to reset the cooldown of Felblade. Generates 30 Fury. 15 second cooldown.
Thoughts: This is a good talent that works well with Prepared/Momentum, as you can Vengeful Retreat into a Felblade attack. However, Bloodlet simply does significantly more damage as currently constituted, and does not flow quite as well in a Nemesis/Chaos Blade build as Bloodlet does. Even when Demon’s Bite procs a free Felblade, you will most likely have other abilities to be prioritized, such as Chaos Strike, Eye Beam, and Throw Glaive (for Bloodlet).

First Blood: Reduces the Fury cost of Blade Dance by 20 and increases its damage to [(100% + 2 * 96% + 288%) * (200) / 100] against the first target struck.
Thoughts: For me, this is by far the weakest talent in this row, only because we have a sufficient amount of AOE as it is. That isn’t to say this is a bad talent by any means, as Blade Dance does good AOE damage and I am sure First Blood would help out during fights with many adds. However, I believe we need to select talents for our single target damage, which is right now weaker to our AOE capabilities respectively.

Bloodlet: Throw Glaive causes targets to bleed for 200% of the damage inflicted over 10 sec. If this effect is reapplied, any remaining damage will be added to the new Bloodlet.
Thoughts: This has been tested by me as the best pure single target talent, and applies an impressive bleed on the target/boss every ten seconds. Moreover, it has the added benefit of being a ranged ability, so even if you’re moving/running away from the target due to mechanics, you can still constantly apply this bleed to the target/boss and maintain some level of DPS. I recommend this talent quite highly, unless you’re gun-ho on selecting the Momentum build and selected Prepared; in that scenario, Felblalde will do almost as good as a job if you prefer it.

Level 104 Talent Row:
Slip into the nether, increasing movement speed by 100% and becoming immune to damage, but unable to attack. Lasts 5 sec. 1.5 Minute cooldown.
Thoughts: This is simply a pretty good mobility, get out of bad, and damage soaking talent that can be used every minute and a half. Netherwalk should always find usage in a raiding environment, and you honestly cannot go wrong by selecting it, especially if there is a soaking mechanic in the fight you are currently facing.

Desperate Instincts:
You automatically trigger Blur when you fall below 35% health. This effect can occur every 30 sec.
Thoughts: This talent is somewhat similar to Rogue’s Cheat Death, though this focuses more on damage evasion as opposed to gaining actual health. If you are expecting a lot of “oh shit” moments for whatever reasons during your fight than this might be an okay selection, but there are two questions that need to be kept in mind. First, how often during a successful kill will you actually fall past 35% health (and not have any Warlock candy to be used)? Second, when you hit below 35% health, are you already in a situation most likely where Blur won’t be much help? I think the answer to both questions would lead you to conclude that there are better options in this row to select.

Soul Rending:
Gain 100% Leech while Metamorphosis is active.
Thoughts: Another solid selection, as it essentially ensures that you won’t have to worry about your health much during the most important thirty seconds of your DPS rotation (as long as you are following elementary mechanics). While you cannot go wrong selecting Soul Rending, I personally feel that Netherewalk has fare more flexibility in its usage as mentioned above, and that the benefits of Soul Rending can be had regardless of selecting it, since you will commonly use Metamorphosis only twice in a fight, and the first time is within the first moments of a fight (where the mechanics are typically easier). Therefore, as long as you follow mechanics properly, you can in some ways select Netherwalk, and still have some level of Soul Rending; I consider this talent more so insurance or a safety measure to avoid taking too much damage during Metamorphosis.


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Level 106 Talent Row:
Fel Rush and Vengeful Retreat increase your damage done by 20% for 4 sec.
Thoughts: This is the talent that molds the only build competing with the Nemesis/Chaos Blade build, and you can see why. If properly aligned with Fel Mastery and Prepared, Vengeful Retreat/Fel Rush become very solid fury generators and can perform even greater damage. From my testing, the Chaos Blades/Nemesis build preforms significantly higher burst damage and typically more sustained DPS, so I wouldn’t pick this talent simply based off my performance. However, if you simply enjoy the Momentum build more and preform very good DPS regardless, this obviously becomes a must-pick for you. It’s also worth mentioning that in fights with significant amount of movement that the Momentum build might be worth opting into, since Fel Rush and Vengeful Retreat will be used by default regardless.

Fel Eruption: Impales the target for (1200% of Attack power) Chaos damage and stuns them for 2 sec. Inflicts an additional 100% damage against targets permanently immune to stuns. 35 second cooldown.
Thoughts: If you suspect that you might need to interrupt a mechanic/add several times in a fight, then this does not become a horrible selection, as it preforms far more damage than your default interrupt known as Chaos Nova. However, aside from this situation in a PVE perspective, Momentum and Nemesis are simply too significantly of a DPS increase respectively to not be selecting either.

Nemesis: Increases damage you inflict against the target by 20% for 1 min. When the target is slain, you will inflict 20% additional damage against all creature types matching the original target (Humanoid, Dragonkin, etc.) for the remaining duration. 2 minute cooldown.
Thoughts: Much like Momentum, this is a must pick if you’re opting for the highest burst build, and what I have tested to typically be the best sustained DPS build as well. I think people should analyze this talent from the following perspective: Every other minute, your total DPS is increased by 20% against the boss. That is a very powerful statement, and I believe it essentially sells itself as to why it helps the Chaos Blades/Nemesis build test as well as it does. The extra 20% bonus won’t matter much if Nemesis is placed on the boss, as once the boss is dead the encounter is obviously over. Nevertheless, Nemesis simply seems to me to be the only choice if you’re not opting into the Momentum build, and is one of the best overall talents in the entire Havoc specialization in my opinion.

Level 108 Talent Row:
Master of the Glaive:
Throw Glaive now has 2 charges, and snares all enemies hit by 50% for 6 sec.
Thoughts: This can be a good crowd control talent, and does make Bloodlet easier to manage and can do more damage or place the bleed on two targets at once, but Demon Reborn has simply been part of every top DPS permutation test and in raiding environments in general. Unless your raid desperately needs the crowd control via the snare, or you know having the Bloodlet bleed on two targets will be required in a fight with adds, Demon Reborn should be your selection for this row as of now. I will note that I am still conducting some testing with Master of the Glaive, so my views on this talent are subject to change in the near future.

Unleashed Power: Removes the Fury cost of Chaos Nova and reduces its cooldown by (-- 20000 / 600)%.
Thoughts: This really should only be selected if you know you will be forced to interrupt e mechanic/add many times, and have not already selected Fel Erruption. Otherwise, as previously mentioned, Demon Reborn is simply the best overall and safest talent to be selected in this row.

Demon Reborn: Invoking Metamorphosis also resets the cooldowns of Eye Beam, Chaos Nova, and Blur.
Thoughts: Even with the nerf to this talent (where we could use all our cooldowns prior to Metamorphosis), this is still quite powerful, especially during fights with many adds, as you can get two charges of Eye Beam off in a very short amount of time. During a single target fight however, this talent is only okay, as Eye Beam has been nerfed over time to only a decent single target cooldown, but still remaining a great AOE cooldown. Consequently, this should be a must pick talent for AOE fights (as you can double Eye Beam on to all the adds), and is still a superior talent in most situations than the others in this row in purely single target encounters.

Level 110 Talent Row:
Chaos Blades:
Increases all damage done by 8% (based on Mastery) for 12 sec. While active, your auto attack deals 200% increased damage, and causes Chaos damage. 2 minute cooldown.
Thoughts: This combined with Nemesis is what allows such a build to be the highest burst build for the Demon Hunter, and is obviously a must pick if you’re opting for a build with great burst. Another added benefit of Chaos Blades is that it aligns perfectly with Nemesis, as they are both two minute cooldowns. Therefore, when starting a fight (presuming you are opening with Metamorphosis as you would 99% of the time), you can combine Chaos Blades, Nemesis and Metamorphosis for some supreme burst DPS, and thereafter align simply Chaos Blades with Nemesis, which still makes for a significant burst period of DPS in its own right. As it stands, the Demon Hunter community considers this to be the best talent in this row, simply due to its burst potential.

Fel Barrage:
At your command, unleash Fel, inflicting [(250% of Attack power)] Chaos damage to your target and nearby enemies for each charge. Max 5 charges. Your damaging attacks have a chance to generate a charge. 30 second recharge.
Thoughts: Obviously this is meant to be a strong AOE talent, but sadly it just recently got nerfed significantly in damage, which sort of eliminates any potential advantage it had over Chaos Blades in an AOE fight. Granted, it still is a nice AOE talent that can perform well on a fight such as Il’gynoth, but we have enough AOE capabilities as it stands. Why sacrifice such a great burst talent in Chaos Blades for an AOE talent, when our AOE damage is fine as it stands?

Demonic: Eye Beam causes you to enter demon form for 5 seconds after it finishes dealing damage.
Thoughts: There were some permutations where it did well and it’s certainly good for sustained damage, as you get to enter your demon form essentially every minute. However, the issues lies in the fact that once you use Eye Beam, your fury build-up will be at the very least half-way depleted, and so you will be spending at least two seconds in demon form using Demon’s Bite to build up fury. You will therefore be only likely to get off one Annihilation, perhaps two if you’re lucky. If the talent was buffed so that you stayed in demon form for a few more seconds, I may very well suggest it as a potential alternative to Chaos Blades (since it would help with sustained DPS better which is our current weakness), but as it stands, the fury loss immediately after casting Eye Beam is simply too large to justify selecting Demonic over Chaos Blades.