Guide [Demon Hunter]: Tank with the Demon Hunter

Posted by Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev at 21 July 2012 23:34
After a Crit Mass Melee Wizard and a Tornado Barbarian, we stay on the theme of builds that put the characters in the middle of it all. In this edition of the Guide Collector, we take an unorthodox approach to the Demon Hunter, making him take damage in the thousands instead of dealing it glass-cannon style.
Build, Concept and Playstyle

Tank Demon Hunter

Build Characteristics:
Required Level 60
Difficulty: Inferno
Core skills: Gloom, Grenades, Shuriken Cloud
Hardcore Reliability: Good, especially with high Life on Hit

High survivability
Strong crowd control
You get to shoot mobs from point-blank shot, which is always fun

Still weaker than melee tanks
Unlike tank barbarians or tank monks, having low damage will make the build unplayable
Damn expensive. Gearing on a budget is a Herculean task

Similarly to the Crit Mass wizards, tanking Demon Hunters use short-range skills with a high Life on Hit proc such as Granades [Gas Grenades] and Chakram [Shuriken Cloud] and damage reduction ones like Numbing Traps and Shadow Power [Gloom] to soak up enormous amounts of damage. Such Demon Hunters go against their design philosophy, dropping the long-range DPS strategies and switching from crit chance and crit damage to armor and all resist, from attack speed to high vitality and from emeralds to amethysts.

For maximum efficiency, cast Shuriken Cloud Sentry and drill your way into the fray. Spam Gas Bombs to keep up your Life on Hit and kite the mobs through the Caltrops, using Gloom whenever things get heated up.

Neither follower in particular is game breaking per se for the demon hunter. One version includes the standard for close-ranged characters Enchantress with Forceful Push, Powered Armor, Disorient and Mass Control for maximum crow control efficiency. The second best option is a cleric Templar with Heal, Loyalty, Charge and Guardian. Although Templars skills are inferior to Enchatress', the combination of high Vitality/Armor/Resistances makes him the hardy distraction tin can that can prove to be invaluable in certain situations.

Skills and Justification

Unlike most Demon Hunters, tank DHs use no hatred spenders aside from that one two-minute long buff and rely purely on discipline to mitigate damage, leech life and/or deliver big injections of health on cast. The general philosophy of the build is "Kill slowly but do kill it".

Grenades [Gas Grenades]
Chakram [Shuriken Cloud]
Sentry [Guardian Turret]
Preparation [Battle Scars]
Caltrops [Jagged Spikes]
Shadow Power [Gloom]


Grenades [Gas Grenades] - With 100% LoH return on impact and 50% for each of the three ticks of the poison cloud, Gas Grenades qualifies as the best hatred generator for the tank Demon Hunter.

Chakram [Shuriken Cloud] - Although with a low LoH ratio (only 33%), the Shuriken Cloud will damage all enemies around the Demon Hunter and will stay on for two whole minutes, essentially eliminating the need for precise Hatred management, allowing the player to focus only on his/her discipline rotation.


Sentry [Guardin Turret] - The Sentry is another long-lasting buff that will stay on for 60 seconds with the Custom Engineering passive. Its damage is laughable but it gives a precious 15% damage reduction at all times.

Preparation [Battle Scars] - Preparation with the Battle Scars rune is the big red panic button for the Demon Hunter. Not only will it restore the entire discipline pool when in need of an emergency Shadow Power or Caltrops but it will also heal the user for 60% of his health every 30 seconds.


Caltrops [Jagged Spikes] - The Caltrops add the essential crowd control to the build, allowing the Demon Hunter to effectively kite enemies he cannot face-tank out right. They're dirty cheap discipline-wise and are an immediate source of 45% weapon damage.

Shadow Power [Gloom] - One of the core skills for the build together with Granades and Chakram. The 65% damage reduction fron the Gloom rune when stacked atop the 15% from the Guardian Turret will make the Demon Hunter practically immortal for 6 seconds per one discipline pool (12 seconds with preparation).



Custom Engineering - A boring but extremely valuable duration buff for the Sentry and the Caltrops, effectively reducing their discipline consumption to half as the latter should be invested primarily into spamming Shadow Power.

Numbing Traps - Well calculated kiting through a string of Caltrops will apply a constant 25% damage reduction to the enemies. Combined with the guardian shield from Sentry, this gives the tank Demon Hunter a good 40% reduced damage at all times.

Cull the Weak - As tank Demon Hunters are usually characterized with low damage due to the prioritizing of Vitality and Life on Hit over Crit Chance and Crit Damage and the bypassing of otherwise essential skills such as Steady Aim or Archery, Cull the Weak is picked to balance things out.

Skill Build Customization

Bola Shot [Bitter Pill] - As substitution for Grenades. Has higher weapon damage, is more precise but has overall lower Life on Hit returns.

Rapid Fire [Fire Support or Web Shot] - As a substitute for Chakram. Used by Demon Hunter who prefer kiting rather than close-ranged combat. The Fire Support rune is to be used with Ballistics passive (explained below).

Multishot [Suppression Fire] - As a substitute for Charkram and this author's favorite hatred spender for this build. Makes for a more interesting "rotation", secures an on-hit discipline generation for more effective Shadow Power spamming and has higher weapon damage. Its downside is the insultingly low LoH percentage of 17%, which drives more people towards the usage of Shuriken Cloud.

Preparation [Backup Plan] - Tank DHs who are not afraid of their lives take Backup Plan over Battle Scars for a 30% chance of two free Shadow Power casts. Battle Scars is still recommended for low-geared characters who value their health and gold reserves.

Grenadier - As substitution for Custom Engineering. To be used only with Rapid Fire [Fire Support] for 50% increased damage on the rockets fire (one rocket will be fire every volley).


Tank Demon Hunter either take the path of dual wielding or use a hand crossbow in a combination with a shield, the choice essentially being higher Life on Hit against higher Armor rating and Chance to Block. In this build, we gear for the first option!

Find a good, one-handed crossbow with the highest LoH possible
Crit Chance and Crit Damage are not as important. Instead, prioritze Vitality, Dexterity and/or damage against elites.

In its essence, getting gear for tank DHs is a very simple process. Prioritize Vitality, Dexterity and All Resistances over anything else
Balance between Vitality and Dexterity.
Make sure you have at least 40K hit points
Your damage in Act I Inferno should be no lower than 10K DPS. Barbarian tanks can clear almost the entire game with 7-9K DPS due to their innate damage reduction and DPS-spike combinations such as WotB / Earthquake. DHs cannot.

Gearing on a Budget

Our goal for this Demon Hunter build was to gear it completely for a sum well below the 2 million. A quick inspection of the Auction House gave us a total of 1.5 million worth of gear. We shot for a combination of high Dex and Vit (1000+) and above average All Resist. We used this class calculator to get the number for the DPS.

The total:
Gold: 1,562,000
Life on Hit: 1,889
Armor: +3571
All Resist: 370
+ Dexterity: +966 (1153 total)
+ Vitality: +1011 (1138 total)
+% Life: 17 (with Flawless Square Amethyst)
DPS: 10,700 (12,3K+ with Cull the Weak)
Hit Points: 46,600 (with Flawless Square Amethyst in helm)

As you see, we've sacrificed DPS in favor of high hit points and Life on Hit but that's still a number that will get you well past the first half of Act II Inferno.

WEAPONS: 275,000 - Those two items gave us an extraordinary high Life on Hit (1600+) with the nice bonus of +Discipline. Unfortunately, that came with the price of having low DPS and they're the number one priority when upgrading the gear. The second crossbow also have an outrageous amount of Dexterity, compensating a bit for its low DPS.

AMULET: 2,000 - Searched for 70+ on Vit and Dex and 200+ Life on Hit. This amulet popped out for the stupid price of just 2,000.

BELT: 30,000 - Searched for 70+ on Dexterity and Vitality combined with 60+ to All Resist.

BOOTS: 50,000 - We tried our luck with a high Dexterity (110+) and high Vitality (80+) and the standard 60+ All Resist. We got lucky!

BRACERS: 110,000 - Searched for 80+ on Dexterity and Vitality along with 40+ All resist. We chose to pay a bigger price for the awesome +Armor bonus.

CHEST: 60,000 - Searched for 80+ on Dexterity and Vitality combined with 60+ to All Resist, ordered by Armor Value.

GLOVES: 25,000 - Searched for very high Vitality, 80+ Dexterity and the highest Attack Speed in the 30K limit.

HELM: 85,000 - Searched for Has Socket, Vitality and Armor bonus within the 100,000 gold limit.

PANTS: 150,000 - Searched for 80+ on Strength and Vitality combined with 70+ to All Resist.

RINGS: 700,000 for both - This purchase was the second to last and by that time we knew that we needed a pair of high Armor, high Vitality rings. Sadly, those did not come cheap at all.

SHOULDERS: 75,000 - Searched for 130+ Vitality with +200 bonus armor and some Dexterity.