[Summary, FAQ and video compilation at the bottom]
so it's been a while and with season 1 now being concluded, I decided to come out with a few things that I have learned about DH in 2.1.2 recently. Because I got a little unlucky with pylons pre-patch, I still had to up my rank a bit before the end of the season, so I decided to try out various things. As always, there was so much misinformation floating around on the forums that I decided it would be best to not trust any of it, and after some initial testing, I went with Cluster Arrow. Following some disappointing attempts with the grenade-heavy runes of the skill I realized that in solo play, the accuracy and utility of rockets is pretty much unbeatable, so I was left with two choices: Physical and Cold. Since the mainstream was focusing on Cold so much, I decided to start with the other one first, and cleared a tier 50 rift after two tries on patchday, and my tier 52 rift quickly thereafter, lifting me up to the second highest DH solo clear after patch 2.1.2 (only to be beaten by my clan mate Kampfkoloss) and a top 10 spot overall. I have also used this build on my hardcore character to get two then-rank 1 spots (tier 44 + 45, beating my own previous rank 1 twice) shortly after the patch, even with suboptimal items, and also took it to even higher tiers with great success.
Since I didn't want to rely on my gut feeling alone, I needed some math to back it up. I wanted to be as exact as possible in order to produce the best possible combination of items, skills and stats; some basic napkin math just didn't catch it, so I crafted a spreadsheet to include everything. I calculated the damage versus various amounts of enemies, factoring in accuracy loss (because you can't hit everything all the time) and area damage, different weapons (generic 2h Xbow, generic 2h Bow, Etrayu, Kridershot, Calamity), various combinations of runes for Kridershot, follower, sentry deployment and multiplier for sentry effectiveness, health globes, CD use, buff uptime, time spent on RG / elites / trash packs, legendary gems, generator:spender ratios, just everything, and weighed the numbers to my best knowledge. Even though I had ceased testing with Hexing Pants pretty quickly back on the ptr, I was encouraged by oogieboogie to continue to do so on live, and I have also plotted this item against the very common Pride's Fall, with interesting results. (FYI: You can keep the bonus of Hexing Pants when constantly stutter stepping).
Here is a screenshot of a part of the spreadsheet to give you an idea how I calculated things in there. Disclaimer: The purpose is not to calculate actual damage values, but to provide a comparison for different builds. (Full-scale link: http://puu.sh/fpAvZ/6b1f3247a1.png)
There is also a second page where I basically calculated the effectiveness of the different runes based at its heart on "rift composition", which looks like this. (Full-scale link: http://puu.sh/fmjnj/16126b7bcc.png)
There's also some more, like a whole page devoted to Kridershot and the results of all the different weapon types. Still, the most interesting part of this whole thing is this, where "Element = 1 is cold, = 0 is physical":
Note that physical pulls ahead for every weapon type. Cold vs. physical is pretty close for Kridershot, because I included the Spitfire Turrets for cold, but not for physical (since you will slow with Elemental Arrow), causing the gap to narrow by ~8%. For every other weapon, physical wins out by approximately 10%, even considering that you will spent a lot less time on the RG and elite packs because the rockets are considerably stronger in those situations. Hexing Pants lose effectiveness if you get a power pylon and gain some more if you get a channeling. If you lose Pride's Fall buff more than once per minute, you should use Hexing Pants in any case. If you get a plagued elite pack during your rift, Hexing Pants is almost guaranteed to be better.
The numbers uses in this spreadsheet are the values I have on my items; I used the same numbers for all bows (because I have neither an Etrayu nor a Kridershot), my Xbow and Bow rolls are within ~2-3% of the maximum, while my Calamity is lacking behind by ~6-7%.
Some further information about itemization:
- Resource cost reduction is king
- Hatred reg vs RCR on quiver is about ~1% worse for Xbow, increasing up to ~3% for Calamity. Hatred reg + RCR is also an option (another 1-4% worse than CA)
- Area Damage is very strong, close to RCR on quiver and weapon (~-2-3% worse), depending on rift layout this might even shift into a net gain
- CDR is not really important (e.g. dropping 12,5% gem is a ~3% loss), the best combination for shoulders is RCR, Sentry, Area Damage
- CA wins out by far vs Sentry on quiver
- Taeguk is the best third legendary gem to use in conjunction with Zei's and Bane of the Trapped, by far. Enforcer is an option in group play (requires ~150% external damage increased by skills at about rank 60 of both gems). BotP is a ~3-10% loss.
- Ancient Saffron Wrap is an option compared to nonancient Witching Hour (2-5% worse)
- Hellfire Amulet is probably unbeatable
- Using a generic 1h Xbow is not worth it, Calamity is a ~8-12% boost
- Always get % damage on your weapon, and add RCR to it (not for Etrayu). IAS is okay for Kridershot as well (~2-4% worse)
- Kridershot 3 Hatred vs 4 Hatred is a ~3-4% dps increase
- Dropping Reaper's Wraps for IAS bracers is an option, possibly a gain with high attack speeds
- Elite dmg is not included in the calculations, but it should be safe to assume that you will be fighting elites about 1/2 to 2/3 of the time, thus every point of elite damage should boost your overall dps by ~0.5%
- Zei's is not included for now, it's safe to assume that your sentries benefit a little less than you do, and Kridershot with Spitfire Turrets will benefit a bit more from Zei's
Use Steady Aim, Single Out or Night Stalker (with Calamity) as your 5th passive, and Frost Arrow + Spitfire Turrets or Nether Tentacles as your generator with Kridershot.
Some closing remarks: Please note that by choosing to run physical, you won't suddenly clear tier 50 easily. It's still difficult, you are still going to get oneshot, you will still have to dodge everything. It's a ~10% increase over cold, plain and simple, if you have a well-rolled Etrayu, it's even less. For lower tiers, you can still stack toughness and Unity if you like, the gearing priorities don't change at all. I hope this information helps and encourages you to try out the physical element of the Demon Hunter and make your character stronger as a whole. The spreadsheet will be improved upon in the future, and I have many ideas that I need to include and test ingame, but this will take some weeks or months. I will share what I know when I find out new things.
I will return to streaming very soon, I just had a busy time at university during the last weeks/months, but this will be over in a few days. Feel free to check out my Twitch channel if you want to watch me play and interact with me, or look for me on Youtube. If you are interested in more of my recent work, you should check out this thread and the links there for some information on the lightning DH in 2.1.2. (As of now, I'm not sure if lightning will take the top spots in the end, since you essentially need to stack layer upon layer of good RNG (in terms of drops and rift) in order to complete a tier ~55+ rift, which makes it a lot easier for versatile builds like this to achieve.)
Physical is about 10% stronger for solo GRs that you complete in close to 15 minutes. For this purpose, almost all the weapon choices are very close to each other (given equal rolls), and cold Kridershot or cold Etrayu can compete. Quick runs favor cold, and groups favor fire. Stack RCR, learn to use Taeguk and run with zero toughness for maximum efficiency.
Keep in mind that I use some more clear-cut answers here than usual to keep it short. As always, usually the answer is "it depends", and you should read it up if you want to know the details. You'll find it somewhere.
Is physical really better at all times?
- No, it isn't. These calculations are done with very concrete assumptions in mind, and there will be rifts where cold will in fact be close to or even better than physical, but these are very rare. In turn you will also find rifts where physical is even stronger. I've tried to strike a balance here. Especially for speed runs and T6 you might want to consider cold because you'll oneshot many enemies anyway. Fire is not an option for solo.
Which weapon should I use?
- Usually I just recommend to use your best-rolled weapon. You have to keep in mind that these calculations are done assuming exactly 900 seconds runtime. Xbows gain an advantage for quick runs because you have to spend less time shooting and regenerating, same for group runs where you usually have people spawning globes for you. In extreme cases (e.g. zerodog WD), a fast weapon will be better.
Which build should I use for groups?
- Usually it's fire cluster. Cluster Bombs vs. Loaded for Bear is still open to discussion, both is used by top performing groups. Each has its advantages, just try them out. Physical can be really good in speed runs where it's your job to kill elites and RGs, e.g. when you have Monks or Barbs clearing the trash.
What to choose if I don't want to use Taeguk?
- Difficult to answer, because all the options are really bad. Usually I recommend BotP, but you really should get used to Taeguk if you want to go higher. Enforcer can be an option in groups if you die a lot, Pain Enhancer is crap. If you don't like any of these options, get a Phys, Dex, CC, CHD amulet.
So what's better, Hexing Pants or Pride's Fall?
- I recommend Hexing Pants for Xbows and Kridershot, Pride's Fall for anything else. If you don't like Hexing Pants, Pride's Fall is still fine. Other options are not even close dps-wise. For groups, always use Pride's Fall.
So how about the 5th passive?
- In short, my preference: Single Out > Night Stalker > Steady Aim. For speed runs, you can consider Blood Vengeance. For more info, see above. I strongly recommend to craft a Hellfire.
How should I reroll my items?
-Check the part about itemization above, and don't use any toughness. If you don't want to go full glass cannon, you can use a Unity instead of SoJ. For more toughness, replace these stats in the following order of priority: 1) Shoulders: Sentry -> % Life 2) Chest: Sentry -> % Life 3) Shoulders: Area Damage -> Vit 4) Helm: Cluster -> Vit 5) Quiver: Resource -> Vit
Edit 4 Feb 2015: Added links to Reddit and official forums
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you so much wudijo for sharing all this information with the DFans community. This is awesome (and makes our laughable attempts yesterday about area damage totally pale in comparison). +1!
I guess the main lesson is: never stop testing. Essentially, all four elements can be strong for the end-game DH (if only I could something similar about the wiz :P). Btw, this is titled with "solo DH"... but I guess most, if not all your findings should also apply to groups, right? Or do you think in groups other elements/builds are still preferable?
@Tunafish, I agree with you, however I will keep this link for now. At the moment, the "old" builds aren't visible in the top builds section, so this is the only physical build that will show up there. We can have a chat again should Dfans revert this change. Feel free to update yours anyway.
because everyone has a high dpi mouse that can easily sway his mouse left and right with a fast attackspeed weapon. apologies for having regular hands.
A little offtopic: My mouse is pretty old. Your comment made me google for it because I have never really paid much attention to it, it just felt like being from last decade. In fact, I found out that it is more than a decade old, and not even available anymore on sites like amazon (aside from some used pieces). I'm not into hardware so much, but from my limited research I realized it's indeed a pretty good mouse (Logitech MX518). I don't want to argue about this stuff and certainly didn't intend to attack you personally, yet I got it second-hand for a few bucks a few years ago, so I guess it's not that big of a deal nowadays.
Fire will still be better for groups. The reason why phys/cold is good for solo is because LFB isnt autotargeted/heatseeking, so you wont get the most value out of it, while in a group where your Xsader/WD is piling the mobs up, you get full value from LFB.
I'm confused about what you really mean by autotarget, and doublechecked to make sure. Actually all CA/LfBs are being targeted to a closest target in range which is clearly observable through their red streaks. I'm certain there's some sort of AI for sentries to do that. The difference is rockets' spread out behavior/effect range vs. grenades' tight and concentrated doze.
Wudijo well done(for everything you have done and achieved so far), now I might finally put that awesome ancient physical SoJ to some use ^^
There's also some more, like a whole page devoted to Kridershot and the results of all the different weapon types. Still, the most interesting part of this whole thing is this, where "Element = 0 is cold, = 1 is physical":
Sry I might misread the whole thing, however did you maybe miswrote this part and it should be "Element = 0 is physical, = 1 is cold? As Etrayu is always cold damage and labelled as = 1. That and the fact, that where Element = 0 always does more damage and you stated physical always wins.
Fuck me, you're right
It's funny that it takes 2k views for someone to mention it, but I guess most just knew which one was which from reading (and the Etrayu thing as you pointed out)
You list Sentry bonus at 15% throughout your calculations. If you're getting Sentry bonus on shoulders and chest shouldn't it be 30%? Ideal shoulder rolls being DEX, RCR, Sentry Damage and Area Damage. Chest rolls being DEX, 3 Sockets, Sentry Damage and some defensive stat. You also list Attack Speed over CDR in paragon points. Is this accurate? I know when fighting the RG it is preferable to shoot CA into the ground so you hit him with rockets instead. Is this also true with elite packs?
Thanks for putting in all this work and sharing it with us!