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World of Warcraft Legion: Let's Talk About Vengeance Demon Hunter

Since I’ve mentioned on my recent post that the Vengeance Demon Hunter is one of the most interesting classes in Legion, I decided to post a separate page about this specialization. So, if you’re looking for information like, a better understanding on Vengeance Demon Hunter mechanics, then you have come to the right place.

So before you head on reading this article, let’s make a brief list on the things that you’ll be learning from this page. Here are the topics included in this guide:
  • From Havoc to Vengeance
  • Pain Generation
  • How Sigil Works
  • Active Mitigation
  • Cooldowns and Survival Talents
So now let’s begin.

From Havoc to Vengeance
The title really says it all. For those who haven’t got a chance to play Demon Hunter during Beta, then you might wonder: Why the heck am I a Havoc Demon Hunter already? Don’t worry as that is just a part of the class’s starting zone experience. If you’ll try to switch to Vengeance before completing a quest named “The Imp Mother’s Tome”, it will give you a “spell not learned” error. So basically, you’ll need to start as a Havoc Demon Hunter and fight your way against the Legion hordes on Mardum. 

Right after you have completed the quest, you’ll then be given the option to keep using the Havoc specialization or learn the Vengeance specs. Note that in Legion, you can switch between the two specs freely, so it really doesn’t matter which specs you choose first. You can play Havoc now and then switch to Vengeance later. It really depends on your preference on becoming a tank or a DPS.

If you pick Vengeance however, you’ll then notice some changes on your action bar. Fel Rush becomes Infernal Strike, essentially trading a warrior's Charge for Heroic Leap. Throw Glaive gets a much shorter cooldown than Havoc's 10 seconds, giving you more frequent acccess to an Avenger's Shield imitation. Unlike Avenger's Shield, Throw Glaive doesn't hit quite as hard and it doesn't have a chance to reset given its shorter cooldown. Demon's Bite and Chaos Strike also get replaced with Shear and Soul Cleave, respectively. You'll also notice that Fury has been replaced by Pain. Both act like a warrior's rage in that casting certain spells will generate the resource while others will deplete it.

Pain Generation

Shear will be your primary Pain generator. Shear has no cooldown and generates 7 Pain every time you cast it, giving you a consistent source of your primary resource. Soul Cleave acts much like a Death Knight's Death Strike, except you can spend additional Pain to make it stronger and it's also an AoE effect. Soul Cleave takes a minimum of 30 Pain to use, but it will use any additional Pain you have generated up to 60 in order to increase its damage and healing. Any Soul Fragments lying around within 20 yards of the Demon Hunter will also be drawn in for additional healing when Soul Cleave is used. Soul Fragments can also be walked into by a Demon Hunter for emergency healing if necessary and you don't have time to generate enough Pain to use Soul Cleave, similar to how Brewmaster Monks utilize healing orbs generated by Gift of the Ox.

Shear may be your primary Pain generator, but there are also others to talk about: Immolation Aura, Metamorphosis, Felblade, and Blade Turning. Immolation Aura and Metamorphosis are learned as part of the Vengeance specialization, while Felblade is a talent. Immolation Aura deals AoE fire damage on a 15 second cooldown, but generates 20 Pain over the course of its 6 second duration. It should be used on cooldown, especially when you're in an AoE or cleave situation.  Metamorphosis generaes 7 Pain every second for the 15 seconds it's active, but it's also your primary survival cooldown. Metamorphosis works like a warrior's Last Stand, increasing both your current and maximum health by 30% for its duration on a 3 minute cooldown. The Pain generation makes it easier to get off a bunch of Soul Cleaves while active to help healers top you off, but Metamorphosis should be saved for when you need it.

As a talent, Felblade competes with two other passive effects designed to increase your DPS. If you select Felblade, you'll be able to rush to your target like a warrior using Charge. The spell will generate 14 Pain when used and Shear has a chance to reset Felblade's 15 second cooldown. Blade Turning is a passive talent that you can choose at level 108. If selected, the Pain generation of your next Shear will be increased by 50% after successfully parrying an attack. Parry has steep diminishing returns even if you stack a ton of critical strike on gear, but the flat 20% from Demon Spikes may make Blade Turning an attractive option to some.
How Sigils Operate
Next up, let's talk about sigils. Demon Hunters have quite a few to work with, and all but one are focused on crowd control. The primary sigil Vengeance will worry about when you don't need to worry about keeping demons silenced or feared is Sigil of Flame. It operates similarly to Death and Decay and other targeted area effects in that you choose where to place the sigil. Unlike the others, it doesn't activate immediately. Instead, a sigil will activate after two seconds and affect every enemy that was in that area at the time, regardless of whether they move out of the area after activation.

There are three talents that relate to sigils: Flame Crash, Concentrated Sigils, and Quickened Sigils. Flame Crash competes with Felblade on the level 102 talent tier, but selecting it causes a Sigil of Flame to spawn where you land when using Infernal Strike. Concentrated Sigils and Quickened Sigils, meanwhile, compete against each other on the level 106 tier. Concentrated Sigils causes sigils to activate at your current location instead of a targeted one. Each sigil's effect also lasts two seconds longer when this talent is chosen. Quickened Sigils, meanwhile, causes sigils to activate after one second instead of two and their cooldowns are reduced by 20%. Unlike Concentrated Sigils, Quickened Sigils retains the targeting mechanic if you need to fear or silence a pack of mobs that won't come to you.

Active Mitigation
Vengeance Demon Hunters have their primary active mitigation mechanic inspired by Blood Death Knights in Warlords of Draenor. Currently on live servers, Rune Tap counts as active mitigation for Blood, reducing all damage taken by 40% for three seconds at the cost of one blood rune. The spell has two charges, allowing the Death Knight some freedom to keep one on hand for an active mitigation check while using the other to handle unexpected situations. Demon Spikes operates similarly on the charge system, except instead of a Death Knight's rune it costs 5 Pain.  Unlike Rune Tap, it also has a shorter cooldown. When active, Demon Spikes increases your parry chance by 20% for six seconds in addition to reducing physical damage by 8% on a 15 second cooldown that's modified by haste. The physical damage reduction is affected by Vengeance's Fel Blood mastery, so the more mastery you have the stronger Demon Spikes becomes. The Razor Spikes talent at level 99 also offers you the option to increase your damage dealt by 20% and snare opponents while Demon Spikes is active.

Cooldowns and Survival Talents

Last, but certainly not least, let's talk survival cooldowns. We've already covered Metamorphosis earlier when talking about Pain generation, but it's worth another mention here because it's the most powerful cooldown in the Vengeance tool kit. Aside from Metamorphosis and the active mitigation provided by Demon Spikes, Vengeance has two other cooldowns without selecting Soul Barrier or Nether Bond as your 110 talent. The first cooldown is Empower Wards. This ability empowers the tattoos on your Demon Hunter, reducing all magical damage taken by 30% for six seconds. This ability has a 20 second cooldown, giving your already innate 10% magic reduction a readily available boost when needed. The second cooldown is Fiery Brand. Once per minute, this spell will let you brand a target and deal heavy fire damage to them. While the marked target wears your demonic brand, they deal 40% less damage to you for 8 seconds. Fiery Brand's damage component makes a compelling case for the spell to be used on cooldown unless you know you need that damage reduction for a specific point in a fight.

The level 110 talents also provide you with cooldown options. The first talent in this tier is Last Resort. Every three minutes, taking fatal damage will instead activate Metamorphosis and return you to 30% of your maximum health. This talent is completely passive and requires no input on your part aside from actually dying. The next option is Nether Bond. This works much like a Shaman's Spirit Link Totem, except you designate a single target to share your health with. This is useful to help out a co-tank who's taking heavy damage, or to borrow some of their health while you're taking heavy damage. The last option is Soul Barrier. For 30 Pain, you can create an absorption shield every 20 seconds that will simply ignore all damage up to a certain amount. Consuming Soul Fragments while Soul Barrier is active will increase the shield’s absorb value, and casting Soul Barrier automatically absorbs all Soul Fragments within 20 yards.

So that's it guys. Hope you have learned something from this page.