Diablo 3 Demon Hunter Passive Skills
In this Diablo 3 Demon Hunter passive skills list, you will discover a list of each of the 15 passive skills, what they do, and what level they are unlocked.
Additionally, you will find a bit of discussion at the end of each ability discussing what the possible uses for each skill are and finally a section on the best skill traits at the bottom of this guide
Note that you can select up to three passive skills which are active all the time – you do not have to use them for them to take effect. You unlock your first slot at level 10, your second at 20, and your third and final passive skill slot at level 30.
Diablo 3 Demon Hunter Passive Skills List
There are 15 total Diablo 3 Demon hunter passive skills:
- Tactical Advantage. Unlocked at level 10. Whenever you Vault, Smoke Screen, or backflip with Evasive Fire, you gain 60% movement speed for 2 seconds. Not useful unless you need to do some serious kiting against a very fast enemy.
- Thrill of the Hunt. Unlocked at level 10. Every 10 seconds, your next bow attack will immobilize your target for 3 seconds. Not good in AoE situations, not bad against melee boss mobs.
- Vengeance. Unlocked at level 12. Increases your maximum Hatred by 25; health globes restore 20 Hatred and 2 Discipline. Not very useful; there are easier ways to get back Hatred and Discipline.
- Steady Aim. Unlocked at level 16. All damage is increased by 20% when no enemies are within 10 yards. Given that you are typically at range as a Demon Hunter, this 20% bonus damage is practically mandatory for most builds and situations.
- Cull the Weak. Unlocked at level 20. Damage against slowed enemies is increased by 15%. Just like Steady Aim, this is a huge buff that you should consider using if you are using attacks which call for snares.
- Night Stalker. Unlocked at level 20. Critical hits have a chance to restore 1 Discipline. The percentage of the chance is not displayed in the tooltip. If you needed Discipline, Perfectionist would likely be a better bet unless the proc rate is near 100%.
- Brooding. Unlocked at level 25. If you have not taken damage in 3 seconds, you gain 1% of your life back per second. Not enough life to be worthwhile in my opinion. If you are able to avoid taking damage for 3 seconds, you can stay alive long enough for your potion timer to come back around.
- Hot Pursuit. Unlocked at level 27. Whenever you are at full Hatred, movement speed is increased by 15%. Good for running past enemies in search of certain things or going from one place to another, but keeping your Hatred full for a movement speed bonus is not really worth it since most of your good abilities cost Hatred. Like Tactical Advantage, likely only good versus extremely fast mobs that you cannot afford to let hit you.
- Archery. Unlocked at level 30. Gives a bonus based on your currently equipped weapon. Bows increase damage by 15%, Crossbows increase critical hit damage by 50%, Hand Crossbows give you a 10% bonus to your critical hit chance. Hard for anyone to pass this up, practically mandatory.
- Numbing Traps. Unlocked at level 30. Enemies hit by Fan of Knives, Spike Trap, or Caltrops have their damage reduced by 25% for 3 seconds. Shines in group play where the 25% damage reduction really means something. Also useful for melee Demon Hunters as this almost as much damage reduction as the Barbarian and Monk get. Caltrops can be buffed to give you 10% damage for standing in it, this makes it worthwhile to keep up all the time as well.
- Perfectionist. Unlocked at level 35. Reduces the Discipline cost of all skills by 10%. Not my favorite ability, but you may find yourself working with a build that requires a lot of Discipline, such as in PvP.
- Custom Engineering. Unlocked at level 40. Increases the duration of Caltrops, Marked for Death, Spike Trap, and Sentry by 100%. The real interesting thing here is the increase in duration in Caltrops, perhaps useful for
- Grenadier. Unlocked at level 45. Increases the Hatred generated from Grenades by 2 and reduces the Hatred cost of Cluster Arrow by 10. Upon death, you drop a giant grenade that explodes for 614% of weapon damage as Fire. Definitely a good passive skill for melee Demon Hunters as with Tinkerer you can get your hatred regeneration from grenades up to 8 per cast. Melee Demon Hunters primarily rely on hatred so its a good idea to have a fast generator.
- Sharpshooter. Unlocked at level 50. You gain 3% critical chance every second. This bonus resets 1 second after you successfully critical hit. Not nearly as much damage increase as you will get from Archery, Steady Aim, or Cull of the Weak (unless you never snare).
- Ballistics. Unlocked at level 55. Increases damage done by rockets by 50%. This is a big damage boost, but naturally you need to be making heavy use of rocket abilities to get a lot of damage out of it.
Diablo 3 Demon Hunter Best Passive Skills
While there can be a case made for all the skills in certain situations, in my opinion your best overall passives for most builds are going to be Steady Aim, Cull the Weak, and Archery. These three each increase your raw damage output by significant amounts.
If you want to use a third trait, odds are your best one to swap out will be Cull the Weak. The reason is that Archery is always active, Steady Aim should be active most of the time, and Cull the Weak will only be active some of the time. If you have great gear and do not need to do much kiting, you can consider dropping Cull the Weak altogether, though in most situations I think you are going to want it.
If you use the three damage boosting traits, remember that Web Shot (a Rapid Fire rune) is great at slowing down enemies, allowing you to get that 15% bonus damage from Cull the Weak. With 20% from Steady Aim, 15% from Cull the Weak, and 15% from Archery, you can be dishing out tons of bonus damage with these traits.
Of course, there are also some great Discipline-related Diablo 3 Demon Hunter passive skills that you might want to break out if you are PvPing or are playing in a group and need to provide support.
Finally, melee Demon Hunters might want to pick up Numbing Traps, Custom Engineering, and Grenadier, as these three D3 passive skills really synergize well a melee-oriented DH.