The Legion is returning to Azeroth, and demon hunters are coming to hunt it down with Vengeance.
This is a guide for the first few weeks of Vengeance, before we unlock level 110. As demon hunters unlock their talents between 99 and 110, they only get to experience two talent rows while stuck at 100. This simplifies the class significantly, so we’ll be playing a very different class between August 9th and August 30th than we will soon after Legion launch.
Introduction to Vengeance
I’ll borrow pretty heavily from my general tanking overview I wrote for Wowhead: https://www.wowhead.com/guides/classes/tanking-2.
- Fantasy: A demonic elf who uses the magic of the Legion against them. A vengeance demon hunter is an aggressive, fast-paced tank that rips souls from the enemy to use for their own benefit.
- Resources: Pain, generated via attacks and taking damage. Soul Fragments, which are minor healing orbs that spawn far from the demon hunter and are consumed by various abilities.
- Damage Reduction: Demon Spikes, which directly reduces physical damage and increases your chance to avoid attacks.
- Healing: Soul Cleave, a big finisher that heals more the more pain you spend on it.
- Basic Rotation: Immolation Aura to pick up adds. Fill empty spots in your rotation with Shear. Both of these will generate Pain for active mitigation.
- Mobility: Infernal Strike, which is a ground targeted leap on a short cooldown.
- Defensive Cooldowns: Fiery Brand, a strong single target defensive ability on a short cooldown. Metamorphosis, an offensive and defensive ability that increases health and Pain generation. Empower Wards for magic damage.
- Armor: Agility leather
- Strengths: Strong and frequently usable cooldowns, well rounded healing and damage reduction abilities. Excellent solo capabilities. Precise and frequent mobility.
If you want to read more on the Vengeance class fantasy:
You can create a demon hunter on Aug 9th as long as you’ve preordered (and activated) Legion. If you are waiting for a hard copy of the expansion, sadly you’ll have to be patient until it officially launches Aug 30th.
You’ll start the demon hunter experience at level 98 as Havoc, and you can unlock Vengeance near the end of the Marduum portion. You don’t have to worry much about questing as Vengeance because tanks deal pretty good dps now, and you’re very sturdy and can pull larger groups.
So what do you do when you get out? Well here’s a quick start on how to play your class at level 100.
You’ll probably want to vanquish some invading demon hordes, won’t you! Or flex those soloing muscles and farm some transmog.
Talents choices for soloing are very flexible, but these are the ones I like. Abyssal Strike for utility and exploration, Feast of Souls because it’s easy healing.
Initiate with Infernal Strike. If there are extra mobs within range, pull them with Throw Glaive and Sigil of Flame. Cast Immolation Aura on cooldown, and Shear away, until you have enough pain for Soul Cleave. Soul Cleave deals more damage (and healing) the more pain you spend on it. If something is close to dying, use less pain, if something still has a long way to go, wait for more pain.
Be patient and cautious running dungeons. Vengeance has spikey damage intake by design, and requires fast reflexes and proper ability usage to stay alive. Healers aren’t used to healing them yet, and most people aren’t used to tanking with them yet.
Agonizing Flames is a strong talent all around, and that extra damage and mobility is useful for picking up groups.
Burning Alive is a strong buff to our AoE defense cooldowns, especially in dungeons that pose a threat. Remember to use Fiery Brand when you need it. (Fallout is also a good choice.)
Use Demon Spikes early and often to reduce incoming damage. Use Soul Cleave to heal up that damage. It heals for more if you spend more pain on it. If your health drops low, a smaller Soul Cleave heal is better than waiting for enough pain to fuel a bigger Soul Cleave. However, if you can afford to wait, it’s worth it. Waiting for bigger Soul Cleaves means you have more opportunities to use Shear.
Fiery Brand: Best used proactively, as with Burning Alive it only slowly spreads across a large group. It’s a 40% damage reduction with a 1 minute cooldown, so use it frequently!
Empower Wards: Use when you expect magic damage.
If you’re anything like me, you’re eager to torture your friends and family by tanking farm content with a severely undergeared and under-talented tank. Just like with dungeons, don’t push yourself or your team too hard.
Any of these talents could be good choices for raids. In a general sense, since there’s so much tank movement in HFC, I’d lean towards Abyssal Strike.
Either Feast of Souls or Fallout could be strong against HFC bosses, though I lean toward Fallout just to gain experience with generating and spending Soul Fragments. It brings a tiny bit of complexity to what will be a boring rotation without all the other talents.
Use Demon Spikes early and often to reduce incoming damage, especially when a predictable boss attack is coming up. Use Soul Cleave to heal up that damage. It heals for more if you spend more pain on it. If your health drops low, a smaller Soul Cleave heal is better than waiting for enough pain to fuel a bigger Soul Cleave. However, if you can afford to wait, it’s worth it. Waiting for bigger Soul Cleaves means you have more opportunities to use Shear.
Fiery Brand: It’s a 40% damage reduction with a 1 minute cooldown, so use it frequently!
Metamorphosis: Use when you have dangerously low health to heal to 30%, increase your max health, and rapidly generate pain which can be turned into healing via Soul Cleave. Can also serve as a dps cooldown.
Empower Wards: Use when you expect magic damage.
If you want to read more on the Vengeance active mitigation / rotation in all its complexity:
Things to Know
Vengeance is designed to have spikey health, which probably scare people in dungeons. They have a nice balance of damage reduction, but their real strength relies on their healing, which means their health has to drop in the first place.
The baseline rotation is designed to be simple. There are four important buttons: Demon Spikes, Soul Cleave, Shear, Immolation Aura. But that doesn’t mean all the other buttons aren’t important, and much of the Vengeance skill lies in learning how to use all those extraneous abilities well.
Demon hunters can opt into rotational complexity with talents. Almost every row has one or more abilities that dramatically change up how you use your key skills. Unfortunately, most of those are not available at 100. The Vengeance you experience now is little more than a pale shadow on the wall of a demon hunter at 110.
Just like all other classes at this point, Vengeance lacks their artifact weapon. The Aldrachi Warblades offer quite a few key traits that also bring some depth to your rotation, such as Charred Warblades and Fueled by Pain.
I have some Vengeance Weak Auras that are similar to my Brewmaster ones:
People always ask about my keybindings, but I have an unusual setup (one of those MMO mice with 12 buttons on the side), so instead here are my general recommendations, with my own bindings in parenthesis:
- In your most easy-to-reach bindings: Demon Spikes (2), Soul Cleave (3), Shear (5), Immolation Aura (1), Infernal Strike (mousewheel up), Torment (=), Consume Magic (mousewheel down)
- In moderately easy-to-hit buttons: Sigil of Misery (g), Sigil of Silence (-), Sigil of Flame (6), Throw Glaive (8)
- In buttons that are quick-to-reach but difficult to hit accidentally: Metamorphosis (ctrl+r), Fiery Brand (r), Darkness (alt+z), Empower Wards (shift+r)
You might want to save some prime spaces for talents, since you get quite a few active ones later.