Good day everyone, I am Dark and after many requests this is my guide for a Combat Hunter Ranger in MOD 12. My IGN for my hunter ranger is Nadel and I play on PC (on and off since beta)
The biggest reason I am writing this guide is because the vast majority of hunter rangers play Trapper and when you search online for guidance for trying out the Combat play still information and guides are few and far between.
I have played all three styles of hunter ranger, and find the Combat build to be the most versatile and the most fun to play.
I prefer people to play what they think looks cool and what they want to role play. That stated, to squeeze the most out of your character in endgame the Hunter Ranger scales off of Wisdom and Dexterity. I personally play the Drow since this race gets boosts to both of those stats.
What ever race you choose, get your DEX roll as high as possible, coupled with the best WIS roll you can get. Shoot for at least 20 points on your DEX roll after racial bonus is applied (if applicable) 18 if choosing a race that doesn’t receive a DEX bonus.
For a combat build in my mind there is no debate as to which path is better, I recommend Stormwarden path, this build uses both the at-will Electric shot/Clear the ground, and the feature Blade Storm.
This is my current feats build, but I will explain some changes and steps you can take as you level up to continue being effective even before you have “end game gear”
Predatory Action – 0/5 [In the build I run we don’t use any dailies, they are pretty lack luster anyway]
Weapon Mastery – 3/3 [Eventually we will lose 10% crit for 50% crit severity, so this helps offset that.]
Toughness – 3/3 [A little extra health, allows us to drain tank through most any scenario]
Swift Footwork – 1/5 [Fill slot to get to the next tier]
Battle Wise – 3/3 [Even with “good tanks” I find I get agro a decent amount this helped reduce how often that happens.]
Agile Combatant – 0/3 [All of our damage is in melee form, we almost are never swapping stances]
Endless Assault – 3/3 [Little extra bonus damage, but encounters main purpose is to proc blade hurricane.]
Natures Enhancement – 0/3 [have the chance to deflect is more important.]
Lucky Skirmisher – 2/3 [Being melee range deflect is much better than even defense.]
Scoundrel Training – 2/3 [If a tank or someone else has agro, its free damage increase for our primary source of damage.]
Disciple of Dexterity – 3/3 [6% extra damage from DEX.]
Extra Action – 0/3 [Don’t use dailies so don’t need ap gain.]
Row 1: Top, Blood letting 5/5 More life steal keeps us alive dealing damage.
Row 1: Bottom 0/5
Row 2: Top Fluid Hunter 5/5 Increases deflect and crit while in melee stance by 2.5%
Row 2: Bottom 0/5
Row 3: Top Skirmishers gambit 5/5 Get a Transcendent Vorpal worth of crit severity, but lose 10% crit chance.
Row 3: Bottom Lucky Blades 5/5 After crit’ing or deflecting gain 15% encounter power damage for 6 seconds. We do both alot. (don’t care about the AP gain portion)
Row 4: Top Piercing Blade 5/5 increase our damage by 50% and make it ignore armor… yes please?
Row 4: Bottom Wilds Medicine 5/5 deflecting adds stacks of wilds medicine, each stack heals us for 5% of our max health over 15 seconds, can stack 10 times. This heals us for up to 50% of our max health, this with our lifesteal makes us really hard to kill.
Row 5: Top Scything Blades 5/5, increases our total damage by 5% and by an additional 5% per enemy within 25′ this can be a lot of free damage increase. The more enemies the fast we kill.
Row 5: Bottom Battle Crazed 5/5, attacking in melee stance gives us 3% increased deflect chance and damage, stacks up to 5 times and last six seconds. Thats 15% of each for free and is almost always up and at max stacks.
Final Feat Blade Hurricane 1/1 every time we use a melee encounter power, for the next 2 seconds we hit two extra times on every strike, each extra hit dealing 165% normal damage. This feat melts everything and the entire build is around maximizing its effect.
As a Combat hunter ranger you can adjust to do almost anything your team needs. However a few powers are more important to others and as a result should be brought to rank 4 as quickly as possible.
At-Wills: Split Strike (primary single target dps, deals damage in a cone infront of you) Clear the ground (primary aoe damage, deals damage in a complete 360degree circle) Both of these to 4
Encounters: The encounters you initially want to get to rank for are as follows (these will be your primary build and used the vast majority of the time)
Thorn Strike: Short cooldown to keep blade hurricane active, and deals increasing damage as the enemies health decreases
Plant growth: Huge aoe spell with a large dot after initial burst of damage, best AOE clear spell
Steal Breeze: Aoe spell that restores stamina based on the number of targets hit. Medium cool down, and great to keep up stamina for mobility.
Gushing Wound: This is used for boss fights in dungeons, biggest single target dps spell in our list, as long as you have allies to advance the bleed.
Dailies: Don’t use them, I currently have Seismic shot and Forest Ghost slotted.
Features: We use different features for different situations, I’ll give some combos below
Aspect of the Pack / Blade storm (best group or solo dps set up)
Aspect of the pack / Aspect of the lone wolf (solid dps increase and huge jump in deflection, use aspect of the pack if staying alive is an issue)
Alternatives Twin Blade Storm: Use in very enemy dense area’s or dungeons to take advantage of its damage increase for multi target
I’m going to attach pictures of the boons I have from each campaign, the focus of this build is Armor Pen to 60% (85% for some mobs in chult) after that priority is Crit>Power>Lifesteal/hp>anything else
I have no Guild boons (just about to have my guild high enough to start building boon structures) and even without them I out preform the vast majority of DPS players, even when at 2-3k IL disadvantage.
Gear and Stat Priority
Gear is pretty straight forward, anything that gets your armor pen to 60% after that focus on crit, power, life steal. I’ll link a picture of my current gear for an idea of something to shot for. Some good sets to try to get early, drowcraft, and stronghold gear. Pilgrim gear if you have tradebars for the chest and arms.
The artifacts I run are Sigil of the great weapon fighter (increased damage and defense active), thayan book of the dead, latern of revelation, and horn of vahalla (all of these artifacts give crit (other than sigil) and power or armor penetration.
when you shoot for an epic mount, choose either crit, power or armor pen based on what you need most at that time.
below are the mounts I use for their insignia bonus
At this point all of my insignia’s are either power or crit since I have no problems with armor penetration.
I run “budget build companions” focusing utility and dps. But affordable compared to what is currently considered “BIS”
Boar (companion crit severity 100%, my crit severity 2%)
Black Death Scorpion (3% chance to poison your target, damage based on level)
Slyblade Kobold (increase damage against stunned or rooted targets by 5%)
Crab (10% chance on dealing damage to root the target for 3 seconds)
Lillend (summoned) (on daily use heal friends for 2% of their max HP)
I use Lillend as my summoned for my bonding stones, she has 3 offensive slots, and uses 3 ring slots (I used DOD rings from the protector seals) and activates the bondings within 1-2 seconds of starting a fight. Cheap way to keep my bondings active.
Rotation for this build is pretty easy, lots of mobs around you? Plant growth followed by clear the ground. Mobs in front of you? Throne strike followed by Split strike, running low on stamina? Steel breeze, followed by clear the ground. The biggest key function to this build is try to be using an encounter every 2-3 seconds in combat (to maximize up time of blade hurricane) for me this works best if I start with plant growth, then use thorn strike after a couple of seconds, then use steel breeze, by this time throne strike is probably about to come off cool down, then after that plant growth should be coming up again too. And so on.
If you are having issues surviving in party or solo, you can also swap out steel breeze for Oak skin, its gives a defensive buff to the whole party and a heal of time. Other viable ones are fox cunning/shift, and boar hide/boar charge, for helping keep the party up. Any melee stance cast, still proc’s blade hurricane, even if it itself does not deal damage.