Dark’s Combat Hunter Ranger MOD 12

by Dark on September 5, 2017
Hunter
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Introduction

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.

Race

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.

Stat Rolls

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.

Paragon

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.

Feats

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”

Heroic Feats

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.]

Paragon Feats

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.

Powers

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

Boons

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.

Mounts/bonus

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.

Companions

I run “budget build companions” focusing utility and dps. But affordable compared to what is currently considered “BIS”

I use

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

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.

 

I was asked to show pictures of my gear again I’m also including a picture of companion stats

Keep in mind all offensive slots are azure (just pure crit)

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  • September 5, 2017 at 4:30 am

    If you wanna maximize your DPS output I’d sugget running Agile Combatant over Battle Wise(heroic feats). Every few seconds inbetween the encounter animation if you switch stances twice you will get that DPS increase, also battle wise is complete garbage for any DPS class if the tank can’t aggro right leave the group. Nevertheless, great build, although you didn’t specify some things like Enchants, your stats after bondings, the rank of your bondings or why you chose those companions other than for prices.

    • September 5, 2017 at 5:09 am

      I use battlewise until taks as a whole stop having agro issues (many still try to be more dps than tank in my runs) as to companions I use the ones I do for the increased damage to rooted targets and add another source of rooting outside of plant growth. This also counts against stunned targets so um you get a lot of mileage out of it for around 100k ad or less per companion already at epic. However if agro isn’t being an issue for you agile would be the higher dps choice.

      Prebonding is posted and after bondonfs it jumps to around 42k power and 18k crit and 6k life steal (I drain tank alot through deflect for damage mitigation and life steal to stay full (have 35% after bondings) enchantments are all azure offense and all dark defense. And my bondings are rank 12. However I was over performing my item level even when I was using augment companion or regular bindings. Hope this answered your questions and comments! Thanks for the feedback!

  • September 5, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Wow didn’t expect so many views so fast, thanks for the support everyone.

    • September 5, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      there are verrry few combat builds here lol. and your build is good for newer players that dont like trapper or archery.

      • September 5, 2017 at 2:58 pm

        Well thank you very much. And that’s the goal, give new players so help and direction (endgame can be daunting with so much stuff to do) and give veteran players something different to try out or use to develop their own new builds

  • chaoticgood42
    September 5, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Excellent, thanks for taking the time to write this up! Have you done any testing of Throw Caution vs. Gushing Wound? Also, IMHO, and probably obvious, but would recommend not using Skirmisher’s Gambit until your Crit Chance can handle the reduction… Serpent Weave may be a good alternative until then, 0.5s isn’t much but anything that reduces cooldown is good, especially if this works per Shift.

    I need to try Steel Breeze, not sure if I even have any points in it right now… but it looks like it has a quick cast recovery (time it takes to start an At-will after proc’ing Flurry) and decent cooldown (Credit – artifleur: Nice chart on all the Encounters here https://www.arcgames.com/en/forums/neverwinter/#/discussion/1232934/pc-pve-combat-hr-guide).

    • September 5, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks for the comment, as to skirmishes gambit, once you get to 50% crit chance (generally via bondings or augment companions) the increase of damage is significant over not having it. However even at lesser crit chance mobs melted so fast my actual run dps numbers did not dluctats that much.
      As to throw caution, it is a solid dps boost, however even with the feat to lower resistance lost I found myself flat on the floor more often. And a living dps is a damage dealing dps. So I went with consistent sure damage vs powerful but glass.
      As a side note on bosses like orcus I will occasionally use throw caution and gushing wound (removing thorn stike and steel breeze.) As long as the dc has the so gain to mitigate the longer cool downs of the abilities vs the normal ones.
      I used serpent weave in my testing as I refined the build, however the cdr from it wasn’t enough for me to rationalize using it after a week of play testing, had significantly better results placing the points elsewhere.

  • September 7, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    what are the Enchantments that you use?

  • Bolson32
    September 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Does Lillend proc companions gift now? It didn’t prior to Mod12.

  • ionachin
    September 13, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Hello, Im a new player to the game, i just started a paladin but i didn’t like the gameplay, so i started a new char with your build, i’m lvl 16 and I have the feeling that my dps is too low and I’m too squishi, probably I’m doing something wrong …

    • September 13, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      Hi ionachin, early game is a bit different no matter what build you do every character has limitations as you still need to a quote skill points and feats along with stat points every 10 levels. Like most builds this is designed towards level 70 players. However a few words of advice. Remember to always equip better gear as you get it, and if it has power stat all the better (armor pen just isn’t really needed until endgame) used what ever skills is making the leveling up process easier. And if possible find a guild to get exp increases and potentially other players to play with to make the process easier and more enjoyable. This build becomes most effective after you have hit 70 and gotten all the feat points and abilities you can unlock. Hope this helps

  • September 13, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Could you post photos of your skills? I’m a new player and I have no idea where to allocate my skill points

    • September 13, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      I have in the build a description of what skills you want to rank 4 as fast as possible. If it’s not one of those skills then allocate the point wherever you want. When I had extra points to spend I focused on getting class features and utility skills (like oak skin and boar hide) up incase I needed them. Posting pictures wouldn’t be helpful unfortunately since I have virtually all skills maxed at rank 4.

  • September 14, 2017 at 12:00 am

    What is your recommended weapon and armor enchantments? Also thank you for the build.

    • September 14, 2017 at 1:18 am

      I personally run a flaming for weapon and negation for armor. Shadowclad and soulforged also work great. I’m getting a briartwine soon to try it out. As to other weapon enchants, lightning, terror, fey, vorpal (after getting higher crit chance) all are great

  • September 18, 2017 at 5:22 am

    you can easily keep 100% uptime on Throw Caution.

    Stat focus should be Arpen to cap, then Crit to 100%, then Recovery to 8k+ shoot for 12-14k, then Power. Don’t stress deflect/lifestea etc etc.

    Sharandar: swap Feywilds Fort to Elven Haste for action point gain.
    Maze Engine: swap Demonic Influence to Demonic Resilience: in FBI+ dungeons there is a ton of CC being applied to you. You want to lower the time you are CC to boost your
    dmg potential as well as you can get combat advantage bonus else where.
    Underdark: swap Dwarven Stamina to Dwarven Footing for the same reasons as before.
    Tyranny of Dragons: go ahead and take all 3 in Dragon’s Fury the 3% in lifesteal is meh in groups
    Storm kings Thunder: swap Cold Hearted to Frosty Demeanor as well as you should take 3/3 in Chill of Winter if not then just put 1 point into Frozen Reflection.

    As far as artifacts go atm you really want to try and run either Wheel of Elements or Eye of the giants for your active. as far as the others that is where you can make up a lot of ground on the key stats you are short in. IE Arpen/ Crit/ Recovery

    As far as your Mount Insignia bonus go the only thing that needs to be swapped out is Berserker’s rage. Since you should be using your dailys you wont be capping AP and setting on it. There are several other choices and you can even double up on Protector’s or Assassin’s

    As far as your companions go,… you said you are on a budget build but you are not running the Sellsword or Conartist which costs a whole 2 gold from the vendor in PE and are considered one of the best to have as an active companion for the 10% debuff. which helps the whole party out.

    Rotation: I wont talk to much on this since it needs to be prioritized for the mobs and buffs you have up and not just a static thing that changes. Along that line your Daily should be Forest Ghost. none of the others provide anything worth while. Encounters are Throw Caution, Plant Growth and Gushing Wounds. There is zero need to change those up unless you find yourself in a group where they want you to provide additional buffs/debuffs then you want to swap out Throw Caution for Thorn Strike. At-Wills are Split Strike for main dmg while Flurry is up as well as replenish stamina, Then you have 2 options for the 2nd at will, Clear the ground for AOE trash packs and Aimed Strike for single target boss fights.

    Playing with your setup and rotation you are leaving so much dmg out its unbelievable. If you think you are doing great dmg now you will see a night and day difference.

    • September 18, 2017 at 5:44 am

      lol It lost the first few paragraphs when it posted….

      I’ll summarize. Your feats are way off the mark to produce max dmg. As a SW combat you actually do use dailys. So yes you do want to take 3/5 predatory action, points in Swift Footwork and Battlewise are a complete waste. Take 3/3 in Agile Combat and drop Lucky Skirmisher, drop Wilds medicine and pick up Wardens Courage.

      Stamina regen comes from main hand artifact feature for split strike.
      Threat lol well just get used to it. If the tanks are doing their job you will be fine. This also ties into using your Daily, (Forrest Ghost) it serves 3 functions. 1) movement speed boost, 2) makes you invis which will make the mobs not be able to target you. 3) the passive dmg from it adds up. I see on a normal ToNG run, talking about a o wipe 25-27 min run Forrest Ghost is always over 100 million dmg. nothing to turn your nose up to.

      You don’t need to focus on deflect/ lifesteal or Wilds Medicine if you are having trouble staying alive in groups then its the group not you. You want to take Wardens Courage in stead of Wilds Medicine. The extra % dmg to the buff it adds as well as reducing the debuff to your DR from using Throw Caution.

    • September 18, 2017 at 5:48 am

      Thank you for your detailed reply and breakdown. I’m glad this whole comment line has become a nice repository of useful information for anyone playing Hunter Ranger. Couple of quick notes, I find all of your information good for anyone reading this. However, there is a theme to this build of mine, its not a pure min/max its a user friendly build that preforms very well and provides solid survivability for all players (geared towards lvl 70 players regardless of item level) On companions a clarification about budget, for 2g you can get a sellsword or con artist, this is ture. However white to green 50k ad, green to blue 250k ad, 500 to purple and 1mil to legendary. Stopping at purple all the companions I have on there go for less then 200k Some as low as 31k for an Epic companion.

      And this is a guide and a baseline for hunter rangers to try out the combat build and experience great success with an easy transition to the play style. I of course run multiple builds tailored to different situations and companion and insignia loadouts, as well and completely different skill and feature rotations. Which I am more than happy to discuss in the comments and eventually put together other builds for people looking for tweaks for specific situations (Build for TonG build for FBI and so on) But great information and fantastic post to keep the discussion going! Thanks 🙂

    • September 24, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      Not sure if you read this but if possible could you post a picture of your current gear setup. I’m still working on levelling a few things up but currently my crit feels pretty horrible since it’s around 50% even with a handful of buffs (Crit potion/wildstorm/campfire/sqaush soup). I’ll be getting a few upgrades once this double rp starts (Swapping from lostmauth to dex set, upgrading some artifacts and potentially getting a rage drake) but it seems like even after all that I would maybe be at like ~60% crit which seems incredibly low. Maybe there’s some buffs/other things that i’m missing but it still seems pretty crazy to get 80%+ crit chance on this build.

      • September 24, 2017 at 7:27 pm

        Sure I’ll add a couple of pictures, seems I can’t leave them in the comment so I will put some new ones in the guide. Just a couple things to note when you start adding stats together for critchance. Baphomet’s Might (final boon of Maze Engine) gives 2000 crit when proc’d we hit so much stuff its always up. Gale of retribution (final boon of elemental evil gives 1000 crit after the heal portion completes) I have a ring of rising precision +4 and in a fight almost instantly have all 10 stacks thats 1150 crit. My armor is reinforced with 50 crit each and all my insignia’s are crit or power (crit if available) all my artifacts other than the sigil of the great weapon fighter have crit on them. And my bondings (rank 12) when they proc give me an addtional 9581 crit) I also have 24 wisdom which gives me 14% crit

        • September 24, 2017 at 7:44 pm

          comment was directed at the other guy since i wanted to compare his gear setup to what you currently have but an updated picture of yours would also be awesome. I’ve been grinding PoM for the rising crit ring but have yet to get above a +2 (Skrimish is absurdly difficult to get gold on so I imagine getting a good ring from there is almost a fools errand at this point)

          Once double RP happens I think my crit should be much better as i’ll be able to swap to (likely) my final artifact set but that kind of depends on what I end up deciding on for my active artifact. I’ve been having trouble picking between gwf sigil and wheel of elements since they both seem really good but the wheel looks to be a huge pain to use in some situations since you basically have to back up and make sure you get the correct buff while gwf sigil just seems to be super easy to pop whenever.

          After the double rp event this week ill update this and see where I am at since right now I think I was floating at about 48-50% with buffs up.

    • Colter
      October 24, 2017 at 12:38 am

      Steel breeze for trash is amazing because you can rock about 8k recovery without tensers disk keeping stam low and staying on top of combat advantage. Referring to the boon that gives record based on lack of recovery and one for power.

  • Bolson32
    September 18, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Cavalry Tyrannosaur are currently going for about $280k on XBOX One, how good is Protector’s Camaraderie? I really like the mount looks and would like to pull a legendary, but like you I’m AD challenged. Would it be worth grabbing a Cavalry Tyrannosaur off the Auction House? Went through 80+ daily keys at mod launch and no luck!

  • Shoot2Kill
    September 19, 2017 at 2:23 am

    Why are u using flame enchantment

    • September 25, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      first because its very cheap to build one all the way to trans yourself, or purchase. It scales very well with power (currently after bondings proc I get 63% increased damage as fire damage, 49% weapon damage burn ever second stacking 3 times, and an AOE explosion for 600% of weapon damage, and each stack of burning increases damage damage to a target by 1% stacking 3 times, with the interaction of blade flurry I instantly have 3 stacks on any mob) it proc’s my lifesteal constantly, and with the current proposed changes on preview for mod 12b its becoming significantly more powerful, however its still currently low price.

  • October 1, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Didn’t Blade Storm get nerfed? I used to run it, but switched to crushing roots. May do twin blade storm when I have more points in it.

    • October 1, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      Bladestorm (especially with the artifact power) is still a massive damage increase and procs constantly. According to my damage recorder it is out damaging twinblade storm by 20% even on the most densely populated dungeons (both tests run with the artifact power for the appropriate feature)

  • October 3, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    I’m not long started and wanted to know do you need to switch stances in this build?

  • Daniel Strenkowski
    October 13, 2017 at 6:16 am

    What would be your recommended weapon enchantment? Vorpal,dread,flam,
    , etc…

    • October 17, 2017 at 2:07 am

      I personally run a flaming, however now that I’m hitting above 90% crit chance with bondings I’m considering looking into a vorpal. However Fey is also really good (at transcendent you steal alot of damage and have basically 100% uptime.)

  • Jock Janise
    October 19, 2017 at 7:08 am

    A good combo to help Cooldown mitigation:

    Stormstep Action/Blade Storm class features. Have Disruptive Shot slotted. At Max 2.5s Cooldown reduction for encounters.

  • Dan
    November 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you! Do you have any good build for pvp?

  • Yiazzy
    November 19, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    You said that your summoned companion is your Lillend, but the picture of your Companion’s stats isn’t that particular companion (Boar instead, I think). Same results either way?

    Regardless of that, pretty solid loadout you have here. Been testing it out on the XB1 and it’s brilliant. Thanks for taking the time to write this much appreciated

    • November 19, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Thank you, glad you like it. And yes I listed killed cause I used killed for a long time. And as far as epics go, it’s cheap and fast procs on bondings. I was trying out boar for awhile, however I currently use a legendary storm rider. One of the big benefits and ideas behind this build is being able to be very effective regardless of item levels or having mass amounts of ad to spend. As you get higher and higher in item level and stats you start getting rid of things like lone wolf and thorn strike for blamestorm and throw caution (since you stop getting oneshotted and can just insta lifesteal to full) but do enjoy and any questions feel free to ask 🙂

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