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If I start running low on hatred would there ever be a time where I would chose not to use Evasive fire (recovers 4 energy when used as opposed to 3 of the primary ability) assuming I have enough discipline and no enemies in range?

As a side question, how far does Evasive fire reach? Can I stay far enough away so that it doesn't trigger the backflip and still do damage while regenerating my hatred?

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The only time to not use Evasive Fire is when you need tighter control on your location, so that you don't end up in the middle of a group of enemies. The skeleton spawning pillars in the Royal Crypts comes to mind. Other than that, this gamer has found it to be an excellent way of maintaining your distance. –  JamesCW May 18 '12 at 15:52
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3 Answers

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I'm really fond of Evasive Fire, it has a lot of advantages - good base damage, very fast projectile speed, good Hatred generation, and the backflip is amazing against monsters that tend to close the distance quickly - teleporters, leapers, vultures, melee bosses, etc.. I've binded it to my left mouse button (elective mode) and I use it liberally. Interestingly enough, it also hits enemies that normal projectiles can't (e.g. through walls left by Waller uniques).

However, I think that unlike the primary skills, you really have to be careful when using it, for two reasons:

  1. It can drain your discipline really fast when you're not noticing.

    • A few times I've backflipped into a corner, and every additional attack caused me to backflip into the same corner. That quickly left me cornered and without enough discipline for emergency skills (Vault / Smoke Screen), which is a really dangerous situation.

    • Another time I've attacked a really fast champion which was closing in on me, so every single attack caused a backflip, and before I knew it I did not have enough discipline for what I really should have done, which is to lay Caltrops.

    I guess the Surge rune can be a very good option for alleviating this drawback, but I haven't unlocked it yet so have no experience to share about it.

  2. It's easy to backflip into a mob by mistake.

    • I decimate enemies in the distance and suddenly a monster sneaks up on me from behind. I take the reasonable action of shooting it in the face and bam! I'm suddenly in the midst of the group I was just attacking. Very dangerous. I do try to be careful with what I aim for, but still this has happened to me once or twice and it was not a good situation to be in, at all.

So my opinion is that Evasive Fire is a great primary skill replacer candidate for all the reasons in my first paragraph, but it requires more care than the regular primary skills. Be aware of your position and your Discipline whenever you intend on using it. Particularly, I recommend equipping Vault when you use Evasive Fire, and making sure that when the pressure gets high, you save enough Discipline to be able to activate it if the need arises. Smoke Screen is another decent option but I like Vault more :)

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One of the primary roles for the Demon Hunter in parties is crowd control, which is impossible with Evasive Fire. Basically, you're not getting any other bonuses that effectively cost that 1 extra hatred generated from Evasive Fire, mainly slowing your enemies.

Sure, you have other options for performing that crowd control, but with my current build, I slow enemies with basically every shot, yet still manage to dish out a decent amount of DPS and can maintain my hatred easily enough. Personally, I don't use Evasive Fire because I find Vault to be more effective at getting me out of trouble, as well as an ideal method for entering a group, laying a Caltrop, and then retreating, but that's more of a playstyle decision.

As to your side question, yes you can still do damage without triggering the backflip (notice that you only use discipline if you do the backflip), however, I'm unsure if the damage starts to fall off after a certain distance.

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Other than the higher damage potential, statisticaly speaking you should never be using evasive fire as an hatred generator instead of hungering arrow.

Purely statisticaly hungering arrow with the mostly used hungering arrow rune, actualy generates more hatred per shot. For example out of 100 shots (300 hatred) 35 will pierce and hit an additional enemy (additional 105 hatred), out of which 12.25 will pierce (additional 36.75 hatred, etc. This of course goes on indefinately, however the final munber is very close to 461.54, which in turn results in an average of 4.62 hatred per shot).

However, there are other situations, not looking at the hatred generation, where evasive fire can be more preferable (placing a trap, shooting an close enemy, backfliping and getting the speed boost fron tactical advantage).

In my oppinion the only real advantages evasive fire has over hungering arrow as an primary attach is its ability to shoot through walls of the waller type mobs and the projectile hitting instantly (no prejectile travel time).

As to your other question, evasive fire reaches a bit "off the screen", very close to how far an elemental arrow travels, so yes, you can fire it without triggering the backflip if no enemies are in range.

As an addition to Oak's dilema, no, evasive fire doesn't have any damage diminishim effects in reference to range.

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