Natalya Fan of Knives Demon Hunter Guide

Introduction

N6 Fan of Knives Solo

The combo between Fan of Knives and Lord Greenstone's Fan offers a unique playstyle with long setup times culminating in a big nuke. Played especially back in the earlier seasons (5-8), it has been one of the longest running META builds for the class so far (although using the Legacy of Nightmares rings back then). While it is still possible to use such a variation, the introduction of various items (Captain Crimson's Trimmings & Squirt's Necklace) along with buffs to the Natalya's Vengeance set has slowly lifted the build up over time. These days, the it has fallen out of favor and far behind the top dogs but it is still a build that can reach into the higher Greater Rift Tiers if optimized and played correctly.

Due to the nature of the slow-paced gameplay and the strong arsenal of speedfarming options available to the class, Fan of Knives is primarily a pushing build and doesn't really fit into any other scenario. With some tweaks it can be changed to also work in Nephalem or low Greater Rifts, but it's losing a big part of its overwise huge strength that lies in preparing large pulls for phenomenal Area Damage value and the unique trait of gaining the full 200% benefit from Convention of Elements for almost all of its damage done without making concessions for it. Because of this, it is not competitive with builds like Impale, Multishot or GoD for farming, but can still be used in Nephalem Rifts with close to similar success and a bit lower in Greater Rifts.

In addition to this, the build also offers a Shi Mizu's Haori variation as the best possible setup, something that can only be used due to the shielding mechanics available to Demon Hunters through Fortress Ballista. By living on the edge and playing around never taking any damage while at low life, you can improve your damage tremendously while gaining 100% consistency in your damage output. If you are looking for a challenge without worrying about your ranking on the leaderboards, this could be the build for you.

High Skill Ceiling ✔
Satisfying big Nukes ✔
Very unique Playstyle ✔
Huge Area Damage Value ✔

Has easy & hard Variations ✔

❌ Long Setup Time
❌ Can't kill Single Targets
❌ You only have one Shot
❌ Boring Rift Guardian Fights

❌ Requires good Rifts to push


Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items

  • Natalya's Vengeance provides a 14000% damage increase and 60% damage reduction after using Rain of Vengeance. This skill is used both as an activator for the set bonuses and to soften up enemies before your big nuke.
  • Lord Greenstone's Fan is the core of the build, increasing the damage done by your next Fan of Knives Pinpoint Accuracy by 400% every second, stacking up to 30 times (for a maximum of 12000%).
  • Convention of Elements provides a 200% damage increase for almost all of your damage done with correct timing. When using Rain of Vengeance Anathema, you will actually use both the Fire and the Lightning cycles to deal damage at different times.
  • As this is a channeling build revolving around Strafe, Taeguk is a great fit and always used, giving up to 80% additive damage bonus and 20% Armor.
  • Mantle of Channeling synergizes well and adds 25% Damage and Toughness for free while using Strafe.
  • Dawn will be used to ensure permanent Vengeance Dark Heart uptime with the right Cooldown Reduction rolls, giving 40% multiplicative damage increase and 50% damage reduction at all times.
  • During Season 22, you will be able to use one additional Kanai's Cube power of your choosing. This can be any one item in the Weapon, Armor or Jewelry slot. The best option here is Odyssey's End, giving you another 150% additive damage bonus and effectively buffing the build by around 4 Tiers, which is more than most other Demon Hunter builds can gain.

Global Stat Priorities

Stack the typical damage stats such as Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage and Lightning Damage on every piece possible. Despite some setups using a Fire skill with Rain of Vengeance Anathema, it's still better to fully optimize for Fan of Knives Pinpoint Accuracy, but Dexterity over Lightning Damage on the Amulet is still a solid option (more than on other builds). Next you want to add Fan of Knives damage rolls to your Cloak and Shoulder slots. Other item rolls go to Area Damage (for Greater Rifts) or extra Cooldown Reduction (especially in Nephalem Rifts), Damage Range (Rings) and Defense whenever you can fit it in. Resource Cost Reduction or Elite Damage can be used on Offhand or Shoulders. Due to the special mechanics of cooldown-based skills (Rain of Vengeance and Fan of Knives) that scale only off your Mainhand, you do not require a damage roll on your Offhand weapon, so it can be used as a stat-stick entirely.

Since we rely on shields for Squirt's Necklace (and potentially Shi Mizu's Haori, you won't need any recovery stats such as Life Regeneration or Life per Hit, as you strive to either be permanently at full or low HP. Instead, you can stack Vitality to raise your Toughness until you reach a sweet spot. Your toughness (and “recovery” through shields) scales linearly with your Vitality, so compared to most other builds it’s very effective to build a large life pool to protect yourself here.

As with most other Demon Hunter builds, you are aiming for permanent Vengeance uptime by using Dawn and some Cooldown Reduction rolls. With a perfect 65% affix on the weapon, you will need 37% sheet Cooldown Reduction, which can be achieved by 10% Paragon, 12.5% Flawless Royal Diamond in helm and three Cooldown Reduction rolls on your items. Alternatively, when using Captain Crimson's Trimmings, you can skip all rolls on your gear and just go with Paragons + Diamond.

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandNatalya's Slayer
Dawn
Lord Greenstone's Fan (Cubed)
Odyssey's End (Cubed)
Echoing Fury (Cubed)
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Damage %
4. Area Damage
5. Dexterity
Off HandFortress Ballista1. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
2. Area Damage
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Elite Damage
5. Dexterity
HelmNatalya's Sight1. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Dexterity
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Vitality
GlovesNatalya's Touch
Stone Gauntlets (Cubed)
1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Dexterity
ShouldersMantle of Channeling1. Area Damage
2. Fan of Knives Damage
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Dexterity
Chest Natalya's Embrace
Aquila Cuirass (Cubed)
Shi Mizu's Haori (Cubed)
1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Fan of Knives Damage
3. Dexterity
4. Elite Damage Reduction
5. Life %
6. Vitality
PantsNatalya's Leggings
Captain Crimson's Thrust (Crafted)
Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan (Cubed)
1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Dexterity
3. Vitality
4. All Resistance
BootsNatalya's Bloody Footprints
Captain Crimson's Waders (Crafted)
1. Dexterity
2. All Resistance
3. Vitality
4. Armor
Ring 1Natalya's Reflection
Focus
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Area Damage
5. Damage Range
Ring 2Restraint
Convention of Elements
Ring of Royal Grandeur (Bounties A1)
Avarice Band (Bounties A3)
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Area Damage
5. Damage Range
BracersWraps of Clarity
Nemesis Bracers
Warzechian Armguards
1. Lightning Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Dexterity
4. All Resistance
5. Vitality
AmuletSquirt’s Necklace
The Flavor of Time
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Lightning Damage
4. Critical Hit Damage
5. Dexterity
6. Area Damage
BeltHellcat Waistguard
Captain Crimson's Silk Girdle (Crafted)
Goldwrap (Cubed)
Crashing Rain (Cubed)
1. Dexterity
2. All Resistance
3. Life %
4. Vitality

Gems

  • Taeguk is a very strong gem, adding up to 80% additive damage and 20% armor while channeling Strafe.
  • Bane of the Trapped is another strong damage gem, giving up to 60% multiplicative damage increase.
  • The third slot will generally be taken up by Bane of the Stricken to allow you to kill Rift Guardians on higher Greater Rift Tiers. For farming, you can slot in Bane of the Powerful for some extra damage. In Nephalem Rifts, you want to use Boon of the Hoarder for the extra gold and speed. Pain Enhancer can be used for well-geared setups to melt trash monsters in Torment 16 Rifts.

Skills

  • Fan of Knives Pinpoint Accuracy is our main damage dealer. We use it every ~16 or ~32 seconds after stacking up enough Lord Greenstone's Fan and during the Convention of Elements cycle.
  • Rain of Vengeance activates our Natalya's Vengeance set bonuses and needs to be cast once every 10 seconds for the 14000% damage bonus and 60% damage reduction buff. The damage done of this skill is generally secondary but still useful to soften up enemies and spawn Oculus Rings.
  • Vengeance Dark Heart gives us 100% Toughness and 40% multiplicative damage increase at all times.
  • Strafe allows free movement and taking benefit from Taeguk and Mantle of Channeling.
  • Entangling Shot provides Hatred regeneration while channeling Strafe and applies the debuff needed for Odyssey's End. You can use either the Justice is Served or the Chain Gang runes, depending on how well you are able to manage your Hatred.
  • Smoke Screen Special Recipe helps with survival and mobility.

Passives

  • Ambush is a must-have for this build as almost all of your damage done will be amplified with a 40% multiplicative damage bonus. Most damage comes from one big nuke that typically oneshots most trash monsters.
  • Cull the Weak adds another very strong 20% multiplicative damage bonus.
  • Tactical Advantage is very useful for better mobility and pulling, giving 60% extra Movement Speed after using Smoke Screen. Since Area Damage is so important in this build, this passive provides a sizable benefit to your DPS.
  • The last slot can be filled with different options: Archery for extra damage and Hatred regen, Awareness to prevent deaths (especially on Hardcore or the Shi Mizu's Haori version of the build, Perfectionist or Numbing Traps for extra damage reduction, Blood Vengeance for fast-paced farming such as in Nephalem Rifts.

Paragon Points

CoreOffensiveDefensiveUtility
1. Movement Speed1. Cooldown Reduction1. All Resistance1. Area Damage
2. Vitality up to 900.000 Life2. Critical Hit Chance2. Life %2. Resource Cost Reduction
3. Dexterity3. Critical Hit Damage3. Armor3. Life per Hit*
4. Maximum Hatred4. Attack Speed4. Life Regeneration*4. Pickup Radius

* Don't assign this when playing the Shi Mizu's Haori variation.

Follower

The Templar is recommended for this build due to his melee range and aggressive AI. When there's a monster in range he will always stand still and fight it, making him very predictable and easy to play around.

For the Skills pick Heal, Loyalty, Onslaught and Inspire. All the alternatives, except Intimidate, include AoE hard-CC, which makes mobs harder to manipulate.

Follower's damage is completely irrelevant, so we stack Attack Speed for more on-hit procs and Cooldown Reduction for more Heals. The Items are:

  • Enchanting Favor to make follower immortal
  • Oculus Ring for 85% multiplicative damage boost
  • The Ess of Johan to pull mobs together
  • Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker for the Attack Speed slow
  • Any Shield with Cooldown Reduction

If you are playing the Shi Mizu's Haori variation of the build, make sure you have no skill selected in the first two rows. If you have already done so, you should level a new character, as there is no way to unlearn follower abilities and both options should be avoided in these cases.

Keep in mind that Oculus Ring is very unlikely to spawn on higher Greater Rift Tiers when you are not running Rain of Vengeance Anathema with Hellcat Waistguard as you have to finish a low HP enemy right before your nuke, which Rain of Vengeane Shade is generally unable to do.

Gameplay

  • Activate Vengeance Dark Heart immediately and refresh it once very 20 seconds.
  • Use Rain of Vengeance at least once every 10 seconds to activate the Natalya's Vengeance bonuses and use it for pulling far-away enemies. Damage done by this skill is secondary while Convention of Elements is down, but try to use it more especially shortly before the Fire cycle comes up.
  • Hold down Strafe at all times to move through the Rift, pull enemies and activate bonuses from Taeguk and Mantle of Channeling.
  • Weave your Entangling Shot in by tapping the button around once per second. This will give you enough Hatred to keep channeling Strafe and activate Wraps of Clarity as well as Odyssey's End. If you use this skill on Left Mouse Button, the best way to do it is to hold down Force Stand-Still at all times.
  • Use Smoke Screen either to survive tough pulls, keep up your shields more easily, or to move quickly to the next pull. Spend your Discipline wisely.
  • Gather a large pack of enemies and wait for your Lord Greenstone's Fan to stack up to ~13-20 (one Convention of Elements cycle) or 30 (two cycles) and use it when you have the Lightning damage bonus.
  • Kite leftover enemies along with you if you have a chance of finishing them soon and you can make them follow well, else try to rush to the next big pull to nuke that one instead.

Hardcore

This build is quite tanky and mobile, so it's an excellent choice for Hardcore. If you dare and like living on the edge, you can even play the Shi Mizu's haori variant once you master the build. Make sure to use Awareness at all times!


Variants

Regular Solo Push
N6 Fan of Knives Push

Concept
This is the setup described in the Core & Gameplay sections of the guide. We want to make large pulls and nuke them down with one big shot of Fan of Knives Pinpoint Accuracy if possible, while keeping up our constant barrage of Rain of Vengance Anathema to soften them up and potentially spawn an Oculus Ring.

Gameplay
Keep up all your buffs from Vengeance, Rain of Vengeance and Strafe. Keep up your Hatred with Entangling Shot and pull enemies together from all sides while waiting for your Convention of Elements Lightning cycle to come around. Preferably nuke once every two cycles to maximize Area Damage and Ambush value, unless you can be sure to destroy most of the pull even earlier. Try to use your Fire cycles to deal massive AoE damage with Rain of Vengeance Anathema and spawn Oculus Rings you can jump into for your Fan of Knives.

Setups
For better survival, consider adding Aquila Cuirass in the cube, but it will make Hatred management a bit more difficult. Another option without the resource trouble is Stone Gauntlets, which might however not be at full capacity after you haven't taken damage for a while. For even more toughness, you can add the Perfectionist, Numbing Traps or Awareness passives.

Shi Mizu Push
N6 FoK Shi Mizu

Concept
This setup is much harder to play than the regular, but gives you another 3-4 potential Greater Rift Tiers in raw damage from permanent 100% Crit Chance using Shi Mizu's haori. In order to achieve this, Fortress Ballista is used to never take any damage. Like this, we can roll off all our Critcial Hit Chance on gear in favor of other stats. Captain Crimson's Trimmings adds 20% Cooldown and Resource Cost Reduction and increases to Damage and Toughness based on them. Due to that, we can roll off some of the Cooldown Reduction from our items. Ring of Royal Grandeur is required to allow combining the two sets. Since we rely on shields for the Crit bonus, Squirt’s Necklace becomes a great synergy, effectively doubling your damage as long as you don’t take damage.

Gameplay
Same as the regular setup, but now we play around Shi Mizu's Haori and try to stay at low life at all times. In order to do so, you have to let enemies break your shield on purpose and get to low health, preferably very close to dying as possible, as you have at least 6000 Life Regen from Captain Crimson's Trimmings that will slowly heal you up over time. After releasing a nuke, try to collect all Health Globes in the area so you won't accidentally collect them later, then immediately work on getting to low HP without dying afterwards. You can fine-tune your incoming damage with positioning, stopping to Strafe or even attacking altogether. Depending on your Fortress Ballista stacks and the incoming damage this can be a bit tricky and require some experience to fully understand all the incoming damage. Make sure you don't go into low HP range too short before a nuke as you also need to give Squirt's Necklace a whole 12 seconds to recover to its maximum potential. Lastly, make sure to never activate a Shield Pylon for obvious reasons and be wary of Paragon level ups, as they will heal you to full HP.

Setups
I don't recommend to change anything on this setup. If you have trouble staying alive/at low HP, add more Vitality from Paragons. If you are willing to give up a lot of damage, you could ignore Squirt's Necklace and play with The Flavor of Time instead.

Nephalem Rifts (Physical)
N6 Fan of Knives T16

Concept
In Torment 16 we want to go fast. This difficulty is low enough to deal damage with Rain of Vengeance, which will be used to kill most trash monsters, while Fan of Knives will mostly be used on Elites. This build is based on Physical damage, which you want to roll on your Bracers and Amulet instead of Lightning now. Captain Crimson's Trimmings adds additional useful stats with 20% Cooldown and Resource Cost Reduction and increases to Damage and Toughness based on them. Ring of Royal Grandeur is required to allow combining the two sets. Stacking more Cooldown and Resource Cost Reduction helps to smooth out the gameplay; Area Damage is not very useful here.

Gameplay
Same as in pushing, keep up all your buffs and move around quickly. With Rain of Vengeance Dark Cloud you can kill smaller enemies quickly as you pass them, then find big packs or Elites to blow them up with Fan of Knives. The Rain lasts 8 seconds and can be stacked up to 5 times, so try to cast it once every 1.5 to 2 seconds and focus less on Evasive Fire. When using Echoing Fury as your 4th Cube option, be a bit more careful about your resources than normal when you have all 5 stacks.

Setups
If you feel tanky enough, you can remove Goldwrap from the Cube and use Harrington Waistguard or Warzechian Armguards instead. When you're overkilling enemies by a lot, Archery could be replaced with Hot Pursuit. If you struggle with Hatred regeneration, change your Vengeance rune to Seethe. Once you have acquired high level legendary gems, you could also swap Bane of the Powerful to Pain Enhancer, which can kill small and medium-sized trash on its own after just touching them with any crit.

Additionally, Natalya's Vengeance has the ability to pair with Cain's Destiny and keep all bonuses active. You can do so by swapping Pants, Boots and one weapon to Natalya pieces instead after you have spawned the Rift Guardian. This allows you to get 25% extra Greater Rift Keystones when farming Nephalem Rifts. To make this a bit easier, you could also replace Echoing Fury with one of the weapons and wear Natalya's Slayer.

Speed GRs
N6 Fan of Knives Speeds

Concept
Due to the slow-paced nature of the build, it is not really suitable to be used in speedfarming to great success without giving up a lot of damage.

Gameplay
Same as in regular pushing: Keep up all your buffs from Vengeance, Rain of Vengeance and Strafe. Keep up your Hatred with Entangling Shot and pull enemies together from all sides while waiting for your Convention of Elements Lightning cycle to come around. Other than that, use Rain of Vengeance Anathema as much as possible to nuke down small and medium trash and spawn Oculus Rings.

Setups
For better survival, consider adding Wraps of Clarity in the cube. For even more toughness, you can add the Perfectionist, Numbing Traps or Awareness passives. For lower Tiers, use Bane of the Powerful instead of Bane of the Stricken.


Video Guide

Check out a gameplay video of his build here:


Mechanics

Fortress Ballista

  • This item will add a stacking shield of up to 3% of your maximum life per attack, stacking up to 30%.
  • While shielded, your Squirt's Necklace buff will not drop when getting hit.
  • The %-based shielding of Fortress Ballista makes stacking Vitality extremely potent to increase your Toughness and ability to keep the shield from breaking. If you find yourself dropping the shield too often, consider adding more Vitality from Paragons until you are comfortable.
  • Due to unknown mechanics/bugs, you sometimes get more than 1 stack at a time, all the way up to 10 to refresh the entire shield at once.

Hellcat Waistguard

  • This item is a huge damage increase for all skills using Grenades, such as Rain of Vengeance Anathema.
  • Bouncing Grenades will go in all directions randomly, there is no way to control them.
  • If bouncing Grenades hit a wall or other obstacles, they will despawn. Likewise, they tend to fall off cliffs and edges very easily.
  • Especially in narrow spaces you will deal significantly less damage, so try to avoid them where possible.

Odyssey's End

  • Hitting any enemy in the pull will slowly spread the slow effect to more and more targets nearby.
  • The visual effect is not always displayed properly, but you can be sure that enemies are slowed after a while.
  • Refreshing the debuff on one monster of the chain will refresh it on all of them.
  • If you lose the debuff, you will have to re-apply it to every single monster again.

Summary

  • Keep up your buffs from Vengeance, Rain of Vengeance and use Strafe at all times.
  • Weave in Entangling Shot around once per second to keep your Hatred and the Odyssey's End buff up.
  • Try to kill small enemies with Rain of Vengeance to save your big nuke for later and spawn Oculus Rings.
  • Use Smoke Screen to move, survive and potentially keep up shields provided by Fortress Ballista.
  • Gather large pulls and blow them up with Fan of Knives Pinpoint Accuracy when your Convention of Elements cycle turns to Lightning.
  • Kite leftover enemies to the next pull or move on without them when it's not worth to do so.

Guide by wudijo with suggestions by Northwar.

I hope you enjoyed this guide! Although part of a quite slow-paced build, Fan of Knives is a very satisfying ability to use after preparing the right setup and provides a great challenge for solo players looking to try one of the most difficult and sophisticated setups in the entire game with the unique Shi Mizu's Haori variant.
Good luck!