Analysis of the Elven Ranger


Well-known member
Should I find a way to link my previous thread on this I will do so, until then, we will continue our discussion on the Elven Ranger.

Hunt's End vs Shadowstrike

I did a good amount of questing, testing Shadowstrike (from Shadowdancer) versus the usual Hunt's End most of us take. Shadowstrike was underwhelming. Extremely underwhelming. While playing, I kept thinking, it feels like the design philosophy was (the old) Meld needed to be nerfed then, using that as the starting point, other abilities were put into place. Shadowstrike, of which Meld is a weird offshoot upgrade, has a ponderous cooldown. Placing Meld, which the design team I guess wants on a long cooldown, with an offensive attack makes combat awkward, difficult to use in a regular attack chain, and frankly, not too much fun. To make matters even worse, Hunt's End inflicts significantly more damage than Shadowstrike. In theory, Shadowstrike can be upgraded to blind targets - but you have to build for the DCs to hit that blind (which only triggers on a vorpal hit). Going through all that work to trigger an effect where the target would already be dead if you were using Hunt's End (blind also doesn't work on red names so it's only a normal mob effect).

The other issue with the Shadowdancer Destiny is that the first 10-15 points are amazing, but the further you go up in the tree the less attractive it is for our Elven ranger. Looking at T5, we can't cast Weird, so Consumed by Shadows - you need to be in sneak which simply isn't feasible for the marginal effect it does - opening a 5-second window of 0 AC. With a 30-second cooldown. Just a Taste is fine, same ability as almost all T5s for crits. Greater Shadowform - it's cool to float, but we aren't using the Shadowdancer mantle since it's far inferior to the DPS provided by either Shiradi or Primal. We can't use the spell DCs. The epic moment is quite cool, but going all the way up to T5 (T4 is almost as bad) for something that can only be used once every 5 minutes?

You begin to see the problems with Shadowstrike and a deep investment into Shadowdancer. I wanted to like this tree, I really did. I wanted to see if our Elven ranger could become extra sneaky and lethal but it turns out none of this can replace Hunt's End. As a point of reference, I was testing this on a 14 Monk/6 Ranger/2 Rogue version of the Elven Ranger (Wood Elf).

Having picked up an extra +3 to damage (Monk life plus two Enchanted Weapon epic past lives), our next incarnation of the Elven ranger will be primarily Rogue focused. 12 Rogue/6 Ranger and 2 Warlock. Yes, our Horizon Walking stalker slayer is making a pact!


Well-known member
GEARING Levels 5-8

Although gearing will vary widely, here is a set for levels 5 through 8 that form a solid basis for our Elven ranger.

Goggles - Blazing Sniper Sights (ToEE)​
Head - Cannith crafted Sheltering, Accuracy, Yellow slot Wizardry, Blue slot False Life​
Necklace - Winter Court (Feywild)​
Trinket - Book of Spirits (Housekeeping)​
Cloak - Sailcloth (Saltmarsh)​
Belt - Belt of the Ram (Feywild)​
Rings - Lionheart, Fall's Decay (Feywild)​
Gloves - Tranquility (Feywild)​
Boots - Thorn (Feywild)​
Bracers - Vinelash (Feywild)​
Armor - Lotus mail (Feywild)​
Helmet could also be Stalkers (Isle of Dread) or Crown of Butterflies. As you can see, we are heavily leaning into the excellent Feywild gear set. In particular, I consider the Vinelash bracers with improved deception to be one of the best items we can equip in heroics. Prior to modern gear like Feywild, that was only found on items like Golden Guile (ML16). Having improved deception at level 5 is huge.​


5000+ hours played
The other issue with the Shadowdancer Destiny is that the first 10-15 points are amazing, but the further you go up in the tree the less attractive it is for our Elven ranger.
For light armor ranged builds, you can invest 26 AP into Shadowdancer to get phenominal value without ever touching the Epic Strike or Mantle:

4 Cores
3 Cover of Darkness
3 Technician
3 Dance in the Dark
3 Lithe
3 Grim Precision
2 Shadowstriker
2 Bring Darkness
3 Pierce the Gloom (highly undervalued)


5000+ hours played
Nothing wrong with Shadowdancer's epic strike. Hunt's End + Sniper Shot is more effective when you want to burst a mob down, like a reaper.

Fisto Mk I

Well-known member
Nothing wrong with Shadowdancer's epic strike. Hunt's End + Sniper Shot is more effective when you want to burst a mob down, like a reaper.
If you have Sniper shot... ;)
For pure Monk, for example, Sniper Shot is unavailable... same as for any non-Rangers-depend builds. And for start combat you can use Hunt's End +Shadowstrike too...


Well-known member
2000 HPs is the comfort zone

I've crossed the 2000 HP barrier with my Elven ranger and it's a significant difference in staying alive. Currently, I'm running a 12 Rogue/6 Ranger/2 Warlock variant. Sort of a Fey Pact, Horizon Walker hunting order Elf. Lore wise it feels good and DPS is incredible. Because of the way the LFM panel works these days you run into a lot of R8+ groups and I was running Legendary R10s from time to time at L26 and actually killing things at a level that was beneficial to the party. Getting to 2000 by 32 required some choices. You might have more reaper points than me so it could be easier. The character I'm running on has 39 reaper points, so probably an average amount for people playing and a good baseline for how to get to 2000.

First, we had to make some design choices. I grabbed both HP boosts from Deepwoods Stalker tree. APs in general are difficult to allocate because there is a lot of good stuff to take so we have to make hard decisions. The whole AP forking branches are a topic all unto themselves so for now let's just say I took the extra HPs over getting an extra favored enemy from Harper or faster run speed from Thief Acrobat. I also passed on the +10 extra to hit and 5% dodge piercing at Level 31 from Legendary Aim choosing instead to take Legendary Toughness. At level 18 I took Nimble Fingers for the extra sneak attack die but if you are still short of 2000 HPs you can take GTWF there. Generally, the boost is another 50 or so HPs. One of the drawbacks from using a lot of trees and capping in Horizon Walker is that we don't get the Enhancement Tree +25% HP boost nor do we have a stance giving more HPs. So, we have already made design choices in our archetype that favor DPS over survivability, therefore making HP choices over DPS here isn't a bad option.

Another choice I'm making right now is using the Epic Marguerite's necklace. This L23 item provides a whopping 100 HPs with Quality CON, Profane Lifeforce, and Vitality. Generally, archers have quite a bit of item flexibility because the Dread Stalker set from Isle of Dread consolidates so many gearing attributes into three items. Right now, the 100 HPs from the necklace are more valuable to me than anything else I'd put in that slot. Altogether, I'm coming in at 2053 HPs in Reaper. For me, having over 2000 is a huge difference from playing at 1600.


Well-known member
For similar reasons regarding survivability, I over-time gravitated away from the 2-warlock version and more towards versions maxing out short term dps for trash. Reason why is engaging trash requires the trash to die asap or I start taking R10 fire and even with 2000+ HP it tends to kill me. Also, I'm just not finding myself in high reaper raid groups often where boss DPS is much of an issue. What I found worked best for me is to really max out quick DPS and max out my twitch DPS cycles so I can just knock down the enemies one after another, with very little time for them to respond. I love the playstyle because you can pump up the counts the more in-tune you get with the various cool downs and thinking several seconds farther into the future. I like 13 rogue/6 ranger/1 fighter for the extra feat, which I use to snag Shot on the Run. I lose a little speed buy my combat is more effective while running, and Tabaxi provides a lot of speed.

Curious if you are noticing many grazing hits when you dump attack. I've tended to max out attack on a Tabaxi since it lacks the boost that Wood Elf gets. Heard that grazing hits will sap your DPS if you don't max attack, but hard to tell at this point as I just make sure I have max attack, not so much doing controlled experimentation.


Well-known member
The 2 Warlock is certainly open to being replaced, don't get me wrong I like the thematic aspect of a Fey pact for elven archer but I don't have the APs to really make it excel. Of course, there aren't a ton of other significantly better options unless one goes 2 monk but that changes the build quite a bit. I played for a while with monk levels and it's fine, a versatile build but the 2000 HPs geteven less runway due to reduced PRR/MRR.

I wear the Crocodile tooth so I get +10 insightful accuracy which I figure more or less makes up for dropping Legendary Aim. I can't definitively say if I need max attack or not. I know that I get a lot of grazing hits when running Legendary Reaper below L32 without my endgame gear. Once I'm geared I tend to feel I hit most mobs without grazing, except Sharn where it will creep up from time to time. But this isn't based on any quantifiable data. I'll say this - I've played build where I got enough grazing hits I had to do something about it, and I definitely don't have that problem.

I hear you on R10 trash resolutions. In theory, I have Uncanny Dodge, Hood, Pin, and Misty Step to deal with mobs on the loose. I wish the Shiradi mantle procs were more reliable. I find that if I'm in a group with a tank, then I'm never going to die and will achieve incredible DPS since I'm basically standing back there in Archer's Focus marking and deleting mobs with Hunt's End. Some quests due to narrow rooms or 360 spawns make this more challenging but a good tank still brings them in pretty well. I'd rather have a good tank than semi-reliable CC from a caster. When I have neither a good tank nor reliable CC and more of a let's roll in R10 with Uncanny Dodging group, then yeah, dealing with that advancing trash is a primary issue. The mere act of moving and readjusting to deal with these mobs is a huge DPS loss plus suddenly you're relying on improved deception and bluff checks and all sorts of stuff I don't really want to be doing in R10 when I could just be going from target to target and knocking out mobs.


Well-known member
Been tempted to do another 1 or 2 Warlock version mainly for the extra threat reduction enhancements in the Soul Eater T1.


Well-known member
The Importance of Doubleshot

One of the aspects of the build that can be overlooked is Doubleshot. Yes, we all might know it's something we want, but it can be easy to underestimate how important Doubleshot is. Update 49 changed Doubleshot from extra strikes to double damage (or triple damage). Once you get 100% Doubleshot, you are always doing double damage. Believe it or not, there is a huge difference between say, 75% Doubleshot and 100% Doubleshot. Doubleshot over 100 is your percentage chance for triple damage. So if your Doubleshot is 143%, then you have a 43% chance of doing triple damage on an attack. Although longbows cannot get as high of a Doubleshot as throwing daggers (from Vistani tree), they still make better use of it than XBows and this is an important stat line that can be easy to neglect. The good news is that Doubleshot isn't all that onerous to build for. Areas that do require a bit of grinding such as Primal Epic Destiny lives or a Sentient Gem with 4 slots aren't going to frustrate you. Incidentally, Doubleshot can be checked on your character sheet down by the little sword button in the lower right after pressing "C".


Well-known member
(Mostly) Elven Archer completionist path

I'm kicking around the idea of making my Elven archer a completionist. Right now, she has Paladin, Monk, Ranger, and Rogue past lives. Picking up the other 11 classes might be a fun way to try some different archer builds. Here is my initial thoughts on each class.

Cleric - Sun Elf Iconic, 14 Cleric/6 Ranger. Probably War Domain, maybe Luck. Would probably be a Horizon Walker. Might go 12/6/2 Rogue for trapping.
Wizard - Deep Gnome Iconic, 14 Wizard (EK)/6 Ranger. Cheating! Not an elf. I know, I know, but the L15 start point. Maybe again 12/6/2 as this would be an imbue build. Wouldn't go Horizon Walker here, would go Arcane Archer and maybe make myself a Wraith.
Fighter - Wood Elf, 12 Fighter/6 Ranger/2 Rogue. Would go 41 into Kensai just because I've never done 41 in Kensai with a bow. Lots of feats here. Lots.
Barbarian - Wood Elf Mongol build? I'm not sure what that looks like. Work in progress. Suggestions?
Bard - Wood Elf, Swashbuckler, Vistani, Throwing daggers. Cheating 2! Not so much an archer and more a thrower. But archer adjacent. Could double cheat here and Iconic Tiefling this as well. Never done a Swash/Vistani thrower so this might be fun.
Alchemist - Wood Elf, Inquisitive Imbue heavy build.
FVS - 14 FVS/6 Ranger - Wood Elf, More or less like Cleric.
Artificer - Wood Elf, pure. Maybe a Great Xbow? Haven't used a Great Xbow in many years. Could be fun to revisit.
Sorcerer - Wood Elf. Gonna depend on how fun the Wizard was to play. Could EK also? Could maybe do a 12 Sorc/6 Ranger/2 Monk. Or could just get the past life and straight up sorc blaster.
Druid - No clue here. Might just Otto's Box it. Otherwise, Blight caster would be the fastest leveling. Can't think of any archer combos that work. I don't know enough about Thorn Knight, is there room there to find a bow?
Warlock - Wood Elf, 14 Warlock/6 ranger some sort of ES blaster/archer.


Well-known member
Reaper Results

I have been running high Reaper lately going from 34 Reaper points to 43. Our Elven Ranger is one of the more comfortable characters for this type of play. Horizon Walker and our many sneak attack dice shine in this element. Note: all this is taken within the context of group play. R6 is easy. R8 is my current comfort zone with this character being in the upper tier of Kill Counts and not dying much. R10 is more dangerous, and I die more often. Not a huge drop-off in DPS but survivability does take a noticeable hit. I need to install and optimize my second set bonus without losing HPs to make R10 more comfortable. That would require more RPs to compensate for the lost HPs or additional Epic Primal lives. Being over 2000 HPs has been a serious boon as I posted previously and I don't want to go under that mark. You will notice the difference.

The Elven Archer excels in a Reaper group dynamic. If you're getting tank play or CC from your teammates then you're going to have a thrilling game experience. Even if you find yourself in a group lacking in both those areas, we have Misty Step and Uncanny Dodge that extends our survivability quite a bit. One weakness high Reaper has brought to the surface is speed. DDO, with its insertion of speed boosts and movement increases in random places throughout Enhancement trees (I wish they would standardize this as they did with Hit Points), means that 30% speed is not even the norm, it means you're slow, especially with many groups running high Reaper where a couple of characters always have over 30% speed. Misty Step does function as "wings" but during periods of sustained running, you do see the difference. I think I'll have to find a way to incorporate the 12% speed bonus from Thief-Acrobat into my enhancements. APs are so tight, not many easy choices.

Almost instant deletion of marked, hunt's end, sniper-shotted mobs is what we were born to do. Thematically, this fits perfectly with our Horizon Walker hunter while making Reaper play fun for you and quests easy for your team. Very quickly, you will find out that not only is Elven ranger excelling in the group, you are becoming, in many quests, vital. We also are a superb raiding character about to constantly lead or be near the kill count while providing major party boosts like marking and rebuffing raid bosses and red names. Trapping skills are always beneficial in raids and they hold mostly hold up in high Reaper although in the newest content, the DCs are right at or slightly past my disables without some combination of GH/Buffs/Skill Boost. Watchful Eye takes up a valuable epic slot spot, but the 5% Doubleshot and our Search is high enough it always brings up the traps even in new quests, making this a key feat choice. Double true if you're used to playing Inquisitive where you've had Watchful Eye all through heroics.


Well-known member
Bound Elemental Ring of Acid

I finally pulled the Bound Elemental Ring of Acid (Master Artificer raid). Could I have purchased it with runes? Sure. But I find it always more fun and rewarding to get the item organically. In limited testing, I can already tell that I want to incorporate this ring into my full gear set. It seems like a strange coincidence but the ring applies an almost identical acid dot as does my Arcane Archer acid imbue (I have 10 imbue die). Tested at R1 I'm getting 700-1200 from each hit. The ring procs with every shot it seems. According to the description it is supposed to stack dots? I haven't noticed that, but again, very limited testing so far. Essentially being able to double elemental damage is a high selling point of this ring. Also, frees up an augment slot on my bow since I no longer need to slot acid spell power. Can also confirm, if you were wondering, the damage from the ring isn't blocked or overwritten by imbue damage.


Well-known member
Cleric Past Life - Elven Ranger

I've begun my completionist path on my Elven ranger. First up is a cleric life. For a point of reference, right now I have Rogue, Ranger, Paladin, and Monk completed. Those are the only past lives (stacked for Ranger and Monk) that significantly affect our ability but I want to try out some flavor bow builds and this provides us with the chance.

For a Cleric life, it makes sense to go Sun Elf Iconic. Starting at 15 speeds up the time needed to get our past life and eliminates the low and mid-levels where advancement can be tedious with a non-AOE based build. If someone was starting at level 1 with this build, I'd pick regular Elf so you can go Silver Flame and get longbows as a favored weapon.

Starting Stats and Concept:

We will be wisdom based on our way to a 14 Cleric/6 Dark Ranger level split. Why that combination? Our Elven ranger will be going War Domain and at level 14 we get Holy Sword. That will give us the crit enhancement that we won't be getting from, say Deep Woods Sniper or Horizon Walker. That's right, we are trying out Falconry! Dark Ranger gives us trapping ability without needing Rogue levels.

Strength - 8
Dexterity - 10 (needed for Precision and you'll need tomes)
Constitution - 15 (-2 from Sun Elf, they spend too much time philosophizing but as we will see, our elf ends up quite beefy)
Intelligence - 14 (+2 from our Undead studies, needed for trapping and skill points)
Wisdom - 18
Charisma - 9

Level split is Cleric at 1 (as a Sun Elf mandatory). Dark Hunter (Ranger) 2 through 7. Cleric the rest of the way.

Feats and Enhancements

1. Point Blank Shot, Amaunator
3. Precision
6. Dodge
8. War Domain
9. IC Ranged
12. Mobility, Amaunator's Flames
15. Shot on the Run, Greater Domain of War
18. Sneak of Shadows
21. Combat Archery
22. Epic Spell Power Positive
24. Overwhelming Critical
25. Doubleshot
27. Epic DR
28. Crush weakness
30. Quicken, Scion of the Ethereal Plane

EDs (Shiradi, Shadowdancer, Legendary Dreadnought)

We take the capstone and 41 points in Falconry for Wisdom to hit/damage, trance, synergy with Cleric and to try out all the ranged Falconry attacks, including Death From Above (a distance attack assassinate if you are unfamiliar). Get Summon Arrows from Horizon Walker (otherwise arrow management is a pain), Undead Favored enemy, and Haste from Vistani, then equal parts DWS (Sniper Shot) and Dark Hunter (Sneak Attack dice) as you see fit.

Heroic Leveling Notes

With Vecna out there were a ton of upper Heroic groups on Orien so I never even had to put up an LFM. I went from 15 to 19 on a Sunday, then did the Vecna chain to cap. Vecna, btw, is much better as a heroic quest pack than a Legendary R10 one. Quests go far quicker and the loot is better. My Heroic impressions are as follows:

  • The three main bird (Snow Owl for us) attacks; Go For the Eyes, Diving Attack, and Coordinated Shot are all quite good. On R1 in all quests they always landed and I didn't have an assassinate item on. You can get bonuses to assassinate from both Dark Hunter and Falconry. Coordinated Shot in particular has a generous AOE swoop and blinds an entire group of monsters. You should get in the practice of using these constantly as not only do they reset Deadly Instinct, our Wisdom trance, they also make the targets Helpless, and have a chance to reset Death From Above.
  • I was able to find and disable the traps in all quests (R1) with the Keylock Ring (Death House, Ravenloft) except for Creeping Doom.
  • As always, single-target DPS feels slow compared to the AOE being laid down by your party members. I was never tops in kill count as a result. We also aren't as good DPS-wise as the Rogue/Ranger Horizon Walker, but we do have a rather fun DPS output. Constantly blinding, tripping, and assassinating mobs was an enjoyable gaming experience. It also made our ranger feel different. There was one instance in a Vecna quest where mobs were up top and I couldn't get a great look at them but was able to blind the group and assassinate one. My Snow Owl has seemingly unlimited range and doesn't require the same degree of targeting that a bow shot would. Combined with our access to 7th-level Cleric spells (at level 20), we have all the buffs, and some decent healing making us a quite viable support character.
  • I took the 25% HPs from Falconry instead of the Ranged Power. And we, of course, forego the T5 DWS Ranged Power and Doubleshot, so our DPS took a hit in certain design choices. However, we are sitting at nearly 1300 HPs at level 18 (in Reaper I have 49 points). This build would likely work extremely well in Hardcore, I don't see how you get killed on Elite with a large HP pool and superb self-healing. And remember you're only taking 50% damage from traps via Dark Hunter.
  • Let's talk about Death From Above. This was the first time I've ever used this. DFA is a ranged assassinate attack. The animation is cool. Really cool. DFA doesn't need direct targeting, has no limit range from what I can tell, and despite the one-minute cooldown, that can be reset by using your other bird strikes. I'm glad I played this live just to experience DFA. As you might expect, having a ranged instadeath ability completely changes how your class plays and what it's capable of doing. Thematically, it feels amazing for an Elven ranger. Almost cinematic. DFA is an underrated gem in DDO.
Last edited:


Well-known member
Low-Level Epics

Although the jump into Epics from Heroics isn't as jarring as it used to be for many builds since the Epic Destiny revamp, it can still be a test, especially when you are playing something you aren't as familiar with. In the frame of reference, I'm not using any XP potions so I can get a more sustained look at how our Cleric heavy Elven archer plays.

Onto 21

I received a Tell for Thunderholme Slayer shortly after logging in and decided to go with it. I had my ED points allocated but not my full Enhancement trees filled after taking 20. Still using Unwavering Ardency (Accursed Ascension raid). Performance was poor. Bad DPS against the skeletons. I could have grabbed my Epic Bow of the Silver Flame (Servants of the Overlord) but...lazy, I only was at the bank long enough to get a Slayer potion. Note: Orchard is far better as an Epic slayer zone than Thunderholme in terms of XP. Thunderholme is appropriately lost Dwarven city atmospheric but if your group fluctuates in size the XP is about half of what Orchard yields without the need to fill a raid group. In any event, I hit level 21 nervous about what I had in front of me on the road to 30. These adventures took place over two game sessions.

Onto 22

Equipping Shadowstrike (Kind of a Big Deal) was, well, kind of a big deal. I also had my L21 Reaper tree boost (don't forget to add these points!) and all Enhancements filled plus Combat Archery. I am not used to playing a Wisdom-based build (always DEX) on this character and didn't want to waste time going through Mules so gear is still mostly heroic. I played VON 1-4 and Red Fens 1-4. Performance was starting to improve. Hit Points are a very comfortable 1769 in Reaper. Led the Kill Count in Prisoner and Into the Deep. I have equipped a loot gen +9 Assassinate ring and all Snow Owl attacks are landing, including Death From Above.

Onto 23

I ran Eveningstar chain 1 and Spies in the House. Superb performance. My archer is flowing and combat feels slightly unique. I can control the distance of engagements and find myself butchering Drow. Snow Owl wreaks havoc on high perching enemies in Spies. Other examples are in Lost Thread with the row of Drow archers by the levers and up the ramp. Blinding the group, assassinating, then Hunt's End/Sniper shot (always a kill) and Manyshot (another kill) decimates prepared mob positions. This feels really good. I close the level by piking Thrill of the Hunt and running along and not doing much with a group zerging Through a Mirror Darkly.

Onto 24

Pinion! (Caught in the Web) Massive DPS increase. My Pinion is fully upgraded with a Sentient Gem inside (Gem has 2 slots unlocked, both Longshadow. There are much better Sentient combos but wanted to try it out.). Played with a fun group doing the Eveningstar chains 2 and 3, Don't Drink the Water, and Belly of the Beast all on R2. I'm now leading Kill Count numerous times achieving 12K criticals. Ran up a 3:1 Kill Count margin in Reclaiming the Rift. Starting to enjoy the character. Holy Sword (from our War Domain level 14 ability) on Pinion is kind of a big deal. I have Epic-appropriate trapping gear in Epic Leather Gloves of the Snake (Kind of a Big Deal) and have been able to get all the traps. The biggest thing I miss from 12 Rogue is no Uncanny Dodge. That too is kind of a big deal. I'm not sure running R10 is viable without it. Still, my only death in Epics so far was due to acid damage in Belly of the Beast. I don't remember the running through the acid stomach part causing so much damage before. Took our group by surprise. I did learn there are perches you can get up on to heal up. Learn something new each life. I need a Devotion item.

Low-level epics have turned into a rather fun experience with our Owl trainer Cleric/Ranger hybrid.