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Probably because of PoE1…and just the name of the weapon type in general…I expected Hunting Bows to be somewhat lacking in damage compared to other weapon types. But after running the numbers I was shocked at how wrong I was. Hunting Bow+Modal (other factors ignored, base weapon stats) did more dps than even a monks fists or dual wielded weapons with speed buffs!

Of course, there are clear downsides of the weapon and its modal…the low inherit PEN of the weapon, and the accuracy debuff of the modal (-15). But I think these downsides can be mitigated quite a bit with class skills/abilities, and taking into account that Hunting Bows use best of two different damage types.


Fighter - is probably the easiest “fix”. Disciplined Barrage and Confident Aim upgrade hit types, so as long as youre not missing entirely a lot of that accuracy debuff should be negated. Conqueror Stance+Barrage negates the ACC debuff entirely. Rolling a Devoted bumps PEN by 2, which isnt a bad idea with Hunting Bows, since it has two damage types, so you likely wouldnt need to change weapons anyway. If anything, you ought to be overpenetrating at that point.

Ranger - gets a ton of ACC buffs to begin with. Marked Prey+Marksman+Stalkers Link should be +25 ACC that I think stacks with each other, and Driving Flight bumps the damage even more. Sharpshooter might actually be a great pairing with a Hunting Bow, as you can bump Hit to Crit or +1 PEN as needed, and the +10% to Rec Time doesnt hurt as bad with the modal (-50%).

Cipher - takes a bit to get it, but Borrowed Instinct (+20 ACC) at the start of the fight eliminates the ACC penalty and then some. Then they have Hammering Thoughts (+1 PEN) early to make up for the low innate PEN.

Monk - better than Id have thought at first. Dance of Death boosts ACC a lot as long as you dont get hit, which is possible as a ranged character. Later Thunderous Blows can give +2 PEN. I didnt test it, but I want to say that Force of Anguish works with HBs, as kind of a funny “get off me” ability if an enemy gets past the frontline.


Anyways, Im sure there are other synergies and/or buffs that can be used to negate the Hunting Bow downsides, just thought it was interesting how damaging they were with the modal and wanted to mention some that jumped out at me. Something like Devoted+Cipher with a HB seems particularly powerful now.

Edited by Porkchopsandwiches247
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In PoE1 the best bows were also hunting bows (Persistence and Stormcaller).  In PoE2 it was also well known that hunter bows had the best ranged dps due to their modal (only the Red Hand and Frostseeker can do better). Their biggest drawback was their damage types - slash/pierce AR can be both very high (especially on PotD) - however the Essence Interrupter fixed that. Ranger/cipher and ranger/monk are very powerful combos with great synergies (with both Frostseeker/Essence Interrupter). 

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There were some excellent hunting bows in POE1 as Kaylon as said. Persistence and Stormcaller, but even Sagani's default Massuk Hunting Bow was interesting since it did pierce/crush. And after The White March with the durgan steel upgrades hunting bows becomes ridiculously good.

But yes, hunting bows are still top tier in Deadfire. They have the highest single target DPS potential. And there are some really great ones like Essence Interrupter which does pierce/shock AND raises cannon fodder on kill. 

In fact I've been trying a ton of builds against Dorudugan solo POTD upscaled (like 40+ builds and counting) and Dorudugan heals so fast that most builds have no chance of defeating him. I've beaten him twice. Once was with a forbidden fist monk and it took me about 60,000 damage to kill him meaning he healed for 50ish. And the other was a devoted/troubadour sending out summons to take the hits while I used the hunting bow modal, Essence Interrupter, and Sure-handed Ila chant to shoot him to death. And that was much faster than the monk. Dorudugan only managed to heal about 10k in that fight.

Red Hand is good but limited due to piercing subtype, might out-dps Essence Interrupter in some cases but I'd bet Essence Interrupter does better overall. FrostSeeker is probably better for fights with lots of enemies, but is still limited by doing pierce/slash, only get the freeze damage with the garland's tears. But I still prefer Essence Interrupter because of the summons on kill. War bows have better penetration but mythic Essence Interrupter with tenacious/energized and the crusted swordfish food just chews through enemies replacing them with friendly cannon fodder :)

The -15 accuracy from the modal is not so bad. There are the build mitigations you've suggested (and more, below) but also it is much easier to stack ranged accuracy, damage, and pen with items compared to melee or spells 

Blackblade's Hood - 5% hit to crit
Claim and Refusal - +10% damage
High Harbinger's Robe - +10% damage, up to +20% action speed
Ring of Prosperity's Fortune - +15% hit to crit
Ring of the Marksman - +4 ranged acc, +1 pen
Sash of Judgment - +10% damage vs hurt+ enemies
Gauntlets of Accuracy - +3 accuracy
Sky Dragon Wyrm - +10% damage with ranged, +3 accuracy/deflection/reflex vs distant enemies

Some of these items make you a glass cannon, but that's the good thing about ranged builds, as you shouldn't be getting hit much

My ranger with hunting bow modal was still shooting 153 accuracy without hunter's claw, and a ranger/devoted helps with accuracy, penetration, and survival, while a ranger/cipher has top tier accuracy and defenses from borrowed instinct. Ciphers also get hammering thoughts for +1 weapon penetration. Devoted/cipher and devoted/troubadour also add a lot of penetration and some accuracy (though not quite as much as ranger).

And yeah I haven't tried it but a single class monk would probably be okay, especially in a party. Thunderous blows helps with penetration and razer's edge gives up to +10 accuracy, while enduring dance can give +12 while generating wounds for you. A ranged monk in back line would do tremendous damage. The main problem is generating wounds, I think you'd mostly be reliant on Enduring Dance. Nalpazca would help with generating wounds but helwalkers would do even more damage with the huge might bonus. Might even do okay solo if you can keep up dichotomous soul. The dance gives one wound per 3s, dichotomous soul has about 30s duration with decent INT, thunderous blows a bit less. It might be possible to keep those up with just the dance. Another benefit of monk is you can fall back on long pain fists for when none of pierce/slash/shock work. Not much is immune to crush. Throw in imagined pain and you've a viable build.

I wonder if Resonant Touch works with bows. I think it does but haven't tried so unsure. SC monk is already so good with stuff like whispers on the wind and the huge pen bonus their fists get it never really occurred to me to build one for bows.

Edited by Shai Hulud
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