The mysterious masked Hunters are a terrifying and difficult enemy for any SHD agent to confront. Beyond the obvious desire to murder any SHD agent they happen to come across, their actual motivations for why they murder the only people attempting to hold New York City together is something that only can be speculated about. In this blog I will detail who I think the Hunters really are and some strategies I have used to beat them.
Who Are They Really?
Let's start with the basic's. Who are the Hunters? I think one thing that can be glimpsed from their gear is that they are very well funded. Sporting military fatigues, body armor, and wearing their trademark ballistic facemasks to conceal their identity. They are also very well trained in the use of small arms and military tactics. They will often use a melee axe to finish off SHD agents at close range or to kill any agent dumb enough to get close to them. There are only three possibilites as to who the Hunters really are:
1. Black Ops Soldiers: The setting of The Division takes place within the boundaries of United States. The United States Armed Forces other than comprising the various branches of the Armed services does contain a number of elite Special Forces units such as the Navy SEALS, Delta Force, Army Rangers, Recon Marines, etc. Also given the secret nature of Directive 51 it is entirely possible that the Hunters act as a third wave to neutralize SHD agents if the perception of the Federal Government is that they have failed in their task to restore enough order to New York City for life to return to normal.
2. Private Military Soldiers: Much like the infamous Last Man Battalion, the Hunters could be apart of a rival private military company that sets its sights on SHD agents as a way to advertise what their soldiers can do to highly equipped and trained Government agents. Given that the Hunters are not only equipped with state of the art firepower as well as Division tech it is possible that the company that supplies the Government with Division tech has also supplied the Hunters with their gear as well.
3. Foreign Fighters: While it is far more likely that the Hunters originate within the United States itself it cannot be ruled out as a possibility that the Hunters are operating at the behest of a foreign government such as Russia or China who might hope to take advantage of the weakened United States and become the next dominate world power. Many of the Hunters are armed with Russian made weaponry from AK-47s to PP-19 submachine guns. This could also be the reason why Hunters wear masks. It would not be in the interest of a foreign government to have its special forces operatives discovered killing SHD agents as they tried to get America back on its feet.
How To Beat Them
This cannot be stated enough, the Hunters without a doubt are the most difficult enemy to kill in The Division. Because they use Division tech they can heal any damage you inflict on them and will use tactics that mirror the players coming to kill them. While the Hunters might be extremely difficult to kill they aren't unbeatable. Below are some ways I have used whether running solo or with a group on how I have killed them in the past.
1. Get Them In Tight Spaces: While this tactic works better when encountering Hunters in the Underground DLC it should work whether you fight them in Resistance or Survival. Often Hunters will seek to fight SHD agents in wide open spaces where they can make use of cover to get close enough to any agent before whipping out their combat tomahawks to down any agent they fight. Forcing Hunters to fight you in confined spaces often where the only point of entry is through a hallway or door forces the Hunters to fight on your terms and not theirs. This tactic works extremely well in the Underground where you fight inside subway and maintenance tunnels. Hunters will often dodge or flip to avoid incoming fire from any agent and get behind cover. Forcing them to come at you from one direction ensures that not only that the Hunters are clearly visible targets for the agent to shoot at but also limits their ability to use cover. When encountering a Hunter in the Underground or anywhere else in the game it is often wise to retreat to an area you know where the avenues of approach are limited and sparesly covered in things for the Hunters to use as cover when you fire at them.
2. Never Let Them Get Close To You: Because Hunters can quickly change from using firearms to melee weapons when in close proximity to SHD agents it is always wise to keep the Hunters at a comfortable distance where you can shoot at them or toss grenades to lower their health. Never allow Hunters to get close to you as they can often down an agent with a single blow if you don't have a high enough toughness or Revive skill equipped to repair the damage they cause. When soloing Hunters in the Underground there will often be two man teams of Hunters that will come after the player. I have noticed that their favorite tactic is for one Hunter to fire at you from cover to keep you distracted while the other flanks the distracted agent in order to get close to them. Hunters will use this same tactic even with four man squads of agents. The only time you should ever get close to a Hunter is when their armor is stripped away and they only have a few bars of health left. Rushing in and taking them down in a barrage of gunfire to finish them off is the only time I would recommend getting close to them otherwise stay the hell away from them. Don't be a hero and try to one man army with a Hunter or fall into what I call Rambo Syndrome where a player will try to take on a Hunter by themselves when running with a group. This often tends to lead to the death of the player who often has the wrong gear build to take down a Hunter or has low DPS weapons to inflict damage on them.
3. Gear And Weapons: When hunting Hunters in the Underground or anywhere else it is good to make sure you have the right gear build in order to take them down. Players who have gear with low stats should not even attempt to fight Hunters as they will take you down easily. I recommend players create high DPS builds whether using Striker or Nomad gear sets. Specifically use the Optimization and Recalibration work stations to increase damage against Elite and Named enemies. Hunters that you encounter in the Underground will always be Elite enemies while the Hunter bosses you encounter in Resistance are Elite Named enemies. Having high DPS or Damage Per Second builds will help any player tear through the Hunters quickly especially when time is of the essence during boss wave fights in Resistance. It is also wise to equip weapons that will do alot of damage to Hunters relatively quickly. Sniper rifles are of little use in the confined spaces of the Underground and because Hunters will fire at you from behind cover attempting to get a headshot on them with a sniper rifle really isn't the best way to take them down. I have personally used The House submachine gun and have as my secondary the Black Market M60 light machine gun. I first use the M60 to take the Hunter's health down at a safe distance and when they get close enough to me I switch to the House to quickly take them out. Both of these weapons have been recalibrated to 286 in order to maximize their effectiveness against Hunters. My gear set is also a Classified six piece Nomad build with each piece at 290 or above. When in a group it is smart to at least have someone running Reclaimer gear as it will allow healing to be far more effective when engaged in sustained firefights with Hunters or to heal downed teammates.
I hope that these suggestions help anyone looking to kill a Hunter in the game and help shed some light on one of the game's more mysterious enemies. Happy hunting!!!!!