Tuesday, March 22

Standing in fires & how NOT to Huntard

  1. Intro
  2. Content
  3. Gearz
  4. Talents & Trees
  5. Gear, Stats & Enchants
  6. Gems
  7. Consumables
  8. Priority List (Shot Order)
  9. Pets
  10. Macros
  11. Addons
  12. Tips & Tricks
  13. Links
  14. Conclusion & Updates
  15. Questions


Wait, what good is gear without talents to use, lets come back to gear later. Anyways, it's all hunter loot.

Talents & Trees

As a hunter you have 3 trees you can place points in.
All 3 specs have different bonuses:

Below I will go into the most common specs used for each class and define the bonuses you receive for speccing into it.

Beast Mastery aka BM

Oh BM, once the 1 button macro king of TBC, it was nerfed to utter crap for most of WotLK. BM is sometimes thought of as a spec for people that are lazy because the pet does a lot of the work for you. I'd disagree. At highend(world top 50) endgame raiding at this time, BM is sitting above SV on most fights.
BM's signature move: Intimidation
100 yd range
1 min cooldown
Command your pet to intimidate the target, causing a high amount of threat and stunning the target for 3 sec. Lasts 15 sec.
BM's Masteries:
At level ten when you choose the BM spec you receive Animal Handler granting you an additional 25% attack power.

At level 80 you can go to your trainer and train Mastery. Which gives you Master of Beasts which increases the damage done by your pets by 13.6%. Each point of Mastery increases pet damage by an additional 1.7%.

As for the talent tree here is a good baseline BM spec.
The points in the BM tree should not be touched, but moving points from Improved Serpent Sting to Pathing depending on your haste levels is a good idea.

For a more in-depth guide and theory-crafting behind the MM tree you can check out EJ's BM thread.

Marksmanship aka MM
Good Ol' glass cannon, a staple of the hunter class from the start of the game. This spec has seen it's ups and down but has always/almost managed to hold it's own. MM is finding itself used much more for PvP these days because people find the burst much higher than that of SV or BM.
MM's signature move: Aimed Shot

50 Focus 40 yd range
2.4 sec cast
Requires Ranged Weapon
A powerful aimed shot that deals 200% ranged weapon damage plus (RAP * 0.724)+776.
MM's Masteries:
At level ten when you choose the MM spec you receive Artisan Quiver which increases your ranged auto-attack damage by 15%.

At level 80 you can go to your trainer and train Mastery. Which gives you Wild Quiver, which Grants a 14.4% chance for your ranged attacks to also instantly fire an additional ranged shot. Each point of Mastery increases the chance by an additional 1.8%.

The most common talent tree for MM these days is this spec
MM talent tree does not have near as many mandatory points as the BM tree does, this spec can be played around with quite a bit.

Note- These following talents should be considered mandatory: Go for the Throat(2), Efficiency(3), Sic’Em(2), Improved Steady Shot(3), Careful Aim(2), Piercing Shots(3), Rapid Recuperation(2), Master Marksman(3), ReadinessPosthaste(2) & Chimera Shot

That leaves you with 7 points left in the MM tree to play with. I look at my raid and decide if i need utility over situational dps. Once again, the above spec is just a guideline and different gear levels can make this spec less dps for yourself.

For a more in-depth guide and theory-crafting behind the MM tree you can check out EJ's MM thread.

Survival aka SV
SV, the red headed bastard child of the class till close to WotLK, only brought for buffs throughout most of TBC. SV has dyed it's hair and grown up, it's a very well rounded spec that hold it's own at most skill levels. At the high end of the game (World top 50) it tends to come in last on most fights out of the 3 specs now, but not by much. And how many of us are playing at that level?
SV's signature move: Explosive Shot

50 Focus 40 yd range
Instant 6 sec cooldown
Requires Ranged Weapon
You fire an explosive charge into the enemy target, dealing RAP*0.232+386 Fire damage. The charge will blast the target every second for an additional 2 sec.
SV's Masteries:
At level ten when you choose the SV spec you receive Into the Wilderness which increases agility by 10%.

At level 80 you can go to your trainer and train Mastery. Which gives you Essence of the Viper which Increases all elemental damage you deal by 8%. Each point of Mastery increases elemental damage by an additional 1.0%.

The most common SV spec, It doesn't really leave much to play around with. Again, feel free to move a few points around if it sims out better for you at your gear level.

For a more in-depth guide and theory-crafting behind the SV tree you can check out EJ's SV thread.
Gear, Stats & Enchants

As hunters we have use of 3 types of armor. Cloth, Leather & Mail. We should never be caught in anything besides mail, as it gives us 5% more agility when all our gear is mail. Always, always mail.

As for stats we want items with agility on them. Agility gives us 2 AP per point and a tiny bit of crit.

Crit would be the second stat you would be going for with all 3 specs, unless you are below the hit cap.

Ranged attacks have a 8% chance to miss against mobs 3 levels higher than us(Raid bosses) and each point of hit rating gives us 1/120.109%, so we need 961 hit to reach this, or 841 for draenei. It is better to be a little over the hit cap then below it.

Haste/Mastery is subject to many debates at this time and is also going to be affected by what spec you choose.

At the higher end of gear available at the moment as BM you would want an almost even amount of haste & mastery

As SV there is soft cap on haste(757) that brings your Cobra shot down to 1.67 seconds.(this is affected by latency, add more haste if you you have high ms). This allows you to fire 3 Cobras or 2 Cobras and an instant between Explosive shot. it's not really a cap per say, it's just that haste offers very little after 757 until after you can get enough to add another Cobra shot in. it is too high of a number to reach without severely gimping the rest of your stats.

MM's haste rating really depends on what shot priority you choose, some people have it to close to 1500 and others keep it around 1k-1.2k depending on latency.

Don't forget that if you have the T11 4 piece bonus, it takes the 0.2 seconds off before your haste is added on.

With reforging people tend to not hold out as much for that certain piece of gear to drop because we now have much more control over our stats.

SV - Assuming you are hit and haste(soft) capped, you should reforge every piece of gear that does not have crit on it to crit. If it does does have crit, reforge to mastery.

BM - Assuming hit capped, if the gear has no crit, reforge the higher stat to crit. If the piece has crit, don't reforge that gear.

MM - Assuming hit capped, if any of your items are hit/mastery and unreforged, you can reforge the mastery to crit or haste as long as you stay in a good haste range.(depends on your shot priority)

Excluding profession bonuses, the best hunter enchants are:
 HeadArcanum of Ramkahen - 60 agi/35 haste (Ramkahen revered).
• ShouldersGreater Inscription of Shattered Crystal 50 agi/25 mastery (Therazane exalted).
• Back – Greater Critical Strike – 65 crit (22 agi if SV)
• Chest – Peerless Stats - 20 stats
• Wrists – Agility – 50 agility
• Gloves – Major Agility – 20 agility is still the best
• Belt – Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
• Legs – Dragonscale Leg Armor: 190 AP/55 crit
• Boots – Assassin’s Step – 25 agi and movement speed, Major Agility – 35 agi, or Precision - 50 hit
• 2H Melee Weapon – Mighty Agility – 130 agi
• Range Weapon – Gnomish X-ray Scope – 800 AP proc or R19 Threatfinder - 88 hit

For your Meta gem you should be using Agile Shadowspirit Diamond. As agility is our strongest stat by far and the meta requires 3 red gems, it is very easy to activate with Delicate Inferno Ruby.

As for our yellow and blue gem slots, it is best to only match socket colors if the bonus is +20 agility or more. Don't gem for hit, you are losing too much agility if you do, always reforge to hit if it is needed.

Flask - Flask of the Wind(300 agi) or Cauldron of Battle(300 agi)
Food - Skewered Eel(90 agi) or Seafood Magnifique Feast(90 agi)
Potion - Potion of Tol’Vir pop one right before you go into combat and another whenever you think is best.(Burn phase with Rapid Fire or Lust/Hero)

Priority List (Shot Order)

Gone are the days where we had shot orders, now we have priority lists for each class, with MM having the most dynamic list.

As BM, Kill Command is going to be your hardest hitting ability, use it every 6 seconds.

The most basic priority for single targets will be something like this:
1. If your pet is on the target, Kill Command
2. If the mob is going to live long enough, apply Serpent Sting.
3. If mob is below 20% health, Kill Shot
4. If you have enough focus to cast Kill command on CD, Arcane Shot
5. Cobra Shot

In a given 6 second cycle you should be able to fit 1 Kill Command, 1 Arcane Shot and 2 Cobra Shots with any excess time from shortened casttime going to extra arcane shots over time as focus allows and additional Cobra Shots. 


Aimed Shot now hits like a truck, but has it's cast time back.

The general MM shot/ability priority is as follows for single targets:
a) Shortly before combat starts apply Hunter's Mark to the target
b) Shortly before combat starts cast MD on the tank
c) Serpent Sting (only if the target will live longer than 12s)
d) Chimera Shot if new target that is not marked to apply Marked for Death or to refresh Serpent Sting
e) Aimed Shot Master Marksmen proc
f) Steady Shot pair if no Improved Steady Shot buff
g) Aimed Shot hardcast
h) KillShot
i) Rapid Fire
j) Readiness
k) Steady Shot pair (if less than 3 to 4s on the Improved Steady Shot buff)

At the start of fights on premarked targets, if you can start precasting an Aimed Shot during the pull, then do so. Otherwise, I suggest starting with Serpent Sting followed by Chimera Shot, Rapid Fire, Readiness, Chimera Shot, and a Steady Shot pair to get the Improved Steady Shot buff to reduce Aimed Shot cast times before casting your first Aimed Shot.

When switching targets, I suggest opening with Chimera Shot if it is off CD to apply the Marked for Death effect to mark the target. If Chimera Shot is on CD for a while, you can optionally use an Arcane Shot instead to mark the target.

MM Hunters have so many different priority lists depending on what phase of the fihgt you are in and your gear level. I am going to link right to the EJ thread where it is discussed in detail instead of covering all the possibilities. Shot Phases and Rotations


Explosive Shot is SV's bread & butter, you want to keep it on cooldown as much as possible.

The most basic priority for single targets will be something like this:
1. Apply Serpent Sting, especially for the Noxious Stings effect.
2. Explosive Shot
3. If mob is below 20% health, Kill Shot
4. If mob will be alive long enough, Black Arrow
5. If you will have enough focus to use Explosive Shot and Black Arrow, use Arcane Shot
6. Cobra Shot

This becomes much more complicated to execute in practice for a few reasons. One, Thrill of the Hunt procs lead to a somewhat unpredictable focus regeneration rate. Two, number 5 can be difficult to compute since you would also want to take into account how much focus you will regenerate in the time before those abilities come off of cooldown. Generally, it is fine to pool focus so long as you are not capping (reaching 100 focus) or delaying abilities that use a cooldown. Pooling too much focus is probably not ideal because it can quickly lead to capping focus with a string of Thrill of the Hunt procs or a Lock and Load proc.

Lock and Load

The preferred method appears to be:
Explosive Shot -> Cobra Shot -> Explosive Shot -> Arcane Shot (if high focus) -> Explosive Shot

No more are the WotLK days where everyone runs around with wolves. There are 3 pet families now: Ferocity, Cunning, or Tenacity. They all do the same base damage, and all pets have one damage ability and one buff/debuff(Exotic pets have a second buff/debuff.

Stats that our pets get from us:
- 100% hit (rounded down to the nearest integer)
- 100% crit
- 100% melee haste (Not Rapid fire and Pathing, for example.)
- 42.5% of hunter attack power

Ferocity pets appear to scale at:
- 67% of hunter stamina
- 50% of hunter armor

Cunning pets appear to scale at:
- 72.5% of hunter stamina
- 60% of hunter armor

Tenacity pets appear to scale at:
- 78% of hunter stamina
- 70% of hunter armor

Most will raid with a Ferocity pet, well SV can improve it's dps slightly with a cunning pet depending on their stats. Here are a pet talent tree for both kinds.

Ferocity - The value between Wild Hunt and Shark Attack is likely to depend on pet focus regeneration from your own talents. Keep in mind that Wild Hunt now does more damage the more focus your pet has, making it much more powerful than it was in WotLK.

Cunning - The main debatable point here is the lack of Boar's Speed. Owl's Focus, in conjunction with Wild Hunt, is particularly powerful.

Trying to decide which pet to bring can be tough, you should know which buff each pet brings and bring the buff that will most help your raid.

The charts below will help you decide what buffs you need. 


Macros can make your gameplay simpler and more enjoyable, they should increase your dps also.


Not going to say that any addons are needed to play this game, but many do make this game simpler to play or at least more convenient. I'm only going to list a few here.

JS' Hunter Bar

This is an amazing addon, very lightweight and has tons of features.
  • Focus bar and number to indicate current focus.
  • Autoshot swing bar to time when you need to stop moving to allow an autoshot to fire (with time in the lower right corner of bar).
  • Incoming focus prediction for when you are casting Cobra/Steady Shot.
  • Color changing, red for low focus, Green for enough to cast your main shot and less than 80% total current focus, Orange to make you aware you are getting near over-cap.
  • Timers for necessary abilities, ie: Serpent Sting, Black Arrow, Improved Steady Shot, etc. - with the ability to add more very easily.
  • - Timers can be in the form of moving timers: starting on the right side and moving left when done
  • - .. or they can be in the form of static Icons (Icon Timers): they do not disappear, but stay on screen and fade when needed.
  • Full in-game options. Extremely configurable.
  • Low over-head - small memory footprint when running (Under 200k for the main addon).
  • Movable and resizeable in game using the slash command (type "/jsb" in the chat window and read).
  • Crowd Control timers (Freezing Trap / Wyvern Sting).
  • Hunter's Mark reminder with low duration warning.
  • Tranquilizing Shot dispel notification to configurable channel.
  • Target health percentage on the bar for easily seeing phases (Careful Aim, Termination, etc.)
  • Tranquilizing Shot alert for certain mobs you need to dispel / de-enrage.
  • Debuff Alerts for certain debuffs you may get in Cataclysm raids.
  • LibSharedMedia-3.0 fully supported for fonts, textures and sound sharing.
  • Movable frames to allow you to customize your User Interface to your liking.
  • Adds right click Misdirection to clicked target frame to your UI.

This 1 addon replaced 6 others that took up over 10 times as much memory usage, it's really the only addon I use for Hunter specific needs.

Deadly Boss Mods or BigWigs Bossmods for your boss ability timers and whatnot. Not really needed, but does not hurt to have 1 or the other.

Recount or Skada to feed your epeen or weed out the bads.

Tidy Plates with Tidy Plates: Threat Plates are a great replacement to default nameplates.

SilverDragon (my preference) or _NPCScan with _NPCScan.Overlay are great for helping you find those rare pets.


General Hunter info:
EJ's - The best hunter theory-crafting around.
mmo-champion hunter section
Hunter's Union
Huntsman Lodge

For addons:

Pet info:
WoW Hunter Pets

WoW General sites:
WoW Insider
WoWPedia - The main force behind WoWwiki moved to this site.

Tips & Tricks

The first rule of DPS is not to talk about DPS. Actually, the first rule is to always be attacking (or waiting out a GCD after an instant). Anytime an attack ends, you should already have queued your next one (see below). Don't delay a cast to make a decision or react to a proc, train yourself to start another attack regardless of what's going on, and change the subsequent attack if necessary after you've had another second to think.

Level First-Aid. Fights like 
Nefarian where you are pushing the 70% crackle as Ony dies, you should be using a bandage after you have disengaged to your platform.

Cataclysm introduces a new ability queuing system, similar to the single-spell queue in Wrath but more consistent and more customizable.

When you send an attack command to the server, if your character is unable to attack immediately (typically because it's still casting or GCD-locked from your last attack), the server will see if you become ready to cast within a certain short window. If you do, it will begin the cast immediately. You can set the length of this window with an interface option called "Custom Latency Tolerance." You want to set this value to a high enough amount that you can always press the next spell key comfortably before the current spell finishes, and never have a gap between casts. But you don't want to set it too high, because you can't change your mind after you queue a spell, so your reaction time is effectively slower if you "lock in" each spell a long time before it begins casting. Experiment and find something you're comfortable with.

Make sure your pet is happy, at least until the next patch comes out and happiness is removed. You don't want to be losing damage for no reason. With the minor glyph of Mend Pet, your pet will restore happiness when you use Mend Pet. If out of combat, I have found the fastest way to raise pet happiness is to cast Mend Pet, dismiss pet & call it out again. 95% of the time it is at full happiness this way, also a faster way to heal it.

 Use them. Most people that click try and add too many keybinds at one time and overwhelm themselves. Add a couple at a time and then add more as you feel ready for them.

Don't right click.
 It leads to way to many wipes, left click then attack. Tab targetting is also bad.

Stop worrying about your dps, focus on staying alive.
 Use deterrence as much as possible with the macro above so you can get right back to attacking. Disengage is much faster when you need to mave quick.

Think about what would be better for your raid, not yourself.
 If your raid is missing the 10% haste buff, go SV, who cares if you do less damage then MM. The damage you lose will more than be made up for by the increase in the raids damage.

FD, a lot. If a tank gets insta-gibbed for some reason or another we tend to pull aggro quickly, sometimes before the off tank can pick up the mob. Using FD liberally can keep you low on the threat count and let you dps for much longer. Chimaeron is a fight were this can come in very handy.

Raid Boss Help
 - Straight from EJ's

Blackwing Descent

Omnitron Defense System
Golem Abilities
Acquiring Target can be dropped with Feign, or blocked with Deterrence. In fact, Deterrence blocks a ton of things here, including Poison Bomb explosions, Lightning Conductor (from someone else) and Incineration Security Measure (the fire aoe). Be cautious, as eg. Acquiring Target (and possibly other boss abilities) will immediately be cast on another raid member if you FD it!


Rapid Fire
Conserving your rapid fire for an "exposed head" phase.


Focus dispel Remedy - Spell - World of Warcraft
While this is always specific to your guild, and raid, this buff is either spellstolen or dispelled. As a hunter, if you're assigned to dispelling this, you may encounter problems when not targeting the boss - especially during the "green phase".
The following simple macro will allow you to dispel the boss, regardless of your target:
/cast [target=focus]Tranquilizing Shot
or; for non-focus: 

/cast [@Maloriak] Tranquilizing Shot
The only pre-requisity for this is that you have Maloriak as your focus target.

Explosive Trap
Conserving your Black Arrow/Fire trap cooldown for use during the green phase can pose a reasonable increase in damage done to the adds.

Absolute Zero (Frost orbs in P2)
These can be deflected by deterrence.

Green phase AoE
Before entering a green phase, ensure you are (nearly) at full focus, this will allow you to deal more AOE damage to the adds.

Disengage Sonic Breath
You are able - if not being tracked - to disengage through the Sonic Breath. You will receive damage as long as the breath does not hit your first position before you land.
(The server registers you as being on the spot you came from while flying in the air, and registers your "new" location when you land. Therefore - to the server - you never were in the breath.)

Do not do this when you are being tracked, it will be extremely counter-efficient.

Sonic breath can be deflected by Deterrence.

Using Feign Death while being tracked in either air phase or ground phase cancels the spell entirely.

Conserving focus
Conserving your focus and Explosive Shot on Chimaeron for use while not affected by Caustic Slime will allow for significantly more DPS.
Also, during Feud there is a small time window where the player is not affected by Caustic Slime. It is - although requires some practice - possible to have one or two Cobra Shots, and an Explosive Shot to go off during that time.

Intervene (H*)
When using a Turtle (or any Tenacity pet), one can spec into Intervene to intercept the Double Strike during Feud. This can save your tank from getting gibbed.
When using a Turtle, using Shell Shield in the same macro can sometimes (possibly) save your pets live, thus removing the need to ress it, thus more DPS!

Nefarian and Onyxia
Keeping your pet on passive, and specifically assigning its targets will keep it alive during phase two, where the lava would normally kill it.
You may also need to position it on your assigned platform manually, since it tends to stand in the lava even when assigned to attack the add on the platform.

Shadowflame Barrage
This small-range AoE spell can be deflected by deterrence.

Throne of the Four Winds

Conclave of Winds

Master's Call
While active, provides immunity to frost patches on Nezir.


This ability provides a lot of benefits for a hunter on this fight, especially in the first phase:

* The tornadoes can be disengaged through, similar to the Atramedes breath, as long as they do not cross your "from" spot before you land, you will not be caught in them.
* On Wind Burst, one can simply disengage back onto the platform. This removes the need of moving into melee range.
* One can disengage "around" the tornadoes, by jumping off the platform when they meet the player, and then disengaging back onto it.

Master's Call
While active, provides immunity to frost patches.

Bastion of Twilight

Halfus Wyrmbreaker

None currently known.

Valiona and Theralion
Valiona's breath can be avoided by using deterrence. (This won't last for an entire breath, though!)
It is also possible to re- or deflect the targeted component of Valiona's Twilight Meteorite on at least normal difficulty. The small AOE-effect however, can't.

Twilight Ascendant Council / Elementium Monstrosity

Ignacious' Charge
Using Disengage right after Ignacious charges you reverts the effect, allowing you to return to combat in a much faster manner.

Mind Control
Any "loose" mind controls can be broken using either Scatter Shot or Wyvern Sting, the former favored over the latter.

Congealed Blood, traps, and you
When Cho'gall spawns congealed blood, using your "offensive" trap cooldown rather than Black Arrow is the way to go. Dropping a Frost Trap on top of that, and using Multi Shot with Serpent Spread will take care of the adds effectively.


None currently known.


Lock and Load

Frost Trap can trigger LnL. Bosses are immune to it, but mobs aren't. Using your frost trap does not only often provide your tanks with an extra "tool" at their disposal on fights that involve adds, but can also increase your DPS significantly.

Glyph of Raptor Strike

Reduces damage taken by 20% after performing a Raptor Strike. This glyph is specifically useful on the following fights/situations:

* Chimaeron, feud*
* Nefarian, during electricity and phase 2
* Valiona and Theralion, on Blackout

* Trading off 20% less damage taken for no damage in a feud phase is far from ideal. It is often more worthwhile to blow your ES in this small time window.

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