I’ve Settled On Marksman For Now

The RiflemanAfter going MM, SV and then MM again, I think I’m going to stay here for a bit. I’ve never been hugely fond of the Survival Tree, and since I mainly tend to do what I like, I elected to go Marksman for my second spec. The SV tree has evolved considerably over the years and has a lot to offer now in the DPS department, but to me “Marksman” is just more “Huntery”.

I’ve never been one to follow a cookie-cutter spec for the sake of maximum DPS. Most of my specs have had PvP as their priority, thus haven’t been the top DPS specs of the day. I instead would just try to maximize my current spec for PvE. On occasion I would respec before a raid if I felt we needed a little extra juice that night, but for the most part I would raid as is.

With that said, I went with the second highest DPS spec for a few reasons. I like the MM tree for PvE. Marksman is essentially the core tree of the Hunter. The other two specs cannot really flourish unless one delves at least into the third tier of the Marksman tree. The BM and SV trees can be largely ignored for various other specs, but almost all specs will take 13 or more points from MM.

Trueshot Aura rocks. If I’m not going to be providing Ferocious Inspiration to the group, it’s nice to be able to bring TSA. Sure SV has Hunting party, but mana regen is not always a problem, where as a 10% boost to attack power is always welcome in any group. Because SV is the flavor of the month right now as far as Hunter specs go, chances are I’ll be able to bring a decent DPS upgrade to any raid by being either BM or MM. It seems pretty typical that If I’m in a 25 man with 3 other Hunters, aside from the random BM, they’re almost always SV.

I finally wrapped my head around a 7/57/7 spec after spending a great deal of time on the Wowhead talent calculator and perusing the intarwebs for info and insight. The spec seems a little mana-hungry for solo play, but that’s what BM’s for anyway. Fot the most part, I really like the spec.

After playing with it for a few minutes I could see that I didn’t need the additional point I put in GfTT. I concur that even without Bestial Discipline, it doesn’t seem necessary for any Hunter to take more than 1 point in that talent. I’m still a BM Hunter at heart, so I elected to take the 2nd point to guard against focus starvation. 😉 Even when just grinding random mobs in Northrend, my pet’s focus bar was spilling over with 2 points in the talent. I imagine in a raid this would be a completely worthless point.

At this point, I’m on the fence as to whether I should put that point into Rapid Recuperation for a little PvE mana regen, or into Silencing Shot for some utility. It’s a tough call. I like the idea of having Silencing Shot if I spec MM for PvP on occasion, but then again, this spec is more or less a PvE spec. I’d need to pull the 7 points from BM and dump them into SV for it to really be PvP viable. What do you think? Any suggestions or ideas for that floater point or the spec in general?

Anyway, after deciding on my talents I practiced the MM rotation, or “shot priority” as it were. Compared to BM, it’s only slightly more “complex” if you want to call it that. Chimera is really the only other additional shot, and since it sort of replaces Serpent Sting, it keeps the shot selection pretty simple and straightforward.

Like SV and even BM, MM has a “shot priority” as opposed to a rotation. Essentially, you have to pay attention to your cooldowns and use your shots in the order that they’re available based on their priority. For Marksman, it looks something like this:

  1. Kill Shot (when available)
  2. Chimera Shot
  3. Aimed Shot
  4. Arcane Shot
  5. Steady Shot

For my build, I put Aimed ahead of Arcane due to the longer cooldown and the extra points I have that increase Aimed’s damage. These talents are Barrage, Improved Barrage and Piercing Shots. Arcane Shot should take priority over Aimed if the bulk of those talents are not taken.

Now, as far as beginning an encounter, this is how it would look:

  • Hunter’s Mark
  • Serpent Sting
  • Chimera Shot
  • Aimed Shot or Multi Shot (if there are multiple mobs without CC)
  • Arcane Shot
  • Steady Shot when all other shots are on cooldown.

Chimera refreshes Serpent Sting, so Serpent really only needs to be cast once, unless for some reason it wears off of the target and needs to be reapplied. Chimera is the Marksman’s money shot, so it needs to be used each time it’s available. Apart from that, Aimed Shots and Arcanes as they’re ready, then Steady Shots to fill in the gaps.

Right now I’m using Serpent Sting, Steady Shot and Trueshot Aura for my glyphs. Eventually I will likely swap out the TSA glyph for the Chimera one, and possibly the Steady Shot for a Kill Shot one once they are available. I just went with what was cheap for now.

It’s difficult to find a current “Marksman Guide” so to speak. SV has been superior DPS-wise and is what all the cool kids are doing, so not a lot of attention has been placed on Marksman. Plus, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there concerning talent selection and shot priorities.

As I’ve said before, I’m not claiming to be an authority on all things Huntery. I expect you to draw your own conclusions based upon what other Hunters have to say, what you read here, and most importantly what works for you. That’s what I do anyway.

I’ll elaborate more on my experiences with this spec after I take it raiding a few times. As always, if anyone has any contributions, critiques or criticisms of this discussion, please share. I’m eager to hear how other Hunters have chosen to spec MM, and what kind of success they’re having with it so far after the patch.

15 thoughts on “I’ve Settled On Marksman For Now”

  1. For PvP you don’t really want a DPS pet. While it can be fun, it’s not as practical as having a high health Tenacity pet who won’t drop every time an opponent decides to focus fire it.

    The damage and skills lost from not having your pet up far outweigh any DPS you’d gain from using a Ferocity pet. With that said, here would be my suggestions:

    Tenacity – Crab or Gorilla
    Crab is the best pet for arena due to its Pin talent, which is a 4 second immobilize. Gorilla is 2nd best because of his 2 sec cast interrupt skill. Turtle gets an honorable mention too for being the hardest to kill of all pets thanks to Shell Shield.

    Cunning – Spider
    Spider is likely the best Cunning Pet choice right now for arena because of the ranged snare. Bats are good too, since they have a ranged stun/nature damage attack. Cunning pets also have more speed available to them than Tenacity pets, which is nice for PvP.

    Ferocity – Hyena
    I’d suggest Hyena from this family because of its Hamstring like attack. Anyhting that can slow melee is great for Hunters. Hyenas also have access to the Heart of the Phoenix talent, which is pretty handy for bringing your pet back up in a hurry.

    Try a few pets out to see what fits your style of play. There are other pets that have some pretty useful skills, but I didn’t mention them because, well.. I didn’t think they were worth mentioning. 😉

  2. What’s the most uber PvP pet? Just curious. As far as best non exotic pets please shed some light I want to do whatever I can to push the best DPS possible.

  3. Dalaila,

    I’m glad to hear you’re having good success in 3.1 as a MM. I know I am. 🙂


    I’m not sure what you mean about Aimed Shot increasing other shots’ damage. Aimed can proc piercing shots, but to my knowledge the bleed does not increase other shots’ damage like Serpent Sting or Black Arrow would.

    Apart from Kill Shot, Chimera is the Marksman’s hardest hitting shot, so it’s second only to Kill Shot in the priority.


    I’d love to have more stable slots, but the five we have now is still a lot better than the three we used to have. Especially when you consider that now we don’t need to keep one slot free at all times for taming new pets for skills.

    Having the exotics makes changing specs difficult for sure, but for now they’re mostly just for show. Unfortunately, none of the exotics are decisively better than the best non-exotics.

    I’ve concluded that exotics were introduced to torture BM Hunters. The rarest, most unique and sought after pets (Spirit Beasts) aren’t even in the top 3 for pet damage. The top dps pet (Devilsaur) is unfortunately an annoyance in some raids, and is more susceptible to AoE deaths than other pets. The most uber PvP pet is only available to the absolute worst spec for PvP. This is cruel irony.

    I am going to hang on to King Krush and Loque’nahak a bit longer, but if no buffs for exotics are on the horizon, they may be returned to Sholazar in the not so distant future.

    Right now I am using Glyph of Trueshot Aura, Hawk and Serpent Sting. Once I can nab a Glyph of Chimera Shot, I’ll swap it in place of the TSA glyph. Hawk’s additional haste is shown to be better than the Steady Shot Glyph. Steady Shot is great for BM, where you get a lot more steadies in, but for MM it’s not as good. Serpent Sting is just extra damage for your Chimera Shot. So, in summary:

    Glyphs: Chimera / Serpent Sting / Hawk

    I am using a wolf specced like this:


  4. Hey guys I just started this MM spec that was posted for PvE I didn’t like the fact I had to abandon one of my exotic pets btw don’t you think your stables should be different for each spec and reset like your glyphs? Either that or give us some more stable slots! Anyway my question is what glyphs do you recommend for the MM spec? Ty and Garwulf keep up the good work I have learned a lot about being a hunter from this site.

  5. As far as shot priorities go I’m curious why aimed shot is so low; obviously chimera does more damage, but as aimed shot increases ranged damage shouldn’t you get that up as soon as possible? Just like serpent sting it will improve the damage of your chimera shot and on top of that all your auto shots, is 1.5 seconds at the beginning of a fight really going to make that much of a difference in how many times you get chimera shot off? I feel like shooting at all without the aimed shot buff is wasting damage – like shooting a chimera without serpent sting.

  6. MM is fun, really. But nothing will ever be as cool as hunting with Loque. Still, I stay MM :). I’ve been in a Naxx-10 pug yesterday with a guild who needed 1 DPS. It was my second time there. I ended being 1st on damage meter (recount).

    My spec was the 1st I posted before. Totally mana-unfriendly. Also, the raid composition had *zero* mana battery.

    It was LOADS of fun. Switching Dragon/Viper was pretty doable. Even switching to Viper multiple times on bosses (looooong fights) I could end being 1st.

    That said I am not writing to make me feel like a uber-nerd :). I just want to point out that after reading walls of text about SV, top-damage, end-game, etc… I loved the raid, I loved my dps, I loved my spec.

  7. I entered some BGs last night with my MM spec. OMG. I was a damage vending machine. I got to thinking… maybe I’ll PvP as MM this season. I was lying in bed last night thinking about how this build would own.


    I’m gonna try it. I’ll need to play a little more defensively since I won’t have big red god-mode, but this build offers so many snares it’s ridiculous.

    I’ll try my gorilla out with this build, but I’d really like to get a spider, hyena or possibly a crab.

    This notion really shakes things up, because then I’ll have to decide if I’m going to give up BM altogether for awhile and go SV for my raid spec, or go BM for raids. Before I go crazy I plan on PvPing as both BM and MM, then seeing which is better. I gotta tell you though, that MM spec looks beastly. More on this later.

  8. > I have to admit though, I doubt I’ll ever run
    > as MM apart from being grouped. BM is just
    > too exceptional when it comes to soloing,
    > dailies, etc.

    BM is indeed pretty good but keep in mind that with the spec I linked above you get powerful tools to deal wil multiple mobs: Barrage and Improved Barrage grant a lot of damage on Multi Shot and Volley as well as non-stop casting even when attacked. Very very good when grinding with a Tenacity + Thunderstomp.

    A 2/2 in Concussive Barrage would be even better to slow mobs 😉

    MM suffers from mana management but with proper Viper-Hawk management it’s not a big problem. It also gives some challenge and fun 🙂

  9. I’m using 2 MM specs as I always loved Marksmanship. After some long tests both on live and PTR here we are:

    Raiding (zero regen, full DPS)

    1) open with Serpent Sting
    2) Chimera
    3) Aimed (to proc bleeding effects)
    4) Steady or Arcane or Aimed until chimera is up
    5) … repeat from 2 …

    Daily stuff

    1) open with Serpent Sting
    2) Chimera
    3) Aimed, Steady or Arcane until chimera is up
    5) … repeat from 2 …

    Same as other rotation but in this case you can skip Aimed in your rotation. Less mana consumption and great DPS for short fights (daily tasks).

    The first spec (raiding) lacks any mana regen as you MUST rely on mana batteries. MM will go oom too fast in any case if you are in the wrong party. Mana batteries will solve the problem.

    The second spec one is like the first one but it lacks Piercing Shots and Wild Quiver. Those 5 points were moved in Efficiency. I also moved all the points into Thick Hide in the BM tree as I do not need any buff to pet resurrection while alone 🙂

    Why no piercing/wild? Easy answer: both Piercing and Wild are pretty much useless in short fights. While against elites/bosses I can pull 8% + 4% from those shots (a good +12% dps bonus), while fighting mobs on daily tasks I see zero benefit… because they have no time to proc/bleed. Wild Quiver often does not proc at all while doing daily quests.

    Efficiency is not that good but a 15% reduction helps on daily jobs. Also, you do not need to worry about DPS as you’ll be strong enough in any case.

    Why no Rapid Recuperation? Because Blizz fixed it 2 days ago and it now offers low-to-zero benefit for a 2/2 talent. Just learn to fast switch aspects and you will be ok (I put them in a macro bound to key ‘E’ to switch from one to another in zero seconds)

    • Thanks a ton for that info Dalailah. You’ve pretty much reinforced everything I’ve believed about MM in general. I’m thinking I may spend that last point on Silencing Shot. You’ve reinforced my belief that MM’s mana regen is so poor, it’s not worth it to waste any points on. I’ll just go for sheer burst and rely upon Viper, unless rets or shaman are in the group.

      I have to admit though, I doubt I’ll ever run as MM apart from being grouped. BM is just too exceptional when it comes to soloing, dailies, etc.

  10. Malcolm,

    My wife has an 80 Rogue, but I bet she wishes she had an 80 Hunter, if that means anything. I’ve often though of rolling a Rogue, but that’s mainly because I enjoy PvP. To me , the Rogue class seems to lend itself to PvP, where as the Hunter class is at home in just about any environment. Very versatile and fun to play.

    Which one you going to take to 80 first now that you’ve discovered the joys of Huntering?


    What spec did you go with for your second? BM?

    My main concern still is the mana regen issue. I still need to get into a raid and see how my MM spec shakes out. So far it seems like my shots are sucking me dry pretty quick. I know that I’ll have more regen in a raid environment, but I don’t want to be too dependent upon buffs.

    My spec that I’m using is: http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#cxbZ0eVfRhzGIsxhAox00b

    I’m planning on pulling 1 point from GfTT and putting it into either Rapid Recup or Silencing Shot. However, right now I’m thinking I’ll raid as is, then spec SV. After I compare how they perform in raids, then I’ll either stay SV or go back to MM and fix that extraneous point.


    I’d considered grabbing Silencing Shot for an extra damage shot. I like that it gives me another shot while I’m moving, plus it can be useful in raiuds at times. Thanks for the input.

  11. I actually have almost this exact same spec for pve. Since silencing shot is no longer on the GCD you can macro it into another shot for pve purposes and it gives some extra dps. The floater point in question was placed here in my spec. other than that everything else is exactly the same. Good info and i like the spec.

  12. Hello again my friend 🙂

    I’ve been MM specced since day one. I switched to BM for 2 weeks while hunting and successfully taming Loque (imho the best pet in the game in terms of visuals, lore and charm). I tested some SV too as everyone was playing it but… as you said, MM suits more the hunter role.

    Now 3.1 brought great tools and updates to our class/spec but still mana management is a big problem (today the Rapid Recuperation + Rapid fire combo did not work at all).

    Have fun and post your spec 🙂

  13. Hey, I’m a 38 Hunter (and 68 Rogue) on Darkspear and I read your blog at work. Thank you so much for this post. I’m new to Hunter’ing so it’s nice to have someone experienced showing me a few options. I actually enjoy being a Hunter more than a Rogue. It’s like a ranged rogue with a permanent tank, lol.


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