One of my regular visitors asked this question in a comment from a previous post. It was shortly following the Worgen madness that swept through Azeroth, hence the “Garwal” reference. 😉
@ Garwal… err Garwulf
I’d like to ask you a new article: “how and when use cooldowns while raiding”
I’m not the best at “timing” things. For example what should I do when Kings is up? What should I do to optimize Rapid Fire and Readiness? What should I do when Kings is up while downing a boss?
Stuff like this to allow me/us/everyone discover how to reach our maximum firepower
Let me begin by saying, I’m not an authority on proper cooldown management, but what I do seems to work just fine for me. 😉 If anyone has any other recommendations or suggestions on how to improve cooldown usage, please share.
Okay, so first of all… I don’t begin a boss fight unless I have at least 8mins or so left on my buffs. Experienced raiders will usually refresh buffs if needed before a boss fight. However, if you ever notice that you’re missing a buff or are within minutes of losing one, always ask to have it refreshed in raid chat. In PuGs it can sometimes be a little more difficult to get all the necessary buffs for you and your pet, so just be vocal yet courteous about it. Whispers are always effective too.
The ideal buffs you’re going to want on your Hunter before you begin a boss fight are as follows:
- Food buff of course. Fish Feast is the winner here since it feeds the entire raid. I always pack a few Mega Mammoth Meals too for added insurance (Poached Northern Sculpin if fishing is your thing).
- Flask of Endless Rage (180AP)
- Blessing of Might
- Blessing of Kings
- Blessing of Wisdom (unless a Shaman is available w/ Mana Spring Totem)
- Gift of the Wild
- Arcane Intellect
- Spiced Mammoth Treats for your pet
Prayer of Fortitude is worth a mention since it aids in pet survivability. SV Hunters benefit the most from it due to Hunter vs. Wild, but we’re talking about MM here. Also, make sure that you get Blessing of Might on your pet and Kings too if possible.
There are other beneficial buffs, but those will either be proc-based, passive, or shorter duration buffs which will be continually refreshed throughout the fight (Horn of Winter, Leader of the Pack, etc.)
For the next part, I’m only going to talk about things specific to the Marksman spec since that’s what I raid as (Dalaila’s MM too, so I’m sure that’s all he wants to know about anyway).
I like to cast my Misdirection early so that by the time the tank has pulled aggro and I’ve gotten off my three shots, I’m immediately able to cast another. This buys me a lot of time to unleash on the target without having to worry about aggro gain too much. The ideal encounter would begin something like this:
Misdirection > Arcane > Aimed > Serpent Sting > Misdirection > Chimera Shot (w/ on-use trinket – Loatheb’s in my case) > Arcane > Steady Shot
After that, I’ll pop Rapid Fire and just go into my standard shot priority: Chimera > Aimed > Arcane > Steady
Once Rapid Fire expires I’ll usually Feign Death, as by that time my aggro should be pretty high. Once I cast my next Chimera Shot after the feign, I then pop Readiness immediately followed by another Chimera, Aimed, and Arcane Shot. At this point I blow Rapid Fire again and settle back into my regular shot priority.
In some fights, the RL may call for Heroism right away. If that’s the case, then wait until Heroism is over before popping your Rapid Fire. Using Rapid Fire along with Heroism actually translates into a slight DPS loss over having the effects one after the other. However, if it’s a relatively short fight such as Patchwerk, then you may want to pop Rapid Fire anyway so that you can get it back by the end of the fight.
So that covers about the first minute of an encounter. Aside from just firing off Chimera, Aimed, Arcane and Steadies, I do a couple of other things.
- I refresh my Serpent Sting during a Mirror of Truth proc so that I get maximum benefit from the DoT, but mostly so my Chimera hits harder. Power Auras is an addon I highly recommend for spell and proc notifications.
- I’m not the best at this yet, but in the event of an Improved Steady Shot I try to ensure that Chimera Shot is the one I use the effect on.
- I blast off Silencing Shot whenever it’s up. Silencing Shot is off the GCD, so firing it every 20 seconds is easy additional DPS. I have it bound into a Steady Shot macro, so it’s a no-brainer.
- If necessary, I’ll go into Aspect of the Viper for about 6-8 seconds, but only in between Chimera Shots. Since the change to Master Marksman, I’ve really not had issues with mana management. I don’t typically drain casting bosses because I find that usually the mana regen from the Viper/Chimera effect is overkill. Plus, you end up having to reapply Serpent Sting as well as losing some valuable DPS from the weakened Chimera Shot effect. I usually go for the bare minimum that’s needed here in order to get me through the fight. In a 10 man however, draining a boss can be a good option due to there being less mana replenishment buffs available.
- I usually try to pack a few Potions of Speed when I raid. I’ll suck one down in between Heroism and Rapid Fire for a little extra pew-pew. These can also be used in conjunction with Aspect of the Viper for quicker mana regen.
Alright… so moving along to the latter part of the fight… As soon as Rapid Fire is available, I pop it again. Once Kill Shot is available, then it’s Readiness time. Unless I have less than a couple seconds left on Chimera, I’ll pop Readiness right after my first Kill Shot. If Chimera is coming off of cooldown within say three seconds or less, I’ll wait until after I blast off a Chimera, then I’ll hit Readiness immediately followed by: Kill Shot > Chimera > Aimed > Arcane
Of course, these rules mainly apply to ideal “Hunter friendly” encounters. If the fight is more complicated and/or involves a lot of movement, target switching, etc…, then you’ll have to adjust on the fly. For these types of fights, you almost need to have a different guide for each one. Best bet here would be to ask questions pertaining to specific boss fights. Unfortunately, I’m a little green when it comes to Ulduar, but if you have any questions pertaining to Naxx then fire away.
So that’s about it. I may have overlooked or failed to mention a couple of things, but please keep in mind that this post is a very basic reference for Hunter raid buffs and Marksman Hunter specific cooldowns.
Oh! One more thing… If you’re not using an addon called OmniCC, I highly recommend checking it out. It adds a countdown to your spell icons showing you exactly how much time is left on your cooldown. A very handy addon.
Feel free to expand upon this or enlighten me with suggestions or constructive criticism. I’m all ears. Well, that goes without saying actually… I’m a Night Elf! Nyuk, Nyuk.