Trapping for Dummies

…by a Dummy. 😉

One of the awesome things about Cataclysm, is that we Hunters are being asked more and more to do something we are very good at, and have been good at for some time. But… it just hasn’t been as necessary. What I speak of is Crowd Control (CC)! You could say we’re kind of like bouncers — we only allow those we want to into the battle, and all others get iced!

CC is a very important and vital aspect of running dungeons in the new expansion. It’s also something that not many of us may be familiar with, as we were brought up in the ways of huntering during the Lich King era. Back then, trapping was something you did to bring some dinner home to the family, and had no necessity in dungeons, but that’s not the case anymore.

Admittedly, I’m still learning how to master this myself, so by no means take this as the be all end all to trapping. In fact, what I hope happens, is to get a good conversation going amongst our community about tricks of the trade in regards to being an asset to your group for CC. Several times now, whence using the dungeon finder, I’ve experienced cheers after my group has zoned in and seen there was a hunter amongst them!

About time they recognized!

What I intend to do is run down just a few basics that I have picked up along the way that could help out my hunter brothers and sisters. First off, here are the basic skills that you will need to be using, which may mean dusting off some of the old skills that haven’t been getting much use.

The basic skills I use are:

  1. Freezing Trap (duh, that’s kind of a big deal)
  2. Trap Launcher (don’t want to get too close now)
  3. Camouflage (sneaky sneaky)
  4. Distracting Shot (had to dust this one off myself)
  5. Wyvern Sting (when and if available)

Really these are all that I ever use, and I’ve been fine. However, there are some that have some more advanced techniques, and maybe this post will help them to share the trade secrets. Here’s a rundown of how most of my CC experiences go, at least when they go well… I’ll also rundown what to do in the “OH CRAP” scenarios as well. 😉

I always start out by simply asking the tank to mark with the Blue Square which mob he wants me to trap. The blue square is generally accepted as the Hunter trap mark. After that, I also ask that I be able to launch my trap before the pull… it’s just much, much easier for us to launch our traps before a mage sheeps, or a rogue saps, because once the mobs are all on the move, it gets harder to trap the one we are supposed to… Not impossible, but hard. It just makes the dungeon runs go that much smoother.

So, after I’ve asked the tank to mark and all that, I get all Camo’d up then sneak up and launch my trap right on top of the mob that is marked. This is important, because if it’s just a little too far in front of the mob, it might not get triggered. For example, if I were to trap Grimbooze here, this is where I would fire my trap.

Trap Launcher Target Circle

Also, you want to pull Distracting Shot out of the bag when the tank gets overzealous, or the mage or rogue get ants in their pants and all the mobs start running to you, including the one that you were supposed to trap. Give a solid Distracting Shot right to the face of your target and get it to start chasing you, pull it away from the group, use Deterrence if you’re taking too much damage, and lay a trap right at its feet. It’s also smart to stop attacking right before you do this so that you don’t accidently hit with your weapon, and of course your pet should still be on the tanks target too so it’s not causing problems either.

I’ve had my traps not be triggered before too, or you launch just as the group is running past you, so now what? Well, I generally still Distracting Shot it and try and kite it with Concussive Shot until my trap is ready to go again, or if you’re SV you can sleep it with Wyvern Sting until your trap is ready to go again.

That’s pretty much the basics… In addition, I have keybinds for Trap Launcher, as well as all of my traps, which helps. I know our high-brow macro writers have some macro’s that they might share with us, but my keybinds have worked great for me. I know this is really simple, but we’ve been getting a lot of trapping questions in the forums, so hopefully this helps get you started, and that’s all I really intended by this, is just to get the ball rolling!


– Drach

22 thoughts on “Trapping for Dummies”

  1. My favorite opening attack right now is to set an ice trap between me and my target from camo, set hunter’s mark, start Aimed Shot and send my pet in on attack. Once you have the timing down you can essentially have the aimed shot hitting at the exact moment your pet hits and nail them with kill command & chimera shot. Basically this amounts to a nuclear strike being the first moment your target knows they are under attack. Then if they aggro on you instead of your pet they hit the ice trap and you can burn em down with whatever choice of shot you want.

    Another use for opening from camo with aimed is that while it is proccing you can select another target and burn them with an immediate chimera as soon as aimed launches.

    I have been having a lot of fun with this in pvp.

  2. I’ve been playing a hunter since vanilla and a big part of the charm is CC. Back in the good old days when traps were only usable OOC, trap-kite-trap-chaining was the pinnacle of Huntsmanship.

    When it comes to old school trapping, positioning is everything. Think hard about where you lay down that first trap and once the distracting shot has done its job and the mob is trapped, you should already be moving towards your next intended trap spot which preferably is as far away from the initial trap, out of harm and not risking a body pull while still maintainig dps contact to the other mobs. This gives you more time to slow down the mob before it reaches your next trap spot and your trap is off cooldown.

  3. I’d love to hear more specifically about your keybinding for traps and just Hunter keybinding in general. Maybe I missed a post in the archives regarding this? Thanks again for continuing to share your opinions, insights, and experiences!

    • My keybinds are super simple, I have a key bound to trap launch (for me its Shift+L), then a key for each trap, I mainly am using Freezing Trap to CC now, I’m working on the skills to lay out an Ice Trap too, but I just keep it simple. For me simple is better, less to mess up that way. So I hit Shift+L then my key for Freezing Trap (which is [), then I’m ready to go.

  4. Rats!

    I found out in Stonecore this evening that Patch 4.0.6 has removed our ability to keep more than one mob frozen at the same time. As soon as my second trap sprung, my first one broke. I think this is the way it used to be, but in truth I never used to do this much trapping so I’m not sure.

    Oh well, I suppose there has to be a limit to hunter awesomeness…..

  5. Great post! I share your opinion, ccing in dungeons is relatively new!

    I’ve recently started to use disengage after I set a trap, (even when I use trap launcher), so that if I do pull any other mobs I don’t get them straight at me and the tank has more time to get aggro.

  6. Something that made the hunter in me smile whilst in a normal Vortex Pinnacle pug recently…
    There were three from my guild, myself (85 BM hunter), another hunter (82 BM), and the tank (85 DK). We got to one part where the 82 healer (I think) said “Oh god I hate this bit”.
    Our tank just said “Traps please, ladies”.
    After the pull and the first trap CD, there was another ranged Adept (healer) that was just asking to be frozen right where he stood. Now there were three mobs out of the fight, and a painless minute or two later I asked our healer “So why do you hate that bit?”. He replied: “It’s never been anything like as easy as that!”

  7. I just watch the health bars of the melee guys on a big pull and if it looks like there is a lot of damage I’ll chuck an ice trap in the middle. If I’m asked to kite I usually don’t use the launcher. I’ll lay the ice trap and hit the mob with distracting shot, then concussive shot and move back. The mob is stunned then hits the trap and by that time it’s either dead ( if that’s my job) or I’m far enough away to just keep kiting it ……I’m no expert, but it works pretty well

  8. Good post Drach. Hunters should learn to be proficient trappers even if they’re soloing. So says me. Maybe I should become a proficient trapper……..

  9. Trap launcher is great…but you can also use the “old school” method of laying a trap at your own feet and getting the mob to run to you and into the trap. I use freezing trap and ice trap in instances all the time. If the tank has bitten off a bit more than he can chew with mellee mobs, then an Ice trap lobbed into the middle can give every body a bit of breathing room. Ice trap also works great with concussive shot for kiting mobs.

    • Great tips, I may try kiting more with Ice traps now. I also like to hear the old school method of trapping before we were graced with the launcher. So even in the midst of trash fights you’ll toss in an Ice trap to slow mobs down a bit? I like that, especially helpful at protecting our healers if they happen to pull aggro at all. Thanks Omogon for the tips!

  10. I am not sure how well Scatter would work as I suspect the tank would just hit them and cancel it anyway, but it is worth a shot. (not pun intended. . . or was there?)

    I am rather tempted to just say screw it and launch a trap on the targets head and be done with it. So it is only trapped for 2 seconds, maybe it will start to make more sense if they keep seeing the trap broken. Heck maybe they will be clever enough to move away from the trap even.

    I may break down and get one of the pets with a silence effect, two seconds might be enough to get them far enough away to have the trap have a chance to not be broken, but I pride myself on being a crazy cat lady and am a tad resistant to being forced to use other pets.

    Luckily I almost always run with my other half who is a healer so I at least can have two against one in explaining things, and when they see the healer is from the same guild I think people tend to bite their tongue/be less likely to ruthlessly kick. It helps a little at least.

  11. Thank you for the post. I seem to have the worst luck with tanks not getting the idea of letting the hunter pull and I would love to see the spread of that simple concept.

    I do not mind the tank pulling and useing distracting shot, the problem I keep facing is

    a) Some tanks hate it since they are so used to reacting to mobs pealing off like that, and often taunt them back.

    b) Marking a caster to trap. If it is a caster they are not going to come to me with distracting shot, I can launch a trap on it, but a big ice block in the middle of the action rarely works. (yes I understand LOS, but it is not always and option.)


    c) Tanks that have AOEs in their rotation to the point that when i distracting shot a target they come a few steps to me then turn around back to the tank. Which means that even if I launch the trap it is going to be broken momentarily anyway.

    I have started to try to run in Camo as much as possible to try to convey my preference, so far it does not seem to have worked, though Loq in Camo with the glowing eyes still makes it worth it.

    • Lol I hear ya, Camo makes us and our pets look awesome! If tanks still aren’t getting it for you, you could try what Yah mentioned above and Distracting Shot plus a Scatter Shot to interrupt their spell and get them to run towards you if they are caster mobs. Or it sounds like your’re a BM, so having Loq use Intimidation might work too, though I haven’t given that a go. Basically anything you can do to get the attention of the mob and have them chase you out of the pack. If a tank is regrabbing it as it runs off, there’s not much you can do, they obviously really don’t want you to CC if they’re not letting you lol!
      Other than that just make is clear that unless they want chaos upon the pull it’s going to make things easier for everyone if you trap launch before mages sheep or anything other than a rogues sap. If they want you to trap, they’re going to have to start understanding this. They will, just be patient and clear at the start of each fight you enter.

  12. As for order of CC – rogues should go first with sap (since it can be casted only when not in combat), then hunters do trap pull and at the end all hexing, sheeping and MCing should happen.
    As for using Wyvern Sting on targets you are about to trap later – you have to remember that you won’t be able to trap him successfully since Wyvern Stings leaves a DOT ticking on it which will break the trapped mob. So that leaves us with Scatter shot, kiting etc.
    As for Scatter shot – you forgot to mention it – it really helps – maybe has short result – but for kiting, delaying attack when group of mobs runs toward tank or most importantly INTERRUPTS (against normal mobs – bosses are not affected) it’s quite useful.
    Good article

    • 1 – Yah’s comment about Rogues needing to Sap was excellent; I will be using this info for sure. Our problem with CC alongside the rogue then is our trap arm time. If we’re CCing a caster, no big deal, but if we’re assigned a melee mob it can complicate the pull. This leads me to to 2…

      2 – Communication is the most important part of crowd control. The vast majority of tanks do not understand that traps have an arming time, and this needs to be discussed. Ask the tank to prioritize caster mobs for your trapping. Overcommunication is always preferable to the alternative.

      3 – Survival Hunters should be launching a freezing trap every 22 seconds on trash mobs and adds regardless of whether the trap is going to break immediately. It’s a guaranteed Lock and Load proc and, therefore, a huge DPS increase. A timer mod can help monitor the internal cooldown on Lock and Load to better manage this.

  13. GREAT topic, Drach! I can’t count how many times I’ve zoned into a dungeon on my tank, asked the hunter to trap the square and I get a “Huh? I thought we’d just burn ’em down.” Ugh! Trapping is something that becomes second nature the more you do it. I LOVE trapping stuff so that the group can pound away on targets in a coordinated fashion.

    Also, let’s not forget that trapping is a great skill to hone if you’re into soloing content. Sometimes you and your pet simply need to fight fewer mobs at once. In situations like that I like to set a trap with the launcher, sting another mob that starts running toward me once the trap goes off and then fight just the one or two that are left. Makes soloing MUCH easier than sending in the tank and hoping for the best.

    • Haha yeah just when I got totally use to trapping, sometimes the tanks I’ve been with have just starting pew pewing all the trash 😛

      Great article 🙂 I actually took distracting shot off my bar so I could free up bars, never thought I would actually use it – but that’s a hot idea. I think I should do a big overhaul of my action bar now that I think about it. I wish we can Wyvern Sting on BM spec, how hot wud that be for PVP (sleep now pesky mage while my pet rips your healer to shreds).

      What I really love is when I put a freezing trap on in WSG and then the guy going for the flag gets frozen, while we kill his friends that accompanied him ^^


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