GarsNotes: Hunter Gems

Attention: The following info is pretty ancient, but I’ve left it available on the site for those of you that wish to wax nostalgic or are perhaps running an old version of WoW.

Hunter Gems

In order to keep this guide as relevant and succinct as possible, I’m only going to focus on the current best available epic gems. The guide only pertains to standard gems available to all hunters, so Jewelcrafting-only gems are not included.

If you’re leveling or planning on burning through upgrades pretty fast, then the blue or green downgrades of the gems listed would be practical choices in those cases.

Red Sockets

* For most MM hunters the Delicate Cardinal Ruby is the best choice for red gem sockets. However, once an appropriate level of Armor Penetration is reached (~850) the Fractured Cardinal Ruby can Trump the 20 agility gem. To see if your hunter can benefit more from the Fractured Cardinal Ruby than the Delicate Cardinal Ruby, go to, import your character, plug in all armor pen gems and see how it shakes out. πŸ™‚

Yellow Sockets

Unless hit rating is needed, hunters should socket orange gems into yellow slots. In rare cases, sacrificing a socket bonus by putting a red gem in a yellow socket can yield slightly higher DPS depending upon the quality of the socket bonus.

For the most part though, orange gems are the way to go…

  • Deadly Ametrine (10 agility and 10 crit) – Best for Marksmanship and Survival.
  • Glinting Ametrine (10 agility and 10 hit) – MM and SV hunters that need some added hit.
  • Wicked Ametrine (20 attack power and 10 crit) – Best for Beast Mastery.
  • Pristine Ametrine (20 attack power and 10 hit) – Beast Mastery hunters that need some added hit.

If 20 hit rating is needed…

Blue Sockets

  • Nightmare Tear – This gem adds 10 to all stats. It also meets the meta requirement for the Relentless Earthsiege Diamond. This is typically the only blue gem needed for DPS builds. Since blue socket gems are itemized with non-DPS stats, it’s typically advised to sacrifice the item socket bonus by placing a pure-DPS red gem into a blue socket.

Alternatively, if you’re into maximizing stats for PvP, or if you’re really into socket bonuses and/or survivability, like I am, then here are some options…

  • Stormy Majestic Zircon (25 spell penetration – PvP only) For information on its use and effectiveness, please see the Spell Penetration section of this guide.

Meta Gem Socket

Meta gems appear in helmets and have a requirement in order to activate.

  • Relentless Earthsiege Diamond – This is the best meta gem for any and all hunter builds. It provides 21 agility and 3% increased damage from critical strikes.

Prismatic Sockets

These are sockets created either via an Eternal Belt Buckle or through Blacksmith-exclusive socketing. These should be treated as a red socket always.

Well, that’s about it for hunter gems. Now it’s time to see what sort of enchants you should get for your hunter.

24 thoughts on “GarsNotes: Hunter Gems”

  1. Hey Gar,
    I’ve been level 80 for some time now and it’s so true how they say that the game only begins there.
    Thx for the gem heads up.
    The gear i have still had resilience gems in it.

    • Crit is still a bit better than haste, so it’s still pretty similar.

      The gemming priority right now is:


      You should gem 20 hit or 10 hit / 10 agility in your blue slots, 20 agility in your reds, and 10 agility / 10 crit in your yellows.

      The stat weight importance is as follows:

      Hit (until you’re capped at 8%)

      Haste is a little better than before, but it’s still not worth gemming or enchanting for at this point. At least it doesn’t appear to be that way in this week one of patch 4.0.1.

      • Gar,

        I notice the lack of Attack Power in the 4.0.1 summary. Does this mean we no longer look at AP>AG for BM hunters?



  2. I have a quick question regarding a good dps number… right now, with recount at the target dummy, I’m right around 4400dps. All my gems are Delicate Cardinal Rubies, (+20 agi) and I keep running into other hunters who are out dpsing me saying that I should switch to Fractured, and focus on steady shot… I don’t know if its possible to answer without actually looking at my character, (trying to avoid, I know you get a tone of e-mails asking that) but is it me? or should I start buying Fractured rubies?

    • Wow! What level is your hunter, and what is your specialization? I’m a lowly 65 with gimp gear from the AH and whatever I can upgrade to from our guild bank. I’ve only done quests, so don’t have any special gear to speak of.

      I’m a total noob when it comes to knowing what I need to be focusing on. I’ve been amping up my agi through gear, rings and trinkets, and my AP isn’t too shabby (it probably is, but I don’t know it). I’ve also been trying to up my Crit score. Does high DPS like yours only come from really good gear, weapon, or both?

      If there is anyone that could look at my Armory, and make suggestions, I’ll bake you some cookies, or shine your shoes or something.

  3. Hey Gar, stupid question time…i’m dual specced- BM/MM and I’m pretty much gemmed all agility-some attack, some crit, but, mainly agility. Should I keep what I have or is there something I should use to balance it out?

    • I’d stay as is. I wouldn’t really suggest going all-out AP unless you were wanting to min/max as a Beast Master. When they changed *cough* nerfed *cough* Bestial Wrath, it closed the gap between agility and attack power for BM hunters. With BM hunters themselves doing a larger share of the damage nowadays, the increased crit from agility has made up somewhat for the loss of AP.

      Now if you want to be the best Beast Master you can be, then you’ll want to go all in for attack power (or armor penetration if you’re already sporting around 850 or so ArPen).

        • It’s generally AP > Agility > ArPen, but at higher gear levels it can be: ArPen > AP > Agility.

          BM is similar to MM in that the spec produces a lot of straight physical damage. In most cases, attack power is best for min/maxing, but at the higher gear levels, gemming pure armor pen can lead to best results.

          I can’t tell you where that magical number lies, so its best to import your character into a spreadsheet in order to verify if it’s a benefit or not. Be sure to dump Arcane Shot from your rotation as well in order to see best possible results.

          Armor Pen does not translate to the pet, where as attack power does. Therefore, it’s best to go for raw attack power unless you’re certain that armor pen will be a buff. My thoughts are that you’ll probably need somewhere around 800 or so armor penetration via gear before ArPen starts to Trump attack power.

          Go to: to check.

          Swap all of your gems with armor pen gems and see if it boosts your overall DPS. if it does, go armor pen.

  4. Hey Gar…i did some gem plugging in femaledwarf a while back…and as far as BM hunters go, ArP is currently still the BiS gem set if you’re in nearly all ICC gear and have say a DBW or twilight scale.

    Just thought i’d throw that out there for some theory crafters. I gem ArP on my BM hunter, and tend to out dps alot of MM and Surv hunters

  5. Hey Gar, great advice, and thank you for taking the time to write these guides up.

    I got into a bit of discussion yesterday about swapping out my +10 agi/crit gems for +20 agi in my yellow sockets where agility was the socket bonus (I use +20 agi in all other blue and yellow +AP socket bonus sockets.) While some of the socket bonuses were only +4 agi, some were +6, +7, and I wonder if I shouldn’t still be paying attention to those, and putting orange gems in. Some kind of advice on the socket bonuses and when to change from agi/crit to all agi would be great.

    By the way, I do not think I saw an increase in my dps by moving from agi/crit/socket bonus to all agi, but the we’ll see during the weekly this week.

    Niika of Moon Guard, MM hunter (and thinking of going SV)

  6. Hey gar i hafe seen on many hunter sites and blogs talking about the site and i hafe been there but i dont know how to use it and what to get out it or learn from it? do you got an article somewhere or know an article somewhere where it explains what i can learn from there and what all things there are saying cause i dont know and i wanna check some possibilites in matter of gems and possibilities of other gear but i dont know how it works, first of it says i am over the hit capped which my guildies and friends say it isnt true cause i only got 243 or something so i dont get it,

    ps ty nice article this and the other one about enchants really usefull πŸ˜€ !~!!

    • The reason it’s saying you’re over hit cap is because it’s taking the Draenei racial into account. I don’t recall what race you are, but as long as you’re ally it’s going to add 1% hit when you select best possible raid buffs. Just disregard that. You should never count upon a Draenei to make up for additional hit unless you are one yourself. πŸ˜‰

      At any rate, is actually pretty straightforward to use. It sounds like you managed to import your toon into it, so you’re well on your way. Once you have your character in there, just start messing around with your different gems, enchants, talents and what not, then recalculating your DPS to see what effect it has.

      You have a good idea though. It’s doubtful, but if I get some time, I think a how-to video for would be a fantastic idea. πŸ™‚

      • Sorry i saw your reply to mine too late yes i uploaded but there is so many information i dont understand but i go there and mess around with it. ps last night me and my guild downled sindragosa although i just joined this guild they downed lk all on 10 and are 11/12 on 25m but it was my first sindragosa kill and im so happy tonight were doing RS and icc 25 fresh run :D:D freaking awesome.

        ps yh would be a fantastic idea if you could make a movie if you hafe the time and you feeling like doing it πŸ˜€

        Ty again for all your help and effort you put here to help your fellow hunters love ya Shahinson πŸ˜€

  7. Martin,

    I said that here:

    This is typically the only blue gem needed for DPS builds. Since blue socket gems are itemized with non-DPS stats, it’s typically advised to sacrifice the item socket bonus by placing a pure-DPS red gem into a blue socket.

    Was this obscured somehow? Maybe because it was in the Nightmare Tear text…

    I’ll wait and see how others view it.

    Glad you liked it though. πŸ™‚

  8. Another great guide, thanks. I would only suggest mentioning a bit more clearly under blues that if DPS is only goal then it may be best to give up slot bonus and use best red for spec. (I know when I started I thought you had to use the right colour gem)


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