The Raiding Hunter: Marksmanship

Attention: This guide is quite old as you may have noticed by the screenshots. I may possibly update it for Warlords of Draenor, but in the meantime, it is here for the sake of nostalgia, or for those of you running older versions of WoW.

Marksmanship is a great spec for raiding. Marksman Hunters are not only able to deal out large quantities of single target damage, but they’re also the kings of Hunter AoE.

The Pros and Cons of Raiding as a Marksman Hunter

The Pros:

  • Smooth rotation – Marksmanship’s shot priority is pretty easy to get used to. The shot selection is more diverse than Beast Mastery, yet not as complicated as Survival.
  • Huge burst capability – With properly timed Readiness, Marksmanship provides outstanding burst damage within a relatively small window. This is a huge plus when trying to finish off a boss at that crucial < 20% health mark.
  • AoE damage galore – Due to having the most powerful Volley ability, Marksmanship is great for fights like Onyxia or Anub’arak, where multiple mobs need to be AoE’d down at once.

The Cons:

  • More dependent upon weapon damage – A lot of Marksmanship’s damage is modified by weapon damage, so if you lack a high damage weapon, you’re probably going to get better results with a more attack power based Survival spec.
  • Less mana efficient – While the tree does offer its share of regen talents, you get less ROI than you do with the Survival regen talents. Marksmanship requires more mana pool micromanagement than the other two specs.
  • Less suited for high mobility fights – Since a huge portion of Marksmanship’s damage potential is a result of hasted Auto and Steady Shots, high mobility fights are more of a problem.

All in all, Marksmanship has a lot going for it. It provides powerful single target damage, incredible AoE DPS, an insane raid wide attack power buff, and huge closing power at the end of boss fights. Because the spec brings a lot to the table, while not possessing a terribly difficult shot rotation, Marksmanship is a good option for players new to the class. It has less steep of a learning curve than that of Survival, so therefore it’s easier to try and maximize the spec’s potential early on.

Marksmanship Raiding Build

Marksmanship Raiding Build

This is a good universal build for Raiding Marksmanship Hunters, provided you’re hit capped. If not, I recommend pulling points as needed from Improved Hunters Mark and putting them into Focused Aim.

Also… if another Hunter in your regular raiding group has Improved Hunter’s Mark, then drop the 3/3 in IHM and put them into Improved Barrage. Only one Hunter in the raid group needs to have the talent in order to benefit from it.

MM Hunter Raiding Build without Improved Hunter’s Mark

Marksman Hunters and Armor Penetration

Prior to the Patch 3.2.2 Armor Penetration nerf, Armor Penetration builds for well geared end-game Hunters were all the rage. Patch 3.2.2 nerfed the effectiveness of Armor Penetration, not by a huge amount, but enough to cause Hunters to wonder whether stacking armor Penetration was worth it or not.

Before 3.2.2, a MM Hunter needed 1232 Armor Penetration in order to reduce a target’s armor to zero. This was attained by using either Mjolnir Runestone or Grim Toll, and by reaching an Armor Penetration soft cap not including the bonus from the trinket proc. With Mjolnir, 567 ArPen was needed, and with Grim Toll, 620 ArPen. With the respective procs, it would bring the total Armor Penetration level to the desired 1232, thus negating the target’s armor completely.

When 3.2.2 hit, it increased the amount of ArPen needed from 1232 to 1400 in order to obtain 100% armor reduction. This meant you’d now need 735 ArPen w/ Mjolnir, or 780 w/ Grim Toll. In other words, 168 more ArPen. Trying to reach that mark would force a Hunter to have to sacrifice a ton of agility, therefore compromising the overall effectiveness of the build.

In short…

Unless you’re rocking BiS, along with one of the aforementioned trinkets, you’re probably not going to see any real benefit from sacrificing agility in favor of Armor Penetration.

Armor Penetration and Arcane Shot

On the other hand, there is a point where a Marksman Hunter can drop Arcane Shot from their priority and see a DPS increase. The reason for this, is because Arcane Shot does not scale with Armor Penetration, unlike every other shot in the MM Hunter’s arsenal.

Even without gemming specifically for it, it’s fairly easy to obtain 350-450 Armor penetration solely through gear. Somewhere around this point is where dropping Arcane from the priority yields an overall DPS increase. Arcane Shot should still be used in movement heavy fights, but dropping it from the regular rotation can produce more damage with enough Armor Penetration. This also allows points to be moved from Improved Arcane Shot into another talent, such as Improved Barrage, Improved Hunter’s Mark or Improved Steady Shot.

This the build I would recommend provided you meet the Armor Penetration requirements to drop Arcane Shot from the priority.

MM Hunter Build w/out Improved Arcane Shot

For a concise article on this subject, check out Armor Penetration vs. Agility, Redux! over at OutDPS.

Marksmanship Glyphs

For the third glyph slot, I’d go with either…

  • Glyph of Chimera Shot – The best choice here, but only if you can weave the shot in properly with its shorter cooldown. Players with higher latency may not see the added benefit from this glyph and therefore may be better of with my next suggestion.
  • Glyph of the Hawk – This is a good 3rd choice, as a good portion of the damage output from this spec is via hasted Auto Shots. This glyph won’t be as beneficial for encounters that require lots of movement though.

Pet Choice and Pet Build

Marksman Hunter Ferocity Pet Raiding BuildWolf is the best choice currently, solely for the Furious Howl buff. However, if you are not keen on using a wolf, then other possible suggestions would be:

  • Wasp – Good DPS, plus it has a helpful armor debuff which is very handy if you don’t have Faerie Fire in your raid.
  • Raptor – Decent DPS
  • Cat – Less DPS then the Raptor, but not by much

This is the build I would suggest for a MM Hunter Ferocity pet raiding build.

Marksman Hunter Shot Priority

The Marksmanship Hunter’s shot priority is pretty basic.

This is what it looks like:

  1. Kill Shot
  2. Serpent Sting
  3. Chimera Shot
  4. Aimed Shot
  5. Arcane Shot*
  6. Steady Shot
  7. Silencing Shot

It may look long and involved, but it really isn’t. Here’s how a normal boss encounter would go down:

  • Put up Hunter’s Mark
  • Apply Serpent Sting
  • Chimera Shot
  • Aimed Shot
  • Arcane Shot*
  • Steady Shot while Chimera, Aimed and Arcane* are on cooldown
  • Reapply Serpent Sting during AP increasing trinket procs
  • Macro Silencing Shot in with your normal shots and use it when its cooldown is up
  • Once Kill Shot becomes available, it takes precedence over all other shots

*Arcane Shot can be dropped from the regular priority if the Hunter possesses the necessary amount of Armor Penetration. Currently ~350 or above.

Serpent Sting is refreshed by Chimera Shot, so you need not worry about keeping it applied. However, to maximize its damage along with Chimera’s, reapply it during attack power increasing trinket procs. Serpent Sting scales with RAP, so reapplying it during a trinket proc will net more damage from not only the subsequent ticks, but also from Chimera.

In the event of an Improved Steady Shot proc, try to use Chimera Shot to release the bonus. If it’s on cooldown, just keep spamming Steadies, delaying the use of Arcane Shot or Aimed Shot until Chimera is available. The 15% damage bonus and 20% mana cost reduction is too valuable to spend on Aimed, and definitely not for Arcane. This can sometimes be a difficult chore in the heat of battle, so an addon such as Power Auras can be beneficial here.

Use Readiness immediately following Chimera or Kill Shots for back-to-back goodness. After a Readiness, Kill and/or Chimera, Aimed, Arcane, Rapid Fire, back to Steadies…

Marksman’s shots are expensive, so this spec tends to drink mana a lot quicker than that of a Survival spec. Due to this fact, proper aspect switching is essential. The main issue of note here, is that you never want to cast Chimera Shot while in Aspect of the Viper. The reason for this is, Serpent Sting is an AP based ability. If you cast Chimera while in AotV, the refreshed version of the sting will tick for far less and yield much lower damage when it’s released after your next Chimera Shot. When you do have to switch into AotV, the best bet is to only use Steady Shot while you’re replenishing. Steady Shot is not only mana efficient, but it’s damage is split between weapon damage and RAP, thus it suffers less than some of the harder hitting shots.

For a good explanation on the mechanics of Serpent Sting and the dangers of Aspect of the Viper, check out Drackmire’s article here.

Silencing Shot is not on the global cooldown, so you can macro it in with other shots for added DPS.


#showtooltip Chimera Shot
/use 14
/cast Silencing Shot
/cast [target=pettarget,exists] Kill Command
/cast Chimera Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

#showtooltip Steady Shot
/cast Silencing Shot
/cast Steady Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

If you’d like more control over when and if to cast it:

/cast [modifier:shift] Silencing Shot
/cast Steady Shot

For more info on this, visit my Hunter Macros page, specifically section IV concerning MM Hunters.

Up next… The Raiding Hunter: Survival

48 thoughts on “The Raiding Hunter: Marksmanship”

  1. Any chance on getting a Ferocity pet build update for this guide? The talents are not lining up with what is currently available in game.



    • Yep, that’s something I need to do.

      However, the current build is pretty much identical as far as point placement goes. The only real change is that 3/3 Avoidance is now 3/3 Culling the Herd. Apart from that, it’s the same build.

  2. the build that got posted

    is the exact build i use and at higher levels it does do more dps. At higher content you need the added mana regen.

    I am going to try the steady / viper switching i think i will sustain better dps.

    Regarding Arcane shot with a Arm Pen build you really need around 700 Arm pen to drop arcane from your rotation. I have found this is also boss specific. If you have bosses that have really high armor then casting Arcane can be useful but when you get above 700 arm pen then you need to drop it from your rotation and only use it when your moving.

    is my current build my glyphs are kinda messed up and i need to switch out IHM for Serpent Sting and i use the Aimed Shot glyph because i have 901 Arm pen and i get better results with it due to my latency. IMO Improved Barrage + Aimed Shot Glyph is a good combo, if you have like no Latency then i could see using the Chimera Glyph and dropping the 3 pts in Barrage and moving them to IHM.

  3. Taurion January 22, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Many thank´s Antigorius and Garwulf for the answer and the help !!!

    But with that answer another one appear in my mind lol , i use to play with mm since the biggening and i love it ,i remember just to change to sv for the searching of the highest dps, and with the dual talent that was my goal. The diference between the mm and sv for me is that the mm was so much easier and natural to get a high dps than the sv, but unfortunely i create a hole set for sv 🙁 . k here is my question if i keep my set of sv and change to bm it´s the same stats to increase my dps with agility and crit or i have to change everything ? the spirits beast really are better than the others or are the same thing? and in your opinion what it is the best dual talent and why ?

    Thank´s and best regards for both !!!

    • Taurion,

      Due to the new mechanics of TBW and BW, agility is really a pretty good choice for BM. Agility scales with Kings, where as AP does not, plus it gives you some crit, which helps to proc GftT, Cobra Strikes and other pet damage enhancing abilities. Raw AP is still slightly better for BM, but not worth the extra expense in my opinion. Furthermore, you don’t want to sacrifice agility for AP if you’re to use any of the gear with your MM spec. Just stick with agility for your gem slots.

  4. Simply wrong, the Aimed Shot glyph is the perfect glyph to round out Serpent Sting/Steady Shot – It provides a separation in AS and CS cooldowns, which allows for Steady Shots in between increasing the ISS uptime. Furthermore, arp being the highest build lends itself to Aimed Shot critting around 14-15k, obviously more with 2p 10. It also provides a much larger window, rather than 2 shots back to back to refresh Serpent Sting on an Exploit proc. There are indeed several more reasons why this glyph is favored by most end game hunters, but if I told you I guess I’d be giving away all my secrets..and we wouldn’t want that now would we?

    • I did quite a bit of testing with staggered AS and CS using aimed glyph and found several things out of line with your remarks.

      First, there is no increased uptime for ISS procs. Over the course of a 6min fight with my setup I am seeing an average of 18 ISS procs, all of which are used for 18 out of 36 Chimera Shots fired = 50% uptime. Using staggered AS/CS and aimed glyph I am seeing an average of 17 ISS procs which are evenly split between Aimed (20.93%) and Chimera (20.86%). The uptime chance is just that, a chance. The percentage does not increase based on WHEN you fire steady shot but more importantly on how many times you fire it. More steadys means more chance BUT given the nature of our 10sec rotation and the limitations of a global cooldown, if fully hasted, you can only fit four steady shots into the rotation no matter when you fire them. Hence your chances still remain 4 x 15% proc rate.

      Further, having aimed take up half of your ISS procs still seems like a waste of this talents full potential as Chimera is still going to give you biggest return on your investment as it does more damage than AS and requires more mana. Yes, aimed did a larger chunk of the damage pie but chimera decreased and my overall average damage was also markedly lower, all else being equal. I’ll revisit this though as I gain more ArPen to see if it nets me a greater benefit.

      The majority of % damage procs last at least 10 seconds. This means that your chance to refresh serpent is equally good no matter what Marksman rotation you use as all are based around a 10 sec primary shot and it doesn’t matter WHEN you refresh, just so long as you do. Even if Culling the Herd (10sec) and the T10 2pc bonus (10sec) proc at times that are off-set by 5secs you would still have time to refresh during their overlap using either of our rotations because CS/AS only take 3secs of the rotation to fire leaving a whole 2seconds (20%) of your rotation to refresh if necessary and likely on more than one target if you make it snappy.

      Overall I am not saying your build isn’t legitimate but rather that I am just not seeing the benefits you are describing. I would however like to encourage you to share your tips and offer playstyle changes that might confer a specific advantage to using aimed glyph over hawk or kill shot. Nobody likes secrets lolz! I’d love to play around with this concept a bit more as I’m constantly tweaking my spec and playstyle. Cheers!

  5. Many thank´s Antigorius and Garwulf for the answer and the help !!!

    But with that answer another one appear in my mind lol , i use to play with mm since the biggening and i love it ,i remember just to change to sv for the searching of the highest dps, and with the dual talent that was my goal. The diference between the mm and sv for me is that the mm was so much easier and natural to get a high dps than the sv, but unfortunely i create a hole set for sv 🙁 . k here is my question if i keep my set of sv and change to bm it´s the same stats to increase my dps with agility and crit or i have to change everything ? the spirits beast really are better than the others or are the same thing? and in your opinion what it is the best dual talent and why ?

    Thank´s and best regards for both !!!

  6. I’ve been playing a MM PvE raider for a while now with this build/glyph:

    While there is no one-size-fits-all-gear build for MM I’ve found this one to be the best overall. I realize that Glyph of Kill Shot can yield higher DPS than Hawk but it is a highly situational choice. I’d also like to caution against Chimera or Aimed shot Glyphs for a purely physical DPS build, here’s why…

    My priority;
    Hunter’s Mark
    Serpent Sting
    Rapid Fire
    Silencing Shot (macro’d to other shots)
    Kill Shot
    Chimera Shot
    Aimed Shot
    Steady Shot

    I’ve chosen Glyph of the Hawk because when proc’d it lowers my Steady Shot time to match the global cool down of 1.5 seconds. It procs often enough to give me a very consistent 9 second rotation (+latency) that ensures that Improved Steady Shot is used for Chimera alone and never Aimed shot. Chimera costs more mana than Aimed and also does a larger chunk of damage and thus gains the most from ISS procs. The core rotation looks like this:

    Chimera 1.5s GCD
    Aimed 1.5s GCD
    4 x Steady 6s to cast
    (Rinse & Repeat)

    Very simple, very easy, very nice.
    Both Chimera and Aimed have 10sec cool downs and as soon as you fire off your fourth Steady Shot you should be able to slip right back into the beginning of the rotation. While the 15% ISS proc seems low, when you chain steady shots together (EACH with a 15% chance) I end up seeing 50% of my Chimera Shots affected by this talent which is a very nice damage boost and mana savings. Using Aimed or Chimera Glyphs lowers their cool down and inevitably leads to the following:
    1) Aimed & Chimera become unsynchronized at some point and you end up using ISS on Aimed shot with less than optimal returns.
    2) You clip a steady shot from somewhere in your rotation because Chimera or Aimed is off cooldown and thus end up with 50% crit rating though this loses its pizazz little by little.
    Hunter’s Mark Glyph – really shouldn’t take this unless you’re the buffer hunter that is already talented into Improved Hunter’s Mark

    Armor Pen – this is a very important concept to adjusting to a purely physical DPS build. It is recommended, as Gar said, that you have at least ~350 Armor Pen before making the switch and at least one proc trinket equipped. is a great, easily attainable trinket for this job. Also, gemming for Armor Pen isn’t necessarily dead… Blizzard didn’t nerf it so bad as to kill it they just ensured that you needed to be progressing through end-game content to achieve a successful ArPen build. If you have a proc trinket and collect some ICC 10/25 gear you can still get high enough to reach the ArPen softcap (1400 Armor Pen – Trinket Proc Amount). So don’t give up hope yet!

    I am going to have to play with this Hawk/Viper flip flop idea though, it’s intriguing. I don’t go OOM very much with this spec using well timed Rapid Fires but i’ll have to play with the idea nonetheless.

    • hmm not sure what happened to the middle of that post but something got deleted and it would make more sense if it read as follows:

      “2) You clip a steady shot from somewhere in your rotation because chimera or aimed is off cooldown and thus end up with less chance for ISS to proc before chimera is ready again.
      3) ISS procs and you keep spamming steady waiting for Chimera to be off cooldown but aimed finishes first…you choose to ignore (waste) an aimed cooldown because you want to use it with Chimera.

      Steady and Serpent are largely required for this build to take maximum advantage and @Cleci, i’d like to see your test method/data for that Serpent Sting test. Your findings seem out of line with anything i’ve seen. Other than that suitable replacements for my choice of Hawk would be:
      TSA Glyph – great if you need more crit to consistently proc Piercing Shots but around >50% crit (unbuffed) it begins to lose its pizazz little by little.
      Hunter’s Mark Glyph…..”

  7. Hi Garwulf !!!

    I have a question about keeping my spec and i would like to know what it is your important opinion.
    I am a dual spec hunter with sv for pve and mm for pvp ,my hunter already have all t9 set, increasing my sv stats, but talking with a high lvl hunter of my guild he said that the best think now is changing the mm for pve because the think that will drop in raids and dungeons will be better for stamina increasing my mm stats, what should i do ??

    • Taurion, while I agree with your guildsman that MM is probably going to theorycraft as the highest DPS build as you venture into ICC the decision to play one spec vs another is a very personal choice and shouldn’t be directly dictated by numbers alone. I love playing MM in PvE but can’t get into SV nearly as much as I did when WotLK first came out. Yes, ICC gear is trending toward the inclusion of a substantial amount of ArmPen, but there are very few clear cut lines dividing hunter gear from spec to spec. I’d go with the spec that you like the most as both SV and MM bring great raid utility and having a little of both in a raid composition is a win for everyone. Try instead to work on bringing something unique to the table and work with hunters in guild to bring the most buffs/benefits to the raid as a group rather than as individuals.

    • Hi Taurion,

      I agree with what Antigorius had to say in response to your question. As you start to obtain more gear from ICC, you may find that MM starts to pull head of SV somewhat. Thing is though, the gap will be fairly small, and only noticeable once you have the proper mix of armor pen, ranged weapon, and a necessary trinket.

      ICC gear is generally pretty well optimized for MM, plus MM also benefits a bit more from the new ammo than SV does. However, the spec’s also more gear dependent than SV, so unless you really prefer MM, you may want to do some spreadsheet run-throughs before hand.

      My rough suggestion would be to remain survival until you obtain Zod’s, Needle Encrusted Scorpion, and around 500 or more armor pen before the proc. Of course, there are other factors to consider as well, just as Antigoriuys had mentioned.

      Which spec do you like best?

      Are there other hunters you regularly raid with? If so, what spec(s) are they?

      Is replenishment often available in your groups?

      Until you start becoming clad in mainly ICC gear, SV and MM will be really close. Go with which ever spec you prefer and/or feel your raid needs.

  8. Ok I’m gonna contest something that is taken for granted by all MM hunters. I’m skeptical about the serpent sting glyph choice. The sole reason we choose this glyph as the highest dps glyph is because aparently it increases the total damage done by serpent sting making your chimera – serpent shots hit harder.

    Well I did a lil test to see if it actually increases the total serpent sting damage and… on a heroic training dummy, with the serpent sting glyph, my serpent sting ticks for quite less than without it. so it lasts longer but ticks for less, resulting in the same damage.

    I did this test a while ago and since then i removed the glyph from my build. See what ya’ll come up with.

  9. Ah yes, you mean the effect is weaved in Marked for Death I suppose. I forgot about it. But still, this doesn’t change the fact that if this bug gets fixed, Steady glyph will pull ahead of everything else.

    Also, first two should always be Serpent Sting and Kill Shot. Chimera is completely out of the question, considering how physical is MM tree, 1s less cd on it will never give as much dps as using glyph of steady shot or hawk. It’s also worth noting that while Hawk glyph has some rng in it (the talent might proc, or it may not :P), Steady has no such flaws and is perfect for sustained dps. I don’t see myself using anything other than SrS/SS/KS in 3.3.

  10. I’ve found that the best glyphs for me on the spreadsheet are kill shot, serpent sting, and hunter’s mark. The hunter’s mark glyph only became viable after I removed Arcane shot from my rotation. I also have more latency than the standard of 150ms (I’m usually at 180-200ms). That latency makes the Chimera shot glyph much less attractive.

  11. @ Cale

    Steady Shot glyph is bugged. It will be fixed in 3.3, but until then it’s not a viable option.

    Also worth noting, it showed a DPS loss in all of my tests using Zehera’s Spreadsheet. After Serpent Sting and Chimera Shot, it’s pretty universal that most feel Hawk and Kill Shot are 3rd best options. Of course, this is my opinion as well.

    How did you arrive at this conclusion?

  12. I consider Steady Shot glyph to be the best option for Marks in 3rd slot. It’ll give you waaaaay more dps than any other glyph.

  13. I’d be really curious to see what your findings are upon further research. I’m curious where the difference is that’s causing the numbers to fluctuate some. I have to wonder if it’s a buff or one of the weird spreadsheet settings. I also find it interesting that your dps in higher in survival, as I’ve typically found dps to be lower in survival on shorter fights, and higher on marksman on longer fights. Which is why I usually pvp and run dailies in survival, but swap out to my mm spec for raids.

    In the end however, I really love where our trees are at the moment (Even BM’s not too bad anymore). There’s so much great discussion on different theories and tweaking to be done. On my druid, and pally alts, their specs never seem to change much. But on my hunter there’s so much theorycrafting. It brings another aspect to the game that I feel other classes are lacking. Well, off to the training dummies to test some of your suggestions!

  14. @ Mart

    That’s because I was at 265, then won the Onyxia pendant the other night. I hadn’t had time to gather the necessary items/enchants. I’m at a perfect 263 now.

    Thanks for having my back though. 😉

  15. Another suggestion for you Garwulf. I pulled up your Armory and I see you have a hit gem and enchant on your hands. The hit cap is only 263, but you’re at 313. You would gain some DPS by switching to an agi/crit gem (keeps the socket bonus) and an agi enchant.

  16. @Karaka
    Why switch targets when you don’t have to. I use a mouseover macro for serpent sting. I can keep my primary target targeted at all times and when serpent sting is about to run out I mouseover my secondary target and fire.

  17. @ Martbenzak

    Good points definitely. I also like your approach to speccing MM when the group lacks the 10% AP buff from either a DK, Enhance Shammy, or other MM Hunter. We always have at least 1 Blood DK present, which is one reason I eventually went SV.

    Thanks for the heads up on Wild Hunt. It seemed to me that a few months back I was getting more DPS from Shark Attack, but that’s not what I’m seeing now. Wild Hunt is showing a 20DPS increase for both MM and SV specs for me. Thanks! 😉

  18. One more thing, everything I’ve read says putting the last point in Wild Hunt is better than Shark Attack. Per the spreadsheet I gain about 17dps using Wild Hunt.

  19. I think one important thing to consider is raid composition and buffs. If you use the build and rotation in this post it should net you solid dps if you have the right gear (although I would move arcane to IHM if you have more than 350 arp). What I’ve found is my dps can swing wildly depending on who else is in the raid. If we have a blood DK or enhance shammy I’m much better off switching to survival. They have talents that grant a 10% AP buff (doesn’t stack with TSA) which is a massive dps boost for survival. My regular raid group doesn’t have either of those so I do better as MM with my TSA and higher personal dps benefiting the raid more than the mana regen of survival.

  20. I view the Chimera Shot Glyph as required for all MM hunters as it allows you to keep Serpent Sting up on two targets without having to cast Serpent Sting multiple times on each. This is a pretty nice DPS boost if you can switch targets quickly and effectively.

  21. Fawatam,

    Okay… here we go. In my current gear w/ 444 Armor Penetration, these are my results:

    My build w/ glyphs, shot priority including Arcane
    6532.38 DPS

    Your suggested build w/ glyphs & dropping Arcane from the priority
    6514.71 DPS

    Then I did some playing around from there…

    Your build and priority w/ my suggested glyphs
    6552 DPS

    My exact build w/out Arcane in the priority & dropping IAS in favor of Improved Barrage
    6561.66 DPS

    As you can see, they were all very close, with less than a 40DPS difference between the lowest and highest.

    I guess the true test would have to be conducted in a live setting.

    OutDPS says, “To see whether this is a DPS increase, you need to use a DPS calculator for your spec and gear.”

    According to my tests, it is not.

    I may create a follow up post on this subject.

    Thank you for the input, as it did lead me to find a slightly better configuration than what I’d had.

    However, all of this is fairly inconsequential, as my 6847DPS Survival build trumps them all. 😉

  22. Thanks Fawatam.

    I’m going to revisit this theory right now.

    I had tried calculations using glyph of TSA and dropping arcane, but perhaps I missed something along the way. I also understand what you’re saying about the spreadhseet not accounting for use of only Aimed or Chimera on ISS.

    I’ll let you know what I find out.

  23. That’s odd because adding Arcane Shot always lowers my dps on all my builds on The spread sheet also doesn’t fully take into account things like Improved Steady Shot being used by arcane shot vs Chimera. Also ensure you are using the exact three glyphs I used. Testing it in the real game environment is where I noticed the biggest improvement. And yes, I technically have Arcane Shot on my bars, same with Multishot, however I rarely use them with a few exceptions. (Multishot to pull multiple mobs in a dungeon, and Arcane on fights like Hodir where I never stop moving.)

    Improved Hunter’s Mark is nice, but there’s one major problem. Lower ranks of it can override your hunters mark. So if you have two hunters in the raid and you cast Improved Hunter’s Mark, and someone else has a /petattack /cast Hunter’s Mark macro as many do, if they pop that macro it’ll override your mark completely. It requires coordination on every single raid to ensure only one hunter is casting HM. After a few raids of struggling with this, I eventually dropped HM completely and told fellow hunters in my guild to do the same. At a certain point, the hassle outweighs the benefits. Now if only Blizzard would fix this silly issue they broke in the last patch…

    Oh, one more thing. One of the reasons MM is tough on heavily movement fights is the inability to cast Steady Shot and Autoshot while running. Autoshot usually makes up the majority of my MM damage. (Which is why weapons are so important.) If you use a casting bar addon similar to Quartz, you can turn on the timer for Auto Shot (Swing Timer) and if you watch that carefully you can help minimize dps loss by stopping running for a split second to get that autoshot off. You’re damage will still take a hit, but it won’t be quite as painful.

    OutDps covered my point on removing Arcane Shot from your rotation quite well.

  24. Gar, can you kill comment 13? I got confused/lost at comments as it says (0) on front page, 13 here (2 different articles).

  25. Just finished a Toc10 with some random people. I confirm Imp Hunter’s Mark works better (at least my dps got some boost). I also confirm that using the Viper/Hawk switch + 2x Steady works like a charm (we got no mana regen).

  26. > You’ll get more out of Improved Hunter’s Mark.
    > More AP for you and your pet

    Not from pet… should be “ranged” attacks only, right?

    Interesting comments overall, I’m now testing out the Imp Hunter’s Mark and yep, it works better indeed 🙂

  27. I might be the weird one out, but on the rare fights that I have mana issues I can a) toss one viper sting up and use one rotation of chimera shot on mana drain or b) ask my lovely druids for an innervate. (They claim they never use it otherwise.) I don’t switch to Viper unless I have to, or unless it’s between Northrend beasts. (Oh yes, or c) pop a pot, but that depends on the fight as well.)

    And I don’t spec into Rapid Recup, but put some points in range instead. It’s one of my personal preferences to be able to stand at absolute max range and has kept my cute draenei ass alive more than once.

    • @ Drole

      Draining bosses can be effective sometimes, at least i think so. I used to do this myself, as it returns mana to you lickity split. Problem is, when the bosses don’t use mana.

      As for the points in Hawk Eye… it all boils down to what works for you. Extra range is never a bad thing, and something that can’t be measured in terms of DPS. I never expect people to read what I say as the end-all-be-all gospel of Huntering. It’s more of a template to work from, which can be aletred to fit your needs and play style. Thanks for your comment. 😀

  28. In my opinion MM is more mobile than you are leading readers to believe. All of our instant cast shots can be used while moving.

    I also suggest carrying mana potions with you as MM for boss fights so that you rarely should have to use Viper during that time.

    As a MM hunter, due to high burst damage it is really important to use Misdirection. Even when soloing.

    Improved Barrage is really very good for PVP when you may be getting trashed while casting. For PVE, not so much so. You’ll get more out of Improved Hunter’s Mark. More AP for you and your pet, plus no mana cost which translates into less time in Viper and more mana to use for special shots.

    • @ Nochezador

      It’s not that MM is poor in those situations, it’s just that it suffers a bit when compared to how BM and SV perform. BM has a massive DoT that attacks regardless of movemeent, and SV has an incredibly powerful insta-cast, non-armor-mitigating fire bomb available every 6 seconds.

      Improved Barrage could be considered good for PvP, but not due to the uninterruptable Volley. I’d say its merit would be for the 12% added crit to Aimed. I only ever use Volley as a second Flare. I couldn’t imagine trying to use it to focus fire someone down. o.O

      Sadly, IHM doesn’t translate to the pet, only to the Hunter.

      • You are correct sir. This guide needs to be updated.

        However, at the time of writing, IHM was a better use of 3 points than Improved Barrage for beginning raiders.

  29. I know this is just a beginners guide, but it is worth noting that while I’d never gem for Arp, at a certain point it is worth specing for it. Around 300-400 armor pen you should investigate the following build.

    Also note that the glyph of Aimed shot is in use as well as Glyph of the Hawk for more Aimed Shots and more Autoshots. In this spec I take arcane shot off my bars completely and focus on chimera, aimed, and steady. It also ensures that Improved Steady Shot procs are consumed by Chimera or Aimed.

    I’d also like to throw my hat in the ring for Rapid Recuperation. It is VERY useful if not downright mandatory in a raid environment for the mana regeneration every time you pop Rapid Fire, which should be twice every 3 mins. That’s 4% of total mana every 3 seconds for 30 seconds (15 seconds each RF). That’s not even touching the bonus you get from Rapid Killing if there are any adds that will proc the second part of the talent. (From what I’ve seen some adds proc Rapid Killing, others don’t) Also worth noting is usually the second Rapid Fire is at the end of the fight when you are low on mana for your Kill Shots anyways.

    • @ Fawatam

      I have 444 armor pen and I tried different builds at that dropped Arcane from the rotation. In all cases it resulted in a DPS loss.

      It’s also worth noting that even if you do drop Arcane from your standard rotation, you should still keep it on your bars. If its cooldown is up and you’re not using it while moving, you’re losing DPS.

  30. > The 150 more AP may not seem like much, but
    > that’s going to increase the damage of
    > Serpent Sting and Chimera Shot

    Yes this is true. It’s just hard to understand if those 150AP points are better than +12 crit on Aimed Shot. I’ll give it a try tho, seems more logic than Imp. Barrage.

    > Regardless of proper management of it,
    > time spent in AotV = huge DPS loss.

    Try the Viper-Hawk switch using Steady (only) as mana-regen shot.

    You will be amazed at how this brilliant solution (by, not mine) will keep your DPS almost identical while regenerating mana at a *great* rate.

    I tell you this because I was one of those hunters who typically switch to Viper and keep up the normal rotation, until mana is high enough. Well in that case yes, Viper kills your DPS (a lot) because you sacrifice good shots like Chimera and still consume mana to use them.

    When I started using the outdps idea it was like I switched to Tier10 gear. I could not believe how a so simple solution could drastically change my dps/experience.

  31. As far i remember Arcane Shot doesn’t work on Piercing Shots talent, neither it scales with arp. That’s why ALL top-dps mm hunters wont use Arcane Shot in their rotation and talent builds.

    @Dalaila can you provide some screenshots of your dps using that viper-steady tactic? I am curious is it really that good, because personally, i use it only when my pool is empty, and so far i can say it is affecting my dps for like 300-500 at least.

  32. Dalaila,

    The spec you linked was my old spec before I went SV.

    As is the case with everything I post on this site, I researched everything and questioned everything I already knew.

    While I would have tended to agree with you a week ago, I’d sought further enlightenment and did some theorycrafting.

    In my current gear, this build produces 187 more “spreadsheet best possible” DPS than my old build. Now while I’m not one to blindly agree with spreadsheets, I must say I can’t argue this one.

    Improved Barrage basically gives you a higher crit rating on Aimed Shot, where as IHM adds 150AP (165 w/ TSA) to all of your attacks. + ~13.5 DPS. Sure it helps guard against Volley interrupt and adds to Multi’s crit, but that’s not so important. Singe target damage is what really matters here.

    The 150 more AP may not seem like much, but that’s going to increase the damage of Serpent Sting and Chimera Shot, which becomes even sweeter when you have 2pc T9.

    Rapid Recuperation isn’t so important early on (heroics, for example), but in end game raids where the fights last 4+ minutes, the extra mana regen is huge. Dropping the ISS proc to 5% as opposed to 15%, then picking up RR, produces another ~75 DPS increase, for me anyway.

    The rest of the additional DPS gains are by way of the Chimera and Kill Shot glyphs.

    As SV, I very rarely ever have to go into Viper. As MM, I was relying upon it quite a bit. Regardless of proper management of it, time spent in AotV = huge DPS loss.

    Believe me, I did my homework on this.

    Having said that, I do appreciate the added bit about using Steady exclusively while in Dragonhawk. That is definitely worth mentioning. I’ll edit the guide to reflect that.

  33. Hi Gar,

    being MM since the beginning (TBC era) I’d like to point out few things.

    While MM drains more mana than SV, as a hunter you’re required to maximize your DPS at all costs. 2/2 Rapid Recuperation is useless, in a raid environment. You *MUST* find a way to get your mana back. Learning to switch between Viper and Hawk is a priority and -once mastered- your overall DPS will suffer a very little DPS loss. 2/2 RR wont grant a decent mana regen and it’s a huge talent points cost.

    I’d suggest this 7/57/7 build:

    100% focused on DPS. Mana regeneration is usually a problem in 5man only. In 10 and 25man can be handled quite good (totems, pally Wisdom, …). Anyway, learning to switch aspects in the correct way (see below) is the basic rule for a good MM rotation.

    You also forgot 3/3 Improved Barrage. That is very important for MM DPS and I’d get the required points from Improved Hunter’s Mark.

    MANA MANAGEMENT (switch) (*)
    Rule n°1: make a macro to easily switch HawkViper by pressing a button.
    Rule n°2: use Steady Shot *only* when under Viper, then switch back to Hawk and continue your rotation. If you need more mana, switch again to Viper, shot 2 Steadies and then back to Hawk + usual rotation.

    Why just Steady? Because it’s cheap, it’s not the strongest shot (in terms of damage) and you can fire 2 steadies while other shots are on cooldown. Using 2 Steady Shots under Viper will make you gain decent mana at the cost of a very small DPS loss.

    Example: you are at 10% mana but the fight still needs at least 50% mana. Continue your rotation in Hawk until all of your shots (except Steady) are on CD. When you can fire Steady only, Switch to Viper and cast 2x Steady, then immediately switch back to Hawk and continue your rotation (Chimera, Arcane, Aimed, Silencing). When all of them are on CD again, switch to Viper and cast 2x Steady. Repeat this “trick” until you’re satisfied with your mana.

    The simplified shot rotation for mana regen (assuming Silencing Shot is macroed in your shots, so I wont include it here) is:

    (hawk) Chimera
    (hawk) Aimed
    (hawk) Arcane
    (viper) Steady
    (viper) Steady
    (hawk) Chimera
    (hawk) Aimed
    (hawk) Arcane
    (viper) Steady
    (viper) Steady
    (hawk) Chimera

    As soon as you have enough mana to finish the fight, just change your mana-shots:

    (viper) Steady
    (viper) Steady

    to dps shots:

    (hawk) Steady
    (hawk) Steady

    The point of using Steady only (while in Viper) is to maximize DPS. Your strongest shots (Chimera, Arcane, …) will always hit under Hawk. Your worst shot (Steady) will be used 2x under Viper (you also get the benefits of Sting’s ticks of course).

    (*) inspired by a


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