Hunter 101: Survival Rotation
Something I am often asked is “What is your rotation for SV/MM/BM?”
The long and the short of it is… there is no rotation for any of these specs. It’s all about shot priority. For SV and BM, you’re going to be managing cooldowns and with MM it’s all about being ready for your next Chimera.
As of patch 4.3 Survival is the top DPS spec for most fights in Dragon Soul, so I’ll start there and go in order of “best” to “worst” spec DPS-wise.
This is part one of a three-part guide.
Please keep in mind each fight is different and there may be situations in which you would intentionally delay the use of a specific shot or cooldown to wait for a more optimal time in the fight to use it. A good example of this would be a BM hunter on Spine of Deathwing saving Bestial Wrath for the tendon burn phase, rather than popping BW on cooldown.
Survival Shot Priority
- Kill Shot
- Explosive Shot
- Black Arrow / Explosive Trap for melee range or AOE
- Arcane Shot
- Serpent Sting
- Cobra Shot
Hunter 101: PvP basics — Stats & gear
Note: This post doesn’t discuss strategy or technique, it is just an overview of how to gear for PvP.
Hunter 101: Gems and Enchants
Enchants and gems are listed in order from best to least optimal. You should always aim for the best enchant on all of your gear, but I have provided cheaper options for fresh 85s who want to optimize their gear but not splurge on the best of the best for blues they know they’re about to replace. You should ALWAYS enchant your gear, no excuses!
Obviously, the profession-specific option will almost always be the best option for that slot. Read more about your profession options in my Hunter 101 post on professions.
There are a couple of Wrath of the Lich King enchants on this list, indicated by a (wotlk) note… strangely enough, these enchants are still VERY viable in Cataclysm end-game raiding.
Hunter 101: Reforging and You
The subtitle of this post could very easily be “The Importance of Having Haste”, as I go in to great depth about the value of Haste to us.
First, what the heck IS reforging?
Reforging, as explained by the Arcane Reforger NPC:
For example, if an item afforded you a bonus to strike your enemies but you’d rather it made you attack more quickly, an Arcane Reforger could, for a price, reforge the item to have less Hit Rating but increase your Haste Rating.
So basically, you have the option to forge a less desirable stat into something that you actually want!
What does this mean? Well, long story short, “Best in Slot” lists are essentially a thing of the past. Most gear is mostly good most of the time, depending on how you reforge it. Obviously, there is still a “best” combo of gear, but having the second or third best item is not as big of a problem as it used to be.
MM Hunter specs for all situations
General PvE builds
Generic questing/leveling build (9/31/1) — This is a fairly standard MM build with points placed in Spirit Bond and Hunter vs. Wild for survivability purposes while maintaining personal DPS talents like Trueshot Aura.
5-man dungeon/10-man raid build (7/31/3) — This build focuses less on surviving on your own and more on damage output. It also assumes you’ll be needing to provide yourself and your group with the 10% attack power buff… if your 10-man group has two Paladins or a Pally and a Druid, you can check out the 25-man build.
25-man raid build (7/31/3) — This build is very similar to the small group build, but it assumes you no longer need to provide the attack power buff and grabs the second point in Marked for Death. Some people argue MFD is useless, I find it to be a great talent… especially when target switching a lot, that’s one less global you have to waste. It also moves the points from Termination into Concussive Barrage. This change is based on personal preference, I find that I’m more likely to be focus-capped in a 25-man due to having all raid buffs. If you feel focus-starved in the last portion of a fight, keep those points in Termination!
Encounter-Specific AOE PvE builds
The “Beth’tilac Adds” build (3/31/7) — This build focuses on AOE and controlling a group of adds by yourself. Taking points in Rapid Killing, Rapid Recouperation, Concussive Barrage and Entrapment are the main reasons why this spec is so strong… you essentially have infinite focus to spam Multi-Shot once those adds start to die. You will not be topping charts with this build, but when your job on this fight is controlling the adds, your DPS does not matter so long as those spiderlings never reach the drones. Read more about this spec here.
For fights like Cho’gall where you need maximum AOE but will probably not be alone in handling the adds, this slightly modified (7/31/3) AOE spec will work better since your DPS on the boss WILL matter.
On a fight like Heroic Rhyolith where you want maximum AOE but you DO NOT want to slow the adds, go for this spec.
Standard PvP build (1/31/9) — This build maximizes survival while not completely gimping damage output. Points in Survival Tactics and Entrapment maximize utility and keeping one point in One With Nature gives you a boost on your damage when you are able to stay in Aspect of the Hawk and turret in to something. Good for arenas and battlegrounds.
Alternate PvP build (3/31/7) — This build provides a little more damage and is good for offensive assaults in BGs and screwing over a flag runner.
Hunter Tank build