PvE Marksmanship Hunter Rotation & Cooldowns 

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The rotation of a Marksmanship Hunter has changed considerably in Cataclysm! Besides the new Focus resource system which eliminates the need for aspect shifting for mana management, several key abilities that Marksmanship Hunters used in WotLK Classic have been modified, with abilities such as Kill Command and Silencing Shot no longer being part of their rotation.

In this section of the guide, we will go over the rotation and abilities of Marksmanship Hunter, in both Single-Target and AoE/Cleave encounters.

Single-Target Rotation

  1. Cast Aspect of the Hawk and maintain it
  2. Cast Aspect of the Fox if you require to move during an encounter
  3. Cast Hunter’s Mark before the encounter begins
  4. Cast Serpent Sting at the beginning of the fight
  5. Cast Rapid Fire during Burst Phases
  6. Cast Call of the Wild during Burst Phases
  7. Cast Kill Shot on cooldown during the Execution Phase
  8. Cast Chimera Shot on cooldown
  9. Cast Aimed Shot whenever you have a Master Marksman proc
  10. Cast Steady Shot (Main Filler)

The Single-Target rotation for Marksmanship Hunter in Cataclysm has a few similarities to the old WotLK Classic rotation.

Steady Shot remains the most important ability, now acting as the main Focus generation tool and a consistent Attack Speed steroid through the Improved Steady Shot effect. You will want to consistently upkeep Improved Steady Shot by casting Steady Shot twice in a row. Aimed Shot received the largest overhaul, turning it from an instant cast ability with a cooldown into a long-cast one without any cooldown. Aimed Shot acts as both a main Focus dumping ability and an ability you will want to cast whenever the Master Marksman effect reaches 5 stacks. Ideally, you will only want to long-cast Aimed Shot while Chimera Shot is on cooldown.

Chimera Shot remains fairly similar, however, it now acts only as a direct damage ability and the main tool for refreshing Serpent Sting. Since Serpent Sting remains the only “Sting” ability in your kit, you will want to make sure that it has a 100% uptime on your target, mainly only using it once at the beginning of the fight and consistently refreshing it with Chimera Shot.

Kill Shot will be cast whenever it becomes available, especially since it does not consume any Focus. Lastly, you may choose to incorporate Arcane Shot as a Focus dumping tool, however, many players consider it “bait”. Even if you manage to spam 2-3 Arcane Shots, it generates a far lower damage output than a single long-cast Aimed Shot.

In terms of offensive cooldowns, both Call of the Wild and Rapid Fire can be used at the same time and should ideally be used during Bloodlust/Heroism/Time Warp. Since Rapid Fire has a lower cooldown for Marksmanship Hunters than other Hunter specializations, you may choose to use it at the beginning of the fight to get the chance to use it again before the encounter ends. Of course, this depends entirely on the encounter and its overall duration, as some encounters may last 6 minutes while others may last only 3-4 minutes.

AoE/Cleave Rotation

  1. Cast Hunter’s Mark on your main target
  2. Cast Rapid Fire during Burst Phases
  3. Cast Call of the Wild during Burst Phases
  4. Use Trap Launcher to place an Explosive Trap whenever it’s available
  5. Cast Multi-Shot to spend Focus as a main AoE tool
  6. Cast Kill Shot on cooldown during the Execution Phase
  7. Cast Aimed Shot whenever you have a Master Marksman proc
  8. Cast Steady Shot (Main Filler)

The AoE rotation has massively changed, with Volley being a thing of the past and Multi-Shot now having no cooldown! For AoE encounters where there are more than 3 targets, you will want to spend almost all of your Focus on Multi-Shot, spamming the ability as much as possible. The best thing about this ability is that it no longer has a target limit, meaning that your AoE damage will skyrocket whenever you manage to trigger Bombardment.

Explosive Trap remains a staple AoE tool, with the ability being used on cooldown while Steady Shot will be used to generate focus and maintain the Improved Steady Shot Attack Speed steroid. Kill Shot should be used on cooldown since it has no Focus cost while Aimed Shot will only be used when Master Marksman reaches 5 stacks.

For the Cleave rotation where there are 2-3 targets, you will want to use your Single-Target rotation, with the only change being that you will no longer hard-cast Aimed Shot or cast Arcane Shot as a Focus Dumping tool. Instead, you will use Multi-Shot as your main Focus dumping tool while also placing Explosive Trap whenever it’s available.


About the Author


Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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