PvE Marksmanship Hunter Rotation & Abilities

wotlk classic pve marksmanship hunter rotation & abilities

When it comes to the Marksmanship Hunter, we can expect high amounts of damage if properly played, along with massive utility. Hunters prove themselves to adapt to any situation around themselves, bombarding their enemies with volleys of arrows or gunshots, striking down any foes that dare try to escape from their ferocious tracking skills.

Marksmanship Hunter’s gameplay can be considered plain and simple at first glance, however, it gets extremely complicated extremely fast as we take a deeper peek into what it truly means to adopt the path of true marksmanship. When it comes to raw power, Hunters can be fierce, finding themselves on the high spots of the Damage Meter, even claiming the highest positions if perfectly played.

Single Target Rotation (TLDR)

Rotation 1: (If you are not required to use Misdirection)

  • Readiness can be used to place Explosive Trap twice(Explosive Trap is a situational spell that you should use in your rotation, only being used in cases where you have to get close to the boss)

Rotation 2(Misdirection)

Overview of Abilities!

Offensive Abilities

  • Steady Shot is our “filler” ability. You will find yourself often casting Steady Shot as the main means to damage your target. You can use Steady Shot with a lot of different macros to ensure that you will optimize it as much as possible.

Steady Shot also deals increased damage to targets affected by Daze effects, you can count on a Fury Warrior to constantly provide that effect for you.

  • Aimed Shot is an ability that deals direct damage and reduces the healing received by a target by 50%. This ability shares a cooldown with Multi-Shot, meaning that you can not use them one after another. This ability gets stronger with time, as you manage to gather Armor Penetration.
  • Arcane Shot is an ability that does Arcane damage to your target, being an instant cast. This ability does not provide a lot of damage, and it can be useful mostly as a filler cooldown during the early stages of the game when you do not have enough Armor Penetration. However, we advise you to use this ability as little as possible, due to Steady Shot being the superior choice.
  • Chimera Shot is a testament to our superiority in archery, this ability enhances your different sting abilities, allowing you to either instantly damage your target and refresh Serpent Sting, or disarm your target with the help of Scorpid Sting or regenerate mana with the help of Viper Sting. This ability also deals direct damage, so be sure to use it on cooldown.
  • Kill Shot is our execute ability, allowing us to deal massive damage to our targets when they reach the 20% threshold, you should prioritize this ability as much as possible once you reach the execution phase.
  • Multi-Shot is an area of effect ability that deals direct damage. This ability shares a cooldown with Aimed Shot, meaning that they can not be used in succession. Multishot can will be one of your main tools for dealing area-of-effect damage.
  • Rapid Fire is one of your main offensive cooldowns, allowing you to increase your attack speed by 40%. You should use this ability in conjunction with either Haste Potions, Engineering Gloves, or Bloodlust/Heroism.
  • Serpent Sting is our main damage-over-time ability and a must-have in any single target scenario. This ability is mandatory upkeep on any boss fight!
  • Volley is your second area of effect ability, being a channeled ability. You will find yourself casting volley as much as possible when dealing with packs of mobs.
  • Aspect of the Dragonhawk is your main “Aspect” that you will use throughout most of your fights. This mechanic allows Hunters to mimic certain animals, allowing them to gain certain attributes that they possess. In this case, we will receive increased attack power.
  • Kill Command is an ability that enhances your pet’s damage by 60%. This ability is best used in conjunction with a macro, as we will showcase later on in this guide. Keep in mind that this ability should always be used on cooldown and that 
  • Aspect of the Hawk is one of the first aspects that you will mimic as a Hunter, allowing you to increase your attack power. Later on, it will be changed with Aspect of the Dragonhawk.
  • Silencing Shot is a very interesting ability as it is not affected by Global Cooldown.
  • Explosive Trap is an offensive trap that can affect multiple enemies at a time. This ability deals damage over time and its damage can be turned into critical strikes with the help of a glyph.
  • Immolation Trap is an early version of the explosive trap, allowing you to set a trap that deals damage over time to a single enemy.
  • Mongoose Bite is a direct damage ability that can only be used with your melee weapon. This ability is situational as you will mostly want to keep your range.
  • Raptor Strike is a direct damage ability that can only be used when you are in melee range. This ability is situational as you will always want to keep your range. You can use this ability when closing in to set various traps.
  • Snake Trap is a trap that can be used to unleash a large number of snakes upon a single enemy or multiple enemies. You can use this ability whenever you find yourself in melee range.

Defensive Abilities

  • Deterrence is the first defensive ability that allows you to become nigh-immune for a certain amount of time. While Deterrence is active, you can effectively use it to tank bosses or to mitigate damage from mobs.
  • Disengage is the second defensive ability we will talk about, it allows you to jump back from the direction you are facing, allowing you to either close the gap or run away from a potential threat. You can use this ability in conjunction with the engineering parachute to allow yourself to deal damage while gliding, effectively allowing you to shoot during flight.
  • Feign Death is a trademark ability of the Hunter class, allowing you to pretend that you suddenly died, removing any threat you had upon you before its activation. This ability can also be used to remove your enemy’s target from you.

Utility Abilities

  • Hunter’s Mark is one of your first utility abilities, which can also be considered a damage-enhancing ability. This ability increases the ranged attack power of all ranged damage dealers against the target afflicted by it. Using this ability is mandatory.
  • Scorpid Sting is an ability that allows you to reduce the target’s chance to hit by 3% for the next 20 seconds. This ability is extremely situational, as you will mostly want to have either Serpent Sting or Viper Sting on your target.
  • Misdirection is an ability that alone can earn you a spot in raids. This ability allows you to transfer your generated threat for the next 4 seconds after your first attack to a target of your choice. This ability is a must-have for most encounters, allowing you to always have a guaranteed spot in a raid.
  • Readiness is one of your strongest abilities, allowing you to entirely reset all of your cooldowns, with the exception of itself. This ability can be used to provide massive utility or to provide massive damage, depending on the situation in which you find yourself. You can effectively you this ability with Misdirection, to ensure that your raid group will not suffer from threat issues or to remove the cooldown of all of your previously used offensive spells.
  • Concussive Shot is a utility spell that allows you to daze a target for up to 4 seconds, effectively reducing its movement speed by 50%. This ability can be used to enhance Steady Shot.
  • Tranquilizing Shot is one of your most powerful utility spells, allowing you to remove 1 magic effect and 1 enrage effect from your target. However, this spell will not remove any boss’s Berserk. You could try to remove it, but sadly, you will not succeed. It is far better to just Feign Death in case any boss enrages.
  • Flare is an ability that can help you uncover enemies in stealth, this ability can be used to uncover even hidden mobs!
  • Freezing Arrow is a utility spell that allows you to fire off a shot that carries a freezing trap. You can effectively use this trap anywhere you desire, instantly encasing a mob in ice for up to 20 seconds.
  • Frost Trap is one of your most useful utility traps, allowing you to saturate an area with ice, effectively slowing your enemies. This ability is extremely strong as it can help you mitigate potential threats for your group or better deal with certain raid mechanics.
  • Scare Beast is a utility ability that allows you to effectively fear a targeted beast for up to 20 seconds. However, you should be extremely careful when you use this ability, as you can produce a mass pull chain reaction. We don’t want to be called Huntards, do we? Let’s not give them that satisfaction!
  • Trueshot Aura is the epitome of marksmanship, allowing you to increase your attack power and that of all your allies in a 100-yard radius around you. However, this ability does not stack with other abilities that have similar effects such as Unleashed Rage or Abomination’s Might.
  • Viper Sting is an ability that allows you to drain your target’s mana in a very fast time frame. This ability can devastate caster mobs and should be used as much as possible.
  • Distracting Shot is an ability that allows you to taunt your target for 6 seconds. Do hunters have taunts? I know, crazy!. This ability can be extremely useful for repositioning a boss or mitigating damage from a boss that stacks a debuff on your tanks.
  • Aspect of the Pack is a utility ability that allows you to empower your allies with increased movement speed. You should use this ability when traveling long distances or after a wipe.
  • Aspect of the Viper is more of a self-based utility ability that allows you to recuperate a large amount of your mana in a very short period of time. However, you will deal significantly reduced damage while this ability is active. Use this ability when you run completely out of mana to regenerate.
  • Aspect of the Wild is a utility ability that allows both you and your allies to gain 130 Nature Damage Resistance, this ability is great in case you do not have a Shaman in your group and you undertake massive amounts of Nature Damage.
  • Eyes of the Beast is an ability that allows you to directly control your pet for 1 minute. You can use this ability to initiate fights or simply scout ahead.
  • Wing Clip is an ability that slows your target for up to 10 seconds by 50%. This ability requires you to be in melee range, so you can use it as an escape tool.
  • Track Humanoids is one of your core abilities, tracking itself is the trademark of the Hunter Class. You can choose to track a very large number of entities, displaying them on the minimap. However, with the help of our talents, we now deal increased damage by up to 5% to any specific tracked enemy, meaning that you should always check what type of enemies you will engage and change your Tracking accordingly for increased damage.
  • Master’s Call is an utility ability that allows your pet to remove any snare or immobilizing effects and be completely immune to them for the following 4 seconds. This spell can prove itself to be extremely useful, especially if your pet is stuck very far away from your position.


When it comes to “Pets” hunters can choose a large variety of companions to accompany them during their journey. However, a few of them stand out, those being the wolf and the wasp. A wolf is going to be our best choice when it comes to optimizing our damage, however, a wasp has the element of reducing the target’s armor, so you might want to explore that as well. Both of those potential pets fall under the “Ferocity” class.

Pets have 3 types of classes attributed to them, we can have Ferocity pets, Cunning pets, or Tenacity pets.

Tenacity pets are generally useful for leveling as they can tank your enemies for you, Ferocity pets are most useful during the later stages of the game as they can provide the best damage output. Meanwhile, Cunning pets are best used for player versus player content, as they can provide several interesting effects.

Single Target Rotation

The single-target rotation has a few key points. First of all, it depends on how many Hunters there are present in your group, if there are multiple Hunters and you are not designated to use your Misdirection first then your rotation changes, however, once your turn arrives, you must be ready to use misdirection properly. Secondly, Macros are a big part of Hunter’s gameplay, most of their spells require Macros in order to be efficient.

As we have talked about earlier in the overview of our abilities, Steady Shot is our main “filler spell” with the other spells being used on cooldown, the rotation itself as we mentioned previously depends on whether you are assigned to use Misdirection first or not.


Rotation 1: (If you do not require to use Misdirection)

  • Readiness can be used to place Explosive Trap twice(Explosive Trap is a situational spell that you should use in your rotation, only being used in cases where you have to get close to the boss)

Rotation 2(Misdirection)

Depending on the situation or on the encounter itself, you will be required to use your traps to provide utility or you can even incorporate an Explosive Trap into your single target rotation. Do not forget to use your defensive spells to mitigate any threatening raid or dungeon mechanic!

As we have explained earlier in the Abilities Overview section, Hunters have a plethora of utility spells that must be used during either dungeons or raids, please do not forget to have a proper look at the section to better understand how you can help your allies during those dangerous encounters.

Area of Effect Rotation 

When it comes to Area-of-Effect hunters can deal moderate to high damage. They have a number of different area of effect abilities that can prove themselves to be quite strong, however, they will not entirely overpower other classes.

  • Volley is your strongest AoE spell, allowing you to cause Arcane damage to any number of enemies in an 8-yard radius. You will find yourself using this spell most of the time in an AoE fight.
  • Multi-Shot is your second AoE spell, allowing you to hit up to 3 targets instantly. Remember that this spell has a 10 second cooldown, and should be used in between your Volley channels. However, you should never stop a Volley just because the cooldown of Multi-Shot is over.
  • Explosive Trap is your third AoE spell that has the potential to deal tremendous damage, however, that being said only with the help of Glyph of Explosive Trap. You can effectively use up to 3 traps if you manage to place one roughly 25 seconds before the engagement. The second and third traps can be used with the help of Readiness.

Area of Effect Rotation: Explosive Trap[pre fight]->Multi-Shot->Volley->Explosive Trap(only if in proximity)->Volley->Multi-Shot->Volley->Repeat.

Note on Movement & Jumping

This might shock some of my fellow serial-jumpers out there, but Hunters should never jump! The reason is simple: you unfortunately cannot use your Auto Shot while moving or jumping.

By having a weapon swing timer addon, such as the aptly named WeaponSwingTimer, you can track when your Auto Shot is about to fire off. Moving or jumping at this time will delay it, and thus cost you DPS. You will instead want to only AFTER your Auto Shot fired off, preferably also using your instant cast spells as you move, for maximum efficiency.

This mechanic is tricky to to grasp initially, but after you get the hang of it, you’ll see your DPS improve significant. Basically avoid jumping, move only after the WeaponSwingTimer addons show that your Auto Shot has fired off, and deal big damage!


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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Jamie Antoinne Kaspers
5 months ago

Quick note that the rotation changes a little bit if you are specced into improved steady shot, because it is able to override itself instead of Serpent > Chimera > Aimed > x4 Steady you will see a slight DPS increase going Serpent > Chimera > 2x Steady > Aimed > 2x Steady.

This mostly matters for the middle parts of the fight, not really for your opener or during execute

Kenneth devin Padgett
Kenneth devin Padgett
1 year ago

Ultament gunter macro
/castsequence reset=combat/target Hunter’s Mark,Rapid Fire, Serpent Sting, Chimera Shot, Aimed Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot,Readiness,Rapid Fire, Chimera Shot, Aimed Shot,Steady shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Steady shot
/castsequence reset=combat Hunter’s Mark, Serpent Sting, Chimera Shot, Aimed Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Chimera Shot, Aimed Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Chimera Shot, Aimed Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot

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