- Author: Nevermore
- Date: July 16, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
Marksmanship Hunters train their entire lives to master the art of ranged combat: bows, crossbows and guns are all natural extensions of their arms to them. They still possess the same tricks as other hunter specializations, such as pets and traps, but MM Hunters have focused on making their shots as lethal as possible. There is no target a Marksman cannot hit, no matter how distant it may be, and no target can survive their arrows, either.
Marksmanship goes from our weakest specialization in TBC, to one of the strongest for the first half of WotLK, and ultimately the strongest spec for the second half. We deal crazy amounts of single-target damage, instantly, from extremely long distances — 3 traits that make us incredibly potent damage-dealers. While our cleave and AoE damage isn’t as strong as some of the other specs out there, our overall damage is incredibly powerful nonetheless.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about playing a Marksmanship Hunter in PvE content, with a focus on raiding. We will cover everything from talents and equipment, to ability rotations and macros. By the time you’re done reading this guide, you will be topping DPS meters and collecting epic loot!
Marksmanship Hunter Strengths & Weaknesses
- Top-tier single target damage
Marksmanship Hunters have some of the strongest single target damage in the game. In fights with only 1-2 enemies, you’ll consistently be near the top of damage meters, flexing at your friends.
- Instant, burst damage from range
Frequently, when discussing DPS classes, players fixate on who does the most DPS. MM does great DPS, there’s no doubt about that, but how we do it is also important. All of our spells are ranged, which is great on fights with low melee uptime. Furthermore, they’re instant — meaning movement doesn’t disrupt our damage like it does to casters, who cannot cast while moving. Finally, the damage of our abilities comes in a burst — we don’t rely on DoTs, and we don’t need to set up combo points or anything like that, so when a new target needs to die quickly, MM Hunters can take care of it right away. This makes us more than just damage bots — our damage will make the difference in killing specific targets.
- Low loot competition
MM Hunters are very reliant on equipment, as mentioned in the Weaknesses section. However, the good news here is that, unlike other classes / specs that also have this issue, we have very little loot competition. We use mail armor, with Enhancement Shamans being our only competition — and Enhancement isn’t very strong in Wrath, so your guild may not even bring any. Thus, the only competition you’ll generally have for most of your items will be other Hunters, which will generally be 2-3 players in your raid, while other DPS players have to compete against 6-7 players for loot. We share a tier token with Warriors and Shamans, and neither of them are anywhere near as popular as they used to be, making our token the easiest one to obtain.
While our utility isn’t the greatest overall, we have 1 piece of utility that every single raid will practically need: Misdirection. Most raids will initiate fights with this ability, and having multiple Hunters using it on multiple tanks makes thing a LOT easier — you’ll be the MVP of pulling thanks to this little toy.
- Below average AoE damage
Since time immemorial, MM Hunters have suffered from a lack of AoE damage. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change in Wrath — Volley is our only useful AoE ability, and its damage is nothing to write home about. Our cleave damage is salvageable thanks to Multi-Shot, but on fights with 4 or more enemies, our damage will be middle of the pack at best.
- Highly reliant on gear
MM Hunters deal very strong damage, as mentioned in the Strengths section. However, this is caused by our great scaling — our base damage isn’t as impressive. This means that we are weaker on in early phases, and then become powerhouses once we get strong ranged weapons and are kitted out with armor penetration gear. For this reason, many Hunters will elect to go Survival for Phases 1 & 2, as it’s slightly stronger, but starting in Phase 3, it’s Marksmanship season.
- Very little & situational utility
While utility becomes less important in Wrath, compared to TBC at least, it’s still an important aspect of every class & spec out there, and MM Hunters are unfortunately pretty limited in that department. We have Misdirection for unique utility, which is great, but sadly not much more beyond that.
Marksmanship Hunter Utility
Besides their damage, Marksmanship Hunters bring the following raid buffs & debuffs to a raid:
Our threat misdirection is back in WotLK and it’s still great! It has been changed slightly since TBC, giving you a 4-second window of threat redirection after your first shot, which is honestly great. Our Aimed Shot is instant now, as is our new nuke Chimera Shot, so we can instantly pull with these 2 abilities very easily, ensuring that the tank has a nice threat lead at the start of the fight.
- 10% increased attack power (does not stack) – Trueshot Aura
Our Trueshot Aura experiences a change that’s simultaneously a buff and a nerf. It’s no longer unique, but it offers way more attack power than it previously did, as it now becomes the same must-bring 10% attack power buff that Enhancement Shamans had as an exclusive, Unleashed Rage. Most raids won’t bring an Enhancement Shaman anymore, but they will bring a Blood DK, and they can also offer this buff with Abomination’s Might. This means that most of the time you won’t need to be the one to provide this buff, but you may have to in 10-man raids, where a Blood DK may not be present.
- 3% physical hit chance reduction (does not stack) – Scorpid Sting
This often-ignored debuff helps your tanks survive a little bit better by causing the boss to miss more often. Your Balance Druids can also provide it with Insect Swarm, which is part of their DPS rotation, but they typically do not keep a 100% uptime on it. This means that if necessary, you can step up and debuff the boss, helping your raid out a little.
- 5% armor reduction (does not stack) – Sting (Pet Ability – Wasp)
In a slightly peculiar twist, Hunters of all specs gain access to the same 5% armor debuff that Druids can offer with their Faerie Fire & Warlocks with Curse of Weakness. In 25-man raids it will nearly always be applied by Druids, so you generally don’t need to bring a Wasp pet for this debuff. In 10-man raids and dungeons, however, you can bring the Wasp in and help out your raid’s damage a little.
We hope this guide has been able to help you decide if PvE Marksmanship Hunter is the class / spec for you. Make sure to check out our other sections, such as talents, gear, gems etc., to get more information on how to improve your performance as a Marksmanship Hunter in WotLK!
ArP overtakes agility comes at around 700 passive ArP from gear, until then Agility is superior.
“and Enhancement isn’t very strong in Wrath” ….. Say what?
Always wanted to check hunters out, sweet guide thanks 🙂
Using this guide currently. It’s great! Thanks!
Hi, Can I ask you on Glyph of Serpent sting. Because when I look to how much dmg done with serpent, its like 3% of all my dmg. So could be better glyph of the Hawk or different glyph? Thanks for your answerd.
Glyph of Serpent Sting’s value is mainly due to the increase dmg for Chimera Shot, because of the increased duration/value in the calculation for Chimera Shot.
Glyph of serpent sting gets added with the chimera portion of serpent chimera, adding the time to this makes the 2nd portion of the shot deal extra damage.
what race is best for MM hunter for alliance?
Draenei for the hit % or Night Elves for the Agility
Night elf if you have enough Draenei,
Draenei if you don’t.
Dwarf if you have a gun
Oops, meant to post this in the Talents pane. Not sure how to delete comment.
I can remove it for you, I’ll leave it for 10 minutes or so in case you wanted to copy/paste it to the other guide.
I’m currently playing a Night Elf Hunter and the reason to pick it over a Draenei is that most people would be playing Draenei and I’ll have the 1% hit either way, especially in end-game situation, so I just went for the better looks and Shadowmeld, which is fundamentally different than Feign Death and can be used to evade several ICC mechanics, whereas FD is only dropping Threat. However, there is no denying that on paper Draenei is the better pick for Alliance Hunter. Sadly, the real factor in this is the RNG. I’ve had my best performance as a Night Elf (peaked at 36,000+ burst DPS and 24,000+ sustained DPS without Hysteria), but I had luck with DBW and Stinger procs.
However, I’m interested in the calculations that led you to putting the Orc race before the Trolls. I have switched factions and races several times, and from what I’ve seen Troll outperforms Orc at BiS gear for the simple reason that 340 Attack Power doesn’t offer the same boost to a BiS Hunter and a Hunter that has ~5000 Gear Score. Roughly speaking, Blood Fury increases Attack Power by ~3% in an end-game raid environment and BiS gear, whereas the 20% Attack Speed makes you pump some extra shots with the Attack Power that you already have (which is already high enough). Also, with Berserking you can squeeze an additional Steady Shot into your typical rotation and land a few more auto attack hits, which is the main damage source for Hunters. Many people would say Orcs also have a 5% more pet damage, but since the pet does like 4-7% of the total damage it’s not that huge of a boost. I would really like to see the numbers on this, although the difference is so small that if a Blood Elf gets the better RNG he’ll finish above the Orc/Troll anyway.
Another interesting discussion would be the one for BiS neck – is it Sindragosa’s Cruel Claw or Rimetooth Pendant?
Conclusion – go with whatever race you like! If I was a full-time Horde player I would have picked Blood Elf!
It’s important to note that not everything is identical to the original release so original numbers aren’t perfectly accurate.
Right now, in Phase 2 Ulduar, almost every top Hunter is an Orc. That could just be coincidence, but I think it’s more likely the racials.
An interesting thing looking at logs is that right now, pets are often above steady shot in damage. For example the #1 Horde MM Hunter on Algalon has 11.16% damage from pet and 7.97% damage from Steady Shot.
Definitely go whichever race you want though, picking for racial is really only relevant if you are fully min-maxing.
So… What would be good professions for hunters in lk?
Depending in which kind of guild you are
[Enchant Weapon – Berserking]
i mean could it be useful for hunter
That is an awesome question! Enchant Weapon – Berserking relies on a melee proc, so it’s not an ideal enchant for Hunters since they’d have to find the chance to run in, land a melee attack, and then get back to range quickly, effectively losing DPS without a guaranteed proc chance.
ty for info
No worries at all.