WoW Classic Melee Hunter Guide

Melee Hunter

by Caperfin • 29th September 2020                                                                                                                                                             
About Author


Hi, my name is Caperfin and welcome to my guide! I’m known around the community for pushing World of Warcraft to its limit for five years, redefining what classes can do and transcribing it into comprehensible guides for the community. If a subject is not addressed or poorly, please let me know. Also, If you have any questions after having read the guide, feel free to drop by the stream and ask questions.

Let’s begin!

WoW Classic Hunter Icon

Traditionally, hunters were designed and relegated to be played as a ranged class and the legitimacy of a hunter in the melee
role was rarely considered. However, with a game that has been dissected for over a decade this dated notion has now been
disregarded with the advent of tools. Therefore, our wild animal taming friend can retire his projectile launching weapon days
and opt for spending his glory days in the heat of battle alongside other melee classes.


Before continuing, its important to remember you are not only perusing a certain path but also playing a class that demands a large amount of effort for players to recognise. How players perceive you, will be an aspect you look to improve on a daily basis. Painting yourself in the most positive light possible will have lasting results. Being attentive, vocal and generally well mannered will have positive ripple effects for you later on. You want as much working for you as possible. If done properly, you’ll make a name for yourself as not only a skilled Hunter but a proficient Melee Hunter who goes above and beyond expectations.


Hunters are available to 5 races: Night Elf and Dwarf for the Alliance. Tauren, Orc and Troll for the Horde. In our rigorous testing, the Horde faction is the winner as the tools provided by them heavily trumps what the Alliance has. An example, of one of these tools is Windfury Totem which, is a massive contribution to melee damage. As previously mentioned, there are three possible races on the Horde: Orc, Troll and Tauren. But sadly our bovine friend doesn’t yield any racial benefits. Therefore, our eyes are mostly set on Orc and Troll. There is no clear winner as both races excel under different scenarios. Let’s breakdown both to showcase the differences.

Textual Race Breakdown.

WoW Classic Troll Icon

Trolls have Throwing SpecializationBow SpecializationBeast SlayingRegeneration and Berserking.
What does this mean? Ultimately, if a boss can be vanquished in ~2min or less, Troll is the ideal decision. They will also situationally perform better than any other race when it comes to dealing ranged damage, if one was to be forced to go ranged.
WoW Classic Orc Icon
Orcs have Axe SpecializationBlood FuryHardiness and Command.
What does this mean?: Because of their bonus to axes, they can achieve the Two-handed and Dual-Wield Hit chance quota easier if an axe is equipped, allowing more freedom with gearing. The weapon racial also bodes well as many highly ranked weapons are axes. Orc performs very well on long boss fights.


Hunters have the advantage of acquiring a pet at level 10. Our little companion can provide a decent contrition to our general damage. It should be noted, if you don’t cater to the survival of your pet it will be a detriment to your general DPS. Therefore, it’s not only necessary to move out of the “giant fire” on the ground but also manage the position of your pet. Players who master this notion, should heavily consider investing into buffs for their pet. In terms of bolstering overall damage, cats come in first place but more specifically Broken Tooth who has a unique 1.0 second attack speed.

Beast Training Point Allocation

Each pet is granted a limited amount of “Training Points” that can be used to bolster certain aspects to be utilized in certain scenarios. It’s recommended to have two pets with the Stable Master that each have a different setup of Beast Training Points. Down below is the ideal setup of Training Points for each Raid. If the boss fight has you start off in melee, replace Dash with Rank 3 Prowl.

MC: Fire ResistanceShadow ResistanceGreat StaminaArcane ResistanceClaw & Dash.
BWL: Fire ResistanceShadow ResistanceGreat Stamina, (Rank2) ProwlClaw & Dash.
Anq’iraj: Shadow ResistanceNature ResistanceArcane ResistanceGreat StaminaClaw & Dash.
Naxxramas: Shadow ResistanceNature ResistanceFrost ResistanceFire ResistanceProwlClaw & Dash.


While leveling, pick Herbalism & Alchemy. Herbalism provides ingredients for Alchemy and a source of gold for our eventual endgame professions. The goal is to gather a large supply of gold and a bank full of potions the raid might need, for ex: Elixir of the Mongoose. Afterwards abandon Herbalism and go for the late game profession, Engineering. In order to grab a few useful tools, such as: Gnomish Battle ChickenGoblin Sapper ChargeGoblin Jumper Cables XL among many other gadgets. Keep Alchemy as it provides powerful potions that can be created cheaper than resorting to buy them from the Auction House.


There is a max of 32 Buffs, avoid getting close to the max as it may result in Buffs getting accidentally pushed off. Talents, Set bonuses and Equip effects don’t count, however, weapons that trigger effects will. Focus on getting long lasting duration Buffs first (2hrs) before resorting to get short ones. A fellow Warlock can use Ritual of Summoning for you can diminish the time it takes to get Buffs. The majority of your Buffs will disappear if you die. Therefore, allocate a few Buffs to bolster your overall survival also Health potions can be beneficial. Use “The Buff Cap Calculator” to see how many Buffs you have and what stacks with each other.

Damage Buffs

Very Short Duration

  • Enchant Weapon – Crusader: If you’re dual-wielding Crusader and they activate at the same time they will consume two slots.
  • Feign Death: Takes a Buff slot for as long as you decide to keep the ability active for. Shortest is 1 second.


Other Buffs & damage increasing Buffs

  • Mark of the Chosen: If triggered it can be swapped out and the Buff will stay. (You can get hit by a mob before engaging the boss.)
  • Arcane Intellect: +31 Intellect.
  • Trueshot Aura: +100 Attack Power. (Can be provided by you or another Hunter with the talent)
  • Grilled Squid: +10 Agility for 10min. (Can’t stack with other food Buffs)

Alliance Only:

Buffs to increase the damage of Dragonbreath Chili (scales w/Spell Damage) & situationally Arcane Shot

Buffs to increase Spell Damage

Pet Buffs

Hunter pets can also receive 32 Buffs. Contrary to popular belief, Buffs will countdown even when the pet is dismissed.

Physical Pet Buffs

Alliance Only

– Blessing of Might: +185 Attack Power for 5min. (Exclusive to the Alliance faction.)
– Blessing of Kings: (Exclusive to the Alliance faction.)

Defensive Pet Buffs


There can be a total of 16 Debuffs applicable on a boss. All debuffs on the list below benefit us and are assumed to be at their maximum rank/talent improvement. The following debuffs are classified into sub-groups to highlight their usefulness.

  • Curse of Recklessness: Reducing the target’s Armor will increase the physical damage you and your pet deal.
  • Expose Armor: Reduces target’s armor per combo point. (Can’t stack with Sunder Armor but reduces more than Sunder Armor)
  • Sunder Armor: Reduces armor by 450. Applicable 5 times. (Can’t stack with Expose Armor but reduces more than Expose Armor)
  • Annihilator: Reduces an enemy’s armor by 200. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • Faerie Fire: Reduces armor by 505 for 40 sec. While active, the target cannot stealth or go invisible.
  • Gift of Arthas: (From a potion typically used by the tank)
  • Spell Vulnerability from Nightfall: (Increases the damage of Dragonbreath Chili & situationally: Arcane Shot)

Phantom of the Wing Clip

The basic weapon spell Wing Clip performs a “Phantom Strike”, which causes a melee swing but no actual damage is dealt but it will still trigger effects that require a melee swing to activate, ex: Windfury TotemHand of JusticeDrake Talon CleaverDragonbreath Chili, etc… This can contribute a significant amount of damage.


The interesting part about gearing a Melee Hunter is its similarity with traditional range hunter gearing. It’s possible to play as a ranged hunter and transition to melee later fairly easy. You won’t need to convince players about your desire for unconventional gear and go into a diatribe about your plan to go melee hunter later. In Phase 1-3, two-handed weapons are more sought after since there’s less of a need to get gear with “Hit” on it in order to reach the feasible 9% Melee Hit Cap. Phase 4 and above provides an easier time to obtain Hit, as a large amount of good gear just happens to have Hit. Therefore, Dual-Wielding becomes a viable option.

General Stat Priority: Two-Hand Melee Hit Cap (9%) > Agility > Strength/Attack Power > Intellect.

General Stat Priority: Dual-Wield Melee Hit Cap (12%) > Agility > Strength/Attack Power > Intellect.

Phase 5 Two-Hand BiS “Orc”

Phase 5 Dual Wield BiS “Orc”

Phase 6 Dual Wield BiS “Orc”

Hunter Gear Spreadsheet

Gear Enchants

Enchants similar to gear need to be tailored for our purposes. They enable us to further round out our character. Luckily, the stat priorities in the previous section are still applicable here. I should point out, you don’t need to be an Enchanter to benefit from the profession’s advantages. Simply, give the Enchanter the necessary Enchanting materials and they will enchant your gear for a small gold tip. Certain enchants can end up being very costly, I only recommend enchanting gear if you’re absolutely certain it wouldn’t get upgraded for a long time. Here are the most notable Gear Enchants we can get our hands on:

Temporary weapon enchants (these can be placed on top of an already permanently enchanted weapon)Temporary weapon enchants.

Feign Death (FD)

Feign Death (FD) is similar to the rogue spell: Vanish. FD grants us the capability to leave combat but because bosses ever so often, pulsate an aura that automatically puts nearby targets in combat, we must be fast with our fingers. The amount of time it takes for the combat aura to effect the hunter depends on the boss. A few of the many actions, we can do while out of combat are: eat food to regenerate our resources, cast Hunter trap spells, reset our threat on the target and equip different gear. I suggest, installing the addon: “Item Rack” to automatically equip items the very second combat is dropped.

  • Feign Death is affected by Ranged & Melee Hit and the number of yards you are from the target. (The farther the better)
  • Feign Death is finicky and will not always allows you to perform out of combat actions.


There are 3 possible Talent Setups, each caters to a specific situation. Firstly, is “Short Fights” focusing on increasing your pet’s burst damage, thanks to Bestial Wrath. As you might have guessed it’s ideal for short fights. Secondly, is “Support”, which forgoes major personal damage increasing possibilities. Instead it aids others through Trueshot Aura. The third and last talent setup is “Long Fights”, bolstering the damage of the Hunter through Lightning Reflexes.

31/0/20 “Short Fights”
Mostly for ~2min boss fights. It is imperative to keep you pet alive for as long as possible. In the situation, this is not possible, consider the talent setup below.

Detailed Explanation

Improved Feign Death or Trap Mastery?
A boss resisting our Feign Death means we’re incapable of switching gear which damage-wise outweighs traps.

Why points in Improved Aspect of the Monkey?
On the off chance you pull Aggro on the creature and dodge enabling Mongoose BiteDeterrence should be activated immediately prior to better ensure your chances.

Endurance Training / Improved Aspect of the Hawk?
Points can be withdrawn from Endurance Training, if your pet rarely approaches death and paced in Improved Aspect of the Hawk for the occasional fight that requires you to move around and stand away from the boss. I’d strongly suggest Imp. Aspect of the Hawk if you have Primal Blessing.

21/0/30 “Anti-Pet Fights & Long Fights”
The solution for your pet dying for whatever reason and +2min fights. But it’s a Phase 5 & 6 talent option since later raiding content gives the required Agility from gear to make it truly shine. Also, somewhat ideal for boss fights where keeping a distance is sometimes necessary.

Detailed Explanation

Why Lightning Reflexes?
You start to see large amounts of Agility on gear around AQ – Naxxramas causing this talent to scale very well.

0/31/20 “Support”
Typically, this talent setup is taken during a guild’s progression through a raid. You will likely be placed in a group with Warriors who are playing the damage dealing role. You might also be asked to equip Nightfall for the first ~30 seconds of a boss fight.


Pre Pull: Before the Raid starts, make sure you and your pet get the most buffs out there in the world. Buffs will slowly start to countdown so be sure to Log Out to preserve their duration and log back into the game when the raid is ready. In terms of Hunter Aspects, use Aspect of the Monkey but if the boss fight has moments when you cannot go in melee then instead use Aspect of the Hawk. If the boss fight necessitates you to attack targets that have some distance between each other use Aspect of the Cheetah to reach the next target faster.
Pulling: Summon your pet and ask the Raid for the remaining last few Buffs on you and your pet.
Pulling-Situational: If it’s required to keep a distance for a few seconds either at the start or later on in the fight be sure to equip Primal BlessingHurricane, cast Rapid Fire and get as many ranged auto-attacks out as possible before being able to go into melee. Once you receive the buff from Primal Blessing equip all your normal gear and head towards the target.

Combat: Target the mob, activate Raptor Strike and run towards it, while constantly pressing Wing Clip. Once you reach the target, use a damage increasing trinket, ex: Earthstrike. Spam WG until the moment RS comes of cooldown. Once the damage trinket has expired, cast Feign Death & equip a passive damage increasing trinket, ex: Blackhand’s Breadth. Repeat RS & WG t’ill target dies.
Combat-Situational: If you accidentally pull Aggro on a target and it’s about to attack you. Activate the talent spell Deterrence to enable the possibly to cast Mongoose Bite and then Limited Invulnerability Potion (cancels Aggro) immediately after to help the tank reposition the target and go behind its back.


I’m having difficulties getting into raids any suggestions?
It’s all about reputation and how you’re perceived by others. Check out this video to learn more.

Can fire traps scale with spell damage?
This has been extensively tested by many and proven not to scale with Spell Damage.

How long is Mongoose Bite active for?
It’s active for 8 seconds.

How did you find out about Melee Hunters?
I’ve been playing these type of non-conventional ways of approaching the game for years. It was pure curiosity fulled by trying to put a refreshing spin on an old game.


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1 year ago

Can we please get a WOTLK melee hunter update? Big fan, raptor striking for like 2 years now 😎

4 years ago

This guide is amazing, not a Mainchar for me, but maybe a twink :p?
Thank you much for that!

4 years ago

Neretzek, The Blood Drinker is the soonest weapon a hunter can acquire to start melee’ing a boss for the purpose of doing personal damage

When the first weapon that makes your build somewhat viable is from AQ40 trash and the other recommend weapon is Ashbringer, I kind of lose interest. I’ve always wondered if melee Hunter could work, but this portion of the guide is quite disheartening. Melee Hunter could be great fun, but I don’t know if it is truly viable. I always wanted a legolas style dual wield melee Hunter to work in Vanilla, but I think that will remain a fantasy.

4 years ago

hit the boss with WG in conjunction with RS.

Excuse me if I missed an obvious point anywhere, however, what is WG?

4 years ago

Neretzek, The Blood Drinker is the soonest weapon a hunter can acquire to start melee’ing a boss for the purpose of doing personal damage

When the first weapon that makes your build somewhat viable is from AQ40 trash and the other recommend weapon is Ashbringer, I kind of lose interest. I’ve always wondered if melee Hunter could work, but this portion of the guide is quite disheartening. Melee Hunter could be great fun, but I don’t know if it is truly viable. I always wanted a legolas style dual wield melee Hunter to work in Vanilla, but I think that will remain a fantasy.

Yeah, the primary argument for a melee hunter would be having the highest potential for nightfall uptime. I have seen some theorycrafting while using ravager and sapper charges for AoE pulls that seems to yield some high numbers as well (on private), but this will be another fringe spec that requires a lot more gear than is realistic for most players.

As soon as you drop the nightfall to increase your own personal DPS you decrease the throughput of the entire team, meaning someone else will need to pickup a nightfall. It is typically just better to let the guy who has always wielded the nightfall to continue doing so.

Nightfall is one of those ace in the hole items that can validate A LOT of fringe specs. If the boomkin could equip this item, it would be used to validate playing a boomkin. If the shadowpriest could wield this item, they would use it to add a value argument to their spec. Unfortunately for many would-be meme specs, there can be only one nightfall wielding player in the raid.

2 years ago

Option a class hunter as a melee hunter with an axe ( might the oppositional switch difference to how good a sword or hammer might be ) and sturdy your trap And that’s it !

1 year ago

Isn’t Thunderfury BiS for dw melee hunters?

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