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The Best Marksmanship Hunter PvE DPS build

The Best Marksmanship Hunter PvE DPS build

The best Marksmanship Hunter DPS build for raiding in Bfa and Patch 8.2

Marksmanship Hunter PvE DPS Build
Odealo's Pocket Guide
Updated for Patch 8.2.0

You can find all our Pocket Guides for other World of Warcraft classes right here: Best WoW Builds

Spec Overview

Marksmanship Hunters are the true Rangers of the World of Warcraft. Their unmatched ranged weapon skills have earned them quite a reputation over the years. Unlike other Hunters, Marksmen do not rely on their pets and prefer do damage by themselves unleashing a fluffy of shots on the chosen targets. Precise firing requires a lot of aim, however, and MM Hunters are the least mobile of all Hunter Specs because of that.

 Pros  Cons
 Very High Burst AoE Damage  Low mobility for a Hunter
 Good Single Target Burst Damage  Weak Two-Target Cleave
 Does not have to rely on buggy pet AI  Lack of pet results in lower survivability
 Good Sustained Single Target Damage  Somewhat mediocre in mass AoE (7+ Targets) scenarios

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Statistics Priority

  1. Agility - Increases Hunter's Attack Power, and therefore gives a Damage boost to all his Attacks and Abilities. This is MM Hunter's primary stat, so choosing items with Higher Item Level is generally preferable (for Weapons especially, because the Weapon DPS is also very important gear stat when it comes to Damage output).
  1. Mastery - MM's Mastery: Sniper Training increases all Ability damage and ranged Ability range.
  1. Haste - Increases speed of Hunter's Attacks, reduces Global Cooldowns and boosts Focus Regeneration; it also affects the Cooldown of Aimed Shot.
  1. Critical Strike - Increases Hunter's chance of doing Double (Critical) Damage with all his Weapon Shots and Abilities.
  1. Versatility - Lowers all Damage taken and boosts all Damage done.


The Best Talent Choices

Level 15: 
Recommended choice - Master Marksman
Master Marksman - Your Aimed Shot now also reduces the Focus cost of your next Multi-Shot or Arcane Shot by 100%. This is the simplest, and currently also the best option for both AoE and Single-Target situations.
Serpent Sting is an active DoT ability, that does initial Nature Damage on the cast, and then additional Nature Damage over 12 seconds; it costs 10 Focus and has a 40yd range. This has potential uses in both Single-Target and Multi-Target engagements but is too unwieldy in most situations, and multi-dotting with it burns too many of Hunter's precious resources. A Murderer of Crows is a Damage over Time ability, that deals high amounts of damage over 15 seconds, its Cooldown is reset if the Target dies during the uptime; it has a 1-minute Cooldown. This will provide you with some Priority Target Burst Damage, but is lackluster when it comes to overall DPS.

Level 30: 
Recommended choice - Careful Aim
Careful Aim - Your Aimed Shot now deals 50% increased Damage to targets below 20% and over 80% of the Maximum Health. This boosts overall Damage of your Aimed Shot by 20% and provides you with strong Engagement openings and a Damage Boost during execute phases which is much more valuable than flat 20% damage increase.
Volley causes your Auto Attacks to sometimes trigger a rain of arrows that damage your primary Target as well as all other Targets within an 8yd radius. This Talent now follows the RPPM (Real Proc Per Minute) system, which lowers its proc rates and value considerably. Explosive Shot is an AoE Ability that deals high Damage to your Primary Target and all other Targets within the explosion range; it has a 30-second Cooldown and costs 20 Focus. Explosive Shot may find its uses in AoE heavy engagements during lower Mythic+ key progression.

Level 45: 
Recommended choice - Natural Mending
Natural Mending - Reduces the remaining cooldown of Hunter's Exhilaration ability by 1s for each 20 Focus he spends; This gives a CD reduction of about 30s on average. Choosing this Talent will considerably boost Hunter's survivability in Raids and Mythic+ Dungeons progression.
Trailblazer increases Hunter's movement speed by 30% if he has NOT attacked for 3 seconds; this Talent has rather limited uses because as a DPS, Hunter wants to attack his Target whenever possible. Camouflage is a heal over time spell (2% of the maximum health per second), with an interesting added bonus in a form of 60 seconds of stealth, however, more frequent instant heal provided by the Natural Mending is generally more preferable.

Level 60: 
Recommended choice - Hunter's Mark
Hunter's Mark - Marks your Target, so it becomes always visible to you, and all Damage you do to the Marked Target is increased by 5%. If a Marked Target dies, you instantly gain 20 Focus; only one Hunter's Mark can be active at a time. This is the default choice for 1 to 4 Target engagements, however, it loses value when frequent Target switches are required.
Steady Focus makes your Steady Shot reduce its own Cast Time by 20%, stacking up to two times; any other Shot used will break the effect. This Talent encourages you to use multiple Steady Shots in a row which causes a lot of changes in rotation, which lowers your overall DPS considerably and therefore should be avoided. Streamline makes your Rapid Fire last 20% longer, and therefore generate more Focus and deal more Damage. This Talent is the best option for AoE engagements and is recommended for Mythic+ progression.

Level 75: 
Recommended choice - Posthaste
Posthaste - Using your Disengage ability now also removes all Movement Impairing Effects and boosts your Movement speed by 50% for 4 seconds. Talents in this row are rather situational and should be chosen based on the engagement type, but we recommend the Posthaste as the default choice because it will boost your in-Raid mobility and survivability by the highest margin.
Born to be Wild gives a CD reduction to your Aspects (Cheetah and Turtle for Marksmanship) and Binding Shot is an AoE snare ability which lets you CC Targets in a 5yd area on a 45-second Cooldown. Both of these could find their uses in certain situations but are overall less effective in Raids than the Posthaste.

Level 90: 
Recommended choice - Double Tap
Double Tap - Active ability with a 1-minute Cooldown which makes your next Aimed Shot fire an additional time for its full Damage, and without consuming any Focus, or your next Rapid Fire to deal double Damage by shooting twice as many shots (this will also double your Focus gained from it). This Talent synergizes well with Trick Shots in AoE situations, as your bonus Aimed Shot will also Cleave 5 additional Targets, and provides you with considerable Single and Multi-Target Damage boosts.
Lethal Shots gives your Multi-Shot and Arcane Shot a 20% chance to reduce the Cooldown of Rapid Fire by 5 seconds. This Talent is almost viable, but falls a bit behind Double Tap in both Single and Multi-Target engagements, and is also RNG dependant. The Barrage is an AoE ability that deals Damage to all Targets in a cone in front of you; it has a 20-second Cooldown, and might be useful in AoE heavy engagements as it deals reasonable multitarget damage, it is rather underpowered in single-target heavy encounters, however.

Level 100: 
Recommended choice - Calling The Shots
Calling The Shots - Your Multi-Shot and Arcane Shot casts now also reduce the remaining Cooldown of your Trueshot ability by 2,5 seconds; this will give you more than 1-minute CD reduction on average. The dealbreaker here is the Unerring Vision (it increases your Critical Strike by 150 every second while the Trueshot is active, and it stacks up to 10 times) Azerite Trait, which makes Calling The Shots the best option for Single-Target DPS boost.
Lock and Load passive ability gives your Auto Attacks a 5% chance to make your next Aimed Shot free and instant cast. You should choose this Talent over Calling The Shots if you don't have many Unerring Vision  Azerite Traits. Piercing Shot is an instant cast ability, which deals high physical Damage to all enemies between you and your primary Target (and to your primary Target as well of course), it also ignores armor; Piercing Shot costs too much Focus as of right now, which makes it pretty much useless.


The Basic Rotation

Marksmanship Hunter's rotation revolves around building up Focus with Steady Shot and Rapid Fire and spending it on Aimed Shot and Arcane Shot.

Use the following priority list to maximize your Single Target Damage output:

  1. Hunter's Mark before the engagement starts
  1. Double Tap on Cooldown; It should be spent on Rapid Fire if Careful Aim is not active; or on Aimed Shot during Careful Aim

 +  ⇒ 


  1. Trueshot on Cooldown (and when at 80+ Focus and with 1 Charge of Aimed Shot available preferably)
  1. Aimed Shot when about to reach 2 charges
  1. Rapid Fire on Cooldown (preferably when under 70 Focus, to avoid overcapping)
  1. Arcane Shot if Precise Shots proc is active
  1. Aimed Shot on Cooldown
  1. Arcane Shot to dump Focus and reduce Trueshot's CD via Calling The Shots
  1. Steady Shot on low Focus (try to pool Focus to always have ~80 available)
Use the following priority list when fighting against multiple Targets:
  1. Double Tap before the combat starts
  1. Hunter's Mark on the Priority Target (unless it will die within the next few seconds)
  1. Maintain Trick Shots with Multi-Shot casts
  1. Aimed Shot in Careful Aim windows
  1. Aimed Shot when about to reach 2 Charges
  1. Rapid Fire
  1. Multi-Shot to dump Precise Shots charges
  1. Aimed Shot
  1. Multi-shot to dump Focus when both Rapid Fire and Aimed Shot are on Cooldown, and if Focus > 70.
  1. Steady Shot as a Focus generator


Tips and Tricks for Improving your Gameplay

  1. Avoid Downtime! In Battle for Azeroth, Hunte's Focus Generation is ability-related, which means no casts = no Focus gain. Fill Rotation Gaps created by relocating with instant cast abilities.
  1. Manage your Resources! Never overcap your Focus, but don't let it fall too low, because you'll need it for your Cooldown windows and Aimed Shots. It is beneficial to always pool at least 70 Focus. Memorize how much Focus is generated by your abilities and do not cast them if they would cause you to waste excess Focus.
  1. Always analyze and try to improve upon your mistakes, because practice makes perfect.

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This is an early version of our guide, we plan to upgrade upon it, and add further sections. So please leave your suggestions in the comments section below. We would also like to state that this is meant as a pocket guide and therefore we will not go into too much detail. We may add more in-depth build/stat/gear/rotation analyses in the future updates.

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