Ever since I made my hunter, I’ve always been a Marksman. Survival was fun for a short while and Beastmaster is really boring to me. I’ve seen many Marksman who failed at maximizing their DPS only because they listen to cookie-builders instead of learning their class and finding what works with their playstyle.
Rotation is not everything. Gear is not everything. Spec is not everything. You need to find the rhythm in your playstyle and build your hunter around that playstyle. Rotation, gear, and spec will fall in place when you find your rhythm. As for me, my main focus on my hunter is cost effectiveness. It all depends on how much damage I deal with my effective focus pool. If I spent 100 focus, how much damage would I deal? That’s the focus of my hunter and that’s why I picked Marksman because I can control the damage per focus spent. Survival has a lot of DoTs and Beastmaster’s damage is mostly coming from pets, thus a damage per focus evaluation will not make sense.
There’s also some situations that the DoTs from Survival and the pet of Beastmasters causes more problem when my hunter tries to disengage. With Marksman, when I stop attacking to disengage, the damage also stops which results in an effective disengagement. But the bottom line is, I have my rhythm in Marksman and I can’t just change spec just because someone is convinced that the other spec has better DPS — it may be true, that’s not necessarily true for me.
What’s the Marksmanship load-out?
Level 10 – Aimed Shot
While many other hunters opens with Steady Shot or Serpent Sting and only uses Aimed Shot when Master Marksman procs, I use this skill as my opening shot. At level 10, it doesn’t make much sense to open with Aimed Shot, but once you gained Careful Aim, you’ll understand.
Level 20 – Careful Aim
Ah, this is the skill that makes Aimed Shot shines. Then later on at higher level when we gained Piercing Shots, all of these three skills works well together.
Level 30 – Silencing Shot + Concussive Barrage
These are the Marksman’s target control skills. Silencing Shot allows the Marksman to deny the target while Concussive Barrage keeps them at bay.
Level 45 – Bombardment
This skill simply allows the Marksman to spam Multi-shots for more damage at zero cost. Perks of being a Marksman.
Level 54 – Rapid Recuperation
This plus Fervor insures that we gets to stay in a long fight for a very…wait for it…long time. Hey! What do you know?
Level 58 – Master Marksman
It’s a free Aimed Shot when it procs. That’s it? Um, yeah.
Level 60 – Chimera Shot
Still a great high damage instant shot that refreshes Serpent Sting plus a 5% heal.
Level 63 – Steady Focus
Another focus regen plus attack speed. More speed = high chance to proc = a very good thing.
Level 72 – Piercing Shots
Bleeds on 30% of the crit damage? Yes please!
Level 80 – Mastery: Wild Quiver
In my opinion, this is the weakest Mastery and is negligible. With base 16% proc chance for 80% weapon damage — forget it, it sucks. Marksmanship is all about RAP, crits, and haste thus I will never spec for Mastery which makes this mastery really useless.
What Talents to use?
Level 15 – Defense (c)
a) Post Haste – Your Disengage frees you from all movement impairing effects and increases your movement speed by 60% for 8 sec.
In my opinion, this has PvP written all over it. As a PvE player, this is not the talent I would even choose. However, as a Level 15 Hunter, this might be a good talent to get leveling up since it allows the hunter to escape a tight situation like pet over aggroing.
b) Narrow Escape – When you Disengage, you also activate a web trap which encases all targets within 8 yards in sticky webs, preventing movement for 8 sec.
Just like Post Haste, this has PvP written all over it, but can also be used in PvE to escape tight situations. However Post Haste is still superior since it can remove movement impairment and gives movement speed increase.
c) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera – Reduces the cooldown of Disengage by 10 sec, and the cooldown of Deterrence by 60 sec.
As a PvE Marksmanship, this is the best talent since this gives the hunter both defensive skills, disengage and deterrence, to be used more often. If glyphed with Liberation, this is a decent source of heal when in a long fight. Thus, this is my talent of choice.
Level 30 – Crowd Control (a)
a) Binding Shot – You fire a magical projectile, tethering the enemy and any other enemies within 5 yards of the landing arrow for 10 sec.
If targets move 5 yards from the arrow they are stunned for 5 sec (3 sec PvP) and will be immune to the effects of Binding Shot for 10 sec.
This is the only AoE crowd control in this set of talents, thus it is an auto-pick.
b) Wyvern Sting – A stinging shot that puts the target to sleep for 30 sec. Any damage will cancel the effect. Only one Sting per Hunter can be active on the target at a time.
Putting a target to sleep is not really a hunter’s forté. When in a group, other classes can do this better and when alone, an AoE CC (Binding Shot) is way better especially when they both have the same cooldown.
c) Intimidation – Command your pet to intimidate the target, stunning it for 3 sec.
In my opinion, this is a PvP talent so unless we choose to PvP, we don’t need this in PvE.
Level 45 – Survivability (b)
a) Exhilaration – Instantly heals you for 30% and your pet for 100% of total health.
Let’s do a simple Math. I get to heal 30% every 120 seconds with Exhilaration. I can Disengage every 10 seconds thanks to L15(c) talent, thus in 120 seconds I can Disengage 12 times. Every time I Disengage I get healed for 5% due to Liberation glyph, thus in 12 Disengages I get to heal for a total of 60%. So it doesn’t makes sense to me to pick this talent up for any situation.
b) Aspect of the Iron Hawk – The Hunter takes on the aspects of an iron hawk, increasing ranged attack power by 25%, and reducing all damage taken by 10%. Only one Aspect can be active at a time.
Replaces [Aspect of the Hawk].
This has Marksmanship written all over it. +25% RAP + 10% damage reduction? Yes please! This talent really complements the L15(c) talent.
c) Spirit Bond – While your pet is active, you and your pet will regenerate 3% of total health every 2 sec.
This talent is for both Beastmaster and Survival Hunters. We Marksman simply do not benefit from this.
Level 60 – Re-focus (a)
a) Fervor – Instantly restores 50 Focus to you and your pet and an additional 50 Focus over 10 sec.
This is a definite Marksmanship talent since it allows us to maintain DPS for a very long time.
b) Dire Beast – Summons a powerful wild beast to attack your target for 15 sec. Each time the beast deals damage, you will gain 5 Focus.
Since this talent has the same cooldown as L60(a) talent, the choice is really between these two. The question is, do a Marksman relies on his pet to do damage? The answer is no. I’d rather deal the damage myself, thus I rather have the focus and this is not a talent for Marksman.
c) Thrill of the Hunt – You have a 15% chance when you fire a ranged attack that costs Focus or Kill Command to reduce the Focus cost of your next 3 Arcane Shots or Multi-Shots by 20.
Relying focus replenishment on RNG is a never a good thing. With a low chance of 15% proc on focus skill and only affect Arcane and Multi-shot, for goodness’ sake this talent sucks.
Level 75 – Bonus DPS (b)
a) A Murder of Crows – Summons a flock of crows to attack your target over the next 30 sec. If used on a target below 20% health, the cooldown is reduced to 60 seconds.
This is a really good talent coupled with Kill Shot when the target is at 20% since we can use this every 30 seconds. However, how often does a target last longer than 30 seconds when they fall at 20% health? In other words, this is only great against raid bosses that some times a 20% health can lasts longer than 30 seconds which gives us a lot of opportunity to reuse it again and again. Still, for the sake of fun, I’ll let the birds have the last bite.
b) Blink Strikes – Your pet’s Basic Attacks deal 50% increased damage, can now be used from 30 yards away, and will instantly teleport them behind their target.
This is a great talent for any spec. Although I would love to have the 50% bonus damage that given to my pet given to me instead it’s still not a bad talent for my pets to have. The fact that this is a passive ability makes is more attractive, even for Marksman.
c) Lynx Rush – Your pet rapidly charges from target to target, attacking 9 times over 4 sec. Each attack causes the target to bleed for (X*5) damage over 15 sec, stacking up to 9 times.
The pet must be within 10 yards of the target to Lynx Rush.
If this talent deals raw damage in addition to the pet’s damage, then this might be good to use as an AoE damage, but hunters already have Multi-shots and the risk of having the pet over-aggro is not beneficial in any situation.
Level 90 – Special Power (b)
a) Glaive Toss – You hurl two glaives toward a target, each dealing X damage to each enemy struck and reducing movement speed by 30% for 3 sec. The primary target will take 4 times as much damage from each strike.
The Glaives will return back to you, damaging and snaring targets again as they return.
This is the best Special Power compare to the other 2 since this has the lowest cooldown and damage plus CC is a big deal. A must for Marksman.
b) Powershot – You wind up a powerful shot, which deals 600% weapon damage to the target and 300% weapon damage to all enemies in between you and the target. Moving targets can avoid this damage.
Enemies hit by Powershot are also knocked back.
With the buff to Aimed Shot from 350% to 450%, this talent is close to uselessness if not already. Sure it can damage those along the path, but the damage is lackluster that it’s better to just Aimed Shot. Not to mention that this has a whopping 45 second cooldown. In my opinion, not enough damage for the given cooldown.
c) Barrage – Rapidly fire a spray of shots forward for 3 sec, dealing a total of 640% weapon damage to the enemy target and an average of 320% weapon damage to each other enemy target in front of you.
Useable while moving.
In my opinion, I would pick this talent over Glaive Toss if not for the coolness factor of Glaive Toss. So my decision for picking Glaive Toss is purely aesthetic. Ok, not really. Seriously, even though this can deal more damage since it provides a lot of opportunity for a crit to happen, Glaive Toss is still the best for Marksman because of its low cooldown and CC.
1) Aimed Shot – Need to be able to shoot on the move
2) Mending – Keeps your tank (pet) tanking
3) Liberation – Self-heal that works well with 15c talent
1) Revive Pet – Get pet back into the fight quicker
2) Fetch – Simply put, “I’m lazy.”
3) Stampede – Visual que that the skill is in effect