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Marksmanship Hunter DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Pet Talents (Legion 7.1)

Last updated on Oct 30, 2016 at 13:29 by Azortharion 461 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Marksmanship Hunters in World of Warcraft Legion 7.1. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Marksmanship Hunter guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Azortharion, the main theorycrafter of the spec. He is also an accomplished player who raids in Vanguard. You can also watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Talent Cheat Sheets

While optimizing talents on a contextual basis is the highly recommended method of setting up your build, the talent builds listed below work great for specific purposes.

1.1. For Mythic+

This build is an excellent starting point for questing, dungeons, or general purpose usage, but particularly Mythic+ content.

1.2. For Raid Encounters

This build is an excellent starting point as a standard raid setup.

2. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Lone Wolf Lone Wolf Steady Focus ? Steady Focus Careful Aim ? Careful Aim

Tier 1 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that increase your DPS.

  • Lone Wolf Icon Lone Wolf removes your ability to summon a pet, but increases all of your damage done by 18%.
  • Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus causes your passive Focus regeneration to be increased by 25% for 12 seconds whenever you use Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot or Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot thrice in a row. Sidewinders Icon Sidewinders activates Steady Focus with only one cast.
  • Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim causes your Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot, Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot, Marked Shot Icon Marked Shot and Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot abilities to have a 20% increased chance to critical strike on targets above 80% health. Additionally, when they critically strike, these abilities will deal 30% additional damage in the form of an 8-second DoT effect.

Currently, we recommend using Lone Wolf Icon Lone Wolf at all times since it simply provides the most damage and requires no management. It also improves target switching capability by removing the pet, putting more of the total damage in the hands of the hunter.

Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus is a decent choice if you enjoy having a pet, being only slightly inferior to Lone Wolf Icon Lone Wolf in terms of damage output, and quite a bit worse in terms of target switching since you will have a pet if you use this talent.

Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim is a better choice if you never switch targets in the fight, and you are always fighting a single target, and on fights where the boss is only active on very high health (such as Helya and Odyn).

3. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Lock and Load Lock and Load Black Arrow ? Black Arrow True Aim True Aim

Tier 2 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that increase your DPS.

  • Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load gives your auto shots an 8% chance to trigger Lock and Load, causing your next two Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shots to cost no Focus, and be instant cast.
  • Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow is an active ability that deals high damage to the target over 8 seconds. It also summons a Dark Minion which will taunt and tank your target for you, though this taunt only works in outdoor content. When you kill an enemy (requires you to land the killing blow), the cooldown of this ability is reset. It has a 15-second cooldown and costs 40 Focus.
  • True Aim Icon True Aim causes your consecutive attacks on the same target to stack a damage debuff called True Aim Icon True Aim on this target. This buff stacks up to 8 times, and increases your damage done to that target by 2% per stack.

We recommend Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load for raiding purposes, since Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow cannot be reliably reset often enough to make it worth it (requires you to land the killing blow). Black Arrow is a decent, but ultimately inferior choice for dungeons and Mythic+ where you can typically get at least a killing blow per pack. True Aim Icon True Aim is competitive but falls behind Lock and Load as soon as you switch targets and have to stack up the buff again.

4. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Posthaste Posthaste Farstrider Farstrider Trailblazer Trailblazer

Tier 3 talents offer you a choice between 3 means of improving your mobility.

  • Posthaste Icon Posthaste causes Disengage Icon Disengage to free you from all movement-impairing effects and boost your movement speed by 60% for 5 seconds.
  • Farstrider Icon Farstrider causes your damaging ability critical strikes to have a 10% chance to reset the cooldown of Disengage Icon Disengage.
  • Trailblazer Icon Trailblazer increases your non-mounted movement speed by 25% after you have not attacked anything for 3 seconds. It expires when you attack something again.

Your default choice should be Posthaste Icon Posthaste, as it will make you much better at covering long distances on a regular basis. You can use Farstrider Icon Farstrider if you never have to move more than the distance a single Posthaste Icon Posthaste will take you. Trailblazer Icon Trailblazer is only really worth using for non-mounted periods where you will be moving between combat zones for a long time. Since dungeons have nearly constant combat, and World Quests allow you to mount up, there are not many places where you can reliably do this. There is a conceivably use for it for Survival in dungeons, since the spec does not have a lot of mobility when running between packs besides its Harpoon Icon Harpoon ability.

5. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Explosive Shot Explosive Shot Sentinel Sentinel Patient Sniper Patient Sniper
  • Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot is an active ability that fires a projectile in a straight line ahead of you when you first press it. The second time you press it, this projectile explodes for high damage, based on how close it is to its target. In short, the closer you explode it to your target, the more damage it will do.
  • Sentinel Icon Sentinel is an active ability with 2 charges on a 30-second cooldown that instantly applies Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark to your target, and all other targets within 8 yards.
  • Patient Sniper Icon Patient Sniper increases your maximum Focus by 30 (up to 150), and causes the Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable debuff to increase Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot and Marked Shot Icon Marked Shot damage to the target by 150% (up from 50% per stack, for a maximum of 100%), but it no longer stacks, and it only lasts 6 seconds, down from 30.

Patient Sniper Icon Patient Sniper is the completely dominant talent in this tier, doing far more damage than the other choices on any number of targets. It goes especially well with Sidewinders Icon Sidewinders which is the preferred talent as we will see later on.

Sentinel Icon Sentinel can offset bad RNG by being used in multi-target situations where you would otherwise be hoping for a Marking Targets Icon Marking Targets proc before the relevant targets die. Still, this talent is not recommended, since Patient Sniper simply provides so much of a damage benefit.

Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot is a mediocre single-target and multi-target choice. The "skillshot"-style mechanic only makes it more difficult to use in a hectic raid setting.

6. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Binding Shot Binding Shot Wyvern Sting ? Wyvern Sting Camouflage ? Camouflage

Tier 5 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that provide you crowd control and utility.

  • Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot fires an arrow at a targeted location on the ground. If an enemy comes within 5 yards of the arrow, and then steps more than 5 yards away from it again, they will be stunned for 5 seconds. This ability has a 45-second cooldown.
  • Wyvern Sting Icon Wyvern Sting puts the target to sleep for 30 seconds. The ability has a 45-second cooldown. Any damage done to the target will break the effect.
  • Camouflage Icon Camouflage is an active ability that gives you stealth for one minute, and heals you for 2% of your maximum health every second. The stealth component of this ability does not work in combat.

While none of these talents will have any effect on your DPS, Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot can bring some raid utility, as it can be used as a reliable stun for fights with adds. It can also be used as an interrupt, since placing it so that the add is at the edge of the targeted area will instantly stun it, regardless of whether or not it moves.

You should choose the talent that best suits your situation, but Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot should generally be your default choice.

7. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

A Murder of Crows ? A Murder of Crows Barrage Barrage Volley ? Volley
  • A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows summons a flock of crows to attack your target for 15 seconds, with a 1-minute cooldown. If the target dies while under attack, the cooldown of A Murder of Crows is reset. It costs 30 Focus.
  • Barrage Icon Barrage is a channeled spell that fires a barrage of shots at the main target, dealing high damage over 3 seconds (a total of 16 shots in quick succession), while also dealing half damage to all other enemy targets in a cone in front you (a total of 8 shots in quick succession to each target). It does not hit targets that are invisible or in stealth.
  • Volley Icon Volley is an activated ability that causes your auto shots to also launch a volley of shots that deal moderate Physical damage to your target, and all other targets within 8 yards. While Volley is active, it will drain 3 Focus per autoattack (about 1 focus per second on average).

Barrage Icon Barrage is currently the strongest choice in this tier for most raiding situations, but it is inferior to A Murder of Crows on pure single-target encounters like Nythendra.

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows is the best choice for pure single-target fights, and fights where it can reliably be reset a lot of the time.

Volley Icon Volley does more AoE damage than Barrage Icon Barrage, but it requires enemies to be stacked on top of each other, which is not always the case. You should pick Volley for fights where you can reliably AoE many, stacked targets with it. If the targets are more spread out, such as on Il'gynoth, then you should use Barrage for AoE purposes instead.

8. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Sidewinders Sidewinders Piercing Shot ? Piercing Shot Trick Shot Trick Shot

Tier 7 talents offer you a choice of various means of enhancing your DPS performance.

  • Sidewinders Icon Sidewinders is an active ability that replaces both Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot. It has a 12-second cooldown, 2 charges, and it generates 50 Focus when it is cast. Unlike Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot, it applies the Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable debuff to the target directly. When cast, it hits all targets in a cone in front of you for moderate Nature damage, applying Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable to them. If you have the Marking Targets Icon Marking Targets buff up when you use it, it will apply Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark to all targets, similarly to Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot.
  • Piercing Shot Icon Piercing Shot is an active ability that works much like Powershot did in Warlords of Draenor. It deals high Physical damage to the target, and moderate Physical damage to all targets between you and the target. It will consume all the Focus that you have, to a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 100. The more Focus it consumes, the damage it does. 100 Focus consumed means 100% damage, 50 Focus consumed means 50% damage and so on.
  • Trick Shot Icon Trick Shot is a passive ability that causes Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot to also hit all nearby enemies with the Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable debuff on them for 30% of normal damage. If no other enemies besides the main target has Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable up, it simply causes Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot to deal 15% more damage.

Sidewinders Icon Sidewinders provides the best single-target and spread-out multi-target DPS, combining the best aspects of Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot into one ability, and further simplifying the spec.

Piercing Shot Icon Piercing Shot is a good choice for Mythic+ scenarios and heavy AoE, though it comes at a significant single-target DPS loss.

Trick Shot Icon Trick Shot is not worth taking for any situation.

9. Pet Talents

Pets do not have talent trees. Instead, you can simply choose one of three specialisations for your pet (Ferocity, Tenacity, and Cunning). You can change your pet's specialisation at any time (while out of combat), free of cost.

Each specialisation grants your pet a few specific abilities. Currently, Ferocity provides the highest DPS in a raid environment, so it should be the default choice for Marksmanship and Beast Mastery hunters.

10. ChangeLog

  • 30 Oct. 2016: Removed talent table at the beginning of the page.
  • 25 Oct. 2016: Updated for Patch 7.1.
    • Updated Posthaste's duration. Was changed in Patch 7.1 to be 5 seconds (down from 8).
    • Trailblazer replaces Dash.
    • Updated the reference to Vulnerable in the description of Patient Sniper.
  • 22 Oct. 2016: Updated Mythic+ talent recommendation.
  • 24 Sep. 2016: Updated for hotfixes.
  • 20 Sep. 2016: Changed recommendation back, as it was founded on a mistake by me.
  • 19 Sep. 2016: Changed recommendation from Lock and Load to Black Arrow. Removed sims as they were not useful anymore.
  • 31 Aug. 2016: Rewrote Level 90 talent explanations to make Volley viable in stacked AoE situations.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 06 Aug. 2016: Added talent simulations for all tiers.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Gave more explanations as to why some talents are not currently viable.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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