Hunter Class Overview
Hunters are master marksmen and, with the help of a fierce animal companion, can deal damage from range without ever letting their target get close. With special tracking abilities, traps, and a wide range of utility spells, Hunters are a great choice for anyone looking for a strong solo class with incredible ranged damage and unique utility.
While Hunters may have been an off-meta, unpopular class in Classic, Burning Crusade is where Hunters truly step into the limelight. Thanks to the incredible buffs and scaling changes to both Hunters and their pets in TBC, Hunters rise straight to the top of the meters for the entire expansion. For Hunters, TBC is perhaps the strongest they will ever be out of any expansion in WoW's history.
Hunters are able to choose from 3 specializations: Beast Mastery, Marksmanship, and Survival. All three specializations play relatively similarly as they are all range DPS specializations that focus on a combination of bow and pet attacks. However, the specs place emphasis on different areas.
- Beast Mastery is a range-DPS specialization that focuses on maximizing your pet's damage in combination with your own.
- Marksmanship is a range-DPS specialization that focuses on maximizing your own damage from ranged attacks. Marksmanship also brings the aura Trueshot Aura.
- Survival is a range-DPS specialization that focuses on buffing your traps, melee attacks, and scaling your stats. Survival is known specifically for the talent Expose Weakness, which is an incredibly valuable debuff that is unique to them.
Are Hunters Viable at 70?
As a Hunter in TBC, you can play one of three specializations: Beast Mastery, Marksmanship, and Survival. All three specs have their own pros and cons in both PvE and PvP, but first and foremost all of the Hunter specs are 100% viable in all content. However, some are better than others at certain things.
Beast Mastery is the strongest Hunter spec in PvE by far. Beast Mastery focuses on boosting your pet damage in addition to yours, giving you access to a powerful new cooldown and some excellent stat talents that help you to top meters. Most raids will covet Beast Mastery Hunters, looking to stack them whenever possible, as they are considered top-tier DPS at every stage of the game. In PvP, Beast Mastery is still strong, but nowhere near as meta as in PvE. Beast Mastery is particularly strong in 3v3 arena, as they can suffer with pet issues in 2v2 where people will target and kill their pets. In PvP, Beast Mastery plays like a glass cannon - you do tons of damage, but have little survivability and CC compared to other Hunter specs and other classes.
Survival is the second most-viable Hunter specialization, and centers around scaling from Agility to provide a specific debuff for the raid group. Survival does less damage at a personal level than Beast Mastery, but brings the talent Expose Weakness to raids. This talent lowers the armor of the target they crit, which is incredibly valuable to any raid group, meaning every raid will always want at least one Survival Hunter. Thanks to Lightning Reflexes and other scaling talents, Survival also scales extremely well, getting progressively stronger throughout the tiers. They will never out-DPS Beast Mastery Hunters, but they get higher and higher tier on their own. In PvP, Survival Hunters take a more control-based approach, and are quite strong. Thanks to the power of Wyvern Sting and their other trap enhancing talents, Survival has some excellent control options available. They do less damage than the other 2 specs in PvP, but bring more control.
Marksmanship is the least viable Hunter spec in PvE. While Beast Mastery tops meters, Marksmanship is a bit lacking. Most of the MM talents focus on making you do slightly more damage yourself, while several talents only focus on Multi-Shot damage. Unfortunately the talent tree just does not synergize well with your damage profile. MM Hunters do bring Trueshot Aura however, which gives them a nice buff for melee groups. PvP is where Marksmanship truly shines though. Marksmanship is a high-tier spec in 2v2 arena, as Viper Sting is extremely good at draining Mana and running teams down. MM Hunters are still strong in other types of PvP as well, but 2v2 arena is where they shine. MM Hunters offer significantly better small-window burst, control, and sustain than other specs.
Are Hunters Strong Levelers?
Hunters are exceptional at leveling, and are perhaps the single best class for solo leveling in WoW. Hunter pets are just the perfect tool while leveling, and Hunters have a base power level that is significantly higher than most classes. Leveling as a Hunter should be safe, efficient, and easy to do. Hunters are the ideal solo class, but also perform well in groups and can do some insane damage early on. The only thing Hunters really lack is AoE, as they just do not have the same AoE tools that Mages and Warlocks do.
Races For Hunters
In TBC Classic Hunters can be Draenei, Dwarf, or Night Elf if you are playing Alliance or Orc, Troll, and Tauren if you are Horde.
Are Hunters good in TBC?
Absolutely! While Hunters may have been quite weak in Classic relative to the top-tier DPS, Hunters are absolute powerhouses in TBC. Thanks to some incredible class changes, most notably with pets scaling from your AP now, Hunters are S-tier DPS for the entirety of TBC. They are incredibly strong all at every stage of the game.
What are the biggest changes from Classic for Hunters?
The more important change is what was mentioned above, that pets no gain a portion of some of your stats. Additionally, Hunters received several more nice quality of life changes in TBC. The two biggest changes are that traps can now be placed in combat, and that the deadzone has been removed. Our minimum ranged attack range is now 5 yards instead of 8, meaning we can seamlessly transition between melee and ranged attacks.
What is the best Hunter spec in TBC?
Beast Mastery is far and away the best Hunter spec. Raids will want one Survival Hunter for their debuff that they bring, but Beast Mastery is the strongest Hunter spec.
How many Hunters should be in a raid?
Hunters are one of the S-tier DPS classes, and most raids will take as many as they can get. It is not uncommon to see at least 3, and often even more in a 25-man raid.
What race is best for Hunters?
Orcs are the best for Horde, and Alliance is more up to you. All three Alliance races have their pros and cons, but they're all relatively minor so it mostly is up to what you value.
Gearing a Hunter
Hunters are relatively easy to gear due to a lack of competition for most pieces, along with several of your important pieces coming from crafting professions. Some trinkets and jewelry pieces will fave lots of competition however from other melee classes.
Hunters are able to wear Cloth and Leather, and can also learn how to use Mail armor at the class trainer after reaching Level 40.
Hunters are one of the most versatile classes and are able to use a huge variety of weapons, including Axes, Bows, Crossbows, Daggers, Fist Weapons, Guns, Polearms, Staves, Swords, Thrown, Two-Handed Axes, and Two-Handed Swords.
Hunter Guides for TBC Classic
If the rest of the page caught your attention, make sure to check out our in-depth guides for leveling a Hunter by specialization in the links below!
- Hunter Leveling Guide
- Beast Mastery Hunter Leveling Guide
- Beast Mastery Hunter Level 58 Boost Guide
- Marksmanship Hunter Leveling Guide
- Marksmanship Hunter Level 58 Boost Guide
- Survival Hunter Leveling Guide
- Survival Hunter Level 58 Boost Guide
Beyond leveling or trying out your boosted character, you may also be interested in our full guides for Level 70 Hunters as you explore all that TBC Classic has to offer:
- Beast Mastery Hunter PvE Guide
- Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide
- Survival Hunter PvE Guide
- Beast Mastery Hunter PvP Guide
- Marksmanship Hunter PvP Guide
- Survival Hunter PvP Guide
- 06 Jun. 2021: Added links to general specialization guides.
- 19 May 2021: Page added.
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