Marksmanship Hunter PvP Guide for WotLK Classic
Welcome to our PvP Marksmanship Hunter guide for Wrath Classic. Here you will learn all you need to know to properly play Marksmanship Hunter in PvP scenarios.
Marksmanship is the meta Hunter specialization for high-end arena. Viper Sting is still a powerful Mana drain, with the added bonus that Marksmanship gets up to double effectiveness through Chimera Shot refreshes. More importantly however, Marksmanship has extremely good high frequency burst thanks to the combination of multiple instant damaging shots, all with cooldowns of 10 seconds or less. Marksmanship also brings some better control abilities over the other Hunter specializations, specifically Scatter Shot and Silencing Shot. Silencing Shot in particular is unique to Marksmanship, making it the only Hunter spec with an interrupt ability.
This is one of the most common PvP specs for Hunters, especially as you get into higher ratings in arena. Marksmanship excels at a few specific things, and this build is built around those. As stated above, Viper Sting is a hugely valuable tool, specifically when combined with Chimera Shot to refresh it and give you Mana back. Improved Stings is critical to buffing Viper Sting, helping you to drain more Mana. Marksmanship also does more frequent burst windows than Beast Mastery thanks to Aimed Shot and Chimera Shot. Your sustained damage is decent, but having kill-worthy burst windows every 10-15 seconds is incredibly hard to keep up with for enemy healers.
This build also puts 13 points into Survival. These points are actually quite critical, as Scatter Shot is too important of a CC ability to pass up, and Entrapment turns your snake and frost traps into roots. Plus, the range bonus from Hawk Eye is incredibly useful for kiting and outranging casters when needed. Finally, the combination of Survival Tactics and the Glyph of Disengage drops Disengage down to just a 16-second cooldown down from 25 seconds, giving you a much more reliable way to get out of melee.
PvP Gameplay Tips for Hunters
Playing Against Melee
As stated above, Hunters are excellent at kiting. This is an incredibly powerful tool against melee, giving you the advantage in most fights. Focus on keeping your target a reasonable distance away, usually 30+ yards when possible. You want to keep them well out of melee range, but not max distance. Ideally, you want to be able to turn around and follow them if they try to run without letting them run outside of your max range. Use Concussive Shot on cooldown while making use of your instant abilities like Serpent Sting, Aimed Shot, and Arcane Shot while on the move. If you have the space, stop for just enough time to get an Auto Shot off when you can.
Melee will sometimes get into your minimum range. Unless they are close to death, do not try to fight melee in melee range, since they will have the advantage. Your main goal should be to get away from them so you can go back to kiting more. Make use of Wing Clip, and always ensure you have either Disengage for a quick getaway or Deterrence to stop the incoming burst. Save instant-CC abilities like Scatter Shot for when they are on top of you, giving you a 4-second window to move away and set up to kite again.
In arenas, melee will have the option to line-of-sight (LoS) you more, since you cannot hit what you cannot see. This is why many Hunters choose to play the slower-paced drain build, as rushing and finishing off players is actually quite difficult sometimes because of LoS around pillars. Remember to drop traps and utilize Aspect of the Cheetah when you can to help catch up if you are chasing someone down. Traps specifically can be placed around pillars as an obstacle, forcing players to either run into them or take a longer kite path around the trap.
Freezing Trap is your most powerful crowd control ability, freezing a target for 8 seconds if they walk over the trap (10.4 when talented into Trap Mastery). Freezing Trap is one of your best tools against melee, since it gives you an on-use obstacle to play around. They either have to avoid it, which means you can run around it using it like a pillar, or they run into it and are frozen for an extended period.
Also, remember that in Wrath of the Lich King Classic Hunters now have access to Freezing Arrow, which is a ranged version of Freezing Trap. You should swap permanently to using Freezing Arrow once it is available.
Playing Against Ranged
Against ranged, your goal should be to keep them as far away as possible. As a Hunter, you will out range them due to your Hawk Eye talent. This allows you to get attacks off at range before moving back out of their max range once they start casting. This is one of the best skills to work on, and is what can make for a great Hunter. Positioning properly can be challenging, and can require you to predict what and when they might cast. This can be harder against Mages due to their Blink, allowing them to quickly close the gap and get casts off. If you want to set up some burst, consider using Scatter Shot into an Aimed Shot, Auto Shot, and a Multi-Shot in quick succession. This will be a devastating amount of damage, and potentially will finish off your target.
Viper Sting is an incredibly powerful ability against any class that uses Mana. Especially early on, Mana pools will be low, making your Viper Sting even more effective. Keep this up on whatever target you are fighting, while kiting them at max range until they are out of Mana. Once they are completely out, you can finish them off easily without having to worry about them casting into you. It is hard to understate just how important this is in arena against any caster or healer. Marksmanship also has the added benefit that Chimera Shot will refresh the duration of Viper String.
Another great use of Feign Death, besides dropping combat, is that it drops your enemy's target. If a Mage is trying to cast a Frostbolt at you, but you Feign Death before it finishes, their target will drop and their cast will stop. This can be a great way to stop them and delay them in getting an important cast, such as Polymorph or Fear, off on you.
While your offensive stat priorities do not really change as a Hunter, you now also need to worry about defensive stats: Stamina and Resilience. Resilience is your most important defensive stat, and is even stronger now in Wrath Classic. Resilience gives you flat damage reduction from all sources, making it incredibly valuable in reducing your damage intake for PvP. Additionally, Resilience reduces your chance to be crit, and reduces the damage done by critical strikes. Stamina, of course, increases your health pool, making you harder to burst down. There is no set priority, but generally you should still be trying to get lots of Agility and your offensive stats while going for gear that also brings Stamina and Resilience. The easiest way to achieve that is through the PvP arena gear.
The list linked below will include the best possible gear set up for a Hunter in PvP.
Marksmanship Hunter Arena Teams and Compositions
When it comes to evaluating Marksmanship Hunter's place within the Arena, we have created a number of guides devoted to listing a variety of popular team compositions which you can find below.
- 18 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Phase 2 release ahead of Ulduar raid release.
- 24 Sep. 2022: Page added.
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