Marksmanship Hunter Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated on Jan 17, 2021 at 13:41 by Azortharion 51 comments
General Information

Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Marksmanship Hunter. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.


Introduction: Prerequisites

This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:

  • Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
  • Hunter Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Hunters gain by joining each Covenant;
  • How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
  • General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
  • Hunter Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Hunters.

Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits

Focus Covenant Soulbind Advised Tree
Raiding/Mythic+/Torghast (Best Overall Setup for Renown 30+) Night Fae Niya Marksmanship Hunter Niya Overall tree
Raiding/Mythic+/Torghast (Before Renown 30) Night Fae Niya Marksmanship Hunter Niya Overall tree

Night Fae vs Kyrian for Marksmanship Hunter

The choice between Night Fae and Kyrian can be a tough one, even for experienced Hunters who have a good idea of the content they will do.

In this section, we will offer some pros and cons of each Covenant from a DPS and Survivability/Utility perspective.


Benefits of Night Fae

  • Higher Burst DPS
  • Much better for 2 targets.
  • Generally better for AoE.
  • Easier to play with and more forgiving of mistakes.
  • Grove Invigoration Icon Grove Invigoration is a substantial max health buff, particularly during cooldowns.
  • Several good Soulbind options, including Dreamweaver's Podtender Icon Podtender Cheat Death ability.

Downsides of Night Fae

  • Huge DPS penalty if mobs leave your Wild Spirits Icon Wild Spirits circle prematurely (lasts over 15 seconds every 2 minutes).
  • Longer cooldown means that you will need to think about when you use it more.
  • Extremely cooldown-focused. Does low damage between its cooldowns.

Benefits of Kyrian

  • Has an extra Endurance Conduit.
  • Very slightly higher single-target DPS on Longer Fights
  • Bursts more often, but less powerfully.

Downsides of Kyrian

  • Huge DPS penalty if mobs leave your Resonating Arrow Icon Resonating Arrow circle prematurely (lasts 10 seconds every minute).
  • Harder to maximize, needs an almost flawless Trueshot Icon Trueshot window to truly excel.
  • Extremely poor for 2-target situations.
  • Combat Meditation Icon Combat Meditation requires you to move during Trueshot Icon Trueshot to collect Orbs for DPS.
  • Only one Soulbind is good in Pelagos.

Overall, we recommend Night Fae for most players, and that is why this guide mostly assumes that you are using Night Fae.

We cover our thoughts on the Covenants and their Soulbinds in this section further below.


Best Conduits for Marksmanship Hunter

In the list below, you will find the best Conduits, organized by type. For more information, please the Conduits section of this page.

Sharpshooter's Focus Icon Sharpshooter's Focus and Powerful Precision Icon Powerful Precision are extremely close for single-target, but Sharpshooter's Focus Icon Sharpshooter's Focus has better burst and AoE and is just a better all-round option. Deadly Chain Icon Deadly Chain is strictly better for AoE and should be chosen for most Fortified Mythic+, with Sharpshooter's Focus Icon Sharpshooter's Focus being better for Tyrannical Mythic+.

In other words, you will only ever actually use Powerful Precision Icon Powerful Precision for PURE single-target situations, and even then it needs to sim meaningfully better than Sharpshooter's Focus Icon Sharpshooter's Focus to be worth using.


Best Conduits for Marksmanship Hunter

This section only covers which Conduits you should pick. For detailed explanations on what all of the Hunter Conduits do, check out our Hunter Soulbinds and Conduits Page below.

Sometimes a Conduit will be much better for a particular type of damage than another. Because of this, we will sometimes label Conduits' position in the Tier Lists by either Single-Target or Mythic/AoE.

S-Tier refers to Conduits that are ideal in every single scenario and should always be chosen when possible.


Best Potency Conduits for Marksmanship Hunter

All Covenants and Conduits are ranked relative to the best overall setup.


S-Tier Soulbind Conduits


A-Tier Soulbind Conduits


B-Tier Soulbind Conduits

Brutal Projectiles Icon Brutal Projectiles is currently bugged and not working as intended. Its Tier List position is based on if it was working. When you no longer see this message on the page, it will have been fixed.

As you can tell, most Conduits are very well-balanced, which means that your gear setup can change their relative value. This tier list is very much a guideline and we absolutely recommend using Raidbots to sim your own Conduit choices as you unlock them.


Best Endurance Conduits for Marksmanship Hunter

All of these Conduits are geared towards survival and defensive options. This means that there is a bit more room for personal choice here.

With that said, we feel that Resilience of the Hunter Icon Resilience of the Hunter is by far the best choice here. This is because a damage reduction will pretty much always be useful, and Feign Death Icon Feign Death has a forgivingly short cooldown. Using this Conduit leading up to periods of high damage taken is extremely powerful.


Best Finesse Conduits for Marksmanship Hunter

These Conduits are geared towards mobility and utility. None of them are particularly good, so we recommend picking what you feel suits your playstyle the most, and taking your situation into account.


Covenants for Marksmanship Hunter


Night Fae: Wild Spirits

Night Fae is the best Covenant for Marksmanship Hunters, providing some of the highest single-target and AoE flexibility of all of the Covenants. It can be a tough choice between this and Kyrian for some. If you read above, we have outlined some of the upsides and downsides of each choice.


Kyrian: Resonating Arrow

Kyrian is the second-best Covenant for Marksmanship Hunters, providing equivalent or very slightly better single-target DPS to Night Fae, but being generally worse for AoE. It can be a tough choice between this and Night Fae for some. If you read above, we have outlined some of the upsides and downsides of each choice.


Necrolord: Death Chakram

Necrolord is the third-best Covenant for Marksmanship Hunters. It does not have any particular strengths over Night Fae and Kyrian, so there is not much to say about it beyond this.


Venthyr: Flayed Shot

Venthyr's Flayed Shot Icon Flayed Shot ability is purely geared towards single-target, but despite this, it is the weakest of all the Covenant Abilities even for single-target. For this reason, we do not recommend it for any scenario.


Soulbinds for Marksmanship Hunter

Important note: When evaluating the Soulbinds, we have not included the final Soulbind Ability in their trees which has a major impact on their viability. This is because we will not unlock these Soulbind Abilities until we reach Renown 30-34, which can be potentially months into the future. The guides are designed for you to have an optimal character in the first week of Mythic Castle Nathria, but keep in mind that these descriptions may completely change in a few months once we unlock the last row of Soulbind Abilities.


Night Fae Soulbinds

  • Niya is the best choice for most situations because of Grove Invigoration Icon Grove Invigoration being so powerful.
  • Korayn is a tad worse than Niya, but an acceptable choice for single-target. Wild Hunt Tactics Icon Wild Hunt Tactics can also amplify your burst in Mythic+ scenarios.
  • Dreamweaver is not generally worth choosing, although Podtender Icon Podtender can have niche uses for survivability. However, we believe the DPS loss is too great to justify this effect. It also has a lot of Endurance Conduit slots, so this almost feels like a "tanky" Soulbind for Night Fae.

Kyrian Soulbinds

  • Pelagos is the only truly competitive Kyrian Soulbind, offering Combat Meditation Icon Combat Meditation from the beginning and quickly leading into your first Potency Conduit. This Soulbind is what keeps Kyrian viable.
  • Kleia is extremely poor for Kyrian and should never be chosen.
  • Forgelite Prime Mikanikos is not really worth picking for any situation, bringing lower DPS than Pelagos with no utility.

Necrolord Soulbinds

  • Bonesmith Heirmir is the best choice for Necrolords, providing the best DPS output by a decent margin.
  • Emeni is not a bad choice either, being close behind Heirmir.
  • Plague Deviser Marileth is the worst Necrolord Soulbind and should not be chosen in pretty much any situation.

Venthyr Soulbinds

  • Theotar the Mad Duke is the best choice for Venthyr by a slim margin.
  • Nadjia the Mistblade is also a decent choice, being very close behind Theotar.
  • General Draven is a terrible choice currently, being over significantly behind Theotar and having no major strengths otherwise.


  • 17 Jan. 2021: Removed some deprecated sections and updated the optimal Soulbind Trees.
  • 16 Dec. 2020: Updated the Conduit Tier List and altered the Tier names to S, A, and B.
  • 26 Nov. 2020: Updated some Soulbind viability descriptions.
  • 13 Nov. 2020: Page added.
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