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Marksmanship Hunter DPS Guide in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated Yesterday at 11:56 by Azortharion 61 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

Welcome to our Marksmanship Hunter DPS guide for World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1. Here, you will learn everything you need to know about playing a Marksmanship Hunter in a raid environment and in Mythic+ dungeons.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Azortharion, the main theorycrafter of the spec for many years. He is an accomplished player with dozen of top parses for all specs throughout the game's history. He is also the Admin of Trueshot Lodge, the Hunter Class Discord, and you can watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Class Overview

Marksmanship is the least mobile Hunter spec, as it is the only spec that has to deal with long cast times during which you cannot move. From a playstyle perspective, Marksmanship is relatively simple with only a few central abilities you must understand to play the spec optimally.

2. Patch 8.0.1 Changes for Marksmanship Hunter

Marksmanship has been completely redesigned. The Vulnerable mechanic and all the abilities surrounding it are gone, but there are still important ability interactions that you must know about to make good use of the spec.

  • Marksmanship's maximum Focus is now 100.
  • Focus now regenerates passively at a much slower rate.
  • Lone Wolf Icon Lone Wolf is now baseline. It increases your damage done by 10% when you do not have a pet summoned. For single-target, having a pet active is generally superior to the 10% damage bonus from Lone Wolf, while in multi-target scenarios, using Lone Wolf is usually better.
  • Many abilities that were not on the global cooldown before are now affected by it, including main cooldowns like Trueshot Icon Trueshot.
  • Our Mastery: Sniper Training Icon Mastery: Sniper Training now affects all of our abilities, rather than just the ones that cost Focus.
  • Pet specs can no longer be swapped, and pet families will always belong to a certain spec that cannot be changed. For example, Turtles are always Tenacity, Wolves are always Ferocity and so on.
  • All pet specs now do the same damage, but the pet specs now provide different bonuses for defense and utility.

3. Viability of Specs

On this page, we will attempt to give a full picture of what the 3 Hunter specs are good at and when you might want to use them. Generally speaking, all the specs are competitive enough that you can play whichever one you prefer from a playstyle perspective. On this page, we will try to be as objective as possible when determining which spec is the best. To determine this, we will use simulations, intuition and occasionally WarcraftLogs Data to try and get a full picture.

3.1. Single-Target Spec Comparison Simulation

Survival14444+3.54%
Marksmanship13950 
Beast Mastery13564-2.77%
The original results can be found on raidbots.com

As the title suggests, this simulation puts the specs up against each other in an ideal scenario for a pure single-target encounter, with no movement. We use a fight length for the simulation that best reflects the actual fight lengths in current Mythic content.

3.2. Multi-Target Spec Comparison Simulation - 4 Targets

Survival27617+17.01%
Beast Mastery26201+11.01%
Marksmanship23602 
The original results can be found on raidbots.com

3.3. Burst AoE Spec Comparison Simulation - 5 Targets for 45 Seconds - No Bloodlust

Beast Mastery33480+6.0%
Survival33150+4.95%
Marksmanship31587 
The original results can be found on raidbots.com

3.4. Bursty Single-Target Spec Comparison Simulation - 1 Target, 30 Seconds

Survival20761+4.31%
Beast Mastery20653+3.77%
Marksmanship19904 
The original results can be found on raidbots.com

3.5. Spec Viability in Practice, Strengths and Weaknesses

Simulations are all well and good, but they cannot provide the same picture of how the specs work in raids as actually playing them can. In this section, we will look at some of the perks and downsides of the different specs in raids and Mythic+.

3.5.1. Beast Mastery

  • Extremely mobile, fairly easy to play.
  • Able to bring additional utility and heals like Spirit Mend Icon Spirit Mend.
  • Short cooldowns make it a consistent Mythic+ performer.
  • Relies on pet AI, which can be inconsistent and buggy.
  • Gets its optimal multi-target damage without changing talents much from single-target.
  • Is able to deal heavy damage to a single target while AoE'ing.

3.5.2. Marksmanship

  • Capable of extremely high burst damage, especially AoE.
  • Unfortunately does not use a pet for multi-target scenarios, costing it utility/survivability.
  • Limited/no reliance on pet AI, more damage is in your hands.
  • Significantly changes its talents in order to do optimal AoE damage.

3.5.3. Survival

  • Very high single-target potential.
  • Very high sustained AoE damage.
  • Quite mobile for a melee spec.
  • Relatively simple single-target rotation.
  • Relatively hectic multi-target rotation.

3.6. What Is The Best Spec?

Generally speaking, Beast Mastery is the best Hunter spec. This is despite the other specs slightly outperforming it in the simulations above.

The primary reason that Beast Mastery is the best Hunter spec is that it never has to compromise with its talents. For example, Marksmanship has more burst AoE than Beast Mastery, but that is with Marksmanship using perfect burst AoE talents. Beast Mastery does not have to change its talents to do optimal AoE or single-target damage, as it uses the same set of talents in pretty much all situations.

Secondly, Beast Mastery provides more utility, primarily through its Spirit Beast pet. The Spirit Mend Icon Spirit Mend heal that the Spirit Beast offers is extremely powerful for raiding and dungeon content, and the pet has this as well as an offensive dispel.

Survival is a unique exception to many rules, as it is a Melee spec. Therefore, it competes on a completely different playing field than other specs. Utility and mobility are generally a smaller concern than outright damage and the damage profile of the spec. Survival's single-target damage is generally the most competitive out of the 3 specs, and it only has to change a few minor talents in order to do competitive AoE damage. This makes it versatile on almost the same level that Beast Mastery is. It lacks the Spirit Mend Icon Spirit Mend heal, but still uses a pet all the time. This makes it a closer contender with Beast Mastery in Mythic+ Dungeons, and just as good or even better in raiding scenarios, due to its small single-target damage advantage.

With all of this said, every Hunter spec is currently more closely matched than ever before. While we recommend Beast Mastery as the default choice for raiding Hunters, you can play any of the 3 specs and not hold your team down in any meaningful way. All 3 specs offer vastly different playstyles and damage profiles that are useful for different situations.

4. Contents

To make it easy to navigate the guide, we have split it into 14 pages:

5. ChangeLog

  • 20 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Restructured the page and added some written recommendations.
  • 18 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated the Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 12 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation to include Meticulous Scheming properly.
  • 08 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 08 Sep. 2018 (this page): Updated the spec comparison simulations.
  • 08 Sep. 2018 (enchants page): Updated the optimal weapon enchant to use. This is a result of gear outscaling Incendiary Ammunition, which has no gear scaling.
  • 07 Sep. 2018 (gear page): Updated the trinket simulation.
  • 05 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 03 Sep. 2018 (bosses page): Added additional content for Uldir's release.
  • 01 Sep. 2018 (mythic+ page): Added content.
  • 31 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Added note about Steady Focus to the cheat sheet.
  • 31 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Updated the racial comparison.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Edited the rotation slightly, mostly for ease of understanding.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated the trinket simulation to include the recent SimCraft changes to RPPM.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated the optimal potion to use.
  • 29 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Added a rarely used line to the Lethal Shots rotation.
  • 27 Aug. 2018 (this page): Added more information about Survival to the "What is the Best Hunter Spec" section.
  • 26 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated the trinket simulation to include buff to the Tiny Electromental in a Jar.
  • 25 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated the opener sequence to be easier to react to and execute.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated the trinket simulation to include various World Quest trinkets.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Added Trueshot to the rotation priority list.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (this page): Added a section called "What is the Best Hunter Spec", and updated all the simulations.
  • 23 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added a link to the origin spreadsheet for the simulation chart.
  • 23 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Added a link to the origin spreadsheet for the simulation chart.
  • 21 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated Trinket simulations.
  • 21 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Added checklists to the rotation, to make it easier to distinguish between the playstyles of different talents.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Changed the BiS list to a more generally useful list of good dungeons to farm, as this will be relevant throughout the entire expansion.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 17 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated the traits' impact on the rotation.
  • 17 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Added the mention of using an Agility gem.
  • 16 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated the optimal healing potion to use.
  • 16 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Removed outdated mention of a Legendary.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated the Marksmanship Hunter rotation to be more clear on single-target priorities, and multi-target changes to the playstyle.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated the optimal gems to correspond with the stat priority.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth release.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth release.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (stats page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth release.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth release.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth release.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth release.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth release.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth release.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth release.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth release.
  • 11 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Page created.
  • 07 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Significant updates to the general playstyle with Lethal Shots, and updated the rotation with a new format.
  • 04 Aug. 2018 (spells page): Added Counter Shot to the spell list.
  • 01 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated the single-target spec comparison.
  • 01 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Added page.
  • 31 Jul. 2018 (spells page): Added some missing BfA pets to the pet family overview.
  • 27 Jul. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added Azerite page.
  • 23 Jul. 2018 (rotation page): Updated multi-target rotation.
  • 22 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Updated the optimal single-target potion.
  • 21 Jul. 2018 (spells page): Added Steady Shot to the Spell Summary.
  • 21 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Reverted the optimal flask, as the Flask of Falling Leaves was nerfed.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (spells page): Moved the Gorilla and its Special Ability from Tenacity to Ferocity.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Reverted the optimal gem, as it was nerfed.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Updated Celerity of the Windrunners' Haste level from 2% to 3%.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated the stat priority.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Various updates with old-world gems, enchants, and consumables.
    • Updated the optimal potion to use.
    • Updated the optimal flask to use. Added note about Belt Buckles to the Enchants table.
    • Reverted the optimal potion to use, as Blizzard has nerfed the old one.
    • Updated the wording on the Healthstones/Healing Potion paragraph to say "and", as you can now use both of them at once.
    • Removed Belt Buckles as they were hotfixed.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Updated Golganneth's Vitality to just be an Argus Personal Loot drop.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (this page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
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