Marksmanship Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated Yesterday at 10:21 by Azortharion 8 comments
General Information

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Marksmanship Hunter in both single-target and multiple-target situations. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2.

If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic DPS Hunter rotation.

1.

Marksmanship Hunter Rotation

Welcome to our Rotation page for Marksmanship Hunters. On this page you will find everything you need to know about actually playing the spec in Raiding and Mythic+ scenarios.

1.1.

Easy Mode

If the rotations below seem overwhelming to you, you might benefit from visiting our Easy Mode page which outlines a close-to-optimal rotation in simpler terms.

1.2.

PvP

The content on this page is purely PvE-related. If you are looking for PvP Rotation Tips, please visit our PvP page below.

2.

Important Abilities, Procs and The General Rotation of Marksmanship Hunter

To play Marksmanship, there are a few basic mechanics you must understand to fully unlock the potential of the spec.

Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots is a buff that is activated whenever you cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot. It causes your next 1-2 Arcane Shots after casting Aimed Shot to do 75% more damage. You do not want to waste this buff by casting Aimed Shot when you have it active. You always want to spend the charges first.

Trick Shots Icon Trick Shots is the primary AoE mechanic. When you cast Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot on 3 targets or above, your next Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot or Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire will cleave up to 5 additional targets for 50% of its original damage. You simply want this buff to be active when casting Aimed Shot or Rapid Fire while dealing with 3 or more targets.

If the rotations below seem overwhelming to you, you might benefit from visiting our Easy Mode page which outlines a close-to-optimal rotation in simpler terms.

3.

Marksmanship Hunter Single-Target Rotation

  1. If you have just cast a Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot and Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus has less than 5 seconds remaining, then cast another Steady Shot to activate the buff.
  2. Use Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot on targets that are below 20% health.
  3. Activate Double Tap Icon Double Tap when your next cast will be Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot, rather than Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire.
  4. Activate your Wild Spirits Icon Wild Spirits/Resonating Arrow Icon Resonating Arrow Covenant Ability.
  5. Activate Volley Icon Volley if you are using this talent.
  6. Activate Trueshot Icon Trueshot, making sure that you have at least one charge of Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot available.
  7. Use Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot on cooldown, making sure that you have no remaining charges of Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots. During Trueshot, you should favour casting Aimed Shot before it hits 2 charges, over spending Precise Shots charges.
  8. Use Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire on cooldown, as long as it will not cap you on Focus.
  9. Use Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot mostly to spend Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots stacks, but also to keep your Focus low enough that Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire will never Focus cap you.
  10. Use Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot as a filler, and to keep up Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus (refer to the top of this priority for an explanation on Steady Focus).

The goal of the rotation is to never cap Focus, never reach 2 charges of Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot, maximizing Focus generated by Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire by casting it on cooldown (but never Focus capping still), and spending every Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots proc.

3.1.

Trueshot Rotation

Your Trueshot rotation is the same as the normal one, except for the following changes.

  • Keeping Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot from hitting 2 charges is a higher priority than spending Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots. However, you should still try to spend Precise Shots procs. Just do not let Aimed Shot hit 2 charges in doing so.
4.

Multi-Target Rotation for Marksmanship Hunter

On 2 targets, do the single-target rotation.

On 3 targets and above, your general rotation is the same, with the exceptions listed below.

  • You must always have Trick Shots Icon Trick Shots active when casting either Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot or Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire. This buff is activated by casting Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot on 3 or more targets.
  • Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot mostly disappears from the rotation in AoE situations, and is replaced by Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot.
  • When Volley Icon Volley, a very powerful Level 50 AoE Talent, is being used and is active, you no longer need to use Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot to maintain Trick Shots Icon Trick Shots. However, you still use Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot as a substitute for Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot on 3 targets and above, as you will still need to spend Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots procs.
  • Double Tap Icon Double Tap should be used on Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire whenever possible. However, in many situations in Mythic+ you will be forced to use it on Aimed Shot, as saving it for Rapid Fire would cause you to have to delay it massively, so be flexible with this rule.
5.

Opener Sequence for Marksmanship Hunter

This section describes the recommended way to start the fight as a Marksmanship Hunter. It assumes you are using the recommended single-target talents for the spec.

  1. If you are using Double Tap Icon Double Tap, activate it shortly before the fight begins.
  2. Start casting Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot roughly 2 seconds before the fight begins.
  3. Use Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire.
  4. Use 2x Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot if you are using Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus.
  5. Activate your Wild Spirits Icon Wild Spirits/Resonating Arrow Icon Resonating Arrow Covenant Ability.
  6. Activate Trueshot Icon Trueshot as well as any potions, racial abilities or on-use trinkets.
  7. Use Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot
  8. Use Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire
  9. Proceed with your normal Trueshot rotation.
5.1.

Potion Usage

In almost all cases, the ideal time to use your combat potion is along with Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Heroism Icon Heroism. In most, but not all, situations, this is when the fight starts.

On fights that last longer than 5 minutes, you will be able to use two potions, provided that you use one of them at the beginning of the fight.

6.

Multi-Target/AoE Opener Sequence for Marksmanship Hunter

This section describes how to best open on fights and packs that have AoE from the very start, like most Mythic+ situations.

  1. If you are using Double Tap Icon Double Tap, activate it shortly before the fight begins.
  2. Use Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot as soon as the fight is engaged.
  3. Activate your Wild Spirits Icon Wild Spirits/Resonating Arrow Icon Resonating Arrow Covenant Ability.
  4. Activate Volley Icon Volley.
  5. Activate Trueshot Icon Trueshot immediately, and perform your single-target opener, letting Volley Icon Volley take care of Trick Shots Icon Trick Shots for you.
  6. After Volley Icon Volley ends, proceed with your Trueshot rotation, substituting Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot for Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot to keep up Trick Shots Icon Trick Shots.
7.

Talents and the Rotation

7.1.

Tier 1 Talents

Master Marksman Icon Master Marksman does not change your rotation in any fundamental way.

Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting is a DoT that should be kept up at all times. You can refresh it with 5 seconds remaining and not waste any of its duration.

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows should be cast on cooldown. You can get even more damage out of it by casting it on targets that are about 10 seconds from dying. When they die, this will reset the cooldown of the ability and allow you to use it again for a large damage boost.

7.2.

Tier 2 Talents

Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim does not change anything fundamental in your rotation, although you do want to try and use Trueshot Icon Trueshot when it is active.

Barrage Icon Barrage should be used on cooldown when there is nothing else going on in your rotation, such as Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot and Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire. On a single target, it is a very low priority. You should try to delay it for multi-target situations whenever possible.

Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot should be used on as many targets as possible. If you are only fighting one target, it should be used on cooldown and delayed as little as possible. It has a lower priority than Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire and Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot. It is worth it to delay it significantly if you can hit multiple targets.

7.3.

Tier 4 Talents

Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus encourages casting Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot in multiples that are grouped up together. Instead of going Steady Shot, Arcane Shot, Steady Shot, you would always move the Arcane Shot either in front of or behind the two Steady Shots to ensure you benefit from the buff as much as possible.

Streamline Icon Streamline does not inherently change your rotation, although it is worth tracking the buff so that you know when your next Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot will cast 30% faster.

Chimaera Shot Icon Chimaera Shot essentially replaces the Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot button in your rotation. Thus, it does not actually change your rotation in any way.

7.4.

Tier 6 Talents

Lethal Shots Icon Lethal Shots procs from Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot every so often. It does not have a significant effect on your rotation, although it helps to be aware of your Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire cooldown so that you can react to a proc more quickly.

Dead Eye Icon Dead Eye means that you should never cast Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot twice in a row, even when giving the option, as this would cause you to overwrite the 3-second buff to your Aimed Shot's recharge time. You should always spread out your Kill Shot Icon Kill Shots by at least 3 seconds, and it is usually a good idea to fit an Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot in between them.

Double Tap Icon Double Tap should be used alongside Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot in single-target situations, and Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire in AoE situations..

7.5.

Tier 7 Talents

Calling the Shots Icon Calling the Shots does not have a fundamental effect on your rotation.

Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load procs should be used as soon as possible, but you should always attempt to spend any Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots procs that you have already before using the procced Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.

Volley Icon Volley should be used on cooldown. It is worth delaying it if you can hit multiple targets with it however. It is so powerful for multi-target that it is worth even dropping usages of the ability, just to ensure that you can use it at key AoE moments.

8.

Changelog

  • 27 Nov. 2020: Added Double Tap AoE behaviour to the Multi-Target Rotation.
  • 26 Nov. 2020: Updated obsolete text referencing some BFA Bosses.
  • 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 30 Oct. 2020: Added information about rotation changes during Volley in the Multi-Target Rotation section.
  • 24 Oct. 2020: Added a paragraph to talk about Potion usage, and removed it from the opener.
  • 19 Oct. 2020: Fixed Careful Aim's description (above 70% health rather than sub 20% and above 80%.)
  • 16 Oct. 2020: Updated the AoE Opener Sequence.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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