Marksmanship Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.5

Last updated on Apr 24, 2019 at 15:44 by Azortharion 94 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 — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.5.

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

1. 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.

2. Marksmanship Hunter Single-Target Rotation

  1. Cast Double Tap Icon Double Tap should be used on cooldown. During Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim, spend it on Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot. Otherwise, spend it on Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire.
  2. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot on cooldown, but only when Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots is down.
  3. Cast Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire on cooldown.
  4. Cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot to spend Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots stacks, and to keep yourself from Focus capping. Using it to stay at a low amount of Focus is fine.
  5. Cast Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot as a filler.

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.

2.1. Double Tap Usage

Double Tap Icon Double Tap should be used with Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire by default. When the target is above 80%, or below 20% health, you should use it on Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot instead due to Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim buffing Aimed Shot by 50% during those conditions.

When using it with Rapid Fire, keep in mind that the Focus generation will be doubled. You should ensure that you have low Focus before using it.

2.2. Trueshot Rotation

You should use Trueshot Icon Trueshot when it suits the fight best. Other than that, you should try to use it during Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim. That means using it when the main boss is under 20% health, and above 80% health. Other than that, try to use it when Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot and Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire are both on cooldown.

During Trueshot itself, your goal is to maximize your Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shots, spending every Master Marksman Icon Master Marksman proc and filling in with Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire when neither of those are available. Thus, the Trueshot priority looks something like this:

  1. Double Tap Icon Double Tap should not be delayed for Trueshot Icon Trueshot, but if it comes up during it, you should still use it with Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire. With Unerring Vision Icon Unerring Vision, it makes sense to delay Double Tap Icon Double Tap for a late Rapid Fire cast in your Trueshot.
  2. Cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot when Master Marksman Icon Master Marksman is up (right after Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot).
  3. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot on cooldown.
  4. Cast Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire when there is nothing else to do.
  5. If there is nothing else you can cast, spend your Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots stacks with Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot.
  6. Cast Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot.

3. Multi-Target Rotation for Marksmanship Hunter

On 2 targets, do the single-target rotation.

On 3 targets, your general rotation is the same, but there are a few changes to keep in mind. These changed are summarized in the priority system below.

  1. Ensure that Trick Shots Icon Trick Shots is activated before casting Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire and Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot. There is no rush to cast it, but it has to be up for those abilities.
  2. Cast Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire on cooldown when it will not cause Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot to cap at 2 charges.
  3. Cast Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot when Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots is up.
  4. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot on cooldown. Do not let it cap on 2 charges.
  5. Cast Piercing Shot Icon Piercing Shot if you have chosen this talent.
  6. Cast A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows if you have chosen this talent.
  7. Cast Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot if you have chosen this talent.
  8. Cast Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot to keep yourself from Focus capping. Using it to stay at a low amount of Focus is fine.
  9. Cast Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot as a filler.

4. 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. Precast Double Tap Icon Double Tap with around 10 seconds remaining on the pull-timer.
  2. Make sure to apply Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark before the pull, if you are using this talent.
  3. Just before the encounter starts, use your combat potion.
  4. Start casting Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot roughly 2 seconds before the fight begins.
  5. Cast Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire.
  6. Cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot (to spend your Master Marksman Icon Master Marksman proc).
  7. Cast Trueshot Icon Trueshot.
  8. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.
  9. Cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot (to spend your Master Marksman Icon Master Marksman proc).
  10. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.
  11. Cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot (to spend your Master Marksman Icon Master Marksman proc).
  12. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.
  13. Cast Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire.
  14. Cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot (to spend your Master Marksman Icon Master Marksman proc).
  15. Follow the Trueshot Rotation above until Trueshot ends, and then proceed with the normal Single-Target Rotation.

5. Multi-Target/AoE Opener Sequence for Marksmanship Hunter

This section describes how to best open on fights that have AoE from the beginning, such as Champions of the Light, King Rastakhan, and Jaina.

  1. Precast Double Tap Icon Double Tap with around 10 seconds remaining on the pull-timer.
  2. Make sure to apply Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark before the pull, if you are using this talent.
  3. Just before the encounter starts, use your combat potion.
  4. Cast Trueshot Icon Trueshot around 1.5 seconds before the encounter starts.
  5. Cast Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot.
  6. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.
  7. Cast Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot.
  8. Cast Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire.
  9. Cast Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot.
  10. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.
  11. Cast Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot.
  12. Cast Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire.
  13. Follow the Trueshot Rotation above until Trueshot ends, and then proceed with the normal rotation.

6. Double On-Use Trinkets

A powerful Trinket combination involves using both Lurker's Insidious Gift Icon Lurker's Insidious Gift and Galecaller's Boon Icon Galecaller's Boon at the same time. However, when you use one on-use trinket, it will trigger a 20-second cooldown for the other one.

However, because the Insidious Gift lasts 30 seconds, it is possible to stack the two effects up with Trueshot Icon Trueshot. This requires some careful timing.

To benefit from this trinket combination, this is the recommended way to use your Trinkets with Trueshot:

  1. On the pull, use Lurker's Insidious Gift Icon Lurker's Insidious Gift with Trueshot Icon Trueshot.
  2. With your second Trueshot Icon Trueshot, use Galecaller's Boon Icon Galecaller's Boon as normal.
  3. Around the 2-minute mark, or when Trueshot Icon Trueshot has less than 25-30 seconds remaining on its CD, use Lurker's Insidious Gift Icon Lurker's Insidious Gift.
  4. When Lurker's Insidious Gift Icon Lurker's Insidious Gift has 15 seconds remaining, use Trueshot Icon Trueshot.
  5. After 5 seconds of Trueshot, use Galecaller's Boon Icon Galecaller's Boon.
  6. Repeat this trend throughout the fight. Every 2nd Trueshot will present this line-up opportunity.

There will still be 10 seconds of Insidious Gift left, and you have successfully stacked 10 seconds of Trueshot with 10 seconds of Galecaller's Boon and Lurker's Insidious Gift combined.

This may seem daunting and complicated, but the only tricky part is to use Lurker's Insidious Gift Icon Lurker's Insidious Gift 15 seconds before Trueshot.

This WeakAura will alert you when the Gift is available, and there is less than 30 seconds remaining on Trueshot Icon Trueshot. With Calling the Shots Icon Calling the Shots, you can expect Trueshot to come up within 15 seconds. Use the WeakAura as a reminder of a potential line-up in the near future.

7. Talents and the Rotation

7.1. Tier 1 Talents

Master Marksman Icon Master Marksman does not change your rotation in any fundamental way. You should be aware of when it is up so that you know when your Arcane and Multi-Shot will not cost any Focus, as this helps manage your Focus correctly.

Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting is a DoT that should be kept up at all times. You can refresh it with 3 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.

Volley Icon Volley does not change anything in your rotation.

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 essentially increases your Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire Focus regeneration by 2. It does not change your rotation in any meaningful way.

Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark should be applied to the primary target you are fighting. It is on the Global Cooldown, meaning that if you are swapping targets, you must be doing a significant amount of damage to it before it is worth spending your Hunter's Mark on it. It is generally worth re-marking anything that you are going to attack for more than 15-20 seconds. This can also depend on how important the target is to kill.

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.

Barrage Icon Barrage should not be used on a single target if you have chosen the talent, unless you are in a situation where you need to burn a lot of Focus quickly for any reason. It should be used on cooldown if you are fighting 2 targets or above.

Double Tap Icon Double Tap should be used right before Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire in a standard rotation, and right before Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot when Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim is active (when the boss is under 20%, or above 80% health).

During Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim, you should always use Double Tap on Aimed Shot, regardless of your Azerite Traits.

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.

Piercing Shot Icon Piercing Shot should be used on cooldown. It is worth delaying it if you can hit multiple targets with it however. If you can hit 2 targets, it is worth delaying up to 7 seconds to make that happen. If you can hit 3, it is worth delaying even more.

8. Changelog

  • 24 Apr. 2019: Added detailed information about using Lurker's Insidious Gift and Galecaller's Boon together.
  • 14 Apr. 2019: This page has been reviewed for Crucible of Storms and no changes are necessary.
  • 06 Mar. 2019: Updated the single-target opener slightly.
  • 24 Feb. 2019: Added a precast of Double Tap to the multi-target opener, and put one Aimed Shot in front of Rapid Fire.
  • 22 Feb. 2019: Added a multi-target opener.
  • 20 Feb. 2019: Expanded a little on some rotational subtleties.
  • 30 Jan. 2019: Updated the recommended usage of Double Tap significantly, and added an optional step to the opener.
  • 28 Jan. 2019: Changed the recommended usage of Double Tap slightly (included mention of Careful Aim).
  • 22 Jan. 2019: Added a dedicated paragraph about Double Tap usage with Calling the Shots.
  • 21 Jan. 2019: Added note about delaying Double Tap until the end of Trueshot with Unerring Vision.
  • 04 Jan. 2019: Updated the opener slightly (removed an Arcane Shot, as you do not want to spend Master Marksman procs while already Focus capped).
  • 18 Dec. 2018: Updated the opener to make use of Master Marksman, and added a specific Trueshot Shot Priority.
  • 14 Dec. 2018: Expanded slightly on Lethal Shots' role in the rotation.
  • 11 Dec. 2018: Added Double Tap to the opener and rotation.
  • 10 Dec. 2018: Updated the rotation, opener, Talents and cooldown usage for Patch 8.1.
  • 19 Oct. 2018: Various updates.
    • Updated Trueshot criteria slightly.
    • Added note about Careful Aim affecting Trueshot usage.
    • Changed Trueshot's position and criteria in the opener.
  • 17 Oct. 2018: Rotational updates.
    • Updated the rotations and split it into 2 builds.
    • Updated the Trueshot section vastly.
  • 04 Oct. 2018: Rotational updates.
    • Added a note of Aimed Shot's high priority when it is about to reach 2 charges.
    • Added a clarifying note that Lethal Shots procs on AoE are best spent on Rapid Fire, but that will not always be possible.
  • 28 Sep. 2018: Cut down the size of the rotation and altered the format.
  • 30 Aug. 2018: Edited the rotation slightly, mostly for ease of understanding.
  • 29 Aug. 2018: Added a rarely used line to the Lethal Shots rotation.
  • 25 Aug. 2018: Updated the opener sequence to be easier to react to and execute.
  • 24 Aug. 2018: Added Trueshot to the rotation priority list.
  • 21 Aug. 2018: Added checklists to the rotation, to make it easier to distinguish between the playstyles of different talents.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated the Marksmanship Hunter rotation to be more clear on single-target priorities, and multi-target changes to the playstyle.
  • 12 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth release.
  • 07 Aug. 2018: Significant updates to the general playstyle with Lethal Shots, and updated the rotation with a new format.
  • 23 Jul. 2018: Updated multi-target rotation.
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