Marksmanship Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Jul 06, 2021 at 10:32 by Azortharion 83 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 9.1.

If you were looking for TBC Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Marksmanship Hunter rotation.

1.

Covenant Recommendation Change in Patch 9.1

ATTENTION

As of Patch 9.1 the recommended Covenant for Marksmanship Hunter HAS CHANGED. Please check out the Covenant page of this guide for more information.

2.

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.

2.1.

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.

2.2.

PvP

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

3.

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 Shot Icon Arcane Shots or Multi-Shot Icon Multi-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, except during Trueshot Icon Trueshot.

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 55% 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.

The single target rotation for a Marksmanship Hunter is based on the following priority system.

Note that some checkboxes are ticked by default as they are currently meta choices that will be relevant for most people. If they are not appropriate for you, simply untick them and change them to something that is appropriate for your character.

Racials Talents Covenant Abilities/Soulbinds Legendaries
Mag'har Orc A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows Wild Spirits Icon Wild Spirits Soulforge Embers Icon Soulforge Embers
Troll Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot Resonating Arrow Icon Resonating Arrow Serpentstalker's Trickery Icon Serpentstalker's Trickery
Orc Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim Death Chakram Icon Death Chakram Surging Shots Icon Surging Shots
Lightforged Draenei Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus Flayed Shot Icon Flayed Shot Rae'shalare, Death's Whisper Icon Rae'shalare, Death's Whisper
Vulpera Streamline Icon Streamline Pustule Eruption Icon Pustule Eruption (Emeni Soulbind) Eagletalon's True Focus Icon Eagletalon's True Focus
Dark Iron Dwarf Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting
Chimaera Shot Icon Chimaera Shot
Volley Icon Volley
Barrage Icon Barrage
Double Tap Icon Double Tap
4.

Marksmanship Hunter Single-Target Rotation

  1. Use your potion alongside Trueshot Icon Trueshot. Remember that you will only have one Potion per 5 minutes.
  2. Cast Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot on cooldown.
  3. Cast Double Tap Icon Double Tap on cooldown. It does not matter what ability you spend it on. Save it for when Resonating Arrow Icon Resonating Arrow is just about to be used. They will sync up more or less automatically, as they both have a 1-minute cooldown.
  4. Cast Resonating Arrow Icon Resonating Arrow on cooldown.
  5. Cast Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot to pool Focus when Resonating Arrow Icon Resonating Arrow is coming up in the next 5 seconds. Do not cap your Focus in doing this.
  6. Cast Trueshot Icon Trueshot on cooldown, but be sure to spend all your Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots stacks first.
  7. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot on cooldown. Make sure that you spend all Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots before casting it. If Aimed Shot is about to reach 2 charges, or if Trueshot Icon Trueshot is up, you can ignore Precise Shots.
  8. Cast Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire on cooldown, as long as it will not Focus cap you. If Resonating Arrow Icon Resonating Arrow is coming up within the next 10 seconds, then you should save Rapid Fire for it.
  9. Cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot to spend Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots stacks, and whenever you are above 55 Focus.
  10. Cast Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot when you have nothing else to do.

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.

4.1.

Trueshot Rotation

Your Trueshot Icon 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.

A lot of players struggle with Trueshot Icon Trueshot windows because they are casting Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot too much. The goal is to maximize Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot and Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire casts, and to only use Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot when this will have no impact on your ability to cast Aimed Shot and Rapid Fire on cooldown.

This means that you will usually only ever cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot if you are about to reach 90 Focus after an Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot. If not, then leave the "gaps" between Aimeds/Rapids to Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot instead. Be careful not to cast too many Arcane Shots.

5.

Multi-Target Rotation for Marksmanship Hunter

On 2 targets, do the single-target rotation. When using Volley Icon Volley on two targets, you should make it a very high priority to cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot and Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire inside the window. You do not need any particular Haste amount for this, but it does mean that you should not cast any Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot within this window.

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 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 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. During Volley itself, cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot and Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire in any order if possible. On 3 targets and above however, it does not really matter if you fit 2 spells into Volley, as you are using Multi-Shot for Trick Shots anyway. If Trueshot Icon Trueshot is up alongside your Volley, then you can do Aimed Shot, Rapid Fire, Aimed Shot. The order of casts is not important.
  • Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot should be used when going into combat as the very first global in most cases. The goal is to just get it out of the way so that you can focus on your upcoming burst rotation, rather than having to weave it into Trueshot Icon Trueshot.

Finally, when using the Serpentstalker's Trickery Icon Serpentstalker's Trickery Legendary Item on more than one target, you should be alternating the targets that you cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot on to apply the Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting DoT to multiple targets. You should only really bother doing this with up to 2 targets, as it is impossible to keep up more than two outside of your cooldowns or Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Heroism Icon Heroism.

6.

Best Opener Rotation for Marksmanship Hunter

Note that some checkboxes are ticked by default as they are currently meta choices that will be relevant for most people. If they are not appropriate for you, simply untick them and change them to something that is appropriate for your character.

  1. Cast Double Tap Icon Double Tap around 8 seconds before combat begins.
  2. Cast Resonating Arrow Icon Resonating Arrow. Activate all on-use trinkets and Racials here as well.
  3. Cast Trueshot Icon Trueshot.
  4. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.
  5. Cast Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire.
  6. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.
7.

Multi-Target/AoE Opener Rotation for Marksmanship Hunter

The AoE Opener Sequence is identical to the Single-Target Opener with one key difference.

It is extremely important to have Trick Shots Icon Trick Shots active for every single Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot and Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire cast on AoE. This means that while doing the opener above, you should be casting Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot in between all of your Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shots and Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fires.

Since you will be using Volley Icon Volley in practically all AoE situations, we highly recommend that you tick the Volley checkbox in the rotation above, and base your AoE Rotation on that opener.

8.

How To Use On-Use Trinkets as a Marksmanship Hunter

There are a variety of On-Use Trinkets for Marksmanship Hunter that are worth using. Here are the rules for using them optimally in the rotation.

  • 1-minute trinkets like Sinful Gladiator's Badge of Ferocity Icon Sinful Gladiator's Badge of Ferocity should be used on cooldown, ideally synced up with effects like Resonating Arrow Icon Resonating Arrow if you are Kyrian.
  • 1.5-minute trinkets like Darkmoon Deck: Voracity Icon Darkmoon Deck: Voracity and Overcharged Anima Battery Icon Overcharged Anima Battery should be macro'd into Trueshot Icon Trueshot and used together with it at all times. The 30-second delay is worth the extra damage.
  • 3-minute on-use trinkets like Inscrutable Quantum Device Icon Inscrutable Quantum Device should also be macro'd into Trueshot Icon Trueshot and used together with every second Trueshot.
  • Note that the rules above only apply to Trinkets that enhance your stats. For trinkets that just deal damage, such as Dreadfire Vessel Icon Dreadfire Vessel, simply use it on cooldown. Kyrians should try and use damage-dealing trinkets inside Resonating Arrow Icon Resonating Arrow at all times.
  • If you are using double On-Use Trinkets, use the longest cooldown Trinket (for example the Inscrutable Quantum Device Icon Inscrutable Quantum Device) with your first Trueshot Icon Trueshot. After that, use your shorter cooldown Trinket (for example the Overcharged Anima Battery Icon Overcharged Anima Battery) on cooldown. Then use your shorter cooldown Trinket with your second Trueshot, followed by using it on cooldown, and followed by using your Inscrutable Quantum Device with your third Trueshot. In short, use the 3-minute on-use with every other Trueshot, and fill in the gaps as well as the other Trueshots with your other Trinket.
8.1.

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.

9.

Changelog

  • 06 Jul. 2021: Fixed a few issues and bugs with the checkbox system and added a note that the opener section is now affected by the checkboxes too.
  • 30 Jun. 2021: Multiple changes.
    • Added default checked tickboxes for meta setups and talents.
    • Made the checkboxes also affect the Opener Sequence.
    • Removed the AoE Opener Sequence as it has been obsoleted by the checkboxes.
    • Clarified and expanded on Double Tap usage significantly.
    • Changed the priority of casting Trueshot on cooldown.
  • 28 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 31 Mar. 2021: Clarified that it does not really matter if you fit 2 casts into Volley on 3 targets and above.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 07 Feb. 2021: Removed Arcane Shot from the opener as it has been found to no longer be a DPS increase.
  • 30 Jan. 2021: Several changes.
    • Removed the Focus cap condition for casting Rapid Fire on cooldown.
    • Clarified the rules for casting Arcane Shot during Trueshot.
  • 17 Jan. 2021: Added guide to usage of On-Use and Double On-Use Trinkets.
  • 24 Dec. 2020: Rotational clarifications.
    • Clarified the role of putting up Steady Focus when it is down and how it should be prioritized.
    • Clarified that casting Aimed Shot on cooldown is not a major priority, but that it should be kept off two charges at all times.
  • 16 Dec. 2020: Clarified that Steady Focus should be refreshed during Trueshot as well.
  • 11 Dec. 2020: Added note about Serpentstalker's Trickery multidotting in the Multi-Target Section. Also updated the Chimaera Shot section.
  • 04 Dec. 2020: Several clarifications to the rotation and opener.
    • Updated Double Tap usage for AoE.
    • Expanded on how to use Volley in 2-target and AoE situations.
    • Added a paragraph under the Trueshot Rotation to explain the goals of it further.
    • Added some AoE Talents like Volley and Explosive Shot to the single-target opener.
  • 02 Dec. 2020: Updated the Explosive Shot Talent rotation explanation.
  • 01 Dec. 2020: Rotational Updates.
    • Added Explosive Shot to the main rotation and the multi-target rotation differences.
    • Added Kyrian-specific Double Tap optimization to the Single-Target Rotation.
  • 28 Nov. 2020: Updated the Multi-Target Opener and added a paragraph to explain it.
  • 28 Nov. 2020: Updated the Single-Target Opener.
  • 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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