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Marksmanship Hunter DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Pet Talents (Legion 7.3.5)

Last updated on Feb 05, 2018 at 16:02 by Azortharion 922 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Marksmanship Hunters in World of Warcraft Legion 7.3.5. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Marksmanship Hunter guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Azortharion, the main theorycrafter of the spec. He is also an accomplished player who raids in Solaris. You can also watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Marksmanship Hunter Talent Cheat Sheets

While optimizing talents on a contextual basis is the highly recommended method of setting up your build, the talent builds listed below work great for specific purposes.

1.1. For Raiding

This build is an excellent starting point as a standard raid setup.

1.2. For Mythic+ (With War Belt of the Sentinel Army Icon)

This build is the default Mythic+ trash build, focusing on AoE damage with the added benefit of the War Belt of the Sentinel Army Icon War Belt of the Sentinel Army allowing you to put in high-damage Aimed Shots towards high priority targets.

1.3. For Mythic+ (No War Belt of the Sentinel Army Icon)

This build is the default Mythic+ trash build if you do not have the recommended War Belt of the Sentinel Army Icon War Belt of the Sentinel Army Legendary. It takes the focus away from Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot and focuses on other ways to do high burst AoE damage. A good Legendary for this build is Zevrim's Hunger Icon Zevrim's Hunger.

2. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Marksmanship Hunter

Lone Wolf Lone Wolf Steady Focus Steady Focus Careful Aim Careful Aim

Tier 1 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that increase your DPS.

  • Lone Wolf Icon Lone Wolf removes your ability to summon a pet, but increases all of your damage done by 18%.
  • Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus causes your passive Focus regeneration to be increased by 25% for 12 seconds whenever you use Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot or Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot twice in a row. Sidewinders Icon Sidewinders activates Steady Focus with only one cast.
  • Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim causes your Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot, Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot, Marked Shot Icon Marked Shot and Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot abilities to have a 20% increased chance to critical strike on targets above 80% health. Additionally, when they critically strike, these abilities will deal 30% additional damage in the form of an 8-second DoT effect.

Verdict: Use Lone Wolf Icon Lone Wolf for all situations. If you absolutely need a battle ressurrection, use Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim over Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus.

3. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents for Marksmanship Hunter

Lock and Load ? Lock and Load Black Arrow Black Arrow True Aim True Aim

Tier 2 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that increase your DPS.

  • Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load gives your auto shots an 8% chance to trigger Lock and Load, causing your next two Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shots to cost no Focus, and be instant cast.
  • Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow is an active ability that deals high damage to the target over 8 seconds. It also summons a Dark Minion which will taunt and tank your target for you, though this taunt only works in outdoor content. When you kill an enemy (requires you to land the killing blow), the cooldown of this ability is reset. It has a 15-second cooldown and costs 10 Focus.
  • True Aim Icon True Aim causes your consecutive attacks on the same target to stack a damage debuff called True Aim Icon True Aim on this target. This buff stacks up to 10 times, and increases your damage done to that target by 2% per stack.

Verdict: Use True Aim Icon True Aim for single-target encounters. If you are swapping targets a lot, use Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load. Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow can be useful for solo content in the open world, but that is it. Always use Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load for AoE/Cleave/Mythic+.

4. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents for Marksmanship Hunter

Posthaste Posthaste Farstrider ? Farstrider Trailblazer ? Trailblazer

Tier 3 talents offer you a choice between 3 means of improving your mobility.

  • Posthaste Icon Posthaste causes Disengage Icon Disengage to free you from all movement-impairing effects and boost your movement speed by 60% for 5 seconds.
  • Farstrider Icon Farstrider causes your damaging ability critical strikes to have a 15% chance to reset the cooldown of Disengage Icon Disengage.
  • Trailblazer Icon Trailblazer increases your non-mounted movement speed by 25% after you have not attacked anything for 3 seconds. It expires when you attack something again.

Your default choice should be Posthaste Icon Posthaste, as it will make you much better at covering long distances on a regular basis. You can use Farstrider Icon Farstrider if you never have to move more than the distance a single Posthaste Icon Posthaste will take you. Trailblazer Icon Trailblazer is only really worth using for non-mounted periods where you will be moving between combat zones for a long time. Since dungeons have nearly constant combat, and World Quests allow you to mount up, there are not many places where you can reliably do this. There is a conceivably use for it for Survival in dungeons, since the spec does not have a lot of mobility when running between packs besides its Harpoon Icon Harpoon ability.

5. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents for Marksmanship Hunter

Explosive Shot Explosive Shot Sentinel Sentinel Patient Sniper Patient Sniper
  • Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot is an active ability that fires a projectile in a straight line ahead of you when you first press it. The second time you press it, this projectile explodes for high damage, based on how close it is to its target. In short, the closer you explode it to your target, the more damage it will do.
  • Sentinel Icon Sentinel is an active ability on a 1-minute cooldown. It allows you to place a 10-yard radius area on the ground for 18 seconds. Every 6 seconds, all enemies in the area will be marked with Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark, allowing you to cast Marked Shot Icon Marked Shot on them. This happens 4 times; once when you cast the spell, then again after 6 seconds, after 12 seconds, and again after 18 seconds when it also fades.
  • Patient Sniper Icon Patient Sniper increases the damage bonus of Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable by 6% every second, meaning it is significantly more powerful towards the end of its duration, going to 106%, 112%, 118%, 124%, 130% and finally 136% damage increases. This means that Aimed Shots will do more damage if they are fired towards the end of the Vulnerable window. Every second of additional Patient Sniper benefit is roughly a ~4% increase to Aimed Shot damage overall.

Verdict: Use Patient Sniper Icon Patient Sniper for most situations, including single-target. Use Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot for bursty AoE damage, or whenever you will not use Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot enough to leverage Patient Sniper very much. Do not use Sentinel Icon Sentinel.

6. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents for Marksmanship Hunter

Binding Shot Binding Shot Wyvern Sting ? Wyvern Sting Camouflage ? Camouflage

Tier 5 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that provide you crowd control and utility.

  • Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot fires an arrow at a targeted location on the ground. If an enemy comes within 5 yards of the arrow, and then steps more than 5 yards away from it again, they will be stunned for 5 seconds. This ability has a 45-second cooldown.
  • Wyvern Sting Icon Wyvern Sting puts the target to sleep for 30 seconds. The ability has a 45-second cooldown. Any damage done to the target will break the effect.
  • Camouflage Icon Camouflage is an active ability that gives you stealth for 1 minute, and heals you for 2% of your maximum health every second. The stealth component of this ability does not work in combat.

Verdict: While none of these talents will have any effect on your DPS, Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot can bring some raid utility, as it can be used as a reliable stun for fights with adds. It can also be used as an interrupt, since placing it so that the add is at the edge of the targeted area will instantly stun it, regardless of whether or not it moves.

You should choose the talent that best suits your situation, but Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot should generally be your default choice.

7. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents for Marksmanship Hunter

A Murder of Crows A Murder of Crows Barrage ? Barrage Volley Volley
  • A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows summons a flock of crows to attack your target for 15 seconds, with a 1-minute cooldown. If the target dies while under attack, the cooldown of A Murder of Crows is reset. It costs 30 Focus.
  • Barrage Icon Barrage is a channeled spell that fires a barrage of shots at all targets in front of you, dealing moderate damage over 3 seconds (a total of 16 shots in quick succession) to all of them. It does not hit targets that are invisible or in stealth.
  • Volley Icon Volley is an activated ability that causes your auto shots to also launch a volley of shots that deal moderate Physical damage to your target, and all other targets within 8 yards. While Volley is active, it will drain 3 Focus per autoattack (about 1 Focus per second on average).
  • A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows is the best choice for pure single-target encounters. Volley Icon Volley is so close on a single-target that it only takes a bit of cleave in the fight for it to pull ahead.
  • Barrage Icon Barrage is currently the strongest choice in this tier for encounters with a lot of of spread AoE. It has been significantly nerfed on single-target and is now no longer worth using for it at all, with Volley providing better single-target and AoE, albeit in a smaller area. It should be used on any fight where the AoE is VERY bursty and where single-target is not an issue. Sadly, there is no such fight in the current content, so Barrage is rarely (if ever) worth taking due to the massive single-target loss.
  • Volley Icon Volley does more AoE damage than Barrage Icon Barrage, but it requires enemies to be stacked on top of each other, which is not always the case. You should pick Volley for fights where you can reliably hit more than 1 target with it. It is very close to Crows in terms of single-target, so it does not take much cleaving for Volley to pull ahead.

Verdict: Use A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows for pure single-target encounters, and use Volley Icon Volley whenever it will reliably hit more than 1 target, such as in Mythic+. If you are feeling lazy, Volley is close enough to Crows that you can get away with using it on pure single-target at only a small loss. Do not use Barrage Icon Barrage.

8. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents for Marksmanship Hunter

Sidewinders ? Sidewinders Piercing Shot Piercing Shot Trick Shot Trick Shot

Tier 7 talents offer you a choice of various means of enhancing your DPS performance.

  • Sidewinders Icon Sidewinders is an active ability that replaces both Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot. It has a 12-second cooldown, 2 charges, and it generates 40 Focus when it is cast (50 with the T21 2p bonus). Unlike Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot, it applies the Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable debuff to the target directly. When cast, it hits all targets in a cone in front of you for moderate Nature damage, applying Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable to them. If you have the Marking Targets Icon Marking Targets buff up when you use it, it will apply Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark to all targets, similarly to Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot.
  • Piercing Shot Icon Piercing Shot is an active ability that works much like Powershot did in Warlords of Draenor. It deals high Physical damage to the target, and moderate Physical damage to all targets between you and the target. It will consume all the Focus that you have, to a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 100. The more Focus it consumes, the damage it does. 100 Focus consumed means 100% damage, 50 Focus consumed means 50% damage and so on. As of Patch 7.1.5, it is affected by the damage bonus from Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable alongside Aimed Shot, and so it should always be used during Vulnerable, and at maximum Focus.
  • Trick Shot Icon Trick Shot is a passive ability that causes Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot to also hit all nearby enemies with the Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable debuff on them for 30% of normal damage. If no other enemies besides the main target has Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable up, it simply causes Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot to deal 15% more damage.

Verdict: Use Trick Shot Icon Trick Shot for single-target at all times.

For spread-out cleave or AoE, use Sidewinders Icon Sidewinders. If you can cleave with Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot, then Sidewinders is never worth it.

For general AoE and Mythic+, always use Trick Shot Icon Trick Shot. If you do not have the War Belt of the Sentinel Army Icon War Belt of the Sentinel Army Legendary, Piercing Shot Icon Piercing Shot can be competitive on AoE as well.

9. Pet Talents

Pets do not have talent trees. Instead, you can simply choose one of three specialisations for your pet (Ferocity, Tenacity, and Cunning). You can change your pet's specialisation at any time (while out of combat), free of cost.

Each specialisation grants your pet a few specific abilities. Currently, Ferocity provides the highest DPS in a raid environment, so it should be the default choice for all specs.

10. ChangeLog

  • 05 Feb. 2018: Removed "redesigned" note from Patient Sniper. Made note that Sidewinders generates up to 50 Focus with T21 2p. Switched to saying 40 Focus instead of 35 for Sidewinders, as we can assume that most people reading have the Critical Focus trait.
  • 17 Jan. 2018: Cleaned up the "verdict" section of each talent tier significantly.
  • 10 Dec. 2017: Updated note on Piercing Shot/Trick Shot and the choice between them for single-target.
  • 07 Oct. 2017: Cleaned up the talent cheat sheets and added one for Mythic+ with the Legendary Belt.
  • 28 Aug. 2017: No changes needed for Patch 7.3.
  • 26 Aug. 2017: Cleaned up a few old references and removed outdated ones. Added notes of using Sidewinders on Mythic Kil'jaeden.
  • 29 Jul. 2017: Rewrote Patient Sniper/Explosive Shot choice sections.
  • 04 Jul. 2017: Updated Trick Shot/Piercing Shot talent choice recommendations and added mentions of Sidewinders for certain fights.
  • 28 Jun. 2017: Re-labeled the talent cheat sheets - Trick Shot is not really worth it in Mythic+ even with the Belt.
  • 14 Jun. 2017: Fixed a typo on the Patient Sniper description.
  • 13 Jun. 2017: The meme build is not as attractive these days, with set bonuses and so on preferring Trick Shot, readjusted guide formatting and wording of explanations to fit this. Updated the strengths of each "step" of Patient Sniper to match the numbers after it was nerfed.
  • 17 Apr. 2017: Checked today and deemed updated.
  • 28 Mar. 2017: Reworded Barrage explanation/recommendation.
  • 17 Mar. 2017: Fixed graphical markers for Tier 7.
  • 05 Mar. 2017: Added "TL;DR" bits to the detailed talent explanations.
  • 04 Feb. 2017: Added stuff about meme build to the Explosive/Piercing talent descriptions.
  • 26 Jan. 2017: Revised Crows description.
  • 24 Jan. 2017: Updated recommendations to the "meme build".
  • 20 Jan. 2017: Revised talk about Piercing Shot Icon Piercing Shot, as it is quite good.
  • 12 Jan. 2017: Openness to the possibility of using Sidewinders for new players, or players having trouble picking up the new Arcane-Shot based talents.
  • 09 Jan. 2017: Updated for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 30 Oct. 2016: Removed talent table at the beginning of the page.
  • 25 Oct. 2016: Updated for Patch 7.1.
    • Updated Posthaste's duration. Was changed in Patch 7.1 to be 5 seconds (down from 8).
    • Trailblazer replaces Dash.
    • Updated the reference to Vulnerable in the description of Patient Sniper.
  • 22 Oct. 2016: Updated Mythic+ talent recommendation.
  • 24 Sep. 2016: Updated for hotfixes.
  • 20 Sep. 2016: Changed recommendation back, as it was founded on a mistake by me.
  • 19 Sep. 2016: Changed recommendation from Lock and Load to Black Arrow. Removed sims as they were not useful anymore.
  • 31 Aug. 2016: Rewrote Level 90 talent explanations to make Volley viable in stacked AoE situations.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 06 Aug. 2016: Added talent simulations for all tiers.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Gave more explanations as to why some talents are not currently viable.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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