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Marksmanship Hunter DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Pet Talents (BfA 8.0.1)

Last updated on Jul 16, 2018 at 13:49 by Azortharion 30 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Marksmanship Hunters in World of Warcraft BfA 8.0.1. 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. Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf Icon Lone Wolf is a Marksmanship Hunter passive ability. It gives you 10% damage buff whenever you do not have a pet active.

Currently, it is a slight DPS increase to not have your pet summoned in any situation. On a single target, the difference in DPS is less than 1% however. This means that in progression situations and high Mythic+ where damage is often not the primary concern, the Leech/Maximum Health/Movement Speed from having a pet out is going to be worth it.

Keep in mind that when you dismiss your pet, it will take 1 minute for your Lone Wolf Icon Lone Wolf buff to reach its full 10% damage bonus. This is to discourage you from swapping between having a pet and dismissing it in the middle of an encounter.

2. 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.

2.1. For Raiding

This build is focused primarily on raiding and should be your default build.

2.2. For Mythic+

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.

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

This row consists of talents that improve your DPS in various ways.

Master Marksman Master Marksman Serpent Sting ? Serpent Sting A Murder of Crows A Murder of Crows
  • Master Marksman Icon Master Marksman causes your Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot to reduce the Focus cost of your next Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot or Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot by 100%, effectively making them free.
  • Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting is a DoT ability that costs 10 Focus and applies a DoT for 12 seconds. It also does a small amount of initial damage when you cast it. This is generally just to be kept up at all times, and can be useful for multi-DoTting as well.
  • A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows is a DoT ability that costs 20 Focus with a 1-minute cooldown. It applies a powerful 15-second DoT to the target that deals Physical damage every second. If your target dies while the DoT is active, the cooldown of A Murder of Crows is reset.

Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting is a respectable single-target damage option (and not bad when multidotting a few targets either), but we prefer A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows for its ease of use, and therefore we generally do not recommend using Serpent Sting.

Master Marksman Icon Master Marksman should be used whenever there is consistently more than 2-3 targets up for significant portions of the encounter.

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows should be your default choice for single-target encounters.

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

This row consists of talents that improve your DPS in various ways.

Careful Aim Careful Aim Volley Volley Explosive Shot Explosive Shot
  • Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim gives your Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot a 50% chance to deal 100% additional damage to targets that are above 80% health, or below 20% health. This essentially means that 40% of the time, your Aimed Shot will do 50% additional damage, effectively giving you a 20% damage increase to Aimed Shot, although the benefits of the extra execute damage and the opening burst can be greater than this damage bonus alone.
  • Volley Icon Volley gives your Auto-Shots a 10% chance to rain down additional arrows on all enemies within 8 yards of your target, as well as your target itself.
  • Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot fires a slow-moving missile when you first use the ability. By pressing it again, you detonate the shot, dealing heavy AoE damage to all targets near it. It costs 20 Focus and has a 30-second cooldown. If you do not detonate it, you will be refunded 10 Focus and its cooldown will be reduced.

Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim should be your default choice for single-target situations.

Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot should be your default choice for any multi-target scenario where you can reliably hit many targets with it.

Volley Icon Volley is not particularly powerful. The only thing it has going for it is that it is passive, but we do not really recommend its usage for any situation.

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

This row consists of talents that improve your utility, mobility and survivability.

Trailblazer ? Trailblazer Natural Mending Natural Mending Camouflage ? Camouflage
  • Trailblazer Icon Trailblazer increases your movement speed by 30% whenever you have not attacked for 3 seconds. This is essentially just a helpful passive for moving between packs in Mythic+, or rare raid situations where you need to move for a while and are not able to attack anything.
  • Natural Mending Icon Natural Mending causes your Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration ability's remaining cooldown to be reduced by 1 second for every 20 (Marksmanship and Survival) or 30 (Beast Mastery) Focus you spend. We can generally expect a cooldown reduction of over 30 seconds.
  • Camouflage Icon Camouflage puts you in stealth for 1 minute and heals you for 2% of your maximum health every second. It has a 1-minute cooldown, and the cooldown only starts ticking once Camouflage has been cancelled.

Your choice of talent in this tier is mostly situational, but for general survivability in raids and dungeons, we recommend Natural Mending Icon Natural Mending by default.

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

This row consists of talents that improve your DPS in various ways.

Steady Focus Steady Focus Streamline Streamline Hunter's Mark Hunter's Mark
  • Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus makes casting multiple Steady Shot Icon Steady Shots in a row more beneficial. Whenever you cast Steady Shot, you will reduce the cast time of the next one by 20%, stacking up to 2 times. This encourages a playstyle of spending a lot of Focus so that you can most efficiently get it back by casting many Steady Shots in a row, without capping your Focus.
  • Streamline Icon Streamline extends your Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire channel time by 30%, making it do more damage and generate more Focus. This 30% increase roughly amounts to 1 second, but as your Haste gets higher this number will decrease.
  • Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark lets you mark a target in a fight that you will then do 5% increased damage to until you apply it to another target. If your current target dies with Hunter's Mark active, you are refunded 20 Focus, making it at least slightly useful in AoE scenarios where individual targets die quickly.

Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark should be your default choice for single-target situations where you do not have to target-switch very often.

Streamline Icon Streamline should be used whenever you can reliably cleave multiple targets, since it is a large DPS increase to buff a cleaving Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire.

Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus is generally not recommended for any situation.

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

This row consists of talents that improve your utility, mobility and survivability.

Born To Be Wild Born To Be Wild Posthaste Posthaste Binding Shot Binding Shot
  • Born To Be Wild Icon Born To Be Wild reduces the cooldown of your Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle and Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah abilities by 20%, reducing both their cooldowns to 2 minutes and 24 seconds.
  • Posthaste Icon Posthaste increases your movement speed by 50% for 4 seconds after using Disengage Icon Disengage.
  • 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 rooted for 5 seconds. This ability has a 45-second cooldown.

Your choice of talent in this tier is mostly situational, but for general utility in raids and dungeons, we recommend Posthaste Icon Posthaste by default.

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

This row consists of talents that improve your DPS in various ways.

Lethal Shots Lethal Shots Barrage Barrage Double Tap Double Tap
  • Lethal Shots Icon Lethal Shots gives your Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot a 25% chance to make your next Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot or Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire be guaranteed Critical Strikes. The shot that is affected will simply depend on which one you cast first after getting the proc.
  • Barrage Icon Barrage is an ability on a 20-second cooldown that deals moderate Physical damage to all targets in a cone in front of you. It has a 3-second channeling time and costs 30 Focus.
  • Double Tap Icon Double Tap is a mini-cooldown with a 1-minute cooldown. It causes your next Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot to fire an additional time (although the second Aimed Shot cannot proc Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots or anything else activated by Aimed Shot), or your next Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire to shoot twice as many shots in the same amount of time, doubling its damage and Focus generation. With Trick Shots Icon Trick Shots active, the additional Aimed Shot will also cleave up to 5 additional targets.

Lethal Shots Icon Lethal Shots should be your default choice for single-target situations.

Double Tap Icon Double Tap should be your default choice for multi-target scenarios where you can reliably use Double Tap Icon Double Tap along with the Trick Shots Icon Trick Shots effect.

Barrage Icon Barrage is too expensive for the damage it does, especially with the War Belt of the Sentinel Army Icon War Belt of the Sentinel Army being so beneficial for Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot. We do not recommend its usage for any realistic scenario.

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

Calling the Shots Calling the Shots Lock and Load Lock and Load Piercing Shot Piercing Shot
  • Calling the Shots Icon Calling the Shots causes Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot to reduce the remaining cooldown of Trueshot Icon Trueshot by 2.5 seconds. This can be a powerful talent for certain fights that benefit from short Trueshot timings. You can expect almost a minute of total cooldown reduction from using this talent.
  • Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load gives your Auto-Shots a 5% chance to make your next Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot free and instant cast. Because of the new charge system for Aimed Shot, Lock and Load now also refunds you a charge so you can spend the proc immediately.
  • Piercing Shot Icon Piercing Shot works the same as in Legion, but it now no longer has a Focus-to-damage mechanic, and always costs 35 Focus as a result. It also does slightly reduced damage to secondary targets, 40% down from 50% in Legion.

Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load is the best talent for all conceivable scenarios at the moment and should be the default choice for any PvE content.

Piercing Shot Icon Piercing Shot's damage is simply undertuned, and it is not worth using.

Calling the Shots Icon Calling the Shots is held back by the fact that Trueshot Icon Trueshot is a fairly weak cooldown. Therefore it is not worth using the talent.

10. PvP Talents (War Mode)

In Battle for Azeroth, there will be the option to go into "War Mode". Enabling War Mode provides the following benefits:

  • PvP talents enabled in the outdoor world.
  • 10% increase in World Quest rewards at maximum level.
  • 10% more experience gained while leveling.
  • Earn Conquest Points which can reward gear every week.

With the benefits of enabling War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended to enable the feature to maximize your leveling and rewards at maximum level. However, you will make yourself available for open world PvP, and the possibility to be "ganked" while leveling or doing World Quests exists.

10.1. Marksmanship Hunter War Mode Talents

In this section we will rank the PvP talents best for leveling and doing solo / small group PvE content. Below is a ranking of both General PvP Talents and Marksmanship Hunter-specific PvE talents.

10.1.1. General PvP Talents

  • Relentless Icon Relentless is also a passive ability but it does not automatically remove crowd control abilities but instead reduces the duration.
  • Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is an on-use ability that removes all movement impairing effects and all loss of control effects.
  • Adaptation Icon Adaptation is recommended, is likely your most passive choice since it will automatically remove loss of control effects over 5 seconds.

10.1.2. Marksmanship Hunter PvP Talents

  1. Sniper Shot Icon Sniper Shot is an ability that does heavy damage from over 60 yards away, and increases the range of all your other abilities by 40% for 15 seconds. It has a 10-second cooldown. This is extremely useful for pulling mobs from afar before others can get to them, and finishing them off before they can get close.
  2. Trueshot Mastery Icon Trueshot Mastery refunds all your Focus when you use Trueshot Icon Trueshot, and reduces its cooldown by 20 seconds.
  3. Ranger's Finesse Icon Ranger's Finesse is a good default choice as it will passively reduce the cooldown of your Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle and Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration abilities significantly.
  4. Hunting Pack Icon Hunting Pack is a useful mobility option, allowing you to use Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah much more often.

Scatter Shot Icon Scatter Shot, Survival Tactics Icon Survival Tactics, Dragonscale Armor Icon Dragonscale Armor, Viper Sting Icon Viper Sting, Spider Sting Icon Spider Sting, Scorpid Sting Icon Scorpid Sting, and Hi-Explosive Trap Icon Hi-Explosive Trap have limited use in PvE content in terms of increasing your damage in the open world, but they can be situationally useful.

11. Pet Talents

Pets do not have talent trees. Instead, different types of pet belong to one of three difference specs: Ferocity, Tenacity, and Cunning.

Each specialisation grants your pet a few specific abilities. Currently, there is no DPS difference between the different pet specs. The only differences are in utility.

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