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Marksmanship Hunter PvP Guide (Legion 7.3.5)

Last updated on May 21, 2018 at 06:10 by Mysticall 5 comments

Table of Contents

Introduction

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play a Marksmanship Hunter in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, artifacts, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses. It is most applicable to Arena content, but most talents and racial bonuses will work in Rated Battlegrounds and skirmishes.

About The Author

This guide has been written by Mysticall, a seasoned PvP player who has repeatedly achieved Arena Master and 2500 rating. You can watch his stream on Twitch, and you can also check out his YouTube channel.

1. Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta for Marksmanship Hunters

Marksmanship Hunters are probably the strongest Hunter specialization right now. They are unique because, depending on your playstyle, you can AoE a team down with spells like  Icon Windburst and Marked Shot Icon Marked Shot, or you can have strong single-target damage with spells like Windburst and Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot. On top of all of this damage, they also have strong crowd control abilities.

1.1. Strengths of Marksmanship Hunter

  • Great control
  • Decent mobility
  • Strong burst damage

1.2. Weaknesses of Marksmanship Hunter

  • Long burst cooldown
  • Weak to teams with multiple stuns
  • Very few defensive cooldowns

2. Talent Choices for Marksmanship Hunters

Regular talents work in both PvP and PvE content (although they may sometimes work differently in the two environments, which is indicated by their tooltips). In other words, they are always active.

On the other hand, Honor talents are inactive outside of a PvP environment.

2.1. Regular Talents for Marksmanship Hunters

2.1.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

If you are playing with a class that can apply the Mortal Wounds Icon Mortal Wounds debuff, Lone Wolf Icon Lone Wolf is the best choice in this tier. This will increase your overall sustained damage.

If you are not playing with a class that can apply Mortal Wounds Icon Mortal Wounds debuff, Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim is the best choice in this tier. This talent will make it easier to start getting pressure on targets at full health.

2.1.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow is the best choice in this tier. This applies a relatively strong DoT to the enemy that will increase your sustained damage.

If you want more burst damage, Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load is the best choice in this tier. This talent gives you the potential to deal large amounts of damage in a short period of time.

2.1.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Posthaste Icon Posthaste is the best choice in this tier. This gives you even more mobility. It will allow you to run away from enemies if they are focusing you.

2.1.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Patient Sniper Icon Patient Sniper is the best choice in this tier. This talent is an overall increase to your consistent damage.

2.1.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

If you are playing with partners that do not have many stuns, Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot is the best choice in this tier. This will help you get away from enemy melee or land crowd control on the enemy healer. If your team does have multiple stuns, Wyvern Sting Icon Wyvern Sting will be the choice.

2.1.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows is the best choice in this tier. This ability is a very strong offensive cooldown that should be used when trying to secure a kill.

2.1.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

If your team is focusing on single target pressure, Trick Shot Icon Trick Shot is the best choice in this tier. This talent deals a large amount of damage and is very important for strong consistent damage.

If you are playing against a team with two melee or a team that will be stacked, Sidewinders Icon Sidewinders is the best choice in this tier. This gives your team strong spread pressure.

2.2. Honor Talents for Marksmanship Hunters

2.2.1. Tier 1 Talents

If you are playing against a team with multiple stuns, Relentless Icon Relentless is the best choice in this tier. Marksmanship Hunters are weak to stuns, so reducing their duration greatly improves survivability.

If you are not and want an on-demand trinket, Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier. It is the standard PvP trinket effect with a 2-minute cooldown.

2.2.2. Tier 2 Talents

Quickshots Icon Quickshots is the best choice in this tier. The Haste gained from this talent will increase your overall damage output.

2.2.3. Tier 3 Talents

If you are playing against a team with a melee on it, Catlike Reflexes Icon Catlike Reflexes is the best choice in this tier. This grants dodge when you score a Critical Strike, which can help avoid enemy damage, greatly improving survivability.

If you are playing against a team with two casters, you should take Survival Tactics Icon Survival Tactics in this tier. This makes Feign Death Icon Feign Death a very important cooldown. It can be used to avoid incoming crowd control and, with this talent, you can remove all magical debuffs.

2.2.4. Tier 4 Talents

The best choice in this tier is Spider Sting Icon Spider Sting. This allows more control when playing against casters, and it can be used to stop incoming crowd control.

2.2.5. Tier 5 Talents

T.N.T. Icon T.N.T. is the best choice in this tier. This increases the range of Bursting Shot Icon Bursting Shot making it a more reliable way of getting crowd control on enemy healers.

2.2.6. Tier 6 Talents

Ranger's Finesse Icon Ranger's Finesse is the best choice in this tier. This talent is incredibly important for having access to your strong cooldowns faster.

3. Racial Bonuses for Marksmanship Hunters

Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.

3.1. Horde

The passive Orc racial bonus (Hardiness Icon Hardiness) is great if you find yourself being stunned a lot and having a hard time against melee classes.

The Blood Elf Silence (Arcane Torrent Icon Arcane Torrent) is really strong as well. This adds to the crowd control you can bring to the table.

3.2. Alliance

The Human racial bonus (Every Man for Himself Icon Every Man for Himself) is a great way to get out of stuns.

4. Playstyle for Marksmanship Hunters

The main role for a Marksmanship Hunter is simple: use your mobility to land Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Traps on the enemy healer and use your strong single-target cooldowns to burst your enemies down. Make sure you pay attention to applying Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable to the enemy team, and also to the Marking Targets Icon Marking Targets buff you gain. Tracking these will help you deal the maximum amount of damage that a Marksmanship Hunter can do.

4.1. Before Gates Open

If you are playing against a team with stealth, make sure to use Flare Icon Flare to try to reveal them.

4.2. The Opener

The opener refers to your team's opening crowd control chain and damage done as soon as you get out of the gates. The main goal in the opener is to force your enemies to use their cooldowns. If the enemy healer uses their trinket in the opener, they are in trouble. Marksmanship Hunters have Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap, Bursting Shot Icon Bursting Shot, and Spider Sting Icon Spider Sting, which can help to this end.

This is the rotation you should use on your target at the beginning of the game.

  1. Use Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow on your kill target if you are talented into it.
  2. Use Sidewinders Icon Sidewinders to apply Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable if you are talented into it.
  3. Use Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot/Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot when Marking Targets Icon Marking Targets procs.
  4. Use Marked Shot Icon Marked Shot to apply Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable.
  5. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.
  6. Use Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot as a filler and to generate Focus.
  7. Use Marking Targets Icon Marking Targets procs to be able to use Marked Shot Icon Marked Shot.
  8. Use Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shots when Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load procs.
  9. Use A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows if your teammate needs time to burst.
  10. Use your burst rotation.
  11. After your burst, perform your sustained damage rotation until your burst cooldowns are available.

4.3. Offensive Rotation

4.3.1. Burst Damage

When you have the enemy healer in crowd control and you are trying to kill an enemy, you use your burst damage. You can use your own crowd control, such as Bursting Shot Icon Bursting Shot and Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap.

  1. Use Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow if you are talented into it.
  2. Cast  Icon Windburst.
  3. Use A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows.
  4. Use Sidewinders Icon Sidewinders or Marked Shot Icon Marked Shot to apply Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable.
  5. Use Trueshot Icon Trueshot.
  6. Use any Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shots when Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load procs.
  7. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.
  8. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.
  9. Use Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot/Sidewinders Icon Sidewinders as a filler.
  10. Use Marked Shot Icon Marked Shot to apply Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable.
  11. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.
  12. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.

4.3.2. Sustained damage

Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available.

  1. Maintain Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable on the kill target at all times.
    • If you cannot maintain it on all targets, have it active on your kill target.
  2. Use Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow if you are talented into it.
  3. Use Sidewinders Icon Sidewinders to refresh Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable if you are talented into it.
  4. Use Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot/Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot when Marking Targets Icon Marking Targets procs.
  5. Use Marked Shot Icon Marked Shot to apply Vulnerable Icon Vulnerable.
  6. Cast Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot.
  7. Use Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot to regenerate Focus.
  8. Use Marked Shot Icon Marked Shot.
  9. Use Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot when you get Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load procs.
  10. Cast  Icon Windburst for strong single-target damage.
  11. Use A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows for pressure.

4.4. Defensive Techniques

Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle is our main defensive cooldown. Use this when the enemy team is focusing you down and your healer can not heal you through the damage or is stuck in crowd control. Although you can not attack with this cooldown active, you still have the ability to trap. Using this to ignore incoming attacks and using Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap on an enemy healer could be crucial.

Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration is a very strong instant heal. Try to stagger Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle and Exhilaration and you will be very hard to kill.

Roar of Sacrifice Icon Roar of Sacrifice is a great utility ability for you or your teammates. This makes the teammate you use this on immune to being Critical Strikes by spells and transfers 20% of the damage they are taking to your pet. Use this when the enemy team is using their cooldowns on a teammate or yourself and not many defensive cooldowns are available.

5. Best Team Compositions for Marksmanship Hunters

Now that you have the correct talents and understand your damage rotation, it is time to step into the arena with your team. Marksmanship Hunters have a very strong burst cooldown in the form of Trueshot Icon Trueshot. This cooldown paired with multiple crowd control abilities make this spec a threat versus any team.

5.1. 2v2 Arena

In 2v2 Arena, you do not have many options. Trueshot Icon Trueshot has a 3-minute cooldown and it is crucial to use it at the correct time. Before you use your burst rotation, try to make the enemy healer use their trinket. If you are playing with a Holy Paladin or Restoration Druid, they should use their stun to start the crowd control. Follow that up with a Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap and Bursting Shot Icon Bursting Shot. At the same time you should be doing your sustained damage rotation. When the enemy healer is starting to fall behind in healing or uses their trinket, you should use your burst rotation. With this strategy you are trying to do so much single-target damage to a target that the enemy healer will not be able to heal through it. If you do not have a reliable stun, you can use Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot instead of Wyvern Sting Icon Wyvern Sting.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 2v2:

  • Marksmanship Hunter + Discipline Priest
  • Marksmanship Hunter + Restoration Druid
  • Marksmanship Hunter + Holy Paladin
  • Marksmanship Hunter + Holy Priest

5.2. 3v3 Arena

Your role in 3v3 is similar to 2v2 Arena. You will be focusing on maximizing your single target damage while still crowd controlling the enemy healer with Wyvern Sting Icon Wyvern Sting, Bursting Shot Icon Bursting Shot, and Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap. When you start the crowd control chain, your teammate should stun the kill target and then use your burst rotation. You do not always have to stun the kill target. If your team only has one reliable stun like Hammer of Justice Icon Hammer of Justice or Mighty Bash Icon Mighty Bash, it is best to use it on the enemy healer.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 3v3:

  • Jungle (Marksmanship Hunter + Feral Druid + Holy Paladin/Discipline Priest)
  • Cupid (Marksmanship Hunter + Retribution Paladin + Restoration Druid/ Discipline Priest)
  • Marksmanship Hunter + Arms Warrior + Restoration Shaman/Holy Paladin

6. Useful Macros for Marksmanship Hunters

Macros are crucial to be successful in PvP. They allow players to use abilities on enemies without having to target them. This helps increase overall damage/healing and general awareness in the arena. Here are a few macros that all Marksmanship Hunters can benefit from.

6.1. Sting Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip
  • /cast [pvptalent:4/1,@focus] Viper Sting; [pvptalent:4/2,@focus] Scorpid Sting; [@focus] Spider Sting

You will often be changing your tier 4 honor talents. This is an all-in-one macro that switches depending on which talent you take. This macro will also use the ability on your focus target, saving a lot of action bar space.

6.2. Wyvern Sting Macro

  • #showtooltip Wyvern Sting
  • /cast [target=focus] Wyvern Sting

If you find that you do not have much room on your action bars, you can use a focus macro. This is much simpler to use than the arena123 macro. Put an enemy on focus and this macro will cast Wyvern Sting Icon Wyvern Sting on that player while you are still focused on your target.

6.3. Counter Shot Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip Counter Shot
  • /cast [target=focus] Counter Shot

This macro will use Counter Shot Icon Counter Shot on whichever enemy you have on focus. Because you will be primarily using Counter Shot Icon Counter Shot on the enemy healer, you should only need this focus macro.

6.4. Roar of Sacrifice party Macro

  • #showtooltip Roar of Sacrifice
  • /cast [target=party1] Roar of Sacrifice

Using this macro will use Roar of Sacrifice Icon Roar of Sacrifice on party player 1. This makes it easier to use this defensive on a teammate while damaging the rest of your team. If you want a macro to use Roar of Sacrifice Icon Roar of Sacrifice the second party member, change the party1 to party2.

7. Gear for Marksmanship Hunters

With regards to gear, the biggest change in Legion is that there is no more PvP gear. Your strength in PvP will be determined based on the average item level of your gear (as displayed on your character sheet). For example, the base item level at level 110 is 800, so your stats in PvP will be adjusted accordingly. For every 10 item levels you gain, your stats are increased by 1%.

The implication is that it does not matter where your gear comes from, and all that matters is its item level. Gear from quests or PvE content is just as good as gear you get as a reward from PvP (which, in fact, will be very similar to PvE gear; there are no more PvP stats on gear).

Practically, you will simply look to collect gear with the highest item levels possible, and the stat distribution on the gear will not matter.

8. Artifact Traits for Marksmanship Hunters

Below, we will explain what the recommended order for artifact traits is, if you wish to maximise your PvP potential. It is quite possible that your artifact path (at the time of reading this guide) differs from our suggestions. If this is the case, do not worry, and use the information below to help you understand your traits and guide your future choices.

If you have suddenly decided that you want to turn to PvP, the best thing to do in your artifact progression is continue to your closest Golden trait, and then follow the recommendations below. Picking up the most useful traits ( Icon Healing Shell,  Icon Quick Shot,  Icon Survival of the Fittest and  Icon Rapid Killing) along the way is a great way to boost your potential.

8.1. First Golden Trait

The first Golden trait you want to reach is  Icon Call of the Hunter.

  1. Take  Icon Wind Arrows.
  2. Take  Icon Quick Shot.
  3. Take  Icon Critical Focus.
  4. Take  Icon Survival of the Fittest
  5. Take  Icon Call of the Hunter.

8.2. Second Golden Trait

The second Golden trait to go for is  Icon Bullseye.

  1. Take  Icon Precision.
  2. Take  Icon Marked for Death.
  3. Take  Icon Bullseye.

8.3. Remaining Traits

After this, you should head for your last Golden trait,  Icon Legacy of the Windrunners, picking up any remaining traits after that.  Icon Healing Shell,  Icon Mark of the Windrunner, and  Icon Rapid Killing are the traits that should be taken before the final golden trait.

9. Relics for Marksmanship Hunters

Relics are disabled in PvP, so they are not a concern to you.

10. ChangeLog

  • 21 May 2018: Added an Arena Compositions section.
  • 10 Apr. 2018: Made several updates to the guide and its structure.
    • Added sections for Macros, Strengths, and Weaknesses.
    • Moved Gear, Artifact Traits, and Relics sections to the end, since they are not that important.
  • 13 Feb. 2018: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.5.
  • 24 Dec. 2017: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.2.
  • 23 Sep. 2017: Several changes made for Patch 7.3
    • Removed Artifact Trait descriptions.
    • Changed recommended tier 1, 2 and 7 regular talents.
    • Changed recommended tier 7 honor talents.
    • Updated sustained and burst damage rotations.
  • 17 Jul. 2017: Changed recommended tier 6 honor talent.
  • 26 Apr. 2017: Marksmanship Hunter PvP guide created.
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