Marksmanship Hunter PvP Talents and Builds (Dragonflight 10.2)
Choosing the right PvP and PvE talents is a prerequisite to proper performance in PvP. This guide goes through the various talent choices available to you as a Marksmanship Hunter and gives you the best combinations you can take.
This page is part of our Marksmanship Hunter PvP Guide.
Best Dragonflight Talent Builds for Marksmanship Hunters
Note that these builds are generic recommendations for arena. There are multiple viable Marksmanship builds and tweaks that are very powerful in certain matchups. A description of each talent point is below.
Dragonflight PvP Talent Builds for Marksmanship Hunters in Arena
Best Overall PvP Damage Talent Build for Marksmanship Hunters
This build has high sustained damage through cooldown reduction on Rapid Fire from Windrunner's Guidance.
With the focus you get from Rapid Fire, Death Chakram and Legacy of the Windrunners you do not need to run Improved Steady Shot.
This build also has an extended Trueshot from Windrunner's Guidance which makes your second Trueshot lethal in a longer game.
This build trades Steel Trap to have Death Chakram, Explosive Shot and Poison Injection all at once.
Note that you are still able to root enemies with Entrapment.
In games where you are against low armor targets or feel an undispellable root would be valuable, take a point out of Arctic Bola and Explosive Shot to take a point in Serrated Shots and Steel Trap.
Be sure to make use of the 'Copy Export String' button to import the best build directly into your game!
Best Cleave/Burst PvP Talent Build for Marksmanship Hunters
This build gives you access to high sustained damage, crowd control, and burst by combining Death Chakram with Salvo.
Plenty of variations of the Marksmanship tree are possible, such as:
- dropping Lone Wolf to take Improved Steady Shot, Killer Accuracy and Tactical Reload
- dropping Killer Accuracy and Heavy Ammo for two points in Sharpshooter.
The utility talents in the Hunter tree should be changed based on matchup and comp, such as dropping Binding Shackles for Misdirection in order to play Interlope.
Note that this build uses both Entrapment and Steel Trap, but you should avoid using them both on the same target because the roots effects have diminishing returns.
Be sure to make use of the 'Copy Export String' button to import the best build directly into your game!
Below is an explanation of the talents available to Marksmanship Hunters and when you would use them.
Marksmanship Hunter Class Tree Rationale and Explanations
- Kill Command is not worth taking as Marksmanship.
- Concussive Shot is central to Marksmanship in all PvP scenarios and a mandatory pick.
- Kill Shot is a strong DPS button and a mandatory pick.
- Trailblazer can be good in very rare situations where you expect to kite or be kited around pillars for the majority of a game.
- Posthaste is essential to your mobility and a mandatory pick.
- Improved Kill Shot is a passive, powerful increase to our Kill Shot's damage and a mandatory pick.
- Wilderness Medicine is difficult to justify taking because of the talent pathing. It also triggers backlash damage from the cases where the dispel would be useful ( Unstable Affliction, Control of Lava, Vampiric Touch.)
- Counter Shot is required in all PvP scenarios and a mandatory pick (outside of exceptional cases in 2v2 where the other team will not have any casts to kick).
- Natural Mending provides cooldown reduction to Exhilaration and is worth taking in most situations, although you can get away with dropping a point here for other utility.
- Tar Trap is essential to your ability to kite and combined with Entrapment is a mandatory pick.
- Misdirection has no use in PvP unless combined with Interlope, which can be a very powerful combination in certain matchups.
- Survival of the Fittest is a strong defensive and a mandatory pick.
- Tranquilizing Shot is useful for many scenarios to dispel important magic buffs and some enrage mechanics. When you are not running Improved Steady Shot Tranquilizing Shot is usually a better filler ability than Steady Shot.
- Entrapment is essential to your ability to kite and is a mandatory pick.
- Improved Traps is essential to your crowd control and is almost always worth taking.
- Nature's Endurance is a must-pick as it doubles the damage reduction of Survival of the Fittest. With this talent Survival of the Fittest becomes one of your best defensives. I would not recommend taking Lone Survivor.
- Born To Be Wild is a solid cooldown reduction for aspect of the Turtle and Cheetah, making it strong for both survivability and mobility in games that you expect to last longer than 2 minutes. If your games are shorter than 2 minutes, this talent has no value.
- Scare Beast is (very) situationally useful, mostly into Feral Druids. Even if the Druid shapeshifts to cancel your cast, doing this will force them out of Bear Form and greatly increase their damage taken. If the Druid doesn't shapeshift your cast, you can use it to interrupt a go.
- Improved Tranquilizing Shot is an incentive to Tranquilizing Shot when we can, and can be valuable when playing Tranquilizing Darts without Improved Steady Shot into Restoration Druids.
- Intimidation is central to your ability to crowd control and should be taken in almost all PvP situations.
- High Explosive Trap is situationally useful when your team already has an abundance of stuns to set up your Freezing Trap and/or you are expecting to get high value from the knockback (e.g.. on Blades Edge Arena).
- Scatter Shot is a versatile spell that is essential to your ability to kite, cross crowd control, set up aimed shots, and peel enemies. I do not recommend playing without this.
- Binding Shot is very situationally useful if your team already has crowd control on the incapacitate diminishing return category and are lacking stuns. The main use for this is to kite Beast Mastery Hunter/Demonology Warlock pets.
- Rejuvenating Wind increases our maximum health and increases healing from Exhilaration. This is a mandatory defensive talent to survive stuns and should only be replaced when absolutely necessary.
- Camouflage is recommended in every game to ensure you get the best opener possible. It can also be used defensively if you get an opportunity to drop combat.
- Sentinel Owl is situationally incredible. Unlike Resonating Arrow from Shadowlands: this ability is not on the global cooldown and can instantly win games. The downside is that, unlike Resonating Arrow, the debuff does not last for 4 seconds when the target leaves the area, which makes it easy to counter.
- Binding Shackles is a much better talent than it initially looks. If you are using Scatter Shot on a target every 30 seconds, the uptime on this talent will be high and will help you to survive when being trained.
- Hunter's Avoidance is not worth taking except for exceptional games where you are playing without a pet and the target's main burst damage is area of effect.
- Roar of Sacrifice is essential to you and your team's survival. This is a mandatory talent unless you are playing without a pet (which I do not recommend).
- Pathfinding is a solid boost to movement speed, although there are usually better talents available.
- Sentinel's Perception is situationally incredible. There are use cases, for example, when playing with a Rogue into a Monk - when the Monk casts Transcendence: Transfer you can use Sentinel Owl to allow your rogue to Shadowstep Kick the Monk for a free kill.
- Beast Master, Improved Kill Command and Killer Instinct/ Alpha Predator should never be taken.
- Keen Eyesight is a strong DPS increase leading to required talents and is a mandatory pick.
- Master Marksman is a DPS increase and a mandatory pick.
- Serrated Shots is a mandatory pick because it leads to Steel Trap.
- Arctic Bola is a small DPS increase, but we pick it for Explosive Shot.
- Serpent Sting is rarely actually used as an ability but is required for Poison Injection.
- Steel Trap is essential to your ability to kite and is a mandatory pick.
- Death Chakram is a mandatory pick that does great damage, generates focus, and increases your other damage abilities. Death Chakram also hits nearby enemies, so you still get the damage increase if you switch targets. The damage over time effect also does not break Scatter Shot.
- Explosive Shot does a large amount of AOE damage. This should be used before Rapid Fire for maximum burst. This ability can break crowd control, so you will need to be careful with the timing or use it between crowd control setups to maintain pressure.
- Poison Injection has synergy with our Serpentstalker's Trickery talent and is a free DPS increase. You can min-max it by keeping Serpent Sting on a target before switching to them with Aimed Shot, but the damage isn't high enough for this to be a major consideration.
- Hydra's Bite is not worth taking.
Marksmanship Hunter Spec Tree Rationale and Explanations
- Aimed Shot is required.
- Crack Shot is a required DPS talent.
- Improved Steady Shot is an optional talent because you have other sources of focus ( Rapid Fire/ Death Chakram) and so many of your abilities do not cost focus.
- Precise Shots is a required DPS talent.
- Rapid Fire is another required core ability of the spec.
- Lone Wolf is a good talent if you are playing without a pet anyway, but is also often taken to gain access to Hunter's Knowledge.
- Chimaera Shot is theoretically an increase in overall damage into double melee compositions, but in practice, it is never worth taking.
- Streamline is a solid, passive DPS increase, which also helps you get Aimed Shot casts off and leads us to other important talents.
- Killer Accuracy is a solid increase to your kill potential and has synergy with the Dragonflight season 2 tier set. This talent increases your damage when it matters most.
- Hunter's Knowledge increases the damage of your two most important abilities and is worth spending a talent point on Lone Wolf for.
- Careful Aim is essential to your damage and is the reason switching targets is so effective as Marksman.
- In the Rhythm is not worth taking in PvP.
- Surging Shots is a large increase to your burst damage and gives you cooldown resets on Rapid Fire. This is a mandatory talent.
- Deathblow turns Kill Shot into a heavily featured button in the regular rotation and has synergy with the Dragonflight season 2 tier set.
- Target Practice is a mandatory DPS talent
- Focused Aim is similar to Hunter's Knowledge, providing a little more DPS per point.
- Multi-Shot is only very occasionally useful in the arena for overall damage but, in practice, should never be taken. You may want to take this in some rated battlegrounds when you are not defending.
- Razor Fragments further buffs your Kill Shot and should always be taken.
- Tactical Reload is a good cooldown reduction to your main spells. Having access to Rapid Fire more often gives you burst and focus regen.
- Deadeye gives a second charge to Kill Shot, which helps you finish kills and should always be taken.
- Bursting Shot is one of few utility abilities thar Survival and Beast Mastery Hunters don't have access to it. This is highly versatile and should always be taken.
- Trick Shots should not be taken in arena but is required if you are taking Multi-Shot for RBGs.
- Bombardment can be good in RBGs.
- Volley is a strong button combined with Salvo for bursting one or multiple targets and is good during Trueshot without Salvo where you want to cleave for overall pressure.
- Steady Focus is difficult to justify in any PvP situation unless you are running Consecutive Concussion in 2v2 and expect to kite the entire game without pushing for traps and setups. If you play this you may want to use this WeakAura.
- Serpentstalker's Trickery is free damage and worth taking, particularly if you are using Poison Injection.
- Quick Load can be decent in a 2v2 where you are struggling to kite. The knockback can be used twice in a row on the same target without being reduced by diminishing returns.
- Light Ammo is not worth taking for PvP.
- Heavy Ammo is the cheapest way to get to Salvo and adds noticeable cleave to your burst. I recommend taking this whenever you are playing Salvo.
- Trueshot is our main cooldown and mandatory, enabling our extremely powerful burst damage.
- Lock and Load is a mandatory talent that introduces powerful burst into your rotation, which does not cost focus and generates Precise Shots.
- Bullseye rarely matters in PvP and is only ever taken for Windrunner's Guidance.
- Bulletstorm is not worth taking in PvP.
- Sharpshooter is another way to get to Salvo that is more expensive but increases your sustained damage, rather than only your cleave damage.
- Eagletalon's True Focus extends our Trueshot and increases your potency when it is active.
- Wailing Arrow is not worth taking in PvP.
- Legacy of the Windrunners is a small passive DPS increase.
- Salvo can be macro'd to Volley for a massive, passive damage boost. The macro can be found in the Macros section of this guide and should be used after Death Chakram.
- Unerring Vision enhances our burst by boosting our main cooldown. The effect is reduced in PvP but is still noticeable and worth taking.
- Windrunner's Guidance extends the duration of your next Trueshot based on the number of Aimed shots you're able to cast. It will also reduce the cooldown of your Rapid Fire Which has great synergy with the tier set and damage profile of Marksmanship in Season 3 of Dragonflight, giving you frequent access to burst and focus.
PvP Talents for Marksmanship Hunters
You can choose 3 of the following PvP talents. Each of them has their uses, but some are better for certain strategies and matchups than others.
Survival Tactics is mandatory in almost all matchups, and the others can be replaced based on your team's composition, preference, and strategy.
Powerful PvP Talents for Marksmanship Hunters
Survival Tactics is the best overall PvP Talent. It turns Feign Death into your best defensive ability by negating damage for three seconds. This talent is very powerful into burst specializations when timed correctly. When facing specialisations that do not have spiky damage (for example Affliction Warlock), there are likely better options.
Chimaeral Sting is a versatile ability that can be used in many ways, for example:
- To silence an enemy healer while bursting their partner (note that it does damage on application, and the silence only applies after 3 seconds, so you cannot chimaeral sting during or immediately after a trap)
- To silence a healer before swapping to them (particularly good against priests as they cannot use Pain Suppression when silenced, but can you use if you swapped with Intimidation)
- To peel a DPS on their go (for example, use Chimaeral Sting on a Mage when they cast Dragon's Breath; they will still be able to Polymorph your healer, but will be silenced immediately afterward and not be able to capitalize on the Polymorph, or to cancel a Shaman's Lightning Lasso when you know it is coming)
- To cancel a Restoration Druid's Tranquility by casting Chimaeral Sting before they use it
- To deny a healer's trinket by casting Chimaeral Sting when they are stunned (when they trinket the stun, they are instantly silenced)
- To apply a powerful slow to a melee DPS when you have no other options
Sniper Shot is an extremely powerful damage spell with a low cooldown. In games where you expect to be able to get the long cast off, it is worth taking.
Trueshot Mastery reduces your Trueshot to less than two minutes — this is critical because a PvP trinket has a two-minute cooldown. This means that if you can force an enemy to trinket with the first Trueshot, they will not be able to trinket when you use the second. Note that the cooldown of Power Infusion is two minutes, so if you are playing with a priest that is able to give you Power Infusion, Trueshot Mastery loses a lot of value.
Consecutive Concussion is situationally very useful against powerful melee, as it keeps them at bay for longer and interrupts their damage via the stun in a slow game where you are able to cast Steady Shot a lot.
Tranquilizing Darts is a very powerful talent into Restoration Druids specifically (especially if they are playing with caster DPS or Demon Hunters who you can interrupt Counter Shot for the maximum benefit) but has little value in other specializations. You should press Tranquilizing Shot after Restoration Druids press Overgrowth or Swiftmend when using this talent.
Diamond Ice makes your Freezing Trap undispellable but reduces the duration and makes the target immune to all spells while active. This is useful:
- Against Shadow Priests, Demon Hunters, and Affliction/Destruction Warlocks that are otherwise able to dispel your Freezing Trap
- To crowd control DPS players without the healer being able to dispel the trap
- To keep a target at low health (you can trap a target at low health, then pre-cast a Sniper Shot or Aimed Shot, your target will not be able to stop your cast, and their healer will not be able to recover the target's health), this is a strategy that is particularly effective in 2v2 arena
Interlope is powerful into casters and hunters. You can Interlope your healer when they are stunned, to eat an enemy Hunter's Freezing Trap or use it on yourself/your team to absorb spell casts. The pet positioning requirement of this spell can make it awkward to use, but when used properly, it is a very powerful defensive talent. (Remember that you need to talent into Misdirection to use this!)
Niche or Not Used PvP Talents for Marksmanship Hunters
Ranger's Finesse theoretically can reduce the cooldown of Aspect of the Turtle significantly, but is awkward to use, and there are usually better talents available. The duration bonus to Volley is noticeable, and so is the knockback increase to bursting Shot. If your talent build allows, you can consider also playing Quick Load for more frequent access to Bursting Shot. If you play with this talent, you want to use Aspect of the Turtle early in the game instead of using other defensives to get the maximum benefit.
Hunting Pack is a mobility talent that vastly reduces the cooldown of Aspect of the Cheetah and applies its buff to your teammates but requires your teammates to be within 15 yards. There are better talents available to you in almost all cases.
Wild Kingdom will help you keep your pet alive. With proper positioning of your pet and using Mend Pet and Exhilaration properly, your pet should not die often. Remember that if your team already has a Mortal Strike effect, you can use a Mechanical family pet, which will be significantly more tanky than a regular pet anyway.
- 19 Nov. 2023: Updated recommended builds and their notes.
- 06 Nov. 2023: Updated for Dragonflight Patch 10.2.
- 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for patch 10.1.7 with minor tweaks.
- 10 Jul. 2023: Expanded on Talents and PvP Talents.
- 01 Jul. 2023: Guide re-written.
- 09 May 2023: Updated for Dragonflight Patch 10.1.
- 30 Jan. 2023: Updated the recommended Talent Build.
- 11 Dec. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight Season 1.
- 22 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
- 31 May 2022: Reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
- 22 Feb. 2022: Updated the PvP Talent recommendations and the pet families you should use. Added Ferocity alternatives.
- 10 Nov. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.1.5.
- 06 Jul. 2021: Updated PvP Talents.
- 18 Mar. 2021: Updated Tier 7 Regular Talent.
- 06 Nov. 2020: Updated Talent Table.
- Updated Tiers 4 and 7 Regular Talents.
- 26 Oct. 2020: Updated Talent Table.
- 15 Oct. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands pre-patch (9.0.1)
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