Marksmanship Hunter Guide for The War Within

Last updated on Jun 10, 2024 at 21:10 by Azortharion 132 comments

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the Marksmanship Hunter changes in World of Warcraft's latest expansion, "The War Within." This page is designed to help you navigate the new changes, optimize your gameplay, and get the most out of your Marksmanship Hunter in PvE environments.

In this guide, you'll find detailed breakdowns of the new Hero Talent Trees for Marksmanship Hunter. We'll explore the most significant updates, and offer insights into how these changes will impact your overall playstyle. Whether you're a veteran Marksmanship Hunter or new to the class, our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to excel in "The War Within."

1.

Marksmanship Hunter: The War Within Expansion Preview

Welcome to our War Within expansion guide for Marksmanship Hunter. Ahead of launch, this page will contain everything you need to know about the Marksmanship Hunter spec in the forthcoming The War Within expansion, including changes, Hero Talent Trees, and some light predictions on the state of the spec going into the expansion.

This page is a constantly evolving work in progress, with regular changes expected as updates hit the War Within beta. This is not meant to be a launch guide for Marksmanship Hunter, but instead serves as a resource for you to keep up to date with how the spec is evolving on Beta, and what you can expect from its playstyle and feel on launch.

2.

The War Within Changes for Marksmanship Hunter

2.1.

Hunter Core Changes

The Hunter Class Tree has received a substantial rework, with the entirety of the Class Talent Tree as well as all Spec Trees having been redesigned. Below, I have listed some of the most central changes that will affect your gameplay, decision-making, and power in The War Within.

  • Survival of the Fittest Icon Survival of the Fittest is now a 30% baseline damage reduction. Through other talents, it can get a 1.5-minute cooldown, 2 charges, and an 8-second duration. This is a huge boost to Hunter survivability!
  • Counter Shot Icon Counter Shot can now, via talents, get a 22-second cooldown, down from 24.
  • Tranquilizing Shot Icon Tranquilizing Shot can now, via Talents, either remove an additional Magic effect on cast, or have a 5s shorter cooldown if it only removes one Enrage effect.
  • Intimidation Icon Intimidation can now, via Talents, hit up to 2 additional targets for 50% effectiveness, and automatically summon a pet when cast.
  • Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot is now placed in the Class Tree in such a way that all Hunter specs will be using it, all the time.
  • Feign Death Icon Feign Death and Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle can now, via a Talent, remove all Poison and Disease effects from you. This is extremely powerful in some niche scenarios.
  • Bursting Shot Icon Bursting Shot is now available in the Class Tree.
  • Intimidation Icon Intimidation and Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot can now, via Talents, have their cooldowns reduced significantly via Scrappy Icon Scrappy.
  • Steel Trap Icon Steel Trap and Death Chakram Icon Death Chakram have been removed.
  • The new talent, Implosive Trap Icon Implosive Trap (choice node with High Explosive Trap Icon High Explosive Trap) is an AoE knock-up trap that can be used as an AoE stop.
  • In additional, several Talents that used to be 2-pointers are now 1-pointers. This means that we can have all of the DPS-related Talents in the Class Tree, and most of the utility without having to choose. There are other changes too, but these are the most important ones.
2.2.

Marksmanship Hunter Changes

The Marksmanship Hunter Spec Tree has also been reworked from the ground up. Below, I will list all of the new talents and some interesting interactions and outcomes from the redesigned layout of the Tree.

  • Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots is now a 1-pointer, and also reduces the Focus cost of Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot by 50%. It also always grants 2 stacks.
  • The new talent, Fan the Hammer Icon Fan the Hammer, gives Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire 3 additional shots, from 7 to 10. This translates to a roughly 43% damage increase to Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire, which will do a lot of damage in The War Within.
  • Barrage Icon Barrage is now a Marksmanship Tree Talent, but that is not the most interesting part..
  • Rapid Fire Barrage Icon Rapid Fire Barrage is the most interesting part. It essentially converts Barrage into a "super-Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire" that automatically ricochets for 30% of normal damage. These Rapid Fires can, in turn, Trick Shots Icon Trick Shots. The cooldown of Barrage is increased to 1 minute when this is used. A very powerful burst AoE button.
  • Lone Wolf Icon Lone Wolf now increases damage by 5% when you do not have a pet, down from 10%. This makes using a pet far more viable (but still inferior) on single-target especially, enough so that we may prefer to use a pet for its Leech or defensive at a very small DPS loss. It will still be a noticeable loss on AoE, however.
  • Hydra's Bite Icon Hydra's Bite is now a Marksmanship Tree Talent. It is a slightly nerfed version of the old Class Tree version, as the cleaving Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Stings will only happen if the main target of your Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot is already affected by one.
  • Legacy of the Windrunners Icon Legacy of the Windrunners has been redesigned — The Wind Arrows fired deal far more damage, and ticks of Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire (10 per target with Fan the Hammer Icon Fan the Hammer) now have a 5% chance to shoot additional Wind Arrows.
  • Wailing Arrow Icon Wailing Arrow has been redesigned — After 20 Wind Arrows (from the redesigned Legacy of the Windrunners Icon Legacy of the Windrunners) have been fired, your Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot button turns into Wailing Arrow Icon Wailing Arrow for one cast. Wailing Arrow now deals ~56% more damage than Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot on a single-target, while its AoE damage will depend a bit on implementation. The ability is currently pretty buggy on the Beta.
  • Eagletalon's True Focus Icon Eagletalon's True Focus has been redesigned — The Focus cost reduction has been increased to 50% for just one point, and it also causes Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot to fire a second time for 30% effectiveness, ensuring that a single cast always consumes both stacks of Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots.
  • The new talent Small Game Hunter Icon Small Game Hunter increases Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot damage by 75%, and Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot damage by 25%.
  • The new talent Kill Zone Icon Kill Zone effectively turns Volley Icon Volley into an 8% damage increase to targets in its effect. You can also ignore line of sight to enemies in your Volley.
  • Readiness Icon Readiness has been altered for the new Wailing Arrow Icon Wailing Arrow. Casting Trueshot Icon Trueshot now also grants a Wailing Arrow Icon Wailing Arrow, and Wailing Arrow Icon Wailing Arrow resets the cooldown of Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot and Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire entirely.
  • In addition to these changes, all Talents in the Tree have been reorganized, which has significant downstream effects on the builds we are able to create.
2.3.

Systems Changes

Aside from the changes to Marksmanship Hunter's core features, The War Within also has major implications for all specs thanks to the Hero Talent Tree system, new tier sets, and the natural reduction in secondary stats when entering a new expansion.

Marksmanship Hunter gets to choose between the Sentinel and Dark Ranger Hero Talent Trees. In sections below, we will talk more deeply about the implications of these Hero Talent Trees for the spec, and some thoughts on what looks strong and weak ahead of launch.

3.

Marksmanship Hunter Hero Talents in The War Within

Sentinel Dark Ranger

Sentinel Hero Talents for Marksmanship Hunter in The War Within

The Sentinel Hero Tree Talents are primarily based on the passive interactions of the core Sentinel Icon Sentinel mechanic, with the rest of your kit. Extremely powerful effects like Symphonic Arsenal Icon Symphonic Arsenal and Lunar Storm Icon Lunar Storm also add heavy passive damage.

Gameplay-wise, expect an almost entirely passive kit that regularly gives you tiny slivers of Focus via Invigorating Pulse Icon Invigorating Pulse, and potential cooldown reduction on Trueshot Icon Trueshot via the Sentinel Watch Icon Sentinel Watch choice node. Combining this choice node with Calling the Shots Icon Calling the Shots can enable Trueshot Icon Trueshot cooldowns of close to 1 minute!

Power-wise, expect a powerful all-rounder that "just works" for all types of content with no management required. Not only does the Sentinel kit do serious damage on the Beta right now, but it also amplifies all of your other damage passively via Lunar Storm Icon Lunar Storm.

Defensively, Sentinel is pretty good. Don't Look Back Icon Don't Look Back has extremely high uptime and will replenish itself constantly, especially on AoE, and in high Mythic+ you can expect to have the 10% absorb shield fully stacked for most one-shot mechanics.

Dark Ranger Hero Talents for Marksmanship Hunter in The War Within

The Dark Ranger Hero Tree Talents are primarily based on its core ability, Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow, and its resets of Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot, a free Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot when you press Black Arrow, passive damage increases to our main abilities, and a Dark Hound pet that occasionally charges in to do Shadow damage.

Gameplay-wise, expect a mostly passive kit that occasionally gives you cooldown resets of Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot and Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot. You will be pressing Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow on cooldown, followed by Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot, and then just passively enjoy the extra Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shots that you get.

Power-wise, Dark Ranger does not look very exciting on its surface. Extra Aimed Shot are not as exciting or high-value as you might expect with Aimed Shot's low base damage. A lot of the nodes here are very single-target oriented as well, with the free Kill Shot from Death Shade Icon Death Shade being single-target, at least without Razor Fragments Icon Razor Fragments, as well as the Dark Hounds from Shadow Hounds Icon Shadow Hounds, and of course, Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow itself.

Defensively, however, Dark Ranger is by far the strongest choice for Marksmanship Hunter thanks to Smoke Screen Icon Smoke Screen — A free, full-power Survival of the Fittest Icon Survival of the Fittest attached to your low-cooldown Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration is simply insane. Survival of the Fittest Icon Survival of the Fittest activating Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration at 50%, as well as a full-power Rejuvenating Wind Icon Rejuvenating Wind, is also quite strong, and pairs well with its reduced cooldown in the War Within.

4.

Marksmanship Hunter Tier Set in The War Within

Below are the Tier Set Bonuses for Marksmanship Hunter in The War Within. After the wording of the bonus, you will find a brief note/commentary that is italicized.

  • Hunter Marksmanship 11.0 Class Set 2pc Icon Hunter Marksmanship 11.0 Class Set 2pcArcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot damage increased by 20%. This pairs fairly well with the new Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots, Eagletalon's True Focus Icon Eagletalon's True Focus, and in the case of Multi-Shot, Small Game Hunter Icon Small Game Hunter.
  • Hunter Marksmanship 11.0 Class Set 4pc Icon Hunter Marksmanship 11.0 Class Set 4pc — Consuming Precise Shots Icon Precise Shots increases the damage of your next Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot by 10%, stacking up to 2 times. Thanks to Eagletalon's True Focus Icon Eagletalon's True Focus, a single Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot or Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot weaved between Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shots during Trueshot Icon Trueshot will maximize benefit of this set bonus.

Both set bonuses are completely passive and are not expected to have any gameplay impact.

How Good is the Marksmanship Hunter Tier Bonus in The War Within?

The 2-piece bonus is numerically very modest. On single-target, expect values of ~2-3%. In AoE scenarios, however, it can be upwards of 4-5%.

The 4-piece bonus is not straightforward to quantify. On single-target, expect around 3-4%, while on AoE, you can typically expect much less, about 1-2%.

The total expected value of the Tier Set is around 5-7%. Overall, this is fairly weak. Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot simply does not do a lot of damage in AoE scenarios, where Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire and Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot tend to dominate. In single-target, Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot and Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot are both lackluster.

Some builds, especially single-target ones with Readiness Icon Readiness, basically never have to cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot, reducing the value of both set bonuses to near-zero.

5.

Marksmanship Hunter Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths icon Strengths
  • +Significantly more durable thanks to 1-minute, 2-charge Survival of the Fittest.
  • +Very high AoE damage, beyond just burst.
  • +Less of a punishment for having a pet out.
  • +Short Trueshot cooldowns are more easily achieved.
Weaknesses icon Weaknesses
  • -Expensive, hard-to-reach AoE talents make it impossible to make a satisfying AoE build.
  • -Having to Multi-Shot every other global in Trueshot feels unsatisfying.
6.

Changelog

  • 26 Jun. 2024: Updated for the June 25th changes.
  • 18 Jun. 2024: Page added.
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