Current as of Patch 5.2

Role | Talents & Glyphs | Stat Priority | Reforging
Cooldowns | Single Target Rotation | AOE Rotation

This guide aims to provide all of the most important information about the Marksmanship Hunter class so that you can play one at level 90 in PVE content.  It covers talents, glyphs, stats, reforging, and rotations. 

It is assumed that since you are level 90 you will be able to take the basic information and run with it, simple topics like addons, macros, targeting, and more are not covered.

The Role of a Marksmanship Hunter

As a Marksmanship Hunter your role in a group is to provide DPS and some CC (Crowd Control) when required.  However in addition to DPS and CC there are other abilities and benefits that you can bring to a group. Knowing what they are and how to properly use them is what will set you apart from all the other Hunters that just there as DPS, and make you a valuable member of any group or raid. Some of the abilities and benefits you can provide are as follows:

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  • Provide CC in the form of your traps to either freeze a single enemy or slow multiple enemies.
  • Can have your pet pickup an enemy and act as an emergency tank if required.
  • Can personally grab aggro and kite enemies easily with stuns, slows, and escapes.
  • Can debuff the enemy with Hunter's Mark to boost all ranged DPS against that target by 5%.
  • Provides Trueshot Aura which boosts melee and ranged attack power by 10% for your group.

Marksmanship Hunter Talents and Glyphs

In Mists of Pandaria talents and glyphs are base on the new Talent System 2.0, which means that for the most part you are free too chose talents and glyphs that you like rather than specific ones.  There are however a few specific talents and glyphs that can provide enhanced DPS performance in PVE content, for a Marksmanship Hunter they are:

Dire Beast (Tier 4 talent) - This talent grants you the ability to summon a beast that attacks your target for 15 seconds on a 30 second cooldown, granting 5 focus each time it hits. While the damage the beast does is not a huge amount, the focus that it generates allows you to use more abilities to cause more damage.

A Murder of Crows (Tier 5 talent) - This talent grants you the ability to summon a group of crows to attack your target dealing damage for 30 seconds, one a 2 minute cooldown, 60 seconds if used against a target with 20% or less health.

Glaive Toss (Tier 6 talent) - This talent grants an attack on a 15 second cooldown that deals damage to everything in your path and slows the target down by 30% for 3 seconds.

Pet Talents - As of the launch of Mists of Pandaria pets no longer have their own talent trees. Instead you simply pick from three different talent builds. For PVE DPS you should pick Ferocity as it provides the most DPS and the Rabid ability. Rapid boosts your pet attack speed by 70% for 20 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown.

This talent boosts your DPS by allowing you to use your soul shard powered abilities more frequently.

Glyph of Aimed Shot (Major Glyph) – This glyph allows you to use your Aimed Shot while moving, which lets you continue to DPS even while you are forced to move.

Glyphe of Animal Bond (Major Glyph) - This glyph doesnt provide any DPS increase but will keep you and your pet alive slightly longer with it's additional healing.

Glyph of Chimera Shot (Major Glyph) - This glyph is a minor increase to your survivability, but since so many other glyphs don't provide much it is worth consideration.

Marksmanship Hunter Stat Priority

It is critical to understand your stat priority for any class. Going after the wrong stats can really hurt your characters ability to perform his or her role in a group well. For a Marksmanship Hunter that means that you would have a lower overall DPS output.

The stat priority for a Marksmanship Hunter is:

Agility > Hit (to 7.5%) = Expertise (to 7.5%) > Crit > Haste > Mastery

Important Notes:

  • Hit - DPS players have been trained over time to highly value hit and reaching the hit cap.  This remains true for hunters and reaching your hit cap is your top priority, well tied as your top priority with expertise (see below).
  • Expertise – This is a new requirement for many long term players, since until Mists of Pandaria expertise was not required for ranged attacks. However you will now need to get to 7.5% to eliminate the enemies ability to dodge your attacks. This is just as important as your hit chance, since a miss and a dodge both result in zero damage being caused.
  • Crit / Haste / Mastery - These are your next best options in descending order. The value of these can change slightly based on raid set bonuses, however in general you should try for crit as the key stat after hit and expertise.

Reforging as a Marksmanship Hunter

When reforging simply follow the stat priority for Marksmanship Hunters above and move the lowest stat to the highest stat that the piece does not have on it. You can also follow this simple table:

If your gear has these two stats…

Reforge this stat…

… to this stat

Hit + Expertise

Do not Reforge

Do Not Reforge

Hit + Crit


Expertise (to 7.5%) then Do Not Reforge

Hit + Haste


Expertise (to 7.5%) then Crit

Hit + Mastery


Expertise (to 7.5%) then Crit

Expertise + Crit


Hit (to 7.5%) then Do Not Reforge

Expertise + Haste


Hit (to 7.5%) then Crit

Expertise + Mastery Mastery Hit (to 7.5%) then Crit
Crit + Haste Haste Hit (to 7.5%) then Expertise (to 7.5%)
Haste + Mastery Mastery Hit (to 7.5%) then Expertise (to 7.5%)

Marksmanship Hunter Cooldowns

Hunters have numerous cooldowns at their disposal. Using them at all is the most important thing to remember, since many players do not use them. Using them properly is the next most important thing to remember.

Don't stack some cooldowns - Unlike some classes where it is best to stack cooldowns Marksmanship Hunters have a few that they shouldn't combine. They are rapid fire, dire beast, a murder of crows, and stampede.

Rabid – This is a pet based ability for those with ferocity pets, use on cooldown as much as possible.

Rapid Fire -Use on cooldown as much as possible, however do not use it when you are under the effects of heroism.

Stampede - Use when available for a DPS increase.

Talent Based Cooldowns - Assuming you took the talents listed above then you will have Dire Beast, a Murder of Crows, and Glaive Toss to use for a DPS increase and for extra focus. Use them whenever available.

Readiness - This cooldown resets all your other cooldowns. You should use it as soon as you have used your other cooldowns to reset all of them.

Marksmanship Hunter Single Target Rotation

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As with most classes now there is no specific rotation for abilities, but rather a priority based list that should be followed for highest DPS output. 

The priority rotation for Marksmanship Hunters against a single target is:

1 - Hunter's Mark - Apply before combat begins if possible.

2 - Serpent Sting – Apply this at the start of the fight, and then keep it active with Chimera Shot.

3 - Steady Shot – Use this twice whenever there are less than 4 seconds left on your Steady Focus buff.

4 - Chimera Shot  - Use whenever off cooldown.

5 - Aimed Shot - Use whenever it becomes an instant cast.

6 - Kill Shot – Use whenever it becomes available, meaning when the target is below 20% health.

7 - Steady Shot - Use to generate focus.

8 - Aimed Shot- Use to dump focus if you have too much left around.

Marksmanship Hunter AOE Target Rotation

For AOE fights you are best to keep with your single target rotation if there are only 2-3 enemies. If there are 4 or more then you should use the following rotation.

1 - Steady Shot – Use this twice whenever there are less than 4 seconds left on your Steady Focus buff.

2 - Multi-Shot  - Use whenever you have enough focus to.

3 - Aimed Shot - Use whenever it becomes an instant cast.

4 - Kill Shot – Use whenever it becomes available, meaning when the target is below 20% health.

5 - Steady Shot - Use to generate focus.

Comments on Marksmanship Hunters

Feel free to have your say on how to play a Marksmanship Hunter in a PVE setting by commenting below.


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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.


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