Guest post by Dargonslayer, rabid PvP enthusiast. Dargonslayer is a Marksman (now Beast Mastery) hunter who specializes in the murder of Alliance scum in WPVP. She has an off spec of OPPAN GANGNAM STYLE for PVE when she feels the need to make herself cry or that things are a little too happy in her life. She mains a dapper Forsaken gentleman by the name of Strelok on Emerald Dream US. She is an extremely kawaii GIRL GAMERRRRR DON’T HIT ON ME SILLY BOYS.
So as you should know, Patch 5.0.4 hit live realms Tuesday morning. And by Tuesday morning, I of course mean Tuesday afternoon. And by that, I of course mean a little closer to “early evening.” I think we can all take solace in the fact that while World of Warcraft handles its classes like a game of Hungry Hungry Hippo in which the class that eats the most of Ghostcrawler’s attention orbs gets all the buffs and the losing classes are all nerfed into “Cataclysm Holy Priest PvP” status, Blizzard Time remains the same.
Anyways! The new patch brings one or two minor changes to everyone; those minor changes being less minor and more “dear God NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS ANYMORE.”
TO LIST A FEW:
- The removal of the ranged/relic slot. That’s right—the third weapon slot has disappeared overnight. While all your little Horde and Alliance characters were sleeping, Little Crabby Ghostcrawler hopped through and bopped them all on the head with his nerfbat. We’ve all forgotten how to carry around daggers, and folks like Paladins and Priests have decided that carrying around sacred texts of the Light in their third slot is just so tiring. For hunters, this means that our ranged weapon now lives in our Main Hand slot. Congratulations! The Kiril that you swiped from the bear tank is now absolutely useless. Have fun linking it in /2 and crying. And no, you don’t get a refund for your 3400 Conquest pike (or your 800 point magic Paladin book). Don’t you hate it when Blizzard?
- The PvP 4-Set change is in effect. Our PvP 4-Set increases Focus regeneration by 25%, up from 5% in 4.x. I’ve been testing the improved 4-set in Random BGs and so far, it seems more than sufficient. For all of you that were rocking the Wyrmstalker 2PC, you can finally go back to enjoying your full PvP Resilience levels.
- PvP Resilience and PvP Power. I don’t know of any good way to explain it, but PvP Resilience/Power combined is probably one of Blizzard’s better ideas. First and foremost, all PvP gear now has two “useful” secondary stats (ie Crit/Haste instead of just Crit/Resil) in addition to Resilience and PvP Power. Essentially, PvP Power is the counter to Resilience; its addition makes PvE gear more or less obsolete in competitive play. For example: my hunter has 66.3% PvP Resilience in live right now. This is a 66.3% reduction to all incoming damage- it sounds insane, certainly. However, he also has 26.12% PvP Power. If Strelok were to fight himself in a schizophrenic fit, he would only have a 40.18% reduction to damage dealt. From what I’ve heard/seen, that’s roughly equal to what PvP-geared players were doing to other PvP-geared players pre-5.0.4. Because PvE gear lacks PvP power, the DR makes them hit like crap on PvP geared opponents. Hooray! PvE in PvP is dead.
- In addition, the Legendaries in MoP are currently legendary-tier gems, not weapons. These gems can only be placed in to PvE items, which prevents another Legendary crisis like the one we had with Tarecgosa/FUCKIN’ DAGGERS. As much as I’m going to inevitably go on an “I HATE IT WHEN BLIZZARD” rant, this is one of their better changes (and long overdue).
- The Forsaken racial changed. We can no longer breateh 233%—yes, 233%—longer underwater (boo!). Instead, we now have a passive ability that periodically damages our target with shadow damage and heals us for the same amount (OH MY GOD YAY). At 85, this ability hits for about 4.3k from what I’ve seen—that’s a passive 3% heal. With this and Will of the Forsaken, Forsaken are looking like the new fan favourite race for MoP PvP. I can reliably say that as a hunter with kind of nothing when it comes to self-healing, a 3% heal at random is very, very welcome.
- The removal of stat sticks from hunters means we no longer have any weapon chain. Yes, hunters are now sitting in 8 second disarms with more or less nothing we can do about it. It’s as bad as it sounds, believe me, but all we can do is hope Blizzard changes weapon chains to be usable on Ranged weapons. Ha.
I said I would list a few, not that they’d be short.
In all likelihood, you aren’t here to listen to me regurgitate class notes like a semi-witty MMO Champion. You want to know hunter PvP—what are the best talents, glyphs, pets, places to AFK, et cetera. How are we going to be in competitive? What makes us good/bad? What are some tips and tricks to woo your Battlegroup sweetheart into sending you nudes?
Fortunately for you, I have some vague answers. Unfortunately for you, they’re all coming from a sub-1550 hero (I’m 1650 in Rated BGs DON’T HATE DON’T HATE) whose only 2.2k rating was in untamed anti-Blizzard fury. As such, take what I say with a grain of salt—or an entire barrel, if you like.
With the disclaimers aside, let’s get down to business.
That’s it. Beast Mastery.
Survival and Marksman have both been nerfed into the ground and rendered near-unrecognizable. To best explain how hard the nerfbat hit MM PvP, the place where Marksman hunters once stood has been thoroughly nuked into the ground, paved over, and turned into New Jersey. RIP, Marksman. RIP.
With that being said, the new top dog spec is BM. The burst damage a BM hunter can put down is frankly frightening, and having that stun via Intimidation along with something like Silencing Shot is simply amazing. As it stands, no spec even comes close for PvP.
So, what IS a BM hunter? We just don’t know.
- …does damage primarily through your pet. This seems fairly obvious, I know, but I say this to remind everyone that your pet can’t just be farting around doing whatever while you fight someone. Your pet is an extension of your hunter- a clunky, inefficient extension of your hunter. Kind of like it’s some extension arm on Inspector Gadget, only it’s incredibly rusty and made of tin foil and all the plastic party silverware you bought to be disposable but your grandmother insists on washing and taking home with her. With that said, you need to pay attention to your pet, what it’s doing, and its cooldowns. You can get away with not macroing things like Bullheaded in Marksman, but having your pet stuck in a 7 second fear as BM? You might as well just throw your pre-Cataclysm ammo at your target. In short: YOU ARE A SUPER-PET SPEC. CONTROL YOUR PET ACCORDINGLY.
- …does cray-cray damage when bursting. While hunters have always been frightening while bursting, BM is by far the de facto “beat the blood out of him” spec. To that end, however, our sustained damage isn’t quite as good. The bright side is that we get cooldowns like Dire Beast every 30 seconds (and if you don’t take Dire Beast as BM I judge you harshly), so we’re seldom just mashing Kill Command/Arcane Shot and hoping we’re making the other guy hurt.
- …still feels about as fluid as trying to shove a square peg into a small dog’s ass. Even with the range change on Kill Command, Beast Mastery doesn’t feel as fluid as Marksman. It could just be that I’m just picking BM up for the first time in nearly a year, but whatever it is, it’s not very efficient.
In short, BM is big on burst, but has poor sustained damage and doesn’t feel as fluid as MM did. If you’ve never played BM before, you can expect the change to feel super duper awful, but once you pick up on it you’ll get to enjoy being just plain scary while a Shadow Priest destroys you in less than five seconds.
At least you tried.
Talents are rather interesting in Misty Pandaland. Rather than picking a spec, filling the tree, and then allocating points to the other two trees, we earn one talent point every 15 levels that can be put into one of three skills. Though there’s certainly some talents on some tiers that shine above the others, there does remain a considerable amount of personal choice in talents now. A foreign notion, I’m sure. Try not to panic while we look these over.
For those playing at home, here’s the Mists of Pandaria Talent Calculator.
Tier 1: Disengage
On Tier 1, Blizzard gives us a choice: what sort of mad tomfoolery would we like to happen with our ability to miraculously fly backwards? It’s also quite nice in that at this point in MoP/5.0.4, you do have a choice. Hooray!
Your Disengage frees you from all movement impairing effects and increases your movement speed by 60% for 8 sec.
Posthaste works much like it did before—however, it now frees you from any movement impairing effects on use, not unlike a druid using Dash. The fact that it removes movement impairing effects and increases movement speed is wonderful—it’s a bit like having Master’s Call combined with the old Posthaste in Cataclysm. While minimum range isn’t an issue anymore, getting punched in the scrotum by warriors and paladins is still very, very bad. I’ve had great results with it in random BGs right now and couldn’t recommend it enough for quick getaways.
When you Disengage, you also activate a web trap which encases all targets within 8 yards in sticky webs, preventing movement for 8 sec.
Where talent one in this tier is all about making you Speedy Gonzalez, talent two is all about immobilizing your foes by shooting your stickiness all over them. Spermicide jokes aside, Narrow Escape has the potential to be excellent in PvP. The loss of Entrapment means that hunters are fairly lacking in roots these days, which makes Narrow Escape very attractive. That being said, however, the 8 yard range does make it a bit situational—if you aren’t disengaging in the very midst of your foes often, you’re wasting a talent you could otherwise put into Posthaste or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera.
Reduces the cooldown of Disengage by 10 sec, and the cooldown of Deterrence by 60 sec.
As much fun as I’m having with Posthaste right now, I’d say with quite a bit of certainty that Crouching Tiger, should it stay as is, is going to be THE competitive PvP choice. A Disengage on a 15 second cooldown is fairly nice standalone, but this talent puts Deterrence’s cooldown at 1 minute. That’s a 30% damage reduction and 100% attack reflection every 60 seconds. You’d either be a fool or someone who really hates your healer to pass it up.
Tier 2: Crowd Control
Tier 2 offers you two familiar CC abilities as well as one new one. You still get to pick and choose on this tier, but imho your choice will change depending on the kind of PvP you’re doing.
A shot that silences the target and interrupts spellcasting for 3 sec.
If you’ve played Cataclysm hunter, you’re already familiar with Silencing Shot. It’s the same shot you know and love, only available to every spec. I’m currently rolling with Silencing Shot in random BGs and loving it—it’s everything I wanted in 4.2, but kind of nerfed and with less kawaii-ass polearms.
A stinging shot that puts the target to sleep for 30 sec. Any damage will cancel the effect. Only one Sting per Hunter can be active on the target at a time.
Wyvern Sting is… still not great for PvP. Though Blizzard did the right thing and removed the pointless DoT effect from it, it still breaks on any damage. In addition, Wyvern Sting lacks any glyph that makes it remove pre-existing DoT effects; in order to effectively use it, you would have to waste a glyphed Freezing Trap or Scatter Shot before applying it, and even then something like Unholy Frenzy can break it easily. Though you could theoretically take it for Arena play, it’s simply not a good idea for Battlegrounds, and I would argue that a Silencing Shot or Binding Shot would benefit far more in either form of gameplay.
You fire a magical projectile, tethering the enemy and any other enemies within 5 yards of the landing arrow for (11 sec) sec.
If targets move 5 yards from the arrow they are stunned for 5 sec (3 sec PvP) and will be immune to the effects of Binding Shot for 10 sec.
Binding shot is a new skill added to MoP, and… wow. I haven’t played around TOO much with it, admittedly, but just reading the tooltip leads me to believe that in Battlegrounds, a well-placed Binding Shot could easily mean the difference between a win and a loss. Binding Shot in Arenas could also have some very interesting effects, but it would be at the sacrifice of a Silence. When it comes to Arena play, I’d imagine that the choice between Binding and Silencing will come down to your composition.
For BGs, though? Drop a Binding Shot right in front of Drek’Thar’s room in AV and enjoy the 20+ stunned players.
Tier 3: Hunter Heals Tier
You read that right. Hunter. Heals. It’s okay to freak out a little.
Admittedly, I haven’t looked around too much about the healing tier or seen what’s being said about it—I’m more speculating than offering sound advice as to where to go, here. Again, grains of salt for everyone!
Instantly heals you for 30% and your pet for 100% of total health.
You read that right. A heal. An actual, bona fide heal for your hunter (and his faithful, albeit rather stupid, companion). I wasn’t making that shit up.
While I’m not running it in random BGs (at least, not yet—give it a few more days of screaming “I WISH I HAD A HEAL” and I’ll inevitably change), I can’t imagine wanting to take anything else in Arenas right now. A 30% heal is fairly significant, and that 100% heal on your pet certainly ain’t nothin’ to scoff at. Combine it with your Spirit Mend and cackle wildly, for at last you understand what it’s like to be a DPS with a self-heal. Too bad you aren’t a hybrid.
The Hunter takes on the aspects of an iron hawk, increasing ranged attack power by 10%, and reducing all damage taken by 15%. Only one Aspect can be active at a time.
In theory, Iron Hawk is awesome. In application? Not so much.
As of right now, Blizzard intends to remove Aspects from the GCD again. However, as it stands hunters don’t get to spend too much time hanging out in Hawk—we move a lot, and apparently adopting the aspects of a motherfucking hawk does not lend itself well to shooting steadily (or shooting… like a cobra).
Like I said though, a 15% damage reduction on Hawk should be excellent, but at the cost of an instant heal and a passive 2% heal? I wouldn’t recommend it, personally.
While your pet is active, you and your pet will regenerate 2% of total health every 2 sec.
It’s like old Spirit Bond, but not as crappy. MoP Spirit Bond is 2% every 2 seconds—while this does sound kind of crazy, I know, it’s 2.8k every 2 seconds. My autoshot hits at 85 right now are hitting for around 2k. It’s pretty good when combined with the healing done by the new Forsaken racial, but you’ll probably fare better with that instant 30% heal.
Tier 5: The Focus Tier
Tier 5 Focuses on returning Focus to you. Focus regeneration was nightmarish for PvP Hunters in Cataclysm—however, Tier 5 makes Focus readily available to us in 3 ways.
Instantly restores 50 Focus to you and your pet and an additional 50 Focus over 10 sec.
How it’s like old Fervor: Instantly restores 50 Focus
How it’s not: Generates another 50 Focus over 10 seconds.
In short, Fevor is a pretty damn tasty talent for the Focus-hungry Hunter. The Availability of Fervor on a 30 second cooldown means that you can pop Fervor and enjoy a never-ending pool of Focus while you blow your burst cooldowns. It’s also reset by Readiness, so you can easily pop that for a second, full-Focus burst terror phase.
Summons a powerful wild beast to attack your target for 15 sec. Each time the beast deals damage, you will gain 5 Focus.
This is a talent new to Mists, and my personal favourite of this tier. Though you can’t pop it to instantly restore Focus, your new beast friend does quite a bit of damage and hits very, very often. Popping Dire Beast with your other damage cooldowns will give you an effect fairly similar to Fervor’s Focus-over-time: endless Focus to tear apart your foes.
Unfortunately, the Call Beast bug is long-fixed, so you cannot camp the Alliance/Horde starting zone with the entirety of the forest at your backs. Boo, you whore.
You have a 30% chance when you fire a ranged attack that costs Focus or Kill Command to reduce the Focus cost of your next 3 Arcane Shots or Multi-Shots by 20.
It’s basically Cataclysm TotH—it procs very often and it’s very useful when it does. I’m personally not a fan of proc-based things in PvP, but it’s certainly not a bad talent for BGs. I wouldn’t recommend it for Arenas but hey, preference.
Tier 5: The Only Thing A Murder of Crows Can Murder is Your Framerate
It’s so sad, but so true. The choice essentially comes down to Lynx Rush or Blink Strike: do you want to make everything in a 10 yard radius of your pet hurt a lot, or do you want one guy to have his entire digestive tract fall out because of your pet’s shiny new Shadowstep?
Summons a flock of crows to attack your target over the next 30 sec. If used on a target below 20% health, the cooldown is reduced to 60 seconds.
Two minute CD? 60 Focus to cast? Next to no damage?
Causes your pet to instantly teleport behind an enemy target up to 40 yards away from your pet and inflict 600% normal damage.
Ouch. Blink Strike is an incredibly painful ability when used against a single target, and considering it’s a 20 second cooldown, you can use it almost as often as you can use Dire Beast, essentially letting you Dire-Blink your foes into a pool of their own fear and excrement. The trade-off is that while Blink Strike might do 600% damage on a 20 second cooldown, it doesn’t have the AoE capability of its tier companion, Lynx Rush.
Your pet rapidly charges from target to target, attacking 9 times over 4 sec, dealing 200% of its normal attack damage to each target.
The pet must be within 10 yards of the target to Lynx Rush.
If Blink Strike is the BM hunter’s Shadowstep, then Lynx Rush is Killing Spree. The damage is less than Blink Strike, naturally, but the ability to jump between targets makes this a very attractive talent for BGs. Mind you, all your targets have to be within 10 yards of the pet during the rush for it to hit them, but a cleverly-placed Ice Trap or Binding Shot before your Lynx Rush will benefit you greatly.
Tier 6: Like I Play MoP Beta
From what I understand, Barrage and Glaive Toss are basically no-gos because their Focus cost doesn’t justify what they can do. Powershot is meh because of the long cast time, but the knockback has the potential to be hilarious.
Glyphs are very, very different now in comparison to how they were in Cataclysm. First and foremost, Prime Gylphs are gone—most Prime Glyph effects have either become part of the class/spec or are Major/Minor Glyphs now. They also offer very different effects. While most of Cataclysm’s Glyphs increased healing/damage by a percentage, or increased the duration of something/reduced CDs, MoP glyphs have a myriad of effects. There are far too many glyphs for me to list off the pros and cons of them all in one sitting—I recommend you check out Wowhead’s Hunter Glyph List to see all of them.
Major Glyphs are, technically speaking, the new Prime Glyphs; the biggest changes to your abilities will come through these. Hunters have a variety of Major Glyphs that have the ability to make PvP very interesting (and PvE a nightmare).
Glyph of Scattering — Your Scatter Shot also removes all damage over time effects from the target.
Glyph of Icy Solace — Your Freezing Trap also removes all damage over time effects from the target.
PRAISE METZEN, AT LONG LAST. I don’t think I need to elaborate on why these glyphs are amazing for PvP hunter—no more will Scatter Shot or our Freezing Trap be broken by some accidental DoT effects! Personally, I’d take Scattering over FT instead of doubling up, but the existence of both (at long last) is wonderful.
Glyph of Endless Wrath — While Bestial Wrath is active, your pet cannot be killed, but can still be damaged.
After watching my poor Spirit Beast keel over and die to 3 Shadow Priests over and over again, I’m seriously considering this glyph. It’s not a permanent fix to the “OH SHIT DYING DYING DYING dead lol BM Hunter GL mate” crisis, but it’s hilarious to watch your pet get a KB on someone with 1 hit point.
Glyph of Disengage — Increases the distance you travel when you Disengage.
This glyph is rather amazing in PvP right now—you literally sail across the map. As an Engineer, the new Disengage has carried me from LM to more or less the Gold Mines graveyard. As mobility is everything in PvP (sorry Ghostcrawler), this glyph is very much worth considering.
Glyph of Mirrored Blades — When attacked by a spell while in Deterrence, you have a 100% chance to reflect it back at the attacker.
Remember looking at the Mirrored Blades talent in the Survival tree, cackling at how evil it could be, and then weeping when Survival was not even a little PvP viable?
NO LONGER. Mirrored Blade is arguably the funniest Major Glyph we have right now—because other classes are hitting for insane numbers (and self-healing for twice those), Mirrored Blades is causing people to kill themselves left and right, literally. It also bounces back ranged CC and grips—if a Death Knight Death Grips you in a Deterrence, it’ll grip him to you and slow him. Mages will Polymorph themselves; I’m pretty sure I watched a Paladin HoJ himself earlier today as well. It could have potential for amazing Arena play, but I don’t know if it’ll be worth taking given how situational it is.
Glyph of Explosive Trap — Your Explosive Trap no longer deals damage, instead knocking enemies back from the trap when it explodes.
This glyph, however, is amazing in EVERY situation. Explosive Trap’s damage means nothing in PvP. However, another Hunter knockback is beyond amazing. For best results, Scatter onto an Explosive trap at Lumber Mill and enjoy the carnage. Alternatively, if you’re Zumio, you can just reverse-Death Grip them with a Deterrence onto your Explosive Trap. I promise it’s as amazing as it sounds.
Glyph of Master’s Call — Increases the duration of your Master’s Call by 4 sec.
It’s the same Master’s Call you know and love, back in MoP to collect the tears of all the DKs who try to root a hunter.
Glyph of Black Ice — While you move through the area affected by your Ice Trap you gain 50% movement speed.
Kiting, ho! Where Black Ice was once part of the now-defunct trap tier of Hunter talents (R.I.P. Transmorph Trap), it lives on as a Major Glyph. If you know how to kite, then Black Ice is a very, very good glyph for both random BGs and more competitive play. It’s definitely one to keep in mind.
Glyph of Animal Bond — While your pet is active, all healing done to you and your pet is increased by 10%.
What once was a BM talent is now a Major Glyph. I personally haven’t taken it because I don’t think it’s as useful as something like Explosive Trap or Disengage, but combined with the Glyph of Deterrence and other glyphs, you could turn yourself into the most frustrating bastard to kill in BGs with the correct talent/glyph combination. Completely ineffective? Maybe. But frustrating? Oh, definitely.
Where Major Glyphs tend to be big changes, Minor Glyphs are more fun/quality of life deals. Here you’ll find glyphs that change your MD/Hunter’s Mark and summon little critters whenever you swap Aspects—fun things that don’t have too much effect on gameplay. As such, it’s hard to recommend “YOU MUST HAVE THIS!” glyphs for your Minor slots- beyond Revive Pet, everything is more or less up to you.
But if you don’t take Fireworks for any reason, I’m judging you. Just keep that in mind.
With Beast Mastery as the best spec, obviously pets are very, very important. There are a few changes that have happened with pets, so let’s break those down first.
Pets no longer are set to a certain tree (Ferocity/Cunning/Tenacity) anymore. You can have a Ferocity Bird of Prey, a Cunning Turtle, and/or a Tenacity Wolf now, if you like. The most important talents from each tree have more or less stayed through the Pandaria change- Cunning pets keep Roar of Sac and Bullheaded, for example. Pets of all specializations receive a passive ability that causes them to do 50% more damage when given a talent tree- make sure to set that.
In general, you’re going to be Cunning for PvP—Roar of Sacrifice and Bullheaded are just too good to pass up. However, with random BGs being the only real PvP beyond Wargames, duels and WPvP right now, you can easily go Ferocity to squeeze the most damage out (not to mention that Ferocity keeps Heart of the Phoenix).
For random play, Ferocity is fine. For structured PvP? Cunning is your best bet.
What is the best pet? For the DPS?
Get a sporebat.
Currently, most (if not all) BM hunters are opting for Spirit Beasts. On top of the heal it brings via Spirit Mend, Spirit Beasts now give a Mastery buff of 893 at level 85. Considering how wonderful Mastery is for BM hunters, Spirit Beasts are pretty fantastic right now.
If you’re having difficulty finding a Spirit Beast for whatever reason, it’s not a bad choice to go Devilsaur. Though they don’t bring the Spirit Beast’s Mastery buff, Devilsaurs do have the 5% Crit buff in their arsenal. In addition, Devilsaurs apply a 25% heal reduction via Monstrous Bite, which is wonderful because bloody pre-patch self-healing.
As of 5.0.4, hunters now need Expertise on top of Hit Rating. Don’t ask me how that works. If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball/bullet, I guess. Fortunately, the required Hit/Expertise cap for PvP has gone down from 5% to 3%. Go ahead and reforge all of that Hit into Expertise, my gun-toting friends.
That being said (QQ INC!), the Expertise “cap” doesn’t actually mean you can’t be Dodged or Parried. While you won’t be dodged or parried by anyone with the base Dodge/Parry rating, things like Rogues, Druids, etc. will still be able to Dodge your attacks. Warriors will Parry you and your pet more often than not. Since you can’t always be behind your target, you’re going to get Dodged and Parried a lot. I’ve got my Expertise up to around 6.29% and am still shaking my tiny, dead fist in anger whenever a Warrior manages to parry a God damned bullet.
Is it stupid? Yes. Will you need Expertise either way? Unfortunately.
As such, here’s the BM PvP stat priority.
Hit Cap > Expertise Cap > Agility > Mastery > Crit > Haste
That’s really that simple. Agility will outweigh secondary stats in any instance, but Mastery severely outweighs Crit because the BM Mastery increases our pet damage. Haste is Haste and should be reforged into a better stat whenever possible.
BM is the hunter spec, period. Although we are doing (in my personal opinion) fine damage, most other classes are pulling outrageous numbers and most hybrids can self-heal right through us. It sucks, but all we can really do is sit on our hands until it’s fixed.
That being said, hunter remains similar to how it did in Cataclysm- if you’re good at your class, you’ll survive. If you can’t, well, Warlocks are thataway.
Other Useful Stuff to Check: