The Gunship Battle is the third boss encounter in Icecrown Citadel. The fight is pretty easy and massively fun for all involved. This strat guide focuses on the hunter perspective. For a complete raid strat I recommend Tankspot’s Gunship Battle Video. The value of actually seeing a video of a fight cannot be overstated.

In the Gunship Battle you will be assigned to one of three jobs: Cannoneer, Boarding Party, or Defense. Hunters are most likely to be on defense where our misdirect and ranged abilities are most useful, but depending on your raid composition you could get put in any of these three roles. Let’s take a look at each and see what’s involved:


If you’re assigned to cannon duty, you have by far the easiest job in the fight. There are 2 cannons on 10-man, and 4 cannons on 25-man. Hop into the cannon at once and you’ll see that you have two abilities you can use:

  1. Cannon Blast: damages the enemy ship and causes 6-10 heat.
  2. Incinerating Blast: does damage to the enemy ship and more damage the more heat you have.

First, a word on Heat: if you get up to 100 heat, your cannon will freeze up until it cools off. This is bad and you should never, ever let this happen. Since the amount of heat you get is variable, never, ever fire Cannon Blast (#1) if you are at 90 heat or higher. That is the threshold beyond which you should fire Incinerating Blast (#2) which will turn all that heat into fantastic damage.

Right off the bat you should start firing your Cannon Blast at the countryside while you’re waiting for the enemy ship to appear. This will let you start building up Heat, which is a good thing. Basically you’re going to spend your time firing Cannon Blast to damage the enemy ship until you have 90 or more Heat, then you’ll fire Incinerating Blast. Incinerating Blast can damage the enemy axe throwers as well as the ship, so be sure to target them.

You cannot injure your own teammates with your cannon attacks, so don’t worry.

The only hitch for the cannoneers is occasionally the enemy ship will bring out a battlemage who channels the spell, Below Zero. This freezes up your cannons and makes you unable to use them until the battlemage is killed.

Since you can’t use your cannon, you should be helping in the fight. Your raid leader will let you know where you should be fighting, but be familiar with both Boarding Party and Defenders strats so you know what to look for. You’ll either help the defenders clear off their mobs (most likely), or jet pack over to the opposing ship to help take down the battlemage.

The sooner the battlemage dies, the sooner you can go back to your cannon. And damaging the enemy ship with the cannon is the only way to win the fight. Once the enemy ship is down to zero, you win.

Boarding Party

If you are assigned to the Boardy Party team, be sure you have your jetpack hotkeyed so you can use it instantly. Your job is simply to dps the heck out of the adds on the enemy ship. Don’t worry about the boss on the ship — you can’t kill him. The tank will hold his attention while you kill every add you can find, in this case Rocketeers and Axe Throwers.

Here’s what you need to be aware of as a member of the Boarding Party:

  • Add Priority: The adds in this fight get stronger the longer they are alive. So your dps priority is based on how long the mob has been around, rather than based on mob type. You need to kill them quickly, and kill the ones that have been around longer first. That said, if you have a choice, you want to take down the rocketeers first – they are the ones actually damaging your ship.
  • Battlemage: when the battlemage is up on the enemy ship your cannoneers cannot damage the enemy ship at all. You really want to get this guy down asap.
  • Leaving the Ship: You will be called to leave the ship from time to time, and you must be prepared to do so at once. You don’t want to be caught on the enemy ship without your tank. Likewise when you head back over, make sure your tank is landing first!

The boss on the enemy ship is also going to get stronger with time, until he is hitting too hard for your tank to handle. So from time to time your tank will call for a withdrawal from the enemy ship for 20 sec to let this buff wear off. You’ll need to jet pack back to your own ship at once. You do not want to be caught on the enemy ship without your tank.

While you’re back on your own ship, help out by dpsing whatever’s up. If your deck is clear, you can stand on the railing and dps the axe throwers on the enemy ship. Once the buff has worn off, your tank will call for you to return. Be sure to let your tank land on the enemy ship first.

If you’re having mana problems, be sure to go into viper only when you jet pack back to your own ship. While your attacking (especially the battlemage) you want to be able to bring your full dps to bear.

A final note for Boarding Party hunters here is that you’re probably going to have big problems with your pet. Generally it will not leap ships with you, at least not with any consistency. So either your pet will be sitting all alone watching you with those big puppy eyes, or it’ll get killed while you’re busy with your bloody work.


Defending your own ship is probably the best use of hunters in the Gunship Battle. There are three primary things you need to be aware of as a defender:

  • Rocket Blast: the enemy will be launching rockets at the defenders. These appear as a small golden circle on the ground (same size as Mimiron’s rocket strikes). You will need to avoid these. Depending on how the boarding party is doing, there could be a lot of these hitting at a time, requiring constant positioning adjustments.
  • Add Priority: just like the Boarding Party, your adds will get stronger the longer they are up, so you want to be dpsing the adds that have been around longest first (of course you should follow your MA’s target if you have one).
  • Downtime: you will have periods of time with no adds. Use that time to step over to the railing and dps the axe throwers on the enemy ship. Just remember to keep an eye out for rocket strikes while doing so.

Portals will appear on the deck of your ship from which adds will spawn. The hunter misdirect is very important here, as you’ll be trying to dps these adds down as fast as possible, which doesn’t give your tank a lot of time to build up threat. Furthermore your tank is also going to be moving around constantly to avoid the rocket blasts himself.

At the very beginning of the fight you should have a good 10-15 seconds before the first portal appears. Use that time to dps the axe throwers on the opposing ship. You should be able to kill several of them before you have to go defend your own ship. The axe throwers will be throwing their axes at you, doing constant damage to the defenders that has to be healed through, so lowering that damage is a good use of your time.

If you are having mana problems on this fight, it’s best to go into viper while you’re dpsing the mobs on the enemy ship from across the rails. You want to bring all of your dps to bear on the adds on your ship, so avoid being in viper at all while defending.

As a final note here, the Gunship Battle is one fight where disengage should probably not be used for speedy movement. It is entirely possible to launch yourself off the ship. And while you could certainly jetpack yourself back onto the ship if you’re fast enough, most likely you’re going to fall to your death.

Am I Doin’ It Right?

Raid parses aren’t going to tell you a whole lot about your performance on this fight, except if you stood in a rocket blast (and you probably already know if you did that). Your dps will vary a lot depending on what role you were assigned, and how much time you had to spend dodging rocket strikes or jet packing back and forth between ships.

In general this fight is just big cinematic fun, so sit back and enjoy the show and don’t worry too much about the meters for a change :)

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  1. Jaedia says:

    Awesome guide, cleared a few things up for me tbh, pretty much been playing with the adds on the main ship and moving away from rockets. One thing I picked up though is to put the rocket shirt thing on your bars somewhere easy to find, or hotkeyed, whether you’re jumping around or not, just incase you’re needed to jump over halfway through the fight.

  2. The Cheerleader says:

    i love this fight the most:D zoooooooommmmpfff :D <—- my interpretation of what the jet packs sound like:D


  3. Hairynipz says:

    These guides a great…especially for those that just hit 80 and want to know what they’re doing when they step into a raid. Do you have any of these hunter-specific guides for TOC or Ulduar?

  4. dudewtf says:

    how the hell do i use the jetpack, do i like click on it or do i just jump over to the other ship??

  5. nativetrash says:

    What about using a warp stalker pet, can they not do their teleport thing to the other ship?