Best Hunter Gems & Epic Gems

Posted: by Frostheim

reviewed and accurate
Reviewed 2/2/2012
Patch 4.3.2

View other WHU WoW Cataclysm hunter guides here.

Warning: This is an outdated Cataclysm guide. For the new Mists of Pandaria guide click Here.

Cataclysm brings us all new hunter gems and a host of familiar gem questions. What are the best gems for a hunter at level 85? Should I put agil gems in every gem slot? Do the best gems change from a beast mastery hunter to a marksman hunter to a survival hunter?

This guide (updated for patch 4.3.2 and epic gems)  will answer all your WoW hunter gem questions. We’ll lay out the best rare gem and epic gem for each slot, and break it down by BM, MM, and SV. This best hunter gem guide is specifically for optimizing your raid boss dps – these aren’t necessarily the best hunter gems for pvp or soloing (not that you really need to optimize for soloing).

Please remember that the best gem choices for your yellow slot change based not only on your spec, but also with your gear. With these gem recommendations we’re trying to target the best gems for the largest number of hunters playing that spec, but the only way to know for certain whether haste or mastery or crit is best for your hunter is to use a calculator like Zeherah’s spreadsheet.

Best Hunter Cataclysm Gems by Slot
Gem Slot Beast Mastery (BM)
Marksman (MM)
Survival (SV)
Meta Gem
Agile Shadowspirit Diamond
+54 agility & 3% crit damage
Agile Shadowspirit Diamond
+54 agility & 3% crit damage
Agile Shadowspirit Diamond
+54 agility & 3% crit damage
Red Slot Delicate Inferno Ruby
+40 AgilityEpic: Delicate Queen’s Garnet
+50 Agility
Delicate Inferno Ruby
+40 AgilityEpic: Delicate Queen’s Garnet
+50 Agility
Delicate Inferno Ruby
+40 AgilityEpic: Delicate Queen’s Garnet
+50 Agility
Yellow Slot Deadly Ember Topaz
+20 Agility & +20 CritEpic: Deadly Lava Coral
+25 Agility & +25 Crit
Deadly Ember Topaz
+20 Agility & +20 CritEpic: Deadly Lava Coral
+25 Agility & +25 Crit
Deadly Ember Topaz
+20 Agility & +20 CritEpic: Deadly Lava Coral
+25 Agility & +25 Crit
Blue Slot
Delicate Inferno Ruby
+40 AgilityEpic: Delicate Queen’s Garnet
+50 Agility
Delicate Inferno Ruby
+40 AgilityEpic: Delicate Queen’s Garnet
+50 Agility
Delicate Inferno Ruby
+40 AgilityEpic: Delicate Queen’s Garnet
+50 Agility

Epic Gems

Epic gems are just plain better than the rare equivalents… but they’re also incredibly expensive. Without question if you’re trying to get the best possible dps you should be using epic gems; however, in practice it’s only really worthwhile to slot epic gems in your final gear that you know you’re going to be keeping for along time. In practice the difference between a rare-quality gem and an epic-quality gem is virtually nothing — but, the difference between all your gems rare and all your gems epic can add up into a meaningful edge on the meters.

The short version is: you are not a bad hunter for using rare-quality gems. But the epic gem advantage certainly adds up.

The Meta Gem

Your meta gem is your most important gem slot, and your first priority when gemming your hunter is to satisfy your meta gem requirement. With patch 4.0.6 hunters finally have a good meta gem choice again, with the Agile Shadowspirit Diamond — and a delightfully easy socket requirement of 3 red gems.

Socket Bonuses — Do They Matter?

We do not always want to match the color of our sockets. Agility is the best hunter stat, so for every socket we have to decide whether the socket bonus is good enough to make it worth using a lower dps stat (and the other stats provide much lower dps). For blue sockets, we’re going to ignore the socket bonus and just use red gems, unless the socket bonus is 20 agility or better, then we’ll use our Glinting Demonseye.

As a general rule of thumb if a yellow socket bonus provides 10 agility, or 20 of another stat, then it’s worth using an orange gem (as shown in the table above) to get the socket bonus. If the socket bonus is worse just ignore it and use your 40 agility red gem.

Most of the time your socket bonus is probably going to be good enough to justify the orange gem.

Note that you’re often using only one blue gem (the chest slot usually has one blue socket, and it’s often worth going for this for the socket bonus), any other piece of gear that has a blue socket will use only red gems in all the sockets, if you’re losing the socket bonus anyway.

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  1. Rikii says:

    I believe engineers get some pretty epic “clog” things that hive a large amount of mastery.. I haven’t looked right into it yet but at a first glance looks nice.

  2. Sintrixy says:

    so basically spam Agility, and get more blue than red gems. check!

    but could you put together a wowhead profile character with the best possible pre-raid gear, enchants, glyphs, talents ect? using all the profession epic/blues Darkmoon card trinkets, or what ever is possible to grab very fast in the run toward the first raid the first week you hit 85. i personally want to be a part of one of the first 10 or 25 man raids created when cata comes out, SO awesome to be one of the first players on the realm with Raid epics :D

    • Frostheim says:

      No no no — the meta should be changing so that you *don’t* need more blue than read.

      I’m trying to get all the Cataclysm guides you’d want before cataclysm comes out; however, they’ll be set up as guides like this one and not a wowhead profile. I will, eventually, cover starting gear (likely as a Scattered Shots, though).

      • Stukas says:

        ok Frost, new to the forum but im having some problems with my gems..i currently have one chaotic shadow, one smoother amber (got it free), one deadly ember topaz, one perfect rigid zeph (free), and one delicate inferno ruby….but my meta is still greyed out…what am i doing wrong? please assist, this is getting annoying and expensive…thanks!

      • Greygar says:

        I’m having a super hard time getting my meta gem “Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond” to work. Any suggestions would be Great!
        Thank you

      • Nekrosh says:

        @ Stukas, Greygar

        This may have been mentioned further down in the thread. But just to clarify how you could meet the Meta requirements for the Chaotic:

        If you had four sockets, as an example, you could use three
        Glinting Demonseye (20 agi + 20 hit)

        and one
        Piercing Dream Emerald (20 Crit + 20 Hit)

        or One
        Sensei’s Dream Emerald (20 Mastery + 20 Hit)

        or One
        Lightning Dream Emerald (20 Haste + 20 Hit )

        They’re going to add some new metas, as well as change the Chaotic requirement.
        All of them including Chaotic will only require 3 Red to activate. (Yay agility)


      • Miaa says:

        The chaotic gem does not work when using the purple gem as of now…still sees it as a red gem…you have to use a blue gem to get it to work(I am hoping for a fix in next patch)

  3. Sintrixy says:

    Thanks for a great guide aswell, Refreshing this site like 10 times every day because it delivers the best info a hunter could wish for, Thanks in advance for future posts!

  4. Rikii says:

    From MMO

    A couple of very interesting items were datamined on Cataclysm Beta servers. It looks like engineers will get a new type of item, very similar to gems.
    Fractured Cogwheel – +132 Mastery Rating
    Quick Cogwheel – +132 Haste Rating
    Smooth Cogwheel – +132 Critical Strike Rating
    Subtle Cogwheel – +132 Dodge Rating
    Flashing Hydraulic Pump – +132 Parry Rating
    Precise Hydraulic Pump – +132 Expertise Rating
    Rigid Hydraulic Pump – +132 Hit Rating
    Sparkling Hydraulic Pump – +132 Spirit

    They also seem to use a new kind of socket called “Hydraulics/Cogwheels socket”, at this point it could be anything, really, but it definitely seems that engineering will get some love in Cataclysm.

    • Frostheim says:

      Yeah, cogwheel sockets are on eng crafted items (bop stuff only, I *think*). I added a little eng note on the end for those, though I hope the choice is pretty self-explanatory.

      • Tullwinden says:

        That is good, I am glad that Engineering gives us another boost, but my concern with this patch is if this profession will offer more that just toys and tinkers for engineers. Blacksmith, Alchemy, Inscription and Leather working are professions that caters to people. So they make more gold that a regular engineer do. And when it comes to recipes to make stuff, they always get the ones that they can profit about. Now with outdated rifles and no epic bullets or arrows to make, how engineers can make it in this game? Unless you have an alt that can help you with his other profession.

      • Redem says:

        To be clear, these are not “bonuses”. They are simply intended to allow an engineer to choose whatever two secondary stats they want, instead of having to put up with whatever combinations the blizzard design teams came up with. These are sometimes suboptimal, so they’re letting us pick our own this time. No more QQ about it.

      • Lanikai says:

        Unforunately, right now it’s not entirely self explanatory.
        I created the Deadly Bio-Optic Killshades, which has two sockets. I put the Mastery and Haste cogwheels in. As MM I would have loved to have preferred to use the crit cogwheel, but since the mats used to craft that one are unavailable at the moment, I cannot. I have opened a ticket, and I’ll update here if I get a response.
        On a side issue I really should just spec SV since that is out performing right now, but I just prefer MM.

      • Lanikai says:

        The response I got included the following:
        Thank you for the help request that you submitted regarding Volatile Energy Converter.
        I am afraid that right now this item is not available. Sorry for all the inconveniencest caused Lanikai

    • Zeherah says:

      Actually the last I looked, the cogwheels were 208 of each stat, not 132. There are no hydraulics anymore than I’m aware of, that seems to be an old idea that they got rid of.

      Essentially the cogwheel sockets on the engineering helm just allow you to customize the secondary stats that normally come on an item.

    • Nichara says:

      Assuming you’re hit capped already, quick and smooth would be the obvious choices for hunters.

  5. ichobi says:

    Great guide as usual Frost. Since you mention Engineering, Zeherah just posted on official forum that Engineering seems to be the worst profession in giving DPS stats for Hunter, and Leatherworking is the best. ( Main reason being Engineering offer no good DPS tinker at all. This is somewhat tolerable in Wrath since the tinkers (hyperspeed, rocket glove, rocket boots, flexweave) offer overall greater benefit than other profession but come cataclysm other profession at maxed lvl offer much more stats. What are your thought on this? I don’t just want to dish my blood-shed and expensively hard earned 450 Engineering! But for the sake of DPS I might have to.

    • Frostheim says:

      Mmmm, there’s a couple things going on — the fact that the new glove rockets suck is unfortunate (it’s barely better than pyro-rockets) — but I have hopes that they’ll fix it to work off physical hit/crit.

      However, that’s not taking the cogwheels into account. It’s hard to evaluate how good those are until we know how good the eng items that have the sockets are. If we can continue to use those items at all raid tiers (via upgrades or converting/placing sockets) then eng looks a heck of a lot better.

      • Zeherah says:

        I’ve done the math on the crafted engineering helms and the cogwheel sockets really just bring them in line with the ilevel 359 epic helms from raiding (in fact my math shows the T11 helm is very slightly better). It’s not really a long term profession bonus, just an early jump on filling that gear slot.

      • Frostheim says:

        I’m really hoping they do something more with those cogwheels to give engineering a bit of a boost — especially since it would be really odd to have the ability to make cogwheels that we can only use for our pre-raid gear.

        I remember at one point there was a way engineers could put the cogwheel slots on helms — I hope they bring that back.

      • Itukaaj says:

        With the new failure mechanic I am worried. My beloved Engineering which I now can’t use in PVP and rockets that can kill me or other people who may use them just killed the cool factor. I was ok with the limited utility I brought to a raid with repairs and mailboxes. But the boots were my own moment of joy.

        Engineering now appears to be a profession that is over. :(. We are just paratroopers in a planeless world.

  6. saregos says:

    I have to wonder, why not use Glinting Demonseye ( for all our blue sockets and reforge the hit out elsewhere, if we can? Is it no longer the case that Hit is our best stat below cap?

    • Frostheim says:

      A couple reasons. By the time we get to our first raid tier of gear we’ll be hit-capped through gear along — we’re already likely going to have to reforge some of our hit away. Even if we need hit we’re better reforging for it since gemming costs us agility, and reforging costs us a secondary stat.

      Also, come Cataclysm, agility gives us even ore dps than hit rating does — we really want to max our agility as much as possible.

      • Tokiko says:

        I guess he’s asking that because you state our best option for ONE blue gem is 40 Hit. On the other hand you state that we do want as much agility as possible.

        So i, too, don’t understand why you don’t choose a glinting demonseye for a green socket as we get less hit and more agility. Missing hit will be reforged anyways?

      • Frostheim says:

        Excellent point — agil/hit is probably the better route for that one blue, and I’ve added it : )

    • Nyth says:

      One of those for the blue socket is definitely the way to go.

      Gemming for hit is always worse than reforging for hit though. If you gem hit, you basically convert agility to hit. (40 Agi gem -> 20 Agi / 20 hit gem -> 40 Hit gem).
      Reforging for hit turns a rating into hit, and since a rating is always a worse stat than agility, this is the way to go.

      So say you need 30 more hitrating, there are 2 things you can do:
      a) Put a 40 hit rating gem in a blue socket and reforge the excess 10 hit into another rating (crit/mastery/haste). The net gain here is that 30 hit + 10 of some rating; but lose out on a potential 40 agi.
      b) Put a 40 agility gem in that blue socket, and instead reforge 30 or some rating to hit. You gain 40 agility and 30 hit rating. And lose 30 of another rating.
      The delta is 40 agility vs 40 combat rating. And agility always wins that.

      So if you can always try to gem for agility and reforge hit as much as you need. There are of course nearly always exceptions.

      • Zeherah says:

        A lot of socket bonuses are actually pretty good in Cata, so in some cases you are going to want to activate blue sockets. There isn’t the big gap between blue and yellow sockets the way there used to be, since in the end they’re both reforgeable stats. Any socket bonus of 20 agil is easily a wash (assuming it only takes one non-red to activate) and should always be activated regardless of color. Less than that is where it gets more complicated since you are losing agility to gain a greater amount of another stat.

        For example, in my premade gear on beta, I had a 30 agil socket bonus in my helm, 20 in my chest, 20 in my pants. Those all are an easy call on activation. Then I had a 10 mastery in the shoulders, 10 agil in the belt, 10 agil in the boots, and 10 agil in the gloves- those are all ones that are harder to judge. The mastery would not be worth activating, the agil would only be worth activating if the alternative stat was worth at least half of what agil was worth.

        Keep in mind you can always reforge off some hit if you have a few bonuses worth picking up and you go over the cap.

      • Kazador says:

        Frost, this explanation by Zeherah is really useful. I suspected this would be the case, but this guide currently overlooks any explanation of how to decide if socket bonuses are worth it. I know you’re trying to keep this simple, (and even then some people don’t get it), but it would be great if you could provide some explanation of how to determine when it is worth going for the socket bonus. If nothing else, refer people to and remind them to CHECK to see if socket bonuses are worth it.
        This is a great guide though, and thanks as always for the hard work!

      • Kazador says:

        Apologies, as I see you’ve covered the possibility of using orange gems to go for socket bonuses, but you discard any idea of using blue gems for socket bonuses (other than one for the metagem). That’s the point I thought needed clarifying: when it’s worth using a purple gem for that bonus.

      • Frostheim says:

        @Kazador. I kind of feel like I already do both (give a simple rule of thumb for socket bonuses, and link to zeherah’s spreadsheet) in about as much detail as I’m really comfortable going into for a basic guide like this.

        We’ll probably talk about this stuff in more depth on the site from time to time, but for these guides 80% of the people will only ever look at what’s in the table — and the more nuance is in the article, the less people will actually read it : (

      • Kazador says:

        Fair enough Frost. I’ll look forward to some more depth on this sometime in the future. Until then, I guess those of us who actually read and use will have that much more of an edge over the illiterate masses.

  7. Malgin says:

    I’ve just been looking over the gems and unless i cant see it for looking lol i cant see a epic lvl 85 agility gem in cata?

    i can see a new Chimera’s Eye for about everything but.

  8. Nightpath says:

    Since SV is the spec that most benefits from crit, i was wondering why only for SV +20agi/+20haste is better than +20agi/+20crit… but i do not have beta chars to import in femaledwarf, so i cant check by myself…

    • Nyth says:

      I was actually kind of wondering the same. I know from my own fiddling with the FD spreadsheet that haste, especially for survival, is really twitchy. It goes up and down a lot depending on what you currently have.

      I don’t see a straight mathematical reason for SV to go for haste though. The only thing i can think of is smoothing out the amount of cobra shots between explosive shots. Seeing as you have 5 seconds between explosive shots, you either need 1.67 cast time for 3 CS; or 1.25 cast time for 4 CS.

      Can’t think of any other serious haste interaction though besides that.

      • Zeherah says:

        It may have something to do with the fact that BM and MM get more direct bonuses frrom crit than SV. BM gets a lot of focus from invigoration, plus it sees more benefit from Sic’Em and Go for the Throat than the other specs. MM has piercing shots which benefits directly from crit. SV really doesn’t have any special crit talents (other than access to Sic’Em and Go for the Throat), just a crit damage bonus from toxicology which sadly right now just brings those abilities in line with the physical crit damage multiplier.

        Also, SV probably has the least amount of free room in the shot breakdown for spare arcane shots and may have the most trouble keeping up a basic shot flow, due to the 6 second cooldown on explosive shot and the addition of black arrow, whereas MM has a 10 second cooldown on chimera and some free haste from improved steady shot, and BM has a 6 second cooldown on kill command, but no extra shot, and some free haste from focus fire. So I can see why SV would see more direct benefit from extra haste than extra crit.

  9. Tshaku says:

    What about Adept Ember Topaz (Agi + Mastery) in yellow slots. I guess that should be better then Agi/Crit or Agi/Haste, shouldn’t it?

    • Rikii says:

      Yes good point, haven’t touched on the mastery ones….any thoughts?

      • Tshaku says:

        I read a lot and whereever stats were mentioned and calculated it seens to come to following result hit cap > agi >> mastery > crit/haste.
        If this is true I realy would think that Agi/Mastery gems must be better than agi/crit and agi/haste gems. Or am I wrong?
        Frostheim, Zeheran did you any calculations on that?

      • Frostheim says:

        Yes, of course I did — that’s what this is all based on : )

        Note however that 1 agility is actually better than 1 hit rating now — at least at level 85. Mastery isn’t a bad stat, but it’s not a great stat either (it’s especially bad for BM).

  10. Tshaku says:

    So my assumption is wrong? Crit/Haste is really better than Mastery?? Any proof on this? I am really suprised by that.

    • Frostheim says:

      It depends on your spec, and of course it also depends on your gear. Right here I’m assuming you’re in first tier raid gear, or a little bit before. For BM at level 85 crit is a clear winner and haste is pretty far behind. For SV haste comes out ahead (SV doesn’t get as much benefit from crit as other specs since they don’t have big crit proc talents).

  11. Althrinn says:

    Zeherah’s calculator, from what I can tell, still emulates SV rotation wrong, putting 4 steady/cobra between explosive shots even when you have both cooldown and energy ready after the third.

    This is probably the reason why it shows haste as so valuable… from my personal scratchings on the wall, haste ceases to be really beneficial for SV around 1156 rating (at tha point, you fit 3 cobras perfectly between each explosive – that’s for level 85) – obviously you would also have to account for latency. And even before that, haste seems below mastery and crit.

    • Zeherah says:

      Althrinn- if you can send me a link that exhibits the behavior you think is buggy (through the site) I can take a look at the issue. There may be a reason why it’s simulating that way, or it could well be a bug that needs fixing. When I test it I’m not seeing the problem you describe so it’s probably only showing up with certain setups.

      Frost has been working with my beta calculator some, but I’m sure he’s also taking his own math into account. Also my site currently doesn’t support the windfury bug (although if they still haven’t fixed it by the time Cata hits I’ll give up on them fixing it and adjust the site to emulate it).

      • Althrinn says:

        I sent you feedback through the site.

        After further exploring it seems that the “wait time” parameter isn’t taken into account for explosive shot (even tho the “Chimaera/Explosive” option is checked), resulting in additional steady shots if there’s even a small fraction of a second left.

        I initially thought this was due to latency modelling so I lowered it to 1 but it made no change.

  12. Slickrock says:

    Wait a minute? Mastery is junk for BM?.. when did that happen? You told us a few weeks ago that it was great. So I’m supposed to skip mastery now? /confused

  13. Denecro says:

    So what about reforging? aside from excessive hit rating, what should I change in to what?

    • Althrinn says:

      Since you’re unable to reforge into agility, but can socket agility, you should probably use reforging as your primary source of hit rating.

      A good method is to line up your secondary stats in order of value (for MM I assume it’s crit > mastery > haste), and then reforge up – remember you can’t reforge into a stat that already exists on the item, so if an item has crit & haste you would reforge haste into mastery, while if it has mastery & haste you would reforge haste into crit. If an item has 2 of your highest stats (say crit & mastery), and you don’t need extra hit, just leave it unreforged – reforging doesn’t give you any extra stats, just allows you to change one into another – so if the item’s already “prefect”, it’s totally fine to leave it unreforged.

  14. Althrinn says:

    About socket bonuses:

    It’s not wise to go with an arbitrary rule, you should always check if the socket bonus justifies a use of non-red gem.

    For example, many ilvl 456-459 items seem to have a red+blue socket with a +20 agility bonus – it’s a no brainer that you should put a purple gem there (as the total agility is the same but you get +20 hit rating free), even if you have 2 such items you’d socket them both with to match socket bonus requirements.

    It’s best to go to your spreadsheet, get the exact values for each stat at your current build / gear and calculate which gems are the best.

    WotLK got me really tired of people who use arbitrary rules instead of simple math, so I’m advocating against it wherever I can, sorry for the preaching.

    • Frostheim says:

      I agree that you should be aware of your every-changing stat weights — thus the spreadsheet link in this article. However, I don’t think it’s fair to characterize the rule of thumb as arbitrary :)

      I think you’ll find it accurate for most situations — and it is for the example you gave. When it isn’t accurate the difference will be a tiny amount of dps — literally only a few.

      So for people really interested in every last fraction of dps you should absolutely use the spreadsheets to recalculate weights after each upgrade, and you can regem every time they change significantly. But for people who aren’t interested in that kind of regemming, the rule of thumb should guide them well :)

  15. Althrinn says:

    Well my problem isn’t if a random hunter does that fraction of dps more or less.

    The problem is, as usual, the human condition. The way I see it, this site is one of the most influential on hunter community. Although many people will “do their own math” (using spreadsheets and similar, sometimes making their own calculations), the majority seems to be happy with a ready answer (aka. “socket agility everywhere and only take other gems for meta”). That is fine on itself, except those “ready answers” have a tendency to become laws.

    Since I skipped most of WotLK and only returned to WoW a few months ago, I spent some time searching for a guild, and I did quite a lot of reading on various applications to various guilds. It’s staggering how many applications were declined with comments like “LOL orange gems”, or the more polite version “your gems and enchants suggest that you don’t have a clue about your class”, very often on people who’s gems and enchants were actually tweaked for those dps fractions. This obviously doesn’t only apply to hunters, and seemed a lot worse for a few other classes (fury warriors especially for some reason).

    Unfortunately, many people, after finding the “ready answer”, will use it to mock anyone around who makes his own choices, totally oblivious to the actual validity of those choices. That is why, I grew a dislike for people seeing ready answers.

    All this being said, I have no problem whatsoever with the site or this post in particular – quite the contrary, and my comment was addressed to the readers not the authors :). There’s nothing wrong with seeking “ready answers” as long as you remember that the “rule of the thumb” is not a “law of nature”. And… I have a feeling that quite a few people will just open this guide to look at the table, totally ignoring the text of it (obviously still a reader’s problem not the author’s).

    But enough rambling – I redid some stuff and I will admit that haste seems to be the most beneficial stat for survival in entry raiding gear… my starting values were way too high compared to what’s obtainable.

  16. Anatall says:

    Now what about mastery going the way of Arp?
    I understand in lower amounts it may seem worth a lot less but seeing what is does in each spec I would think once you get enough on gear there will be a point you start gemming for it.
    I mean 100% master in mm means a extra shot for shot of every shot you take or am I wrong here?
    What about haste I mean now that steady/cobra are affected by haste depending on raid buffs and spec I would think there is a point you want to get haste at to where you might push steady/cobra close to if not at a 1 sec cast time.
    This may not be the case in all specs but again I see there being benefit in MM due to steady in pairs and if at or close to mastery pushing more shots to take advantage of the extra shots from mastery.
    Any thoughts?

    • Althrinn says:

      In cata, secondary stats are very close together for most specs (excluding hit). You shouldn’t search for “the stat to stack” – this works only in small scale.

      For example, for SV there’s a dependency between crit and mastery – crit is more valuable in the “starting gear”, but if you stack too much of it sacrificing mastery, mastery will become more valuable. The “sweet spot” here is when your spreadsheet will show you crit and mastery as equally valued. I belive it’s very similar for MM.

      Haste is even more complicated, as you have to take into account raid buffs etc. It also has “sweet spots”, that are even more evident. For haste, you shouldn’t consider the value of the stat at small scale (gems), instead checking how much haste you would need for the next “sweet spot” and how much dps in other secondary stats you have to sacrifice for it.

  17. babytruestar says:

    can somone explain this to me i haven’t played in a while and it is confusing. Must i stack on agility or do i need some hit rating?
    And what about armor penetraition.
    thank :)

    • gorg says:

      armor pen, no longer exists. As for hit, you need to have 961 hit rating at lvl 85 to earn 8% hit cap.

      -On a side note, I noticed that the meta requirement is STILL “must have more blue than red”….disappointed T_T

  18. Eidelweiss says:

    It seems like Blizz is in no hurry to revert the meta gem requirements. What are other hunters using in the meantime?

    I’ve got a crappy old pvp one in for now just so I get a little something, but would love to hear others input on what they’re using in the meantime.

  19. Ozara says:

    Frost quick question. Do you find it viable that we will not be using the Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond due to they need to fix the 3% crit metas. Even once it fixed, I do believe we still will not want to use this as for the 54 Crit versus 21 Agility, since you get the 3% crit regardless. Your Agility EP will be the highest out of any of your primary/secondary stats. Crit will be worth maybe half of Agility’s EP. As your gear improves and you get more and more Agility/sockets to put Agility in, you will see the value increase further because of things like Hunting Party, Into the Wilderness, Mail Specialization and Blessing of Kings/Mark of the Wild.

  20. MoRawka says:

    I’m new to wow, so maybe i’m missing something, But how are we supposed to meet the Meta Gem (Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond) Requirments, if we are gemming blue slots with red gems as shown in this guide.

    We are gonna have more red gems than blue in the entire set

  21. homerjade says:

    i know tha blue has posted that they will change the meta requirement for the meta gem but to this day its still now changed. is there an update to this

  22. toddo says:

    I made the engineering goggles last night. I put in a chaotic meta. I have 3 blue gems and 1 red gem and I STILL do not get the meta bonus!? The two cogwheels I have must be counting against this??? Can’t seem to find that answer anywhere.

    • toddo says:

      I put in a ticket and after a week got a response.
      I had 3 purple gems and 2 red at the time. Turns out Purple do NOT count as blue as they are also red. Once I put in 3 blue hit gems and 2 red the meta was activated.
      I always though purple used to count as blue……..

  23. Santi says:

    Yeah, got the same trouble with the meta-hassle, I don’t really want to go with a trial run(as I am Scottish and very canny with my gold) but hey ho. Guess we can pick up the 3% crit dam from something a little more sensible in the mean time though. Speaking of Ho’s, Merry Christmas from the freezing EU servers, see you all after the debauchery :)

  24. MoRawka says:

    A suitable replacement for the meta gem suggested, is “Destructive Shadowspirit Diamond” since meeting the meta requirement for the other one is just gonna cost you crazy amounts of agility, by geming all those blue’s or purples.

    +54 Critical Strike Rating and 1% Spell Reflect

  25. jwanna says:

    I’m confused… the Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond says “Requires more blue gems than red gems” yet is repeatedly recommended as THE hunter meta gem. I decided to try it and am NOT getting the meta slot bonus. I am in mid-300 blue gear with only a few Delicate Inferno Rubies, but did buy a blue to test this theory out. Any suggestions or more info on this?

    • jwanna says:

      To All – I just got a response from a GM on this issue. Blizzard states: “The current design has been reconsidered, so we’re planning to revert gems that now require more blue than red gems back to their original requirements. Such a change can’t be accomplished via a hotfix though, so we’ll have to wait to revert these in a future patch.” See Blue Note at (Scroll down to bottom)

  26. pootch says:

    Deadly Ember Topaz does not work for the meta gem right now…

  27. jzerofiveh says:

    This is my first post here – I fully understand the NEED for Blizz to fix the Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond…but this has not happened and if I remember correctly – the meta’s WotLK equivalent had the same idiotic gem requirement of more blue than red (mind-boggling) and it was also never “fixed.”
    What gem combination would you suggest in the real, current state of WoW that would satisfy this meta’s requirement while still maxing possible dps?
    Would you still suggest this meta at all until this is changed?

    • Ellidyr says:

      I’m probably not the best guy to answer that but I’ll tell you what I’m doing at least. The gemming strategy I’ve been using is to gem Glinting Demonseye so it is even blue/red and then using one Sensei Dream Emerald to tip the balance. The numbers on Zeherah’s DPS analyzer are lower using agility gems and a different meta at least for my gear and the number of gem slots I have now. This may change later when I get more but this is what works for me now and I am averaging 10-13k in heroic boss fights depending on movement at ilevel 336 to give you a baseline of where I am at least. Hope that helps.

      • jzerofiveh says:

        Thanks for the feedback – I’m thinking of trying the Enigmatic Shadowspirit Diamond approach though since the increase in offensive stats (agi) seems to be staggering if I were to have free reign to socket reds almost everywhere.
        I’m really not good at the whole spreadsheet/theorycrafating thing. As this experiment will no doubt cost quite a bit – I would like to see people’s thoughts on this.

    • Feeny says:

      Chaotic Skyflare worked in LK, it wasn’t until the 4.0.1 patch (or some pre cata patch) that meta gems were changed to requiring more of a certain gem than another. If I remember properly, Chaotic Skyflare required one red, one blue and one yellow and this was filled with the Nightmare Tear gem very easily.

      It seems now that ALL Cata meta’s have reverted back to requiring a # of a gem except for Chaotic Shadow. Enigmatic Shadowspirit Diamond is an alternative that we might want to look into for the time being. I haven’t seen too many others that would make the list.

  28. drvic10k says:

    why should i prefer orange +20agi/+20crit gem for yellow socket instead of red +40agi?
    even if i do it for the +10agi socket bonus, I’m trading 10agi for 20crit, which doesn’t look like a very good deal

    • Nichara says:

      I’d say use the same rule for yellow slots as you are for blue. If the socket bonus is +20agi or more, it is worth using deadly ember topaz. Otherwise use delicate inferno ruby.

  29. lionelthehun says:

    i guess there is a new meta being introduced to the game in 4.0.6. Agile Shadowspirit Diamond (Agility/3% critical damage). im not sure how much agil it has yet. but will post later what they are when i find them. this new gem may end up being a better fit but if it’ll be a good fit the all the specs remains to be seen.

  30. Agetro says:

    I have no idea on how to activate the Chaotic gem w/o sacrificing Agility. Should we just ignore it until patch? I’ve been using Crit/Hit gems to get more Blues than Reds.

    Legend- Gear Piece(Stats)-Gem Color(Meta Req) *Socket*
    Helm(Crit/Hit)-Green(Blue-1, Red-0) *Yellow Socket*
    Shoulders(Crit/Hit)-Green(Blue-2, Red-0) *Yellow Socket*
    Belt(Agil/Hit)-Purple(Blue-3, Red-1) *Blue Socket*
    Legs(Agil/Hit)-Purple(Blue-4, Red-2) *Blue Socket*; (Crit/Hit)-Green(Blue-5, Red-3) *Yellow Socket*
    Gun(Agil)-Red (Blue-5, Red-4) *Red Socket*

    Any Advice? Hopefully I explained properly.

    • Agetro says:

      Oops can’t edit post… its 5 blue and 3 reds… for some reason I added an extra red on the legs. Either way I can put a red in place of a blue or else it will be 4/4

      • Agetro says:

        And messing with in BM spec it looks like, im good the way im set up. If I switch to Destructive Meta, change Greens to Orange Deadly Gem, its a minor DPS loss, and from that to Pure Agil, even more DPS loss. And even worse in SV spec. :( Set bonus and hit must definitely be worth it.

  31. Tr says:

    Ok havn’t read all comments but here goes: How about Spell Penetration. Its a blue gem and it helps explosive (and chimera) shots a great deal. I have two blue slots filled with the SP gem so that my meta works. Is that a bad idea?

  32. Ringmistress says:

    I have managed to enact my meta with just green gems (2green, 1yellow and 1 red), is this right? sorry if this has been mentioned.

  33. DP says:

    So At this point is it more important to just Gem out agil than worry about the meta Gem bonus? I have 7 gem slots and the majority are not using red so i can get the meta bonus. I could gain 120 agil if I used reds instead of random blues that I dont need.

  34. Donkiller says:

    As of now Chaotic Gem is not working. But like frost mentioned, it is being fixed in next patch. If I am correct, Chaotic will now require 3 red gems.

    Question to Frost –
    Engineering is a great profession for starters but do you have any news if they will fix the cogwheel issue so that they can be used in future upgrades.

    BTW I hope you can make an edit that they are also giving us a very badass agility glove super sweet enchant :). (I hope I am not wrong but thats what I read).

    That will make Engineering little sweet and if they bring back the concept of “Hydraulic Sockets” for socketing cogwheels, Engineering will be one of the better professions (not just for hunters I assume). Being a huner it will really break my heart to switch to some other profession.

  35. Cain says:


    I had 4 blues to 2 reds and still nothing. After pulling my hair out I realized that the game is reading Deadly Ember Topaz as Red. So i actually had 4 blues to 4 reds. I changed out Deadly Ember for Smooth Amberjewel (pure yellow, no red involved) and Meta gem activated.

  36. BoneHunter says:

    Until they un-nerf Chaotic Shadowspirit there’s an interesting choice between Fleet Shadowspirit (+54 Master + speed increase) and Destructive Shdaowspirit (+54 crit and 1% spell reflect). Does anyone know if the speed increase stacks with Assassin’s Step? I’m thinking of a speed set to help with bosses who pool.

  37. Acerhunter says:

    Okay, so i got my meta gem, and i got a blue on, so it worked. Then gemmed a deadly topaz and it greyed out. You said that this would change, when? Cause right now i dont have enough blue sockets to satisfy my meta..

  38. Surakai says:


    Engineers can create cogwheels that go in cogwheel sockets on engineering crafted items. You want the cogwheel that matches your non-agility stat from the orange gems listed on the table above (since there are no agility cogwheels).”

    Cogwheels can NOT be crafted by engineers (Yet) you have to purchase them from a vendor in Twilight Highlands for engineering items like goblin BBQs and tackle boxes

  39. Ordek says:

    As JC I can make Delicate Chimera’s Eye with 67 Agility and I can use 3 of them for red sockets. This must be better than using Delicate Inferno Ruby no?

    Delicate Chimera’s Eye is BoP so only JC who can make it can use it which is sad.. :-(

  40. stumpoman says:

    great guide but i just wanted to point out that

    “Note that since you’re often using only one blue gem (the chest slot usually has one blue socket, and it’s often worth going for this for the socket bonus), any other piece of gear that has a blue socket will use only red gems in all the sockets, if you’re losing the socket bonus anyway.”

    this is no longer relevant. It looks like you updated the meta-gem part of the post but missed the note at the end.

  41. Sess says:

    For yellow sockets you have a +20 agi/+20 crit gem recommended, but yellow socket bonuses often only give +10 agi. Isn’t it better than to just use the +40 agi red gem rather than going with +30 agi/+20 cirt?

  42. Cent says:

    With the Corded Viper Belt I used the beltbuckle item enchant and it became a meta socket. Later I got the Windhome Helm with a meta socket. I now have two meta sockets. Do I need to get a new beltbuckle?

  43. Grask says:

    Check again. It’s likely that the belt buckle gave you a \prismatic\ socket (which means any color fits in) rather than a meta socket.

  44. Shartz says:

    For Orange gems, why isn’t an Agi/Haste gem preferred over an Agi/Crit gem?

    • Nichara says:

      You’ll have to read the rather complex discussion on haste plateaus for an answer to that lol…

      Short answer crit has a linear relationship to dps, haste does not USUALLY you’d prefer crit over haste. If you somehow find yourself in a situation where that’s no longer true or you need a little more haste to hit some plateau then by all means go for a deft ember topaz instead of a deadly one. But as a general rule you usually should value crit over haste.

  45. Nichara says:

    Just to note that if you’re a jewelcrafter you can replace delicate inferno ruby with delicate chimera’s eye, and get +67 agi vs. +40 agi. Good motive to become a jewelcrafter if you needed one.

  46. Grictor says:

    I have the tier12 pants equppied right now gemmed with 40agi in the red socket, and 20agi+20hit in the blue socket, this only works becuase the set bonus is 20agi, so in the end im getting my 40 agi, but also an ADDed 20hit, so it really depends on what gear you have and what the set bonus’s are that determines if it is ok to gem with the Glinting Demonseye. (20agi, 20hit).

  47. FarElf says:

    What is the skinny on the new Dragon Soul Gems?

    • Nichara says:

      If you kill a Dragon Soul boss on at least normal, you will get a Mote of Darkness. This can be spent on the merchant in the bottom of Wyrmrest Temple in the Dragon Soul raid (merchant will not be up until a few minutes after Morchok is defeated). This has a chance of getting you an epic gem that can be cut by jewelcrafters. Epic gems can also be created by transmutation master alchemists.

      These are only slightly better than rare gems, but currently MUCH more expensive. They are really only worth putting in gear that is BIS or pretty close to it, unless you’re just so rich money has no meaning to you. You’d have to have an epic gem in almost every slot before you’d see much dps difference over just using rare gems instead.

      Assuming they’re worth it for you:
      red: delicate queen’s garnet (50 agi)
      yellow: deadly lava coral (25agi/crit) or deft lava coral (25agi/haste)
      blue: glinting shadow spinel (25agi/hit)
      blue pvp: stormy deepholm iolite (63 spell pen)

      (debateable whether even in pvp it’s worth having more than 220 spell pen, but thought I’d mention it anyway for sake of completeness).

      • Nichara says:

        P.S. There is no such thing as an epic meta gem in case you were wondering. (Nor epic prismatic or cogwheel.)

  48. ordron says:

    from what im seeing from your enchants/gem selections there isnt much hit for the m.m. hunter isnt that their main stat?

    • Frostheim says:

      Actually in Cataclysm Agility is a larger dps contribution than hit. In general, you always want to try to reforge for hit, and use your gems to maximize your agility.

  49. Nykolayis says:

    I didn’t read all the comments, but if you’re a jewelcrafter, the Delicate Chimera’s Eye in a red slot is much better than the Delicate Queen’s Garnet, as the DCE provides +67 Agility instead of +50. You must be a jewelcrafter though, as the DCE is soulbound upon pickup.