reviewed and accurate
Reviewed 2/2/2012
Patch 4.3.2

View other WHU WoW Cataclysm hunter guides.

Among the huge changes that Cataclysm brought to the hunter class is the new improved glyph system. For the marksman hunter trying to get the best dps out of raids, choosing the best glyphs can make a huge difference.

This glyph guide is specifically for MM hunters. Other hunter specs will have different glyph needs. Keep in mind that your MM glyph choice can change based on your gear, and what is the best glyph for one hunter may not be the best for you; however, there are several glyphs that are clearly on the top of the MM short list.

Best MM Hunter Prime Glyphs

MM hunters have a lot of options for their prime glyphs. There are two “no-brainer” glyphs, but in that third prime glyph slot there are a lot of options depending on your particular rotation and play style. Be sure to read the summary of those third prime glyph choices carefully — some of them won’t help you at all under certain circumstances. If you’re not sure, go for the Kill Shot glyph or the Glyph of Rapid Fire — you won’t accidentally burn yourself taking those glyphs.

glyph of steady shotGlyph of Steady Shot
Steady Shot may be the lowest priority shot in the MM hunter shot rotation; however, it still adds up to be a pretty large contribution to your dps, and adding 10% to that damage makes the Steady Shot glyph a sure thing in the MM hunter glyph choices.

Glyph of Arcane Shot
Arcane Shot is a good chunk of MM hunter damage, and a full 12% damage boost is huge. This glyph is a no brainer for MM.


Glyph of Chimera Shot
Technically the glyph of Chimera Shot is one of the best hunter glyphs; however, that big dps gain immediately turns to zero if you delay your Chimera Shot by a second — since a second is all it’s buying you. So try out the glyph on the target dummies and see how comfortable you are with your rotation with the shorter duration — if you aren’t hitting Chimera the instant it’s available, give this glyph a pass. Even if you just miss a few of them, you’re better off with Kill Shot.

Glyph of Kill Shot
If the shorter Chimera cooldown isn’t for you, then the glyph of kill shot is. The dps gain of the kill shot glyph is also very good, and it’s immensely satisfying to fire off two focus-free kill shots in a row. Keep in mind, however, that the benefit of this glyph gets smaller the shorter a fight is. This glyph got a nice little boost when Kill Shot was buffed way back in patch 4.0.6.

Glyph of Rapid Fire
With at least 4 Rapid Fire’s used per fight for MM hunters, the Glyph of Rapid Fire is an excellent glyph for MM hunters that can compete with the other options for our third glyph option. The advantage of the Rapid Fire glyph is that it’s less specific in uses than some of the other third prime glyph options — you know you’re always going to be using Rapid Fire and Readiness in every fight, so you’ll always get the full benefit from this glyph.

Glyph of Aimed Shot
The glyph of aimed shot is something you want to consider taking only if you are confident that you’ll be using almost no Arcane Shots during your rotation (so on standstill fights, primarily). In that specific circumstance, this glyph is a good deal. Most hunters will not want to go this route!

Best MM Hunter Major Glyphs

Glyph of Disengage
I’m a huge fan of the glyph of disengage. While it doesn’t directly increase our dps in any way, the movement benefits of disengage (and the always cool-looking Jump Disengage technique) are big. A shorter cooldown on disengage can be very useful.

Glyph of Silencing Shot
A bonus 10 focus any time you interrupt a spell cast turns this into a major glyph that could actually increase your dps. As a side benefit, it help develop good habits by encouraging you to interrupt.

g-genericGlyph of Whatever
For your third glyph we have a choice of utility options, but no direct dps gains. So take whatever will work best for your playstyle.


Best MM Hunter Minor Glyphs

g-feigndeathGlyph of Feign Death
Reducing the cooldown of Feign Death can definitely be an advantage in raids where you always seem to need to FD just before it’s available again. At least you can claim there is some kind of advantage to it, unlike most hunter minor glyphs

g-genericGlyph of Whatever
For your third glyph, there is pretty much nothing that is practically useful except in the most rare situations. So take whatever tickles your fancy.

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  1. Whinchester says:

    Hey ya Frost, once again love ya work. About the Prime Glyphs, i’m not sure about the dps gain from Chimera shot tbh. That 1 second will add up over a long fight for sure, and with the time it takes me to do Chimera>SS>SS>Arcane>Arcane>SS>SS there is approx a 1-1.5 second gap before chimera comes off CD so the Glyph would absolutely line my rotation up. However the Aimed Shot proc will add a second, and from time to time i will need another Arcane before Chimera to bleed off focus as to not cap out but i have used a 5th SS if i have the 1.5 secs so that may be why i need to bleed more focus. Currently i use the Kill Shot glyph as my Kill Shot normal hit is about 10-11k (crit 14-16k) so the double hit as far as i thought would have been better but i could be wrong. There is no way to test this accurately on the training dummy (as he is always above 80%). My question is would the Chimera glyph really out perform Kill Shot? Seeing as i know that Kill Shot only works for a small amount of time but as far as my guesstimation is i cant imagine that extra 1 sec per cycle would amount to many more Chimera’s.

    • Frostheim says:

      If you can usually hit that Chimera on the shortened cooldown, it’s technically going to do more for your dps than the kill shot glyph — by a little bit. The difference is small. But keep in mind that Chimera Shot hits for considerably more damage than kill shot :)

  2. Cinterclaus says:

    Don’t know if it’s an oversight, or intentional (since their functions can be gleaned from the discussion), but the Glyphs of Arcane, Chimera and Kill Shots don’t show the tool-tip like the others do.

    Of course, who doesn’t love the Glyph of Mend Pet? But be careful to feed your pet some actual food occasionally. Since using the glyph doesn’t actually nourish your pet, it just magically makes it _think_ you fed it, your pet can get awfully skinny if that’s all you use. Great for when your pet is getting a bit plump from too many table-scraps, not so good as their only diet.

  3. Dhorvin says:

    I still think that Glyph of Feign Death is a no-brainer given our options for minor glyphs, but I should point out that your stated justification for it is weak, as my understanding is that, with the latest changes, Feign Death is no longer resistable, by raid bosses or by anyone else.

    • DarkDragoon says:

      FD is still resistable, as SV still has a talent that lowers the chances of it to be resisted.

      • DarkDragoon says:

        *edit* my bad, i didnt see that they changed that talent. teaches me to speak before i think. my apologies

      • Dhorvin says:

        No, it doesn’t. Have you read the tooltip for that talent recently? The latest patch removed that component from Survival Tactics.

        “Reduces the chance that your trap spells will be resisted by 2%, and reduces the cooldown of your Disengage ability by 2 sec.”

    • Zilron says:

      FD does appear to be still resistible; I finally got around to trying the Pilgrim’s Peril achievement on my Orc hunter on Wednesday, and tried to avoid getting killed by the level 85 guards outside Rutheran Village by using Feign Death. They just kept beating on me, so they must have resisted it. It’s possible it was just lag (it only took one more hit for the guard to finish me off), but there seemed to be more time between me hitting FD and the guard taking that final swing than lag would have accounted for.

      • boomstikbill says:

        guards are pvp units (as shield indicates) as long as you’re in range they’ll retarget you it’s not resisted, the npc just did he same thing every other player does to FD, they target you again.

  4. Dhorvin says:

    Er, and my bad too. Posted that reply before I saw your follow-up. :-P

  5. Eidelweiss says:

    Changes keep coming fast and furious. It’s hard to keep up.

    Anyone want some spiced mammoth treats or a relentless earthsiege diamond?

    I want the diamond back later though, I think.

  6. Silvanos of Perenolde says:

    Thanks for this article! I went and double-checked my glyphs and found out why my dps dropped since the 4.0.3a patch – Blizz switched my glyphs around on me! My SV glyphs are now my MM glyphs and vice-versa! Glyph of Explosive Shot is not helpful for a MM hunter : /

  7. Venadin says:

    I currently use the trap launcher glyph since when I use that ability I tend to have to launch multiple traps. I have been experimenting with Dazzled Prey in PvP situations but I rarely get a chance to use steady shot to get the benefit. Glyph of Scare beast is a lfesaver in pvp given all the new troll feral cats/bears lately. I’ve also been experimenting with glyph of scatter shot in bgs. It’s great for stopping mounted enemy and getting off chimera/arcane shots before they can dismount.

  8. Whinchester says:

    Thx Frost, i can absolutely confirm a dps increase using the glyph of Chimera Shot over Kill Shot. Not only does it line up my rotation to just fit, it makes the desicion making of shot order heaps easier aswell because i’m not taking valuable time to guage thru instinct alone whether i need to do that extra SS or not b4 Chimera/Arcane. The rotation becomes magically cleaner. Also when the Aimed Shot proc occurs it does take an extra second but all the extra seconds u cut from each cycle more than makes up for it. Also the double kill shot (with th 2 second GCD) gets glitchy some times and takes a little bit longer to “proc” and allow the second Kill Shot thru. This makes the rotation at <20% a complete mess. The single Kill Shot works much better.

  9. Timoleon says:

    I’ve never been a huge fan of glyphs that reduce cast times of shots by a second, or some such thing. Math is one thing, practice is something else. Even assuming – amid all the other moving, on the fly decision making, situational etc stuff going on – even assuming one could, with razor precision, get those Chimeras off every 9th second instead of every 10th, this means,.eve assuming you lead with Chimera, that over the course of a 5 minute boss fight (which in all likelihood we won’t see too often til raids) you will get off precisely two more chimera shots with the glyph than without it.

    Now bear in mind that for just about every shot we choose, an opprtunity cost decision is taking place. So you can’t merely weight your crit percentage against two Chimeras and think “that’s how much more damage I’ll be doing”.

    You’ve got to calculate the difference between what you’d expect two Chimeras to do and which two shots you’d be (likely) using instead of Chimeras. It could be two arcanes, or arcane/aimed, or even two kill shots.

    But, to weaken my own argument, let’s say it’s two arcanes. So in this example, the benefit of CS glyph in a 5 minute fight is at BEST the difference in damage between two chimeras and two arcanes. Divided by 300 to get the actual dps boost. Just using some (reasonable) paper napkin type numbers, this might mean 30-60 dps difference. And that’s assume you have laser-perfect timing every time.

    I’d much rather have something that improves the damage of a shot every time I shoot it, that isn’t subject to timing or movement issues. I’m not saying there’s a better glyph out there right now, just speaking in broad terms about how ‘meh’ I feel about 10% cd reduction glyphs.

    I can’t dispute the experience of people who’re using it and like it, but my own experience in the past and general distaste for it gives me bitter beer face.

    (Yes, I realize that the cd decrease has an impact on the rest of the shots in the rotation).

  10. Rainbowdash says:

    I’m in favour of Kill Shot because i would rather have higher DPS when the boss is low on health. Please could someone confirm that for the last part of the fight KS glyph will be better than Chimera shot glyph. Assuming rapid killing and Readiness is off CD.

  11. Archaedius says:

    In terms of the “Whatever you like” major glyph choice, i would like to add in something (Although this will not increase your dps) Is Glyph of Raptor Strike. This is a massive help for any raid group doing hard modes and should be strongly considered.

  12. devourer says:

    Frost, what are your thoughts on Rapid Fire glyph? Isn’t it a boost in dps over Kill Shot? Specially with Readiness talent.

  13. Xinto says:

    Is Glyph of Arcane Shot actually a no brainer? … To me I think not, in high gear lvls Steady Shot, combo’d with Piercing Shots and the t12 2 piece, does more dmg than Arcane Shot and gives extra focus for a focus dump technique such as Aimed Shot.

    Looking at FemaleDwarf this is a dps upgrade, eliminating Arcane Shot Glyph, ofc you will want to use Arcane Shot while on the move but it will greatly reduce the amount of Arcane Shots used in any given fight.

    This is all dependent on gear and circumstances as always, but still something to put into the thinking pot.

  14. Xinto says:

    Also something to note about the Chimera Glyph … if your generally slow to react to your shots, or misjudge shots anyway the glyph will give you a quicker cd making you fire it more often then you owuld anyway.

    So if your usually a gcd late for the 10sec cast, being a gcd late for the 9 sec will still make you fire more shots … this is not the best logic to follow but also shows it will still help players who are a bit hap hazard with their rotations.

  15. Keire says:

    I am honestly lost here, someone guide me a bit:
    Gllyph of Aimed shot vs Rapid fire
    According to the article, the aimed shout ought to be considered for the planned rotation here, which includes arcane shot even if you plan that you prefer aimed when available. I myself have forsaken arcane and undoubtedly, I will be using aimed shot more than any rotation the creaters of this guide have considered, especially with the t13 2 set bonus. That itself would say it has to be a great choice for me, as they put it an an equal even for standard gameplay. However, calculations in my insolent rotation including 3 certian aimed shots in 20seconds, and perhaps procs of master marksman too, it still amounts to roughly 1 focus for 5 seconds. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems the number is just so ridicolously small that it could not possibly make a difference. That is why I am at loss as to wheter I should get that or the rapid fire for third slot.
    It’d be very helpfull if someone provides any insight on that problem ^^

  16. ordron says:

    ok so i have a question, what does the minor glyph of lesser proportion do? why would yo want your pet smaller?

    • Frostheim says:

      It’s just a cosmetic thing. In theory your raid might appreciate a smaller pet that is less likely to obscure their vision.

  17. Todd says:

    Wait why did he say only use aimed shot glyph if you don’t move around a lot? Glyph if aimed shot allows you to move while casting aimed shot, making your game more mobile