For those familiar with extreme soloing strategies, not much has changed.  This is just a MoP facelift to Frost’s existing soloing guide, for the new MoP guides page.

When we talk about Extreme Hunter Soloing, we’re talking about just hunter and pet soloing instances on normal mode, or instances from previous expansions, including 40-man raids from vanilla or BC. We are not talking about questing or leveling — that’s just soloing. We don’t consider doing a group quest two levels higher than you extreme soloing, because that’s just what we expect from the hunter class.

This guide will go over some of the basic concepts of hunter extreme soloing, and other guides will go into detail on the builds and gear and fight-specific strategies.

The Magic Ratio

The ideal in extreme soloing is for the hunter to be able to heal more damage than the pet takes. If you can hit that magical ratio, then you are going to win. It doesn’t matter how long it takes: as long as you can heal more damage than your pet takes, you’ll eventually wear the boss down.

On the surface this means that we’re interested in two things: pet damage mitigation, and our hunter’s ability to heal the pet. Mitigation comes to some extent from the hunter gear, but mostly from the hunter and pet talent choices. Healing comes from talents and glyphs, but also a significant chunk comes from stamina.

Your pet gets a portion of the hunter’s stamina (note: stamina, not health). You also have some glyphs and talents that will lend some healing.

Now the problem with the magic ratio comes in fights where you yourself take damage, from unavoidable AoE or random targeted attacks that ignore the aggro target. Your pet has lots of healing, and you have very little (though it was boosted considerably for MoP). So while we do have some healing, it’s still not much and these fights are the ones that usually require clever tactics.

So basically when you’re planning for extreme soloing, you are concerned with three things: pet damage mitigation (dodge, parry, armor, crit reduction, and to some extent expertise), pet healing ability, and pet health (gained through hunter stamina, as well as talents).

Four Basic Strats

I’ve found there are four basic strategies that I use to deal with extreme soloing bosses. These strategies will alter your talent and glyph choices occasionally, so it’s very important to know which one of these strategies you’re using in a given fight.  These are:

  • Tank & Spank: You send your pet in and you shoot. You keep up mend pet, and you heal more damage than your pet takes. The fight is eventually won. This covers a surprising amount of extreme soloing fights. These fights are basically just a simple check of your gear and your talent choices.
  • Burn: sometimes your pet is taking slightly more damage than you can heal, often on bosses with mini-bosses, or groups of mobs. In these fights it’s important to single target burn down one of them as fast as possible, so that your healing can once again out heal the incoming damage.
  • Superpet: on fights where there is AoE or other unavoidable damage that you take yourself, a solid strategy is often to just let your pet do all the tanking, and all the dpsing. Typically this works by sending your pet in, and then running out of range of the damage. You then sit just out of range, and step in every time you need to refresh mend pet, then run back out. If you take a bit of damage, you can bandage while waiting for the next Mend Pet. This is the strat that was traditionally used for the twins in Utgarde Keep, or Gehennes in Molten Core. A variant of this Frost used on Onyxia, which is just to feign death and let the pet do the tanking, dpsing, and healing – but this is likely to only work on vanilla or BC bosses where the incoming damage is very low.
  • Kiting: every now and then you find a boss where the best strat is just to kite him. You set your pet aside, and jump shot kite the boss to death. Keristrasza in the Nexus is a perfect example of a kiting boss.

Don’t Worry About Threat

Again, the two things you’re worried about for most extreme soloing fights is your pet’s damage mitigation, and your pet’s healing. You are not really worried about your pet’s threat for most fights. The reason is that as a hunter, we have complete control over our threat. With a combination of Misdirection and Feign Death, you should not have any problems remaining below your pet on the threat charts.

Turtle/Beetle (or Spirit Beast) For Victory

The best hunter pet for most extreme soloing situations is the turtle or beetle. Keep in mind that we’re concerned with damage mitigation and healing — everything else takes care of itself. The turtle has the Shell Shield ability that reduces damage taken by 50% for 12 seconds, and the beetle has an equivalent talent. This ability is huge. In fact, you can deal with a boss that actually does slightly more damage than you can heal by using shell shield regularly – the pet can heal up to full each time the shell shield is up.

Again, remember that we aren’t worried about threat, and we aren’t worried about damage. Our two main concerns are mitigation and healing.

The exception to this is when YOU need to stay alive more than your pet, and you’re also in a BM spec. Then, a spirit beast’s heals will be the most beneficial.

Certain other situational pets can be brought out and then dismissed, like a Corehound (for Ancient Hysteria).

Every Boss is Different

Well, that’s not entirely true. Many bosses are just a plain tank & spank. However, the exciting and fun part of extreme soloing is not those fights, but the crazy fights that you have to get really creative to solve. For a lot of these you’ll find that you need to use custom talent builds (hunter and pet) or specialized gear, or different consumables, to exploit that opening you see in the boss fight. And those are the fights that you’ll wipe a lot on — but let me tell you it feels damned good when you finally beat them!

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  1. Keelyu says:

    Just did some soloing of Naxx because I am extremely bored. Went to try a new strat on Patchwerk using the Glyph of Bestial Wrath. I had used it a couple times last week so I didn’t have to pet heal and it worked fine. This time, hitting Bestial Wrath dropped aggro from Patchwerk and he went straight for me. Was this a fix?
    I was actually really excited to have 20 seconds, in a raid, where my pet could take damage and not die, but I can see why Blizz wouldn’t want that.

    • Arth says:

      That would legitimately be somewhat terrible, but not an insurmountable problem for soloing, given our other threat mitigation tools.

      I have not noticed this in my few runs since 5.0.4, nor has there been any indication from Blizz that BW works any differently, but I’ll keep an eye on it. It would be kinda sneaky for them to stealth-nerf something this obvious and potentially problematic, because it has implications for leveling as well.

      • Yvvii says:

        On the official forms I have seen people mentioning aggro switching to the Hunter when BW is activated, and other people with the usual ‘l2p u noob’ comments so it seems to be a bug and not affecting everyone.

        And that is about the extent of my use in this topic.

    • Jaeger says:

      There is supposedly a bug that the pet is treated as being dead when using the BW glyph and that’s why mobs ignore it. It’s a bug that they’ll hopefully fix soon.

  2. Dargno says:

    For extreme soloing I’ve noticed a few other common used tactics:

    1) Pet swapping. Like i mentioned in my other comment (in the pet tank post), you can cycle through the defensive cooldowns of multiple pets. I’ve found these tactics online, and succesfully used them to solo patchwork. One or more macro’s for this and weakaura’s is heavily recommended.

    2) Pet-hunter kiting. Using deterrence, disengage, feign and distracting shot can buy your pet valuable seconds to heal back up, effectively letting the boss run between you and the pet. When the boss comes to you, you can disengage, use deterrence, and feign as soon as deterrence goes down. Boss goes back to pet, which is at full health again due to mend pet. Keeping the pet at once place is required at that point though, so MM with (glyphed) chimera might be better than BM for those fights.

    • Arth says:

      I’ve actually been planning a pet swapping article, but didn’t think it belonged with the “Basics.” It’s more of an intermediate skill, after hunter have mastered general pet and fight management. It also hasn’t been covered extensively on the WHU, so it deserves specific treatment. Once we get into the expansion and I have a chance to make a video or two about it, I hope to post it. Because it has applications for spirit beast chain heals, soloing, tanking, PvP, occasional PvE, so there’s no single section that it belongs with.

      Technically your kiting strategy is a mix of a couple that are listed. Bosses won’t always exist in a vacuum, and those listed don’t represent every strategy, just the most numinous ones.

    • Mandragorn says:

      Another trick you can now use due to some of the small changes in this last patch/MoP is letting your pet die then resurrecting him. This allows you zerg bosses with higher than your normal healing output. I just recent did this on MoP to solo Huggalon the Heart Watcher at level 89. You can cast res pet while using deterrence, and with no haste theres a 1sec spot where you can be hit while doing this. Basically, just make sure you are at max range on the mob as your pet is about to die, resurrect him, have him use growl as soon as hes up, get range and keep going. Now that growl is a true taunt and your pet resurrects with full life, as long as he can take at least a few hits you can pretty well support this cycle indefinitely. If you dont manage to get max range for one reason or another, use deterrence to prevent getting destroyed while you res.

  3. Jaeger says:

    For Superpet situations, make sure that you get at least one shot in on the target; otherwise, you can’t loot it.

    I would always forget when soloing the 1st boss in AQ40 since I needed to stay out of his MC range so I couldn’t loot him after killing him.

  4. Pengalor says:

    I’m curious, what tree and spec are people using for their soloing? I assumed MM was still the soloing spec of choice for the healing but not sure with the BM love this patch.

  5. jd says:

    Going to try this. But noob question. I have a devilsaur and his talents have a heart of phoenix note but no spell to do this. Is this just mislabeling or can the devilsaur be resurrected?

  6. kestrel says:

    I’ve been looking for information about stat priorities and reforging for soloing older content. Have I missed it somewhere? If so, could someone point me in the right direction? If not, would anyone here be able to comment on that subject? Have you reforged for certain encounters? Have you found reforging strategies that seem to perform better in general, or is it more situational than that? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  7. Ot says:

    “So basically when you’re planning for extreme soloing, you are concerned with three things: pet damage mitigation (dodge, parry, armor, crit reduction, and to some extent expertise), pet healing ability, and pet health (gained through hunter stamina, as well as talents).”

    So will reforgeing into dodge improve my pets dodge? I have found alot of conlficting information on this.

    • Arth says:

      No, don’t bother reforging to avoidance. So far, it isn’t transferring.

      I’d also add hunter self-healing to that list of important things, but that particular paragraph focuses only on the pets.

  8. Matt says:

    I was also wondering about reforging. (I may have posted this Q already elsewhere). Do you need any +hit or +expertise to solo old content? I want to solo BC Raids with mobs level 73. Would I be better off reforging all +hit and +expertise to +crit and +mastery? Thanks!

  9. Lighthunter2 says:

    How come there is no mention of glyphed stamped as a damage mitigation tool? Copies come out, all growl (tanking the target of a moment), mend pet has a moment to heal without incoming damage, and a huge dps burst.

  10. Carbonrod says:

    Is the Tier 5 2-set still viable for soloing in MoP, or does the amount of stamina on our regular gear outweigh the passive pet healing fro T5?

    • Arth says:

      The latter. t5 hasn’t actually been viable since the very beginning of Cata, and hasn’t been used regularly by high-level solo’ers since Wrath. Gear just got too much better. Good question though, and it’s a shame we can’t use it anymore.

  11. Methusalar says:

    Hi there – and thanks for the guide!

    Having spent most of my wow time so far as a tank, I’m about to start a run through as a hunter. My aim is to take a very leisurely run through – stopping xp gain frequently – and try to do as much content as possible. I haven’t done much PvP so far, so that’s on the cards.

    I also want to try and solo as much as possible – is there a list/guide out there somewhere giving levels at which you should be trying to solo dungeons?

    I don’t want to spend months trying solo RFC (say) at level 16, only to find out that it’s generally accepted that 18 is the minimum. Likewise, I don’t want to try it at 16 and find it’s too easy and I should have gone earlier.

    Thanks,

    Meths

  12. Methusalar says:

    Thanks guys – given me some inspiration!

    I’m just tidying up my alts, but should start my run in a month or so. Will be doing a lot of content – pvp, soloing, achievement hunting, old end-games content… . Not going to seriously twink, but will certainly be turning xp-gain off frequently and will be taking the time to ensure my gear is good at pretty much every level.

    I’m not really looking to break soloing records (apart from completeness ones!) but do want to solo all the instances at a level that is challenging and where you feel satisfied when (/if) you make it.

    ‘The Ultmiate WoW Single Player Game’!

    Meths

  13. Methusalar says:

    Can anyone confirm whether the turtle has spellshield before level 20?

    It would be great to have it (I’m level 16 atm), but can’t see anything to use it.

    thanks

    • Arth says:

      I don’t know, but, not trying to sound crass, just level to 20 and you’ll be good. 16-to-20 probably takes under an hour of real-world time.

      • Methusalar says:

        I’m levelling very slowly – the whole point of my game this time through is not to rush!

        It’s not only about extreme soloing, but this provides the framework for my run – trying to copy Japskidin’s low-level solo’s (or better :) ). So between 16 and 20 I had solo’d Deadmines (at 16) and Wailing Caverns (17) – rushing to 20 and then revisiting these would have been pointless.

        For anyone who’s interested (obviously not many people!) I can confirm that spellshield does start at 20.

        Keep hunting,

        Felpsar