View other WHU WoW MoP hunter guides. Updated for patch 5.2.
This guide will cover the optimal marksman hunter shot rotation for level 90 in Mists of Pandaria. We’ll cover both single-target raid dps and AoE / 5-mans.
Hunters no longer have any kind of fixed rotation like we did in the days of yore, instead we fire our shots in a priority system, making decisions as we play about whether to save up focus for the MM signature shot, or to burn focus before it caps out, and working in a host of shots all on different cooldowns.
The Changing MM Shot Rotation
Unlike the other hunter specs, MM hunters use two different rotations. One during the first 20% of the fight while our Careful Aim talent is active, and a different rotation during the rest of the fight, when we aren’t benefiting from Careful Aim. In addition the MM priority tends to alter slightly to favor Aimed Shot over Arcane Shot during haste effects.
Marksman MM Hunter Shot Priority During Careful Aim Range (first 20%)
During the first 20% of the fight while the boss is over 80% health the MM hunter shot rotation is benefiting enormously from Careful Aim. Because of this we totally ignore most of our shots in favor of the massively hard-hitting Aimed Shot crits.
Start by making sure you have Hunter’s Mark and Serpent Sting up on your target and burn your cooldowns — A Murder of Crows, Dire Beast, Stampede and Rapid Fire in particular. Then this is our Careful Aim rotation:
During the Careful Aim period of the fight your goal is to get off as many Aimed Shots as possible, which means you absolutely want as many haste effects during this time as you can get to lower the cast time as much as possible. Typically this means using Rapid Fire and Readiness to get Rapid Fire a second time. Note that in general you want to avoid stacking Rapid Fire with another big haste effect, like Ancient Hysteria.
MM Hunter Shot Priority After Careful Aim
Once we have the boss below 80% health, we settle into the standard MM hunter shot priority system, which is far more complex. Again, we’re assuming we already have Serpent Sting up on our target:
- Chimera Shot
- Steady Shot in pairs to maintain Steady Focus
- Kill Shot if available
- Aimed Shot if an instant version is procced
- Glaive Toss
- A Murder of Crows
- Dire Beast
- Arcane Shot
- Steady Shot as needed to regen focus
Note that during large haste effects such as Rapid Fire and Ancient Hysteria, it is usually worthwhile to hardcast Aimed Shot in place of Arcane Shot (by “hardcast” we mean to cast the full 2.5-second version of the shot, rather than just the instant version that procs).
MM Hunter AoE Rotation
The best hunter AoE rotation naturally assumes that you’re taking the best MM AoE talents (Barrage, Thrill of the Hunt). However it’s not uncommon for MM hunters optimized for single target damage to still need to deal out the AoE. MM’s big AoE advantage is Bombardment, which lowers the cost of Multi-Shot after the first by 20 focus, while boosting Multi-Shot damage by 30%, and all MM hunters have Bombardment automatically.
The MM AoE priority rotation is:
- Explosive Trap
- Lynx Rush (if you have the talent)
- Barrage (or Glaive Toss)
- Steady Shot pairs
Bombardment is the key to top MM AoE DPS, and since the buff lasts only 5 seconds after each Multi-Shot, it is key to keep this buff active at all time, interweaving Steady Shot pairs and Multi-Shot to maintain both the buff and the focus.
Depending on your situation, you may want to also fire the instant procced Aimed Shots that come up, and Kill Shot. Generally this works best when you’re AoEing smaller numbers of mobs with larger health pools. For 5-man trash the mobs will usually be dead before your Kill Shot can hit.
It’s also worth noting that while Glaive Toss is technically an AoE-ish ability, it depends heavily on the positioning of the mobs and you’re unlikely to hit them all. If you are using Glaive Toss be sure you’re targeting someone in the back of the pack and try to position yourself to hit as many mobs as possible. If, on the other hand, you are using Barrage, be sure to position yourself to avoid pulling any packs of nearby mobs.