MM Hunter Shot Priority Rotation

Posted: by Delirium


reviewed and accurate
Reviewed 10/09/2014
Patch 6.0.2

View other WHU WoW MoP hunter guides. Updated for patch 6.0.

This guide will cover the optimal Marksmanship 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 and during Rapid Fire, while our Careful Aim buff is active, and a different rotation during the rest of the fight, when we aren’t benefiting from Careful Aim.  For help understanding MM’s Mastery: Sniper Training, check out Delirium’s guide to Sniper Training here.

MM Hunter Single-Target Rotation

Marksman MM Hunter Shot Priority During Careful Aim Range (Target is >80% health, and during Rapid Fire)

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.

Unlike in MoP, you won’t start your rotation burning through CDs. Some variation will exist in your opener depending on the total fight length, but in general, you’ll start by pre-casting Glaive Toss from a reasonable distance, then pre-pot for Chim Shot and aMoC to burn through some focus and hopefully proc Thrill of the Hunt.  Following those, cast Rapid Fire, and for the duration your priority will simply be:

During the initial Rapid Fire, with a reasonable amount of crit on your gear and TotH, you shouldn’t need to use any focus generating shots.  For the rest of your Careful Aim period, your rotation will look like this:

Note that due to the benefit of getting off as many Aimed Shots as possible during Careful Aim, and using Rapid Fire as many times as possible, even if your raid is using Ancient Hysteria (bloodlust or timewarp) on the pull, you’ll still want to use Rapid Fire there as well.

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.

You will generally be pooling focus to use A Murder of Crows on CD, but there will be times when you are risking losing your TotH procs by using aMoC first.  In this case, it will be acceptable to spam your Aimed Shots first, to insure you utilize your TotH stacks before they fall off.

It’s also important to remember that while Glaive Toss does allow for more DPS than Barrage while using Lone Wolf in a pure single target fight, there are very few fights without any extra targets.  If there is even occasionally extra adds, you’ll want to use Barrage instead.  In that case, it will be a higher priority than Aimed Shot (when not in Careful Aim), but should not be ahead of Aimed Shot when TotH has proc’ed, unless there are multiple adds up.

MM Hunter Cleave (2-5 Targets) Rotation

As long as there are under 6 targets, you’ll continue to use your Single target rotation, but with added priority to Barrage.  This is both due to the weakness of Multi-shot and Bombardment, and the relative strength of Aimed Shot when using Lone Wolf.  The other benefit of this build is that Chimaera Shot doubles it’s damage when there is a second target nearby, so the 30% buff to Chim Shot from Lone Wolf provides a significant amount of cleave damage.

Marksman MM Hunter Shot Priority During Careful Aim Range

During the initial Careful Aim, we won’t be changing our rotation significantly, other than putting Barrage up at the top.  Your priority should look like the following.

Note that when the boss is above 80% health, you should only have an opportunity to use aMoC once.  You’ll only want to use it in the initial pull, while both of your trinkets are proc’ed, and you have your pre-pot up.

Also, this priority list does not represent your opening shot rotation.  If you have barrage up, but not all of the adds are not out, it’s worth holding off on using it until the greatest number of adds are out, assuming that you couldn’t use it and have it off CD again by the time the adds are out.

Marksman MM Hunter Shot Priority After Careful Aim

The only difference between your rotation during Careful Aim and after, is you’ll be using A Murder of Crows close to on CD, and, when appropriate, use Kill Shot.

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 only AoE advantage is Bombardment, which lowers the cost of Multi-Shot after the first by 25 focus, while boosting Multi-Shot damage by 60%.

The MM AoE priority rotation is:

Bombardment is a frustrating, but key part of MM AoE DPS, and since the buff lasts only 5 seconds after each Multi-Shot, the goal is to keep this buff active at all time, interweaving Steady Shots or Focusing Shots and Multi-Shots to maintain both the buff and enough focus to cast Chim Shot and Barrage on CD.

Depending on your situation, you may want to also fire the instant 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.

The benefit to MM Cleave AoE is you can keep up the damage of your entire single target rotation on your primary target. That means during actual raids, you’ll want to use the cleave rotation, even at the expense of potentially higher DPS.

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  1. Bindura says:

    Can you specifically talk about Ancient Hysteria (AH) from the pull and using Rapid Fire? I assume that it will be better to use RF and reset all CD’s with Readiness. Do you then hold your second Rapid Fire untill AH wears off?

    • Frostheim says:

      Generally you don’t want to stack big haste effects, so you don’t want to use Rapid Fire while Ancient Hysteria is active. When Ancient Hysteria is used will be the decision of the raid leader — when it’s best for the raid as a whole. However, if you’re going to be hitting Readiness for your opener, you absolutely want to burn Rapid Fire first!

  2. Chevonne says:

    I was curious if you get enough Focus from Direbeast to push it further up in priority when burning cooldowns. I tend to hit it as soon as possible, right after Serpent Sting. I suspect its a small enough number that we’re splitting hairs. And I confess I am not dedicated enough to hit a dummy to find out. I plays da game. ;)

  3. Ben Fuller says:

    One prob with this guide. ONLY beast masters can get core hound pets as you need exotic beasts. So Mm hunters can not get ancient hysteria unless im missing something

  4. Hiredgun - Sen'jin says:

    Great timing updating this guide – I literally was looking for this yesterday, and BAM here it is. Still sad that it’s just 3 buttons + talents, though