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Marksmanship Hunter DPS Guide

Marksmanship Hunter DPS Guide

Updated for Warlords of Draenor

Marksmanship Hunters are less reliant on their pets than Beast Mastery hunters, but their overall damage is comparable. This page covers Marksmanship in a PvE setting.There will be a few things changing with Warlords of Draenor. Some notes will be in the guide below, but you can see our post for all of the WoD Hunter changes. There will be some pretty significant changes for Marksmanship.

This Marksmanship Hunter guide is primarily intended for PVE use (raiding, etc.) at max level. However, the principals will still apply at lower level. If you’re looking for advice and tips on leveling you Hunter then check out our Hunter Leveling Guide.

For leveling or PvP see the links just below.


  1. Marksmanship Talents
  2. Glyphs
  3. MM Stats
  4. Rotations
  5. Gems
  6. Enchants
  7. Consumables
  8. Professions
  9. Races
  10. Leveling Quickly

If you want the same in-game step by step leveling guide that we use to get to the level cap as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.

Zygor's Battle for Azeroth Guide, HIt Max Level Fast!


Other Hunter Guides: 


Marksmanship Hunter Talents

Keep a stock of Tome of the Clear Mind is your bags and change talents and glyphs to best suit the particular situation. The better you know the fights the better you will be able to custom pick talents to suit the situation. These picks are our choices for the best general use, though some situations might call for different picks.

Getting to the level cap, if you’re not yet there, is painless: Zygor’s guide will help you get there quickly and easily.

Descriptions are below the image.

Marksmanship Hunter PvE Talents - Warlords of Draenor

Tier 1, level 15

  1. Posthaste is a maneuverability boost. It can be used to move quickly from place to place. If you don’t need the boost to yur survival that Crouching Tiger provides then this is the best pick.
  2. Narrow Escape is the weakest talent of this tier. There are very few reasons to take talent, unless you like kiting groups of trash or you’re trying to solo dungeons near your level.
  3. Best talent Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera allows us to use two of our survivability tools more often, making it easier to maintain damage. If you just don’t need that then go with Posthaste.

Tier 2, level 30

None of these have any use against bosses, but they can be nice against trash.

  1. Best talent  Binding Shot – this is the only one that has any area effect use and is great for enemies that move around alot or groups of adds that run in to help their boss.
  2. Wyvern Sting put’s one target to sleep for a time, but breaks on damage. Usable in combat. Something comes in that the tank doesn’t have control over, or that leaves the tank to come to you? Put it to sleep. Damage will break the effect, like that DOT that your buddy casts on it right after your sting.
  3. Intimidation Your pet briefly stuns the opponent. One minute cooldown. Nice only if you really need a short stun instead of one of the others. If you’re going with the Lone Wolf talent (tier 7) then you won’t have any use for this anyway.

Tier 3, level 45

Gettin’ in some healz…

  1. Exhilaration is a decent self-heal, but not incredibly useful. It’s better in a burst damage environment (such as PvP) and is redundant with your Healthstone or other quick heal items.
  2. Best talent Iron Hawk is a 10% damage reduction and is passive, so is one less thing to think about and one less ability to use instead of an attack.
  3. Spirit Bond heals for too little to be of great use, but would be nice for leveling.

Tier 4, level 60

  1. Steady Focus gives you 10 seconds of faster focus regen. when you use your Steady Shot twice in a row, or your Focusing Shot, if you take that talent,
  2. Dire Beast is weaker than it was previously. The other two are the better choices.
  3. Best talent Thrill of the Hunt has a chance to give you three reduced cost Aimed Shots or Multi-Shots. Best when used with your level 100 Lone Wolf talent.

Tier 5, level 75

  1. Best talent A Murder of Crows is the optimal choice, especially for single targets. Take it. It does a lot less damage than Stampede, but has a much shorter cooldown so you can use it much more often. This gives a certain flexibility with encounters, such as being better able to burst down several short lived targets in sequence.
  2. Blink Strike just isn’t very good at this time, since you generally won’t need to reposition your pet or have it catch up to the boss.
  3. Stampede is also a great single target choice.

Tier 6, level 90

Decide if it more important to do the most damage to a group or just focus on a single target (eg: a single boss.) If the latter is more important than take Glaive Toss, otherwise Barrage.

  1. Glaive Toss currently provides the greatest DPS when fighting single targets. Barrage is better for groups.
  2. Powershot lags behind the others.
  3. Best talent Barrage is good for heavy A of E fights, for small groups or bosses go with Glaive toss. if you have Focusing Shot as your level 100 talent then Barrage is better than Glaive Toss for single target fights, as well.

Tier 7, level 100

  1. Exotic Munitions. You can change ammo types, each change lasts an hour.  Fire adds an area effect, poison adds a DOT, and Freezing adds a slow. This could be a useful talent in certain situations (that make the best use of those abilities) and/or where a lot of movement is required such that you can stand still enough to make good use of Focusing Shot. Obviously the Poison will be best for single targets and the Fire effect is for groups.
  2. Best talent Focusing Shot – allows you to carefully line up your perfect shot for 100% wpn damage and generates 50 focus. It also replaces Steady Shot. While it has a long cast time it does far more damage than Steady Shot and also more than 3x the Focus (14 vs 50.) Works nicely when combined with the steady Focus & Barrage talents. Since you’ll be standing still for those three seconds it will also work well with your Mastery.
  3. Lone Wolf – Don’t want to bother with a pet? Now you can drop it and get 30% more damage. Naturally you lose any abilities that your pet has or that depend on a pet, but 30% more damage ain’t bad. This will be a better choice than Focusing Shot in fights that do’t over let you stay still.

Pet Specialization

Any pet can be either Tenacity, Ferocity, or cunning and you can switch their specs at any time (out of combat.) Ferocity is generally the best choice as it provides the greatest DPS gain, but there may be situations where Tenacity or Cunning might have use.

For raid buffs and useful effects see this Pet Utility Table or see WoWhead’s list. In Warlords the Crowd Control abilities are largely gone and the former table does not include Draenor pets. Pick your pet so that the abilities it brings to the table complement those of the group. Its buffs/debuffs won’t stack with those of your team so choose wisely.

There have been various changes to pet abilities in WoD and the level 100 talent, Lone Wolf, will give you a chance to operate without a pet. See here for the pet changes.



Marksmanship  Hunter Stat Priorities

Warlords of Draenor bring a couple of changes:

  • Hit, Expertise, Resilience, PvP Power, and Reforging are all dead. No resurrection is in sight at this time.
  • You have a base 15% crit, just because you’re an Agility class.
  • Two new secondary stats have been introduced: Multistrike and Versatility

Your Stats, in order of priority:

  • Agility > Critical to 43% > Multistrike > Haste > Versatility > Mastery > Crit over 43%

Agility is your best stat as it’s a direct increase to your attack power. It no longer adds Crit, however.

Crit is well loved by all Hunters, especially MM. Get more. At 90 your Lethal Shots ability gives you 5% more, for a base of 20%. 40% Crit gives you a 100% chance to crit (via Careful Aim) with your Steady, Focused, and Aimed Shot or while your Rapid Fire buff is active. Add another 3% for bosses and that’s your 43%. Once the boss (or target) is below 80% health then Careful Aim no longer applies to the shots and the value of Crit drops. Your Aimed Shot crits will still grant you 20 focus (from your perk.)

Multistrike gives you a chance for extra, weaker, strikes. You get two chances at an additional strike at 30% effect (that 30% being based off a new roll and not that incredible crit you just got.)

Haste shortens cooldowns, increases attack speed, and increases focus regen (and you will spend that focus faster.)

Versatility is an add to your damage, any healing you do, and also to your damage reduction (at half value,) which will make your healers efforts a bit easier.

Mastery is not as useful as the other stats at this time as “Standing Still” is often not a useful thing to do.



In-Depth Rotation Guide for Marksmanship

Warlords of Draenor will change your rotation somewhat. Here are the changes relevant to this section: Arcane shot is now MM and S only, you no longer have access to it, Hunter’s Mark is dead, Serpent Sting is now Survival only, but your level 100 Exotic Ammo talent can duplicate the effect. The level 100 talent Focusing Shot, if you take it, will replace your Chimera Shot and your Steady Shot, Stampede is a level 75 talent. More MM changes

Focus is your resource and you’ll want to pay attention to it. Letting it drop so low that you can’t cast an ability when you need to is a bad idea. Letting it sit at max means that you aren’t shooting, which is bad for your DPS. Try to slow down just enough to be able to fire your shots as the become available (off cooldown.) Waiting for your focus to recover enough to get these shots off is a net damage loss. Focus is regained passively and by using your Steady Shot or your Focusing Shot (level 100) talent.

Your Mastery requires you to stand still for three seconds before getting the buff. There are times when this will be easy and other times when it just won’t happen (though more in PvP than raiding.) You DO get a sort of “fudge factor” in that if you move slightly you get a 5 second buff that provides the same effect. Stand still for the last three seconds and your Mastery triggers when that buff expires.


Buffs and Cooldowns

  • Rapid Fire – plus 40% haste for 15 seconds on a 2 min cooldown
  • Aspect of the fox is the only aspect that’s useful in combat. Party members can move while casting or using abilities for 6 seconds. 3 min cooldodwn. Make sure you announce this to your raid or it’ll be mostly wasted.
  • Murder of Crows (or Stampede) should be used as soon as they’re available.

Control and Utility

The various abilities here are mainly for trash.

Stuff (Buffs) to Keep Up:

  • Consumables (see below.) Your agility flask and your favorite food

Killing Stuff: aka: Your “Rotation”

Single Target

If the target is above 80% health use Aimed Shot as your primary damaging ability due to the Careful Aim passive which increases the critical strike chance of Aimed ShotSteady Shot, and Focusing Shot by 60% on targets above 80% health.

Once the target is below 80% wait for Rapid Fire and then cast Aimed shot as much as possible during the buff.

  1. Use Chimera Shot on cooldown.
  2. Begin using Kill Shot when the target reaches 35% health (20% without your perk.)
  3. Aimed Shot if Rapid Fire is active.
  4. Murder of Crows or Stampede
  5. Glaive Toss, if you have it.
  6. Aimed Shot when you have a Thrill of the Hunt proc. Be careful of letting your focus cap during this phase. You should use up the proc ASAP so as not to waste any new Thrill procs.
  7. Barrage, if you have it.
  8. Use Aimed Shot to expend excess focus.
  9. Maintain the Steady Focus effect at all times by casting a pair of Steady Shot whenever the buff is about to wear off.

Multiple Targets

When facing small groups (fewer than 6) simply continue to use your single target rotation, and…

For larger groups (7+) use…

  1. Multi-Shot instead of Aimed Shot. Spam it during Bombardment procs.
  2. Aimed Shot when Rapid Fire is up or Thrill of the Hunt procs.
  3. Kill shot when applicable, keep an eye open for targets at that 35% (or less) mark.
  4. Chimaera Shot on targets that are close enough to each other to allow you to hit both with the shot.
  5. Murder of Crows or Stampede on cooldown.
  6. Steady Shot or Focusing Shot to regain focus

The Bombardment effect triggers when Multi-Shot critically strikes, increasing Multi-Shot damage by 60% and reducing the focus cost by 25 for 5 seconds, allowing you to more effectively spam the ability.


Marksmanship Gems

Gemming info for lower levels is included for those who might actually have that gear.

Gemming in Warlords of Draenor

  • Gem sockets have a (small) random chance to appear on Raid and other gear, they are not nearly as common as before. There are no meta gems or meta sockets, there are no socket bonuses, and all sockets are “prismatic,” which means that they will take any available gem.
  • The gems themselves are actually available. They are all prismatic, meaning they fit into any socket. None have Int, they all have secondary stats (Mastery, etc.) There are no Meta sockets or gems.
  • Older (Mists of Pandaria) gems work until item level 600, but the item squish cut them down a bit. What used to be 160 Ag is now 10, for example. The new Prismatic gems are for secondary stats only, E.G.: Multistrike,  and are only worth 50 points.
  • Older gems (Mists of Pandaria and lower) that used to code for Hit now do Crit, gems that had Expertise are now Haste.
  • If you have sockets, then gem for Multistrike

Gemming Lower Level gear: 


Gems for Warlords of Draenor

Mists of Pandaria Gems, for gear under ilevel 600.
Meta Capacitive Primal Diamond: +20 Critical Strike, and chance on melee or ranged hit to gain Capacitance
Agile Primal Diamond: 14 Agil & 3% Increased Crit Effect
Red Delicate Primordial Ruby: 10 Agility
Yellow Smooth Sun’s Radiance: 20 Crit
Blue Rigid River’s Heart: +20 Crit
Lightning Wild Jade: +10 Haste and +10 Crit
Orange Deadly Vermilion Onyx: 5 Agility, 10 Crit
Deft Vermilion Onyx: 5 Agility, 10 Haste
Purple Glinting Imperial Amethyst: 5 Ag, 10 Crit
Green Lightning Wild Jade: +10 Haste and +10 Crit
Cogwheel Smooth Tinker’s Gear: 38 Crit – requires an engie helm, such as this.
Precise Tinker’s Gear: 38 Haste
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 38 Mastery


Marksmanship Hunter Enchantments for PvE

Warlords Notes: There are no head enchants, all shoulder enchants come from the Inscription profession and are only for items under items level 600. There are new enchants for Neck, Cloak, Weapons, and your Rings. Not for any other pieces. (Not yet, anyway.)

Short on gold? If you want to buy the best enchants and gems, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about improving your situation.


MM Enchantments in Warlords

Ranged wpns Warlords

Main and off hands
not applicable
Cloak Warlords


Neck Warlords

Rings Warlords

Other enchants, for gear under item level 600.
Shoulders Mists

Chest Mists

Bracers Mists

Gloves Mists

Belt Mists

Leggings Mists

Boots Mists


Comsumables. Mmmmm, potions. Yummy.

Note that Pandarens get twice the food buff. All food buffs last one hour. Any Agility bonuses also add to the food and chemical bonuses.

Food buffs go away when killed, flasks do not. Your agility flask is better than any pair of elixirs.


Agility Foods, from the Mists





Professions for MM Hunters

In Warlords: All combat bonuses have been removed from professions, the profs will be for flavor and gold making only.

“The Best” profession are the ones that will let you make your own starting raid gear. In your case that’s Leatherworking (armor, ilevel 640) and Engineering (your gun, ilevel 630.) If your interested in doing this then your garrison will be a big help in generating materials for those items. You will also be able to upgrade your items (two steps, 25 points total) and “reroll” stats not to your liking (you want Crit and Multistrike.) The upgrades cost quite a bit more than the original.

MM Professions
Tailoring Only a flying carpet.
Leatherworking Entry level raid armor.
Jewelcrafting Entry level rings and neck items for your raid.
Enchanting Enchant you own gear and your Guildmates’.
Inscription Make glyphs, staves and trinkets, fortune cards, etc.
Alchemy Not much of interest here, unless you like Chemistry.
Engineering Lots of cool toys, from rockets to shields to mounts, few (if any) or which can be used in raids.
Blacksmithing Nothing to see here, move along.
Skinning Just for the gold and to supply leatherworking.
Herbalism For Alchemy or Inscription or making gold.
Mining For Engineering or Blacksmithing or gold making.


MM Hunter Races

Human Marksmanship Hunter
Human MM Hunter

With Catalclysm everyone but Gnomes were allowed into the Hunter crowd. Probably because they’re too busy repairing their city or they’re too short to use a bow (how about a Gnomish X4500GT Zarkomatic blaster rifle?)

In Mists of Pandaria Pandarens can become Hunters. but Gnomes are still out.

In Warlords of Draenor the Gnomes are still left out. All abilities dealing with hit or expertise are gone. All races now have something  that adds to your DPS.

Orcs and Trolls are “the best” from a DPS viewpoint, with their damage cooldowns. Draenei now have an Agility bonus, which is a nice plus.

Pandarens (Mists of Pandaria) can be either Alliance or Horde, they choose when they leave their starting area.

  • They can put enemies to sleep with a touch of the paw, but you don’t want to be in melee range so this isn’t that much use to you.
  • Increased benefits from food buffs will be quite nice while raiding, but will be less than the value of one gem.
  • Take less falling damage from being “bouncy.”
  • Double duration for rest XP makes leveling faster.
  • Skilled at cooking.
  • WoD: No changes

Alliance Races


  • A small HoT, Gift of the Naaru, will help with survivability.
  • In WoD: The hit is dead, the heal is Faster (5 seconds time, from 15,) and your Ag is higher.

Night Elves – No DPS gain

  • Shadowmeld drops aggro in PvE encounters, but it’s redundant with your Feign Death ability.  It does not add to your Camouflage ability.
  • Night Elf hunters also gain the benefit of a 2% dodge chance increase, another bonus to stack with Aspect of the Monkey when forced into melee. This willonly rarely be of any use to you in PvE.
  • In WoD: 2% faster movement and you have Touch of Elune, which increases Haste by 1% at night, and Critical Strike chance by 1% during the day.


  • The stone form ability is rather nice, washing away bleeds and reducing damage taken by 10%, and the latter part of that will find occasional PvE use.
  • Dwarves are good with Archeology.
  • In WoD: Stoneform erases more effects, and you have +2% Criticial effect on your crits. 


  • Ttheir escape ability is quite nice for PvP and occasionally of use in PvE.
  • Their diplomacy ability will  help with the rep gains with the many factions of Azeroth and beyond.
  • In WoD: the expertise is dead and The Human Spirit is now useful as it boosts your Versatility (a decent damage stat.)

Worgen – Extra Crit is nice, as is Sprint (DarkFlight) , making them the best Alliance DPS.

  • They have a general 1% increased chance to crit, which is a good stat for you, and
  • Worgen can “periodically move more quickly,” which definitely has it’s uses.
  • Their increased skinning skill and speed is a nice convenience, but of no special value to Hunters.
  • WoD: No changes

Horde Races

Blood Elves

Of the horde races we’ll begin with the Blood Elves

  • Their big ability is Arcane Torrent, which can be used as an AoE silence/interruption when forced into melee range with caster classes. Ideally Hunters want to avoid “melee range” like the plague. While it will restore a small amount of focus you will need to be in a really long fight to get even one more shot because of it.
  • Blood elves are good with Enchanting.
  • In WoD: Belves get Arcane Acuity, which  is a new racial passive ability that increases Critical Strike chance by 1%.


  • Tauren are yet another generally viable Hunter race, gaining a 5% bonus to health that is occasionally useful.
  • You’ll also gain the benefit of Warstomp, an AoE stun that may allow you to gain range from the opposition.
  • Good with Herbalism
  • WoD: you have +2% Criticial effect on your crits. 

Trolls are one of the better races for Hunters, with Berserking

  • Trolls possess the Berserking racial, a potent increase for burst DPS.
  • Trolls also get additional XP from killing beasts, they no longer get additional damage against beasts.
  • A somewhat more situational ability is the reduced duration Trolls get from movement reducing effects.
  • In WoD: Ranged expertise is gone

Orcs, are also a contender for the #1 Hunter choice from a DPS perspective. with Blood Fury and pet damage.

  • They get the benefit of Blood Fury, a great burst DPS increaser,
  • as well as 1% more pet damage via Command,
  • and a 15% resistance to all stuns with Hardiness, useful in PvP situations and helpful in rare PvE content.
  • In WoD: Expertise with Axes is gone, not that you ever cared about that.


  • Naturally the Undead start with a giant spider as a pet.
  • They have no special Hunter abilities, but their “Will of the Forsaken” can wipe off sleeps, charms, etc., a nice ability to have, especially in PvP.
  • Being able to eat the brains of those you kill frees up a blag slot (which would otherwise carry food.)
  • Undead can drain life from opponents and be healed for the same amount. This is a passive effect and happens occasionally with your damaging attacks. It will add a small amount to your DPS totals.
  • In WoD the Will of the Forsaken cooldown is increased to 3 min. An old ability, Underwater Breathing, returns and is improved as it’s now “indefinite.”

Goblin – A small DPS increase

  • Rocket Jump has definite uses at times, especially as “gain range” ability when Disengage is on cooldown.
  • An increase to Haste is just Ok and
  • An increase in Alchemy skill, along with a greater effect from your own healing potions, is also nice.
  • Goblins also receive vendor discounts and can summon a personal bank.
  • In WoD the Gobs get no real changes.


The Fast MM Hunter Leveling Guide

Zygor's Leveling and All Other GuidesWoW’s in game quest helper is a nifty gadget, showing you where to go and giving you some idea of what to do. What it doesn’t show you is the most efficient path to take among all the bazillion quests and it misses a lot in the “where to go and what to do” department.

Zygor’s guide misses nothing and shows you the best path to take, whether Horde or Alliance, at all times, and eliminates all doubt and confusion. You will never again have any doubts about the best path to follow to get to the level cap ASAP.

Zygor’s has boosted its Int stat and, as a result, it doesn’t matter if you stop your questing to gain a few levels in PvP or the dungeons, you’re brand new to the game or you’re decked head to toe in heirlooms. Come back to the quests and Zygor will figure out where you should be, based on your new level, and update the guide accordingly. It’ll even let you zap your obsolete quests.

You’re not even locked into any particular build for best results. Zygor’s guide has a talent advisor which will recommend talents for either Marksman, Beastmastery, or Survival, depending on what you like. About the only way to get to the level cap faster is to buy a character boost for a measly $60.

Check it out, grab your own and blast to the level cap, even in Shadowlands!

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