#1 - Jan. 26, 2014, 3:25 p.m.
First off, a little about me and a disclaimer. Since writing this guide I've come to play at 2k+ in 3's and 5's so I can give you a degree of assurance that my advice works at moderate level PvP, but largely what I'm offering here is a blanket baseline guide, the rest you'll have to work out on your own.
So, you've chosen to go Marksmanship?
Excellent! I think it's fair to say at present this is the most viable of the Hunter specs for PvP and has only gotten stronger as the season has progressed, due to Hotfixes that have made our damage stronger.
The unique aspects of playing Marksmanship are;
- A blanket Silence in the form of Silencing Shot. This will be invaluable to shut out healers and to stop pressure from casters.
- A more involved play-style. From my experience certainly, I find MM a more satisfying spec to play than the 'Sit back, Pet damage' aspect of BM or the 'DoT and RNG Burst' of Survival. This could be a personal bias of mine. But hey.
- Focus regeneration during Rapid Fire, leading to far more efficient burst phases.
- Some passive slows, from Chimera Shot. Not to be underestimated.
So, what Talents do I choose?
Some of this is down to personal preference, and I'll try and point out when this is the case.
First Tier Talent - In almost every scenario you will want to take Narrow Escape, the root here is invaluable, and can be used to force some really bad positioning on the enemy team. It can create some pretty unique play. Worth mentioning though is that the root counts as a magical debuff and can thus be dispelled. In a few scenarios, such as against a Holy Paladin/Warrior team, where their ability to break snares and slows and keep uptime is incredibly you may want to consider Post Haste, in this sort of matchup, your roots and snares will be incredibly less valuable as the other team has so many abilities to counter them, and a flat speed boost may be far better for kiting and survival if you're being pressured. In my opinion there is never a good excuse to go Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera, in PvP.
Second Tier Talent - Generally, Wyvern Sting. Learn to love it, learn to use it effectively, as it is in essence 6 second instant CC that can be cast at range. To note, the debuff counts as a poison and can thus be dispelled by some healers, also worth considering is that Wyvern sting shares DR with Frost Trap. This isn't necessarily a reason to avoid bringing it, because even a DR'ed 2 second Wyvern followed by a 3 second blanket Silence on a healer can generate a lot more pressure. Additionally it can also be used to peel for your team. In other scenarios, such as RBG's you may want to consider Binding Shot, when controlling enemy movement or peeling them off a target such as a flag carrier or a mine cart is invaluable. Intimidation isn't particularly useful for MM in PvP.
Third Tier Talent - Your choice here is between Spirit Bond and Aspect of the Iron Hawk, as both are good talents. The days of double Exhiliration are long gone, and it is best to avoid this talent. As a general rule of thumb, in BG's or Double DPS 2's comps, bring Spirit Bond, you can always put the other team in considerable CC and pillar kite for health, which has contributed to many wins for me. Aspect of the Iron Hawk is best when you're accompanied by a healer, with Battle Fatigue in it's current state, flat damage reduction has become invaluable to assist your healer in countering pressure and a flat 10% damage reduction will be much more valuable than a 1.4% heal from Spirit Bond every 2 seconds (the rough figure after Battle Fatigue).
Fourth Tier Talent - I personally go for Thrill of the Hunt, as you'll find yourself using Arcane Shot an awful lot. Fervor is valuable and favoured at some higher ratings for fiercer burst phases. But this will take considerable practice to perfect.
Fifth Tier Talent - Your choice here is between Blink Strikes, for more consistent damage and the ability to stop enemy Healers drinking very quickly, and Murder of Crows for a more powerful burst. Really this will come down to playstyle, though personally I find Blink Strikes has the edge.
Sixth Tier Talent - Glaive Toss. It has decent damage, and an additional slow. In some very specific scenarios you may prefer Powershot. But your default should be Glaive Toss. Just be careful not to break CC, as the Glaives deal damage to anything they pass through.
So, you've told me about Talents, but what do I want to bring in the way of Glyphs?
This is a tricky question, at the moment, Hunter Glyphs aren't terribly impressive. But here are some choices for you to consider with Major Glyphs.
Animal Bond - An extra 10% healing whilst your pet is alive is invaluable, seeing as your pet should be alive near 100% of the time, this will improve your survivability and also your healers mana as he should be needing to use less heals on you over the course of a game as a result. This is a must.
Solace - If you're playing with anything with DoTs, and are swapping naturally throughout a game, you'll want to bring Glyph of Solace to ensure you aren't breaking your own Scatters, Traps and Wyverns.
Master's Call - Can't get that warrior off of you? Here's your chance of escape, 8 seconds of immunity to snare and root. Importantly, you can also give this to party members in order to assist them in escaping a potentially lethal burst.
Mirrored Blades - This is something of a gimmicky mechanic. Some teams will be very wise to the spell reflection and play appropriately, other teams, with good timing, you can kill by reflecting their own Chaos Bolt back at them. Keep it in your arsenal.
Explosive Trap - The knockback on Explosive Trap requires quite a lot of practice. But once you get the hang of it you can use it to force some awful positioning and event knock healers down, or around Line of Sight. Have fun experimenting with it.
Camouflage - The full stealth on Camouflage even whilst moving is pretty useful if you're playing something like Hunter/Rogue and are relying upon a hard and sudden opener.
As for Minor Glyphs, there is only really one -must-, which is;
Revive Pet - You will want to be able to Revive your pet as quickly as possible, in order to get more damage and extra healing via Glyph of Animal Bond. Where possible try and line of sight any potential burst where using Revive Pet.
Okay, I get glyphs, now what about gems, stats and reforging?
Okay. Here's where my opinion may perhaps open up a bit of debate. You'll find a lot of places recommending Haste over Mastery, but if you look at the top Hunters on the ladders at the moment, you'll see they're mostly using Mastery over Haste. This is because, Wild Quiver, is actually very powerful, I personally find it accounts for about 11-13% of my damage over the course of most arenas, this is pretty considerable, and it's ability to bring you some unexpected burst in a pinch is amazing. With this in mind I recommend prioritising thus,
3% Hit > 3% Expertise > Agility > PvP Power > Crit > Mastery > Haste
It is worth downloading an addon such as ReforgeLite to assist with optimal reforging.
As for gems, you should use the following,
Meta Slot - You can either use the Tyrannical Primal Diamond for it's 655 PvP Power and 775 Resilience, which seems to be the optimal choice at present, and is what I use for both extra sustained damage and a small flat damage reduction. Or you can use the flat Agility + Increased critical effect, for a slightly higher burst damage. The choice is yours.
Red Slot - 160 Agility
Yellow Slot - (Orange Gem) 80 Agility + 160 Crit
Blue Slot - (Purple Gem) 80 Agility + 80 PvP Power