Requesting a more indepth guide from a High rated hunter, on the ins and outs of arena if possible!
I'm not a very high rated hunter but here are some basic gameplay tips that can help beginners.
What is the best PvP spec for Hunter in 5.4.7 ? (intro) :
MM : This is the spec with the highest possible burst. Imo this spec relies too much on chimera crits to apply pressure and being obliged to maintain the 2x steady shot buff is kinda annoying but as MM you gain one extra-cc silencing shot. This is the most-played spec at high ratings.
SV : My favorite spec. This is the spec with the highest sustained damage, especially if you know how to cover your black arrow with CCs. You don't have silencing shot but hey you can still kick with countershot
BM : It's the worst pvp spec, simply because damage is lower than the two other specs especially against plate-wearers due to the fact that most of your damage being physical. The only place where this spec can shine is 2s as double dps because having bestial wrath as an extra cc-breaker is great. Also you can kill pillar humpers with your pet.
Gearing (all specs) :
Your stats priorities are :
3% hit > agi > crit > mastery > haste
Expertise is not that useful because it only works against melee.
You'll pick all the Prideful Gladiator's five set and the following offpieces with crit/mastery :
See the first post of this thread for gemming & reforge.
Talents & glyphs :
Imo this is the best talents & glyph setup :
Why do I prefer Thrill of the Hunt and Blink Strikes ? Because they are passive abilities unlike Fervor & A murder of crow. The more passive, the less I have to manage so my weak EU brain is not overloaded
About the lvl 15 talents : Narrow escape is your default choice, it makes trapping a lot easier, it allows you to root melees that are trying to eat the trap for their healer but If you are facing a wizard cleave I found posthaste to be a better choice because roots are not very useful against casters and posthaste will allow you to go back to your healer's pillar faster during defensive play.
About the lvl 30 talents : Wyvern sting is your default choice but If your team doesn't have any reliable stuns or if you are facing a double melee comp that train your healer binding shot can be a better choice.
About the lvl 45 talents : For 2s I use Spirit bond. For 3s Aspect of the Iron Hawk is better except against dotcleaves where I prefer spirit bond.
Your damage priority list as MM :
Your arena opener should look like this : arcane shot > chimera shot > 2x steady shot
#1 First, you want to use arcane shot because it gives you a +800 pvp power bonus so your next chimera shot will hit a bit harder.
#2 Then you want to use chimera shot, this is your highest damage ability and it can crit to 80k+ so you want to use it on cooldown.
#3 You always want to maintain your double steady shot buff, this is mandatory because as mm most of your damage comes from auto-attacks & mastery ! Never let it fall off SS buff > TotH
Then after the opener it's very simple :
#1 Keep double steady shot buff up
#2 Use Chimera shot on cooldown
#3 Use Glaive Toss on cooldown but of course it has a lower priority than chimera shot
#4 Use arcane shot as a focus dump
Of course use steady shot when you are low on focus.
About Glaive toss :
Glaive toss is a nice damage ability for a low focus cost (it's 15 focus and arcane shot is 30). Glaive toss can also be used while disarmed but be careful this spell can break CCs especially if your Freezing trap victim is too close from your current kill target.
When to use aimed shot :
Aimed shot does around as much damage as chimera, you want to use aimed shot only when you have the instant proc. You can use instant aimed shot whenever you want in your rotation but the best moment to use it is against opponents with full health due to your passive talent careful aim that increases crit chances against targets with full health. I like to use aimed shot when my kill target just received big heals for juicy crits. Aimed shot into chimera shot on a full health target can be really devastating sometimes.
When to use Serpent sting as MM :
This is your lowest priority as MM. You want to use serpent sting only if you want to train your current target for a long time. It's a nice little damage boost because serpent sting duration is automatically refreshed by chimera shot.
My opener against a dummy will usually be : arcane shot > chimera shot > 2x steady shot > glaive toss > serpent sting
About Wyvern sting vs Binding shot :
Wyvern sting is a poison so monks, druids & paladins can dispell it and shamans can also remove it with tremor totem. Dwarves can also remove it with stoneform. Priest is the only healer that is really annoyed by wyvern sting.
Binding shot is a stun that cannot be dispelled.
So If you are playing with a stunner (e.g KFC, thug) wyvern sting is the best choice.
If you are not playing with a stunner (e.g beastcleave) you can consider picking binding shot.
Wyvern sting can be used :
- For cross-cc
- For peeling
- To extend a CC chain on the enemy healer
- When you failed to trap the enemy healer (trap was eaten on purpose by a dps)
Binding shot can be used :
- For stunning your kill target
- For cross-cc
- For peeling melee opponents (very good against TSG & kitty to allow your healer to breathe)
How to burst as MM :
There is no specific burst rotation as MM because most of your damage comes from chimera shot and auto-shots (with mastery).
When you want to do burst damage just be sure that you have a full focus bar, surge of conquest and the 2x steady shot buffs up and then use your damage trinket+rapid fire macro and use chimera shot then dump your focus with glaive toss & arcane shot spamming.
Your damage priority list as SV :
Your arena opener should look like this : arcane shot > Explosive shot > Serpent Sting
#1 First, you want to use arcane shot because it gives you a +800 pvp power bonus so your next explosive shot will hit a bit harder.
#2 Then you want to use Explosive Shot on cooldown.
#3 Serpent Sting is important as Sv due to your improved serpent sting passive. Also your serpent sting will be automatically refreshed by cobra shot
Then after the opener, it's very simple :
#1 Use Explosive shot on cooldown
#2 Use Glaive toss on cooldown but it has a lower priority than explosive shot
#3 Use arcane shot BUT ONLY IF you have a TotH proc.
Of course, use cobra shot when you are low on focus.
About focus management as SV :
Sv is the spec with the lowest focus regeneration, you don't have any tools to regain focus faster unlike MM (steady shot buff) or BM (focus fire, invigoration).
So as SV you want to use arcane shot ONLY if you have the TotH buff.
When to use black arrow :
Black Arrow is a 30s cd magical DoT (shadow), the DoT in itself is pretty weak, the main purpose of black arrow is to give you lock and load procs that allow you to use explosive shot 3 times in a row for big damage.
Problem is : black arrow can be dispelled. Every decent healer will dispell black arrow so the best moment to use it is when the enemy healer is CC'ed. If you play with an affliction lock as HLS/HLD you can use black arrow on cooldown because Unstable Affliction provides dispell protection. This is why most SV hunters play dotcleaves.
How to burst as SV :
You want to get a lock and load proc, having surge of conquest proc is always good, then use your pvp/badge synapse springs and use explosive shot three times in a row. Now that explosive shot DoT is stackable you don't have to worry anymore about your explosive shots overlapping each other. Just press your explosive shot button three times and then dump your focus with glaive toss & arcane shot spamming.
A little burst trick as SV :
You can get lock and load procs from black arrow but you have also a 100% chance to get this proc from freezing trap. Your highest possible burst output is to get two lock and load procs back to back, that'll alllow you to spam explosive shot 6 times in a row !!! For this to be possible, the trick is to wait for the end of a lock and load proc then use Explosive shot 3 times then trap the enemy healer (for example on a stun like stormbolt or fist of justice) and voilà you have another lock and proc that'll allow you to use explosive shot again 3 times on your kill target.
Your damage priority list as BM :
Your arena opener should look like this : arcane shot > Kill command
#1 First, you want to use arcane shot because it gives you a +800 pvp power bonus so your next kill command will hit a bit harder.
#2 Then you want to use Kill command on cooldown, this is your biggest damage ability
Then after the opener it's very simple :
#1 Use Kill command on cooldown
#2 Use Glaive toss on cooldown but it has a lower priority than Kill command
#3 Use arcane shot as a focus dump.
Of course, Use cobra shot when you are low on focus.
About Focus Fire/Frenzy and focus management as BM :
BM is the spec with the easiest focus management. First you have the Invigoration passive.
Then you have Focus fire that consumes your frenzy stacks to give you a 30% haste buff (like a self bloodlust). When you are low on focus just use Focus Fire for faster cobra shots.
However, During Bestial Wrath (burst) you want to have frenzy stacks on your pet so he'll do more damage so don't use Focus Fire before bestial wrath.
About Bestial Wrath :
90% of the time you want to use bestial wrath defensively to get out of CC and be able to deterrence (you cannot use deterrence while CC'ed. Use bestial wrath offensively only if you are sure you'll score a kill.
How to burst as BM :
The maximum burst possible is when you use bestial wrath offensively but as I said earlier it's better to save it as a CC-breaker unless you're sure that your target is going to die.
For maximum burst : You need a full focus bar, surge of conquest proc if possible, then use bestial wrath+ pvp badge or synapse springs then use kill command and dump your focus with glaive toss & arcane shot spamming.
The standard burst : Same as above, the only difference is that you'll not use bestial wrath.
About Widow Venom (All specs)
If your dps partner doesn't have any mortal strike debuff you have to maintain widow venom on your kill target.
If you're BM specced, remember that the devilsaur can apply the mortal strike debuff for you so you don't have to worry about widow venom when playing with a devilsaur.
CC tips (All specs)
Against comps with a dps shaman, you always want to silencing shot the shaman before using scatter+trap on the enemy healer to prevent them from eating traps with grounding totem.
When playing KFC it's much easier to trap into stormbolts because unlike scatter your target isn't moving so it's a lot harder for your opponents to eat traps. Also you can save scatter as an "interrupt".
Same goes for ret/hunter/healer comps where you can trap into the fist of justice which is very easy because it's a 6 secs stun.
Ask your warrior/ret to always announce stormbolts/fists, it'll be easier for you to trap.
Explosive trap bump is more efficient against casters because melees have 1 million gap closers...
When to use stampede (all specs) :
Stampede damage is sh!tty now, each pet only hits for 2k. So I use stampede mostly to "scare" my opponents hoping they'll use defensive cooldowns. Some people are still traumatized by 5.0 stampede and they still believe stampede can kill people. But in most cases it's a nearly useless ability.
Managing your focus (all specs) :
Before bursting you want to have a full focus bar.
Beforce CCing you want to have a full focus bar (because when the enemy healer is CC'ed you want to do damage to the kill target)
Also If you know you will have to dispell important buffs like hand of sacrifice/protection, you must stay above 90 focus so you'll be able to use tranq shot several times. It's also a good idea to clean your kill target of trash buffs & hots so you'll be able to dispell important buffs faster
A big part of your damage comes from dispell with tranq shot. Against rdruids/rshams teams, the best thing you can do after CC'ing the enemy healer is to clean your kill target of hots.
For example :
Against mages you can dispell temporal shield (both buff & hot), ice barrier & Icy veins.
Against Rdruids comps I like to dispell 2 stacks of lifebloom so there is only 1 stack on lifebloom left on my target (usually the druid will react slower than if I dispell everything and it saves me one gcd). When the enemy team is under pressure don't forget to put a flare into the green circle so you'll be able to see the mushroom and kill it. (Mushroom heals for 400k+).
Against hpriest I dispell renew on my kill target.
Against paladins I like to dispell Eternal Flame on my kill target.
Against rshamans I like to dispell riptide and shields on my kill target. Don't forget to kill healing stream totem whenever you can, it's a 30s cd and this shit heals for a lot (35k per tick)
A rapid fire guide (all specs) :
As MM you use Rapid fire to burst with damage trinket/synapse springs (see the "how to burst as mm" chapter).
But as BM/SV, rapid fire is not a burst. You'll use rapid fire when you are low on focus for faster cobra shots so you'll regain focus faster.
Pet choice (all specs) :
First you must spec all your pets into cunning because you want to be able to use Roar of Sacrifice with all of them. Now that pet rez is 1.8s cast instead of 6secs there is absolutely no point to spec your pets into ferocity for instant rez.
Cat is your default pet (or spirit beast if BM) because it gives you the 3k mastery buff (3k mastery > 5%crit). If you play with a mastery buffer (shamans, paladins) your default pet will be a Wolf for the 5%crit buff. (or devilsaur if BM).
Then for arenas :
If you are facing a wizard cleave => Goat is the best choice for the 10% haste debuff.
When playing something like hls use a sporebat instead of a goat to give shaman and lock 5% haste along with a curse of tongues if you decided not to use a wolf due to triple casters such as Godcomp or lsd
Against teams that train your warrior/ret partner really hard you'll not be able to trap into Stormbolt or Fist of justice so you want to pick a Crane for lullaby . You'll be able to land a sneaky trap with lullaby. Don't forget that lullaby DRs with stuns so do not forget to warn your war/ret partner. Notice that lullaby is a sleep so shamans can tremor it or undeads can use their will of the forsaken. If the enemy healer is a shaman or undead it'll be better to pick a monkey for bad manner. Bad manner is not a sleep so it's not tremorable, but it's a 0.5s cast time (lullaby is instant).
For randomg bgs if you are facing a lot of melee, you can pick a bird of prey for disarm.
Arena Preparation (all specs) :
During Arena preparation :
Summon your pet
Activate Trap launch buff
Activate Aspect of the Iron Hawk buff
Advanced Pet Management (all specs) :
Here is an advanced tip If you want to do a little extra damage.
If your pet has more than 50 focus his special attack will do 100% more damage but for a double focus cost.
So you want to disable the auto-mode on your pet special attack and use it manually only when your pet has more than 50 focus.
I macro'ed my pets special attacks (claw, smack, etc...) into serpent sting. After an explosive shot/Chimera (1.44s gcd) I spam my serpent sting button so the pet special attack will go off and not serpent sting because serpent sting is not out of the gcd.
This little trick will help you make around 4-6k more damage per 10 sec. It's not that much but It's still something. If you want to become a better hunter you have to manage the focus of your pet