You knew it was coming. Every class needs their token loot article when a new tier is released. This tier, I'm actually really excited because the loot gods have been kind to hunters: five ranged weapons, fun trinkets, well-itemized tier gear, interesting set bonuses, and plenty of options on the Timeless Isle. Blizzard even gave us our own unique proc on the legendary cloak. The question is, where should you be spending your precious Warforged Seals and Burdens of Eternity? The short answer for bonus rolls is weapons, then trinkets, then tier pieces. The long answer concerns your chosen specialization and how far you have progressed in flexible, normal, or heroic. Set down your bow (or gun, dwarves) and pull up a chair. It's time to talk about hunter loot in patch 5.4.
A note on stat priorities
In Throne of Thunder most raiding hunters were running around with five Real PPM procs -- the legendary metagem, 2-piece bonus, 4-piece bonus, and 2 trinkets -- and they all benefited from haste significantly. This led to haste being the best secondary stat for hunters by a good margin. In 5.4, Blizzard adjusted RPPM to not double-dip on haste for trinkets such as Renataki's Soul Charm, and gave us new set bonuses which are not RPPM based. The end result? Haste is still valuable, but no longer dominating for all specs.
The general recommendation is to use a crit > haste > mastery reforge for all specs, but as you can see below the stats can be quite close in value.
I went through the entirety of Throne of Thunder without seeing a single ranged weapon drop outside of raid finder. It was painful. Thankfully, with a total of five ranged weapons in Siege of Orgrimmar, even the unluckiest hunters should get their hands on a shiny new weapon in a reasonable amount of time.
- Death Lotus Crossbow (The Fallen Protectors)
- Dagryn's Discarded Longbow (Galakras)
- Kor'kron Hand Cannon (Malkorok)
- Hisek's Reserve Longbow (Paragons of the Klaxxi)
- Hellscream's Warbow (Garrosh Hellscream) *not available in raid finder
Because you need to disengage every 7 seconds
We have five total trinket options this tier if you count the one from Timeless Isle.
- Assurance of Consequence (Sha of Pride) reduces the cooldown of Stampede, Rapid Fire, Disengage, Feign Death, and Camouflage. In addition, it reduces the cooldown of Bestial Wrath (beast mastery), Black Arrow (survival), and Silencing Shot (marksmanship). This means it's most valuable for beast mastery, but marksmanship is left out in the cold with a non-DPS cooldown as its bonus. Survival gets zero downtime on Black Arrow, and even opens up multidotting possibilities with the higher ilevel versions. The agility proc on this trinket has an internal cooldown, giving it potential to line up with abilities such as A Murder of Crows (both have 2 minute cooldowns).
- Haromm's Talisman (Kor'kron Dark Shaman) favors survival and marksmanship because beast mastery pet attacks, including Kill Command and Beast Cleave, cannot proc the Multistrike bonus. It can proc from any hunter damage including DoT ticks. The agility proc is RPPM.
- Sigil of Rampage (Spoils of Pandaria) is very situational and probably the least valuable hunter trinket in the raid. It has some value for survival AoE situations, but not for beast mastery because pet attacks cannot proc Cleave. The agility proc has a relatively short internal cooldown.
- Ticking Ebon Detonator (Siegecrafter Blackfuse) is basically a reverse Renataki's Soul Charm making it a solid choice. The agility proc is RPPM.
- Discipline of Xuen (50,000 Timeless Coins) is a fine interim upgrade to any trinkets below ilvl530. Mastery isn't an ideal proc, but there is a good chunk of passive agility there to make up for it.
Beast Mastery: Assurance of Consequence + Ticking Ebon Detonator
Survival and Marksmanship: Assurance of Consequence + Haromm's Talisman
Assurance of Consequence, while favoring beast mastery, is the overall best trinket for all three specializations.
Hunters with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads
Hats off to the Blizzard item designers. There is hardly any hit or expertise on our tier 16 pieces, and three of the five pieces feature crit and haste along with red sockets. The set bonuses are worth enough DPS that it's often beneficial to use lower ilevel pieces to complete a set. With raid finder, flexible, and normal/heroic on separate lock outs there is plenty of opportunity for that type of mix and matching. When in doubt, use Zeherah's DPS Analyzer tool.
- Hunter T16 2-piece bonus: Aimed Shot, Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot reduce the cooldown of Rapid Fire by 4 seconds per cast (beast mastery and marksmanship) or 8 seconds per cast (survival).
- Hunter T16 4-piece bonus: Explosive Shot casts have a 40% chance to not consume a charge of Lock and Load. Instant Aimed shots reduce the cast time of your next Aimed Shot by 50%. Offensive abilities used during Bestial Wrath increase all damage you deal by 4% and all damage dealt by your pet by 2%, stacking up to 5 times.
The 4-piece bonus significantly changes the survival play style. It wasn't uncommon to see streaks of up to six or seven free Explosive Shots during PTR testing. It's fun to play whack-a-mole with Explosive Shot, but it can introduce problems such as Serpent Sting falling off if you aren't careful. It tends to be a love it or hate it bonus depending on what hunter you ask. For beast mastery, it's a straight up damage boost and has synergy with Assurance of Consequence. The only oddity is the pet damage stacks are separate and can only proc from basic attacks (Claw, Bite, or Smack) meaning it's impossible for it to get beyond 3 out of 5 stacks. At least the hunter stacks can max out halfway into bestial wrath. For marksmanship, the bonus will have you using the recently-buffed Aimed Shot as a focus dump more often, adding a new dynamic to Master Marksman.
For a hunter with a average ilevel of about 540, the two bonuses combined are worth a solid 10k DPS and it goes up from there.
- Tunic of the Unblinking Vigil (Sha of Pride)
- Gloves of the Unblinking Vigil (General Nazgrim or a Celestial World Boss)
- Headguard of the Unblinking Vigil (Thok the Bloodthirsty)
- Spaulders of the Unblinking Vigil (Sigecrafter Blackfuse)
- Legguards of the Unblinking Vigil (Paragons of the Klaxxi or a Celestial World Boss)
As a side note, if you're wondering when to break your old T15 bonuses, it's usually best to break them to complete a new tier bonus. The exception is when the replacing pieces are a significant jump in ilevel (30+) to make up for the lost bonus, and even then you will probably only break even on DPS. When in doubt, sim it out!
But wait, there's more!
Combined with 4 pieces of T16, the below will comprise your best in slot armor pieces. I list legs and shoulders because those are, ideally, one of the non-tier off pieces you want to use if you have access to warforged versions. I find it better to reforge into hit and expertise and not out of it which is why you see almost none of it here.
- Neck: Gleaming Eye of the Devilsaur (Thok the Bloodthirsty)
- Belt: Arrowflight Girdle (Spoils of Pandaria)
- Boots: Ravager's Pathwalkers (General Nazgrim)
- Bracers: Wristguards of Ruination (Malkorok)
- Rings: Ring of Restless Energy (Malkorok) and Kil'ruk's Band of Ascendancy (Paragons of the Klaxxi)
- Legs: Leggings of Unabashed Anger (Norushen)
- Shoulders: Shoulderguards of Intended Power (Garrosh)
- Cloak: Fen-Yu, Fury of Xuen (legendary quest)
Burden of Kukuru's Cave
Where to spend your Burden of Eternity drops will depend on what your current gear looks like. If you have tier 15 or 16 set bonuses it's best to consider upgrading off pieces such as the belt, boots, bracers, rings, or neck. If you are coming into this tier as a fresh hunter without Throne of Thunder loot, I would focus on the chest, legs, and helm for the raw agility they will give you. The problem with the Burden of Eternity system is you will get a less than ideal stat roll about half the time. If you roll "of the Windflurry" (crit + haste) consider yourself lucky. If you roll something unlucky such as "of the Unerring" (hit rating) it could still be an upgrade for the raw agility, depending on what it's replacing.
Weapons and trinkets stand to benefit the most from valor upgrades. When looking at armor, the basic rule of thumb is to upgrade whatever will give you the most agility per 250 valor. 90% of the time this is your chest, legs, or helm as they have the largest stat budgets.
Good luck, and may your dice be forever loaded.
Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. From raiding tips and taming rare pets to learning the DPS value of skill, we've got you covered. If you're stuck in one of the nine support classes, why not move up to the big league and play a hunter?