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BigRedKitty: The other five of the top ten things every class should know about hunters

Daniel Howell

Each week, Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the hunter class sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.

Today we continue last week's column with the second of our two-part series about what a hunter brings to the table in terms of skills, abilities, raid-wiping, ninja-looting, and passive-aggressive warmongering. Last week we covered a bunch of skills that a hunter can employ, so this week we'll be breaking down the passive talents that we inflict upon our fellow raiders.

Once again, this column is not specifically for the hunter community but for those brave and wise souls who incorporate hunters into their raiding plans. We here at BigRedKitty want you to learn as much about the hunter class as possible so you can exploit our talents and hide our weaknesses. That's a big part of what goes into being a good raid leader, right? Of course it is. It fits in nicely with the other Standard Raid Leader Characteristics, such as:

  • Belittling the inexperienced
  • Mocking the under-geared
  • Endlessly cursing and harping about small mistakes, especially to teenage girls
  • Neither giving praise nor accepting blame
  • Passing loot out to your friends instead of the helping out the first-time raiders because of the IRS-worthy DKP system you and your imaginary friend dreamed up

Are we going to get a little "basic" in our soon-to-follow descriptions of hunter talents? You bet and so what. If you want to discuss the relative merits of the Stabilized Eternium Scope and which spec should spend the payola to get it, c'mon over to BRK and we'll have fun. But for here and for now, let's have a discussion where we teach non-hunters just how important the bloody bleeping bouncing red arrow is, shall we?

5. Trueshot Aura. You're grouped with a hunter and *poof* a little white arrow appears in your buff list. That, of course, is Trueshot Aura. Only the marksman of the hunter breeds -- one must go thirty-one points deep -- can pop this classic attack-power multiplier. Remember though that it only works for melee and ranged attacks for the members in that hunter's party and it does not stack. Putting two Marksman hunters in the same group generally isn't the wisest decision.

So who wants Trueshot Aura? Of course Beastmaster and Survivalist hunters dig it, but more importantly, rogues, dual wielding shaman, fury warriors, cat-form feral druids, and priests who run out of mana and want to beat on bosses with their staffs all get jiggy with the nice attack-power boost. If your party has these classes be sure to lump three of them with the hunter and an off-healer and let the DPS fly.

When a paladin turns on an aura it's on and it covers people in a certain radius. When a mage smacks you with Arcane Brilliance it has a timer. But when a hunter clicks Trueshot Aura it covers a certain radius and it's on a 30-minute timer. Is it an aura? Yes, but not like a paladin aura. If it a buff? Yes, but not like a mage buff. It's sort of a weird cross-combination... a buff/aura... a Baura. Trueshot Baura. Sounds like a tequila.

4. Wyvern Sting. Not many folks get to see this bad-boy but it's a terrific addition to a hunter's crowd control capabilities. A hunter has to go thirty-one points into the Survival tree to get it so it's been pretty rare around Outland. With Patch 2.1 now live, we are expecting to see a bunch of hunters give a full Survival-build a try. Be on the lookout for them.

Wyvern will put a mob to sleep for twelve seconds and then do some nice nature damage-over-time. You want to see a talented hunter in action? Watch him pull for the tank then yank a mob into a trap, Wyvern a third and have his pet off-tank a fourth. This dude is balls-to-the-wall engaged, my friends. There are many skills that hunters will be blasé about. Chain Trapping is a no big deal. Misdirection pulls we do in our sleep. A Wyvern/Trap/Pet-Off-Tank combination is a real test of a hunter's skill and if you see one executed properly please take a moment to reflect and send him some mad props.

The one big problem with Wyvern Sting is that, once the sleep period expires, that nature debuff will interrupt most other forms of crowd control like trapping or polymorph. We recommend that the mob controlled with Wvyern Sting be the 1st priority for DPS after the first non-crowd-controlled mob is taken down.

3. Expose Weakness. Another survival tree treat, this is also a damage-multiplying debuff that has been even more rare than Wyvern Sting pre-Patch 2.1. When the hunter crits, the mob he is fighting is debuffed so all attackers receive an attack power bonus equal to 25% of the hunter's agility. Now this is different than Trueshot Aura in that it applies to all attackers not just those in the hunter's party. It is similar to Trueshot Aura in that it only applies to melee and ranged attacks, not spells. If your party has a survival hunter with EW you can put him in whatever group benefits the party most; you don't have to specifically put him with the rogues and staff-smacking priests.

As we said, you may not have run into this one before as very few hunters went this deep into the Survival tree. This was partially because, pre-patch 2.1, the proc rate for EW was 1/2/3 talent points for 10%/20%/30% on every crit. That both sucked and blew and the hunter community let loose on the forums with invectives both colorful and lengthy. The hunter-programming heathens eventually woke from their long winter naps and heeded our curse-laden pleas. Now this talent has been upgraded to 1/2/3 talent points for 33%/66%/100% proc chance. This, plus the fix so Readiness completes the cooldown of Misdirection, will contribute to the migration of hunters to the Survival tree, at least to give it a try.

If a hunter has a base 435 agility and 5/5 Lightning Reflexes -- a +15% to agility talent -- than an EW proc is the equivalent of Trueshot Aura. BigRedKitty has a base 600 agility. If we took the full Lightning Reflexes bonus we'd have an agility of 690 and, if we took 3/3 Expose Weakness, our crits would be worth an additional 173 attack power. Schwing.

Again, we predict you will begin to see a lot more Survival hunters soon. Watch out for them as Expose Weakness is the schiznit.

2. Ferocious Inspiration. This is the Beastmaster tree party-pleaser. Whenever the hunter's pet crits, all members of the hunter's party have their damage is increased by 3% for eight seconds. And yes that's all damage: melee, ranged and spell. Rogues, warlocks, mages, shaman, shadow priests, tastes-like-chicken-Moonkins, whatever, these guys get the damage multiplier too.

Do you have a very high DPS fire mage? Group him with the Beastmaster hunter. Warlock who can pump out shadow damage like nobodies business? Slap her together with the Beastmaster hunter. Got a holy priest who digs wands? Slap him silly, then make him heal the group with the Beastmaster hunter.

Of course, Ferocious Inspiration is based off of pet-crits and a pet cannot crit if it is Dead. Keeping a BM hunter's pet alive is beneficial not only to the hunter but to the entire raid.

1. Hunter's Mark. You've all seen the great honkin' red arrow bouncing up and down, right? Boingy-boingy. Perhaps you even know that it grants a bonus to ranged attack power. Dagger-tossing rogues get a benefit from HM, for example.

This spell has been modified in The Patch so we're going to quote the tooltip verbatim for accuracy, with the new goodness in bold.

"Places the Hunter's Mark on the target, increasing the ranged attack power of all attackers against that target by 110 and by an additional 11 each time they are struck by a ranged attack, up to a maximum of 440. In addition, the target of this ability can always be seen by the hunter whether it stealths or turns invisible. The target also appears on the mini-map. Lasts for 2 min."

Goodness, thy name is Hunter's Mark.

Now there is also a spiffy hunter talent called Improved Hunter's Mark that you're gonna love, also. All this nifty talent does is permit the Hunter's Mark base ranged attack power bonus -- not the extra 440 unfortunately -- to apply to melee attack power. IHM is a level-two Marksman talent so unless your hunter is has more than 51 points in the Survival or Beastmaster tree they will probably have it.

An important Hunter's Mark tidbit is that a mob can only have one Hunter's Mark on it at a time. If you have two hunters in your Karazhan raid and one of them has IHM and the other doesn't, be sure to request the hunter with IHM to do the marking when only one mob is being marked.

Hunter's Mark is very cool in that its power is not limited to the hunter's party or even the hunter's raid. It applies to each and every person attacking the Hunter's Marked mob. That's "All Attackers" as stated in the tooltip. If you can kite Doom Lord Kazzak through the Dark Portal to Stormwind and Hunter's Mark him, each and every person in the city will receive an attack-power bonus.

Kazzak in Stormwind? Yup, pre-Burning Crusade it was something the cool kids could do. Lookie.

But wait, there's more!

PvP and Hunter's Mark are a marriage made in Alterac Valley. You're guarding your graveyard and gently spamming your Track Humanoid/Track Beast/Track Hidden macro... when on the Track Beast map you see something. It's a druid in cat-form coming to eat your biscuits.

Don't move.

Target and Hunter's Mark him. Again, don't move. He is zoomed in too much on his UI and cannot see the big red arrow pounding on his noggin. He stealths, you laugh; Hunter's Mark keeps him not only visible to you but you can track him on your minimap. Yes, a rogue can Vanish and dispell Hunter's Mark but Mr. Soon-To-Be-Breakfast Druid cannot.

You wait for him to "sneak" up behind you... closer... just a little closer...

Quickly drop your Snake Trap, mash your Pet Attack Macro, slam Bestial Wrath and The Beast Within and take off! Cat-druid comes after you and hits the Snake Trap. Ooo, that one hurts. His mobility is reduced 50%, spell casting time increased by 50% and those snakes are doing some nature damage-over-time, too. Your pet is Clawing him down while you're happily at range, kiting his soon-to-be furry carcass.

And don't forget that druids are really tasty with red wine and parsnips. If they're out of season, asparagus will work but make a good hollandaise sauce as those druids can be gamey.

Daniel Howell continues his non-violent crusade for more pet-stable slots as the Damh and Hobbes hunter-pet duo extraordinaire known to lore as BigRedKitty. More of his theorycrafting and slanderous belittling of the lesser classes can be found at

[Fan art by Moony]

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