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Build Shop: Hunter 5/13/43

Eliah Hecht

Welcome back to Build Shop! A short break was taken due to some technical difficulties, but here I am once again. And although I had previously claimed to have covered every class, it appears that I was mistaken: I missed Hunter! Therefore, as a thank you to the person who brought this to my attention (let's call him Mr. X), I will be reviewing his Hunter build. (To Mr. X: you didn't give me a screen name or anything, and I'm not sure if you want your real name attached to this. Drop me an email if you want me to credit the build to you.)

This build definitely falls into the "strange" category. You've all seen enough raid builds and leveling builds, time for something a bit different. Here's how Mr. X describes the build:

This Hunter idea just caught my attention, the ability to control 5 mobs, freeze trap, wait for cool down (24 seconds), wyvern sting pull, concussive shot another, one gets trapped, drop a trap for another, you pet tanks the last, 1 sleeping, 2 trapped, pop readiness, drop trap for the last, call pet back, wyvern sting the one it was fighting, relax a moment or two, back up, send pet in at first wyvern sting, let loose, then back to the second wyvern sting, trap cooldown should be up, retrap first ice block, fight the second ice block, have pet grab third ice block, mend pet, take out, and retrap the last ice block, step back, send in pet, let loose again. 5 mobs down, 1-2 minutes.

-in a goup this hunter could have some fun too. the ability to free 3 targets, for 26 seconds each, pull a group of 6 in end game instances, rogue and mage in group, 1 sap, one sheep, and 3 ice blocks, then a wyvern sting mid combat should it be needed, and chain trapping one of the 3, the group can take out 1 enemy at a time, even in a group of 6, or without mage and rogue, still stop 5 for a period, life becomes really easy at this point. plus expose weakness on the 1 target everyone is fighting. this could be especially helpful with boss adds, since freezing traps arent specific to a specific target type (i.e. humanoids, beast, undead, etc)

In other words, it's a CC-focused hunter. Bearing that in mind, it's no surprise that the majority of the build's points (43) go into Survival. Fortunately, that tree got heavily buffed recently (in 2.1, I believe), so that doesn't gimp your damage as much as it used to. But let's look at the choices outside Surv first. There's not much to look at: 5/5 Imp. Aspect of the Hawk (IAotH) in Beast Mastery, and then in Marksmanship, Imp. Concussive Shot, Lethal Shots, Go for the Throat (GftT), and Aimed Shot.

Just looking at the layout of the points in those two trees, one thing instantly occurs to me: can we spend those points in IAotH better? It's a strong talent, but it has its downsides. I've heard Aspect of the Viper is more commonly used in instances and grinding, simply to keep from running out of mana. How much does IAotH add to your damage? Well, that depends on the speed of your weapon.

The average speed of a level 70 ranged weapon is 2.72. According to my calculations, that means that for the average hunter, IAotH should be up about 55% of the time (ignoring the fact that when it procs, it becomes somewhat more likely to proc again). When it procs, it increases ranged attack speed by 15%. So in the long run, having the talent increases your ranged attack speed on average 15% * 55% = 8.25%, or somewhat under 2% per point. And this is where my knowledge runs out -- I don't know how much of a hunter's damage comes from Autoshot, so I can't tell what effect this would have on overall DPS. If about half a hunter's damage is Autoshot damage, IAotH adds around 0.83% DPS per talent point.

Of course, even if it turns out that the talent isn't quite a powerhouse, there's no great place to put points taken out of it. I had initially looked towards Mortal Shots, since we already have a few talents that increase crit chance or proc off crits, but we would first need to spend two more points in Marksmanship. I don't see any very attractive places to spend those two points. So I think we'd better keep IaoTH after all. (That was a lot of math for nothing...but it was fun.)

As far as the talents we do have in MM go, it's pretty straightforward. I would usually shy away from Imp. CS (at least for a PvE build), but that one in five chance to stun would really help out with the 5-pulls this build aspires to. So...on to Survival, the swiss army knife of Hunter trees (yes, it's a knife and a tree) and the bulk of this build.

There are several talents in Surv that help directly with this build's focus: Entrapment, Clever Traps, Trap Mastery, Resourcefulness, Wyvern Sting, and Readiness. Let's take these as given. What else is up for debate? I would seriously consider dropping Humanoid Slaying and taking Hawk Eye instead. Range talents are consistently underrated, and the majority of mobs are not humanoids. The extra six yards on the initial pull will probably buy you more time than 3% more damage and 3% more crit on some mobs.

On the other hand, if you look down to the second tier, you see Imp. Wing Clip, which makes me think that this build, sensibly enough, has PvP as a side focus. If you're going to specialize in Survival, it'd be kind of a waste not to put a little energy towards PvP. But back on the first hand again, Imp. WC would also be useful for the CC game, in case a mob gets loose a little early or something, so who knows. It's almost certainly more useful than Deflection at any rate.

Moving to the next tier, you can't really argue with more health, although I also can't help but wonder if a couple points from Survivalist might not be well spent in Deterrence and Counterattack. I've never played a Surv hunter, so I don't know first-hand, but I hear Counterattack is a very popular skill.

Survival Instinct and Killer Instinct are both clearly valuable (not to mention KI is required for Wyvern Sting). Lightning Reflexes is a bit iffy on its own, but Expose Weakness, on top of our high crit chance, makes it almost certainly worthwhile. And there aren't any choices left after that; Master Tactician is required for Readiness, which we need.

Overall, I'd have to say for its stated purpose, this build is about as good as it could be. I would switch out Humanoid Slaying and possibly drop a few points from Survivalist, but aside from that, good job, Mr. X. Of course, there's the whole question of whether you approve of X's goal with this build in the first place, but there's not much factual to say about that. I'll just quote one of my all-time favorite WoW Insider comments, from quite a while ago:

37. I'm a trap-laying hunter. I will never have the "best" gear or do "World first"-kills, so i prefer to be good at something else. I walk a road less traveled. Trap-hunter.

The three trap-talents are a must for me - Clever traps (+30 longer duration), Trap Mastery (10% less resists) and Improved Feign Death (4% less resists), only 6 points in total, that helps immensely when perma-freezing a mob.

Thats what i do. :)

Posted at 6:40PM on Nov 13th 2006 by Markus "LAKE" Berglund

Next week: who knows! Send your builds, your feedback, or anything else you think I might want to

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