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Scattered Shots: MoP hunter pre-raid gear list

Brian Wood

Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the hunter podcast uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.or ask him on Google+.

The third significant step for all hunters in Mists of Pandaria is gearing up to become raid ready. (For those interested, the first step is race (and possibly faction) changing to dwarf, and the second is leveling up to 90). With that in mind here is a list of some of the top hunter gear to go after.

We're specifically only looking here at non-raid PvE gear that does not come from a raid or require raid mats. However, in Mists you are able to get valor points outside of raids, including by doing daily quests and some of the reputation gear requires valor points to purchase in addition to faction rep. Thus I am going to include some valor gear in this list. Odds are you won't have enough valor points pre-raiding to get all of these pieces. My recommendation is to run your heroics to get the best non-epic gear possible and then spend valor points to fill in the worst gear slots.

I'm also not including any gear that requires you to have a certain profession -- thus no engineering goggles even though they may be superior for engineers.

All of the gear here is listed in order from best to worst. I'm using non-raid gear stat weights, more or less averaged across the specs (most stat weights aren't all that different from spec to spec) and taking reforging opportunities into account.

Keep in mind that, as always, stat weights vary not only from spec to spec, but also change with every piece of your gear. In addition to listing the items, I'm also going to discuss when there's actually a significant difference between them -- often we'll have two piece of gear that are nearly identical.

Head slot

The two blue head slot options are nearly identical -- the only difference is the socket color that pushes Swarmcall Helm slightly in the lead. But really, either of these will do. And, of course, the epic valor helm wins the contest for a hefty price.

Neck slot
The Scorched Scarlet key is a pretty great neck piece for a blue item due to having both hit rating and expertise rating and is definitely the best non-epic. However, the Delicate Necklace of the Golden Lotus is the clear winner since it's a guaranteed drop from doing a two-part quest chain that starts with The Might of Three quest.

That said, the valor point Choker of the Klaxxi'va is significantly better still.

Shoulder slot The valor point epic is far better than the others, but the two blue options, Shadowspine Shoulderguards and Harlan's Shoulders are nearly identical (not a lot of difference in DPS contribution between haste and mastery) and either is just fine.

Back slot On the back front the valor point obviously wins, but we also have a world drop option for those with deep pockets who will be able to afford the crazy price this will no doubt sell for on the AH. On the blue front the Aerial Combardment Cloak offers both hit and crit and is significantly better than the Wind-Soaked Drape.

Chest slot
The valor point chest item is the clear leader, as you would expect. Interestingly the Chestguard of Earthen Harmony isn't a very large amount above the next two heroic drop blue pieces. The quest reward, however, is significantly behind all the rest and is not recommended.

Wrist slot While the valor point wrist pieces are certainly the best, they aren't all that much ahead of the two blue options, which are both very close to each other. I recommend not spending your valor points on the wrist piece and instead getting either blue item. Save your valor points for something that will give you a bigger benefit over the blues.

Hands slot
The hand slot items are each superior to the one below it. If you've got a leatherworker friend definitely go with the Gloves of Earthen Harmony (unless the valor points are really burning a hole in your pocket). Failing that the Archer's Precision Grips are great for the expertise.

Waist slot As always the valor point epic wins, but on the blue end the Impaler's Girdle is substantially better than the Bindburners Belt with superior secondary stats.

Legs slot The valor point legs are significantly better than the blues, but the Hopping Mad Leggings are also significantly better than the Legguards of the Crimson Magus, with a better socket color and slightly better secondary stats.

Feet slot The valor point epic is as always better. Of the two blues, the Treads of Fixation are actually much better than the Bone Golem Boots, with better secondary stats and that awesome red socket.

Ring slots
The valor point ring is the best by a nice margin, and Perculia's Peculiar Signet and the Seal of Ghoulish Glee are both neck and neck in second place. While you'll need lots of luck or tons of cash to get Perculia's ring, the Hallows End ring is a nice option to go for with the holiday coming up.

The three blue ring options are all fairly close, though the Pulled Grenade Pin is less desirable with no hit or expertise.

Ranged weapon
On the ranged weapon front Klatith, Fangs of the Swarm is certainly the best, though there is some question about whether it really drops or not. Wowhead does not have the item associated with the dungeon; however, it is associated with the end boss of the dungeon. But he doesn't drop any other epic, and this much higher ilvl drop is a little suspicious. But if it does drop, it's our clear winner.

The Tempestuous Longbow curiously wins the race for second place. It is the same ilvl, but for some reason it appears to have slightly better itemization than the others. This seems like it's either a datamining error or a bug -- I have a hunch that when we finally see the item in game it will have the same itemization as the others.

That said, any of these ranged weapons will do just fine for you, except that the Fishsticker Crossbow world drop is significantly worse than the others.

Trinkets As always, the trinket front provides us with some of the most interesting and varied results. The Relic of Xuen is the new Darkmoon card that kicks butt and takes names. It is by far the best trinket available to hunters of our list -- the margin between it and number two is large.

But, that sucker is probably going to cost you a fortune. Next on our list is the valor point trinket, but only slightly behind it is Searing Words due to the surprisingly good uptime of the proc. Of the blue trinkets Searing Words is definitely the one to chase.

The next two, Flashing Steel Talisman and Windswept Pages are both pretty neck and neck in terms of DPS contribution. The final couple, the Brewfest trinket and Gerp's Perfect Arrow are substantially behind the curve.

Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. From leveling your hunter and choosing the best patch 4.2 gear 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?

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