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.
The value of your secondary stats changes based on your gear and talents. Haste still wins out for beast mastery in many simulations, but again it's incredibly close to crit. If you don't care about squeezing out that extra 1% DPS you can just go crit > haste > mastery for everything and be done with it. If you're interested in the theorycrafting we will go into that sometime in the future.Hunter weapon!
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.
Warforged Hisek's Reserve Longbow
is our best in slot, and Kor'kron Hand Cannon
is very close. Hellscream's Warbow is only BiS for non-warforged since it cannot be upgraded. If your current ranged weapon is significantly behind then you shouldn't be playing favorites. Use those bonus rolls! Even if you are primarily an LFR raider you shouldn't have trouble finding a flexible raid PUG
for the first wing. The first few bosses are quite easy on flexible, giving you ample opportunity to snag the ilvl540 Death Lotus Crossbow
, which is a very significant boost to your damage if you're still running around with a Throne of Thunder LFR or heroic scenario weapon. Once you get your paws on any of these you can start focusing on some of the cool trinkets we have this tier.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.
Preliminary testing in simulations are showing the following to be best in slot:Beast Mastery:
Assurance of Consequence + Ticking Ebon DetonatorSurvival 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
- 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 2-piece bonus in combination with Assurance of Consequence and Thrill of the Hunt
should result in some downright scary Rapid Fire uptime. It will make Rapid Fire more akin to a rotational ability than a cooldown. I think I will continue to use Dire Beast for most of the fights as beast mastery, but Thrill of the Hunt has definitely increased in value to the point of being comparable to the other talents. Also note it reduces the cooldown by 8 sec for survival and only 4 sec for beast mastery and marksmanship. This is due to survival casting less Arcane Shots than the other specs.
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.
Garrosh Hellscream also drops the Essence of the Cursed Protector
which can be used for any of the five tier pieces.
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.
The Gorge Stalker Legplates
and Gorge Stalker Belt
from leatherworking are great options for those of you swimming in gold or looking for a head start on the ilevel race. And we can't forget Ordos
, who has a plethora of warforged loot waiting to be pillaged (if you have your legendary cloak).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.Valor upgrades
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?