Getting ready for PvP on your Hunter

“Uhh… I mean, uh, sorry you had to see that, but you...

“Uhh… I mean, uh, sorry you had to see that, but you know how it is when you get those, uh, manly urges, and you just gotta kill somethin’… fix things, uh, cook outdoors…” ~Mulan

Sometimes you want to fight something that isn’t a scripted encounter. For that, we turn to player versus player combat. PvP for Hunters can be a nauseating roller coaster at times. But we can make the best of it and highlight some key points to help make our lives a little bit easier.

Spell Penetration – We still value this a bit, especially in Arenas. A resisted trap can easily make the different between a kill on a healer or DPS and them surviving. The break down we want is as follows:

  • 97 Spell Penetration to counteract Mark of the Wild or Blessing of Kings.
  • 145 for Marks or Kings in addition to Mage Armor.
  • 195 for the Shaman Totem.
  • 240 for the Shaman Totem and Mage Armor.

Which number you aim for is dependent on what you are doing. In Arena the general consensus is that you should be aiming for the 195 number through a combination of the Spell Penetration cloak enchant and gems.

You know what is also great to never have resisted? Scare Beast! Those pesky ferals will be slightly annoyed if they get feared because they were too bad and or too slow to shift out of it while you cast. Fearing a cast off of your healer can save their life, especially with the changes that makes Berserk no longer grant fear immunity. Couple that with the fact that most popular Hunter Arena compositions do not run any other class with a fear, it’s a diminishing returns effect you don’t have to worry about.

Deterrence – A well-timed Deterrence can be a glorious thing. If you are currently PvPing as Survival, chances are you have taken the Mirrored Blades talent, which grants spell reflection for the duration of the buff. And nothing is quite so glorious as catching a Mage in his own Deep Freeze, a Druid in Cyclone, a Warlock in Fear, or watching a Death Grip bounce off you harmlessly.

Unfortunately Deterrence has a relatively lengthy cooldown in comparison to some PvP abilities, weighing in at 2 minutes without any modifications. So we have to be careful to have it available when things really start to hit the fan.

Given the current state of the PTR, Marksmanship is getting a fairly hefty buff in the form of burst damage. If the numbers in their current incarnation, picking up Mirrored Blades will not be feasible. I would, however, highly recommend the Deterrence macro I have on the Hunter Macro page, as being able to quickly cancel the Deterrence effect can be important to interrupt an important cast or finish off a running opponent if it feels right.

The Pets – It’s no secret that the all-star pets you find in a raid or dungeon are not the same all-stars you find in Arenas and Battlegrounds. The notables here are pets like the Monkey, the Spider, the Crab, a Crocolisk, among others.

In the game currently, The Monkey ability “Bad Banner” functions as a blind that does not break on damage and currently does not share diminishing returns with similar effects. That is why it is currently the pet of choice for Arenas. Come the patch, it will break on damage, opening the window for a few more choices. The Spider ranged root will still be strong, as will the Crab pin.

The Crocolisk snare has some interesting shenanigans currently, as it is unable to be removed by Blessing of Freedom or Druid shapeshifting. That is currently making the Crocolisk extremely valuable in rated battlegrounds, especially Warsong Gulch or Twin Peaks due to the flag running nature.

The Popular PvP Glyphs – Most of your Prime glyphs are going to be similar to your PvE glyphs, but that Major glyphs is where you see a dig difference. Currently, you can choose between Glyph of Trap Launcher, Disengage, Master’s Call, and Raptor Strike. Come the patch, Glyph of Concussive Shot is also going to be extremely viable as it turns it into a ranged Judgment of Justice.

Some of your selections will, once again, vary on your composition, your goals, and where you PvP. Glyph of Raptor Strike can be very strong, providing a 20% damage reduction after using it. Trap Launcher, at base, costs a whopping 20 Focus, so glyphing down to 10 makes it feel almost necessary. Master’s Call is only getting stronger in the patch with it’s base cooldown brought to 35 seconds, giving ourselves (or a friend) 8 seconds of “Freedom” is almost 25% of un-snare-ability.

Playing in Arena – I plan on covering this topic quite a bit more in the coming days as we try to push our 3v3 rating up past 1800. While originally I thought it would just be better to play a class like my Warrior for PvP, but decided that my Hunter needed some PvP luvin’. We are currently running the popular PHD comp, with myself as Survival (probably MM come the patch), a guildie as our Unholy Death Knight, and Freshmaker as our Holy Paladin, which I am sure you have seen his posts.

We have been exercising a very non-aggressive stance, picking a section of the Arena and making it our home. For example, the Ruins of Lordaeron we make it a point never to travel over the coffin. Our strength comes in our ability to kite, peel, and deal with threats from a ranged distance. As soon as we begin to engage in a pillar-humping game, that’s the moment the opposing teams gains the upper-hand. As I am sure you know, playing that kind of game is severely detrimental to a Hunter.

I was going to write specifically about my current Survival spec, but will hold off till the patch hits before we jump head first into useful talents for PvP because, as I mentioned, Marksmanship will be getting some fantastic burst in the patch barring out any further number adjustments.

We will be exploring more intricate strategies for specific compositions next, as this was to solely cover the most basic details.

Thoughts, comments, glyph or talent suggestions, post ‘em in the comments!

About Drotara

Drotara (or BehemothDan) considers himself a geek on many levels. A web developer and programmer by trade, he has no shortage of geeky hobbies. When not fulfilling husband and daddy duties, he enjoys WoW, the WoW TCG, Magic: The Gathering, and great board games with friends and family.