Hunters are shaping up to be excellent in PvP this patch. We've always been sort of acceptable at very high skill levels, but now we have a bunch of new tricks in our toolbox. It's still too early to give a definitive guide to the best choices you can make, but with everything that's changed, it's worth going over where we are now.
Beastmastery is the spec of choice
Marksmanship was the most commonly played spec for the last two expansions, mostly because of readiness and silencing shot. These can now be learned by any spec, and since BM has the best damage of the three specs, it's the default PvP spec. In addition to the raw damage, BM also has an additional crowd control breaking effect with The Beast Within, a stun, and the ability to tame exotic pets, including one with a heal. On its own, that heal isn't much to write home about, but with glyphed Stampede, it can heal for a large portion of your health.
Of course, Stampede isn't available at 85, but when you get it at 87, you'll want to ensure you have a spirit beast available. You might find the addon NPC Scan helpful if you're trying to get a spirit beast.
So many new toys!
Many of the coolest PvP changes that have been made for us are in our glyphs. In order of Explosive Trap to everything else, here are some of the most interesting glyphs:
- Glyph of Explosive Trap- Words can't express how mind-numbingly awesome this glyph is. I tried poetry, heavy metal, and french. None of them did the trick. When you take this glyph, you can move people! Instead of a pulsing DoT that breaks crowd control, it becomes a little invisible hand that you can use to push people off cliffs.
- Glyph of Camouflage- This allows you to move while in Camouflage without breaking stealth. You can't attack without becoming visible, but you can place Explosive (or other, more boring) traps! You can also Scare Beast, Flare, and /yell. This won't be seen that often in arena, I predict, because of all the other amazing options, however this is absolutely awesome for world or random PvP.
- Glyph of Endless Wrath- This one prevents your pet from dying. It's a little situational, but unless you're taking a ferocity pet to take advantage of Heart of the Phoenix (assuming it works in rated PvP), you're going to have to protect your pet and this is one way to do it.
- Glyph of Icy Solace- This one removes all DoTs from whatever you trap. Landing good traps gets a lot easier with this.
- Glyph of Mirrored Blades- This will be a surprise to the first hundred people or so you use it on. When spell reflection was a SV talent, nobody took it because SV was missing too many other elements to make it good for serious PvP. Now any hunter can reflect a spell (think Polymorph, Death Grip, or Psychic Horror).
- On the first tier, all the choices affect disengage. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera is probably the most obvious and general choice, especially if you are good at reflecting spells with Mirrored Blades. Narrow Escape might be useful for some RBG strategies, as could Posthaste.
- On the second tier, the only real option is Silencing Shot. It's one of the reasons we've been preferring MM for PvP for so long.
- On the third tier, the best PvP option is likely going to be Exhilaration- it's a respectable self heal, and we've been lacking one of those for a while.
- On the fourth tier, all three choices look pretty close, however Dire Beast pulls ahead in my opinion. This could all change when we see how they plan on permanently fixing the aspects, but as long as we can macro Aspect of the Fox into our Cobra Shots, focus won't be as much of an issue. If this gets changed and we have to sacrifice something to allow us to regen focus while moving, Fervor will likely pull ahead.
- On the fifth fier, the two options you're most likely to see succeed in PvP are Blink Strike and A Murder of Crows. Lynx Rush is too likely to break CC. My personal choice will be Blink Strike if focus is at all an issue, because while it costs me a lot of GCDs per minute, it doesn't cost 60 focus like the crows.
- On the sixth tier, it's all guesswork until we see it live, but I agree with Zumio that Powershot will likely be the best option. It's cheap, high damage, and has a knockback. Glaive Toss is a shorter cooldown and has a slow, but it doesn't do as much damage.
If you are PvPing before the new level cap, your best bet is to use the iLvl 390 gear you can buy with honor now. It now has PvP power and PvP resilience, which are going to be the most important stats for PvP. Spell penetration gems and enchants have been replaced with PvP power, and resilience was just renamed "PvP resilience". You will want to gear or reforge for a bit of expertise, now that we can be dodged. Like hit rating, you don't want to go too far in this direction, because you'll still get dodges and misses against certain classes or specs. 5% is a nice easy number to get, because that's about as much as you get from your season 11 PvP head and shoulders.
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?