“OK, I got aimed shot… What next?”
Hi guys, today we’re going to talk about speccing a hunter for arenas. I will concern myself mostly with 3v3 and 5v5, I will deal with both marks and surv but not beast mastery, and I will address pet talent trees at the end.
My spec no longer varies for 3v3 and 5v5, but it used to. I’ll go over my talent spread for both brackets when I’m playing survival (which is most of the time now), and in the process you’ll learn a little bit about pvp philosophy. These days I prioritize dps over everything. Anyone who has checked my armory knows I abuse the hell out of pve gear, and I’m not ashamed. Hunters got a raw deal when the “burst damage” cards were dealt, and I do everything I can to compensate for this, including maxing talents like improved hunter’s mark and improved tracking. You don’t have to max these, but I would recommend always putting at least 4 talent points in improved tracking. You may have noticed I don’t max hawk eye. I find 41 yds unnecessary in arenas as the area in which most fights actually take place on most maps is pretty tiny. I do occasionally have a hard time getting in range of healers to scatter them, however, so you can definitely make a case for maxing this talent.
If you do a lot of 5v5 and not much 3v3, you can afford to put just 1 in survival tactics or skip it completely (as long as you’re glyphing disengage), you should absolutely spec point of no escape, you should avoid deflection at all costs (I rarely get disarmed in 5s), and I would try to find room in your spec for master tactician, because there’s always time to stand and nuke. No matter what your bracket is, I would always get trap mastery and resourcefulness (max them both) and avoid surefooted, savage strikes, noxious stings, and sniper training at all costs. There are better places to put your points, period.
For those who 3v3 the most, I would suggest that you always have survival tactics maxed (and keep glyphing disengage), and don’t be so hung up on master tactician. It’s a good talent for dps, but 3v3 can be frustrating from a dps standpoint. The games often end in 30 seconds, it’s hard to pretend you’re getting your money’s worth. Consider deflection (and even counterattack, if you think you’ll remember to use it) if you love using a 2-hander, but I rock my 1-handers and a weapon chain for 3s. Using 1-handers also lets you eke out a little more resil, which is key in 3s. Things get dispelled more often in 3v3 relative to 5v5, so you can afford to drop improved hunter’s mark (likewise, if you do 2s I wouldn’t bother with this talent), and in 3v3 I would opt out of point of no escape unless you play with a melee partner. That said, there aren’t many other places to put these points if you’ve already maxed imp tracking and hawk eye and whatever else, and point of no escape is only 2 points. Trap mastery, T.N.T., and lock and load are all must-haves no matter what, and if you love to 2v2, I would always get counterattack. That pretty much sums up my advice for speccing survival. On to marks!
There are two general ways you can go with your MM spec, based on how much you use hunter’s mark. If you believe hunter’s mark is your bread and butter, as I do, then I would spec something like this. There’s a lot of options in the MM tree, but so many of them are random number generator based talents that are meant to boost pve dps, like piercing shots, improved steady shot, and wild quiver. If you like them, you can take points out of concussive barrage, trap mastery, or efficiency to get them. I would hold on to the efficiency talents, however, because MM is more mana intensive than ever now that we can drop 3 traps at once. Trap Mastery really isn’t that crucial for MM hunters, but I would probably spec into it since hunters are always dropping frost and nature traps these days. I don’t feel comfortable saying it’s better for 3v3 than it is for 5v5 or vice versa, because it’s only as good as your trap spells are. Because traps can be situational, this talent too is situational. I don’t really like piercing shots that much, but I could see a use for it if you run comps that rarely ends games in the first 30 seconds. Improved barrage, it should be noted, has a lot of synergy with piercing shots, so don’t be afraid to put a point or two in it along the way.
If you never use hunter’s mark, you could skip improved hunter’s mark and even neglect marked for death (I’m not sure how anyone can justify skipping MfD, but I know some people do), and end up with something like this. This gets you a lot of the RNG talents, which some people (who are surely in the minority of pvp hunters) prefer, and it saves you from wasting talents on an ability that you aren’t using anyway. As an aside: If you look closely at marked for death, you’ll see it grants you a bonus to crit damage whether or not hunter’s mark is active on the target. Even people who don’t use HM would do well to spec this talent.
As with survival, if you are 5v5ing mostly, you can skip survival tactics and just dump the points into efficiency, which is never a waste for MM hunters. You can also dump all those extra points into focused aim and ditch some hit gear. I’m not good at math so I can’t tell you whether the damage increase is worth not using hunter’s mark much, but skipping improved hunter’s mark (and/or MfD) definitely gives you lots of options.
Depending on how much you’re getting focused, you might want to ditch points in improved tracking and put them in survivalist instead. MM hunters generally keep themselves alive through use of cooldowns rather than reliance on passive defenses like HP and resilience, but stam never hurts.
That does it for speccing yourself, now how about speccing your pet? That’s quite easy if you love tenacity pets like I do. The spec doesn’t vary much and you have enough points to get just about everything you could possibly want for pvp. This is the spec I prefer for my gorilla and you’d be hard pressed to convince me to change it. For my crab, however, I do spec into charge, for the obvious synergy it shares with pin.
Ferocity pets are as simple to spec and I’m not going to waste time giving advice about them. Anyone who uses one of these in arenas obviously doesn’t care much what abilities his pet has, he just wants to see big numbers.
Cunning pets are tricky. On the one hand they have a lot of situational talents that can turn them into dps machines when the stars align, but they also have a lot of defensive talents that you need to spec into if you want to keep them alive. This is what I would spec for situations where your pet is getting focused relentlessly. As you can see, it’s not possible to really get all the bread and butter cunning pet moves like roar of sacrifice, bullheaded, and roar of recovery at the same time. This is the main reason I don’t use cunning pets.
In case you didn’t know, cornered reduces the damage your pet takes by 60%+ when it’s below 35%, not just its chance to be crit by attacks. This makes it a very nice talent. Now if only mages and locks couldn’t bring it from 50 to 0 in a second… If I wasn’t worried at all that my pet was going to die, I would do this with it. This way you get some damage and utility, and if you’re lucky, it’ll catch some heals. Until heart of the phoenix (or blood of the rhino), is available to all pets, I will stick with my gorilla and my crab.