The Beginner Hunter's PVP Guide - strategies, hints and

80 Night Elf Hunter
1640
I've often seen threads where players ask for up-to-date hunter PVP guides or hints, as well as many players who complain that hunters are weak, while not using the class properly and to its full potential. This thread is aimed especially at the ones who are new to the class and want to learn more about it.

Warning: wall of text inc :)

What to expect from this guide:
- General basic hints about controlling your character properly in PVP
- A lot of information for beginning players
- A lot of examples of good and bad skill usage

What not to expect:
- Best PVP builds, "PVP Rotation", best PVP pets, PVP gemming and other information that changes often, is irrelevant, or can be found easily elsewhere
- Arena/comps material

I. Is the hunter class suitable for me?

The hunter class can be both very easy and very hard. It is easy to learn, but hard to master. For beginners, who get to learn the class mostly through solo PVE and questing, the class creates the wrong impression of being "piece of cake". You send the pet to attack, heal it from time to time, and kill the mobs. In PVP however, the hunter class requires a completely different mind set, the use of different skills and different strategies.
The hunter class is good for you if you don't mind running away all the time, controlling the adversary, being always one step ahead with the use of your skills. It requires a lot of keybinding and proper movement techniques.

Choose hunter for PVP if:
- you like subtlety, timing, fast reactions and thinking proactively
- you don't mind having a lot of keybinds, strafing and kiting
- you don't mind dying in you make even 1 mistake

Choose another class for PVP if:
- you want a relatively easy time in PVP
- you want high survivability and self-sustainability
- you don't want to take time to learn a lot of keybinds and specific techniques

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80 Night Elf Hunter
1640
II. The basics

1. General Movement Techniques

There are several general rules for PVP and especially hunter PVP:
- never move backwards, always strafe (more on that later)
- never turn using the keyboard, always turn with the mouse
- never click your skills (with very few exceptions), always keybind

What does that all mean? It means that the default blizzard UI and keybinds are not very suitable for hunter PVP. If you want to be good, you should re-bind some keys and get to use the mouse only for movement and never for clicking skills.

Recommended:
W - move forward
A - strafe left
D - strafe right

So, in short, Move backwards (S) is gone, you will never move backwards in PVP. Strafe left (Q) and strafe right (E) have become A and D respectively. Turn left (A) and turn right (D) are also gone. You'll only use the mouse to turn.

You move by holding both mouse buttons at once or by using W, W+A or W+D.
You turn by holding the right mouse button and moving the mouse.

For a beginner this might sound complicated and a little uncomfortable, but once you practice a bit, it becomes truly natural and the only proper way to move.

2. Strafing

In order to PVP as hunter, you should absolutely learn how to strafe. Strafing means running away from something while still facing it. When you strafe, you don't turn your back to the mob or player you're running away from, but rather run a little bit sideways while still facing him. The best way to see how it works would be to type "wow strafing" in youtube and watch some videos. The site "Big red kitty" (BRK) also has an excellent guide on the topic.
In any case you strafe by holding the A or D button and steering with the right mouse button. It is easy, but it takes some practice.
The benefit of strafing is that you can use all your skills while running away from someone and killing him in the process.
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80 Night Elf Hunter
1640
3. Binding your skills

If you use W,A and D to move, the best possible keys to bind for your skills would be:
Q, E, R, S, F, Z, X, C and V, as well as Shift + any of them. These keys are very accessible and easy to reach on most keyboards.

Tips:
Bind your main attacks / spammable skills to the easiest to reach keys: Q, E, R, F, S.

Bind your cooldown skills to Shift+E, Shift+R, Shift+F, etc... This way they are still easy to access for when you need them, but not used often enough (<10sec) to justify "prime" keys.

Bind the skills that require very fast reaction to the mouse wheel and buttons. For example Mouse wheel up and Mouse wheel down are zoom in and zoom out by default, and are not used to their full potential. Bind to zooms to something else and use the mouse wheel for your skills. F.e. mouse wheel up could be silencing shot and you'll always be able to use it the split second you need to. Clicking the mouse scroll could be scatter shot for the same reason, etc...

Avoid hard to reach buttons: F1-F12 are not particularly good, the letters on the right side of the keyboard are not good for binding either, because you don't have time to drop the mouse to use them with your right hand.

4. First practical exercise

This might sound somewhat silly, but mastering this exercise means that you have all the necessary basics to start PVPing as a hunter.

1. Dismiss your pet
2. Remove your gear (except for the ranged weapon)
3. Start killing melee mobs by using only Concussive shot, Arcane shot and Cobra shot without being touched by the mob even once.

This means that you'll have to strafe away from the mob all the time while slowing it with concussive shot, dumping your focus with arcane shot and regenerating it with cobra shot. This may sound easy to some, but doing all of this while not stopping for a second proves to be harder than when stationary. Personally I have found that binding cobra shot to Mouse wheel down makes it extremely easy to regen focus while on the move with Aspect of the fox.

Once you've mastered this, you'll discover that your hunter has become much more powerful and slippery than ever before. You'll be able to run away and deal high damage AT THE SAME TIME, which is the bread and butter of hunter PVP.
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80 Night Elf Hunter
1640
III. How do hunters deal damage in PVP?

In a pure PVE environment, someone tanks the mob (a tank or the pet), the hunter is stationary and carries out his PVE rotation.
In a PVP environment, the hunter is forced to move all the time and it's nearly impossible to use the best PVE rotation on a player target.
The priorities of the hunter are:
1) Stay at range. Of course this is not always possible, but ideally you want to be at 35 yards away from your target. There is a very neat and handy addon called "Range Display" that can show a number with the yards between you and your target. You can set it up to display this under your character's feet, so no matter what you do you always know how many yards there are between you and your target.
The main idea is that you can use all of your damaging abilities and a lot of your CC abilities from 35yards. Almost all other classes can use only some of their damaging abilities and almost none of their CC abilities from this far. Death knight's Chains of ice, Warlock's Death coil, Warrior's Intercept for example are all usable from 30 yards. This means that ideally you can kill a lot of classes by kiting them perfectly from 35 yards, while suffering only some relatively low damage from their instant 35-40 yard abilities. Dot classes are an exception, since their dots are strong, instant and can be used from 40 yards.
If you keep your target slowed and use your abilities to prevent yourself from being slowed or rooted, you can kill much better geared opponents from afar, even if it takes some time to do so.
2) Don't stop moving. With aspect of the fox (allowing steady and cobra shot while moving) and the ability to fire auto shots while moving (coming soon with 4.0.6), you have almost no benefit from staying at one place. No other ranged class can come even close to this.
3) Often beginning players ask for the best PVP rotation for a given spec. There isn't such. You should use whatever the situation requires and most good players will do their best to prevent you from performing a PVE rotation on them. For example you almost never use Tranquilizing shot in PVE, but in PVP a Tranq shot may remove a 20k damage absorption shild, while an Arcane shot would only hit for 7k and not even break the shield. In PVE you almost always want Serpent sting on the target, but in PVP you might prefer to not have a dot so your enemy can be CCed soon. In PVE you don't use Concussive shot much, but in PVP you normally use it every time it's available. The list goes on.
Also there isn't a best PVP pet. (Right now monkey is bugged and its utility is superior to any other pet, but this is getting fixed soon). Some pets are good in some situations, others - in others.
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80 Night Elf Hunter
1640
IV. How do hunters CC?

As a hunter you have several CC options, all of them effective in PVP, although traps are still unreliable (resisted, not arming) and probably bugged.
The list:
1. Freezing trap
2. Trap launcher + Freezing trap
3. Scatter shot
4. Scare beast
5. Intimidation/Silencing shot/Wyvern sting depending on the spec
6. Many pet stuns, disarms, disorients, roots and slows
7. Entrapment (survival talent)
8. Concussive shot, etc...

Very often chaining these CC abilities together can lock out most enemies for a very long time. Example: Scatter + trap + wyvern
It is highly recommended to have a mouseover macro for Scare beast, Scatter shot and Wyvern sting so you can use them without changing your current target.
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80 Night Elf Hunter
1640
V. How do hunters survive in PVP?

Hunters are balanced around not receiving much damage, so if they do receive such, it's hard to counter. Hunters have very limited self healing and no damage absorption shields. What this means is that according to Blizzard's design and intentions for the class, a good hunter should be able to prevent and not heal the damage in PVP. Many hunters ask for more self-healing abilities, such as the ones of the majority of other classes, but they forget that many other classes don't have the hunters' escape tools.
In short, a good hunter must KNOW IN ADVANCE what the opponent is likely to do and act first. This is hard to achieve without a lot of experience, and that's why the majority of players, new to the class, are frustrated for dying too fast.
For example, you should use deterrence before being fully dotted, charged by a warrior or death gripped by a DK. I've seen hundreds of hunters use deterrence after receiving 4 dots and dying inside of it, while they should have used it after seeing the first dot land. I've also seen many hunters disengage after being death gripped and with 3 diseases and chains of ice on them instead of using it to avoid being death gripped in the first place. This all means that in order to win, you should act first and be always 1 step ahead of the enemy.

Some common examples:
1) You see a frost mage with the pet running towards you. The pet nova is imminent. If you wait for the nova to land and use master's call afterwards, it's almost certain that deep freeze will follow and catch you. But if you use Master's Call in advance, the nova will produce "Immune" and you'll have 8 seconds (with Glyph of master's call) to do damage or CC the mage or the pet and gain distance.
2) You see a warrior 25 yards away from you. Charge is imminent. If you wait for charge and use deterrence after it, you'll be hamstrung, stunned and with a rend before you can do anything. If you use deterrence a split second before he charges, you can put a frost trap and start running away immediately. Then you can open on him from 40 yards with concussive shot and you'll have a much better chance.
3) You see a mage just blinked towards you. If you use Scatter shot, you'll have enough time to CC him and use Master's Call for the pet nova.

Top hunter survival skills (i may be missing some of these) :
1) deterrence - soon to come full immunity to direct attacks
2) Disengage - jump before hitting the button to avoid glitches
3) Scatter shot - can be used in melee range, only 30sec CD
4) Freezing trap
5) Wyvern sting
6) Master's Call - soon to come 8sec immunity on a 35sec CD
7) Glyph of raptor strike - 20% damage reducton for 5sec on a 6sec CD
8) Roar of Sacrifice - crit immunity for 12 sec/ 1min CD
9) Intervene - usable every 30 sec to change focus from you to your pet so the enemy must switch targets again, giving you some time to CC or run away
10) Wing clip - after Raptor strike for the 20% damage reduction, this one of the first things to use if caught in melee before trying to escape
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80 Night Elf Hunter
1640
Tips on surviving:
1) Combine your skills to survive periods of heavy damage. Let's say a melee is on you. If you use Raptor strike (even if it misses, is dodged, parried, etc...), Roar of Sacrifice and Intervene:
- he'll be targeting your pet and will probably waste 1-2 GCDs on it before realizing what happened
- you'll be immune to crits for 12 seconds
- you'll receive 20% less damage from all sources for 5 seconds.
All of this combined will give you the chance to run away and survive.
2) Use Scare beast as much as possible. It is fast, can be used from 30 yards range and is spammable. For exampe, let's say that a feral jumps on you. You use scatter shot. You cast Scare beast, and he cannot turn to human form so he gets feared. He uses Berserk to break it, then you use freezing trap and his berserk is almost wasted because he spends it in the trap. Of course this situation is purely hypothetical, but it shows the benefit of one more CC ability.
3) Use Concussive shot + Tranquilizing shot on paladins. Usually the second you concussive shot a paladin, he'll use Hand of freedom. So immediately after casting Concussive, start spamming tranq shot. You'll remove 1-2 strong buffs and also the Hand of freedom the second he uses it. Then he has nothing to counter your frost trap and will have to walk all the way through it.
4) Use Tranquilizing shot on warriors. This will remove their enrage effects, which especially for fury, can be deadly.
5) Glyph for master's call and use it any time you know you're about to be snared or rooted. This way you'll have a lot of time to move freely and your enemy will likely have wasted a CC ability.
6) Glyph for raptor strike and macro it on mouseover. Whenever you run by players, pets, totems, critters, whatever, you can use your raptor strike mouseover macro and gain the 20% damage reduction.
7) Use your pet abilities to prevent getting damage while not in control of your character. For example, a rogue stuns you. Then you use bird/scorpion disarm ability and for the whole duration of the disarm, the rogue will do next to no damage. Immediately after his weapon is back, use Roar of sacrifice, then he'll damage you but will not get even a single crit and you'll walk out of the stunlock with minimal damage taken.
8) CC enemy pets to prevent damage and CC coming from them. For example freezing a felguard will win you some seconds and force the warlock to use its "pet trinket". Then you can use deterrence to avoid much of its damage and stun and wyvern it or trap it when your trap CD is up again.
Use scare beast on BM hunter pets as soon as possible. This will force Bestial Wrath, while the other hunter may have planned to use it in a better moment. Then you can feign death to win 1 more second and deterrence when the pet is on you again. After BW is over, scare beast again. If you have the ability on a mouseover macro, this can be done even more efficiently.

VI. How to use the pet properly

1. Don't send the pet to attack just anyone.
Most players send their pet to attack always, no matter whom they are fighting. This may cause more trouble than help.
Examples:
1) You send your pet to attack the priest, the priest fears the pet and you can't use Roar of Sacrifice and all of its special abilities not only for the duration of the fear, but also for the several seconds that it will take your pet to get back from where it ran to.
2) You send your pet to attack the DK and start kiting. But the DK keeps Death striking the pet to heal from it until he finally gets close to you.
3) You send your pet to attack the warrior and start kiting. The warrior charges the pet and then intercepts you, traveling 50yards in 2 global CDs.
4) You send your pet to attack the prot warrior. Your pet does next to no damage to him, but the warrior keeps auto attacking it to get a full rage bar.
5) You send your pet on the moonkin only to find it hybernated.
In all of the above situations and many more, it's much better to keep your pet on passive.

2. Use your pet to taunt enemy pets. If the enemy's pet is on defensive or aggressie, it will start attacking your pet and not you.

3. Feign death early and let enemy pets or mage mirror images go on your pet.

4. Use snake trap and feign death to make it very hard to retarget you.

5. Change pets often. Dismiss pet is only 2 sec CD, and you can summon another pet instantly. So if you see you're against a caster, use an anti-caster pet and not a scorpion for example.



VII. In conclusion

You'll die often in PVP as a hunter. Don't worry, it's normal and often not your fault, but part of the class design. But if you do your best, use all that is available to the class and think in advance, you can have amazing unexpected victories and feel the magic called hunter PVP.
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85 Dwarf Death Knight
1660
Very nice guide!

Don't want to take away from it but couple of things stood out:


You move by holding both mouse buttons at once or by using W, W+A or W+D.
You turn by holding the right mouse button and moving the mouse.


I don't think you mention autorun. You cannot two button run and turn at the same time can you?

You also mention 8s master's call, maybe a small section on glyphs would help?

I like your "V. How do hunters survive in PVP?". When reading down I was already thinking that knowing all classes inside out is especially useful for hunter and you covered this very well. Obviously cannot put everything in but making people aware that this is an area very important to focus on is very good.

Thanks for the guide!

Edit: Oh sorry one more thing. I think pet skill macros may be helpful for roar of sacrifice etc.
Edited by Yuritard on 22/01/2011 13:17 GMT
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85 Dwarf Hunter
2375
thx for the great guide!!!!
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85 Troll Hunter
2600
Great guide! Thx!
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85 Troll Hunter
3195
wtf, your level 80 inactive huntard giving lecture about cataclysm pvp? sorry but gtfo :)
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85 Dwarf Death Knight
1660
24/01/2011 12:10 AMPosted by Razack
wtf, your level 80 inactive huntard giving lecture about cataclysm pvp? sorry but gtfo :)


Since when is 81-85 cata a beginner? /bonk
Edited by Yuritard on 24/01/2011 00:52 GMT
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85 Blood Elf Hunter
0
24/01/2011 12:10 AMPosted by Razack
wtf, your level 80 inactive huntard giving lecture about cataclysm pvp? sorry but gtfo :)

he many not be active or he maybe level 80 and doesnt know how hunters suck sooo bad in pvp right now butttttttt wheres your guide huh?? i would love to see your fail attempt.
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85 Dwarf Death Knight
1660
Man it is a guide for biginners. Also anyone who looks at a picture rather then finding out if the writing is correct suggests a person who has not progressed further then looking at comic books.
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85 Night Elf Hunter
5985
Man, this is not "kill'em'all" guide
You're right about our current weakness, we all know that, but the main idea is "do the best you can"

Good job
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85 Human Hunter
3110
NICE GUIDE
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85 Night Elf Hunter
4520
1) You see a frost mage with the pet running towards you. The pet nova is imminent. If you wait for the nova to land and use master's call afterwards, it's almost certain that deep freeze will follow and catch you. But if you use Master's Call in advance, the nova will produce "Immune" and you'll have 8 seconds (with Glyph of master's call) to do damage or CC the mage or the pet and gain distance.


This isn't true because of the talent mages have, pet nova will grant 2 Fingers of Frost charges wether it novas you or not, or well, I am 99% sure of this atleast, thus you cannot prevent the DF. I will try it today on my mage and see if I get the FoF procs on a Hunter with MC up.

EDIT: Yes, I was correct. It doesn't matter if you have freedom up or not. Pet Nova will still grant 2 charges of FoF wich results in you wasting freedom and getting DFd anyway.
2) You see a warrior 25 yards away from you. Charge is imminent. If you wait for charge and use deterrence after it, you'll be hamstrung, stunned and with a rend before you can do anything. If you use deterrence a split second before he charges, you can put a frost trap and start running away immediately. Then you can open on him from 40 yards with concussive shot and you'll have a much better chance.


Agreed agreed and AGREED. Seriously, I cannot stress this enough, people keep bringing up "bad warriors only charge into deterrence" but even the best ones can do so if you time it right.

3) You see a mage just blinked towards you. If you use Scatter shot, you'll have enough time to CC him and use Master's Call for the pet nova.


See point 1

Haven't read through the whole guide but it seems to be a good guide for beginner's, would help if you separated the text abit as it is currently a wall of text.
Edited by Leryssah on 30/01/2011 13:32 GMT
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90 Worgen Hunter
7165
great guide thanks alot +1
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85 Night Elf Hunter
12120
stop QQ-ing .... guide's for rookies , l2read tittles ...
Although i don't like that you ignore backpadeling , might be funny but it helps especially as a hunter ....
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85 Night Elf Hunter
2370
Beautiful!
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