Hunter DPS Guide for Season of Discovery Phase 2

Hunter DPS Guide for Season of Discovery Phase 2

In the Season of Discovery, Hunters emerge as the premier "pure" DPS class, undergoing significant changes that amplify their damage output compared to the classic era. Notably, the introduction of Phase 2 brings about a shift where melee hunters rise to prominence, wielding newfound power with the advent of crucial runes like Melee Specialist and Dual Wield Specialization.

However, it's essential to acknowledge the divergence between melee and ranged hunters in this phase. While melee hunters experience a surge in potency, ranged hunters find themselves lagging behind, ranking comparatively lower in the overall DPS hierarchy. Despite additions like Trap Launcher, which provide supplementary activities during encounters, the fundamental playstyle and damage mechanics for ranged hunters remain largely unchanged from Phase 1, with inadequate scaling of abilities and damage.

One significant boon for Hunters in Season of Discovery is the introduction of Heart of the Lion. This aura functions akin to a "kings" buff for all party/raid members, offering an additional 10% boost to all stats specifically for the Hunter. This aspect proves invaluable, particularly for Horde players, and recent adjustments to the Heart of the Lion rune now enable its stacking with Aspect of the Hawk, further amplifying its benefits.

PvE Beast Mastery Hunter DPS Guide - WoW WotLK Classic - GINX TV

Strengths and Weaknesses


1. Versatile DPS Options: Hunters excel in DPS, whether utilizing a Cat or Wind Serpent pet, providing flexibility in adapting to different encounters and preferences.

2. Solo Prowess and Leveling Efficiency: Hunters boast exceptional solo capabilities, making them efficient for leveling and questing independently. Their ability to kite, strong pet damage, and self-sustainability contribute to a smooth solo gameplay experience.

3. Group Utility, Especially for Horde: The introduction of Heart of the Lion enhances the overall utility of Hunters in group settings, proving particularly advantageous for Horde players. The aura not only benefits the Hunter but also provides a substantial boost to all party/raid members.


1. Limited AoE DPS Options: Hunters face a challenge in the area of AoE DPS, with Serpent Spread and Explosive Shot being their primary tools. The delayed access to Volley until level 40 further compounds this weakness, making them less effective in situations that demand widespread damage.

2. High Skill Ceiling for Optimal Performance: Achieving the strongest builds and optimal DPS with a Hunter demands a high skill ceiling playstyle. Players need to master pet management, positioning, and rotation intricacies to unlock the class's full potential, posing a challenge for those seeking peak performance.

3. Ranged Dead Zone Awareness: Hunters operate with a dead zone for ranged abilities, typically within 5-8 yards. Maintaining optimal ranged damage requires constant awareness of positioning relative to the target, as players must stay outside this dead zone to ensure consistent and effective ranged attacks.

Best Specialization for Hunter DPS

In the Season of Discovery, the Beast Mastery specialization stands out as the optimal choice for Hunter DPS, offering a dynamic and powerful playstyle. The selection of pets, particularly the Cat and Wind Serpent, plays a crucial role in maximizing the effectiveness of this specialization.

Cat and Wind Serpent Synergy:

- Both the Cat and Wind Serpent are exceptionally strong choices for Phase 2, each having unique strengths based on raid composition.

- The Cat proves advantageous when the raid lacks a Balance Druid and Enhancement Shaman, as it doesn't benefit from the Wind Serpent's Lightning Breath damage boost.

Pet Speed Considerations:

- For players not engaging in melee weaving, the choice between a 1.2 speed cat or a 2.0 speed cat for PvE is interchangeable, as there is no discernible difference in performance.

- However, for those incorporating melee weaving into their playstyle, opting for a 2.0 speed Cat is recommended to enhance the damage output of Flanking Strike.

Kill Command and Wind Serpent Viability:

- Notably, the Kill Command ability no longer interacts with Lightning Breath. Despite this change, the Wind Serpent remains a top-tier pet option, allowing Hunters to achieve remarkable DPS results within this Beast Mastery build.

Best Runes for Hunter DPS - Phase 2

In Season of Discovery, selecting the right runes is crucial for optimizing Hunter DPS. Here are the top choices:

1.  Heart of the Lion: Provides a significant stat boost and now functions as an aura, allowing it to stack with Aspect of the Hawk. This versatility eliminates the need to choose between aspects and benefits the entire raid, especially Horde players with the "kings" buff.

2.  Beast Mastery: Despite the reduction to 20% increased damage and 50% focus regeneration to pets, Beast Mastery remains powerful. The added benefit of growl becoming a 3-second taunt reduces the need for constant threat management, particularly beneficial for leveling.

3.  Chimera Shot: Buffed back to 100% weapon damage, Chimera Shot is now perfectly viable and nearly on par with Beast Mastery. Its improved damage output makes it a strong contender for DPS rotations.

4.  Flanking Strike: This rune remains the best option for both melee and ranged hunters, particularly if opting for melee weaving. It significantly boosts melee damage through Raptor Strike, making it essential for maximizing DPS. Pairing it with a 2.0 attack speed pet like a Cat or Raptor enhances its effectiveness.

5.  Melee Specialist: Regardless of spec, Melee Specialist stands out as the best waist rune option. Both melee and ranged hunters benefit greatly from the increased damage provided by Raptor Strike.

6.  Dual Wield Specialization: Despite the nerf removing the 30% increased Raptor Strike damage, Dual Wield Specialization remains the top choice for melee hunters. The removal of the same weapon type restriction allows for more weapon combinations, enhancing versatility and effectiveness in combat.

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How to Play Ranged Hunter DPS in Phase 2

As a ranged hunter in Phase 2, you have two primary playstyles to consider: the "turret" style, focusing solely on ranged abilities, or the more dynamic approach of melee weaving, involving strategic movement in and out of melee range to utilize Raptor Strike. Here's a guide to optimizing your performance:

1. Leveling Strategies:

- Leverage your high mobility, and when accompanied by a pet, aim for minimal downtime between engaging mobs.

- In the initial 10 levels, before acquiring a pet, practice kiting away from each mob. Use a swing timer to time your movements, ensuring you pause for Auto Shot casting.

2. Rotation:

- Ensure that Heart of the Lion is active before engaging enemies.

- Use Trap Launcher immediately when the tank initiates the pull and employ it on cooldown for added utility.

- If utilizing Kill Command, cast it before sending your pet into the target.

- Instruct your pet to attack the target.

- Apply Serpent Sting after its full duration has elapsed.

- Employ Multi-Shot on cooldown for effective AoE damage.

- Use Arcane Shot only if you can sustain mana throughout the encounter, keeping in mind its cooldown sharing with Explosive Shot.

- Pause movement when Auto Shot is ready to fire.

3. Cooldown Management: Be mindful that Arcane Shot and Explosive Shot share a cooldown. Adjust your rotation based on encounter dynamics, especially during trash packs where Explosive Shot's AoE is crucial.

4. Aspect Usage: Activate Aspect of the Viper as needed when mana begins to run low. The rapid mana regeneration allows for a brief stay in this aspect, optimizing sustained DPS.

5. Tips for Success:

- Stay aware of your positioning to avoid the dead zone (5-8 yards) for ranged abilities.

- Incorporate aspects like Trap Launcher and Heart of the Lion for group utility.

- Adapt your playstyle based on raid composition and encounter requirements.

- Practice efficient cooldown management to maximize your damage output.

Stats and Gear Guide for Hunter DPS 

Stat Priority:

1. Hit Rating: A crucial stat, and while reaching the 6% cap is theoretically possible, it's not essential during Phase 2.

2. Agility: The primary raw stat for both ranged and melee hunters. 1 agility equals 2 ranged attack power and 1 melee attack power for hunters.

3. Attack Power: A vital stat contributing directly to your damage output.

4. Critical Strike: Enhances your chance to critically hit, providing a significant damage boost.

5. Strength: Important for melee hunters but should not be prioritized as a primary stat.

Gear Recommendations for Hunter DPS - Phase 2:

1. Blackforge Greaves: An exceptionally powerful BoE item, though expensive. It's pre-BiS but will be replaced by raid loot.

2. Dark Hooded Cape: Another potent BoE item, albeit pricey. It remains BiS for the entire phase for both ranged and melee hunters. If you can afford it, it's a worthwhile investment.

3. Sentinel's Medallion/Scout's Medallion: A significant neckpiece that is relatively easy to obtain. Requires being Honored with Silverwing Sentinels/Warsong Outriders.

4. Protector's Sword/Legionnaire's Sword: An easily obtainable PvP item, serving as your mainhand pre-BiS sword for melee hunters. Obtain it as soon as possible.

5. Bloodlash Bow: A powerful weapon for melee hunters, capable of proccing off both ranged and melee attacks. Obtainable quickly in 1-2 Stranglethorn Vale PvP events. Prioritize obtaining this bow early in the phase.

Best Races for Hunter DPS

Best Alliance Races:

For Alliance hunters in Season of Discovery, both Night Elf and Dwarf are solid choices. However, Night Elf holds a slight advantage due to its higher base agility of 28 compared to Dwarf's 19.

- Night Elf: Higher base agility provides a slight edge for DPS optimization.

- Dwarf: While Dwarf offers Gun Specialization, it becomes irrelevant if you're not using a gun as your ranged weapon.

Best Horde Races:

For Horde hunters, the top choices are Troll and Orc, each offering unique advantages.

- Troll: In PvE situations, Troll gains an advantage with useful racials like Beast Slaying, Berserking, and Bow Specialization, directly impacting DPS.

- Orc: While Orcs are strong in PvE with racials like Blood Fury and Command, they truly excel in PvP. Hardiness, providing 25% resistance to stun effects, significantly enhances PvP survivability.

Ultimately, the choice between Troll and Orc for Horde hunters depends on your focus, whether it's maximizing DPS in PvE content or excelling in PvP encounters.

Best Professions for Hunter DPS

1. Engineering:


- Engineering is a must-have profession for Hunters, offering a plethora of essential and beneficial gear pieces for both PvE and PvP scenarios.

- Solid Dynamite: This explosive provides a significant DPS boost for both clearing trash packs and boss encounters, enhancing your overall performance.

- Hyperconductive Goldwrap: Crafted by engineers, this belt, although somewhat reliant on RNG, stands out as Best in Slot (BiS) and contributes to your DPS.

2. Leatherworking:


- Leatherworking is an excellent choice for your second profession as a Hunter in the Season of Discovery, mainly due to the introduction of new crafted items.

- Void-Touched Leather Gloves: These gloves remain a solid alternative early in Phase 2, providing valuable stats and enhancing your performance.

- Glowing Gneuro-Linked Cowl: This newly introduced helm is BiS for both ranged and melee hunters, making Leatherworking a valuable profession choice for optimizing your gear.