Best Hunter DPS

(This post contains information from a previous patch and is out of date.  For more recent info on hunters visit the latest post here: Highest DPS Talents – Hunter Build For Patch 3.3)

Finding Your Best DPS – Hunters

We agree it’s high time that we started getting back to discussing something other than Deathnots.  By now we figure that anyone fairly serious about getting through the game content has already hit 80 and begun to gear up in Naxx for Ulduar.  So, in the first of our ‘not DK’ articles let’s discuss the absolute best hunter builds for DPS.

Keep in mind that in order for some of these builds to be effective you will need to be hit capped and other sorts of gearing considerations.  But if you really want to know where to put every single point to reach the highest DPS possible, these builds will give you the current bench mark from extensive real play and theorycrafting.

Also, remember that these are not leveling builds or utility either.  If you ever need to kite the zombies for Gluth they might not be the best for that sort of thing.  They also don’t rely on AOE damage from volley to buff the numbers.  This is straight up, any target, single target, standard shot rotation DPS.  And as such, you can get wickedly good numbers in any situation.

For the hard-core theorycrafter, Elitist Jerks is the place to be.  We do a lot of research there when it comes to maximizing our toons abilities.  What we show here is a serious condensing of the Best Possible DPS thread using the incredible spreadsheet made by Shandara.  It’s truly mind-boggling work, but you don’t have to let it be confusing.  Just use the information and watch your Deeps go through the roof.

Also, we want you to keep in mind that until you have every single ‘best in slot’ item in the game, and a full set of heroic raid buffs you are NOT going to come close to the numbers we are going to list.  Think of them as comparison between specs.  These DPS numbers were calculated on a spreadsheet, and while they can be approximated on target dummies (within 1% or so) you will find it hard to nearly impossible to get within 5% in actual raid situations.

This is primarily true in situations where you can’t just stand there and go through an infinite shot rotation (like you can with Patchwerk) and are instead forced to move a lot (such as Grobbulus).  Your numbers will also be nerfed in 10 man raids with fewer buffs, and if you are not using every single self buff available – which can be expensive and not really necessary.

Beast Mastery

The beast master hunter finally falls to the bottom of the barrel in hunter DPS builds.  This has really never been the case before.  It represents a complete reversal as a matter of fact with BM hitting the bottom and Survival topping the charts.  We can’t say whether we like it or not, although personally I’ve always wanted to see SV get a whole lot better than just a  trapping utility spec.

  • The build – 52/12/7
  • The Shot Rotation – SpS/KS/MS/AS/SS
  • Crit Rate – 40.53%
  • The pet – Raptor
  • Pet build – Ferocity
  • Hunter DPS – 3,431
  • Pet DPS – 2,594
  • Total Best DPS for BM – 6,025

This may very well not be your shot rotation.  You might still be under the influence of BC theory that had you doing 3 auto-shots and skipping things, but those days are gone.  No Concussive Shot in there either to boost SS.  It’s basically use all your shots that do damage in the order listed above then repeat ad infinitum.  You will do a LOT more DPS using that rotation, and you don’t have to watch it as closely either.

Master Marksman

The MM hunter is still a bit of a ‘tweener.  Frankly I’ve never been a big fan of the MM hunter, but they can sure hold their own on DPS these days as you can see below:

  • The Build – 15/51/5
  • The Shot Rotation – SpS/CS/KS/AS/AimS/SS
  • Crit Rate – 51.55%
  • The Pet – Raptor
  • Pet Build – Ferocity
  • Hunter DPS – 5,026
  • Pet DPS – 1,145
  • Total Best DPS for MM -  6,171

The MM hunter will use a little more traditional shot rotation with a CS thrown in there.  Aimed Shot gets a spot as well, but you’re going to drop Multi-Shot out of your rotation, it messes with the cooldowns.  By now you can begin to see things working probably the way Blizz always intended them to work.  Use your Talented abilities in a rotation with almost everything else you can squeeze into a smooth roation instead of just hitting 3 buttons all the time.


An now the king of the current DPS charts, and let me repeat – thank you Blizz.  Explosive shot is awesome, and it’s really cool to be able to top the DPS charts and also have the increased survivability.  Since the SV hunter does so much DPS, you can probably fiddle with points a bit to get even more out of your traps or a bit more of a PvP build in there without dropping below the BM hunter for PvE raid DPS.

  • The Build – 6/14/51
  • The Shot Rotation – SpS/KS/ES/MS/SS
  • Crit Rate – 56.41%
  • The Pet – Raptor
  • Pet Build – Ferocity
  • Hunter DPS – 5,517
  • Pet DPS – 1,184
  • Total Best DPS for SV – 6,701

That’s right folks – 700 DPS more than the BM hunter.  Talk about a stupid crit rating too; almost 6 out of 10!  This guy goes fast, fast, fast and crits a LOT.  And we’ve got even more good news (well, it might be bad news for some of you), you might not have to live with the same old ‘best dps’ pet that all the other hunters have.  But more on that another day.

We know you’ve all been in raids where the lowest DPS in the raid was around 900.  Imagine being 700 DPS over the next guy on the list!  Now, we know straight up Deeps isn’t everything.  But if you are going to make a serious run at some of the dungeon achievements having a couple of guys who can pump out 4-5k DPS on a regular basis will certainly help your chances as a team.

Now, race and professions can have a serious impact on these numbers as well.  Dwarves and Dranei rule the lot because of racial bonuses.  Best profession combination for max DPs is Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting.  Those amped up gems in every slot make a big difference as well as getting a couple of additional gem slots.

But even if you are not trying to squeeze every last drip out of the meters, you will certainly improve your damage a ton if you duplicate the builds above, and stick to the shot rotation religiously.  Check out the EJ thread for best in slot gear choices and more tips on gemming your gear and you will have your hunter Dominating the DPS charts in no time!

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