In this post I will go over buffs that hunters provide, the buffs that hunters want and the non-hunter debuffs that increase our dps on the target. The goal is to give you a sense of what you can contribute and what you can benefit from in terms of buffs and debuffs.
Why a post on this topic? One simple reason is that the more we can understand and explain about our dps, the more we are able to improve it. With knowledge of buffs and debuffs we can complement existing enhancements by changing specs or pets; we can time our Rapid Fires and haste potions better; we can know which buffs we should have before a fight begins based on who we are raiding with; we can actually look forward to having a feral druid or rogue in the group . . . the list goes on. To put it in a trite and annoying way, knowledge is dps.
I’ll begin by discussing buffs what we provide, followed by a look at buffs and debuffs from other players that our dps benefits from. Because this post covers all classes I will inevitably forget or not know something. Please post a comment if you find something off.
Hunters are not the most generous class when it comes to buffs. However, we can offer a few things and it is worth knowing what they are.
To begin with, all hunters have Aspect of the Wild. Using this adds nature resistance to everyone in the raid around you, similar to a paladin’s aura. Unfortunately, activating it means giving up Aspect of the Dragonhawk and can create problems if we have to go into Aspect of the Viper to continue with dps. For the latter reason, it may be preferred to have a Shaman drop a Nature Resistance Totem. However, if there is no other major source of nature resistance, hunters should take one for the team and run this aura. It is very helpful for fights that are defined by nature damage, such as Rotface.
BM hunters offer Ferocious Inspiration. It provides a 10 second 3% boost in damage, refreshing with every pet crit. As nice as this is, it may not earn the BM hunter a raid spot as retribution paladins offer the same 3% damage buff via Sanctified Retribution and arcane mages share it from Arcane Empowerment. The ret, arcane and BM buffs do not stack.
SV hunters share Replenishment via Hunting Party. It is a buff placed on 10 random raid members that restores their mana by 3% over 15 seconds. It does not stack with the replenishment offered by a shadow priest’s Vampiric Touch, a retribution paladin’s Judgement of the Wise, a frost mage’s Enduring Winter or a destruction warlock’s Improved Soul Leech.
How should these buffs affect your gameplay?
- If you have two competent dps specs, consider running with the one whose buff is not being offered by someone else. If you’re running with a blood DK but no replenishment, go SV. If you have a shadow priest and a ret pally but no AP bonus, go MM rather than BM or SV.
- Also remember that the raid’s success matters more than your own. Even though talenting into these buffs mentioned here may possibly decrease your dps, you should still obtain them and use them if they will help the raid.
Buffs for Hunters
In this section I will go over what buffs other classes provide that our dps benefits from. At the end, I will organize and list the buffs by their effect if you prefer to understand them that way.
Horn of Winter is a nice talent that all DKs offer that increases strength and agility by 155. It does not stack with and will be overwritten by a shaman’s Strength of Earth Totem.
Blood death knights share Abomination’s Might. It increases AP by 10% and does not stack with Trueshot Aura or a shaman’s Unleashed Rage.
Blood death knights can also cast Hysteria. This will boost your physical damage by 20% for 30 seconds. However, since 15% of our dps can be tied up in our pets, a pure physical, non-pet class like a rogue (or even a blood dk dps) will benefit more from Hysteria than us. In other words, don’t expect to be given Hysteria, even if you’re an MM hunter.
Frost death knights have Improved Icy Talons, which increases melee haste (for our pets). This does not stack with a shaman’s windfury totem.
Moonkin can provide 3% haste via Improved Moonkin Form. This does not stack with a ret paladin’s haste bonus.
Feral druids offer Leader of the Pack, which will increase your ranged attacks’ crit chance by 5%.
See the preceding section for buffs that other hunters can provide.
Arcane mages have Arcane Empowerment, which can increase the raid’s damage by 3%. It does not stack with Ferocious Inspiration or a ret paladin’s Sanctified Retribution.
Frost mages give replenishment.
Paladins offer a variety of blessings and we benefit from all of them. Note, however, that you can ony have one blessing per paladin at a time.
Blessing of Might will improve attack power by 550. It does not stack with a warrior’s Battle Shout. It can be improved via ret paladin talents to offer more AP.
Blessing of Wisdom increases mana regeneration. It does not stack with a shaman’s mana spring totem. Its effects can be increased by holy paladin talents.
Blessing of Sanctuary does not give us much in terms of dps. It reduces our damage taken by 3% and gives us some stamina. We don’t have much use for the strength, though our pets do. Sanc only comes from prot paladins.
Ret paladins have an ability called Sanctified Retribution. It increases damage done by buffed targets by 3%. It does not stack with BM’s Ferocious Inspiration or an arcane mage’s Arcane Empowerment.
Ret paladins also have Swift Retribution which increases haste by 3%. This does not stack with the Improved Moonkin Aura’s haste.
Priests cast Prayer of Fortitude, which increases stamina by 165. An unmodified version of it can be had from Runescroll of Fortitude and an improved version can be cast by a priest with the right disc talents.
Prayer of Spirit will boost your spirit by 80.
Rogues only offer Tricks of the Trade. It will cause you to do 15% more damage for six seconds, but you will also take all the threat that the rogue dishes out in those six seconds. Since it is a percentage damage increase, it does work for MM hunters wishing to buff their Serpent Sting for a whole fight. Generally, since Tricks is mainly for threat management rather than buffing hunters, do not expect rogues to throw tricks your way.
A Windfury Totem will confer melee haste (good for our pets I imagine). In can be improved via talents to be the same as Improved Icy Talons. It does not stack with that frost DK ability.
The Strength of Earth Totem shares a nice buff to strength and agility with raid members. It does not stack with a DK’s Horn of Winter and can be more powerful than HoW if the shaman has put points into Enhancing Totems.
Unleashed Rage is an enhancement shammy talent that increases AP by 10%. It does not stack with Abomination’s Might or Trueshot Aura.
Destruction warlocks offer replenishment.
A warlock’s Felhunter may provide Fel Intelligence, increasing intelligence and spirit.
Warriors have the ability to use Battle Shout to boost attack power by 550. This shout can be improved via talents in the fury tree. It does not stack with Blessing of Might.
A fury warrior’s Rampage will add 5% to your crit chance. It does not stack with Leader of the Pack, a feral druid ability.
Warrior tanks will also cast Vigilance, which will transfer 10% of the buffed player’s threat to the warrior. It is an indirect dps increase, allowing us to spend less time FD. This can work well with hunters in the sense that we generate a lot of threat and have no threat reduction built into our attacks like, for instance, DKs do.
Dranei aren’t a class, no, but they do provide a 1% hit buff, so they are worth mentioning.
There are also food and flask and potion buffs. This isn’t a post designed to discuss those things, but you should have them. Flasks of Endless rage are the norm for a hunter flask buff, and Blackened Dragonfin is the best MM/SV food buff, follow by Fish Feast, which happens to be the best for BM as far as I know.
Lastly, there are scroll buffs which can be used when you don’t have Horn of Winter or a Strength of Earth totem up. A scroll of Agility VIII is good for you while your pet may enjoy a scroll of Strength VIII. They are inferior to the horn and the totem and so should be used onl if you don’t have a DK or the right kind of shammy.
To sum up we have a list of distinct buff types (denoted by a dot) that do stack together. Only one buff of each type can be on you at a time.
- Blessing of Kings
- Blessing of Sanctuary
- Mark of the Wild
- Prayer of Fortitude
- discrete ap buffs
- percent ap buffs
- discrete agi/str buff
- percent damage
- percent haste
- melee haste
- percent crit
- discrete mana regen
- percent mana regen
- discrete intelligence
- discrete spirit
- Fel Intelligence, Prayer of Spirit
- Tricks of the Trade
- food buff (for pets too)
- flask buff
- potion buff
- Dranei hit buff
Debuffs for Hunter DPS
This section will go over debuffs that our dps benefits from. This will include some debuffs that our pets can provide. As before, I will go over debuffs by class first and then list them by effect.
Unholy death knight’s increase spell damage on diseased targets by 13% via Ebon Plaguebringer. It will not stack with Curse of Elements or Earth and Moon. EP works well with our magic-based AoE attacks as it is very easy for death knights to spread their diseases to all targets in an area.
Druids can cast Faerie Fire, which reduces a target’s armor by 5%. This does not stack with Curse of Weakness or a Wasp’s sting.
Balance Druids (moonkin) obtain Earth and Moon, which increases spell damage taken by 13% and does not stack with the warlock and DK debuffs of the same effect.
Feral druids have Mangle, which increases damage taken from bleed damage. This does not stack with Trauma and mainly matters for MM hunters.
We benefit from each other’s Hunter’s Marks and so they are worth mentioning here. Because we share the benfit, one hunter in a raid group that has several may elect to (or be chosen to) use talents and a glyph to improve their Hunter’s Mark.
Paladin judgement regeneration effects benefit us, too. In particular, Judgement of Wisdom‘s mana regeneration is nice.
Ret paladin’s can add a +3% crit chance to the targets affected by their judgements with Heart of the Crusader. This does not stack with Master Poisoner or Totem of Wrath.
Mut rogues provide +3% crit with all attacks with Master Poisoner. This does not stack with Heart of the Crusader or Totem of Wrath.
Combat rogues have Savage Combat, which increases physical damage taken by 4%. This does not stack with the Arms warrior’s Blood Frenzy.
Moreover, all rogues can perform Expose Armor, which reduces a target’s armor by 20%. This will not stack with a warrior’s Sunder Armor or a worm’s Acid Spit.
Totem of Wrath is used by Elemental Shamans and will increase critical strike chances on target by 3%. This won’t stack with the paladin or rogue crit bonuses.
Curse of the Elements increases magic damage taken by 13% by the target and will not stack with with the DK or Moonkin debuffs of the same effect.
Warlock’s can cast Curse of Weakness, which reduces a target’s armor by 5% just like Faerie Fire and a wasps’s sting. This ability would be appear to be to Warlocks what Scorpid Sting is to us, and I don’t think it would be fair to ask them to use it.
Warriors can reduce a target’s armor by 20% with Sunder Armor. This will not stack with Expose Armor or Acid Spit.
Arms warriors have Trauma, which increases damage taken from bleed effects. This does not stack with Mangle.
Arms warriors also have Blood Frenzy. It enhances physical damage taken by 4%.
Our pets offer debuffs that benefit other players.
Worms have an armor debuff called Acid Spit that doesn’t stack with Sunder or Expose Armor. Unfortunately, worms are exotic tenacity pets, meaning that they are not the best for dps (especially if another major armor debuff is up) and they are only available to BM hunters.
Wasps have a minor armor debuff, Sting, that shares an effect with Faerie Fire and Curse of Weakness. Wasps can be tamed and used by any type of hunter, meaning that you can use one to be of help to the raid if the other minor armor debuffs aren’t present.
It’s also worth mentiong that Rhinos have Stampede, which increases bleed damage taken like Mangle and Trauma. However, Stampede appears to increase bleed damage taken by a smaller amount and not have 100% uptime. Add to that the fact that it is an exotic tenacity pet and you remove its chances to (1) do better dps than other pets or (2) be employed by the one spec that uses bleed damage, MM.
All together, we have a sizable list of stacking debuff types that benefit us. Only one debuff of each type can be active on a target at a time.
- percent crit
- discrete AP
- major armor debuff
- minor armor debuff
- percent magic damage
- percent physical damage
- percent bleed damage
- percent mana regenerated from attacks
If you’re looking for something to comment on, try answering this: based on these buffs and debuffs, what do you think the ideal 10man raid comp would be for a hunter?