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Hunter PVP: Specced 30b/11m/10s
#1
1v1 PVP: the basics
Actually, this works well with heavy marksmanship spec as well. One thing to remember always: a hunter with anything less than maximum mobility (no snares, roots, dazes) is a soft, slow-moving target that will most likely die.

The hunter's biggest advantage is his range and the ability to land the first strike. Choose it wisely. If you don't open with a concuss, you give the enemy 1~ second of time to freely close distance. With a rogue sprint, you may not have time for a second shot.

Throw the first shot as a concuss, and you can guarantee an arcane/sting/both afterward.

Two terms:
Passing-through: running straight through the enemy player model. forces player to shift view to engage you and also gives you momentum for escaping melee range. During a pass-through, use wing-clip to snare the enemy. Sometimes works very well, and almost always worth the risk.

Jump-Twist-Shoot: Running straight in a direction, jumping (to maintain forward velocity), twisting 180 to fire on shot on the enemy, and then landing, facing the original direction. Allows damage dealing/concuss shots while maximizing distance.

There are the five tasks that a hunter can be "working" on at any time. The priority of each tasks differs with the situation, but these are the five basic elements of a hunter's decisionmaking. For example, while engaging in ranged, he can decide to close distance to engage in a pass-through, or he can decide to open distance to continue engaging ranged.

close distance
trying to close in on the enemy. defined as any intentional action that decreases the distance between combatants. using cheetah increases the aggressiveness of this manuever but leaves hunter at extreme risk for getting dazed.

(why aggressiveness? it increases the chance of your opponent making a mistake and letting you hit the wingclip AND escape with a higher exit velocity)

pass-through/wingclip
as a hunter's melee options are very limited, the primary purpose of hunter melee is to get out of it. wingclip, and run - if you get clipped and stunned on your way through - shrug, they would've gotten you anyway. (Assuming you're doing a pass-through when ranged combat is no longer possible)

a perfect pass-through is a beautiful thing and buys you 10 more seconds of clipped time and costs you no hp.

a not-perfect pass through means you get hit, which isn't horrible. but if you get stunned or snared or dazed, it's much worse and you'll be stuck in melee for a while before getting a chance to get away.

open distance
you can open distance after a wingclip, or you can open distance after a concussive shot. or on initial contact with a freeze/frost trap. opening distance is primarily done to prolong ranged engagement or to escape combat completely. the combined acts of opening distance and engaging ranged is referred to as kiting.

engage ranged
hunters need to be constantly flipping between combat and opening distance. as a result, the time to stand still and shoot a target is minimal. in these tight windows of time, put your stings on him, throw an arcane shot, a multi-shot and throw another concussive (sting and arcane leave at the same time). concussive cooldown is too long so don't expect to be able to shoot off another one after the first one wears off (if the enemy is closing on you properly - not wandering off). If you cannot fire a second concussive shot on a closing enemy, it's time to engage in a pass-through.

engage melee
not a hunter's forte. do it at your own discretion, but every non-caster clearly outclasses a hunter's ability. sometimes an effective way to finish off a fight, especially if you use a high top-end dmg weapon. You can start a raptor strike and hit your wingclip and they will both hit at the same time, a good way of snaring your enemy and dealing significant damage as well.

Scatter shot can interrupt spells and buys you 4 seconds of confuse-time. Do not wingclip AFTER a scatter shot as it will interrupt the confusion, giving your opponent a chance to snare you. Use the 4 seconds to open distance to shoot a concussive.

how the terms related
while engaging ranged, you decide you want to close distance. before you start moving, you already know what the next step will be (pass-through wingclip), and knowing this will save you a few brain cycles and speed up your actions. The concepts aren't complex, but being able to mentally frame the details of your PvP will help your combat become fluid.

also, you can use the system as a standard to gauge how well the fight went. a fight with perfect pass-throughs and minimal time in melee can still be lost, but at least you'll know that it wasn't for the lack of your execution. also, if a better hunterpvp system comes up, it'll be easy to compare effectiveness by gauging how how well it satisfies the five aspects of hunterpvp. (and the main challenge: maximizing ranged time, minimizing melee time)

Example fight vs Paladin

Engage. Hunter gets first shot, concuss at maximum range (41 yds). Send pet in. Paladin begins charging toward Hunter.

Paladin throws Hammer of Justice, stuns

Paladin closes distance, engages hunter in melee. Hunter needs to get out of melee.

Hunter wingclips, then scattershots, giving him 4 seconds of confuse time + 6 seconds of clipped time to open distance. While opening distance, hunter should not slow down. This means any shooting must be a jump-twist-shot in order to keep speed.

Hunter gets shots and stings on Paladin. Wing-clip wears off. Paladin begins to close in on hunter. Hunter concusses once, gains some more distance, turns around to land one more arcane shot.

(We are assuming bounded combat zones, otherwise Hunters could continually cheetah in one direction, repeating concuss, open-distance infinitely - or until they get snagged by a ranged attack. With cheetah, you can throw off multiple concussions and kite for much longer, but if you hit a random mob or another enemy, you're in much more trouble.)

At this point, if you have sufficient distance, you can catch the enemy off guard. Throw on Cheetah to close distance rapidly, then then switch it off right before you engage in melee. Hit your wingclip, then turn cheetah back on on your way out. The timing for this is risky, especially if you get dazed on the way out. The next best option is to close in with Monkey on. You'll have a better chance of dodging but will be slow enough for your opponent to mentally adjust and prepare.

You're back to ranged combat again. Do your stings and concussions, do your damage, and then repeat. Maintaining distance and dealing as much damage as you can in those windows (and having your pet constantly dealing dmg) is as good as it gets. It's a strategy that maximizes time outside of melee, where a hunter is far more effective. It's also demoralizing for the enemy to constantly take damage without a fair chance to deal it.

There's a period of time when a paladin goes through all his seals that is basically like fighting some endgame boss that has way more lives than he should. Although the damage taken in this time is minimal, you won't be able to wingclip while he's immune - so if you have a hp-pot, this is the time to use it. Put on Monkey, make yourself a difficult target and get out of this phase alive.

If you can maximize distance, minimize damage taken, and hit your pass-throughs successfully, you'll have an excellent chance of winning.

If your opponent ever stops chasing you and focuses on your pet, slam them with everything you can (hunters have massive physical dps). If your pet isn't in danger of dying, this is the mistake that will win the fight for you.

Free Action potions will save you, but only once.

Large Number PVP
Hunters are excellent in multiple target environments. Having so many people on the field increases the chance that someone isn't paying attention to the hunter, allowing him to sneak in a couple hundred points of damage. Hunter out-chases most classes on foot and can range-snare a fleeing enemy. In melee, a hunter can mass wingclip many targets, limiting mobility and preventing retreat. Frost traps are effective for covering retreats.

Stings
Your choice of stings. Obviously, a viper sting on a rogue is useless. The three stings are, for the most part, versatile and applicable to all classes.

Traps
You almost never get an opportunity to set a trap, let alone secretly. Useful in large number PvP situations, useful only in the beginning of an engagement.

Aimed Shot
You'd better have a lot of time. But hitting a crit can end a fight immediately.

Summary:
Being aware of all five of your options will allow you to make better decisions during PvP. Additionally, you can mold your play to add unpredictability. example: An opponent who is accustomed to having you pass-through will flip his view in anticipation. If you don't pass-through, and instead back out where you came from, you will have defeated his attempt to engage you in melee. This hinges on your accurate predictions of your opponent. When that last concuss wears off and he's closing in on you, you basically *have* to do the pass-through. Otherwise he will reach you, get first hit, and lock you in melee combat. Sad Perfecting the timing on your pass-through is your best chance to get away scot-free.

Things not covered:
Engineering - the toys can add a lot of options for a hunter, probably making him a more complete pvp class. I have not experimented with this.

Casters - scattershot is your only tide-turning weapon. A fast biting pet will interrupt casting, but most casters take pets out of the equation early. So basically, caster combat is a slugfest that depends on your magic resistance items to win. If you have dual wield daggers, it might be a good idea to keep engagements melee to ensure spell interruption.

As is, most caster battles result in me being in Fear and DoTs for the entire time. Use of potions can counter this, but it's an expensive hobby.

Other Hunters - fun! usually slugfests, as neither can close distance. If you get the jump on another hunter, slam him melee, then wingclip out - this is preferable to engaging him ranged (equal footing) immediately.

Survival Spec - although survival spec gives the hunter a host of other tools, I hold that it just doesn't meet up to what other classes can dish out in melee.

Beast Spec - Hard to say. Against rogues and druids, pets help a TON and go right through leather. Against heavier classes, pet damage is less significant and the tradeoff hurts your ranged capabilities. But from my experimentation so far with superpets, I like them very much for their melee work.

Conclusion
A terribly fun class to play but limited in PvP. Would like to see more options for a hunter, even making survival skills more powerful/accessible. The two other trees outclass the survival tree by far in terms of versatility and effectiveness. Maybe pet stun abilities would be fun too.

If you're in an open field with no obstacles, hunters with cheetah would rule. But most often, you're not, so the success of your PvP depends on your pass-throughs. Against an opponent with good anticipation and reflexes, you will be unable to execute a pass through (he will time his snare correctly and not lose you on his screen), be forced into an extended melee engagement, or stun locked and killed right away - in short, screwed. And that's the biggest flaw of hunterpvp.

A note about cheetah: an attractive ability, especially for kiting, but all it takes is one thrown weapon or gun to turn you into a juicy, dazed target.
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#2
Additions:
Negwenya uses scatter shot to open distance and buy time for an aimed shot.

Feigning death and then immediately setting a trap allows you to get out of melee combat AND pull off a trap while actually in combat. As a bonus, feign death eliminates all of a rogue's combo points, which means if they were saving up for that 5pt. eviscerate, they're in a real bad spot now.
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#3
Addition: Things Hunters Do That Make Amato Cry


Got something wailing on you? Feign, Freeze Trap, run and Aimed Shot it. You've just nailed it for a good amount of damage and given yourself a distance lead to Concuss/Sting/Arcane/whatever you like.


Caster giving you trouble? Intimidate, Imp Concussive Shot and Scatter Shot will all stop a spell in it's tracks if used in a timely manner. Or, if you're full Beast, your pet will probably eat the caster before they get more then one or two non-instant shots off as long as they can't root it.
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