Challenge Modes with Hunters


Timoseewho started a thread on the MMO Champion Hunter forum asking for hunter advice for challenge mode dungeons. Many helpful replies were received but a post by Spiralphoenix offered a lot useful tips for hunters and I wanted to make sure those of you interested in trying challenge modes were aware of it. The post is reproduced below. Also, Puertó has made available hunter PoV videos for all of the challenge modes on his YouTube channel.

Spiralphoenix: Just wanted to share my experiences with these, currently 8/9 gold and about to get the last one tonight (managed to get literally on the dot for the gold -> silver switch, but that doesn’t count for gold). I’m not someone who’s concerned personally with getting top times, just getting golds and contributing to the group fully.

Our general comp (with a change once or twice but mostly the same) was Prot War / Disc / Lock / Boomkin / SV hunter (myself). This was actually a pretty terrible comp, before any pet buffs we were missing 5% crit, 10% attack speed, 3000 mastery, 4% physical vulnerability, and, of course, Heroism. I brought 5% crit as the hunter filler buff, and filled my stable with all the rest with an unglyphed stampede.

Binding Shot is a great AoE stun, and all the more helpful if you inform your tank it is going down every time you drop it. I never saw a huge need for Silencing, as a lot of “interrupting” can be done through good LoS’ing from your tank, and we also had decent interrupts otherwise. Binding still paired pretty well with Shockwave even after the DR’s.

Frost trap with SV’s entrapment is also an amazing tool for helping tank survivability in huge pulls. Of course with our group, we were all ranged, so there was little risk to it aside from my pet getting gibbed (which happened numerous times but is entirely avoidable). But it may not be as useful with melee as rooted mobs will hit the highest threat target in melee range (which if your tank is using it to survive, will not be your tank), but even so, a few seconds of lost DPS from the melee is better than a dead tank.

As I mentioned previously, unglyphed stampede with a pre-determined loadout of pets based on your group comp is very valuable if your group comp isn’t optimal. Especially since most pet buffs/debuffs last at least ~40 seconds (up to 2 minutes even with 10% attack speed buff) and will outlast the duration of the actual stampede by quite a bit.

There are most definitely opportunities to switch to BM as well, if needed (in my groups case, we had no heroism otherwise, so it was very worthwhile if it was during unavoidable out-of-combat time). There are probably other situations, but at the very least, Stormstout Brewery is very easy to spec swap before the last boss – preferably, IMO, right after the last spawned adds before the boss spawns. You have about 6-7 seconds to swap after that pack dies (with a 5 second spec swap) before the boss shows himself so you have to be switching immediately upon dropping combat, but it can be done without much trouble.

Camo can be used as substitute for Invis potions in some situations – for our strats, this was most notably Scarlet Monastery (starting right after the 5-pack Scarlet pull after the first boss, up to the second boss in the top-fountain area) and Shado-Pan Monastery (from before the first pull after the second boss, up to the bridge). Again might be more possibilities for this but those were the only ones I found to be pretty much entirely risk-free with our strategies. And it is very worthwhile to do as it frees you up to use Agi potions. Just make sure you drop combat before using it so you don’t get screwed with a 6s duration one (and have invis pots as backup just in case, you’ll need them for other instances anyway). Also don’t forget to dismiss pet prior to Invis pots, it seems obvious but easy to forget on your first invis-pot challenge mode.

Scatter shot can often be used as an emergency interrupt. They’ll usually just recast again, but better than them getting the cast off originally (when these casts can easily do 150-200k+ in CM’s) if it saves time for an actual interrupt. Also, engineering belt frag bombs can do the same.

Some instance specific things:

Scarlet halls:

  • Traps / Binding can control dogs on houndmaster just as they do on trash. Don’t waste damage on them, help the tank with those if needed.
  • When Harlan calls for aid, 2-3 MD-multishots can usually help to get them on your tank (they do take 90% reduced AoE, but ISS isn’t affected by this. just the same, you may find it better to use other abilities with MD). Just be careful, when you knock off their armor, they reset threat.
  • Not a hunter tip specifically, but if you are intending to use the Houndmaster’s in the beginning as part of the kill count, you can’t let them die untouched by a player, or they won’t go towards the kill count. I did this to reduce some pressure on the tank and so we wouldn’t even have to engage them, but it turns out bad when you get to the end with a gold time and 38/40 (or whatever it is ) on the kill count.

Scarlet Monastery:

  • Traps/binding again can be useful here on the first boss, as most damage should be focused on the boss and Evicted Souls with tank kiting as needed.
  • You can run ahead in the final room and CC the left side Zealot so that he stops resurrecting the Judicators, and leave him that way for the duration of the fight with re-trapping.

Niuzao:

  • For the second boss, you can actually practically solo the non-exploding waves of adds (the exploding ones are too easy to matter), with a pre-placed Frost trap (so the CD will be up again), followed by binding shot when the root expires and they are grouped up, followed by another frost trap, as well as the Amber Bombs placed in the areas they are going to be rooted/stunned, and finally with gratuitous use of multi shot / explosive trap / glaive toss. When the amber gas stacks up on them they die very fast. Somewhat of the same can be done to the high-HP solo warrior mantid guys, just without the AoE.

Shado-Pan:

  • Again not really a hunter specific tip, but for the Purified Protectors or w/e count, if you have multiple people channel on them at the same time, each person will add to the count, allowing you more lenience in skipping packs. I could see it as a possibly looked down upon tactic but I don’t suspect it will be changed as it will give those with current record times an edge that new contenders won’t have. But Challenge Mode balance doesn’t exactly have a lot of history to look back upon so I guess we’ll see. I’m sure there are many other questionable tactics that we missed.

Jade Serpent:

  • Watch your pet on the Hydromancer boss, he is at some risk of dying from incidental AoE.
  • If you pull a large amount/all of the trash before Hydromancer, with the boss (recommended), Frost/Binding are again very useful for your tank to kite.
  • For the pull before sha, it can be pretty easily skipped by running through with deterrence, to the left, while your group follows to the right, and then you FD and it returns to it’s spawn point. Pretty common tactic I think, though.

Brewery:

  • In a pinch (and really only if you are SV), your pet can be used to block a beam by using Move-To. But really, you shouldn’t be hitting a point where you need to do this, and you might want to look into getting some higher DPS (we did 1 tank/4DPS, no heals – priest went shadow). Still worthwhile to know though, I guess.

. . . read the original thread at MMO-C

Hunter PoV Challenge mode videos from Puertó:
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