Locked and Loaded: Soloing raids on your Hunter
Soloing older raids is always something I enjoy during these slow periods at the end of the expansion. They can be a challenge as well as a source of gold, transmog, and mounts (if you’re lucky).
The current pinnacle of Hunter soloing was achieved by Shoot, who got the world first Highmaul solo and killed Tectus all by himself. This wasn’t just the first Tectus kill, but the first Highmaul solo kill period (take that, Death Knights). Shoot has also soloed Oregorger and Drov the Ruiner. Now, you can’t expect to go in and achieve this on your first go (it took over 300 solo wipes to get Tectus down, plus a lot of Mythic gear), but Mists of Pandaria raids are achievable goals for most soloing Hunters.
The best spec for soloing in almost all situations is Beast Mastery. This is primarily due to the talent Adaptation and being able to tame exotic pets which give you multiple buffs and Spirit Mend from spirit beasts.
Talents and glyphs
Here is a basic talent and glyph build that will work in most situations. The critical talents here are Spirit Bond and Adaptation, and the rest can be changed to suit your needs or playstyle. Adaptation allows you pet to keep its full damage potential while getting all of the survival benefits from the other pet specs (such as Last Stand and Blood of the Rhino).
The critical glyphs are Glyph of Mending for the significantly buffed pet heals, and Glyph of Misdirection for keeping the boss and adds on your pet at all times. Your third glyph slot can be one of several options, but Glyph of Liberation is usually the go-to choice. It’s only a 4% heal, but when you can get that heal every 10 seconds it adds up. Glyph of Animal Bond may look like a good choice, but it does not buff percentage-based heals, which means the only thing it actually affects is Spirit Mend from your pet.
If you’re really trying to push yourself, make sure you’ve got a full set of consumables including a flask, food buff, and agility/healing potions. Another helpful item is the Drums of Fury to give yourself blood lust. You can also splurge for Drums or Forgotten Kings and/or Runescroll of Fortitude III for even more buffs.
The only two pets you’ll ever need for soloing as Beast Mastery are a spirit beast and a shale spider. The spirit beast brings Mastery and Crit buffs plus Spirit Mend. The shale spider brings Crit and stats buffs plus Solid Shell. Depending on the encounter, the increased healing or increased pet survivability will be your best options. If you’re soloing as another spec, a turtle pet with its Shell Shield is probably your best best.
If you don’t have a spirit beast yet, your two easiest options are getting one of the spectral porcupines like Gumi, or doing the quest to tame Gara. Shale spiders are easy to find, and you can get the full list of them here.
Which raids can you solo?
Any level 100 Hunter is capable of soloing raids from Cataclysm or any previous expansions, up to and including 25 Heroic mode. This is because at level 100 you receive a significant damage buff for all level 85 and lower raids (this is the buff to counter the stat squish effects).
The challenging solo content begins with Mists of Pandaria raids and world bosses. Since you do not get the same type of damage buff, gear plays a much more important role. Raids will be referred to by difficulty, i.e. 10N = 10-player Normal, 25H = 25-player Heroic, etc.
New Hunters (640+ ilvl)
- The first raid you can tackle once you reach the 640-650 ilvl range is Mogu’shan Vaults 10N. You may not be able to clear it, but at least half the bosses should be doable with some work. The main challenge is going to be Gara’jal (third boss) and Will of the Emperor.
- To clear all of Mogu’shan Vaults 10N, you will probably need to be in the 660-670 ilvl range. This is where you can begin to farm for the Reins of the Astral Cloud Serpent.
- Heart of Fear 10N can be tackled in the 670 ivl range. The main exception is Amber Shaper Un’sok which needs a lot more item level to kill successfully.
- Some of Terrace of the Endless Spring 10N is doable in the 670 ilvl range but may present some problems for inexperienced soloers.
LFR geared Hunters (675+ ilvl)
- The previously mentioned tier 14 raids become much more forgiving on 10N.
- You can start tackling the tier 14 raids on 10H, 25N, and LFR modes. The previously mentioned exceptions may continue to be problematic on the higher difficulties especially.
- Throne of Thunder 10N will present a nice challenge at this ilvl range.
- World bosses such as Galleon, Sha of Anger, and Nalak are possible. These become more trivial as your ilvl increases.
Raid geared Hunters (700+ ilvl)
- Tier 14 and Throne of Thunder raids are comfortable at the 10N, 10H, and 25N difficulties.
- The 25H difficulty is a big step up and only recommended if you’re up for a challenge.
- Siege of Orgrimmar on Normal or Heroic (not Mythic) can be tackled and will be your biggest challenge. Keep in mind that Galakras is simply not possible to solo because you need two people in the cannons simultaneously.
Getting your hands on the legendary ring will also boost your soloing capability. To solo current content like Tectus or Oregorger, you are going to need an abundance of gear (720+ ilvl) and a lot of patience and soloing experience.
General soloing tips
- Keep Mend Pet up on your pet at all times. You can use this Weak Aura or something similar to track it. This way you’ll only refresh it when necessary and not waste extra GCDs.
- Spam Misdirection on your pet. Here is a simple macro which can be used on its own or macroed to other abilities: /cast [target=pet] Misdirection
- As a general rule, use a shale spider when you’re having trouble keeping your pet alive and a spirit beast when you’re having trouble keeping yourself alive.
- Take Spirit Mend off autocast so you can save it to use on yourself if needed. Here is a simple macro for this: /cast [target=YourName] Spirit Mend
- Kill Shot can be a tremendous source of healing on yourself for fights with adds. If there are multiple adds alive, you can get them all into Kill Shot range, stop AOEing, and then pick them off one by one with Kill Shot to restore your health.
- Certain boss abilities that cause loss of control of your character can cause the fight to be reset. Some examples are val’kyrs which carry you off the ledge on Lich King or any boss with a mind control mechanic. You can usually avoid these by being the current target of the boss since these mechanics were never designed to affect tanks. You can ensure this by temporarily dismissing your pet before said ability is cast, then re-summon your pet and continue.
- If you’re facing a boss that deals heavy damage to your pet (such as a stacking tank debuff) and you’re having trouble keeping your pet alive, make sure you’re standing at max range or farther right before the pet dies. Quickly revive it, Feign Death, then cast Misdirection and resume. You should be able to avoid getting hit entirely (or only take a single hit) because of how far the boss has to run.
- Learn the basic fight mechanics when you’re pushing the envelope. Unless you outgear the content, you can’t afford to ignore mechanics and just DPS. Check out the dungeon journal or watch a solo kill video (links below).
Hunter soloing resources
I’ve only covered the basics here and showed you where you can get started with Hunter soloing. If you’re interested in going more in depth, here are some resources.
- HunterSoloing.com — This is a website run by Shoot dedicated to Hunter soloing. He has boss-specific guides to Mists of Pandaria raids as well as links to all of his YouTube videos. He also helped me with this post!
- Durendil’s YouTube — Another prominent Hunter soloist with several Hunter world firsts under his belt. You can find his soloing videos here.
Good luck on your soloing adventures!
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