Hunters as Crowd Control

Yesterday was all about DPS, but Hunters have a secondary function in crowd control. They are a tertiary CC class, but let us look at the toolbox anyway. Hunters have the best rooting options around. They have decent fear, several slows, and minimal mez. Their abilities also require extra planning, setup, communication, or expense.

Rain of Thorns is hard to beat. There is not a lot of area effect crowd control available, and Rain of Thorns is an instant-cast, 30-second AE root at maximum range. It does, however, require a legendary trait and six focus. The trait is a sunk cost at this point, because we assume that every Hunter has it and uses it by 50, but six focus usually means you can only Rain at the start of a fight (or after hitting Intent Concentration). Which is fine, because you rarely want to use it except at the start, but the Hunter will need a moment out-of-combat to gather focus.

Traps are also out-of-combat tools, unless you trait around that. It still has an induction timer, and you plant it at your feet, so either you place it before the fight or you have someone rooted right here. With their cooldowns, you will almost always have Rain of Thorns and/or a trap available.

There are fancier trap options, but they are costly. You can have higher damage traps, trip wires, triple-traps, and others. Each is a crafted consumable on a fair cooldown. I really should stock trip wires for boss fights, but I do not feel like going through the bother of acquiring many one-shot traps.

The (free) trap skill is great for solo play. I do not even put any work into placing it: if I drop it at my feet, the enemy will be just outside melee range, except for the few long-armed foes. Against two targets, I can burn down one while the other watches. Against a single target, I get an extra couple of shots while the enemy is stuck in my trap.

Hunters have several movement slows, although nothing to slow attack speeds. Barbed Arrow is a slow and a bleed, Quick Shot has the same slow in Strength Stance, and Low Cut is a melee-range AE slow. There are circumstances where your best tanking plan is to have the Hunter kite.

There are two fear options. Hunters have a beast-only fear shout, which means you can delay one wolf, warg, bear, boar, cave claw, or hill/snow beast. They also have an arrow (with casting time) that fears some categories of evil. This latter hits far more enemy types, but it lasts 15 seconds and requires a legendary trait.

Fear is a mixed bag. As a solo tool, it is excellent: fear gives Swift Bow time to recharge and cast. The pathing, however, can be odd. Sometimes it tries to run away by running past me, or it stands still. These two are especially unhelpful when trying to use fear in a group setting. Fear is not great in a group setting, because it is easy to break, and the enemy still looks threatening to your tank or AEer.

Finally, Hunter picked up a brief mez in Moria, again with a casting time. A 10-second mez can be helpful, but it does not do a lot. Again, use at range in a group. Again, that is enough time for another Swift Bow.

The cooldown time is always longer than the duration. A Hunter cannot lock down an opponent the way a Burglar or Loremaster can. Given the chance to use every CC ability on one opponent, the Hunter effectively can, especially with some traiting, but it is a much larger time and resource investment in locking down that target, and you would rather have a foe mezzed than under fear and roots.

For solo play, this is great. You have all the time in the world to smack down a signature enemy as he is caught in two roots, a mez, and a fear or two. If you are a big fan of Swift Bow, like me, you can use it several times a fight despite its long cooldown.

If it is not obvious, roots are not valuable against opposing archers and mages. They just keep shooting.

One promising path I have not pursued is the Hunter’s crowd control traits. Right now, the Bowmaster damage is just too good to pass up, although PvMPers have good use for the Trapper traits. Opportunity costs are dropping in the next patch. Better traps and fear abilities are nice, and improved stealth detection is a favorite in the Moors, but there are two traits that really attract me. One is reseting Heartseeker on a critical Bard’s Arrow, which could be a lot of fun, particularly solo or in PvMP. With capped crits, it can effectively halve Heartseeker’s cooldown. The other is the legendary trait I can slot if I have five Trapper traits: Explosive Arrow, which turns the mez from a marginal toy into a great core ability. 10 seconds of mez every 3 minutes is not useful; 30 seconds every minute is. As a bonus, my current legendary bow has two gold legacies: reduced Distracting Shot cooldown and resistance. Unfortunately, four Trapper traits also means -15% ranged damage, on top of what I would lose from not traiting Bowmaster.

: Zubon

2 thoughts on “Hunters as Crowd Control”

  1. Ok you have me convinced. Hunters are OP nerf them! ;)

    Only joking of course but thanks again for another very informative post. Lots of stuff there I didn’t know about hunters.

  2. Lots of stuff in there hunters conveniently forget about their own class in order to pew pew in strength stance. They are great classes, but there is a reason that the community created the name “huntards.”

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