Misdirection: Ten Do’s and Don’t's

June 16th, 2009

Disclaimer: This post was accurate as of patch 3.1.3.


Every hunter gets this ability at level 70, but even by level 80 some have yet to master the skill. It’s not just another shot to be thrown into a rotation, it’s situational. I would say “There isn’t a right or a wrong way to Misdirect”, but that would be lying.  So here’s some advice!

DO use a focus macro.

The default functionality of Misdirect works like this: Target who you want to Misdirect to, cast the spell, then target the mob you want to Misdirect. For initial pulls, this isn’t so bad. But what if you need to misdirect in a hurry? That’s where a focus macro comes in. With this, you can Misdirect without changing targets.

I have found the easiest way to set your focus is to have a mouseover macro. This way you can even change your focus mid-fight without changing actual targets. It looks like this:

/focus [target=mouseover]

I have it bound to Ctrl+F. This way I can just mouseover the target frame, raid frame or the actual character themselves and press Ctrl+F to set my focus.

Then, to Misdirect, you can use a macro like this:

/cast [target=focus,exists,nodead][target=pet,exists,nodead] Misdirection

This will cast on your focus if they are alive, or your pet if you don’t have a focus or your target is dead.

DON’T Misdirect to the wrong person.

This may sound simple, but it happens more often than you’d think. Always check who your focus is before you Misdirect. Is it a Bear who is temporarily in Kitty form? Don’t MD to her! Is your focus dead, meaning your MD will default to your pet? Don’t MD to him! Pay attention to tanking assignments, they aren’t just for healers and tanks!

DO use your heavy hitting abilities when Misdirecting.

The amount of threat generated by your Misdirection is dependent on how much damage you do. So do as much damage in 3 shots as you can! Use it right when you pop your trinkets/cooldowns. Or, use Multi-Shot/Volley to pull entire groups.

DON’T use Distracting Shot when Misdirecting.

Distracting Shot changed when 3.0 came out. It used to “cause a large amount of threat”, and was generally used in coordination with Misdirection. But now, it acts as a Taunt. This means that even if you have Misdirect up, Distracting Shot will pull the target to YOU, not THEM! I learned this the hard way!

DO use Misdirect during fights.

Misdirection isn’t just for pulls! It’s good to use during boss fights. There are some fights where it’s especially hard for tanks to build enough threat, be it from not having enough rage generation, or the DPS getting outrageous buffs, or high mobility/target switching fight. Every little bit helps! And remember, your Misdirect not only gives the tank more threat, but it pauses your threat gain for the next 3 shots. This means you can wait just a bit longer before you have to Feign Death.

DON’T use Misdirect all the time.

Take a look at your threat meter of choice before you Misdirect. Does the tank have a decent threat margin? Is the off-tank sitting in second place? Yes? Then don’t Misdirect. Use that GCD for something more productive. Don’t just blindly use Misdirect every time it’s off of cooldown, save if for emergencies if it’s not needed.

DO use Misdirect to help with tricky ranged pulls.

Hunters ranged shots having a huge range on them, especially if you happen to have Hawk Eye. It’s much larger than most tanks pulling abilities. So if there is a pull that is particularly difficult, whether it be because there are adds patrolling the area or the mob needs to be pulled back somewhere, volunteer your Misdirection services.

DON’T think you get to decide when pulls happen.

Just because your Misdirect means you can put the mobs to the tank does not give you permission to start pulls when you see fit. You need to wait until everyone, especially the tank, is ready and expecting the mobs, even if it means waiting for that patrol to make another cycle. Now that Misdirection has the same cooldown as it’s duration, you can keep it up and ready to go indefinitely.

DO Misdirect to your pet when soloing.

Sometimes, Growl just isn’t enough. If you’re not a Beast Master, chances are your pet doesn’t do a very good job of holding aggro off of you. Sure, most things are dead by the time they get to you… but popping MD right before you start shooting can give you a little extra time.

DON’T use DoTs when Misdirecting.

Most Hunter priority lists start with a DoT, Serpent Sting, to be precise. Well, make sure you modify your rotation a bit when using Misdirect! Serpent Sting ticks will use up a charge of Misdirect, but won’t do much threat/damage.  Don’t start with it, even if it goes against what you’re used to!  This also applies to Explosive Shot, it has a strange behaviour when it comes to Misdirect, so don’t use it.

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Related posts:

  1. The Macro Post Pt. 1
  2. Ten Hunter lessons it took me way too long to learn.
  3. Mend Pet – Healers and Hunter Pets in Instances
  4. Brajana’s Raiding Talent Spec
  5. Beast Mastery 3.0.2 to 3.0.9 Raid Comparison (with pictures!)

17 comments to “Misdirection: Ten Do’s and Don’t's”

  1. I’ve found that if you have a focus already set up (ie: the main tank) pre-pull, this works fairly well
    1) target the boss.
    2) execute this macro
    /tar focus
    /cast misdirect

    then you do whatever it is you want to do!

    Zet´s last blog ..Burnout – not just Another Racing Game My ComLuv Profile

  2. You can actually just squeeze that all in to this:

    /cast [target=focus] Misdirection

    That will just cast Misdirection on your focus without changing your target at all (no need to switch to focus and back)

  3. Misdirection also eats Piercing Shots, so if the DoT is up, you might be able to get a Arcane Shot + Auto off, if you are lucky. Since I realized this, my new pull order has become Arcane -> Auto -> Aimed, since my Aimed has a high chance of criting and wasting one of the MDs if used first.

    I don’t like having my MD set to my pet, mainly for that reason of not realizing your focus is dead. If he is, then the macro will not go, leaving you free to MD another tank. Otherwise it is wasted on the pet :( . For situations where I do MD to my pet, I just make him my focus, though that seems to bug a bit.

    Also, YELL YELL YELL. Every new hunter that raids with us, I make them create a MD macro to yell who they are MDing to. It began with Leo the Blind (anyone recall those MD rotations?), and ever since I have found yells very useful. For example another over eager hunter doesn’t have a yell, but I do. I click my macro, thinking my MD goes off like it usually does, and fire away with my hard-hitting shots since the tank has low threat. And low and behold, all three crit, and for some reason I now have the boss eating my face. WTF? Oh, my MD didn’t go off because the other hunter had casted it. It lets you know which hunters are doing their job and which ones are slacking.
    Negathle´s last blog ..Fuck Nukes My ComLuv Profile

  4. Excellent advice!

    I find that most of the time I can save it for emergencies, but sometimes (like on Thorim’s gauntlet) it can speed things up if I use it every cooldown on trash.

  5. Don’t use Explosive Shot either.

    Actually, this isn’t really true, as ES is an incredible threat anchor. What I do mean is don’t use Explosive Shot as part of the three-shot rotation. Use it as the SOLE shot.

    ES hits for three ticks, the first tick as soon as the shot hits, and the other two shortly afterwards. Like our other DoTs, each individual tick chews up a MD charge, so a single ES will consume all three MD charge…

    …Unless you’ve already used MD charges before firing the ES. My original shot rotation was to trap a target in a Freezing Arrow trap, proc LnL, MD onto pet, then fire off an Arcane/Auto/Explosive combination, and kept up getting aggro every time, mainly because the two ES ticks that *weren’t* being Misdirected churned out more threat than the initial three hits (and whatever my pet could throw out). Every time.

    ES seems to be an excellent one-shot-in-three anchor for a single target. Generates a godly amount of threat, and hits extremely hard (Especially if you crit). However even landing a single auto shot before the ticks chew up all three MD charges can put you dangerously high on the threat table.

  6. @ Negathle
    You’re probably correct that I should have a yell or at least a /say for who’s being misdirected. I might add that into my macro. Good tip.

    Also, a generally good guide for those that are new to MD. Thanks!
    Troutwort´s last blog ..Dreadsteed My ComLuv Profile

  7. In instance runs, I would usually use an Aimed shot and Arcane shot for Misdirect (if it’s in a hurry/middle of a fight), but I prefer to start things off with a Serpent Sting (yes, it’s not a wise choice, BUT…) and Chimera Sting (my crit on that is CRAZY. Hence starting with Serpent Sting). One to his/her own. :D

  8. Hmmm…

    You can Misdirect without changing targets, even without the macro. Just target the Boss, hit your MD key and select (with the blue hand) the person you want to MD to. I find that relying on a Focus target leaves more room for error.

    But most people disagree with me. lol

    Excellent post. =)
    Nassira´s last blog ..Leveling as Marksmanship My ComLuv Profile

  9. Oh also (sorry for the double post), there are many times during which the tank dies and another tank needs to gain aggro – using the focus macro requires you to set your focus first, then MD, which can waste precious time.

    Personally, I think all raiders, no matter what raid role, should have full Raid frames so they’re aware of what’s happening to everyone at all times.
    Nassira´s last blog ..Leveling as Marksmanship My ComLuv Profile

  10. @Nass – That’s true Nass, I’ve never done it that way :) It depends on your playstyle, I suppose! I prefer to have my focus set ahead of time so I can misdirect quickly without selecting my target. But it does take about the same or a little more time to set my focus and then misdirect to them as it would to hit MD then use the blue-hand.

    For me, it doesn’t take that long to hit Ctrl+f then Ctrl+2 to change my focus and cast MD, and then I can continue to cast MD on that target without having to look for their raid frame.

    @Watermist: The only issue with starting that way is you’ve got to watch out for your auto-shots getting in before your Chimera shot gets off. 1 Serpent tick + 1 auto-shot + 1 Chimera might not do as much threat as Aimed + Auto + Arcane or something.

    @Gordal: I don’t really use Survival, but this is just what I’ve been told by other Survival Hunters. Explosive Shot also activates Auto-shot so you will probably only get 2 Explosive hits and an auto-shot at best, unless you can cancel auto quickly enough.

    @Neggles: That is a great idea :) A couple of us use SimpleMD which does announce in party (all hunters are usually in the same group) and also keeps track of other Hunters’ MDs. But a simple macro works as well!

  11. DON’T think you get to decide when pulls happen.

    Pfft. :P
    Rilgon Arcsinh´s last blog ..Disciplined Tedium My ComLuv Profile

  12. @Rilgon: That one didn’t occur to me til I started tanking :P Some hunter kept MD pulling to me while we were still drinking!

  13. [...] Mend Pet has Ten Do’s and Don’t’s of Misdirection. [...]

  14. I’m not sure [exists] implies [nodead]. Meaning that if you have a focus set, but they’re dead, your macro won’t move onto casting Misdirection onto your pet.

    /cast [target=focus,nodead][target=pet,nodead]Misdirection

    Might work better.

  15. Actually, it does not, which is a pain in the ass. I’d use both exists and nodead, myself.

    Also, WTB two foci ._.
    Rilgon Arcsinh´s last blog ..Disciplined Tedium My ComLuv Profile

  16. Yep, you’re certainly right. That’s what I get for not double checking my macro before posting :) Fixed.

  17. [nodead] is supposed to imply [exists] (it has to exist in order to be alive/dead), but unless I’m pressed for space in my macros, I usually use [exists,nodead] as well.

    Another thing I noticed, is that your macro won’t actually move onto casting Misdirection on your target. It will check for focus (exists,nodead), then pet (exists,nodead). If both of those are false, it won’t cast.

    /cast [target=focus,exists,nodead][target=pet,exists,nodead][]Misdirection

    Note the extra ‘[]‘ at the end. That will cast on your target if necessary.