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:
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.