The Secrets to Pre-Potting as a Hunter

Morynne —  August 9, 2011 — 18 Comments

If you’ve been raiding for awhile, you’ve heard the term pre-potting.  What does it mean?  Well, it means you chug a class-appropriate potion right before the pull, so you can get a second potion during the fight.

Here’s how I do it.  We have a countdown to pull from 5. At 5, I cast Misdirection on the tank. At 2, I chug my Potion. At 1, the boss is engaged, and I hit Rapid Fire as well, getting the most of that potion.  If you’re Marksman, make sure you use Readiness and get your second Rapid Fire in.

In Wrath, the pre-pot of choice for hunters was the Potion of Speed, which still may be useful for some hunters depending on their amount of haste.  The real choice for Cataclysm hunters, regardless of spec, is the Potion of the Tol’vir.

Why that one?

Agility equates to about 2 attack power, and ~325 Agi works out to about 1% crit.  Crit being the awesome stat that it is, is something that is desired by every single hunter spec.  The Hunting Party Podcast recently talked to Ask Mr. Robot and Zaherah about stat weighting and reforging going into more depth.  Sadly that episode was lost, but the notes are available at the above link.

So I should pre-pot for every fight?

No.  Pre-potting should be done where there is nothing preventing you from going all-out at the beginning of the fight.

Past fights where it makes sense:

  • Patchwerk
  • Archimonde
  • High Warlord Naj’entus
  • Marrowgar
  • Deathbringer Saurfang

Current fights where it makes sense:

  • Halfus Wyrmbreaker (for the drakes)
  • Cho’gall
  • Magmaw (only if you’re not kiting parasites)
  • Maloriak (careful, if DPS is too good, this can be problematic)
  • Atramedes
  • Chimaeron (careful, if DPS is too good, this can be problematic)
  • Baleroc
  • Majordomo Staghelm

Current fights where pre-potting makes no sense:

  • Beth’tilac – As soon as you pull, she retreats to the web — wasting your potion. You should be using distracting shot mostly at the beginning anyway.
  • Shannox (optional) – It depends on how you’re doing the fight.  If your raid doesn’t mind a dog going down super fast, do it.  If it’s a more controlled approach, hold off.
  • Lord Rhyolith – his legs don’t need the extra DPS at the beginning.
  • Alsyrazor (optional) – If you’re confident you won’t waste the potion after getting knocked back, do it.  DPS your heart out.

By no means is this law.  There are countless more fights out there that can benefit from pre-potting, and you should use your better judgement.

The questions you need to ask yourself are: 

  • Is there one target I’m going to be killing for the next 25 seconds?
  • Will my extra DPS create risks for the raid?
  • If I pull threat, am I quick with feign death?
  • Is this a control fight or a burn fight? (Burn fights tend to be more pre-pot friendly)
Do you have any other tips for pre-potting?


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Morynne is an avid hunter, and prefers Marksmanship. She has co-hosted the Hunting Party Podcast, and appeared on the Twisted Nether Blogcast. For more information, click here.

18 responses to The Secrets to Pre-Potting as a Hunter

  1. Hey Mory, I think another good point here is if you have Careful Aim talents or not. Getting maximum dps in during that first 10% is crucial for those with those 2 points. Which should be all MM Hunters, and at least half of SV or BM.

    I personally as an SV Hunter have the 2/2 in CA. I still have found in testing that I gain more dps from those 2 points than from Sic em.


    • That's a good point, especially for MM who will want to hard cast Aimed Shot until 90%. SV and BM not so critical because they maintain their standard rotation.

  2. Or you could, you know, macro Potion of the Tol'Vir to Rapid Fire (if you're MM) or Beastial Wrath (if you're BM) to get the [b]MOST[/b] out of the potion without wasting a few seconds of it pre-pull.

    • Why would anyone downrate this? I can't think of any reason to chug a potion before you're actually dealing damage; potions are off the GCD, so why not just macro them to the cooldowns you're guaranteed to be using at the start of a fight anyway?

      • If you've looked at other comments, not every fight starts out that way — and would ultimately be a waste. Beth'tilac is a classic fight for this. As soon as the boss is engaged, she retreats, and there's at least a 15-20 second additional lag before the spinners that are taunted down get any damage on them.

      • Because if you start the pot pre-combat the pot timer starts letting you drink a second one in 2 min. If you do it once you get into combat it falls under the one pot per fight rule and only get 1 pot rather then 2. Even if you waste 5 seconds of the first pot, you end the fight with 45 seconds of pot boost rather then 25 during the fight.

  3. I dont think it is wasted on fights like shannox (regardless of strat). Beth, yes… Aly, possibly.. Lets remember that even having 5-10 seconds use of that pot, is a dps gain. It will never be a dps loss. In regards to Rius comment, yes that is a good point; but remember that this is about PRE-potting so that you may use another – especially as MM pre pot can be a massive gain, as we can pot AGAIN with the RF due to readiness. Even as surv/BM it would be more beneficial to pre pot (where you can use it), and then pot again during BL/Hero.

  4. Would it be more beneficial to use a potion other than crit to pre-pot, espcially on any fight that requires no movement for the first 15-25 sec? With current gear and CA, our crit is capped or within a couple percent while the boss is over 90% so why not pre-pot with haste instead to get those Aimed Shots off as fast as possible?

    • Certainly an option, and save your Tol'vir for the Heroism phase. It all depends how close you are to that crit cap. I'd be interested to see on a real life boss fight how much a haste pot makes a difference over the Tol'vir for a MM hunter.

      • I am thinking specifically for the pre-potting, naturally tol'vir is the potion of choice for mid fight, but shouldn't most hunters be crit capped during CA? That would make tol'vir completely worthless. The haste potion isn't great but at least it would have some value.

        • Ignore that, for some reason I was thinking about crit only and ignoring attack power. That was dumb.

        • Ignore that, for some reason I was thinking about crit only and ignoring attack power. That was dumb.

        • Im very glad you corrected yourself :P

          dont forget 1 agi = 2 AP.. As Morynne has said, it is only non-beneficial on fights like Beth, where you are sitting there waiting for spinners, and on Lord Rhyo, while you are controlling his movement.

          With current fights it is nearly always useful to pre pot. I always pre pot on shannox, as you can be close enough to open up on rageface, and Aly is good if you can do it just before she knocks you back (which is when combat actually starts). – off topic, on Aly if you spam disengage (and face her) at the start, you go towards her, not backwards :P

  5. I do feel like Ragnaros is a perfect example of a pre-pot opportunity as well. While the first phase might be kinda relaxed, every bit of dps still helps.

  6. You can Pre-Pot and Pre-Call of the Wild

    10 Sec – MD to tank
    7 Sec – Call of the Wild -> Dismiss Pet -> Summon New Pet
    3 Sec – Pre-Pot

    When Call of the Wild finishes, cast another one from the 2nd pet.

    You get 20+ sec of the potion and 30+ sec of 10% attack power if you use both at the start.

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