how I Trap

I don’t claim to be the best at crowd control in the world, but I’m not bad, and it’s part of the hunter game I like and am constantly trying to improve.  Good trapping in an instance group makes a huge difference to the success or failure of the group.

For those of you likewise constantly looking to improve your crowd control, this is the my experience. Please add any tips you have in reply.

Intro to Freeze Traps

Our partner in cc is the freeze trap –   Lets look at its tooltip:

Freezing Trap:  (Rank 3) Instant cast; 100 Mana.  Place a frost trap that freezes the first enemy that approaches, preventing all action for up to 20 sec. Any damage caused will break the ice. Trap will exist for 1 min. Only one trap can be active at a time. 30 sec cooldown.

Freeze trapping is first learned at level 20.  At level 20 the trap only lasts 10 secs.  Rank 2, learnt at level 40, increases this to 15 seconds, and Rank 3, learnt at level 60, to 20secs.

Freeze traps can be uses on any type of mob, unlike a mages sheep or a priests shackle which are powerful but have limited uses.  There are a few mobs that are immune to it (often ones that are immune to frost spells or to all forms of cc).  Freeze traps can also occassionally be resisted.

Only one freeze trap can be open on the ground at any one time.  However, once a mob is trapped, another trap can be placed if the cooldown is up.  This trap can await the trapped mobs escape or can be used to trap a second mob.  It is not something I regularly do, but it is possible to trap 2 mobs at once, before going back to chain trapping one of them.

Freeze trap has its limitations.  Beside some of those mentioned above, it can be removed from mobs or players in pvp either by themselves or by their friends through spells such as mage ice-block, pally .  It also breaks on any damage, including DOTs or stings on the mob (except scorpid sting), consecration, arcane explosion, multi-shot in the vicinity, etc.  But the biggest issue for chain trapping is its cooldown.  Without armor or talents to improve your freeze trap, the mob remains trapped for 20secs but the cool down on the trap is 30secs, so if the mob was trapped as soon as the trap was laid, then there will be a 10sec gap before you can lay another one.  10 secs = dead when Moroes’s friend Drueger is running after you.

How I Trap

I  am going to talk through a dungeon situation, where your group has to pull several mobs at once, and you have to keep one mob crowd controlled throughout a long fight. Meaning that you will have to re-trap the mob at least once.

This is not dropping a freeze trap in a reaction to extra adds, as you might do when soloing, but pre-planned trapping. You place the trap before the pull, target your mark, and when the tank pulls shoot at your mark to peel him from the group and into the trap.

 Before the fight begins, survey the area.  If in doubt ask the tank where he is going to fight the mobs, and find a good place to put the trap, which is out the way of the melee and any AOE (area of affect spells). This will usually be well to the side or behind the main fight. I usually make sure the group, and especially the tank, knows where my trap will be.

 Check whether you have a caster or a melee to trap. For most hunters (except those with silencing shot), melee is easier, as the mob will run towards you. We will deal with trapping a melee mob for now. I will make a note about casters later. For very tough fights, you might want to know what skills the mob you are asked to trap has. For instance, in the Karazhan Moroes fight, I am usually asked to keep a mob trapped until Moroes and his other 3 cronies are dead – several minutes. One of the mobs is a paladin (my best buddy Drueger) with a hammer of justice, if you are trapping him you have to stand well behind the trap or he will stun you before getting trapped.

 It is helpful if the group leader users raid target icons to mark the targets, so that you and everyone else know which you are trapping. If there is only one hunter in the party the convention is to use the Blue Square for the freeze trap.

 Make sure everyone in the party knows not to attack your mob. That means, no DOTs (damage over time), and no AOE on your mob or near your trap. If the trap breaks they should know to not attack it and give you chance to re-trap, unless you specifically call for help.

 The mobs are all marked up. Before the pull, place your trap, stand behind it, and target the Blue Square.  Remember your trap will exist on the group for 1 min before it fades, and then 20secs while something is trapped in it.  It’s hard to know exactly when the tank is going to shoot, but try and place your trap about 30secs or so before he does so.  This way you eat into your cooldown, meaning that your trap will be off cooldown by the time the fight starts.  This is useful for 2 reasons.  Firstly, if your first trap gets resisted you can throw down another.  And secondly, as soon as the mob is trapped, place the next trap down, so that the cooldown is ticking down at the same time as the life of the activated trap.  Doing this means you are less likely to have a mob breaking from a trap before your cooldown is up.

We are all set.  Wait for the tank, as soon as he pulls, start shooting at your mob. As soon as you draw aggro stop auto shot, otherwise you will break your own trap.  Rather than relying on remembering to turn off auto shot, I usually use a little macro to pull. It goes like this:

/Cast Distracting Shot

/Cast Arcane Shot



 Addons can help with trapping a lot – 2 addons KHunter Timers and Cool Down Timers 2 can help a lot with this. The first tells you how long your trap will exist untriggered on the ground (and later how long it will exist with something trapped in it, if it doesn’t break early); the second tells you how long before you can lay another trap. If you time it right, you can have a trap on the ground but be ready to lay another one when the tank pulls.

 Once you have him successfully trapped, switch you target to assist the tank, and start adding your dps to the groups kill target. But all the time watch your trap and its cool down.   You might read some advice telling you to set your trapped mob as your Focus, so that you can switch back and forth between them easily.  (Read about focus and focus macros elsewhere on this blog.)  Actually, from habit I do this the other way around.  I make the Main Assist or Main Tank my focus. Once I have my mob trapped I can then quickly switch to lending dps to the focus’s target at a push of a button.  When I am ready to re-trap, I either manually target, or tab target (with auto shot turned off) to my blue square.

 I use three different methods to re-trap depending upon the situation:

 Method 1: Drop a new trap between yourself and the mob when the cooldown is up, and when the old trap breaks and the mob rushes at you it becomes re-trapped. Pros: Simple, little dps down time, maximum trap time. Cons: If there is a lot of healing flying around, it is possible that when the trap breaks the mob won’t run at you, but will run off at the healers.

 Method 2: Drop a new trap between yourself and the mob and just before the trap breaks, shoot at the mob, to deliberately break the trap and pull it into the new trap. Pros: Your’re in contol, you are building up more aggro on the mob, he is not going to run off and eat the healer. Cons: You are switching off the dps, need to make sure you don’t break your own trap. Also if you do this for a long time, you will have built up a lot of aggro on the mob. When the tank is ready to break the trap, stand away from it and feign death, so it doesn’t rush at you.

 Method 3: When the trap is close to breaking, run over and physical drop the new trap on top of the old one. pros: you are less likely to break your trap accidentally, you keep the mob in one place. cons: If it breaks as you approach it, and your mob has a stun or cc affect or high dps, you might be in trouble.

 Trapping a caster – if you are able to silence the caster they will run towards the person silencing them, and thru any trap that is in the way. If you don’t have a means of silencing the caster to pull it thru your trap, you need to either do a ‘long pull’, work with ‘line of sight’, or ‘drop the trap on their head’. Marksman hunters have silencing shot which could work (I’ve never specced this far into the MM tree), some priests specced into shadow and some other classes also have a silence or interupt, if they stand between your trap and the caster they could also pull the caster thru the trap, but another party member may have other tasks. I usually use the other three methods:

 Method 1 caster trapping: the long pull. If you have a clear area behind you, and quite a narrow space to pull the caster thru, you can shoot and run, once you get out of their range they will follow you, hopefully thru your trap. Pros: When it works its fairly easy to do, and can be done when you can’t run over to the casters starting position. Cons: The caster might miss the trap, some areas are more suited to this than others, you might take damage and get out of the healers range.

 Method 2 caster trapping: disrupt line of sight. If you have a handy corner or curve, you can run around it disrupting the casters line of sight, making them follow you, and trigger a well placed trap. This can also work well with the high level hunter spell – Misdirection – which allows you to shoot at the mob but the mob things the shots (and so the threat) is coming from someone else. Usually you misdirect onto your tank or your pet. They can be hiding around the corner to begin with.

 Method 3 caster trapping: drop the trap on his head. If it is safe to run up to the caster, wait for the tank to initiate the fight. Don’t shoot at the caster or draw its attention, just run straight up to it and drop the trap on its head! Pros: often a good solution, though your dps may be delayed a bit. Cons: you can’t use it in all situations, as running over to the caster might bring you close to other mobs, which you could aggro causing adds, wipes, and gripes.  Also, the trap only lasts 20secs, as the mob is trapped as soon as it is dropped, this is not conducive to chain trapping, especially without additional trapping talents.

 What happens if my trap breaks early and freeze trap is still on cool down? Communication is key. Whenever my trap is out but I am re-trapping I make a habit of saying on voice, “re-trapping.”  If you need help ask for it calmly. Say something like, “trap out, trap on cooldown, need help.” The groups I regularly run with know if I say something like this, I can’t retrap. But even if your trap is on cool down, you don’t always need the off tank to come to the rescue. If you can buy yourself a few seconds, scatter shot, wing clip, run, concussion shot, kite the mob, tank it with your pet for a bit, even run, spamming you trap hot key until you drop it in your wake (if there’s room to do so safely). Be careful using feign death to shake off a mob from a broken trap, it’s going to run straight to the healers. You should only use if you’re quick, you spring up straight away and pull the mob back before he has reached a healer, giving you a second or two more on your cooldown.  I need to try this one out, but I’ve read you can use Wyvern Sting (deep survival tree talent – great fun in pvp), which puts the mob to sleep for 12 sec but leaves a damaging DOT on it when it wakes, as long as you remember to replace the DOT with a scorpid sting before re-freeze trapping.

 Do I need special gear or a survival spec to be able to trap successfully? The simple answer is no. But both can make your life a lot easier especially for heroics, kara and beyond.  Armor and gear to improve trapping:

Two pieces of the Beast Lord set – set bonus for 2 pieces – reduces the cooldown on your traps by 4 secs.  The pieces drop from breastplate (final boss in Botanica); helm (final boss in Mechinar); shoulders and legs (final boss in Steamvaults).  I have the breastplate and helm, and even though I now how my Merciless Gladiator pieces, which I better, I keep these in my bag for the set bonus.  If I have to do a lot of chain trapping, I throw them on.

Two pieces of the Beast Lord set which drops in level 70 normal 5-mans, gives a set bonus which reduces the cool down on your traps by 4 secs. Clever traps a tier 3 talent in the survival build increases the duration of your traps by 15%. I have trapped successfully without these things, but having them helps. Further down the survival tree are other trapping talents. However, to get clever traps does mean you have to major or minor in survival and a Beastmaster/marksman 41/20 build tends to be the cookie cutter raiding build if all you want is the highest dps you can manage, so its up to you.

Talents for trapping are mostly found in the survival tree:

  • Clever Traps (Survival Talent): Increases the duration of Freezing and Frost trap effects by 15% per rank (2 total ranks) and the damage of Immolation and Explosive trap effects by 15% per rank.
  • Trap Mastery (Survival Talent): Decreases the chance enemies will resist trap effects by 5-10% (2 ranks).
  • Resourcefulness (Survival Talent): Reduces the mana cost of all traps and melee abilities by 20% per rank and reduces the cooldown of all traps by 2 sec per rank. (3 ranks total).

If you don’t have any enhancements to your traps, just try to lay your first trap a little before the tank pulls, starting your cooldown counting down for your second trap, and once your mob is trapped, if you have room to move, run well away from your trap, so your mob will have to run between you and the trap buying you some time.  Remember to keep laying your trap as soon as the cool down is up, to eat into the next cooldown, and remember to kit a mob or use other skills such as scatter shot and wyvern sting if the cooldown isn’t up yet.

 Can I trap 2 mobs at once? Yes. Currently you can (they changed it so you couldn’t at one point). It takes timing, and you can only really chain trap one of them (or at least I can). Here’s an example. In the new 5-man Magister’s Terrace there is a room with the 1st boss in, with 2 groups of 6 elites. Each group comes as a 6 man pull, and they are tough. but there is a nice narrow corridor between them and an area you can fight them. This is what I do: Have the tank stand next to me (everyone else is back where we will fight them). Lay trap 1. Wait for the cool down allowing me to lay another trap (don’t lay it yet, you cant have 2 untriggered traps on the ground at once). Misdirect the mobs with multi shot onto the tank, then both run down the corridor, wait for the noise, icon, addon, whatever you have to show you your trap has been triggered, then drop trap 2 in the corridor, emerge into the fighting area, another mob gets trapped in trap 2, the mage sheeps a third, and now you only have 3 to deal with, much better odds! When one of your trapped mobs gets loose, you may be able to retrap it, but the tank needs to be ready to soak up the other one (hopefully they were hit by the misdirection so have some aggro towards him).

 Some extras: Either you, your pet, or your tank can run a mob thru a trap, using a pull then run, or proximity aggro. If you don’t much mind which mob you trap from a group, try placing the trap and then misdirecting the group onto the tank (who is standing behind the trap) using multi-shot (which will slap him on the hate list of 3). If you are not specifically being asked to trap, place a trap between your healer, or a ranged dps who often draws aggro and the mobs (they will thank you for it when the mob runs at them, even if it is immediately broken it buys a second or two).

 What about traps other than freeze trap? In instance, I only usually use my other traps if we are doing AOE pulls (i.e. burning down non-elite groups), occasionally for boss fights or running away. The reason I don’t use them to add to dps, even if not being asked to cc, is that I like to keep the cooldown of my freeze trap up, for emergency cc. But for AOE pulls you can either use explosive trap or snake trap (lvl 68). Snake trap is my favorite. However, be a bit careful, if you group kills the mobs very quickly, or the trap triggers late in the fight, the snakes will slither off looking for other prey and may pull adds. Its surprising how far they will go before they die. Frost trap can be used to kite mob, particularly when you are running for the exit after a bad pull.  Frost trap can also be used to kite the Coilfang Defenders in heroic slavepens.  These mobs are immune to all forms of cc, come in pairs, and hit real hard.  We usually tank one and kite one.  They are pretty easy to kite as a hunter with a combination of frost trap, concussive shot, aspect of cheetah (if needed), and wing clip if you have to turn around and come back through him.

 Things a trapper wishes their group wouldn’t do (not that my regular group does)
– DOTs the mob to be trapped, this breaks the trap
– AOEs (arcane explosion, consecration, dragon breath, thunderclap, etc.) near a trap, this breaks the trap.
– Come to my rescue too early if the trap breaks early, I can’t re-trap if you are hitting the mob
– put a heal on me just as the trap breaks, I know you are trying to save me (ty), but try and wait till I have hit him again or he will run straight for you
– Pull the fight next to the trap, this makes me twitchy
– Tank/melee break the trap without looking to see if there are any other loose mobs to take care of (I can keep him trapped, but not if you blow my cooldown)
– Tank/melee break the trap I have been chain trapping, while I am standing next to it, with no warning to me, and no immediate taunt, trap mob is going to kill me if I have built up a lot of aggro. Give me warning, I can move away and feign death to dump aggro.

 HOMEWORK TIME!!!! Go out and practice. Go and practice even before you are in an instance or group. Find a favorite spot where you can practice your trapping skills, work out how the addons work, and generally get better before you join a group. This will give you much more confidence. I like to use the Clefthoofs of Nagrand as big hairy guineapigs, but pick whatever you like. I chain trap clefthoofs from one end of Nagrand into Telaar and leave them as a present for Cookie’s Dad, before running away. I try multi-trapping on them and the talbuks; different methods of pulling; test out my addons; etc. This has hugely improved my trapping.

Hope this helps – please share your hunter tips on this forum – I want to learn from you too 


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