Hunter Bag of Tricks – No. 3 – Feign Death

The most effective aggro dump in the game, and when used correctly, one of the hunters most useful skills.


Incorrect use of feign death in an instance situation:

1.  Tank has the mob – hunter is wailing on the mob and rising rapidly up the aggro table.

2.  Hunter overtakes the tank on the threat meter, but continues to wail on the mob.

3.  Hunter pulls aggro from the tank, the mob runs over and swipes at the hunter.

4.  The hunter stands there for a second or two, or even takes a melee swipe at the mob, before remembering that nifty feign death button and hitting the dirt.

5.  In the meantime, the priest is desperately throwing a shield and some heals on the hunter.

6.  As the hunter hits the ground, completely wiping his aggro, the mob turns around, and swipes the priest (who was standing next to the hunter) and had built up additional aggro trying to save him, one-shotting the priest.

7.  Now the group has no healer, the mob takes them apart and it’s a wipe.  Welcome to the Feign Death wipe.

Admittedly, this wasn’t just the hunters fault.  The tank needed to be quicker at grabbing aggro back, the priest should have resisted his instincts to heal the stupid hunter.  But, it was largely due to the hunter that the group wiped, since it need never have happened.

Correct use of feign death in an instance:

Pre-requisite:  You have a threat meter like Omen installed.  I have my warning set to 90%.  I get a loud noise when I hit 90% of the tanks aggro.  (You actually pull aggro went your threat exceeds 130% of the tanks, or 110% of the tanks if you are standing within 10yards.)

1.  Tank has the mob – hunter is wailing on the mob and rising rapidly up the aggro table.

2.  Hunter gets to 90% of the tanks aggro, either by listening for the noise or watching the threat meter, the hunter can see this.  NOW they hit Feign Death.  Feign Death wipes the hunter’s aggro, taking him/her to the bottom of the aggro table.

3.  Hunter jumps up and continues to wail on the mob.  In a long fight, s/he may have to repeat step 2 again.  

4.  Mob dies 🙂

(Other members of your group need to be aware of the hunter’s ability to do this.  I have played with mages who ride the aggro table, secure, they think, because I am ahead of them on the chart.  Then I dump aggro, and they continue to blast away, hitting a couple of bit crits and pulling aggro.  I have also played with mages who don’t know that they can use invisibility in the way I use feign death – i.e. before pulling aggro – or that their best aggro dump combination if they do pull aggro is ice block followed by invisibility – and that ice block by itself is a barrier not an aggro dump.  But I know I have it good in comparison – invisibility has a 3 min cooldown – feign death is 25secs with the glyph.)

Use when the group calls a wipe:

Don’t be the jerk who feigns death before the raid leader calls a wipe, just because its going badly.  But when the leader does call a wipe, try to get somewhere safe and feign, it can often save your armor bill and a run from the graveyard.  If you are an Engineer with an army knife or jumper cables you may even be able to rez your companions after you get out of combat. (Anelf says – Rememebr to rez your healer first 🙂 ).

Use of feign death when soloing:

Use it in exactly the same way as in an instance with your pet, in order to refrain from pulling aggro from you pet.  

You can also use it to ping pong aggro between you and your pet, if you need to give you pet some breathing space to heal up when he is low on health.   Throw on a mend pet, hit distracting shot, mob runs for you, slow him or kite him if you like, maybe even take a hit, when your pet is ready to retake aggro, hit feign death.

I also use feign death when attacked by something big I can’t handle, and let my poor pet die.  I used to fish up by Skettis before I could take out the elite trees that wandered past (or before I realized how easy they were to take down).  When a tree would sneak up on me (have you noticed how sneaky giant elites are in WoW), I would feign death and let my poor pet die.  The tree would wander off, and I would jump up, rez my pet, throw him a treat, and continue fishing.

You can also use it when trying to sneak past patrols or into areas.

Use of feign death in pvp:

It has some use in pvp.  It will remove you as someone’s target, or as a pet/minions target.  The enemy has to retarget you.  It is easy for them to do, especially if they have a /targetlasttarget macro, but often they will turn to someone else, it will buy you a couple of seconds, or it will get a pesky pet off you.  Occasionally, if you were really low on health when you pull it (and do not have a DOT on your which finishes you off, which kinda defeats the object), it will fool the unobservant pvper into thinking you really are dead. But not very often, this trick is too well known.

If you are monitoring a long channelled spell and can time it right, in pve or pvp, you can hit feign death just before it is cast, canceling the spell.  But in reality, it’s pretty hard to get the timing right for this.

Improving feign death:

The minor glyph of feign death reduced the cooldown by 5 secs.  There aren’t many super useful minor hunter glyphs, so I usually use this one.

Survival Tactics in the Survival talent tree, reduces the chance your feign death will be resisted by 4% (2/2).  For pve most people do not take this talent, even though it is quite a nice one, there are too many other nice talents to take.  For a pvp build it is more useful for the reduction to the disengage cooldown.

Feign death cannot be resisted by players, but it can be resisted by mobs.  A mob of your own level has a 4% chance of resisting your feign death.  A mob 3 levels higher has a 17% chance of resisting, and a mob 6 level higher has a 50% chance of resisting.  This chance to resist can be reduced by hit rating.  If you are hit capped against a mob, it should not resist your feign death.   Just another reason to make sure you are hit capped when you go raiding.

A note on shadowmeld:


A Night Elf’s shadowmeld acts almost like a second feign death, although it is not a complete aggro wipe like feign death, rather it now acts as a temporary aggro freeze.

For shadowmeld, the tank, or another party member, has to do something to re-establish aggro above that of the the hunter (or other Night Elf class – rogues, shadowpriests, fury warriors, etc. can also use this one), during the period in which the hunter (or elf) is shadowmelded, otherwise when the hunter/elf steps out of shadowmeld they just return to where they were at the top of the aggro table.

Having said this, shadowmeld is useful, if you absolutely need a feign death and its on cooldown.  It is also useful when trying to sneak past something, or in pvp, and for those classes of elf, who do not have the uber aggro dump that is feign death.

Shadowmeld is also very useful in PvP for setting up an ambush. Picture the scene … You’re shadowmelded by a graveyard you’re protecting in AV. A lone Hordie rides past on his way to the main battle and sees an undefended graveyard flag. His hands trembling in excitement at finally being able to cap a graveyard, he runs up to the flag, and right clicks on it … ‘Where did that Night Elf come from?’ he wonders as he releases his spirit from his rapidly cooling corpse. Anelf finds this almost as much fun as throwing Entangling Roots on players trying to run away from the fight 🙂 .


7 responses to “Hunter Bag of Tricks – No. 3 – Feign Death

  1. In PvE you can often Feign Death without sacrificing your pet. If you FD and go out of combat you can mount and your pet disappears! Used this trick many a time to get out of bad spots.

  2. Or use FD, have your cat take the aggro, thow on AoTC and get your butt outa there. most of the time you can run far enough from your pet where he will just disappear. Then you can just resummons him and bam!

  3. To Nathan and Strutt – thanks guys – forgot about these two uses, have used both in the past myself 🙂

  4. “”Admittedly, this wasn’t just the hunters fault. The tank needed to be quicker at grabbing aggro back, the priest should have resisted his instincts to heal the stupid hunter. But, it was largely due to the hunter that the group wiped, since it need never have happened.””

    Ok, I’m one of those touchy healy priestly types. I wanted to quickly chime in on this one.

    A) Blaming the tank if a DPS pulls aggro and they don’t get the mob back in time is valid only a very very small percentage of the time. Lets say the tank does pull the mob back- you have now blown the CD or the taunt ability. If a big AoE attack falls, or a pat comes, or someone is feared into another mob- there is now an issue that could affect the healer. Once bad things happen I usually have to start AoE heals to keep the party up, which pull mobs quicker than anything in the game. But things happen in instances, so yes- there will be times when the mob runs to the hunter. BUT YOU SHOULD NEVER FEIGN DEATH IN THIS SITUATION REGARDLESS. So if you pull it, you tank it. Any halfway decent healer can keep you alive until the tank grabs the mob back.

    B) Blaming the healer is just plain stupid. Period. No excuse. I am going to make the assumption that the mob will get pulled back to the tank and will bubble, CoH, Renew, and Flash Heal the hunter to see to it they stay up. We will usually NEED that DPS to prevent enrage timers, for CC, add kiting, etc. I’m not going to assume a ‘huntard’ until… well until I see them Feign Death with a pulled mob on them. My JOB is to #1 keep the tank alive, #2 keep myself alive, #3 keep everyone else alive (only because #3 is hard to do when I’m a corpse- Spirit of Redemption nonetheless). DPS pulling mobs happens all the time. “Crits happen”. And it is very easily handled in 99% of the cases and not even noticed for the most part- they usually don’t even have time to start running back to the DPS before they get pulled back to the tank.

    Basically, if you pull it- you tank it. A good healer will keep you alive through it and a good tank will get that sucker off of you. But for baby Jebuses sake, don’t blame me for healing you. I’m going to make the assumption that you are even semi-intelligent and no one will probably even comment or notice that it happened- besides me, you, and the tank.

    Oops, pull, WHACK!, bubblehealheal, (oh yah?) taunt, WHACK!, phewphewphew, dead mob.
    (Other DPS) “Hey, did you guys hear something?”

  5. Hi Thumbstwo. So you’re basically agreeing with Tinuviel. The point she’s making is that hunters who only feign death after they’ve pulled aggro are causing serious problems for their tank and healers. DPSers who regularly cause problems for their tanks and healers won’t be regulars in their raid for long.

    I’ve seen a lot of wipes caused by someone suddenly turning themselves into a one-second tank and everyone else in the raid trying (and failing) to compensate. This is where I don’t completely agree with you. As a healer, I have to very quickly decide if I’m going to try to save the guy who screwed up or if my duty is to keep the other 9 people in the raid alive. This is situational, and is one of the biggest responsibilities a healer will face. Of course, if the mob being pulled is a boss or a hard hitter, then the DPSer will probably be one-shotted anyway, so my decision is made for me.

    Then I have to decide if that player is worth battle rezzing or not. Druids should think carefully about when to use their rez cooldowns. Some battle rezzes are more useful than others.

    And I might as well add in my own pet peeve as well … When the raids gets adds, its either up to the tanks to pull them or for CCers to immobilize them. So many times I’ve see a quick-thinking hunter ice block the add, and then another DPSer goes and breaks the CC. And then the mob turns and looks at me with a sadistic gleam in its eye :-s .

  6. Not really, I was objecting to their being fault assigned for healing the guy. If his raid healer heals them, its not their fault when the hunter decides to FD. There is no way they can predict stupidity.

    The healer can be blamed for dropping a HoT prior to a multi-mob pull, or other various bonehead manuveurs. But they share no blame whatsoever in doing their raid healing function.

    I have yet to hit a raid where a DPS doesn’t pull a trash mob. I have rarely hit a raid where a DPS pulls a boss (baring threat dump occasions).

    And I wished I had a battle rez- that would make things sssooooooo much easier on me 🙂 Course, I have my own goodies too- but I want more dangit!

  7. I just got my priest to 80 and respecced to Holy (from Shadow, obviously 🙂 ). I’m looking forward to learning what those priestly goodies are. (I’m told I have to stop using SW:P now).