Well, folks, we’ve had some time to absorb the class changes that update 12.0 (otherwise known as the Helm’s Deep expansion) brought to us. To recap, skill traits were replaced with skill trees, and several skills were consolidated, removed or changed as a result. For the hunter, the names remained the same – Bowmaster (red), Huntsman (blue) and Trapper of Foes (yellow), but the way the hunter behaves between lines differs tremendously. In this post, I’ll go over the Trapper of Foes line and focus on some of the combat skills that have changed or are useful when running in this line.
Here are some of my other hunter skill guides:
Prior to Helm’s Deep, Trapper of Foes was undoubtedly the ugly cousin of the other two hunter lines. Traps were weak, could only be placed in combat, and always had long inductions. Since most higher level mobs were likely to run right through hunter traps, the cost to DPS that came from traiting yellow was normally deemed not worthwhile. Now, everything has changed. In running Trapper of Foes, I’ve found a more strategic, methodical and survivable build than has previously been seen on a hunter. Combinations of roots, stuns, slows, bleeds and even heals make the Trapper of Foes a very unique LOTRO experience.
Here are a few skills (combat, mainly) that are available to the Trapper of Foes.
Quick Shot: Chance to return morale
Effects of quick shot are dependent on stance:
Precision – chance for additional quick shot crit chance
Endurance – chance to return morale
Strength – 40% target speed reduction
Brax’s thoughts: Trapper of Foes is set up to be optimally run in endurance stance. I’ve done this, and the extra morale return is a nice perk. Additionally, trappers get nice evade bonuses from this stance, increasing their survivability further. Reaching the 5th tier of the yellow specialization will allow you to reduce all of your trap skill cooldowns for every successful evade. Clearly, this is the most advantagous stance to run Trapper of Foes in.
Swift bow – launches 3 arrows in rapid succession
Brax’s thoughts: Not much has changed with this skill, so it’s still a great high-damage shot. It’s also good for focus generation, but a somewhat long induction can be reduced by putting a couple of skill points into the Huntsman line. Use Swift Bow to build focus for your hard-hitting, focus consuming shots like Penetrating Shot or Merciful Shot.
Barbed Arrow - Applies a bleed to target every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. 10% target speed reduction
Brax’s thoughts: Barbed Arrow is a nice ranged damage-over-time skill that will generate focus. The 10% speed reduction isn’t as nice as the 40% reduction supplied by quick shot in strength stance, but is a nice little perk if barbed arrow is already a part of your rotation. In Trapper of Foes, barbed arrow can be used to apply additional bleeds to slowed targets who have likely already received a damage-over-time via one of your traps.
Penetrating Shot - Big damage, no cooldown
Brax’s thoughts: Penetrating Shot has always been one of the best “bang for your buck” shots when considering damage vs power consumption. Now that there is no cooldown, rotate it in with Swift Bow, Barbed Arrow and Quick shot to consume and then re-build focus during trap cooldown periods.
Merciful Shot - Big damage, available only if target health is under 50%. Removes up to 3 corruptions. Additional damage if Lingering Wound effects are present on the target.
Brax’s thoughts: I got used to not using Merciful Shot much in the past, due to the 50% health requirement and amount of power it consumes. However, it does do massive damage and the corruption removal is nice. In the Trapper of Foes line, Merciful Shot will do additional damage if a Lingering Wound bleed is present on the target. So, stack up those lingering wounds and then FINISH HIM!!
Distracting Shot: 10 second daze applied to target
Brax’s thoughts: Distracting Shot provides a nice 10 second daze if the hunter has accidentally bitten off more than he/she can chew. Under normal circumstances, the three minute cooldown of this skill makes it easy to forget about. In Trapper of Foes, the cooldown can be reduced to two minutes, and the number of other roots and dazes available in this line enable Distracting Shot to make a more regular appearance in the rotation.
Bard’s arrow: Applies 15 second fear to target
Brax’s thoughts: I hardly ever use this skill in the Trapper line. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very useful fear skill, but with so many bleeds, slows, and explosions, I find myself with such an abundance of cool skills that the thought of using Bard’s Arrow barely ever occurs to me. Not to mention, as overpowered as the classes are currently, there’s not much sense in scaring off mobs when you can take them head-on and be ok.
Blindside: Mele attack, Interrupt
Brax’s thoughts: Blindside is one of my favorite mele attacks since it not only interrupts inductions, it also generates a good amount of focus. While Low Cut is probably still the most useful mele attack, Blindside is a close 2nd.
Low Cut: Mele attack, reduces target run speed, small chance to apply bleed
Brax’s thoughts: This is another great skill to reduce target run speed, and it’s AoE. This mele skill fits right in with the other slows in Trapper line, and should be used whenever the orcs get a little too close. With all of these target slows, your hunter is going to look like he/she’s moving like Neo in the Matrix!
Dazing Blow: 5 second daze, removes up to 3 corruptions from target
Brax’s thoughts: Honestly, I always forget that this skill removes corruption. I use it occasionally for the daze, and because the animation is one of my favorite Hunter mele’s
Set Trap: Single ground-target trap that roots and can be used in combat
One of the great improvements of the Trapper of Foes line. Based on the yellow specialization, Set Trap will change to triple trap (like the old consumable), and if you decide to allocate your points accordingly, can also be placed at range. Set trap can always be used in-combat, regardless of your specialization. So root away, trappers! You now have more than enough reason to make use of this skill!
Purge Poison: Removes 3 poison effects and increases poison resistance for a duration of 15 seconds on target
Brax’s thoughts: The new trapper line brings another twist to an old favorite. Reaching the 5th tier of the yellow specialization turns Purge Poison into a fellowship skill. That’s right hunters, no more trying to select, stop, purge … doh, he’s out of range…poison from that overzealous guardian who just can’t wait to make the next pull!
Trapper of Foes Specific Skills
Piercing Trap: Initial fire damage and fire damage over time every 2 seconds for 20 seconds. 30% target slow.
Brax’s thoughts: If you watch my video below, I call this trap “snakebite” because that’s what it was called for most of beta. It is a very powerful trap that not only slows and DoT’s the target, but if you trait 3 deep in the trapper specialization, you also gain a morale reflect effect on a target that tripped the Piercing Trap. In other words, this trap not only slows and bleeds a target, but can potentially be another very powerful self-heal for the hunter.
Explosive Arrow: Ranged fire damage to all nearby targets
Brax’s thoughts: This is an interesting skill because it’s the only arrow that the hunter shoots using the ground-targeting system. It’s nice to be able to target a spot for AoE damage, instead of targeting a single mob and the AoE simply affecting those who are nearby him. It’s interesting to me that the description says all nearby targets, which seems to indicate that there is no limit to the number of mobs who can take AoE damage from this skill, as long as they’re within the radius of the target. I find it a little awkward to use since I’m so used to targeting mobs with my arrows. Still, if you’re already ground-targeting for your traps, this mechanic shouldn’t be too hard to get used to.
Decoy/Deadly Decoy: Drops a hunter decoy that draws the attention of nearby foes
Brax’s thoughts: Certified proof that servants of the White Hand need a better vision program. This skill drops a hunter scarecrow that generates threat and can be used as a tank for mobs while the real hunter tees off on his nearsighted foes. Reaching the first tier of the specialization turns this skill into “deadly decoy”, which means after a certain period of time the decoy will explode, doing damage to nearby foes and stunning them for a short period of time. This is a pretty fun skill, and can be extremely useful when pulling multiple foes. Draw them all in to the decoy, and then fire off an explosive arrow or throw down some DoT traps to make them pay for their ocular handicap.
Lingering Wound: Arrow shot that does initial damage and applies a bleed every 2 seconds for 8 seconds
Brax’s thoughts: Yet another nice damage-over-time skill for the trapper line, and this one stacks! Apply this bleed up to four times, and fire off a merciful shot (which applies extra damage when these bleeds are in affect) just in time to take down the uglies.
Rain of Thorns: Applies a 30 second root to multiple enemies
Brax’s thoughts: Rain of Thorns has been moved into the trapper line, which makes a lot of sense. I will usually use this skill as a starting move to make sure I don’t pull too many baddies in at once. 30 seconds is a long time for a root, so you may be able to burn down a couple (one at a time) that you initially root.
Capstone: The One Trap: Big initial damage, Light damage every 2 seconds for 20 seconds, -30% target run speed.
Brax’s thoughts: This capstone does the most damage of any trap in the hunter’s arsenal, and has the best animation (wooden spikes poking up through the ground), to boot! Yet another DoT, yet another target slow. Use this skill whenever it’s off cooldown.
If you’d like to see further explanation of the Trapper of Foes specializations and see the skills in action, check out my video (* from beta):