Dwarf Traits

Red Line DPS Hunter
'Bowmaster' Build

By Marenzo1 – Updated for Before The Shadows, U34

Table of Contents


Welcome to LHQ’s guide for the Red Hunter ‘Bowmaster’ build!

This guide covers everything you need to know to become a powerful Hunter in Lord of the Rings Online. Take the time to review the information in the guide and visit the Lotro Wiki links provided for more information on certain skills, abilities, and items. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them on the LHQ Discord.

The Red Hunter provides excellent high DPS through long-range stationary attacks. As a class, Hunters have always been a reliable choice in raids and instances for a long time due to their ranged attacks capable of dishing out high-burst damage while staying. Making them ideal as a DPS for all types of content. With the ability to trait for more AoE damage, they can also dish out significant damage to multiple targets, which is useful for trash pulls.

The only downside to bringing Hunter DPS to raids is the need for additional support from willing Lore-masters, specifically Fire debuffs. While this can be irritating, it is manageable.

Stat Goals

Critical Rating (25%) > Physical Mastery (200%) > Tactical Mitigation > Vitality

When it comes to stat prioritization for a Red Hunter, Critical Rating (25%) should be prioritized over Physical Mastery (200%), followed by Tactical Mitigation and then Vitality.

Keep in mind that, through the traits Shoot To Kill and Critical Eye, the cap for Critical Rating is increased to 30% and the cap for Ranged Attacks is increased to 210%.

When slotting your essences, aim to get as close as possible to the stat cap for Critical Rating and Physical Mastery without exceeding them. Remember that you have a limited number of essence slots, and being slightly below the cap is not an issue, as consumables such as Trail Food, Battle Lore and Warding Lore provide stat increases that should be kept up during an instance or raid. Additionally, the presence of a Red Captain in your group can provide additional stat increases during battle.


The recommended essences for this build are covered later in the guide, but be sure to double check that you have the right Virtues equipped before slotting any essences!


End-Game Build (Raiding)

Best in slot gear and jewelry for Red line Hunters.

Armour Pieces

Jewelry Pieces


You should be using these essences whenever possible!
Make sure to read the Stat Goals section to find more information regarding the essences.

Trait Trees

When it comes to playing a Red Hunter, you’ll want to have 2 trait trees.

Your primary trait tree (As seen on the picture below) will allow you to deal excellent damage while also allowing you to deal some AoE damage.

But, in some instances you may have to avoid dealing AoE damage. In that case it might be worth for you to remove any trait points that you’ve invested and distribute them elsewhere.

The primary trait tree is an excellent Single-target DPS trait tree is a great setup for any Red Hunter, offering the best of both worlds with a little bit of AoE capacity from skills such as Split-shots and Rain of Arrows, while not sacrificing too much single-target damage.

Backup Red hunter Aoe tree as per Update 31 version of this guide. 

The legendary weapon is the U31 version updated with some traceries. It’s meant to use the Main weapon as a swap with a Single target version (U34 version of LI might not cover all traceries). In short, switch both bleed with AOE damage/crit. And barbed arrow with Rain of arrow damage.


The virtues listed below align with the Stat Goals for a Red Hunter:

  • Determination: Great for increasing Mastery and Critical Rating
  • Valour: Great for increasing Mastery, Finesse and Critical Rating
  • Confidence: Great for increasing Critical Rating and Finesse
  • Wit: Great for increasing Finesse, Mastery and Critical Rating
  • Loyalty: Great for increasing Vitality and survival


Note that depending on the type of fight, you may need to switch some of the virtues to more Defensive options.

If you require more survivability, start by replacing Wit for Fidelity.
Then, depending on if you need more Physical Mitigation or Tactical Mitigation. Slot either Tolerance or Innocence.

  • Fidelity: Great for increasing Vitality and Tactical Mitigation
  • Tolerance: Provides significant Tactical Mitigation, decent Physical Mitigation and Resistance
  • Innocence: Provides significant Physical Mitigation, decent Tactical Mitigation and Resistance


Legendary Items

Legendary Item Traceries


With LIs recently revamped, the new system has simplified a lot of Hunter’s gameplay. Weapon swapping in combat is now disabled, and with that in mind, Hunter’s LIs can be built accordingly.

For Min-Max gameplay, a Hunter needs 3 LIs in total, which are:

  1. Hunter’s Bow: This will keep all the general Traceries.
  2. Hunter’s Sword for Single-target: This will keep all Single-target Traceries and Damage over Time ‘Words of Power’.
  3. Hunter’s Sword for AoE: This will keep Rain of Arrows Damage, and AoE ‘Words of Power’ Traceries.

* Note: If you don’t want an AoE setup (it can be quite useful for 3-mans and trash fights in Raids), you can skip the AoE Sword and just stick with a Single-target Sword. The difference will only be felt in Trash fights, and not in Boss Fights, as in Boss Fights, you will use the Single-target Sword anyway. If you do end up making an AoE Sword, don’t forget to swap to the Red AoE Trait Tree also (found above).



First, let’s cover traps and the Burst rotation, then move on to the Normal rotation.

If you have an extra trait line available, It is highly recommend to use a Yellow Line Swap to place traps before the fight starts.

You can place a total of 5 traps and it’s best to put them down at least 15 seconds before the fight begins.

Start by placing Triple Trap, Tripwire, The One Trap, Piercing Trap, and Deadly Decoy. These traps provide debuffs to the target, such as +15% incoming damage, DoTs, a small amount of morale absorb, and +10% incoming critical chance. These debuffs last for a short duration, but they provide a nice boost for both you and your group.

Once the traps are placed and a few seconds remain before the Tank engages the boss, go into Camouflage, which provides +50% critical chance on your first hit against the target.

After entering Camouflage, use Burn Hot and then Improved Focus, which gives an additional +25% Critical chance.

Once the boss has started, use Heartseeker first for a big critical hit/devastating hit, followed by Penetrating Shot for the debuff, Upshot, Swift Bow, Blood Arrow, Exsanguinate (for the DoT), and finish with a Barbed Arrow. This concludes the Burst rotation.

Now for the Normal rotation:

Here are a few tips to keep in mind before discussing the rotation:

As a Hunter, it’s important to keep track of debuffs and DoTs vto ensure good uptimes.

First, there is the Penetrating Shot debuff, which provides a -4% mitigation debuff on the target and +10% ranged critical chance for 10 seconds. This skill should be used every 8 seconds or so.

Next, the Barbed Arrow is a strong DoT, use this skill every 10 seconds or so.

The Exsanguinate dot lasts for 20 seconds and has a cooldown of 20 seconds. This skill is opened by using Blood Arrow, which has a cooldown of 15 seconds. It’s important not to use Blood Arrow on cooldown, as sometimes you may not be able to reapply the Exsanguinate dot before it times out. Therefore, it’s best to use Blood Arrow every 20 seconds to ensure the Exsanguinate dot can be applied.

That covers your bleeds and debuffs. Next, focus on keeping Heartseeker and Upshot, your key skills for DPS contribution, on cooldown. As mentioned earlier, critical hits/devastating hits reduce the cooldown of these skills by 1-2 seconds, so try to keep them on cooldown as much as possible. For best results, try to use Upshot with Max Focus.

Next, use Swift Bow when Heartseeker and Upshot are on cooldown. If you have the proc from Quickshot, which makes this skill instant, even better. If not, use it regardless when Heartseeker and Upshot are on cooldown.

Quick shot is your best Focus generator skill, and should always be used when you need Focus and when your big spenders (such as Upshot and Blood Arrow) are on cooldown.

Use Blindside whenever it’s available and you need Focus.

Keep Merciful Shot on cooldown when the target meets the health requirements for the skill, and use it to fill in gaps when Heartseeker, Upshot, and Swift Bow are on cooldown.



Information regarding consumables, why, which types, differences, etc.

Thanks for reading the guide!

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