So you're a hunter that has hit 80 and you're looking to gear up as fast as possible without setting foot in side of a raid. What do you do? Simple. Run the ICC 5 mans on normal and heroic modes until you're decked out in the finest iLvl 232 gear you'll find -- outside of the raid environment or an emblem for gear transaction.
Even the normal modes of the ICC 5 man dungeons drop iLvl 219 gear which is the equivalent of what you get from Heroic Trial of the Champion or the 10 man Ulduar raid.
With the ICC 5 man dungeons, Blizzard have made it easier than ever for freshly minted level 80 characters to catch up to their higher gear counterparts.
Pick up all the gear from this guide and you'll be more then Epic in a couple of days.
Please note: If it's your first run through the ICC dungeons, make sure you pick up the quests inside as you move through to ensure you are attuned to enter the next dungeon. For example, you are required to complete the 'Echoes of Tortured Souls' quest in the Forge of Souls before you are able to enter the Pit of Saron.
Now lets look at some decent gear options for Hunters that drop in both normal and heroic modes of the ICC 5 man dungeons.
Forge of Souls
[Accursed Crawling Cape] - drops from the Devourer of Souls. Nice cape with agility, attack power, hit and armor penetration. In my experience the drop rate on this one is low, and when it does drop there's bound to be a lot of competition on it. While personally I believe that Hunters, Rogues and Druids should be the only ones to stake serious claims on it, when it has dropped I've seen Paladins, Death Knights and Warriors all need on it. If you are lucky enough to score the Accursed Crawling Cape it should be good enough to see you through until you save enough Frost Emblems for [Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape].
[Heartshiver] - drops from the Devourer of Souls. If you aren't already packing Marrowstrike from Heroic Trial of the Champion, and you are going the dual wield route, Heartshiver is an ok option. If there is a Rogue in your group and they need it though, let them have it. They can probably put it to better use than you, so there's no need to be a dick about it.
[Tower of the Mouldering Corpse] - drops from the Devourer of Souls. Rather than dual wielding two Heartshivers you are better off picking up this staff. By doing so, in total you'll end up with +14 more agility, +12 critcal strike, +76 hit rating, +30 attack power. Is Tower of Mouldering Corpse better than Marrowstrike? Well it's probably a line ball decision and depends on your other gear and whether the +76 hit is useful in getting you to the hit cap. Marrowstrike has a yellow gem slot, so you be the judge. Bottomline, whatever melee option you go with, it's only going to be a stop gap until you can get into Heroic Hall of Reflection... and you'll see why....
[Nighttime] - drops from Bronjahm. If you are dual wielding melee weapons, Nighttime is a fairly good option. There's some armor penetration on there so not bad for marksmanship hunters. There are other classes in the game that can probably put Nighttime to better use than hunters so use your discretion when rolling for this. Personally, I'd only grab it if no one else in the group needed it. If, for example, and enchancement Shaman wanted it, let them have it.
[Eyes of Bewilderment] - drops from Bronjahm. Nice helm for hunters. Two gem slots, a meta gem and yellow gem. Definitely a good option until you can deck yourself out in the tier 9 set.
[Essence of Suffering] - drops from the Devourer of Souls. A nice upgrade in the wrist slot, particularly if Crusader's Dragonscale Bracers are too hard for you to come by.
[Blood Weeper] - drops from the Devourer of Souls. Another dagger. Decent stats for hunters but more suited to a Rogue. Never need this over a Rogue unless you want people to call you names. If you pick this up because no one else wants it, then it's an ok option to pair with Nighttime for example. Still, in my opinion dual wielding from a statistical point of view is not all that viable for Hunters. Best to stick with a stat stick like Marrowstrike or the superior Orca-Hunter’s Harpoon from Heroic Hall of Reflection.
[Needle-Encrusted Scorpion] - drops from the Devourer of Souls. Arguably the most sought after Trinket in the ICC dungeons, expect to face some stiff competition for the Scorpian if it drops. Chances are good that everyman and his dog will roll on this if it drops. Outside of raids, the Scorpion is the ducks nuts for marksmanship Hunters, but it'll most likely be a step up for any hunter, rogue, feral kitty druid and some warriors. On my hunter I'd say I ran Heroic Forge of Souls 9-10 times before I saw it drop, was out-rolled by a Death Knight. A couple of runs later it drops again and I was out-rolled by a Retribution Paladin. Two missed chances and I was a little bitter and twisted. Fortunately it dropped again in a run not long after. On the other hand, gearing up a Rogue it dropped on my first run, and no one else in the group wanted it. That's random for you.
Pit of Saron
[Ring of Carnelian and Bone] - dropped by Forgemaster Garfrost. A nice ring if don't already have something better.
[Scabrous Zombie Leather Belt] - dropped by Ick. The title of this belt is a mouthful but it will be a decent upgrade for most Hunters until they are able to get into Heroic Pit of Saron. No gem slot so whack a belt buckle on this.
[Rimebane Rifle] - dropped by Scourgelord Tyrannus. An adequate ranged weapon, that, if you equip it, will probably only stick with you for a day or two until you've had a couple of Heroic Pit of Saron runs under your belt.
[Gondria’s Spectral Bracer] - dropped by Scourgelord Tyrannus. Another placeholder in the wrist position. Will get replaced once you've done a couple of heroic ICC 5 man runs.
[Horns of the Spurned Val’kyr] - dropped by Scourgelord Tyrannus. Nice head piece. Couple of gem slots. Handy till you score something better.
[Barbed Ymirheim Choker] - dropped by Forgemaster Garfrost. Some people will tell you that this is for 'physical dps' classes. While the Broach of Wailing Night is a slightly better option for Hunters in terms of DPS output (2-3 DPS difference), the Broach also costs 19 emblems, where as the Choker can be picked up for nothing. Personally, I'd grab the Choker and save the emblems for the Tier 9 set.
[Spurned Val'kyr Shoulderguards] - dropped by Forgemaster Garfrost. No gem slots and no hit rating (you may have noticed an absence of hit on a lot of the ICC 5 man gear?), but there is some nice armor penetration which will make marksmanship hunters smile.
[Felglacier Bolter] dropped by Ick. Here we have the ducks nuts when it comes to ranged weapons from the ICC 5 man collection. Puts out 40 more DPS than the Rimebane Rifle from the Normal mode dungeon, also carries some hit rating, which you'll be grateful for if a majority of your gear comes from the ICC 5 mans. This is currently highest ilvl ranged weapon available through 5 man content, and the Hunter weapon of choice until you are able to get into some higher level raids. Chances are this will be the ranged weapon you'll take into your first ICC raid.
[Belt of Rotted Fingernails] - dropped by Scourgelord Tyrannus. This belt will be an upgrade from Scabrous Zombie Leather Belt. It's not going to be a 'major' upgrade, so if it doesn't drop for you, don't lose too much sleep over it.
[Band of Stained Souls] - dropped by Scourgelord Tyrannus. Pair this ring with the Dexterous Brightstone Ring (purchased with Emblems) and you have a nice little combination.
The Halls of Reflection
[Muddied Boots of Brill] - dropped by Falric. Filling the boot slot has long been one of my problem areas. These boots will tide you over nicely until luck goes your way and you grab the upgrade from the Heroic version of this dungeon.
[Frostsworn Bone Leggings] - dropped by Marwyn. Again, nice place holder leggings if you don't already have better. If you grab these, you should look to upgrade as soon as practical.
[Crypt Fiend Slayer] - dropped by the Lich King. One of the only bows I've seen in heroic dungeons. It's a shame that you'll replace this within about two Heroic Pit of Saron runs. As a night elf hunter, bows make sense. I miss bows.
[Spiked Toestompers] - dropped by Falric. Outside of raids, these are the boots to aim for. They actually come out slightly ahead of the crafted Boots of Living Scale, even when Boots of Living Scale have two +20 agility gems applied.
[Orca-Hunter's Harpoon] - dropped by Marwyn. In my opinion this is the melee weapon that Hunters should be aiming for (outside of raids) particularly if you need a little help to get to the hit cap. Forget about dual wielding and pick this up. If you're a marksmanship Hunter, and you are already hit capped you may (emphasis on may) want to consider keeping Marrowstrike instead the armor penetration may work out better for you. You'd need to do your own tests to see how it works for you. For me however, Orca-Hunter's Harpoon keeps me at the hit cap, so if I swapped it out for Marrowstrike I'd be losing 65 DPS.
[Frostsworn Bone Chestpiece] - dropped by Marwyn. With a yellow gem slot, this chest piece is going to be an upgrade for anyone still rocking an iLvl200-219 piece.
[Hoarfrost Gauntlets] dropped by the Lich King. No gem slots but some hit on these gloves make them a natural
The wrap up
So where does that all leave the newly 80 Hunter? Well with a bit of time, and a lot of patience, you can fully deck yourself out in gear in almost every slot (besides the second trinket) that will surpass anything you can find in the previous Heroic dungeons and much of the 'starter' level 80 raid content. Here's a summary of what you could aim for in each slot.
Helm: [Eyes of Bewilderment] iLvl232
Neck: [Barbed Ymirheim Choker] iLvl232
Shoulders: [Spurned Val'kyr Shoulderguards] iLvl232
Chest: [Frostsworn Bone Chestpiece] iLvl232
Belt: [Belt of Rotted Fingernails] iLvl232
Pants: [Frostsworn Bone Leggings] iLvl219
Boots: [Spiked Toestompers] iLvl232
Bracers: [Essence of Suffering] iLvl232
Gloves: [Hoarfrost Gauntlets] iLvl232
Ring 1: [Band of Stained Souls] iLvl232
Ring 2: [Ring of Carnelian and Bone] iLvl219
Trinket: [Needle-Encrusted Scorpion] iLvl232
Trinket: No other Hunter trinket available in ICC 5 mans.
Cloak: [Accursed Crawling Cape] iLvl219
Main Hand: [Orca-Hunter's Harpoon] iLvl232
Ranged: [Felglacier Bolter] iLvl232
I'm not sure what "gear score" all that would get you, but the average iLvl across all the slots would be close to 232, which is a nice starting point for moving into some of the higher level content ToC 10mans and beyond.