Beast Mastery Hunter – Not updated for 6.2, yet.
About the author
This guide is written by Azortharion, a prominent theorycrafter for Hunters and a high parsing hunter raiding in Echoes. He maintains the Beast Mastery, Marksmanship and Survival Hunter guides on SummonStone and has previously written guides on MMO-Champion’s Hunter forums, been a Hunter Expert/Auditor for the now-deprecated SentryTotem website and been a guide writer for the Warcraft Hunters Union and Icy-Veins. Azortharion has been raiding on his Hunter since Wrath of the Lich King ended, and started playing the game in early 2010.
Beast Mastery currently performs better than Survival for both single-target and multi-target while being on par with Marksmanship for single-target and above it significantly in multi-target, making it the best spec for raiding as an overall statement. Beast Mastery suffers on heavy target-switching fights because it is pet-reliant for dealing its damage, so control in this area is partly essential to the skill’s success and puts it at a difficulty level marginally above what the other two specs are at, but it is also extremely rewarding in a plethora of different situations when you can play this off effectively.
Resource System: Focus
Hunters use the Focus resource system. Focus is an expendable resource which automatically generates at a base rate of 4 focus per second for both you and your pet. More focus can be generated (besides the passive regeneration) by using focus-generating abilities like Cobra Shot/Steady Shot and Focusing Shot (level 100 talent) and is spent on higher-damage abilities, forming the basis of all the hunter rotations. Focus management is an essential skill. It is a cappable resource at 100 focus for Survival and 120 for Beast Mastery and Marksmanship.
Can be considered a cooldown for Beast Mastery. It gives, at its peak, 40% attack power and 30% haste for 20 seconds (duration unaffected by stack count). How powerful it is is determined by your pet’s current amount of Frenzy stacks at the moment of casting it. The Frenzy buff gives 4% attack speed to your pet per stack and the buff disappears whenever you use Focus Fire, effectively “converting” 20% pet attack speed into 40% attack power and 30% haste (haste encompassing attack speed as well) for 20 seconds. Frenzy stacks are generated by pet Basic Attacks, these include Bite/Claw/Smack depending on which type of pet you are using. There is a 40% chance per Basic Attack to generate a Frenzy stack. Managing this buff/cooldown is covered extensively in the Rotation section and is exceptionally important to being successful with the Beast Mastery spec.
The Basic Attacks often referred to in the guide, costing 25 (pet!) focus and on a 3 second cooldown. The 90-100 leveling perk Enhanced Basic Attacks enables the Basic Attacks to sometimes reset their own cooldown. They also generate Frenzy stacks which can be expended to apply Focus Fire above.
A buff applied to your pet by the Basic Attacks mentioned above, giving 4% attack speed to your pet per stack, stacking up to a maximum of 5. Can be expended to grant Focus Fire.
A pet-based melee attack which deals moderate damage on a 6 second cooldown for 40 focus, it is one of Beast Mastery’s only exclusive abilities and is generally used on cooldown.
A ranged AoE that shoots multiple projectiles at the target, hitting all others within 8 yards of the main target as well. Multi-Shot hits for next to nothing, but has an adverse effect depending on your spec. For Beast Mastery, it applies Beast Cleave.
A pet-applied buff that lasts 4 seconds that enables all of its attacks to hit all targets within a 10 yard radius for 100% of their normal damage. This does not, however, cover Kill Command. Beast Cleave is activated by using Multi-Shot.
A 1-minute cooldown that increases your pet’s damage done by 20% and your own damage done by 10% for 10 seconds.
A magical-damage shot with no cooldown for 30 focus, exclusive to Beast Mastery and Survival and their single-target focus dump, frequently used when you have more focus than your priority abilities can spend without capping your focus.
A magical-damage shot with no cooldown and a 2-second base cast time that generates 14 focus, exclusive to Survival and Beast Mastery, acting as the focus generator for those two specs unless Focusing Shot is specced. Along with Arcane Shot, managing this is a staple of the rotation.
A magical-damage trap on a 30-second cooldown which applies a DoT to all targets close to it when it triggers dealing modest damage over a 10-second period. It is only really used by Survival because it deals Fire damage which counts as the Elemental damage which the Survival mastery buffs.
The main hunter defensive cooldown on a 3 minute cooldown (reduced to 2 minutes by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimaera) that acts as a immunity for many (but not all) abilities, and a flat 30% (50% with the Glyph of Deterrence) damage reduction otherwise. It has 2 charges, meaning that it can be used twice within the 2-3 minute window. Each charge incurs the 2-3 minute cooldown.
A hunter aggro dump. Using Feign Death drops you from all threat meters in the vicinity, should you have gotten aggro on something undesirable. Feign Death can also negate a number of targeting mechanics by Feigning Death when you have been targeted so that it may target someone else or avoid killing you.
Camouflage lasts 6 seconds when used in combat, and 1 minute otherwise. It makes you untargetable by ranged attacks, but this does not work with most boss encounter abilities that are ranged, anyway, meaning it almost never has worthwhile usage. When glyphed, it provides a 10% spell damage reduction which may help a tiny amount with negating unnecessary damage taken but it is usually not worth taking.
Clears all movement-impairing effects, but its primary usage in a raid is the charge that the pet does to the target which you Master’s Call, allowing you to throw your pet around extremely quickly – say to reposition it across the room on The Blast Furnace encounter for a slight DPS increase.
A taunt, effectively. With the Glyph of Distracting Shot, it sends the target to attack your pet instead of yourself which may be occasionally useful.
A soothe-shot, essentially, that removes dispellable enrages from all enemies at a hefty focus cost of 50, but with no cooldown. With the Glyph of Tranquilizing Shot, you eliminate the cost, but add a 10 second cooldown. This is recommended for fights where you might be given a dispel duty because your dispels will rarely have to land within 10 seconds of each other.
A hunter threat-redirection ability. It is an 8 second buff during which all threat that you deal will be applied to another target of your choice, usually your main tank.
A strong movement speed increase. Since you should be using the minor glyph, there is no reason not to have this on until it fades during the fight, and reapplying it when you are out of range of the boss/have deadtime due to mechanics or have to move somewhere extraordinarily fast. High-end hunters may consider it an additional movement-speed cooldown.
A run-of-the-mill ranged interrupt with a cooldown on the longer side – 24 seconds.
A 3-minute cooldown ability that allows your entire raid to cast while moving for 6 seconds. This can be chained with the Aspect of the Fox of other hunters to prolong the effect and make longer (6s+) casts while moving although that is only rarely useful. Be careful not to overlap another hunter’s Fox with your own.
An ice trap dropped on the ground that slows all targets that enter it – good for mob control on AoE packs.
A freezing trap dropped at the feet of a target to encase it in ice for up to one minute, mostly for pre-pull crowd control or mid-fight emergency crowd control.
Focus Fire should be used in accordance with certain parameters, it being an extremely strong ‘cooldown’ style ability.
- I highly recommend using this WeakAura to nearly trivialize Focus Fire usage completely. It checks for all of the parameters below excluding the fact that you wish to save Focus Fire for AoE and the like during an encounter, and tells you to use it when any of them apply.
- Use it with 5 stacks of Frenzy on your pet.
- Use it at any amount of stacks if Bestial Wrath has over 3 seconds remaining.
- Use it at any amount of stacks when Frenzy is about to expire from your pet.
- Use it at any amount of stacks when Stampede is up.
- Use it at any amount of stacks right before going into Bestial Wrath if Bestial Wrath is off cooldown.
- DELAY it at 5 stacks of Frenzy if there’s over 10 seconds and under 19 seconds remaining on Bestial Wrath. In order to ensure full overlap with Bestial Wrath, pop it around the 10 second mark on its remaining cooldown.
- Use it at any amount of stacks right before an AoE phase to make use of the Haste for keeping Beast Cleave up, lowering Barrage’s cast time and boosting the pet’s damage significantly for this short period.
Stampede should used as many times as possible throughout the fight, but due to its long cooldown, it is often beneficial to evaluate your situation and try to pop it when you are the most powerful. A combination of a high-stack Focus Fire, trinket procs and Bloodlust/Heroism is ideal.
1) Use Kill Command off cooldown.
2) Use Kill Shot off cooldown when the target is under 20% health.
3) Use Dire Beast off cooldown if this talent is chosen.
4) Use Barrage off cooldown.
5) Keep Steady Focus up up by chaining Cobra Shot frequently and if this talent is chosen. This should ideally be inherent in your shot cycle already.
6) Arcane Shot should be used to dump excess focus. 70 focus is a decent (but not final) guideline.
7) Cobra Shot should be used when there is nothing else to do or you need more focus.
While facing 2 Targets
1) Use Barrage off cooldown.
2) Use Kill Command off cooldown.
3) Use Kill Shot off cooldown when the target is under 20% health.
4) Use Multi-Shot as much as needed to keep Beast Cleave up.
5) Keep Steady Focus up by chaining Cobra Shot frequently and if this talent is chosen. This should ideally be inherent in your shot cycle already. (And also a complete necessity in order to perform the rest of the priority!)
6) Use Explosive Trap off cooldown.
7) Arcane Shot should be used to dump excess focus. 70 focus is a decent (but not final) guideline.
8) Cobra Shot should be used when there is nothing else to do or you need more focus.
While facing 3 Targets or more
1) Use Barrage off cooldown.
2) Use Multi-Shot as much as needed to keep Beast Cleave up.
4) Use Kill Command off cooldown.
5) Use Kill Shot off cooldown when the target is under 20% health.
6) Keep Steady Focus up by chaining Cobra Shot frequently and if this talent is chosen. This should ideally be inherent in your shot cycle already. (And also a complete necessity in order to perform the rest of the priority!)
7) Use Explosive Trap off cooldown.
8) Arcane Shot should be used to dump excess focus. 70 focus is a decent (but not final) guideline.
9) Cobra Shot should be used when there is nothing else to do or you need more focus.
1) Pre-Draenic Agility Potion
2) Boss is engaged – /petattack
4) On-uses + trinkets + racials (except for Arcane Torrent) + Dire Beast
5) Bestial Wrath
6) Kill Command
8) Follow Priority
1) Pre-Draenic Agility Potion
2) Pre-Cobra Shot
4) Boss is engaged – /petattack
5) Cobra Shot
6) On-uses + trinkets + racials (except for Arcane Torrent) + Bestial Wrath
7) Kill Command
9) Follow Priority
This is a list of general rules to manage while executing the Hunter rotations, although it applies to all rotations for all DPS specs for the most part. Whenever evaluating your own performance, take these into account, and especially so when trying to improve your play. A lot of the things here are best observed in your own play by looking at actual videos of you playing. I can recommend recording those, and alternatively/additively having a look at my YouTube channel for my Mythic kills to see what I do to squeeze out the most damage.
1. Do not cap your focus. Any focus ‘generated’ while at focus cap (100 for SV, 120 for BM and MM) is wasted and can thus never be put to good use. As Beast Mastery, this rule may sometimes be broken which is mostly okay. The less the better, however.
2. Do not delay your cooldown abilities. Stuff here is stuff like: Chimaera Shot, Explosive Shot, Kill Command, Barrage, Black Arrow, you get the gist of it. The only time where you delay stuff is if something is higher than it in the priority list further above.
3. Do not stop casting. You always want to be casting something or the other. Clever Explosive Trap use helps for this, as Survival. It can be used as a filler in the rotation where Arcane Shot would leave you starved, breaking rule 2, and a Focusing Shot would leave you capped, breaking rule 1. Similarly, it can be used for movement. It has a low cooldown, which helps with maximizing its usage. Everything else equal, the hunter with the higher APM/CPM (actions/casts per minute) will end up with higher DPS barring extreme cases.
4. Think ahead. You want your brain to buffer incoming information in order to be able to react several seconds ahead. The more seconds ahead, the better. The impact of this is immense. You may think that you never miss a beat while doing your rotation, but do record yourself and look it over and I can almost guaranteethat you will find places where you seem to hesitate for half a second before continuing. Maybe even less, but it adds up very quickly. This ties into rule 3, a bit.
5. Know the fight. Simulations on your character, gearing on your character and everything else that exists outside of the game itself can only do so much for your actual performance. You cannot always be following a static priority list, even the ones I provide in this guide. The most important part for DPS, at least on non-Patchwerk (Gruul) fights, is flexing your muscles by making the best use of what the fight presents to you in terms of targets to hit and mechanics to take advantage of, whether it be to DPS higher or help the raid out just a bit more than the rest. Know the timings of when adds will spawn. Keep timers on that stuff, save some stuff for high-DPS phases if you know they are coming. -Always- be engaged in what is happening. This is the finishing rule. If you pull this off very well, and all the other tips, you will be a candidate for rank 1 DPS.
Talents Cheat Sheet
Level 15: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimaera
Level 30: Binding Shot
Level 90: Barrage
Level 100: Adaptation
PH increases your movement speed by 60% and removes all movement-impairing effects like dazes after using Disengage. The buff does not apply until you land your Disengage. This talent is only really used when the movement-speed increase is much desired, and Deterrence/frequent Disengage use isn’t.
Narrow Escape immobilizes all targets in an 8-yard radius around you when you Disengage. This is more of a PvP talent and is not used in PvE currently.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimaera
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimaera reduces the default cooldown of Disengage from 20 seconds to 10 seconds, and Deterrence’s cooldown from 3 to 2 minutes. This enables way more usages across a fight duration and is the default choice unless the movement speed from Posthaste is more desirable.
BS is a powerful stun on a 45-second cooldown that tethers enemies in a radius around it to it. The targets are immobilized in the sense that if they try to move mor ethan 5 yards away from the Binding Shot’s landing location, they will be stunned for a duration. This is an amazing talent for performing AoE stuns on groups of mobs that are eager to spread and go everywhere and remains the default choice.
Wyvern Sting is a 1.5s cast time, 45-second cooldown single-target sleep. Using it immobilizes your target for up to 30 seconds by putting it to sleep, but any damage caused will cancel the effect. This is rarely a useful talent as prolonged immobilization like this can usually be handled by a Freezing Trap.
Intimidation is a 3-second stun on a 1-minute cooldown that your pet activates, meaning that it does not work with Lone Wolf enabled. This talent is only really useful as a stun over Binding Shot when you are facing a caster mob which is not going to move anyway, meaning that a Binding Shot would be useless since caster mobs tend to be stationary.
Exhilaration is a complementary sort of “health potion” on a 2-minute cooldown that heals you for 30% of your maximum health, and your pet for 100% of its maximum health. This talent is a potential life-saver in many nasty situations. When one has to pick a talent for a fight in this tier, you have to consider which you expect to save your life more: The 10% damage reduction from Iron Hawk as a whole, or an on-demand heal like Exhilaration. In many cases, the answer is actually going to be Exhilaration but the talent relies on proper, active usage while Iron Hawk is a passive effect.
Iron Hawk simply reduces all incoming damage taken by 10% and is a strong talent from a passive perspective, but Exhilaration is a very strong self-heal and may save your life in more situations. The choice between these two is going to be on a fight-by-fight basis.
Spirit Bond heals you for 2% of your maximum health whenever your pet is active, meaning that the talent does not function with Lone Wolf enabled. Spirit Bond, given its slow-healing, passive nature, is unlikely to ever save your life and is generally not recommended.
SF increases you and your pet’s focus regeneration by 50% whenever you use Cobra or Steady Shot twice in a row for 10 seconds. The pet focus regeneration is important to this talent’s strength as Beast Mastery in particular. Because pet Basic Attacks do double damage when they are used at 50 pet focus or above, there are no diminishing returns on pet focus value, and especially for AoE where the pet’s passive attacks end up being a significant part of your damage dealt through Beast Cleave besides simply having more focus to keep the buff up effortlessly, this talent becomes very strong.
DB summons a sort of minipet that attacks your current target for 15 seconds on a 30-second cooldown and acts upon the Assist flag, meaning that it will attack your current target until you switch to another. Dire Beast does not have a focus pool, scales from Mastery and generates 2 focus every time it attacks and deals moderate damage. Dire Beast gets a higher chance of getting another attack through for its 15-second duration with more Haste rating. This talent is only chosen for pure single-target encounters where the rapidly target-scaling pet focus regeneration of Steady Focus does not come to fruition.
Thrill of the Hunt
TotH is a buff that has a 6% chance per 10 focus spent on any ability to be activated, enabling your next 3 Arcane-, Aimed-, or Multi-Shots to cost 20 less focus. Given the weakness of Beast Mastery’s focus dump, Arcane Shot, this talent is not worth using over the other alternatives in any situation.
A Murder of Crows
AMoC is a 1-minute cooldown ability with a focus cost of 30 that summons a murder of crows to attack your target over the next 15 seconds. If the target dies within the 15-second DoT duration, the cooldown of A Murder of Crows is reset. This talent is generally not chosen as it does very little damage for the global and 30 focus a minute which it eats out of your rotation, but if you can very reliably and constantly reset it, it might be worth taking. Finally, it is useful for frequent single-target nukes like the Primal Elementalists on The Blast Furnace encounter in the Blackrock Foundry, but unless you have trouble taking those down in 2 goes or less, DPS on them should not be an issue.
BS gives your pet the ability to blink behind the target it is currently at when using its Basic Attacks from a maximum 30 yard range and increases the damage done by its Basic Attacks by 50%. Given how Basic Attacks scale magnificently with multiple targets because of Beast Cleave, this talent becomes stronger with more targets. However, Stampede is an extremely potent talent for pure damage done, and it takes outrageous amounts of multi-target for Blink Strikes’ damage increasing effects on Beast Cleave to outdamage up to several Stampede usages during a fight, and the talent is thus never chosen for current-day raids.
Stampede is a strong ability on a 5-minute cooldown and is free of a focus cost. It summons your entire stable, or (if you have the minor glyph activated) 4 copies of your current pet to attack your target for the next 40 seconds. Stampede pets spend no focus, scale from Mastery and Haste in the same manner as Dire Beast and act upon the Assist flag like Dire Beast does. This ability deals insane amounts of single-target damage and its almost universally used for any raid encounter these days. Using it properly and cleverly is essential.
GT is a talented ability on a 15-second cooldown with a focus cost of 15 that hurls two glaives at the target for moderate damage and hits all targets on their path to the target for half of the damage dealt to the primary target. This talent is never chosen for Beast Mastery in any situation, as other alternatives are more powerful for their time spent to cast and focus cost.
PS is a talented ability on a 45-second cooldown with a focus cost of 15 that lines up one, powerful shot at the target which knocks it back (works on non-boss targets), often to the extreme annoyance of your raid. It deals very high damage to suit its long cooldown, but cannot be cast on the move. This talent is never chosen for Beast Mastery in any situation, as other alternatives are more powerful for their time spent to cast and focus cost.
Barrage is a talented ability on a 20-second cooldown with a focus cost of 60 that fires a copious amounts of arrows at the target, dealing very high single-target damage and even higher multi-target damage. Because of Bestial Wrath’s focus-cost reduction mechanic, the overwhelming cost of this talent every 60 seconds is at least partly negated. This talent should be used for any and all situations as Beast Mastery, currently.
EM gives you the ability to switch between different types of ammunition for your weapon of choice. Poisoned Ammo is a passive, Serpent Sting-like DoT that is refreshed and applied by your autoshots and simply adds some damage to them. Incendiary Ammo does the same thing, although weakened, but applies this DoT to all targets within an 8-yard radius of the original target. Frozen Ammo applies an even weaker DoT to a single-target, but slows the target by 50%, constantly refreshed by autoshots. This talent is never chosen for any situation and is frankly very terrible for Beast Mastery in any situation.
FS is a talented ability that replaces Cobra/Steady Shot with Focusing Shot, a higher-damage, longer cast-time focus generator which generates 50 focus instead of the usual 14 from Cobra/Steady Shot, but it cannot be cast on the move. Given the extremely high focus return in comparison to your usual focus generators, this talent primarily becomes useful on extreme amounts of sustained AoE in order to keep Beast Cleave up effortlessly, a situation which does not really exist in modern-day raiding meaning that this talent is never used.
Adaptation is Beast Mastery’s take on Lone Wolf which essentially supercharges your pet. It increases the damage done by your pet, while also combining the most powerful traits of the 3 pet specs, Ferocity, Cunning and Tenacity, renaming these to their Adaptation counterparts – Ferocious Adaptation, Cunning Adaptation and Tenacious Adaptation. Using this talent limits the unique traits of each pet spec to Bullheaded for Cunning, Heart of the Phoenix for Ferocity and Charge + Thunderstomp for Tenacity. This talent is exclusively used for Beast Mastery in raid encounters for its damage increase, and in part, its huge increase to utility.
Glyph of Disengage
This glyph allows you to travel farther with Disengage, effectively increasing your movement speed when you need it. There are no downsides to this glyph and it is strongly recommended.
Glyph of Deterrence
This glyph increases the damage reduction from Deterrence by 20%. The usefulness of this glyph only really exists when Deterrence does not completely negate the damage of a mechanic, which is somewhat rare. In lieu of any better glyphs, though, it remains the default choice, but also the first glyph to replace should there be more favorable glyphs for a specific encounter.
Glyph of Animal Bond
This glyph increases healing done to you by 10% when your pet is active, meaning always for Beast Mastery. This glyph is extremely strong for any raid encounter and should always be one of your 3 chosen glyphs, unless you are playing Marksmanship or Survival with Lone Wolf activated, in which case this glyph does nothing.
Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah
This glyph eliminates the movement speed reduction when you are struck with anything using Aspect of the Cheetah. This lets you enable it in combat with no real penalty and is an absolutely essential glyph. When Blizzard removed Aspect of the Hawk in the newest expansion and made it essentially baseline, this glyph became extremely powerful now that there is no penalty to dropping any Hawk aspect. Enable this before any raid encounter, simply because there is no reason not to, and enjoy the increased movement speed until it is removed from you. Additionally, Aspect of the Cheetah can be used as a mini-movement speed cooldown for when you are attempting to chase down a Siegemaker on the Blackhand encounter, for example.
Glyph of Pathfinding
This glyph increases your movement speed when Aspect of the Cheetah is active, naturally synergizing very well with the Aspect of the Cheetah minor glyph. One notable use of this glyph in Tier 17 is on the Brackenspore encounter, if you are clearing the moss. Using Aspect of the Cheetah when out there can drastically improve your stack accumulation rate and DPS. It is worth noting that since you usually use Posthaste when doing the flamethrower duty on Brackenspore, these movement-speed increasing effects do not stack.
Glyph of Tranquilizing Shot
This glyph removes the now insane focus cost of Tranquilizing Shot (50) entirely, but applies a 10-second cooldown to the ability. A must-have glyph for any encounter where you are assigned to dispelling a target, provided that it is no more often than 10 seconds per dispel.
Glyph of Distracting Shot
This glyph makes Distracting Shot function as a pet taunt instead of a personal taunt. Quite useful on an encounter like Blast Furnace where sometimes threat has to be redirected to the tank, but Misdirection is not available. By bringing targets to the pet instead, which is in melee range, the tank will have an easier time picking up the target. It does put your pet at risk, however.
Glyph of Camouflage
This glyph makes Camouflage reduce spell damage taken by 10%. Since Camouflage lasts for 6 seconds when used in combat, this has a place as a very minor defensive cooldown. It is generally not recommended switching out the other glyphs for since a 10% reduction is unlikely to ever save your life.
Glyph of Explosive Trap
This glyph removes the damage from the Explosive Trap ability, but makes it an AoE-knockback. It is somewhat unreliable, though, and Powershot proves a much better (if DPS loss) knockback in the horrible off-chance that your raid has no other knockbacks.
Glyph of Liberation
This glyph heals you for a small amount whenever you use Disengage. The raw healing provided by this glyph is somewhat nice, especially if you find yourself Disengaging a lot (and it can be argued that it turns Disengage into a small defensive), but the healing provided will rarely save your life, and it comes at the cost of the Glyph of Disengage. Generally not recommended.
Glyph of Play Dead
This Minor glyph is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is extremely useful for when you wish to survive through a wipe by way of dumping your pet’s aggro from the table as well, shortening the time it takes to wipe and increasing your chance of Survival. On the other hand, it is a DPS loss for when you are just looking to dump aggro from yourself, since the pet stops attacking until you stand up again.
Glyph of Quick Revival
This glyph removes the cast time of Revive Pet, but increases the focus cost to 80 (from 35). This glyph is just a DPS loss and there is no use for it in this tier.
Glyph of Misdirection
This glyph resets the cooldown of Misdirection when used on your pet. Mostly for soloing.
Mastery > Haste > Multistrike > Critical Strike > Versatility
The strings found in the Pawn link are meant to be used with the in-game addon Pawn which can tell you in an in-game tooltip on all items if they are an upgrade, and by how much. This is very useful for identifying immediate upgrades from in-game. The ones right above are to be used for AskMrRobot/an easier overview of relative stat values. These stats are centered entirely around single-target.
Agility is a primary stat that provides 1 Attack Power (AP) per point. A majority of our abilities use a percentage of attack power to the damage they deal.
Attack Power increases damage done and proides 1 Attack Power (AP) per point. The value is smaller than Agility because Agility gets scaling boni out of the raid-wide Mark of the Wild buff and Mail Specialization.
Mastery Mastery: Master of Beasts increases all pet damage done. Pet damage makes up over half of Beast Mastery’s damage. Mastery affects Stampede pets, the 4-piece set bonus pet, Dire Beast, A Murder of Crows and our regular pet.
Critical Strike increases the chance to critically hit with abilities. This stat interacts with http://www.wowhead.com/spell=53260/cobra-strikes specifically as Beast Mastery outside of its normal effect. The low prevalence of Cobra Strikes altogether makes it a somewhat poor stat, however.
Haste increases attack speed, focus regeneration rate, pet attack speed and pet focus regeneration rate. Haste is a beast of a stat for multi-target encounters because it boosts pet damage in a fashion that boosts Beast Cleave a lot in the short term by ensuring more pet autoattacks. This interaction is what makes the Meaty Dragonspine Trophy very strong for multi-target.
Versatility increases all damage and healing done, and decreases all damage taken.
Multistrike causes abilities to have a chance to hit a second and a third time, each dealing 30% of the initial damage. Pets can Multistrike and are affected by the stat as well.
|Necklace||Engineer’s Grounded Gorget||Blast Furnace|
|Shoulder||Rylakstalker’s Spaulders||Operator Thogar|
|Cloak||Cloak of Delving Secrets||Kromog|
|Bracer||Bloodwhirl Bracers||Iron Maidens|
|Gloves||Rylakstalker’s Gloves||Iron Maidens|
|Legs||Legguards of the Stampede||Beastlord|
|Boots||Railwalker’s Ratcheted Boots||Operator|
|Ring||Unexploded Explosive Shard||Oregorger|
|Weapon||Gar’an’s Brutal Spearlauncher||Iron Maidens|
|Trinket||Beating Heart of the Mountain||Kromog|
|Trinket||Meaty Dragonspine Trophy||Gruul|
Both of these spreadsheets are there to help with gearing (non-trinket) comparisons. They base themselves on the stat weights found in the Stats section and assign a value to each item based on those.
On this page, you can find simulation runs for BRF trinket combinations as well as single trinket sims for all specs in a single (1-target) and multi (4-target) situation.
Tier 17 Set Bonuses
2-piece: Gives your Kill Command a 10% chance to reset the cooldown of Bestial Wrath. This is fairly strong, especially on lucky streaks.
4-piece: Summons a copy of your current pet to attack while Bestial Wrath is up. This new pet hits for significantly more than the regular pet. This is an extremely strong set bonus, especially for single-target. Get it as fast as possible.
- Use Master’s Call to race your pet to your position in order to quickly change its position to hit the Crates when the boss is on the run.
Hans’gar & Franzok
- Ensure that your pet is attacking the boss not currently jumping around and be prepared for which boss is next to jump out of the fighting area to minimize downtime.
- Beast Mastery has a lot of potential on the Pack Beasts if you wanna look good on the DPS meters, but it means sacrificing a lot of boss damage versus other classes that will not have to make this sacrifice.
- Use Master’s Call to “slingshot” the pet in the direction of the Pack Beasts (stand between the boss and the adds) for the first, third, fifth spawns and so forth.
- Use Binding Shot to stun the adds as they run into the stables for the second, fourth, sixth spawns and so forth and use Kill Command to get the charge going to them immediately.Your raid may or may not appreciate this, however, check with them first. If they will not allow this, you will have to stick with Master’s Call.
- If you are one of the few in your raid who actually deal meaningful AoE damage, you can go Blink Strikes for a slight overall damage increase, but you will be sacrificing a lot of valuable Stampede damage on the boss when it is most needed which is undesirable.
- If your raid has sufficient AoE damage for the Pack Beasts already, meaning that they die extremely quickly, it is generally not worth excessively pursuing damage on them at all and you are best served sticking your pet to whatever priority target is up currently and Beast Cleaving off of that target when Pack Beasts happen to be close enough.
- Deterrence right before you get 5 stacks of the Petrifying Slam debuff to nullify the damage from it and others standing close to you. Almost no damage is lost since you are immobilized for a few seconds here, anyway.
- Dump any Focus Fire stacks (or ideally, save them) for the moment that the wolves spawn.
Glyph of Tranquilizing Shot if on a dispel duty.
- Save and dump Focus Fire stacks for the split-phase AoE’s and other add spawns as well as Men-at-Arms and Firemenders to some degree. Ask to always be on the boss side for the splits as Beast Mastery really benefits from getting to generate more Frenzy stacks before the adds actually spawn and the boss can be cleaved off of effortlessly, requiring no frantic target switching for the pet, all of this besides just getting more boss damage out passively which Beast Mastery is extremely good at.
Glyph of Tranquilizing Shot if on a dispel duty.
- Save your first Stampede for the second or third Bellows Operator, ideally the one you also useBloodlust/Heroism with, and save Focus Fire stacks to accompany it. Co-ordinate this with other hunters in the raid. Save Focus Fire stacks and other cooldowns as needed for the Elementalists. This perhaps goes without saying.
- Depending on where your priorities lie, you can either save a high amount of Frenzy stacks and Bestial Wrath for the Stone Pillars or the Grasping Earths. In any case, Stampede should be used on the boss and the boss only, as it is way too inefficient on any other targets.
- Save the second Stampede for the sub-20% burn on Marak. Maintaining good priority knowledge is important here, specifically 2 and 3 targets. Open on Marak instead of the Admiral in order to get cleave going ASAP. Do not potentially jeopardize your raid by bursting down the wrong target though and switch as necessary.
- The second Stampede should be saved for the third phase where Heroism/Bloodlust is used.
Marksmanship or Survival, simply because Beast Mastery relies too much on its pet to do damage, which is gonna lose you a lot of damage while the boss rolls and when switching from crate to crate to deal damage to them and get through the phase quicker.
Hans’gar & Franzok
Marksmanship for extremely superior 2-target damage. Being clever about movement is somewhat essential the spec’s success, however, it being a relatively movement-heavy encounter. Even so, the damage of Chimaera Shot on 2 targets is immense. A Survival-Lone Wolf build is very strong here, as well, and much easier to play. Furthermore, the execute phase of this encounter has a habit of staying somewhat long, meaning Marksmanship will get a lot of Kill Shots off here.
Any spec. The former will emphasize more on the single-target damage of this encounter as a whole, but less on the DPS burn on the boss in the final phase, getting a lot of Careful Aim- and Execute phases on all of Darmac’s mounts. Beast Mastery will be far superior on dealing damage to Pack Beasts, which is good for looking good on damage meters but less good for the encounter as a whole. Survival is a strong all-rounder here, and the fight contains a lot of frantic movement of many different targets and the player him-or-herself, detracting slightly from the other two specs.
Gruul being a pure single-target encounter, your spec choice here will mostly lie in whatever you feel the most comfortable with, have the best gear for, or, if you don’t care about any of those things, Beast Mastery for the most potent single-target damage on average, and with RNG potential to do the highest DPS of any spec, Arcane Mages included, on this encounter.
Beast Mastery for a combination of very high single-target damage, especially with 5:00+ fight lengths on this encounter, and very strong cleave/execution of the Cinder Wolf spawns.
Beast Mastery for a powerful combination of single-target damage and burst-cleave for the many add spawns. The pet has to travel for the cannons on this encounter, but the DPS check is not as tight as it has been, meaning that going Marksmanship exclusively to beat the check on those would probably be wasteful.
Beast Mastery for superior and controlled burst damage on Elementalists of your group’s choosing. If you do not need/use the Stampede for the Elementalists, you can save it for a Bloodlusted, Focus Fired Stampede on the boss, helping out immensely in the third phase.
Beast Mastery for superior single-target damage as an overall statement, extremely strong (if you want it to be) damage on the Grasping Earths and equally strong (if movement-limited, sort of like a melee because of pet-dependence) damage on the Stone Pillars. If Stone Pillar DPS checks are holding your raid back and the Grasping Earth damage is excessive, Marksmanship may be a better choice.
Beast Mastery or Marksmanship depending on where your priorities lie. Marksmanship, because of the encounter’s nature of being either 2-target or 3-target, will do more damage as an overall statement. However, the last 20% of the first boss you kill (usually Marak) is a very tough DPS check where a well-prepared Stampede will absolutely destroy any other class for 40 seconds. For Turrets, if applicable, and for Marak damage.
Beast Mastery for a much-superior phase 3 where Bloodlust/Heroism is used in conjunction with Stampede. If you are assigned to balconies, however, Survival or Marksmanship may be worthy choices as well, since Beast Mastery relies on a pet that refuses to go to the balconies when doing it, unless one was to dismiss the pet before getting smashed up. A lot of hassle for no particularly amazing damage up there.
What spec do I play?
“What spec do I play” is a very commonly asked question, simply because the answer is not very clear-cut. What spec is best for a given situation will depend on the encounter (covered in another section worth reading) for the most part, but people would like a clear-cut answer to the question of “What spec do I play, as an overall statement?”.
Looking past encounters there are other variables. Mostly trinkets, stats on your gear and to some degree, the item level of your ranged weapon.
Marksmanship relies on high weapon damage and scales exceptionally with it. If your weapon is a higher item level than the rest of your gear, generally, your best bet for single-target is going to be Marksmanship. In BiS gear where the item levels of gear and weapon match, Beast Mastery and Marksmanship are near-equal in single-target DPS potential, meaning that as soon as you have a weapon damage advantage, Marksmanship is generally going to scale ahead. With Marksmanship having its main cooldown, Rapid Fire, locked to a 2-minute cooldown, the spec also loves a 2-minute cooldown on-use trinket like the Beating Heart of the Mountain and it can be argued that this trinket is near-mandatory to complement the strengths of the spec. Finally, the prevalence of low-target count cleave and priority targets in Blackrock Foundry lend themselves well to the Marksmanship spec, since the spec is quite weak at prolonged AoE (but great at multi-target nukes like the Pack Beasts, usually only needing a Barrage).
Survival relies on high Multistrike and scales exceptionally with it. Multistrike is to Survival what weapon damage is to Marksmanship, to a certain degree. However, Multistrike is a very good stat for all three specs, so if you have exceptionally high Multistrike on your gear through sockets and the like, your best bet is not -necessarily- Survival. The “strength” of Survival is its ease of play compared to the other two specs, having no cooldown management outside its trinket. Survival has exceptional AoE in every sense of the word, having no pet reliance to do this. Finally, as target count increases, Multistrike becomes even more powerful. Survival isn’t objectively better for anything, really, but if its ease of play and relative simplicity appeals to you, you will not be holding your raid back by going Survival for most fights since its single-target damage is only slightly worse than the other specs.
Beast Mastery relies on the Tier 17 4-set bonus which spawns another pet while Bestial Wrath is up that deals 50-60% more damage than your regular pet through auto-attacks only. This is huge since it is always paired with the Tier 17 2-piece bonus, enabling you to have very high Bestial Wrath uptime if you get lucky, and above-average still if you don’t. This set bonus is a ~12% DPS increase for Beast Mastery on a single target, just to give you an idea of how strong it is. For multiple targets, Beast Mastery is generally worse than Survival because of its reliance on the pet. Should all the targets be available to you in a stationary situation, however, the AoE of the specs turn out about equal. With the 4-piece bonus, Beast Mastery is the single-target king, but is also a bit more complicated to play than the other two specs, so a novice with good gear might still wish to go Survival or Marksmanship.
Here, you can access Azortharion’s repository for SimulationCraft where a lot of the raw data behind suggestions made in this guide can be found. Furthermore, the very popular trinket simulations can be found here.