Survival PVE Guide (4.1)

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Survival PVE Guide (4.0.6)

Hello Hunter Community. The goal for this guide is to cover the PVE Survival Hunter basics for beginner to intermediate players. This content covered in this guide will provide players with the information they need to perform raid worthy DPS as a Survival Spec'd Hunter.

This guide will only cover material related to raiding and will not contain any PVP related information. Please don't ask PVP related questions here.

*Corrections and Updates
I ask that if anyone finds any inaccurate, unclear, misleading or omitted information, that you please notify me so that I can make the appropriate corrections. It is possible that I may make a typo or completely forget to include a crucial piece of information. I would never intentionally try to confuse or mislead anyone. I would also appreciate any suggestions that the Hunter community might have that would lead to a better guide. Hopefully this Guide can also spark a deeper conversation and discussion about the Hunter Class. I will also do my best to keep this guide updated as new information and patches are released.

* Special Thanks
This guide has been comprised from many different sources and my own personal experiences. Sources include: Hunter Discussion on Elitist Jerks, the WoW forums, Simulation Craft, Zeherah's Female Dwarf Calculator, wikis, Warcraft Hunters union, and many other community sites. I have attempted to give credit to these sources as appropriate throughout this guide.

**Contributing Hunter community members who have provided valuable insight for this guide: Zeherah, Kaya, Mendia, Morobir, Icecoldblue

I. Introduction

II. Talents

III. Stats and Optimization

IV. Shot Priorities

  • Single Target
  • Lock 'n' Load Procs
  • AOE

V. Pets

VI. Links and Resources

VII. Change Log


What can Survival Hunters do?

Survival is a solid single target DPS spec and currently has the highest sustained AOE DPS of the 3 Hunter specs. Survival also has the highest CC ability of all 3 hunters specs with both traps and Wyvern Sting. Survival relies on its primary damage ability "Explosive Shot" for DPS.

According to Simcraft, Survival is currently the third ranked Hunter spec in terms of single target DPS when equipped with full ilevel 372's:

31,256 Hunter_MM_T11_372
30,620 Hunter_MM_T11_372_Arcane
27,879 Hunter_BM_T11_372
26,244 Hunter_SV_T11_372*
*The DPS derived from this sim was pre 4.06 before the buff to One with Nature and as such does not include this talent in the simulation spec. DPS could be slightly higher.

Survival is about 1% behind Beast Mastery and 11% behind Marksman. However Survival is more forgiving than Marksman on movement intensive fights and relies less on their pet for DPS than Beast Mastery Hunters. Survival is also usually the best DPS choice when facing an encounter that requires AOE damage for a majority of the fight like Maloriak or Magmaw.

Survival also has some very nice utility talents like Entrapment and reduced trap cool-down as well as the Hunting Party raid buff that provides 10% increased Ranged and Melee Attack speed.


This section will contain all information to talent specs, individual talent analysis and Glyphs.

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What is the "BEST" spec for Survival?

There are many viable variations of the SV spec. The Spec that I am currently using is the spec that currently fills my Raid Comp's needs. Keep in mind that I may change or tweak my spec for different encounters especially during progression Raiding. There may not necessarily be "ONE BEST SPEC" for all fights, but instead a variation of a base spec for different encounters. To be a good Hunter you should be flexible and adapt your spec to the needs of your raid for any specific encounter. Suggested below are a couple viable specs that maximize DPS but also include different utility talents.

Simulation Craft Max DPS Survival spec:

Simulation Craft opts to put one point in Bestial Discipline instead of One with Nature in the BM tree. They take 2/2 Sic 'EM in the MM tree and they also choose to take the utility of Survival Tactics over entrapment.

Elitist Jerks sample Survival Spec:

EJ suggests a spec taking 3/3 in one with nature in the BM tree instead of Bestial Discipline and Sic 'Em as well as Survival Tactics over Entrapment.

Kalilah's Current Survival Spec:

This is the spec that I currently use and find it works best for me. I have decided on 1/3 in one with nature and 2/2 in Sic 'EM and 2/2 in Entrapment instead of Survival Tactics. My fellow raiders like the 4 sec root provided by entrapment and I find it has more value than a 4 second cooldown reduction on disengage. Again This is a personal choice and does not have a direct impact on DPS.

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Which Talents are the most useful to Survival Hunters?

Listed below is a brief analysis of each of the Survival Hunter talents. Blizzard forces your to spend your first 31 points in the Survival Tree. After that you are left with 10 additional talent points that can be spent in either Beast Mastery or Survival or a combination of both.

SV Tier 1

  • Hunter vs. Wild: This is primarily a PVP talent and does not directly contribute to DPS.
    *Recommendation = NOT RECOMMENDED

  • Pathing: Provides 3% extra haste fully talented.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 3/3

  • Improved Serpent Sting: Great for AoE damage and provides a nice single target DPS benefit.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 2/2

SV Tier 2

  • Survival Tactics: provides a 2% chance that traps will not be resisted (Not sure if this actually works or not) and reduces the cooldown on disengage by 2 seconds per talent point. Fairly weak for raiding.
    *Recommendation = Optional

  • Trap Mastery: Main benefit is that it increases periodic damage done by Black Arrow by 30%. This is the only damage increasing ability in this tier.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 3/3

  • Entrapment: Basically gives your Frost and Snake traps a 2 second root per talent point. This is a nice talent when having to deal with Adds that need to be kited.
    *Recommendation = Optional 2/2

  • Point of No Escape: Primarily a PVP talent. This does not affect Raid bosses.
    *Recommendation = NOT RECOMMENDED

SV Tier 3

  • Thrill of the Hunt: Provides a very substantial amount of focus.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 3/3

  • Counterattack: PvP oriented talent.
    *Recommendation = NOT RECOMMENDED

  • Lock and Load: Necessary to reach TNT in tier 4. The Freezing/Frost Trap portion does not work with raid bosses.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 2/2

SV Tier 4

  • Resourcefulness: Cooldown reduction on traps and Black arrow. Marginal DPS increase, not much else to take in this tier.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 3/3

  • Mirrored Blades: Another PVP talent. Does not work with Raid boss mechanics.
    *Recommendation = NOT RECOMMENDED

  • T.N.T.: This combined with Lock N Load is Bread and Butter of Survival DPS.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 2/2

SV Tier 5

  • Toxicology: Powerful talent that provides a substantial DPS increase to SrS and BA.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 2/2

  • Wyvern Sting: CC ability, necessary to take to reach both Black Arrow and Noxious Stings.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 1/1

  • Noxious Stings: Another powerful DPS increase.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 2/2

  • Hunting Party: 2% extra agility and provides the 10% increased Melee/Ranged Haste Raid buff.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 1/1

SV tier 6

  • Sniper Training: Increased Kill shot crit chance and 6% damage buff to Cobra Shot.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 2/2

  • Serpent Spread: No effect on Single target DPS but very powerful for AoE DPS. You generally only want 1/2 here because you will be casting multi-shot every 6 seconds in AOE therefore making the second point useless.
    *Recommendation = Recommended 1/2

SV Tier 7

  • Black Arrow: Weak damage talent but necessary to proc Lock n Loads on most boss fights.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 1/1

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Markmanship Talents

  • Go for the Throat: Provides more focus for pets, thus providing more total DPS
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 2/2

  • Efficiency: Reduces the cost of our Bread and Butter shot, Explosive Shot by 6 focus.
    *Recommendation = Mandatory 3/3

  • Rapid Killing: Very weak Raiding DPS Talent.
    *Recommendation = Not RECOMMENDED

  • Sic 'EM: Another talent to help our pets focus.
    *Recommendation = Optional

  • Careful Aim: Not as strong for SV as it is for MM since it only affects Cobra shot for Survival. Still a pretty decent talent.
    *Recommendation = Optional

  • Improved Steady Shot: Survival Hunters dont use Steady Shot.
    *Recommendation = NOT RECOMMENDED

Beast Mastery Talents

  • Improved Kill command: SV hunters rarely if ever should use Kill command.
    *Recommendation = NOT RECOMMENDED

  • One with Nature: Provides an additional 30% attack power per point spent to aspect of the Hawk. With the 4.0.6 buffing of Aspect of the Hawk, this is a pretty good talent especially since Explosive Shot scales from Attack Power.
    *Recommendation = Optional

  • Bestial Discipline: Another pet focus increasing talent. If your pet is focus starved due to wild hunt, this may be a worthwhile talent.
    *Recommendation = Optional

According to EJ:
Careful Aim, Sic 'Em!, and One with Nature are fairly close in terms of relatively power. One of the primary reasons for going SV now (assuming you don't need the raid haste buff) is for AoE in which only OwN really benefits. For this reason, I like the suggested build above as a starting point, although adjusting these three for different raid encounters, gear sets, or preference is reasonable.

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Which Glyphs Should I use as Survival?

Listed below is a brief analysis of the most commonly used Glyphs for Survival Hunters.

***Prime Glyphs***
Glyph of Explosive Shot - This is a MUST For SV hunters. Explosive Shot is the main damaging ability.
*Recommendation = Mandatory

Glyph of Kill Shot - Another very good option, essentially giving us 2 kill shots each time.
*Recommendation = Mandatory

Glyph of Serpent Sting - A good 3rd option that increases our serpent sting critical strike chance.
*Recommendation = Optional

Glyph of Arcane Shot - Another possibly 3rd option that increases Arcane shot damage by 12%.
*Recommendation = Optional

Arcane and Serpent Sting glyphs are very close in terms of single target DPS. Serpent may edge out arcane in AoE situations.

***Major Glyphs***
There are not any straight damage increasing Major Glyphs and are all pretty much personal preference. However Glyph of Trap Launcher is perceived as a mandatory glyph because of its focus reduction benefit.

It is also worth mentioning Glyph of Raptor Strike as a viable option on fights like Nefarian and Maloriak. This will allow you to use Raptor Strike to give yourself a 20% damage reduction for 5 seconds. This can really help out the healers during Nefarian's Electrocute or Maloriak's Fire Breath.

Major Glyphs should be swapped out as needed on a per fight basis for which ever one provides the most utility.

***Minor Glyph's***
None of the Minor Glyphs provide any direct DPS benefit. I am not going to go into any analysis of of the Minor Glyphs and instead just list the ones that are most commonly used:
Glyph of Feign Death, Glyph of Revive Pet, Glyph of Lesser Proportion

III. Stats and Optimization

This section will contain all information regarding Hunter Stats and how to best optimize those stats through Reforging, Gems, Enchanting, Professions, and Consumables.

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Stat Priorities
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What Stats should I stack as a Hunter"
Below is the general priority in which we Survival Hunters value stats:

Agility > Crit > Haste (Soft Cap)* > Mastery >> Haste >> Stamina*The DPS value of Haste drops drastically after the Soft Cap is reached.

It is important to note and keep in mind that the value and priority of the secondary stats (Crit, Haste, Mastery) may change based upon your individual gear and current stats.

Agility is a Hunter's number one stat. This is the stat that you will find on all of our Mail gear and is the stat that Hunters want to stack. Agility will affect the amount of DPS each shot does as well as how often that shot can crit. Agility provides both Attack Power and Critical Strike rating.
1 Agility = 2 AP
324.85 Agility = 1% crit
1 Agil = .55 Crit Rating

Hit Rating
Hit Rating determines whether our shot will hit the target or miss. You cant crit what you cant hit and a missed shot does zero damage, thus it is important to never miss our targets.

The current Raiding Hit Cap for Hunter's is: 8%

120.109 Hit Rating = 1% chance to hit
8% Hit = 961 hit rating (841 if you are Draenei)

Hit rating is a reforgeable stat and is the preferred method of obtaining the right amount of hit. Any Hit rating over 961 is a wasted stat and it is desirable to get as close to 961 as possible with being under.

Attack Power
Attack power is covered briefly because since it is a stat in the game, but only in very limited areas. Attack Power is mostly limited to procs from trinkets or item like: Gnomish X-Ray Scope.

2 AP = 1 point of itemization
14 AP (attack power) = 1 dps (auto-shot)

2 AP provides the same benefit as agility without the gains from buffs and crit. 2 Attack Power is roughly equivalent to 0.75 Agility. It is also important to note that Explosive Shot currently scales with attack power.

Critical Strike Rating/Chance
After Ranged Weapon DPS, Agility and Hit Rating cap, Critical Strike is the next most important stat. With the way our Critical Strike has been lowered moving from Wrath to Cata and considering how much our DPS depends on Critical Strike, Hunter's should most likely be stacking Crit when possible.

179.29 Crit Rating = 1% Crit

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Haste is one of the more complicated and confusing stats when trying to get the "right" amount for maximum DPS. Haste currently provides the least DPS benefit to to SV hunters once you have enough to reduce your Cobra Shot to 1.66 (758 Haste Rating). This is because with the current gear it is impossible to reach the next haste plateau where your Cobra Shot cast time would be equal to the GCD of 1 second.

128.057 Haste Rating = 1% Haste
Haste provides the following benefits for SV Hunters:

  • Increases the number of Autoshots.
  • Reduces the cast time of Cobra Shot, potentially allowing more Cobra Shots to be cast in a Shot Priority Cycle.
  • Increases both Hunter and Pet Focus regen rate.
  • Because Pets inherit the hunters stats, Haste increases Pets attack speed.

Unfortunately and unlike other Classes, Haste does not increase how often our DoT's tick for damage. Serpent Sting will have the same number of ticks no matter how high your haste rating.

How much Haste do I want to have as a SV Hunter?
Because Explosive Shot is our highest DPS shot, the Survival Shot Priority is based entirely around Explosive shot. Explosive Shot has a 6 second cooldown but triggers the GCD when fired. This means we have a 5 second window to fit in as many other abilities as we can. Most of the time this ability will be Cobra Shot.

In order to fit 3 Cobra Shot's in the 5 second window, Cobra Shot has to have a minimum cast time of 1.66 (maybe a little lower depending on latency). Getting Cobra Shot down to a 1.66 Cast time is relatively easy and should be obtainable by any hunter in pre-raid gear (average iLevel 346).

The amount of Haste needed to push Cobra Shot cast time below 1.66 is listed below:

|---Without t11 Set---|---With t11 4-piece Set---|
|--- 5.914% haste-----|------Already there-------|
|-- 758 haste rating--|------ 0 haste rating-----|

Haste is a very tricky stat for Survival Hunters and there are many things to consider when deciding just how much of it you should get. Zeherah has made a very nice comment regarding Haste later in this thread:
With regards to the haste plateau thing, the thing to keep in mind is that SV tends to be somewhat tight on focus, and the gap in dps per focus between explosive shot and arcane is not what it used to be. So if the delay on explosive shot isn't huge, having a 4th cobra allows for more focus regen, which allows for more of your cobras to be replaced with arcane shots, which then in turn shortens the delay.


Survival's mastery is called "Essence of the Viper". Essence of the Viper increases all Elemental Damage you deal by 8%. Each point of Mastery increases the elemental damage done by an additional 1%.*

*It is important to note that partial percentages still increase your Mastery and Elemental Damage by that amount. Fore example if you have 15.75% mastery, then you will receive 15.75% extra damage to all Elemental Damage you do, not just 15%.

Essence of the Viper affects nearly every damaging ability in a Survival Hunters arsenal. The only thing that Essence of the Viper doesn't effect is Auto Shot, Multi-Shot, and Pet abilities.

179.28 Mastery Rating = 1 % Mastery

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How do I Reforge my Gear?

With the ability to reforge our gear we have the opportunity to tweak our gear for ideal DPS. But Which Stats should I Reforge and into what other stat? This can be a daunting and confusing task.

First I recommend using a tool like Zeherah's Female Dwarf Calculator or and addon such as Reforgenator to help with the planning of reforging your gear. Using these tools will save you a ton of gold.

Second use the Reforging Guidelines for Survival below:

  • In each slot, put on your best individual DPS item, ignoring the hit cap. This will generally be your highest item level mail item, preferring hit/crit over mastery/haste.
  • Gem in the way described in the Gems Section.

*If you are under the hit cap of 961:
  • Start reforging any excess Haste to hit. If you still need more hit, then reforge mastery or Crit into hit.
  • If you still don't reach the hit cap, don't worry about it. It's generally not worth giving up agility (via gems or using lower item level gear) to get more hit rating but if you have a reasonable socket bonus you can gain by using a Glinting, then you may want to do so.

*If you were over the hit cap of 961:
  • Start reforging hit to crit on pieces with Haste/Mastery and no Crit.
  • Next Reforge any other excess Hit to Mastery first then Haste if no other option.
  • Then start reforging any excess Haste to Crit/Mastery where possible.

These are basic reforging guidelines and each individual hunter should evaluate their own gear and stats to determine the best way to reforge.

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What Gems should I use in what slots?

The general rule of thumb when considering what to Gem is to stack as much agility as possible. We dont ever want to Gem just to reach the Hit cap. You are better off stacking agility and reforging one of our secondary stats into Hit. We also NEVER, EVER want to Gem for straight Haste/Mastery/Stamina.

It is a good idea to use a gem with "Agility/(secondary Stat)" in yellow or blue slots if the socket bonus is worth obtaining. Socket bonuses need to be evaluated. A good example of a socket bonus to Gem for would be in our Tier Chest piece: Lightning-Charged Tunic. The chest piece has 1 Blue and 1 Red socket. If we used 2 Agi gems our total would be 80 Agility and we would loose the socket bonus. However if we used 1 Agi gem and 1 Agi/Hit gem, we would get the socket bonus and get 80 agility and 20 hit.

Below are the guidelines for picking the right gem for the right socket:

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How should I Enchant my gear?

Below is a slot by slot list of the best enchants for Survival Hunters:

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What are good professions for a Hunter?
Blizzard has done a pretty good job of evening out the profession bonuses and all professions provide the same basic gains. I will briefly cover Professions and their bonuses relevant to Marksman Hunters below.

  • Jewelcrafting: The ability to socket 3 Delicate Chimera's Eye provides 81 extra agility.
  • Leatherworking: Draconic Embossment (130 agi to bracers) provides 80 extra agility.
  • Blacksmithing: Extra Glove and wrist sockets provides extra 80 agility.
  • Alchemy: Mixology with Flask provides an extra 80 agility.
  • Inscription: Swiftsteel Inscription provides an extra 80 agility.
  • Engineering: Synapse Springs equal out to roughly 80 agility. Engineering also provides some other advantages that are hard to quantify into DPS terms like Flexweave Underlay, Rocket boosts, and Engineering only Goggles.
  • Enchanting: Allows you to enchant each ring with +40 Agility for a total of 80 Agility.

**Recommendation: Pick any two of the professions above and take advantage of their profession only perks.

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What Flasks, Food and potions should I use?
The consumable's listed below will provide the greatest benefit to MM hunters:

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IV. Shot Priorities

This section will focus on providing information regarding the optimal shot priorities to achieve maximum raid DPS. As with most DPS specs in Cataclysm there is not set "rotation", instead there is a priority list of shots where decisions must be made depending on situational circumstances. The better your decision making the better your DPS will be.

Survival Shot Priorities can be broken down into 2 main categories: Single Target DPS and AOE DPS. Survival will also have to manage Lock and Load procs to achieve maximum DPS.

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Single Target DPS
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What Should my Single Target Rotation look like?

The single target DPS shot priority should follow the below guidelines:

  • Serpent Sting - Keep applied for the Noxious Stings effect which increases your ranged damage by 10%.
  • Explosive Shot - Used every 6 seconds
  • Kill Shot - when mob is at or below 20% health.
  • Black Arrow/Explosive Trap - If the mob will be alive >15 seconds.
  • Arcane Shot - Make sure to have enough focus to fire both Explosive Shot and Black Arrow on cooldown before using Arcane shot.
  • Cobra Shot

Following the guidelines can be a little trickier than it looks for a couple of reasons. First, the random effect from the talent "Thrill of the Hunt" will make managing your focus slightly more difficult. On any of your Explosive, Arcane, or Black Arrow shots, Thrill of the Hunt has a 15% chance to refund 40% of the focus cost of those shots.

The second complicating factor is determining/planning to have enough focus pooled to cast both Explosive Shot and Black Arrow when they come off cooldown. Because of the random nature of Thrill of the Hunt, pooling to much focus could cause you to become focus capped and not having enough focus will delay your shots. It is generally better to have slightly more focus than to be caught without enough to cast Explosive/BA when needed.

The third factor is Lock and Load procs. If you are pooling focus for Explosive/BA and you get a LnL proc, you could easily become focus capped, thus wasting potential DPS.

Being able to fluidly make good decisions based on the above guidelines will yield higher DPS. You should train yourself to always be actively queuing an ability anytime an attack ends. You shouldn't delay a shot to make a decision or react to a proc, instead train yourself to start another attack regardless of what is happening and then adapt the attack if necessary after you have had another second to consider the circumstances.

A typical Shot Priority Cycle after Serpent Sting and Black arrow have been applied will look like:
Explosive Shot --> Cobra Shot x3* *If under Dynamic haste effects you can safely cast 4 cobras or depending on haste, cast 3 cobras and 1 Arcane.
** This Shot priority is based off of the principle of having a Cobra Shot Cast time of 1.66 or lower.

**Black Arrow V.S. Explosive Trap**
Which is better DPS and which is better for procing Lock and Load?

The DPS difference between Black Arrow and Explosive Trap is fairly small on single target mobs. Explosive costs less focus (0 if laid down/10 if used with Trap Launcher) and has twice the chance to proc LnL. However the mob needs to remain in the Explosive trap radius for the duration of the trap in order to gain the full DPS benefits.

Utilizing Explosive Trap in place of Black Arrow will free up more focus for arcane shots. It will also reduce the trouble of trying to pool enough focus to fire both Explosive Shot and Black Arrow when they are both coming off cooldown.

Deciding to use Explosive Trap over Black Arrow is something that should be evaluated on a case by case basis. I generally find myself using Explosive trap on fights where the boss will rarely move for the duration of the fight such as Malaoriak.

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Lock 'n' Load Procs
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What do I do when Lock and Load Procs?

When Lock and Load procs, our Explosive shot cooldown is instantly reset and we are allowed to cast 2 FREE Explosive or Arcane shots.

The most common and preferred shot priority for when LnL proc's is:
Explosive --> Cobra Shot --> Explosive --> Arcane Shot* --> Explosive Shot* If focus is high enough, otherwise cast Cobra shot instead. If you are already nearly focus capped when you get a LnL proc you can also replace the first Cobra Shot with Kill Command to bleed off excess focus.

Using Arcane shot as one of the free LnL procs will always be a DPS loss. Therefore Arcane Shot should never be used to consume one of the free shots granted from a LnL proc.

The important thing to keep in mind regarding LnL procs is to always weave a shot in between each Explosive shot. The reason for this is that Explosive Shot ticks two additional times, for full damage, after the initial hit. But if we fire two Explosive Shots back to back the 2nd shot actually overwrites that DoT, effectively losing 2/3 of that first Explosive Shot’s damage.

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How do I do good AoE DPS as Survival?

Survival currently has the highest AoE dps of the 3 specs. (Although with 4.1 buffs to Multi-Shot, the gap is much closer than previously.) This is due to all of the talents that increase the damage of Multi-Shot such as: Serpent Spread, Toxicology, Improved Serpent Sting, and Noxious Stings. Then on top of Multi-Shot we can use Explosive Trap for additional AoE.

An important note regarding Survival's AoE damage is that you should never need more than 1/2 in Serpent Spread. This is because the second point only adds 3 seconds of duration to targets affected by Serpent Spread. In nearly every AoE situation you will be casting Multi-Shot sooner than every 6 seconds. Therefore a second point in Serpent Spread would be wasted.

Since patch 4.1, Explosive Trap's damage debuff appear to be stacking. Multiple hunters casting Explosive trap will now all receive the DPS benefit instead of just the first hunter who applied the Explosive trap debuff.

The typical AoE dps shot priority is as follows:
Explosive Trap* >> Multi-Shot x2 >> Cobra x2 >> Multi-Shot >> Cobra x2 * Only one hunter at a time gets the benefit from Explosive Trap.

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V. Pets

Which Pet Does the Most DPS?
Answer: Watch this short Video -

Blizzard has normalized pet DPS so that they all do roughly the same DPS overall. The main decision when choosing a pet is what Buff/Debuff is the raid missing that can be filled by my pet. Choosing a pet that buffs the raid will outweigh any personal DPS loss by bringing that pet.

If all raid buffs/debuffs are covered, then bring which ever pet (Ferocity or Cunning) will provide the greatest personal DPS. Generally a Ferocity pet will provide slightly more DPS due to "Call of the Wild" which buffs both the Hunter's and Pet's Attack power.

There are a couple of situations to consider when choosing whether to use a Ferocity pet or a Cunning pet. A Cunning pet will typically do more of the overall DPS While a Hunter will do more overall DPS with a Ferocity pet. This means that if the fight will have higher pet up-time a Cunning pet would be a good choice and conversely if the Hunter will have more boss up-time a Ferocity pet would be the best choice.
Two good examples would be:
1) using a ferocity pet on Atramedes because of the higher Hunter up-time and
2) using a cunning pet on Cho'Gal because of the high pet up-time.

There are also a couple of cases where using a Cunning pet would be a DPS benefit over a Ferocity pet:
1) You need to fill a specific raid buff not brought by anyone else in your raid (4% physical damage debuff or 8% spell damage debuff).
2) You are doing a fight in which the last 35% of a Bosses health is more critical or requires a burn phase such as Chimaeron or Cho'Gall. This would allow you to take greater advantage of Cunning pets Feeding Frenzy ability.

It is also important to note that if you are going to be running a Cunning pet on a consistent basis for any of the above reasons, it will be a DPS gain to have 2/2 Sic'Em. This will ensure you pet has a better flow of focus and will not become focus starved.

What Hunter Stats get converted to Pet Stats?
The following is a list of how a pet's stats are transferred from their master.
Pets Gain:

42.5% of hunter AP
70% of hunter armor
100% of hunter hit as both hit and expertise (so if you are hit capped, your pet is hit and exp capped)
100% of hunter haste
100% of hunter crit

67% of hunter stamina

72.5% of hunter stamina

78% of hunter stamina

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Pet Specs
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Below are links to the current Highest DPS Specs for pets:



** Note that Tenacity pets are not recommended as DPS pets and should only be used if they provide a missing raid buff/Debuff.


Cunning: (Same as 1/9/31)

Tenacity: (Same as 1/9/31)

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Pet Raid Buffs
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Which pet brings which Raid Buff?
Below is a recommended list of pets that all hunters should have in their stables. This list will cover all raid buffs/Debuffs.
  • Cat - provides Strength and Agility
  • Wolf - provides 5% crit
  • Raptor - provides 12% armor Debuff
  • Carrion Bird - 10% Physical Damage Debuff
  • Hyena - 30% bleed damage Debuff
  • Sporebat - 30% cast speed reduction
  • Tallstrider or Fox - 10% Melee attack speed slow Debuff
  • Ravager - 4% physical damage vulnerability Debuff
  • Dragonhawk or Wind Serpent - 8% spell damage taken Debuff

Exotic BM only pets:
  • Corehound – exotic - Heroism/Bloodlust/Timewarp plus cast speed reduction
  • Silithid – exotic - Stamina buff
  • Shale Spider – exotic - 5% buff to stats

Sometimes it may be difficult to determine out which pet you need to bring based on your raid composition due to raiders constantly switching specs. A couple of good resources to help determine which raid buff a Hunter can provide with their pet are:

  • Hunter Pet Flow Chart:

  • Raid Checklist:

Return to Table of Contents:
Links and Resources

This section was copied from an amazing post created by the Hunter community member: Morobir. He did a far better job compiling this information than I could have ever hoped. Because his post did not reach sticky status, I have decided to include it here.

Over the years, countless players and fans have devoted enormous amounts of time to creating resources for hunters and other WoW players all over the web. This list of links cannot possibly be complete, but aims to give aspiring hunters a broad overview of some of the most popular resources, to help them learn about being a better hunter and a better, more informed player.

Hunter Information, Guides and Theory Crafting

Calculators, Planners and Simulators

  • -- Hunter DPS simulator. Excellent design, allowing full customization of gear, specs. enchants, pets, shot priorities, fight specifications, etc. The math for Cata mechanics is still a work in progress, but it generally gives very good results, especially for comparing the relative values of different changes in your character.

  • -- a reforging calculator that figures optimal reforging templates for your gear.

  • -- SimulationCraft WoW dps simulation project

  • - Hunter gear planner and gear listing

  • General News and Information

  • -- A general news site that's a good place to keep up on class and game changes as soon as they're announced.

  • -- Comprehensive WoW gear, ability, NPC, item and area database. Includes character and pet talent calculators.

  • -- Comprehensive database along the same lines as wowhead that uses a different approach to the user interface, which may be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences

  • -- General WoW news and info, but particularly known for raid strategy guides and videos

  • -- Raid strategy guides and videos

  • -- Expansive wiki with information on all things WoW, including raid encounter effects and strategies


  • -- Raid dps tracking

  • -- Raid dps tracking

  • -- Character gear and progress tracking and rating

  • -- Guild raid progress tracking and ranking


  • -- Game add-on repository for WoW and other games

  • -- Wow-specific add-on repository. Lots of overlap with, but there are a number of add-ons here that are not found on (and vice versa)

Credits: Yjjial, Zeherah, Kalilah

Thanks again Morobir for all your effort in putting this Great list together.

VII. Change Log

5.19.2011 - Modified Pet Section as suggested by Icecoldblue
Ok, 15 should do it. Feel free to post now.

Please keep in mind that I have a ton of formating to do and there are still a few unfinished sections that i will be workign on.

Also if there is something that I havent covered please post and let me know about it.

And as always suggestions and input are wanted. This guide can be as good as the Hunter community wants to help make it.

Looking forward to seeing your responses,

Well feel free to post any suggestions you may have from your guide.

This can be a team effort.

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