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Survival Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (MoP 5.4.8)

Survival Hunter Art Image
General Information

On this page, we list your Survival Hunter coreabilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of WarcraftMoP 5.4. We also explain whento use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtletiesthat you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a SurvivalHunter.

The other pages of our Survival Hunter guide can be accessedfrom the table of contents on the right.

1. Single Target Rotation↑top

The single target rotation for a Survival Hunter is based on the followingpriority system:

  1. Apply Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark on the target.
  2. Apply and maintain Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting to the target
    • it will be refreshed by Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot so it only needs to be doneonce, normally.
  3. Cast Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot on cooldown
    • thanks to Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load, you will often have a proc that resetsthe cooldown of Explosive Shot, and allows you to cast it twice without itcosting focus or incurring a cooldown.
  4. Cast Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot (when target is below 20% health).
  5. Cast Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow on cooldown (if the target will live for the fullduration of Black Arrow).
  6. Cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot if you have sufficient focus to still executesteps 3 and 5 afterwards.
  7. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot.

Managing the Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load procs is important, although simple. Wedetail this in a specific section furtherdown the page.

2. Multiple Target Rotation↑top

2.1. Less Than 4 Enemies

In this situation, we advise you to make use of a normal rotation, with thefollowing changes/additions:

Also, you can distribute your DPS among the several targets that you face byusing Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load procs in the following way:

Handling Lock and Load procs in this way will not increase your DPS, it willonly cause you to DPS all the targets more evenly.

2.1.1. 4 or More Enemies

Abandon your single-target rotation and use this priority list:

  1. Cast Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot as often as your focus allows.
  2. Place an Explosive Trap Icon Explosive Trap under the enemies, provided that they arestacking.
  3. Cast Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow on cooldown.
  4. Cast Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot when you benefit from a Lock and Load proc.
  5. Cast Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot (when target is below 20% health).
  6. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot whenever you have insufficient focus forMulti-Shot.

3. Cooldown Usage↑top

In this section, we assume that you have taken Fervor Icon Fervor,A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows, and Glaive Toss Icon Glaive Toss from your tier 4, 5, and 6talents, respectively. This is because we deem them to be best talents for yourDPS.

In short, this is how you should make use of your DPS cooldowns.

  • Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire, Fervor Icon Fervor, A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows, andStampede Icon Stampede should be used as many times as possible during theencounter.
  • Rabid Icon Rabid (an ability your pet gains if you choose the Ferocityspecialisation) should be used as many times as possible during theencounter.
  • Glaive Toss Icon Glaive Toss should be used on cooldown.

More details about cooldown usage, as well as information about the othertalents (that we do not deem optimal at the moment) can be found in ourdetailed cooldown usage section.

4. Aspects↑top

You should always have an Aspect active. As a Survival Hunter, youshould always be using Aspect of the Hawk Icon Aspect of the Hawk.

Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah and Aspect of the Pack Icon Aspect of the Pack are generally notadvised during combat because of their negative dazing effect, but can be usefulfor speeding up your raid's running after a wipe. Note that in the case ofAspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah, you can remove the dazing penalty by usingGlyph of Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah.

A hunter's aspect will persist until removed by the hunter or untilthe hunter's death. Aspects can be changed in combat, but they cannot bechanged while a cast is in progress. Aspects are on the global cooldown.

5. Optional Read: Mastering Your Survival Hunter↑top

While the rotations we gave in the previous sections will yield very goodresults, there are many things you should be aware of, in order to play yourSurvival Hunter to its full potential. You will need to understand all thesubtleties, pertaining to your abilities, rotations, and cooldown usage, thatwe present below.

5.1. Focus

Hunters and their pets use a unique resource, called focus. Focus worksin much the same way as other class resources, like rage and energy, inthe sense that some abilities grant focus, while others cost focus in orderto be used.

A Survival Hunter's focus has a maximum capacity of 100, andregenerates at an innate rate of 4 focus per second. This rate is increasedby Haste Rating. In addition to this, certain abilities such asSteady Shot Icon Steady Shot (Marksmanship-only) and Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot (Beast Masteryand Survival-only) also grant focus.

Most of the abilities in the hunter rotation cost focus to use, and sometalents decrease the focus costs, or offer other ways to gain additionalfocus.

Hunter pet focus works similarly, and is of no concern to you as you cannotdo anything to modify it, nor will you be casting pet abilities manually.

As a general rule, you should always have enough focus to castyour shots as soon as they come off cooldown, but also to never have100 focus (as any extra focus you generate would then go towaste).

5.2. Auto-shots and Special Shots

Hunters do the majority of their damage through the use of shots. Therest of the damage is made up of pet damage and DoT damage.

Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot is the default Hunter attack, which works similarly tomelee classes' auto attacks or "white swings". It is affected by yourRanged Attack Speed, and it continues to work while moving.

The other hunter shots are of all varieties: instant cast or with a casttime, costing focus or granting focus, and some are utility shots whichcost no focus and deal no damage.

One of the most important aspects of doing competitive Hunter DPS is to makesure your shots are always used without delay.

5.3. Dumping Focus

Your only means of dumping excess focus (thus preventing capping your focusat 100, which means wasting focus) is Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot. The cost of anArcane Shot is 30, and these should be cast only so that you do not cap yourfocus. There is no need (and it is indeed detrimental) to deplete your focuspool by casting several Arcane Shots at a time, if that causes you to delayExplosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot or Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow even for an instant.

5.4. Lock and Load Procs

Whenever you deal periodic damage with Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow, you have a 20%chance to trigger a Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load proc, which causes your next twoExplosive Shot Icon Explosive Shots to cost no focus and trigger no cooldown, in other wordsallowing you to cast three Explosive Shots in a row.

The proc has a 12-second duration, and 10-second internal cooldown. In orderto maximise the benefit from Lock and Load, you need to make sure that you haveused up every proc before the internal cooldown expires. This should not bea problem.

Whenever you get a Lock and Load proc, you should simply fire the ExplosiveShots one after the other. Prior to Mists of Pandaria, this was a small DPSloss, due to the way the Explosive Shot DoT worked, but it is no longer aproblem.

In the event that you are at maximum focus when a Lock and Load prochappens, or you reach maximum focus between your two Explosive Shots, youshould simply cast one or more Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shots.

Note that Lock and Load Icon Lock and Load also procs each time you trap a target withIce Trap Icon Ice Trap or Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap. You can make use of this by placingan Ice Trap at the location where the boss will spawn/become active/be pulled,if the encounter allows (keep in mind that bosses are usually immune, so theviable targets are any adds that spawn during the encounter). As long as youare able to do this before combat starts, then you will have a guaranteed Lockand Load at no cost whatsoever.

This strategy is worth using during combat, as long as you are trackingLock and Load's internal cooldown (10 seconds), and as long as you only wasteone global cooldown dropping the trap. Do note that slowed adds will also berooted due to your Entrapment Icon Entrapment passive ability, which may cause problemsfor your raid.

5.5. Detailed Cooldown Usage

5.5.1. Rapid Fire

Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire should be used as many times as possible during theencounter. It is not recommended to stack this cooldown withHeroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp. It is, however,advised to stack it with any other procs, on-use trinkets, potions, and fightmechanics that cause you to deal increased damage.

Note that if you have the 2-Part Tier 16 Set Bonus, you should use Rapid Fire as often as possible, andnot attempt to delay it in order to stack it with anything else.

5.5.2. Rabid

Rabid Icon Rabid increases your pet's attack speed by 70% for 20 seconds, witha 90-second cooldown. You should use this ability as many times as possibleduring the encounter.

There are no cooldowns for you to stack this with that would increase itsbenefit, so try to use it as many times as possible during the fight.Additionally, if you can time it so that it is up at the same time as procsthat increase your pet's DPS (such as increases to your own Critical StrikeRating, Mastery Rating etc.), this is recommended.

5.5.3. Stampede

Stampede Icon Stampede's 5-minute cooldown means that it will most likelyonly be used twice during the vast majority of encounters. Your only concern isto make sure that it is cast as many times as possible during the fight. Ifthere are moments when the boss takes increased damage, or when burst damage isimportant to your raid's strategy, you should save Stampede for such atime.

Note that Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire does not affect your Stampede, since it doesnot give you Haste, but rather Ranged Haste (which does not affect the attackspeed of the beasts).

It is recommended to use your second Agility potion together withStampede.

5.5.4. Tier 4 Talents

Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast usage is very simple. It should be used on cooldown.

Fervor Icon Fervor should also be used on cooldown, with the mention that youshould only use it when neither you, nor your pet, are at or above 50Focus.

Thrill of the Hunt Icon Thrill of the Hunt will sometimes provide you with a focus costreduction for your next 3 Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shots or Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shots. Youwill simply benefit from this reduction passively, although you do have tobe careful not to reach maximum focus.

5.5.5. Tier 5 Talents

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows should be used as many times as possible duringthe fight. There is no benefit in stacking this ability with anything else.

Lynx Rush Icon Lynx Rush should simply be used on cooldown.

Blink Strikes Icon Blink Strikes is a passive ability, so it requires no explanations.

5.5.6. Tier 6 Talents

Glaive Toss Icon Glaive Toss should be used on cooldown. In case there areadditional targets in the fight, you should position yourself in such a waythat the glaives hit the other targets too.

Powershot Icon Powershot should be used on cooldown.

Barrage Icon Barrage should be used on cooldown.

In the case of Powershot, you should follow the same positionalrecommendation that we issued with regards to Glaive Toss.

It is interesting to note that you can change where Barrage is directed byturning your character while channeling the spell. This allows you to hitmore targets than those you were initially facing.

5.6. Opening Sequence

We will provide you with an example of an opening sequence that maximisesthe gains from your cooldowns and abilities:

  1. Make sure that Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark is applied to the target.
  2. Cast Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot.
  3. Cast Black Arrow Icon Black Arrow and Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire.
  4. Cast Stampede Icon Stampede.
  5. Cast A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows and Fervor Icon Fervor.
  6. Cast Glaive Toss Icon Glaive Toss.
  7. Cast Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting.
  8. Cast Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot.

Rapid Fire is used early not because of any synergy with Stampede, butsimply because it is best for it to be active as soon as possible, while yourpotion and other buffs and procs are active.

Naturally, whenever we suggest the use of an ability that comes from atalent, it assumes you have taken that talent. In most cases, these are alsocurrently the best talents.

The influence of your opening rotation on your overall DPS is generallyquite small, so do not spend too much time stressing over it.

6. Changelog↑top

  • 02 Mar. 2014: Made several updates, especially regarding cooldownusage and the opening rotation.
  • 19 Nov. 2013: Updated opening rotation, and added a mention thatRapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire should be used on cooldown with the 2-Part Tier 16 SetBonus.
  • 10 Sep. 2013: Patch 5.4 update.
    • Removed all mentions of Readiness, since this ability has been removedfrom the game.
    • Removed all mentions of the usefulness of stacking Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire withStampede Icon Stampede. Stampede beasts now no longer perform basic attacks, so thereis no benefit from Rapid Fire anymore.
    • Updated the Opening Sequence to account for Readiness being gone.
    • Removed all mentions of Explosive Trap Icon Explosive Trap triggeringLock and Load Icon Lock and Load procs, since this is no longer the case.
  • 20 May 2013: Patch 5.3 update: mentioned that Blink Strikes Icon Blink Strikesis now passive and does not require any kind of management.
  • 20 Apr. 2013: Made several important updates.
    • Emphasised the fact that Stampede Icon Stampede should be stacked withRapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire.
    • Added emphasis on focus management and using your shots without delay.
    • Added a mention that you can change the facing of your character whileBarrage Icon Barrage is being channeled, which affects where you are shooting.
    • Revamped the Opening Sequence section.



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