Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beast Master Hunter Rotation

A reader asked me in the comments section about my rotation as a Beastmaster Hunter. Since I don't raid, my rotation is looser than a raider's and it might not even be the most optimized one out there. It works for me though.

Until patch 3.2 I was using a poorer rotation than I'm using at this moment. It still worked, but the one I switched to now (for no particular reason, just that I figured it must be better), seems to perform better.

Before I start, some conventions for this article:
Hunter's Mark = HM
Arcane Shot = AS
Steady Shot = SS
Serpent Sting = SSt
Kill Shot = KS
Multi-Shot = MS
Volley = V

Kill Command = KC
Bestial Wrath = BW
Intimidation = I
Misdirection = M

For single mobs, I will place a HM on the target, send the pet to attack and apply an I or M on the mob, if they are available. I will also use KC, BW or Trinket if available.

Before 3.2 my rotation would be:
SS > AS > SS > SS > SS > AS ...
My reasoning here is that I would start with SS since it has a casting time and this allows my pet a bit more time to grab aggro. Also, I didn't use SSt in my rotation because fights were over too quickly and SSt shined where fights are longer and the poison has time to take its full course.

Currently, my rotation is:
SSt > AS > SS > SS > SS > AS > SS > repeat
For normal mobs, I don't usually get to the second SS because they are dead. I changed my rotation for 2 reasons. First of all, I figured that it might not be a bad idea to start with SSt after all. If I start with it, even if it doesn't run its full course, it will at least do more damage from the start. Besides, it's an instant shot. Second, AS is also an instant shot and the sooner I use it, the sooner it becomes available again. Then I would continue with SS. As I said, by the second SS the mob is dead anyway. To me this new rotation seems to kill the mobs quicker and I'm left with more mana at the end. If what I'm saying seems obvious or stupid, don't hate on me. I haven't bothered to theorycraft with my Hunter. I'm simply doing what feels best for me.

For multiple mobs I will HM one mob and send in the pet which has Thunderstomp and grabs aggro from all the mobs. From there, it's:
MS > V > V > V... until they all drop dead.
If I grab aggro, which usually happens, I will Feign Death, not before firing an AS at the incoming mobs or even better a MS if the cooldown is up.

When needed, I will interrupt my rotation to punch a Mend Pet.

For aggro management, I prefer M to I. It allows the pet to build a lot more aggro. For bosses and/or elites I will use both, of course, but alternately.

Don't ask me how my skills are set up on my bar. They're a mess. I left them the way I first set them up such a long time ago. For example my AS is 1, my SS is 5, my SSt is 4, my MS is 9, my V is 7 and so on. Even though it's a mess, I feel comfortable in it.

So there you have it. If I'm doing something wrong and you know better, please let me know.


Tox said...

Hey Darth,

I usually wait until Ferocious Inspiration procs to use Arcane Shot, cos that increases AS damage by 9%. Also, I find that a croc is a great pet to hold aggro because of Bad Attitude which affects multiple targets. Great for farming!!

Anonymous said...

thank you for your thoughts, i will adjust my rotation a little since i have aimed shot to add to the rotation. what are your thoughts for the best rotation for a blood spec DK?

veliaf said...

He actually already wrote a post about his blood DK rotation, here:


Tom said...

Excellent post. Can you also do one for the SV hunter as well?

Safrienaer said...

I see that you do the multiple mobs part a little different that I do. I usually use Volley only when there are way more than five mobs, or there are small adds that are easier to kill with aoe. I prefer doing it this way:

Send pet in, take Thunderstomp off autocast until all the mobs are within its range.
M+MS > SSt > AS, fire MS and AS whenever they're off cooldown and focus fire them down one by one.

I don't know if it's true, but this feels more mana efficient than just Volleying everything down. Not using Volley also saves me from using FD that often.

Darth Solo said...

@Tox that's a good way to do it. I should probably try that for bosses/elites. For single mobs though they go too fast anyway.

@Anonymous what Veliaf said.

@Tom thanks. Unfortunately I don't know anything about SV. This is my only spec and since I'm a strictly solo player, it works well for me. I have never tried SV though I was specced MM a long time ago, in WoW Classic, when I was raiding.

@Safrienaer it looks like you're more calculating than I am and you do more micromanagement. I'm chaotic man! I always use Volley if there are more than 2 mobs. Mana isn't much of an issue since it regenerates quickly with AotV.

Celebrandil said...

SV hunters don't have a rotation, they more or less have a "priority list" of shots that have to be applied to the mob. The sequence is:

1) Kill Shot, by far the highest DPS, should always be on cooldown
2) Black Arrow, more or less the only ability that triggers Lock'n Load, keep it on cooldown all the time
3) Explosive Shot
4) Aimed Shot
5) Serpent Sting
6) Steady Shots as fillers if ES, BA and AS are on cooldown and the mob is not yet at 20%

I use Aimed Shot instead of Arcane (which isn't even in my UI) because I also have the glyph which cuts down the cooldown. And Arcane is a pure magic damage shot, whereas Aimed Shot is a physical damage which also benefits from Armor Penetration and other physical debuffs on the mob such as Fairy Fire etc.

Darth Solo said...

Great job explaining this Celebrandil, thanks. SV sounds like a lot of fun. How does it work out for solo-ing? As far as I know it's mostly a raiding spec, right?

Steve said...


Even more important than the magic/physical nature of the shot, you shouldn't be using Arcane because it shares a cooldown with Explosive, which is MUCH more powerful.

Basically, unless you are fighting a mob that is immune to ES, you should always use it instead of Arcane.

Personally, I only use SV in groups; for soloing I switch to BM. SV would be reasonably viable against normal mobs for soloing I guess, but I find it annoying. The pet cant' hold aggro so the mob always comes after you in just a few seconds. But you do so much damage it's usually dead before it reaches you.

It wouldn't likely work too well vs. elites since you kinda need the elite to be distracted for awhile. But I haven't tried.

Bloodshrike said...

Hey Darth,
I'm just getting to Borean Tundra, but I still use the same type of rotation.

Single Mobs:
Hunter's Mark, Arcane Shot, Gnomish Lightning Generator, Steady Shot....and they're dead.

5 Mobs: I went to Borean Tundra to get some Rhino Meat, since there was none on the AH.
I'd send my pet in against the mother rhino, wait for my gorilla's T-stomp to get aggro on her 4 calves, put down an Immolation trap, let loose a volley, use a lightning bolt or rocket on her, and finish off with a Saronite Bomb. After that it's usually just mop up work on the calves, with 1-2 auto or Arcane shots each.

Celebrandil said...

SV is totally fine for soloing, you dish out a lot of dps; the downside is that your pet quickly runs out of aggro. Even if you use Misdirection - if the fight is longer than just a couple of seconds, you will have to feign death or else the mob is on you. But it's true, the main purpose of SV is doing heroics, 10- and 25-mans. The longer the fight, the better for a SV hunter (as long as there's a tank ;-) ).

@Steve, thanks for that, I totally forgot about the shared cooldown. I haven't been using Arcane for more than a year so I never really found out.

I have a second spec in BM which I use for solo raiding classic instances or heroic BC dungeons. Like mentioned before it works very well in Zul Gurub, the AQ40 trash is no problem (so you can easily farm the bug mounts ;-) ), and I'm sure I can kill Azuregos if I ever find him alive. Molten Core trash is also a piece of cake, until you get to the corehound packs. They tear your pet apart with an evil bleed debuff, which effectively prevents you from trying out Lucifron (which should be a pushover) and Magmadar. But that BM spec is great for trying out difficult tasks especially in the old world and Outlands. It doesn't work in WotLK heroics of course.

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