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glyph Survival Hunter: Mists of Pandaria Rotation Changes, Talents, and Glyphs (Patch 5.0.4)

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This article is no longer being updated. Please refer to our Survival Hunter guide, which is fully compatible with Mists of Pandaria, and is being constantly updated. Thank you.

In preparation for the updates to our guides for Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4, we are releasing articles such as this one, explaining what has changed for a particular class and spec, and what the new rotation is likely to be.

Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress (both from Blizzard's side and from our own) and that this article assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the Cataclysm version of the Survival Hunter rotation and playstyle (such as from reading our guide).

We will first list the most important changes to the Survival Hunter Cataclysm abilities, and then we will proceed to explaining the (likely to be) optimal rotation. Keep in mind that we do not document every single change or new ability, only those that impact the rotation.

Finally, we will give you some information about the most useful talents and glyphs you should choose.

New Abilities

  • Tier 4 talents offer you a choice between ability_hunter_aspectoftheviper.jpgFervor and ability_hunter_readiness.jpgReadiness (and ability_hunter_thrillofthehunt.jpgThrill of the Hunt, but this is a passive talent). We currently believe that Fervor is the least attractive choice. Which of the other two is a larger DPS gain remains to be determined, but it is important to note that Readiness can also help you reset cooldowns of useful abilities such as ability_whirlwind.jpgDeterrence.
  • Tier 5 talents offer you a choice between ability_hunter_murderofcrows.jpgA Murder of Crows, ability_hunter_sickem.jpgDire Beast, and ability_hunter_catlikereflexes.jpgLynx Rush. At the moment, it seems that A Murder of Crows is the biggest DPS boost.
  • Tier 6 talents offer you a choice between ability_glaivetoss.jpgGlaive Toss, ability_hunter_resistanceisfutile.jpgPowershot, and ability_hunter_rapidregeneration.jpgBarrage. While each of these abilities seems designed for multiple target DPS, we would put forth that Barrage will prove to be the most useful in both single and multiple target situations. This remains to be determined accurately, however.
  • ability_hunter_bestialdiscipline.jpgStampede is a burst DPS ability that causes all your current pets (all 5 of them - the ones in your stable are not counted) to attack the target for 20 seconds. Due to its 5 minute cooldown, this spell is not affected by ability_hunter_readiness.jpgReadiness.
  • ability_trueshot.jpgTrueshot Aura increases the attack power of all raid members by 10%. Even though this is a passive ability, it is an important raid-buff that we considered worth mentioning (this was previously only available to Marksmanship Hunters).

Changes to Existing Mechanics

  • Minimum range has now been removed from the game. You can shoot the target from any range.
  • ability_hunter_assassinate2.jpgKill Shot's cooldown is reset if it does not kill the target. This effect can only happen once every 6 seconds. This used to be provided by a glyph, in Cataclysm.
  • ability_hunter_runningshot.jpgRapid Fire cooldown has been reduced to 3 minutes (from 5 minutes).
  • ability_hunter_cobrashot.jpgCobra Shot now generates 14 focus instead of 9.
  • spell_shadow_painspike.jpgBlack Arrow cooldown has been reduced by 6 seconds, allowowing for much greater uptime.
  • ability_hunter_snipershot.jpgHunter's Mark now increases damage done to the target, by ranged attacks, by 5%. Previously, it used to increase the attack power of the ranged attackers against the target. Since the attack power increase was fixed, this change allows Hunter's Mark to scale with your gear.
  • spell_nature_ravenform.jpgAspect of the Hawk now increases attack power by 10%, instead of by a fixed value. This allows it to scale with your gear.

Removed Abilities

Rotation

The rotation for Survival Hunters remains practically unchanged from its Cataclysm version. The only differences arise from the integration of the new abilities. However, since these abilities are on rather long cooldowns, their impact is minimised.
  • Apply and maintain ability_hunter_quickshot.jpgSerpent Sting on the target. ability_hunter_cobrashot.jpgCobra Shot extends its duration, so you should only have to apply it once.
  • Cast ability_hunter_explosiveshot.jpgExplosive Shot on cooldown.
  • Cast ability_hunter_assassinate2.jpgKill Shot on cooldown. This is only available when the target is below 20% health.
  • Cast spell_shadow_painspike.jpgBlack Arrow on cooldown.
  • Cast ability_impalingbolt.jpgArcane Shot to dump focus, provided that you will have enough focus afterwards to use Explosive Shot and Black Arrow without delaying them at all.
  • Cast ability_hunter_cobrashot.jpgCobra Shot to generate focus (and extend your Serpent Sting on the target).
Additionally, you should make sure that ability_hunter_snipershot.jpgHunter's Mark is always on the target.

ability_hunter_lockandload.jpgLock and Load still exists and works almost identically to the way it did in Cataclysm. The only difference is that ability_hunter_explosiveshot.jpgExplosive Shot can no longer be "clipped". This means that you can now cast two (or more) Explosive Shots in quick succession, without inter-weaving any other spells, and none of their ticks will be wasted. This makes using Lock and Load procs much easier: you should simply fire off all your Explosive Shots one after the other. The only exception to this is if you are at maximum focus, in which case you should cast an Arcane Shot in between the Explosive Shots.

Cooldowns

This section assumes you have chosen ability_hunter_murderofcrows.jpgA Murder of Crows, ability_hunter_readiness.jpgReadiness, and ability_hunter_resistanceisfutile.jpgPowershot from your talents.
  • ability_hunter_runningshot.jpgRapid Fire remains your major DPS cooldown. You should make sure to use it as many times during the fight as possible. Ideally, it should be used when the boss is taking increased damage or when you need to do burst damage. It is also ideal to stack it with your potions or procs from other items or enchants.
  • ability_hunter_murderofcrows.jpgA Murder of Crows (in case you have chosen it as a talent) should also be used as many times as possible during a fight. You should ideally use it together with Rapid Fire, so that you can reset both their cooldowns with Readiness (see below).
  • ability_hunter_readiness.jpgReadiness (in case you have chosen it as a talent) should be used immediately after Rapid Fire and A Murder of Crows, in order to reset their cooldown and allow you to use them again.
  • ability_hunter_resistanceisfutile.jpgPowershot (in case you have chosen it as a talent) should be used on cooldown. Ideally, you should find a moment for this spell's long cast time when both Black Arrow and Explosive Shot are on cooldown. You should also attempt to use it after you use Rapid Fire and A Murder of Crows, so that you can reset its cooldown with Readiness as well.

Multiple Target Rotation

Against 2 enemies, you are best off performing a single target rotation, while maintaining ability_hunter_quickshot.jpgSerpent Sting on both targets. ability_hunter_lockandload.jpgLock and Load procs should be used on both targets, alternatively.

Against 3 enemies, you should use spell_fire_selfdestruct.jpgExplosive Trap instead of spell_shadow_painspike.jpgBlack Arrow. You should also maintain ability_hunter_quickshot.jpgSerpent Sting on all 3 targets. ability_hunter_lockandload.jpgLock and Load should be used on different targets, alternatively.

Against 4 or more enemies, you should use spell_fire_selfdestruct.jpgExplosive Trap instead of spell_shadow_painspike.jpgBlack Arrow. You should simply spam ability_upgrademoonglaive.jpgMulti-Shot.

Thanks to ability_hunter_serpentswiftness.jpgSerpent Spread (which is unchanged from the Cataclysm version of the ability, then provided by a talent), using ability_upgrademoonglaive.jpgMulti-Shot will spread ability_hunter_quickshot.jpgSerpent Sting to all affected targets. Therefore, in all cases where we advise applying Serpent Sting to multiple enemies, you should use Multi-Shot to do so, assuming the enemies are all together.

Talents

Tier 1 talents offer you a choice between several movement-enhancing abilities:Narrow Escape seems tailored for PvP use. Thus, in PvE, the choice will almost surely be made between Posthaste and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera. Which of these you choose will depend on the requirements of the encounter, but we currently see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera as being best.

Tier 2 talents offer a choice between ability_theblackarrow.jpgSilencing Shot, inv_spear_02.jpgWyvern Sting, and spell_shaman_bindelemental.jpgBinding Shot. Which one you pick will depend on the encounter, but for raiders, it seems that Silencing Shot will have the most use.

Tier 3 is centered around survival and self-healing. Your options are:

For progression PvE raiding, it would seem that Spirit Bond is at a slight disadvantage. The choice between a powerful, active self-heal and passive damage reduction will probably be determined by the encounter mechanics.

We have discussed Tier 4, 5, and 6 talents at the start of the article.

Glyphs

The only glyph which can play any part in your DPS performance is ability_hunter_assassinate.jpgGlyph of Marked for Death. This causes your ability_impalingbolt.jpgArcane Shot, ability_hunter_explosiveshot.jpgExplosive Shot, and ability_hunter_assassinate2.jpgKill Shot to automatically apply ability_hunter_snipershot.jpgHunter's Mark to the target. This will save you a global cooldown at the start of the fight, and it will also save you from having to refresh the buff during the fight.

Of the other glyphs, these can help improve your survivability and they will probably be mandatory for raiders:

Finally, ability_rogue_feint.jpgGlyph of Disengage may prove very useful on some encounters.

This concludes our Survival Hunter preview for Mists of Pandaria. We hope you have enjoyed reading it and that it proved useful to you. As always, we are looking forward to reading your opinions on the matter!

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The guide mentions that ability_hunter_lockandload.jpgLock and Load procs are unchanged from Cataclysm. Does this take into account the recent change that prevents clipping of ability_hunter_explosiveshot.jpgExplosive Shot ticks when fired back-to-back under Lock & Load? Or is this something that people didn't care about? I came to Hunters late in Cataclysm and never really knew how to handle it properly. "Should I wait a few seconds before shooting my second free Explosive Shot or just hit them as soon as the GCD lets me?"

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I generally never used the 2nd Explosive of LnL right after the 1st one, I almost always put a spell in between, probably Arcane Shot. Based on your url it seems that this no longer is the case for MoP and you can simply spam Explosive Shot when it is available.

By the way, SV basic rotation seems basically unchanged from Cata to MoP!

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The guide mentions that ability_hunter_lockandload.jpgLock and Load procs are unchanged from Cataclysm. Does this take into account the recent change that prevents clipping of ability_hunter_explosiveshot.jpgExplosive Shot ticks when fired back-to-back under Lock & Load? Or is this something that people didn't care about? I came to Hunters late in Cataclysm and never really knew how to handle it properly. "Should I wait a few seconds before shooting my second free Explosive Shot or just hit them as soon as the GCD lets me?"

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I was not aware of that blue post! I've updated the guide now to mention the change to Explosive Shots.

I generally never used the 2nd Explosive of LnL right after the 1st one, I almost always put a spell in between, probably Arcane Shot. Based on your url it seems that this no longer is the case for MoP and you can simply spam Explosive Shot when it is available.

By the way, SV basic rotation seems basically unchanged from Cata to MoP!

Yay indeed! Not much is changed, but things certainly feel a bit more fluid for us.

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I am personally glad that survival hasn't changed that much. In the beginning of BETA they had switched a bunch a stuff around and made some really dumb changes. Survival was the only Hunter spec that didn't really need any tweaking, but they did it anyway. Happily they listened to the hunter community and reverted things back.. Now since Diablo came out I see what was going on, a lot of the changes were very similar to the Demon Hunter, so I think they were trying to bring a bunch of the fun things you can do with a Demon hunter into WOW, but most of it didn't transfer very well.

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I am personally glad that survival hasn't changed that much. In the beginning of BETA they had switched a bunch a stuff around and made some really dumb changes. Survival was the only Hunter spec that didn't really need any tweaking, but they did it anyway. Happily they listened to the hunter community and reverted things back.. Now since Diablo came out I see what was going on, a lot of the changes were very similar to the Demon Hunter, so I think they were trying to bring a bunch of the fun things you can do with a Demon hunter into WOW, but most of it didn't transfer very well.

Personally "if it aint broke dont fix it". They seem to tweak, change, mess around with so much at times. Sometimes the best thing to do is leave things be ;)

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  • Tier 6 talents offer you a choice between ability_glaivetoss.jpgGlaive Toss, ability_hunter_resistanceisfutile.jpgPowershot, and ability_hunter_rapidregeneration.jpgBarrage. While each of these abilities seems designed for multiple target DPS, we would put forth that Barrage will prove to be the most useful in both single and multiple target situations. This remains to be determined accurately, however.

Is it only me, or does that bring Demon Hunter from D3 to mind?

  • ability_hunter_bestialdiscipline.jpgStampede is a burst DPS ability that causes all your current pets (all 5 of them - the ones in your stable are not counted) to attack the target for 10 seconds. Due to its 10 minute cooldown, this spell is not affected by ability_hunter_readiness.jpgReadiness.

Woohoo, we can show off all of our pets at once Posted Image

  • ability_trueshot.jpgTrueshot Aura increases the attack power of all raid members by 10%. Even though this is a passive ability, it is an important raid-buff that we considered worth mentioning (this was previously only available to Marksmanship Hunters).

Does that mean that ability_trueshot.jpgTrueshot Aura is going to replace ability_hunter_huntingparty.jpgHunting Party?

Changes to existing mechanics:

  • Minimum range has now been removed from the game. You can shoot the target from any range.

Finally! It's a pain in some encounters!

Thank you for that again. Like Pee, I'm glad they've not messed around too much with this spec. Thank you for silencing Shot at last!

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Is it only me, or does that bring Demon Hunter from D3 to mind?

I suppose so :) We're the closest things to Demon Hunters anyway, so why not!

Woohoo, we can show off all of our pets at once Posted Image

Yup, looks fun :)

Does that mean that ability_trueshot.jpgTrueshot Aura is going to replace ability_hunter_huntingparty.jpgHunting Party?

That's correct. I forgot to mention this in the "removed abilities" (even though it's not technically an ability, but it's still quite important). ability_hunter_huntingparty.jpgHunting Party is gone.

Finally! It's a pain in some encounters!

Thank you for that again. Like Pee, I'm glad they've not messed around too much with this spec. Thank you for silencing Shot at last!

The removal of minimum range is a godsend, for sure. I'd just like to see the cast time of our shots removed, making us a true "ranged physical" DPS, in the same way as melee physical DPS classes work.

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