Beast Mastery Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoD 6.1.2)

Beast Mastery Hunter Art Image
General Information

On this page, we list your Beast Mastery Hunter core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft WoD 6.1.2. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Beast Mastery Hunter.

The other pages of our Beast Mastery Hunter guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Nnx, a top Hunter who raids in Huge in Japan, and whose stream you can watch on Twitch, and by Azortharion, one of the best Hunters in the world, who raids in Danish Terrace. He maintains his own Hunter guide, and you can watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Single Target Rotation↑top

The single target rotation for a Beast Mastery Hunter is based on the following priority system.

  1. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command.
  2. Cast Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot
    • Only available when the target is below 20% health.
  3. Use Barrage Icon Barrage, if you have taken this talent.
  4. Keep Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus up, if you have taken this talent.
  5. Cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot to dump any excess Focus.
  6. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot to generate Focus.

The most important thing to watch out for is not to Focus starve yourself such that you do not have enough Focus to cast your abilities on cooldown.

In addition to the above, you will also have to make use of several cooldowns, as we explain below.

2. Multiple Target Rotation↑top

When facing multiple targets, you should make use of the following priority system.

  1. Cast Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot, as often as needed to keep up the Beast Cleave Icon Beast Cleave buff on your pet.
  2. Use Barrage Icon Barrage.
  3. Keep Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus up, if you are using this talent.
  4. Use Explosive Trap Icon Explosive Trap.
  5. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command.
  6. Cast Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot, keeping an eye out for any of the multiple targets which are below 20% health.
  7. Cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot to dump any excess Focus.
  8. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot to generate Focus.

Note that when facing only 2 targets, Multi-Shot's priority drops from 1st to 6th place.

3. Cooldown Usage↑top

As a Beast Mastery Hunter, you have two important cooldowns, namely Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath and Focus Fire Icon Focus Fire. You should aim to use Bestial Wrath as many times as possible in the encounter, but there are several subtleties regarding its use, and we describe all of them later on in the guide. Focus Fire usage is more complex, and we also talk about this later on in the guide, since there are a few important details to keep in mind.

More details about cooldown usage, as well as information about the cooldowns you gain from talents can be found in our detailed cooldown usage section.

4. Aspects↑top

Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah and Aspect of the Pack Icon Aspect of the Pack are generally not advised during combat because of their negative dazing effect, but can be useful for speeding up your raid's running after a wipe. Note that in the case of Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah, you can remove the dazing penalty by using Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah.

Aspect of the Fox Icon Aspect of the Fox lasts 6 seconds and has a 3-minute cooldown. While active, it allows raid members within 40 yards to move while casting spells and abilities.

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

5. Optional Read: Mastering Your Beast Mastery Hunter↑top

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

5.1. Focus

Hunters and their pets use a unique resource, called Focus. Focus works in much the same way as other class resources, like Rage and Energy, in the sense that some abilities grant Focus, while others cost Focus to be used.

A Beast Mastery Hunter's Focus has a maximum capacity of 120, and regenerates at an innate rate of 4 Focus per second. This rate is increased by Haste. In addition to this, certain abilities such as Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot (Marksmanship-only) and Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot (Beast Mastery and Survival-only) also grant Focus.

Most of the abilities in the hunter rotation cost Focus to use, and some talents decrease the Focus costs, or offer other ways to gain additional Focus.

Hunter pet Focus works similarly, and is of no concern to you as you cannot do anything to modify it, nor will you be casting pet abilities manually.

As a general rule, you should always have enough Focus to cast your shots as soon as they come off cooldown, but also to never have 120 Focus (as any extra Focus you generate would then go to waste).

5.2. Auto-shots and Special Shots

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

Autoshot is the default Hunter attack, which works similarly to melee classes' auto attacks or "white swings". It is affected by your Ranged Attack Speed, and it continues to work while moving.

The other hunter shots are of all varieties: instant cast or with a cast time, costing Focus or granting Focus, and some are utility shots which cost no Focus and deal no damage.

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

5.3. Pet Contribution

The greatest contribution to your DPS is your pet's damage, both through its simple melee attacks and through Kill Command Icon Kill Command. For this reason, it is imperative that your pet is always on the target, stays alive, and that you always cast Kill Command on cooldown. Keep this in mind, otherwise your DPS will plummet.

There are a few useful things to remember regarding pet movement.

First of all, when you are switching targets, if you simply target a new enemy and use Kill Command Icon Kill Command, your pet will cast Kill Command on its current (your old) target. Therefore, you must always make sure to tell your pet to first change target (through the Pet Attack command), and then use Kill Command.

Secondly, if you need to have your pet move to a target that is far from it, you can help close the gap faster by having the pet use Master's Call Icon Master's Call on a friendly target that is located between the two enemies.

5.4. Detailed Cooldown Usage

5.4.1. Focus Fire

The buff provided by using Focus Fire Icon Focus Fire is very strong, and its ideal usage can be summarised as follows.

  • Use Focus Fire whenever your pet reaches 5 stacks of the buff.
    • Delay using it if there are between 10 and 19 seconds left to Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath coming off cooldown. The idea is to wait until there are exactly 10 seconds left.
  • Use Focus Fire, regardless of your pet's stacks, whenever Stampede Icon Stampede is active.
  • Use Focus Fire, regardless of your pet's stacks, when Bestial Wrath is active and has more than 3 seconds remaining, or when you are about to enter Bestial Wrath.
  • Use Focus Fire, regardless of your pet's stacks, when Frenzy Icon Frenzy is about to expire.
  • Use Focus Fire, regardless of your pet's stacks, when you are going to do AoE damage.

To make it easier to use Focus Fire, we recommend the following WeakAuras script.


5.4.2. Bestial Wrath

Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath should, as well, be used as many times as possible during an encounter. In addition to the aforementioned interaction with Focus Fire, it's also advisable to delay your Bestial Wrath so that its duration lines up with Kill Command Icon Kill Command cooldowns in such a way that you can use two Kill Commands during Bestial Wrath. You should ensure that you have a fair amount of Focus when casting Bestial Wrath, and you should spend its 10 second duration casting Kill Command and Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot, and as few Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shots as possible (ideally none).

If you have the Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast talent, then you should ideally summon the Dire Beast a few seconds before using Bestial Wrath.

5.4.3. Tier 4 Talents

Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast usage is very simple. It should be used on cooldown, and ideally before using Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath whenever this is applicable (since it will generate extra Focus for you while Bestial Wrath is active).

Thrill of the Hunt Icon Thrill of the Hunt will sometimes provide you with a Focus cost reduction for your next 3 Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shots or Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shots. You will simply benefit from this reduction passively, although you do have to be careful not to reach maximum Focus. It is also important to use these procs up quickly, so as not to have any new ones wasted. In such cases, you can give Arcane Shot a higher priority than your tier 6 talents.

If you take Steady Focus Icon Steady Focus, you should always try to use Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot twice in a row to keep up the buff you gain from Steady Focus.

5.4.4. Tier 5 Talents

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

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

Stampede Icon Stampede has a long cooldown, and it does a lot of burst damage. As such, aside from using it as many times as possible in any given encounter, you should make sure to use it whenever the burst damage is most needed.

5.4.5. Tier 6 Talents

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

Barrage Icon Barrage should be used on cooldown, ideally with Focus Fire Icon Focus Fire active.

Powershot Icon Powershot should be used on cooldown.

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

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

5.4.6. Tier 7 Talents

Adaptation Icon Adaptation is essentially a passive ability that buffs the damage of your pet, so you do not need to manage it in any way. Of course, you can make use of the additional abilities your pet gains (such as Last Stand Icon Last Stand), but this is only for utility, and not for DPS.

Exotic Munitions Icon Exotic Munitions should be used depending on the encounter. Poisoned Ammo Icon Poisoned Ammo is best for single target DPS, while Incendiary Ammo Icon Incendiary Ammo is best for AoE damage.

Focusing Shot Icon Focusing Shot simply replaces Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot in your rotation.

5.5. AoE Pets

As a Beast Mastery Hunter, two exotic pets have AoE abilities of their own. Using these pets for AoE will yield a DPS loss over following the multiple target rotation we gave at the start of this page, but we mention these two pets for completeness.

6. Changelog↑top

  • 15 Mar. 2015: Revamped the single target and multiple target rotations, and also updated the ideal Focus Fire Icon Focus Fire usage (and the accompanying WeakAuras).
  • 16 Feb. 2015: Updated the multiple target rotation, and also slightly tweaked the recommended Focus Fire Icon Focus Fire usage during Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath (usable with 3+ stacks instead of necessarily with 5).
  • 10 Jan. 2015: Updated the single and multiple target rotation sections slightly.
  • 19 Oct. 2014: Improved the single and multiple target rotations, and detailed the optimal use of Focus Fire Icon Focus Fire.