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Beast Mastery Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.0.3)

Last updated on Sep 10, 2016 at 15:05 by Azortharion 135 comments

Table of Contents

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 Legion 7.0.3. 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 Author

This guide has been written by Azortharion, the main theorycrafter of the spec. He is also an accomplished player who raids in Vanguard. You can also watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Single Target Rotation

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

  1. Cast Titan's Thunder Icon Titan's Thunder on cooldown and when Dire Beast is active.
  2. Use Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast, or Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzy if you have taken this talent.
  3. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command.
  4. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot when you have over 90 Focus.

The most important thing to watch out for is to not Focus starve yourself, such that you do not have enough Focus to cast your abilities on cooldown. This means that you should not always use Cobra Shot as soon as it is available, but rather only use it to prevent yourself from capping on Focus.

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

2. Multiple Target Rotation

When facing more than 1 target, you should make use of the following priority system.

  1. Cast Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot, just as often as needed to keep up the Beast Cleave Icon Beast Cleave buff on your pet, but no more than necessary.
  2. Cast Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast/Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzy
  3. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command. This takes priority over Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot on 2 targets only.*
  4. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot when you have over 90 Focus, and Beast Cleave Icon Beast Cleave has more than ~1.5 seconds remaining, otherwise use Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot to dump excess Focus.

*If you have the  Icon Surge of the Stormgod trait, you should stop casting Kill Command Icon Kill Command on 4 targets, and simply spam Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot instead of it. Everything else remains the same.

3. Cooldown Usage

As a Beast Mastery Hunter, you have two important cooldowns, namely Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath and Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild. 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. Aspect of the Wild should generally be used in conjunction with Bestial Wrath at all times, though not at the cost of additional usages throughout the fight.

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. Opener Sequence

This section describes the recommended way to start the fight as a Beast Mastery Hunter. It assumes you are using the recommended talents for the spec.

  1. Just before the encounter starts, use your Potion of Deadly Grace Icon Potion of Deadly Grace.
  2. Cast A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows.
  3. Activate Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath and Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild.
  4. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command on 1 target, or Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot on multiple targets.
  5. Cast Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast.
  6. Proceed with your normal rotation.

5. Optional Read: Mastering Your Beast Mastery Hunter

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 10 Focus per second. This rate is increased by Haste. In addition to this, certain abilities such as Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot (Marksmanship-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 abilities 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. The same goes for the artifact pet, Hati, which will generally follow the commands you give to your pet.

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

Most importantly, 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.

5.4. Detailed Cooldown Usage

5.4.1. Bestial Wrath

Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath should be used as many times as possible during the encounter. In order to ensure that you cast as many high-damaging shots during the 20%% damage buff (35%% with Bestial Fury Icon Bestial Fury talented), you should always make sure that you have as much Focus as possible before using Bestial Wrath, but without capping on Focus. As well as starting your Bestial Wrath with maximum Focus, you should end it with as little Focus as possible. Additionally, you should generally not use Bestial Wrath unless Kill Command is within 3 seconds of coming off cooldown. Finally, keep in mind that every time you use Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast or Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzy, the remaining cooldown on Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath is reduced by 15 seconds. So if Bestial Wrath is just about to come off cooldown (under 2 seconds, for example), you should delay Dire Beast until you use that Bestial Wrath, so that you do not miss out on the cooldown reduction effect or waste part of it.

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows should be used on cooldown, although it can and should be delayed a bit to overlap with Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath if the opportunity arises.

5.4.2. Tier 1 Talents

Way of the Cobra Icon Way of the Cobra has no affect on how you play, and you will passively benefit from the bonus damage to Cobra Shot.

Big Game Hunter Icon Big Game Hunter has no effect on how you play, and you will passively benefit from the crit chance when your target is above 80% health.

Dire Stable Icon Dire Stable has no effect on how you play, and you will passively generate more Focus through Dire Beast as you execute your rotation.

5.4.3. Tier 2 Talents

Stomp Icon Stomp is a passive ability, and therefore does not need to be played any differently. When dealing with multiple targets, however, you should try and cast Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast on the one closest to the middle, to get as much out of the Stomp AoE damage as possible.

Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzy should be used just like Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast, on cooldown.

Chimaera Shot Icon Chimaera Shot usage is very simple. It should be used on cooldown at all times.

5.4.4. Tier 4 Talents

One with the Pack Icon One with the Pack has no effect on your playstyle, and you will benefit passively from it.

Bestial Fury Icon Bestial Fury will benefit your Bestial Wrath passively, so nothing needs to be done differently.

Blink Strikes Icon Blink Strikes has no effect on your playstyle either, you will simply benefit passively from this.

5.4.5. Tier 6 Talents

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows should be used as many times as possible during the fight. The cooldown of this ability will reset if its target dies before the debuff expires (15 seconds). You should try and take advantage of this effect as much as possible (but without delaying A Murder of Crows needlessly much). Remember that it is not worth it to benefit from this effect by casting A Murder of Crows on targets that will die in a second or two.

Barrage Icon Barrage should simply be used on cooldown, though you may want to save it in anticipation of heavy multi-target situations in the fight.

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.

Volley Icon Volley should simply be enabled before you start the fight and largely forgotten about. When dealing with multiple targets, you should try and be auto-attacking the one closest to the middle to get the most benefit out of Volley's AoE damage. Volley should be activated at all times, even on single target.

5.4.6. Tier 7 Talents

Stampede Icon Stampede should be used as many times as possible during the fight. Keep in mind that in Legion, Stampede can hit multiple targets close to its original target. As well as using it as many times as possible during the fight, and stacking it with as many powerful buffs as possible, you should also anticipate heavy, stacked multi-target moments in the fight and use it there.

Killer Cobra Icon Killer Cobra simply emphasizes the importance of starting your Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath with as much Focus as possible. You should know that the cooldown reset on Kill Command doesn't happen until Cobra Shot lands on the target. Otherwise, your gameplay will be the same.

Aspect of the Beast Icon Aspect of the Beast does not change your gameplay in any way.

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

  • 10 Sep. 2016: Applied the DB/KC shift to Multi-Target as well. Added note about rotational changes with Surge of the Stormgod.
  • 07 Sep. 2016: Added Titan's Thunder to rotation.
  • 07 Sep. 2016: Swapped Kill Command / Multi Shot and Dire Beast lines in the opener.
  • 04 Sep. 2016: Clarified Volley explanations to make it more explicit that it is to be used at all times, even on a single target.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 28 Jul. 2016: Very slight opener adjustment.
  • 23 Jul. 2016: Removed Barrage from rotation to avoid confusion, added note about Crows in Cooldown section.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Added opener.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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