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Survival Hunter DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Pet Talents (Legion 7.1)

Last updated on Nov 06, 2016 at 19:22 by Azortharion 184 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Survival Hunters in World of Warcraft Legion 7.1. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Survival 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. Talent Cheat Sheets

While optimizing talents on a contextual basis is the highly recommended method of setting up your build, the talent builds listed below work great for specific purposes.

1.1. For General Use

This build is an excellent starting point for questing, dungeons, or general purpose usage, but particularly Mythic+ content.

1.2. For Raid Encounters

This build is an excellent starting point as a standard raid setup.

2. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Animal Instincts Animal Instincts Throwing Axes Throwing Axes Way of the Mok'Nathal Way of the Mok'Nathal

Tier 1 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that increase your DPS.

Currently and as of Patch 7.1, Way of the Mok'Nathal Icon Way of the Mok'Nathal is the strongest talent for most situations. There is no longer a significant damage deficit in using Raptor Strike over Flanking Strike (with Raptor Strike being buffed more than Flanking Strike was), so keeping up the buff becomes part of your rotation as you do not have to go out of your way to do it. Maintaining Way of the Mok'Nathal Icon Way of the Mok'Nathal can be very difficult to manage during hectic raiding encounters and our recommendation is based on a level of uptime that most players can achieve on most raiding encounters.

Throwing Axes Icon Throwing Axes is a very viable and competitive alternative on top of being much easier to play.

Animal Instincts Icon Animal Instincts is not very desirable. While its cooldown reduction makes it more potent than its pre-7.1 incarnation, it is still not better especially since Throwing Axes and Raptor Strike (for Way of the Mok'Nathal) were both buffed.

In the end, Throwing Axes Icon Throwing Axes and Way of the Mok'Nathal Icon Way of the Mok'Nathal are very close, both being active options (and Way of the Mok'Nathal being ahead slightly because it is the most difficult one), with Animal Instincts Icon Animal Instincts lagging behind both other options. Your choice will tend to be Throwing Axes Icon Throwing Axes during progression raiding where the tightly tuned Way of the Mok'Nathal-style rotation will not be able to be executed very well by most players.

3. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

A Murder of Crows A Murder of Crows Mortal Wounds Mortal Wounds Snake Hunter Snake Hunter

Tier 2 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that increase your DPS.

  • A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows summons a flock of crows to attack your target for 15 seconds, with a 1-minute cooldown. If the target dies while under attack, the cooldown of A Murder of Crows is reset. It costs 30 Focus.
  • Mortal Wounds Icon Mortal Wounds causes the ticks of your Lacerate Icon Lacerate DoT ability to have a 2% chance to grant you a charge of Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite.
  • Snake Hunter Icon Snake Hunter is an active ability that instantly gives you 3 charges of Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite. Remember that you can only have a maximum of 3 charges of Mongoose Bite. Using this ability when you have any charges of Mongoose Bite left will waste some of the charges that it generates.

We recommend A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows for almost all situations. With the recent buffs to Mastery, there is no longer a significant shortage of Mongoose Bite charges when building up to your  Icon Fury of the Eagle casts. It is also significantly easier to use optimally (as you simply use it on cooldown, sometimes delaying it a bit to line it up with Aspect of the Eagle Icon Aspect of the Eagle).

Snake Hunter remains a powerful choice, but with the recent buffs to Mastery, we are not in a shortage of Mongoose Bite charges anymore, meaning that its benefit for setting up burst windows is limited. On top of that, it is more difficult to use than Crows, and at best it is roughly equal.

Mortal Wounds Icon Mortal Wounds simply has way too small of a chance of a proc to be worth using over the other options.

4. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Posthaste Posthaste Farstrider ? Farstrider Trailblazer ? Trailblazer

Tier 3 talents offer you a choice between 3 means of improving your mobility.

  • Posthaste Icon Posthaste causes Harpoon Icon Harpoon to free you from all movement-impairing effects and boost your movement speed by 60% for 5 seconds.
  • Farstrider Icon Farstrider causes your damaging ability critical strikes to have a 10% chance to reset the cooldown of Harpoon Icon Harpoon.
  • Trailblazer Icon Trailblazer increases your non-mounted movement speed by 25% after you have not attacked anything for 3 seconds. It expires when you attack something again.

Your default choice should be Posthaste Icon Posthaste, as it will make you much better at covering long distances on a regular basis. You can use Farstrider Icon Farstrider if you never have to move more than the distance a single Posthaste Icon Posthaste will take you. Trailblazer Icon Trailblazer is only really worth using for non-mounted periods where you will be moving between combat zones for a long time. Since dungeons have nearly constant combat, and World Quests allow you to mount up, there are not many places where you can reliably do this. There is a conceivably use for it for Survival in dungeons, since the spec does not have a lot of mobility when running between packs besides its Harpoon Icon Harpoon ability.

5. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Caltrops ? Caltrops Improved Traps Improved Traps Steel Trap Steel Trap

Tier 4 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that increase both your DPS and utility.

  • Caltrops Icon Caltrops replaces Tar Trap Icon Tar Trap, which is similar to the Ice Trap ability in Warlords of Draenor. It spreads caltrops on a targeted location on the ground, and deals moderate Bleed damage to enemies that step on them, as well as reducing their movement speed by 70% for 6 seconds (up from 50% from Tar Trap).
  • Improved Traps Icon Improved Traps reduces the cooldown on your Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap ability by 15%, and your Explosive Trap Icon Explosive Trap and Tar Trap Icon Tar Trap abilities by 50%.
  • Steel Trap Icon Steel Trap replaces Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap. As well as immobilizing the target for 30 seconds like Freezing Trap, it deals high Bleed damage over 30 seconds. Any damage done to the target while immobilized breaks the immobilization effect, but not the damage.

Improved Traps Icon Improved Traps, Steel Trap Icon Steel Trap and Caltrops Icon Caltrops are all very close on single-target, with Improved Traps pulling ahead on multi-target encounters. Additionally, Improved Traps is much easier to use, as it does not change your rotation. Therefore, you should nearly always use Improved Traps. You may choose to use Caltrops Icon Caltrops for some AoE/Mythic+ scenarios, however.

Since all the options are fairly close in terms of damage, you may sometimes prefer to use something other than Improved Traps Icon Improved Traps for some encounters. You will have to judge the situation for yourself to figure out if the enhanced slow effects of Caltrops Icon Caltrops will be worth more than more frequent Tar Trap Icon Tar Traps through Improved Traps, for example.

6. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Sticky Bomb ? Sticky Bomb Ranger's Net Ranger's Net Camouflage ? Camouflage

Tier 5 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that increase your utility and survivability.

  • Sticky Bomb Icon Sticky Bomb is an active ability. It is a ranged ability that throws a grenade at your target. After 3 seconds, the grenade explodes, knocking back the target and all other nearby enemies.
  • Ranger's Net Icon Ranger's Net replaces Wing Clip Icon Wing Clip. It is a ranged ability that roots the enemy for 3 seconds, and reduces their movement speed by 50% for 15 seconds. Any damage done to the target will break the root effect, but not the slow effect.
  • Camouflage Icon Camouflage is an active ability that gives you stealth for one minute, and heals you for 2% of your maximum health every second. The stealth component of this ability does not work in combat.

You should choose the talent that best suits your situation, but Ranger's Net Icon Ranger's Net should generally be your default choice.

7. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Butchery ? Butchery Dragonsfire Grenade Dragonsfire Grenade Serpent Sting Serpent Sting

Tier 6 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that increase your DPS.

  • Butchery Icon Butchery is an active ability that replaces Carve Icon Carve. It has 3 charges with a 15-second cooldown, and costs 40 Focus. It deals high Physical damage to all targets within 8 yards.
  • Dragonsfire Grenade Icon Dragonsfire Grenade is an active ability. It deals high Fire damage to the target over 8 seconds and reduces its movement speed by 20%. Additionally, it deals moderate Fire damage to all targets near the main target over 8 seconds.
  • Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting causes your Raptor Strike Icon Raptor Strike and Carve Icon Carve abilities to apply a DoT to all targets hit that deals moderate Nature damage over 15 seconds.

Dragonsfire Grenade Icon Dragonsfire Grenade is recommended for all situations in this talent tier. Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting is a decent choice, but requires management and does not do more damage than Dragonsfire Grenade. Butchery Icon Butchery is a decent choice when high-target AoE is sometimes of high importance such as in some Mythic+ dungeons.

8. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Spitting Cobra Spitting Cobra Expert Trapper Expert Trapper Aspect of the Beast Aspect of the Beast

Tier 7 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that increase your DPS.

  • Spitting Cobra Icon Spitting Cobra is an active ability. It summons a small Spitting Cobra that deals minor damage to the target over 30 seconds. While it is active, you gain 3 Focus per second.
  • Expert Trapper Icon Expert Trapper improves your traps in different ways. It causes Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap to also reduce the target and all nearby enemies' movement speed by 50% for 4 seconds when the trap breaks. It increases the damage done by Explosive Trap Icon Explosive Trap to the target which triggered it by 75%. It gives Tar Trap Icon Tar Trap a chance to root enemies standing in it for 4 seconds. It also increases the damage done by Steel Trap Icon Steel Trap by 33.3%, by causing it to instantly deal 33.3% of its total damage when it is triggered. Finally, it increases the damage done by Caltrops Icon Caltrops by 50%.
  • Aspect of the Beast Icon Aspect of the Beast is a passive ability that enhances your Flanking Strike Icon Flanking Strike ability in different ways, depending on the spec of your current pet.
    • For Ferocity, which is your preferred pet DPS spec, it causes Flanking Strike Icon Flanking Strike to also deal moderate Physical damage to the target over 6 seconds.
    • For Tenacity, it gives your pet a 15% damage taken reduction for 6 seconds.
    • For Cunning, it reduces the target's movement speed by 50% for 4 seconds.

Expert Trapper Icon Expert Trapper is recommended for all situations. It simply outperforms the other choices on damage done, without requiring any more button presses.

9. Pet Talents

Pets do not have talent trees. Instead, you can simply choose one of three specialisations for your pet (Ferocity, Tenacity, and Cunning). You can change your pet's specialisation at any time (while out of combat), free of cost.

Each specialisation grants your pet a few specific abilities. Currently, Ferocity provides the highest DPS in a raid environment, so it should be the default choice for Marksmanship and Beast Mastery hunters. For Survival, it is a bit different.

As of Patch 7.1, Ferocity pets are now more desirable than Tenacity pets once again. This is due in large part to the fact that pet auto attacks can now proc Hunting Companion. Ferocity pets gain 10% additional attack speed, which translates into 10% more auto attacks. Additionally, for Survival, special abilities that certain pet families use also have a chance to give you a charge of Mongoose Bite. These include:

You want to use one of those pets and set its special ability to be autocast on the target, or macro it into your abilities to ensure it is used as often as possible.

10. ChangeLog

  • 06 Nov. 2016: Updated tier 15 and 30 talent recommendations/discussion.
  • 30 Oct. 2016: Removed talent table at the beginning of the page.
  • 29 Oct. 2016: Further Patch 7.1 updates regarding the Level 15 talents. Also added modified that pet section.
  • 25 Oct. 2016: Updated for Patch 7.1.
    • Updated Animal Instincts's description and added a note that the talent needs more extensive testing before its strength can be more properly assessed.
    • Updated Posthaste's duration. Was changed in Patch 7.1 to be 5 seconds (down from 8).
    • Trailblazer replaces Dash.
  • 07 Sep. 2016: Added Pet Talent section, which was missing from the guide.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 28 Jul. 2016: Updated stuff for the Caltrops row of talents to make it much clearer.
  • 25 Jul. 2016: Fixed error with Expert Trapper opinion.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Explained in more details why Snake Hunter is so much better than the other Level 30 options.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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