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Survival Hunter DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Pet Talents (Legion 7.1.5)

Last updated on Jan 12, 2017 at 20:13 by Azortharion 239 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Survival Hunters in World of Warcraft Legion 7.1.5. 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 Mythic+ 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 7.1.5, 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 and Animal Instincts Icon Animal Instincts are both disadvantaged significantly since Way of the Mok'Nathal Icon Way of the Mok'Nathal was buffed in the 7.1.5 patch. For this reason, we recommend that Survival Hunters trying to improve should go for Way of the Mok'Nathal early on and try to make it a part of your playstyle for optimal performance. Throwing Axes remains slightly better than Animal Instincts.

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 Icon Snake Hunter was significantly nerfed in 7.1.5, no longer naturally lining up with cooldowns like  Icon Fury of the Eagle and suffering significantly as a result. It is no longer worth taking over Crows for any realistic situation.

Mortal Wounds Icon Mortal Wounds simply has way too small of a chance of a proc to be worth using over the other options, although with the Frizzo's Fingertrap Icon Frizzo's Fingertrap Legendary, it does have some use in dungeons as it lets you keep up Lacerate Icon Lacerate on multiple targets, giving you significantly more ticks.

4. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Posthaste Posthaste Disengage Disengage 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.
  • Disengage Icon Disengage causes you to leap backwards. This ability is baseline for Beast Mastery and Marksmanship.
  • 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.

Disengage Icon Disengage is recommended for most situations in this tier, although you may prefer Trailblazer Icon Trailblazer for dungeons or content where you have to run a lot outside of combat, as Survival's version of Disengage Icon Disengage is not amplified by talents like Posthaste Icon Posthaste.

5. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Caltrops Caltrops Guerrilla Tactics ? Guerrilla Tactics 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 high 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).
  • Guerrilla Tactics Icon Guerrilla Tactics replaces Improved Traps in 7.1.5. It enhances the effects of the new trap mechanic Waylay Icon Waylay. It increases Explosive Trap Icon Explosive Trap's damage by 50% all the time, and causes it to make the target's next two melee attacks miss. Freezing Trap will not break from damage for the first 6 seconds, and Tar Trap's initial movement speed reduction is much more potent.
  • 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. Because of Waylay Icon Waylay, if it has been placed for more than 2 seconds and then activated, it deals significantly increased damage if the enemy it strikes is not in combat.

With Improved Traps being removed in favour of another style of the same talent and Caltrops being buffed, this leaves Caltrops Icon Caltrops as being the best choice in all situations. On top of being the best damage, it also provides very powerful utility with its slow, though you may still wish to pick Guerrilla Tactics Icon Guerrilla Tactics for specific situations where that kind of crowd control is particularly important, though that may mostly be the case for PvP.

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 12-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.

Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting is recommended for almost any kind of raiding, providing the highest single-target DPS out of the 3 options, along with very powerful and easily sustainable AoE. Butchery Icon Butchery is an extremely powerful AoE talent, and with its cooldown reduced as well as its damage buffed recently, it is extremely powerful for Mythic+ dungeons and should always be taken for those.

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 moderate 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 low Physical damage to the target over 6 seconds.
    • For Tenacity, it gives your pet a 30% 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 all specs.

10. ChangeLog

  • 12 Jan. 2017: Changed wording on some changed abilities. Removed note about pet specs and special abilities as they are no longer relevant.
  • 09 Jan. 2017: Updated for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 19 Dec. 2016: Slightly improved our assessment of Butchery.
  • 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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