Survival Hunter DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, Pet Talents, and Glyphs (MoP 5.4)

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Survival Hunter Art Image
General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent and glyph choices for Survival Hunters in World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. We detail what each of the talents and glyphs 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 Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Roger Brown, one of the best Hunters in the World and the raid leader of Method. You can watch his stream on Twitch and follow him on Twitter.

1. Talent Choices↑top

Level Choices
15 Posthaste Narrow Escape Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera
30 Binding Shot Wyvern Sting Intimidation
45 Exhilaration Aspect of the Iron Hawk Spirit Bond
60 Fervor Dire Beast Thrill of the Hunt
75 A Murder of Crows Blink Strikes Lynx Rush
90 Glaive Toss Powershot Barrage
+ show color blind markers - hide color blind markers
  • Performance-enhancing
  • Survival
  • Crowd Control
  • Movement
  • Utility
  • Situational

There is no longer such a thing as a default build. Most of the talents are now viable. They can easily be changed, thanks to Dust of Disappearance Icon Dust of Disappearance (and Tome of the Clear Mind Icon Tomes of the Clear Mind from level 86 to 90). You will frequently find yourself changing talents and glyphs between encounters, in order to adapt your play style to different mechanics. Therefore, it is important to understand what each of your talents does and how they affect your play style.

2. Tier 1 Talents↑top

Tier 1 talents offer a choice between 3 means of improving your movement and mobility (although they also have some secondary benefits).

Given the amazing usefulness of Deterrence Icon Deterrence, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera Icon Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera is the top choice for most encounters.

Posthaste Icon Posthaste is better for fights where you need extra mobility more than you need extra survival (or if Deterrence is not particularly useful in the encounter).

Narrow Escape Icon Narrow Escape can probably be quite useful in situations where you have to kite adds, but the number of such situations is quite low.

3. Tier 2 Talents↑top

Tier 2 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that provide you crowd control and utility.

  • Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot fires an arrow at a random enemy, debuffing this player and allies of theirs within 5 yards, causing them to be stunned for 5 seconds if they move more than 5 yards from the location of the arrow. Being affected by the arrow causes players to be immune to Binding Shot for 10 seconds. It has a 45-second cooldown.
  • Wyvern Sting Icon Wyvern Sting puts the target to sleep for 30 seconds. The ability has a 45-second cooldown. Any damage done to the target will break the effect.
  • Intimidation Icon Intimidation commands your pet to stun the target for 3 seconds, with a 1-minute cooldown.

While none of these talents will have any effect on your DPS, Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot can bring some raid utility, as it can be used as a reliable stun for fights with adds. It can also be used as an interrupt, since placing it so that the add is at the edge of the targeted area will instantly stun it, regardless of whether or not it moves.

You should choose the talent that best suits your situation.

4. Tier 3 Talents↑top

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

  • Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration is a self-heal that heals you for 30% of your maximum health, and your pet for 100% of its maximum health. It has a 2-minute cooldown.
  • Aspect of the Iron Hawk Icon Aspect of the Iron Hawk replaces your Aspect of the Hawk Icon Aspect of the Hawk, adding a 10% damage reduction component to it.
  • Spirit Bond Icon Spirit Bond causes you and your pet to regenerate 3% of your maximum health every 2 seconds.

In our opinion, the choice for maximising your survivability will come down to either Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration or Aspect of the Iron Hawk Icon Aspect of the Iron Hawk, but Aspect of the Iron Hawk takes the lead in most situations.

Aspect of the Iron Hawk provides you with a constant 10% damage reduction. This is a great asset, especially on fights where there are prolonged periods of intense raid damage. For progression raiding, this is undeniably the best choice.

Exhilaration gives you a great on-demand self-heal, which will undoubtedly save your life and help out your healers many times. Unfortunately, most deaths at this point of the game (progression-wise) come from burst damage, so damage reduction is always going to be better than reacting to the damage with a self-heal. Also, the fact that you have to actively use (and keybind) this spell is a further inconvenience, considering how many active abilities Hunters already have. Lastly, there is already something in the game which you can use to heal up instantly, namely Healthstone, so Exhilaration is really not needed.

Spirit Bond Icon Spirit Bond can be useful on fights where you are constantly taking damage (so that it does not overheal), but where the damage is too low for Aspect of the Iron Hawk to be efficient. In any case, we deem this talent to be lackluster in its current incarnation.

5. Tier 4 Talents↑top

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

  • Fervor Icon Fervor grants you and your pet 50 Focus each, as well as an additional 50 Focus over 10 seconds.
  • Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast summons a beast to attack the target for 15 seconds. Each time the beast deals damage, you gain 5 Focus.
  • Thrill of the Hunt Icon Thrill of the Hunt gives you a 30% chance to reduce the Focus cost of your next 3 Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shots or Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shots by 20, each time you use an attack that costs Focus.

For maximum DPS, Thrill of the Hunt Icon Thrill of the Hunt is slightly better than Fervor Icon Fervor. That said, the fact that you have full control over the use of Fervor causes this talent to yield higher DPS by flowing better during your rotation, especially if you are also using @A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows.

Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast is not a terrible choice, but it remains a weak talent choice here for Survival Hunters.

6. Tier 5 Talents↑top

Tier 5 talents offer you a choice between 3 DPS cooldowns:

  • A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows summons a flock of crows to attack your target for 30 seconds, with a 2-minute cooldown. If the target is below 20% health, the cooldown of the spell is reduced to 1 minute.
  • Blink Strikes Icon Blink Strikes grants your pet a passive ability, causing its Basic Attacks to deal 50% increased damage. Moreover, when Blink Strikes is taken, the pet uses its Basic Attacks from up to 30 yards away (with a minimum range of 10 yards) from the target, instantly teleporting behind the target. The teleportation effect has a 20-second internal cooldown.
  • Lynx Rush Icon Lynx Rush causes your pet to apply a bleed effect to the target, which lasts for 15 seconds, and deals damage every 3 seconds. The pet will perform 9 applications of this bleed effect (which stack). If there are multiple targets, then the pet jump from target to target, applying the bleed effect on each of them. Note that it will only apply 9 stacks in total, so if it jumps to multiple targets, it will not apply 9 stacks to each.

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows provides the highest single target DPS increase. Blink Strikes Icon Blink Strikes is slightly worse, but provides some utility when your pet has to do a lot of running from one target to another during the fight. So, choose according to the fight.

Lynx Rush Icon Lynx Rush is not a bad choice, either, but we feel it is currently below the other two.

7. Tier 6 Talents↑top

Tier 6 talents offer you a choice between 3 DPS abilities.

  • Glaive Toss Icon Glaive Toss throws two glaives at a target ahead of you. The glaives deal damage to all enemies in their path towards the main target, and then return to you, dealing damage on their way back. The main target takes 4 times the damage that secondary targets take.
  • Powershot Icon Powershot is a powerful shot with a long cast time and a 45-second cooldown. It deals 600% weapon damage to the target, as well as 300% weapon damage to all enemies between you and the target.
  • Barrage Icon Barrage is a channeled spell that fires a barrage of shots at the main target, dealing 640% weapon damage over 3 seconds (a total of 16 shots in quick succession), while also dealing 320% damage to all other enemy targets in a cone in front you (a total of 8 shots in quick succession to each target).

Glaive Toss Icon Glaive Toss provides the biggest single target DPS increase, and should be the default choice.

Barrage Icon Barrage is the best choice for any AoE situations.

Powershot Icon Powershot lags behind both Glaive Toss and Barrage, and it should really never be taken.

It is worth noting that Barrage and Powershot may be the best choice for fights where important mechanics or DPS burst phases repeatedly line up with their cooldowns.

8. Pet Talents↑top

Pets no longer have talent trees (as they did prior to Mists of Pandaria). Instead, you can simply choose one of three specialisations for your pet (Ferocity, Cunning, and Tenacity). 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. Choosing Ferocity grants your pet an important active ability, Rabid Icon Rabid. We discuss this in the rotation page.

9. Major Glyphs↑top

There are several Major Glyphs that provide you with survival and utility improvements. You should choose these based on the encounter and based on your own personal needs.

  • Glyph of Animal Bond Icon Glyph of Animal Bond increases the healing you and your pet receive by 10%. This is a valuable asset during raids, and this is the only practically mandatory glyph.
  • Glyph of Deterrence Icon Glyph of Deterrence increases the damage reduction offered by Deterrence Icon Deterrence by 20%. This glyph is very useful and should be taken in practically all situations
  • Glyph of Disengage Icon Glyph of Disengage increases the distance you travel while disengaging. This glyph is very useful, but you must be aware that in some cases traveling farther when Disengaging might not be beneficial.
  • Glyph of Liberation Icon Glyph of Liberation heals you for 5% of your maximum health each time you use Disengage Icon Disengage.
  • Glyph of Distracting Shot Icon Glyph of Distracting Shot sends the target of your Distracting Shot Icon Distracting Shot to attack your pet instead of you. The usefulness of this remains to be determined based on which bosses are susceptible to Distracting Shot.
  • Glyph of Mending Icon Glyph of Mending increases the amount of healing done by Mend Pet Icon Mend Pet by 60%. This can prove very useful for keeping your pet alive.
  • Glyph of Mirrored Blades Icon Glyph of Mirrored Blades causes all spells cast against you during Deterrence Icon Deterrence to be reflected back to the attacker, but it does not work against raid bosses.
  • Glyph of Tranquilizing Shot Icon Glyph of Tranquilizing Shot removes the focus cost of Tranquilizing Shot Icon Tranquilizing Shot, but gives the spell a 10-second cooldown. This could prove to be a very minor DPS boost in fights where you need to seldom use Tranquilizing Shot.

10. Minor Glyphs↑top

Minor Glyphs do not provide any improvements to your performance, but there are a few that we believe are still worth mentioning.

  • Glyph of Direction Icon Glyph of Direction makes the target of your Misdirection Icon Misdirection appear larger, and has the (apparently unintended) side-effect of resetting the cooldown on your Misdirection.
  • Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah removes the dazing penalty when you are attacked while Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah is active. Instead, your Aspect is removed and all your other aspects are placed on a 4-second cooldown. This can be useful when you want to take the chance of being able to out-run something, as being hit will not slow you down beyond your normal movement speed anyway.
  • Glyph of Aspect of the Pack Icon Glyph of Aspect of the Pack increases the range of Aspect of the Pack Icon Aspect of the Pack by 15 yards, making it more convenient to use in raid groups.
  • Glyph of Fetch Icon Glyph of Fetch teaches you the Fetch Icon Fetch ability, which allows you to have your pet retrieve the loot from a far-away corpse. This ability is excellent while questing or farming, significantly reducing the amount of time you spend running around to loot corpses.
  • Glyph of Lesser Proportion Icon Glyph of Lesser Proportion reduces the size of your pet, slightly. This can be useful in raids, so that other raid members (especially tanks and melee healers) can have a better view of the boss and the boss mechanics.
  • Glyph of Tame Beast Icon Glyph of Tame Beast reduces the cast time of Tame Beast Icon Tame Beast by 4 seconds making it easier to tame some rare or damaging pets.

11. Changelog↑top

  • 02 Mar. 2014: Made a few updates to the evaluations of talents.
  • 19 Nov. 2013: Confirmed that Thrill of the Hunt Icon Thrill of the Hunt is still a poor choice.
  • 10 Sep. 2013: Patch 5.4 update.
    • Updated the relative value of Tier 5 talents.
    • Updated the description of Aspect of the Iron Hawk Icon Aspect of the Iron Hawk to account for the fact that it now reduces damage taken by 10%, down from 15%. Also updated the description of Spirit Bond Icon Spirit Bond to account for the fact that it now regenerates 3% of total health per tick, up from 2%.
    • Replaced Silencing Shot Icon Silencing Shot with Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot as a Tier 2 talent.
  • 15 Jun. 2013: Updated Blink Strikes Icon Blink Strikes description to match the change made to the talent in a hotfix.
  • 23 May 2013: Updated the Tier 5 talent discussion to mention that Blink Strikes is a better choice for AoE.
  • 20 May 2013: Patch 5.3 updates.
    • Replaced Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot with Intimidation Icon Intimidation among Tier 2 talents.
    • Updated the description of Blink Strikes Icon Blink Strikes to account for the changes made to the talent, and changed the discussion of that tier's talents to reflect their current value.
  • 20 Apr. 2013: Made several updates.
  • 07 Mar. 2013: Patch 5.2 update.
    • Removed mention of Glyph of Marked for Death following its removal from the game (the effect is now baseline).
    • Updated cooldown of Silencing Shot Icon Silencing Shot from 20 to 24 seconds.
    • Updated cooldown of Wyvern Sting Icon Wyvern Sting from 1 minute to 45 seconds.