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Beast Mastery Hunter DPS Guide in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated Today at 09:50 by Azortharion 168 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

Welcome to our Beast Mastery Hunter DPS guide for World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1. Here, you will learn everything you need to know about playing a Beast Mastery Hunter in a raid environment and in Mythic+ dungeons.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Azortharion, the main theorycrafter of the spec for many years. He is an accomplished player with dozen of top parses for all specs throughout the game's history. He is also the Admin of Trueshot Lodge, the Hunter Class Discord, and you can watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Class Overview

Beast Mastery is a highly mobile ranged DPS spec. It is the only Ranged spec in the game that is able to fully execute its rotation while moving. This makes it incredibly useful for dealing with mechanics in raids and dungeons, as it can do these things with no damage penalty.

2. Patch 8.0.1 Changes for Beast Mastery Hunter

In Battle for Azeroth, Beast Mastery is the Hunter spec that has changed the least. Its baseline gameplay is very similar to how the Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzy talent played in Legion.

  • Many abilities that were not on the global cooldown before are now affected by it, including main cooldowns like Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath and Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild.
  • All pet specs now do the same damage, but the pet specs now provide different bonuses for defense and utility.

3. Viability of Specs

On this page, we will attempt to give a full picture of what the 3 Hunter specs are good at and when you might want to use them. Generally speaking, all the specs are competitive enough that you can play whichever one you prefer from a playstyle perspective. On this page, we will try to be as objective as possible when determining which spec is the best. To determine this, we will use simulations, intuition and occasionally WarcraftLogs Data to try and get a full picture.

3.1. Single-Target Spec Comparison Simulation

Survival14444+3.54%
Marksmanship13950 
Beast Mastery13564-2.77%
The original results can be found on raidbots.com

As the title suggests, this simulation puts the specs up against each other in an ideal scenario for a pure single-target encounter, with no movement. We use a fight length for the simulation that best reflects the actual fight lengths in current Mythic content.

3.2. Multi-Target Spec Comparison Simulation - 4 Targets

Survival27617+17.01%
Beast Mastery26201+11.01%
Marksmanship23602 
The original results can be found on raidbots.com

3.3. Burst AoE Spec Comparison Simulation - 5 Targets for 45 Seconds - No Bloodlust

Beast Mastery33480+6.0%
Survival33150+4.95%
Marksmanship31587 
The original results can be found on raidbots.com

3.4. Bursty Single-Target Spec Comparison Simulation - 1 Target, 30 Seconds

Survival20761+4.31%
Beast Mastery20653+3.77%
Marksmanship19904 
The original results can be found on raidbots.com

3.5. Spec Viability in Practice, Strengths and Weaknesses

Simulations are all well and good, but they cannot provide the same picture of how the specs work in raids as actually playing them can. In this section, we will look at some of the perks and downsides of the different specs in raids and Mythic+.

3.5.1. Beast Mastery

  • Extremely mobile, fairly easy to play.
  • Able to bring additional utility and heals like Spirit Mend Icon Spirit Mend.
  • Short cooldowns make it a consistent Mythic+ performer.
  • Relies on pet AI, which can be inconsistent and buggy.
  • Gets its optimal multi-target damage without changing talents much from single-target.
  • Is able to deal heavy damage to a single target while AoE'ing.

3.5.2. Marksmanship

  • Capable of extremely high burst damage, especially AoE.
  • Unfortunately does not use a pet for multi-target scenarios, costing it utility/survivability.
  • Limited/no reliance on pet AI, more damage is in your hands.
  • Significantly changes its talents in order to do optimal AoE damage.

3.5.3. Survival

  • Very high single-target potential.
  • Very high sustained AoE damage.
  • Quite mobile for a melee spec.
  • Relatively simple single-target rotation.
  • Relatively hectic multi-target rotation.

3.6. What Is The Best Spec?

Generally speaking, Beast Mastery is the best Hunter spec. This is despite the other specs slightly outperforming it in the simulations above.

The primary reason that Beast Mastery is the best Hunter spec is that it never has to compromise with its talents. For example, Marksmanship has more burst AoE than Beast Mastery, but that is with Marksmanship using perfect burst AoE talents. Beast Mastery does not have to change its talents to do optimal AoE or single-target damage, as it uses the same set of talents in pretty much all situations.

Secondly, Beast Mastery provides more utility, primarily through its Spirit Beast pet. The Spirit Mend Icon Spirit Mend heal that the Spirit Beast offers is extremely powerful for raiding and dungeon content, and the pet has this as well as an offensive dispel.

Survival is a unique exception to many rules, as it is a Melee spec. Therefore, it competes on a completely different playing field than other specs. Utility and mobility are generally a smaller concern than outright damage and the damage profile of the spec. Survival's single-target damage is generally the most competitive out of the 3 specs, and it only has to change a few minor talents in order to do competitive AoE damage. This makes it versatile on almost the same level that Beast Mastery is. It lacks the Spirit Mend Icon Spirit Mend heal, but still uses a pet all the time. This makes it a closer contender with Beast Mastery in Mythic+ Dungeons, and just as good or even better in raiding scenarios, due to its small single-target damage advantage.

With all of this said, every Hunter spec is currently more closely matched than ever before. While we recommend Beast Mastery as the default choice for raiding Hunters, you can play any of the 3 specs and not hold your team down in any meaningful way. All 3 specs offer vastly different playstyles and damage profiles that are useful for different situations.

4. Contents

To make it easy to navigate the guide, we have split it into 14 pages:

5. Changelog

  • 15 Oct. 2018 (gear page): Updated the list of good dungeons and their items.
  • 28 Sep. 2018 (rotation page): Small rotation and opener updates.
    • Added a handy rule of thumb for Cobra Shot/Kill Command usage.
    • Slightly edited the opener for non-Primal Instincts users.
  • 28 Sep. 2018 (mythic+ page): Removed Thunderous Blast from the list of desirable traits.
  • 28 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated with a note about Pack Alpha.
  • 25 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated the Azerite Trait simulation to account for the latest hotfixes.
  • 20 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Restructured page slightly and added written recommendations for a number of traits.
  • 18 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated the Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 18 Sep. 2018 (bosses page): Added more tips for the first 5 bosses, now with a Mythic focus for some of them.
  • 14 Sep. 2018 (enchants page): Updated gems, enchants and food.
  • 12 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation to include Meticulous Scheming properly.
  • 12 Sep. 2018 (stats page): Updated the stat priority and added a disclaimer note.
  • 12 Sep. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated the stat priority.
  • 08 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 08 Sep. 2018 (talents page): Updated the wording of Barrage's recommendation.
  • 08 Sep. 2018 (this page): Updated the spec comparison simulations.
  • 07 Sep. 2018 (bosses page): Added much more specific content to all bosses except for G'huun.
  • 07 Sep. 2018 (gear page): Updated the trinket simulation.
  • 05 Sep. 2018 (rotation page): Added note about the Basic Attack macros' position in the macro not mattering.
  • 05 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 04 Sep. 2018 (easy mode page): Edited the stat priority.
  • 04 Sep. 2018 (stats page): Edited the single-target stat priority.
  • 03 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added note about the slightly changed Primal Instincts opener.
  • 03 Sep. 2018 (rotation page): Added an alternative opener for Primal Instincts. This is a miniscule DPS increase and not worth stressing about.
  • 02 Sep. 2018 (bosses page): Added content.
  • 01 Sep. 2018 (rotation page): Adjusted Barbed Shot's position in the opener.
  • 31 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Updated the racial comparison.
  • 31 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Added more section to the Beast Mastery Mythic+ guide.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated the trinket simulation to include the recent SimCraft changes to RPPM.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated the optimal potion to use.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Added an early look at the optimal Mythic+ Talents for Beast Mastery.
  • 29 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated the Opener Sequence. Clarified parts of the multi-target rotation.
  • 27 Aug. 2018 (this page): Added more information about Survival to the "What is the Best Hunter Spec" section.
  • 26 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated the trinket simulation to include buff to the Tiny Electromental in a Jar.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added back Rapid Reload to the 3-target Azerite simulation.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (this page): Added a section called "What is the Best Hunter Spec", and updated all the simulations.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated the trinket simulation to include various World Quest trinkets.
  • 23 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Added a link to the origin spreadsheet for the simulation chart.
  • 23 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Rotational updates.
    • Expanded on Aspect of the Wild usage in the general rotation.
    • Elevated Kill Command above Chimaera Shot in the priority.
    • Altered the conditions for applying the Frenzy buff to your pet for the first time with Barbed Shot.
    • Added note about refreshing Frenzy no matter what during Bestial Wrath.
  • 23 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added a link to the origin spreadsheet for the simulation chart.
  • 23 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Changed the recommendation of Killer Instinct versus Dire Beast.
  • 21 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated Trinket simulations.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Changed the BiS list to a more generally useful list of good dungeons to farm, as this will be relevant throughout the entire expansion.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 17 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added note about Primal Instincts not changing your opener.
  • 17 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Added the mention of using an Agility gem.
  • 17 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated the Best in Slot ring.
  • 16 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added different talent choices to the Pack Alpha trait in the Azerite Trait comparison.
  • 16 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated the optimal healing potion to use.
  • 16 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated the best in slot helmet.
  • 15 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated the Barbed Shot part of the general rotation.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (this page): Removed mention of slower Focus regen.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated the optimal gems to correspond with the stat priority.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (bosses page): Empty page for now.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (stats page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (addons page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 11 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Page created.
  • 07 Aug. 2018 (addons page): Added a few useful macros.
  • 07 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Rotational additions and WeakAuras.
    • Expanded significantly on the rotation, adding a few rules of thumb to keep in mind for optimal play.
    • Added links to helpful Barbed Shot/Frenzy tracking WeakAuras.
  • 07 Aug. 2018 (talents page): A few small additions.
    • Added note about the optimal pets to use at the top of the page.
    • Added note about Animal Companion reducing the damage of your pet.
  • 04 Aug. 2018 (spells page): Added Counter Shot to the spell list.
  • 02 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Page added.
  • 01 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated the target count requirement for Beast Cleave over Kill Command.
  • 01 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated the single-target spec comparison.
  • 01 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Added a few more frequently asked questions.
  • 31 Jul. 2018 (rotation page): Two small additions.
    • Added note about it being okay to drop Frenzy charges from time to time.
    • Expanded on Aspect of the Wild usage.
  • 31 Jul. 2018 (addons page): Added the Basic Attack macro.
  • 31 Jul. 2018 (FAQ page): Added two additional frequently asked questions.
  • 31 Jul. 2018 (spells page): Added some missing BfA pets to the pet family overview.
  • 22 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Updated the optimal single-target potion.
  • 21 Jul. 2018 (rotation page): Clarified that Barbed Shot is maximum priority at 2 charges.
  • 21 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Reverted the optimal flask, as the Flask of Falling Leaves was nerfed.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (spells page): Moved the Gorilla and its Special Ability from Tenacity to Ferocity.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Updated Celerity of the Windrunners' Haste level from 2% to 3%.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Reverted the optimal gem, as it was nerfed.
  • 19 Jul. 2018 (rotation page): Made several updates.
    • Added nearly mandatory DPS macro addition to the rotation section.
    • Revised the rotation priority, putting Kill Command much higher and lowering the priority of some cooldowns.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (rotation page): Small rotational updates and a wording fix.
    • Added Aspect of the Wild to the single-target rotation.
    • Added note about Barbed Shot refreshes being more important than not wasting Bestial Wrath cooldown reduction.
    • Fixed the wording for Venomous Bite's rotation impact from "does" to "does not".
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Updates to the BiS list and Legendary ranking.
    • Updated Golganneth's Vitality to just be an Argus Personal Loot drop.
    • Revised Legendary ranking and added Soul of the Huntmaster and Kil'jaeden's Burning Wish to it.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (talents page): Aspect of the Beast max health bonus update, and a talent display fix.
    • Updated Aspect of the Beast's maximum health bonus to 2.5%.
    • Changed Barrage's "?" to an "X" in the talent display.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Various updates with old-world gems, enchants, and consumables.
    • Updated the optimal potion to use.
    • Updated the optimal flask to use. Added note about Belt Buckles to the Enchants table.
    • Reverted the optimal potion to use, as Blizzard has nerfed the old one.
    • Updated the wording on the Healthstones/Healing Potion paragraph to say "and", as you can now use both of them at once.
    • Removed Belt Buckles as they were hotfixed.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (this page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
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