Beast Mastery Hunter DPS Guide — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated on Dec 10, 2018 at 14:53 by Azortharion 187 comments

Welcome to our Beast Mastery Hunter guide for World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. Here, you will learn how to play as a Beast Mastery Hunter in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons: from the very beginning to maximizing your DPS.

1. Beast Mastery Hunter 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 8.1 Changes for Beast Mastery Hunter

2.1. Spec Changes

2.2. Talents, Azerite Traits, and Other Relevant Changes

  • Hunters can now tame Crawgs, using the item Blood-Soaked Tome of Dark Whispers Icon Blood-Soaked Tome of Dark Whispers.
  • Barrage Icon Barrage's damage has been nerfed.
  • Pack Alpha has been removed, and is replaced by Dire Consequences.
  • Dire Consequences Icon Dire Consequences is a new Azerite Trait. It increases the damage done by Kill Command Icon Kill Command, and gives it a chance to summon a Dire Beast that does a small amount of damage over time.

3. 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.

4. 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.

4.1. Spec Viability in Practice, Strengths and Weaknesses

In this section, we will look at some of the perks and downsides of the different specs in raids and Mythic+.

4.1.1. 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.

4.1.2. 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.

4.1.3. 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.

4.2. What Is The Best Spec?

Generally speaking, Beast Mastery is the best all-rounder Hunter spec. It provides the best blend of damage in all kinds of scenarios, utility, and defensives, especially through self-heals like Spirit Mend Icon Spirit Mend.

Marksmanship has a higher single-target potential than Beast Mastery does. The problem is that Marksmanship's only true strength is single-target damage, and even in Uldir, most of the difficult bosses have target switching and short-term burst. This does not suit Marksmanship well, since its only damage cooldown has a very long cooldown, and it is not as flexible at dealing with multiple different damage scenarios using the same talents. For Mythic+, this inflexibility hurts Marksmanship a lot compared to Beast Mastery.

Survival is a pure damage output powerhouse, and arguably has the highest raiding DPS potential of the 3 Hunter specs. Survival's main downside is that it is Melee, which is generally less desirable than Ranged, and also competes with a different set of classes. Nonetheless, Survival's damage on pure single-target is almost unmatched by any other class. From a damage perspective it has few weaknesses. It has more utility than Marksmanship, but less defensives than Beast Mastery. For Mythic+, Survival is a good damage choice, but it is unlikely to beat Beast Mastery over the entire dungeon and also has less defensive capabilities.

5. Changelog

  • 10 Dec. 2018 (addons page): Added a line to the Intimidation Macro.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (rotation page): Updated opener, and added notes about delaying Bestial Wrath for Aspect of the Wild and vice versa.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (talents page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (bosses page): Added tips for Mythic G'huun.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (this page): Added Patch 8.1 changes.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (enchants page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (mythic+ page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated and added new charts, hosted by BloodMallet.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (simulations page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (spells page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (FAQ page): Removed note about Bestial Wrath/Aspect of the Wild delay as it is no longer relevant and tips on this front are incorporated into the Rotation section.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (easy mode page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 06 Dec. 2018 (gear page): Updated the trinket simulation.
  • 06 Dec. 2018 (stats page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 09 Nov. 2018 (this page): Removed the comparison simulations as they were getting less relevant, outdated, and to clean up the page.
  • 09 Nov. 2018 (enchants page): Added note about using Gale-Force Striking for Mythic+.
  • 19 Oct. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added a small section emphasizing that having at least one Uldir trait within the raid is mandatory for optimal performance.
  • 17 Oct. 2018 (this page): Updated the discussion on spec viability in Uldir and Mythic+.
  • 17 Oct. 2018 (simulations page): Updated the racial comparison.
  • 16 Oct. 2018 (rotation page): Added note about Barrage being worth casting on a single target.
  • 15 Oct. 2018 (gear page): Updated the list of good dungeons and their items.
  • 28 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated with a note about Pack Alpha.
  • 28 Sep. 2018 (mythic+ page): Removed Thunderous Blast from the list of desirable traits.
  • 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.
  • 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 (stats page): Updated the stat priority and added a disclaimer note.
  • 12 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation to include Meticulous Scheming properly.
  • 12 Sep. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated the stat priority.
  • 08 Sep. 2018 (talents page): Updated the wording of Barrage's recommendation.
  • 08 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 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 (stats page): Edited the single-target stat priority.
  • 04 Sep. 2018 (easy mode page): Edited the 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 (enchants page): Updated the optimal potion to use.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 30 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated the trinket simulation to include the recent SimCraft changes to RPPM.
  • 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 (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.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added back Rapid Reload to the 3-target Azerite simulation.
  • 23 Aug. 2018 (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.
  • 23 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and 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.
  • 21 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated Trinket simulations.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite Trait simulation.
  • 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.
  • 17 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated the Best in Slot ring.
  • 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.
  • 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 (FAQ page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (addons page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (stats page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (bosses page): Empty page for now.
  • 11 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Page created.
  • 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.
  • 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 (addons page): Added a few useful macros.
  • 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 (FAQ page): Added a few more frequently asked questions.
  • 01 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated the single-target spec comparison.
  • 31 Jul. 2018 (FAQ page): Added two additional 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 (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 (enchants page): Reverted the optimal flask, as the Flask of Falling Leaves was nerfed.
  • 21 Jul. 2018 (rotation page): Clarified that Barbed Shot is maximum priority at 2 charges.
  • 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.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (spells page): Moved the Gorilla and its Special Ability from Tenacity to Ferocity.
  • 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 (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.
  • 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.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (this page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
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