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Beast Mastery Hunter in Battle for Azeroth (BfA)

Last updated on May 30, 2018 at 09:17 by Azortharion 630 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, you will find information on how to play your Beast Mastery Hunter in Battle for Azeroth. Because the new expansion is still in beta, this guide is simply here to help you perform better in the beta or to give you a sneak peek into what the new expansion has in store for your class.

The other pages of our Beast Mastery 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 Solaris. You can also watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Foreword

This page will be an introduction to the Beast Mastery spec in Battle for Azeroth, going over the abilities, mechanics and baseline rotation. The primary goal is to help players make a decision on choosing a spec in Battle for Azeroth, and offering a peek into how the spec works and plays in the new expansion.

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.

2. Basic Mechanics Changes for Beast Mastery Hunter in BfA

  • Focus now regenerates passively at a much slower rate.
  • 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. We have listed them below.
Pet Spec Passive Effect Active Ability
Ferocity Predator's Thirst Icon Predator's Thirst gives you and your pet 10% Leech. Leech heals you based on how much damage you do. Primal Rage Icon Primal Rage, which provides the Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust effect, increasing Haste for you and all nearby allies by 30% for 40 seconds. This shares cooldown with Bloodlust and similar effects.
Tenacity Endurance Training Icon Endurance Training increases the maximum health of you and your pet by 8%. Survival of the Fittest Icon Survival of the Fittest is a defensive ability that reduces the damage taken by you and your pet by 20% for 6 seconds. It has a 3-minute cooldown.
Cunning Pathfinding Icon Pathfinding increases the movement speed of you and your pet by 8%. Master's Call Icon Master's Call removes all movement-impairing effects from your pet and a friendly target, and makes them immune to movement-impairing effects for 4 seconds. The friendly target can be you. It has a 45-second cooldown.

3. Baseline Abilities & Changes for Beast Mastery Hunter in BfA

  • Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot is a new ability, although it is essentially a renamed Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzy from Legion. Instead of doing instantaneous pet damage, it applies an 8-second DoT to the target. It generates 20 Focus over 8 seconds, and it still gives your pet the stacking Frenzy Icon Frenzy buff which increases its attack speed for 8 seconds.
  • Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot now costs 35 Focus, and it reduces the remaining cooldown on Kill Command Icon Kill Command by 1 second when you use it.
  • Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild now lasts 20 seconds. It also only generates 5 Focus per second, down from 10.

Otherwise, all abilities and mechanics such as Kill Command Icon Kill Command and Beast Cleave Icon Beast Cleave work the same as in Legion.

4. The BfA Beast Mastery Hunter Talent Tree

BFA BM Talent Tree

Some old talents make a return, while there are plenty of new ones. This list will only contain ones that are either new or significantly changed from Legion. The new ones include:

4.1. Level 15

  • Killer Instinct Icon Killer Instinct increases Kill Command Icon Kill Command's damage to targets below 35% health by 50%.
  • Animal Companion Icon Animal Companion is the spiritual successor of the Hati artifact pet of Legion, allowing you to summon an additional pet from your stable. This second pet will use auto-attacks, and it will use Kill Command Icon Kill Command when you use it along with your regular pet.
  • Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast is now a talent, and very different to its Legion incarnation. It only has 1 charge on a 15-second cooldown which costs 35 Focus, and it no longer generates Focus when the Dire Beast attacks the target. All the beast does is auto-attack your target.

4.2. Level 30

4.3. Level 45

  • Natural Mending Icon Natural Mending causes your Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration ability's remaining cooldown to be reduced by 1 second for every 30 Focus you spend. We can expect an effective cooldown reduction of over well over 30 seconds in practice.

4.4. Level 60

  • Venomous Bite Icon Venomous Bite causes Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot to reduce the cooldown of Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath by 1 second every time it is used. This effectively works out to a 7-8 second cooldown reduction on Bestial Wrath, where the effective cooldown is already around 35 seconds.
  • Thrill of the Hunt Icon Thrill of the Hunt causes your Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot to give you an 8-second buff that increases your Critical Strike chance by 3%, stacking up to 3 times. This essentially works in tandem with the Frenzy Icon Frenzy buff that Barbed Shot applies to your pet. If you are keeping up one buff, you are automatically keeping up the other as well.

4.5. Level 75

4.6. Level 90

  • All talents in this row are largely unchanged from Legion, but their position in the tree has simply changed.

4.7. Level 100

  • Aspect of the Beast Icon Aspect of the Beast increases the damage of your pets' Basic Attacks by 30%. It enhances your pet spec's passive effects by 50% as well. Leech from Ferocity is increased by 5%, maximum health from Tenacity is increased by 4%, and Movement Speed from Cunning is increased by 4%.
  • Spitting Cobra Icon Spitting Cobra is a Survival talent from Legion that has now been given to Beast Mastery. It is a 1.5-minute cooldown ability that summons a snake for 20 seconds which attacks your target from range. It generates 2 Focus per second for you.

5. Azerite Traits for Beast Mastery Hunter

Azerite Traits are the new version of the Artifact traits of Legion. They are a mix of small defensive, utility and damage boosts. None of the Azerite traits so far have a strong influence on how you play, but this can change as more of them are released.

As it stands right now, we will most likely be using sims in Battle for Azeroth to figure out the optimal traits, although in many cases there is only one choice of trait per spec, as well as a generic trait that benefits all specs. In this instance you will usually choose the Beast Mastery-specific trait, but sometimes the generic one can be better.

6. The Base Rotation for Beast Mastery Hunter in BfA

The baseline rotation for Beast Mastery is essentially unchanged if you were used to playing Dire Frenzy in Legion. For those who primarily played Stomp builds — do not worry, the increase in complexity is pretty small.

The goal is still to cast your main abilities on cooldown with as little delay as possible, while ensuring that you never cap Focus or Barbed Shot charges.

  1. Cast Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath and Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild on cooldown. When possible, try and stack the two buffs by using them together. It is worth delaying Aspect of the Wild slightly to overlap with Bestial Wrath, and the other way around. However, you never want to cast Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot while Bestial Wrath is available, so you should not delay Bestial Wrath for more than a few seconds.
  2. Cast Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot when your pet's Frenzy Icon Frenzy buff is about to fall off to refresh the buff and maintain 3 stacks as much as possible. If the Frenzy buff falls off, it is worth delaying your Barbed Shot until the second charge is within 7 seconds of coming off cooldown.
  3. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command on cooldown. Try not to cast anything else for ~2 seconds before casting Kill Command, especially Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot in order to not waste its cooldown reduction. You want Kill Command to be pressed as soon as it comes off cooldown.
  4. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot to stay clear of the Focus cap. Try not to use it right before Kill Command Icon Kill Command, just to stay on the safe side and not waste any of its cooldown reduction.

7. Multi-Target Rotation for Beast Master Hunter in BfA

The multi-target rotation is largely unchanged. Whenever there is more than 1 target active, you should keep up Beast Cleave Icon Beast Cleave, using Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot, but not at the expense of Kill Command Icon Kill Command. When there are more than 4 targets active, maintaining Beast Cleave takes priority over Kill Command.

8. Pet Families and Special Abilities for Beast Mastery Hunter in BfA

Along with the pet spec abilities and passives, most pet families have a special ability that can have some utility in raids, but especially Mythic+, PvP, and open-world content. Remember that Exotic Pets can only be tamed by Beast Mastery Hunters.

8.1. Ferocity Pets

Special Ability Description Pet Families
Damage Reduction Cooldown Reduces the damage taken of your pet by 50% for 12 seconds. This has a 1-minute cooldown. Core Hound (Exotic).
Dispel Enrage/Magic Removes 1 Enrage and 1 Magic effect from your pet's target. This has a 10-second cooldown. Bat, Nether Ray.
Healing Reduction Reduces the healing taken of your pet's target by 25% for 10 seconds. This has a 6-second cooldown, which means that it will be active all the time. Carrion Bird, Ravager, Scorpid, Wasp.
Dodge Chance Cooldown This ability increases your pet's Dodge chance by 30% for 20 seconds. It has a 1.5-minute cooldown. Cat, Wind Serpent.
Slow/Snare Reduces the movement speed of your pet's target by 50% for 6 seconds. It has a 10-second cooldown. Crocolisk, Spider, Tallstrider, Wolf.

8.2. Tenacity Pets

Special Ability Description Pet Families
Damage Reduction Cooldown Reduces the damage taken of your pet by 50% for 12 seconds. This has a 1-minute cooldown. Krolusk (Exotic), Beetle, Turtle.
Dispel Enrage/Magic Removes 1 Enrage and 1 Magic effect from your pet's target. This has a 10-second cooldown. Spirit Beast (Exotic), Crane, Stag.
Healing Reduction Reduces the healing taken of your pet's target by 25% for 10 seconds. This has a 6-second cooldown, which means that it will be active all the time. Direhorn, Hydra, Riverbeast, Lizard.
Damage Reduction On Low Health Reduces your pet's damage taken by 60% for 15 seconds when your pet falls below 40% health. Gorilla, Oxen.
Dodge Chance Cooldown This ability increases your pet's Dodge chance by 30% for 20 seconds. It has a 1.5-minute cooldown. *Feathermane.
Slow/Snare Reduces the movement speed of your pet's target by 50% for 6 seconds. It has a 10-second cooldown. Worm (Exotic), Crab.

*Feathermane pets also have Updraft, which enables Slow Fall for you and your pet, allowing you to fall safely from almost any height while the pet is active for 30 seconds.

8.3. Cunning Pets

Special Ability Description Pet Families
Damage Reduction Cooldown Reduces the damage taken of your pet by 50% for 12 seconds. This has a 1-minute cooldown. Shale Spider (Exotic), Boar, Mechanical.
Dispel Enrage/Magic Removes 1 Enrage and 1 Magic effect from your pet's target. This has a 10-second cooldown. Water Strider (Exotic), Moth, Sporebat.
Healing Reduction Reduces the healing taken of your pet's target by 25% for 10 seconds. This has a 6-second cooldown, which means that it will be active all the time. Hyena, Rodent, Raptor.
Slow/Snare Reduces the movement speed of your pet's target by 50% for 6 seconds. It has a 10-second cooldown. Basilisk, Bird of Prey, Dog, Warp Stalker.

8.4. Exotic Pets (Beast Mastery-only)

Pet Family Specialization Special Ability Exotic Ability
Core Hound Ferocity Obsidian Skin Icon Obsidian Skin reduces your pet's damage taken by 50% for 12 seconds. It has a 1-minute cooldown. Molten Hide Icon Molten Hide causes your pet to gain Molten Hide when it gets hit by a melee attack, causing it to deal slight Fire damage to all further melee attackers for 10 seconds. It can only activate every 60 seconds.
Chimaera Ferocity Frost Breath Icon Frost Breath reduces the movement speed of your pet's target by 50% for 6 seconds. It has a 10-second cooldown. Froststorm Breath Icon Froststorm Breath is an 8-second channeled ability for your pet that deals AoE damage to all enemies within 12 yards every 2 seconds. It costs 10 Focus to activate, and then 5 Focus per second to maintain.
Devilsaur Ferocity Monstrous Bite Icon Monstrous Bite reduces the healing taken of your pet's target by 25%. It lasts 10 seconds and has a 6-second cooldown, meaning it is up all the time. Feast Icon Feast lets you order your pet to consume a nearby Humanoid or Beast corpse within 5 yards, healing your pet for 20% of its maximum health, and restoring 20 Focus over 6 seconds.
Clefthoof Ferocity Thick Hide Icon Thick Hide gives your pet a 60% damage reduction for 15 seconds when it falls below 40% health. This can only occur once every 2 minutes. Blood of the Rhino Icon Blood of the Rhino is a passive effect that increases your pet's armor by 10%, and increases the effectiveness of all healing done to it by 20%.
Quilen Tenacity Stone Armor Icon Stone Armor buffs your pet when it falls below 40% health, reducing its damage taken by 40% and healing it for 3% of its maximum health every 1 second for 15 seconds. This effect can only occur every 2 minutes. Eternal Guardian Icon Eternal Guardian is an instant resurrection for your pet. If your pet has died, you can use it to instantly revive it with 100% of its health. It has an 8-minute cooldown.
Spirit Beast Tenacity Spirit Shock Icon Spirit Shock removes 1 Enrage and 1 Magic effect from your pet's target. It has a 10-second cooldown. Spirit Mend Icon Spirit Mend heals a friendly target for a small amount instantly, and applies a small healing DoT for 10 seconds. It costs 5 pet Focus. It can be cast on yourself as well. Spirit Beasts also have the Prowl stealth ability, like Cats.
Worm Tenacity Acid Spit Icon Acid Spit reduces the movement speed of your pet's target by 50% for 6 seconds. It has a 10-second cooldown. Burrow Attack Icon Burrow Attack is an 8-second channeled ability for your pet that deals AoE damage to all enemies within 12 yards every 2 seconds. It costs 10 Focus to activate, and then 5 Focus per second to maintain.
Krolusk (Exotic) Tenacity Bulwark Icon Bulwark reduces your pet's damage taken by 50% for 12 seconds. It has a 1-minute cooldown. Calcified Carapace Icon Calcified Carapace passively reduces your pet's Physical damage taken by approximately 10%. The proper spell data is not in the game for this ability yet.
Shale Spider Cunning Solid Shell Icon Solid Shell reduces your pet's damage taken by 50% for 12 seconds. It has a 1-minute cooldown. Shimmering Shale Icon Shimmering Shale passively reduces your pet's magic damage taken by approximately 10%. The proper spell data is not in the game for this ability yet.
Silithid Cunning Tendon Rip Icon Tendon Rip reduces the movement speed of your pet's target by 50% for 6 seconds. It has a 10-second cooldown. Dune Strider Icon Dune Strider passively increases your pet's movement speed by 30%.
Water Strider Cunning Soothing Water Icon Soothing Water removes 1 Enrage and 1 Magic effect from your pet's target. It has a 10-second cooldown. Surface Trot Icon Surface Trot allows you and your pet to walk on water. Any damage taken will cancel the effect and cause you to fall in the water.

9. ChangeLog

  • 30 May 2018: Added a table with all pet family special abilities, and Exotic/Bonus abilities where applicable.
  • 29 May 2018: Added table with pet abilities for the different pet specs. Changed the Dire Frenzy pet buff to Frenzy which is its proper name in Battle for Azeroth. Reworded and simplified the Barbed Shot part of the rotation.
  • 22 May 2018: Aspect of the Beast only affects Basic Attacks, not auto attacks.
  • 21 May 2018: Page added.
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