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Beast Mastery Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.3.5)

Last updated on Feb 07, 2018 at 16:52 by Azortharion 618 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Beast Mastery Hunter core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Legion 7.3.5. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Beast Mastery Hunter.

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. Single Target Rotation

The single target rotation for a Beast Mastery Hunter is based on the following priority system.

  1. Cast A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows. If the cooldown of Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath is under ~30 seconds, delay it to line it up with Bestial Wrath.
  2. Cast Titan's Thunder Icon Titan's Thunder when Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath is active. Try to cast it right after casting Dire Beast for maximum benefit.
  3. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command.
  4. Cast Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast, or Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzy (talent). Delay Dire Beast if Bestial Wrath is within 3 seconds of coming up. See the 7.2.5 rotational changes below for a more detailed Dire Frenzy usage guide.
  5. Activate Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath on cooldown.
  6. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot when you have over 90 Focus, or as a filler for free GCDs. The point is to not use it so much that you cannot cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command on cooldown, but also to not cast it so little that you overcap Focus.

The most important thing to watch out for is to not Focus starve yourself, such that you do not have enough Focus to cast your abilities on cooldown. This means that you should not always use Cobra Shot as soon as it is available, but rather only use it to prevent yourself from capping on Focus.

During Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath, you should try and maximize your Focus expenditure so that you end the Bestial Wrath with close to 0 Focus. The idea is that you are maximizing your Focus pool (and therefore how many spells you can cast) during Bestial Wrath where your damage is at the maximum, while conserving Focus and giving it a rest when Bestial Wrath is not up. Conserving your Focus when Bestial Wrath is not up also makes it much easier to enter Bestial Wrath with as high Focus as possible.

With Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzy selected, you should space out your Dire Frenzy casts instead of casting them directly on cooldown. For this reason we strongly recommend tracking the Dire Frenzy buff on your pet with a WeakAura. You should cast Dire Frenzy only when you are close to reaching 2 charges, or if the buff is just about to fall off of your pet. By spacing out casts and not refreshing when it is not needed, you will achieve higher uptime on 3 stacks of the buff, which is much more optimal. We recommend using this Dire Frenzy Helper WeakAura, as it can help you use Dire Frenzy optimally without too much thought.

In addition to the above, you will also have to make use of several cooldowns, as we explain below.

2. Multiple Target Rotation

When facing more than 1 target, you should generally follow the priority above, but with these changes at certain target counts:

  1. When fighting 2-4 targets, you should keep up Beast Cleave Icon Beast Cleave by casting Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot roughly once every 4 seconds. Kill Command Icon Kill Command is still a higher priority.
  2. When fighting 5 targets or more, prioritize keeping up Beast Cleave Icon Beast Cleave above anything else, even Kill Command. Do not overcast Multi-Shot for this reason though.

Most importantly, regardless of how hard you are trying to keep up Beast Cleave, you should be careful not to cast too many Multi-Shots. You need one every 4 seconds and no more than that. Spamming Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot is never worth it. If you have extra Focus to spend, you are better off casting Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot.

3. Legendaries' Effects on Rotation

Qa'pla, Eredun War Order Icon Qa'pla, Eredun War Order causes your Dire Beast to reduce the cooldown of Kill Command by 3 seconds whenever it is cast. This increases the emphasis of casting Kill Command on cooldown. It also means that you should not cast Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast when Kill Command Icon Kill Command is within 1-2 seconds of coming off cooldown.

Roar of the Seven Lions Icon Roar of the Seven Lions causes Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath to reduce the Focus cost of your abilities by 15%. This is a huge boost to single-target damage with Killer Cobra Icon Killer Cobra, allowing you to keep up casting Cobra Shot and Kill Command for longer without running out of Focus. It does not change your rotation meaningfully otherwise.

Parsel's Tongue Icon Parsel's Tongue causes Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot to give you a stacking buff that increases all damage for 8 seconds. The only consequence of this is that you should cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot at least once every 8 seconds. This happens automatically on single-target, but in multi-target situations you should remember to refresh it by casting Cobra Shot instead of Multi-Shot every 7 seconds or so. You should also try and stack it as quickly as possible before any AoE.

Other Legendaries have no meaningful effect on your rotation. Their effects are either passive, or they give you extra uses of certain cooldowns which essentially happen automatically, provided you do not sit on your cooldowns for too long.

4. Cooldown Usage

As a Beast Mastery Hunter, you have two important cooldowns, namely Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath and Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild. You should aim to use Bestial Wrath as many times as possible in the encounter, but there are several subtleties regarding its use, and we describe all of them later on in the guide. Aspect of the Wild should generally be used in conjunction with Bestial Wrath at all times.

More details about cooldown usage, as well as information about the cooldowns you gain from talents can be found in our detailed cooldown usage section.

5. Opener Sequence

This section describes the recommended way to start the fight as a Beast Mastery Hunter. It assumes you are using the recommended talents for the spec.

  1. Just before the encounter starts, use your Potion of Prolonged Power Icon Potion of Prolonged Power.
  2. Cast A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows.
  3. Activate Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath.
  4. Cast the first charge of Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzy // Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast
  5. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command on 1 target, or Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot on multiple targets.
  6. Activate Titan's Thunder Icon Titan's Thunder (cast it after the next Dire Beast if you are not using Dire Frenzy)
  7. Cast the final Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzy // Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast and Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild.
  8. Proceed with your normal rotation. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command if you did not in step 5.

The reason we delay Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild slightly is that its primary benefit is the Focus it generates. By casting it a bit later, we waste much less Focus from its effect that we can carry throughout the Bestial Wrath and beyond.

6. Optional Read: Mastering Your Beast Mastery Hunter

While the rotations we gave in the previous sections will yield very good results, there are many things you should be aware of, in order to play your Beast Mastery Hunter to its full potential. You will need to understand all the subtleties, pertaining to your abilities, rotations, and cooldown usage, that we present below.

6.1. Focus

Hunters and their pets use a unique resource, called Focus. Focus works in much the same way as other class resources, like Rage and Energy, in the sense that some abilities grant Focus, while others cost Focus to be used.

A Beast Mastery Hunter's Focus has a maximum capacity of 120, and regenerates at an innate rate of 10 Focus per second. This rate is increased by Haste. In addition to this, certain abilities such as Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot (Marksmanship-only) also grant Focus.

Most of the abilities in the hunter rotation cost Focus to use, and some talents decrease the Focus costs, or offer other ways to gain additional Focus.

Hunter pet Focus works similarly, and is of no concern to you as you cannot do anything to modify it, nor will you be casting pet abilities manually.

As a general rule, you should always have enough Focus to cast your abilities as soon as they come off cooldown, but also to never have 120 Focus (as any extra Focus you generate would then go to waste).

6.2. Auto-shots and Special Shots

Hunters do the majority of their damage through the use of shots. The rest of the damage is made up of pet damage and DoT damage.

Autoshot is the default Hunter attack, which works similarly to melee classes' auto attacks or "white swings". It is affected by your Ranged Attack Speed, and it continues to work while moving.

The other hunter shots are of all varieties: instant cast or with a cast time, costing Focus or granting Focus, and some are utility shots which cost no Focus and deal no damage.

One of the most important aspects of doing competitive Hunter DPS is to make sure your shots are always used without delay.

6.3. Pet Contribution

The greatest contribution to your DPS is your pet's damage, both through its simple melee attacks and through Kill Command Icon Kill Command. For this reason, it is imperative that your pet is always on the target, stays alive, and that you always cast Kill Command on cooldown. Keep this in mind, otherwise your DPS will plummet. The same goes for the Artifact pet, Hati, which will generally follow the commands you give to your pet.

There are a few useful things to remember regarding pet movement.

Most importantly, when you are switching targets, if you simply target a new enemy and use Kill Command Icon Kill Command, your pet will cast Kill Command on its current (your old) target. Therefore, you must always make sure to tell your pet to first change target (through the Pet Attack command), and then use Kill Command. The easiest way to do this seamlessly is by including a "/petattack" line in your Kill Command macro.

6.4. Detailed Cooldown Usage

6.4.1. Bestial Wrath

Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath should be used as many times as possible during the encounter. In order to ensure that you cast as many high-damaging shots during the 25% damage buff (40% with Bestial Fury Icon Bestial Fury talented), you should always make sure that you have as much Focus as possible before using Bestial Wrath, but without capping on Focus. As well as starting your Bestial Wrath with maximum Focus, you should end it with as little Focus as possible. Additionally, you should generally not use Bestial Wrath unless Kill Command is within 3 seconds of coming off cooldown.

Finally, keep in mind that every time you use Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast or Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzy, the remaining cooldown on Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath is reduced by 12 seconds. So if Bestial Wrath is just about to come off cooldown (under 2 seconds), you should delay Dire Beast until you use that Bestial Wrath, so that you do not miss out on the cooldown reduction effect or waste a big part of it.

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows should be used on cooldown, although it can and should be delayed a bit to overlap with Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath if the opportunity arises.

6.4.2. Tier 1 Talents

Way of the Cobra Icon Way of the Cobra has no affect on how you play, and you will passively benefit from the bonus damage to Cobra Shot.

Big Game Hunter Icon Big Game Hunter has no effect on how you play, and you will passively benefit from the crit chance when your target is above 80% health.

Dire Stable Icon Dire Stable does not have a large effect on how you play. You will feel its effects through having slightly more Focus to play around with in general, but it does not change decision-making on its own.

6.4.3. Tier 2 Talents

Stomp Icon Stomp is a passive ability, and therefore does not need to be played any differently. When dealing with multiple targets, however, you should try and cast Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast on the one closest to the middle, to get as much out of the Stomp AoE damage as possible.

Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzythe most important thing to remember is that you should never sit on 2 Dire Beast charges. However, with Dire Frenzy Icon Dire Frenzy, you will not always want to cast Dire Frenzy on cooldown, but rather use it to get as much out of the attack speed buff as possible, by refreshing it when the buff is about to expire, rather than just when the ability comes off cooldown. We recommend using this Dire Frenzy Helper WeakAura, as it can help you use Dire Frenzy optimally without too much thought.

Chimaera Shot Icon Chimaera Shot usage is very simple. It should be used on cooldown at all times.

6.4.4. Tier 4 Talents

One with the Pack Icon One with the Pack has no effect on your playstyle, and you will benefit passively from it.

Bestial Fury Icon Bestial Fury will benefit your Bestial Wrath passively, so nothing needs to be done differently.

Blink Strikes Icon Blink Strikes has no effect on your playstyle either, you will simply benefit passively from this.

6.4.5. Tier 6 Talents

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows should be used as many times as possible during the fight. The cooldown of this ability will reset if its target dies before the debuff expires (15 seconds). You should try and take advantage of this effect as much as possible (but without delaying A Murder of Crows needlessly much). Remember that it is not worth it to benefit from this effect by casting A Murder of Crows on targets that will die in a second or two.

Barrage Icon Barrage should simply be used on cooldown, but only if there is more than 1 target up, and it should be saved for heavy multi-target situations in the fight.

It is interesting to note that you can change where Barrage is directed by turning your character while channeling the spell. This allows you to hit more targets than those you were initially facing.

Volley Icon Volley should simply be enabled before you start the fight and largely forgotten about. When dealing with multiple targets, you should try and be auto-attacking the one closest to the middle to get the most benefit out of Volley's AoE damage. Volley should be activated at all times, even on single target.

6.4.6. Tier 7 Talents

Stampede Icon Stampede should be used as many times as possible during the fight. Keep in mind that in Legion, Stampede can hit multiple targets close to its original target. As well as using it as many times as possible during the fight, and stacking it with as many powerful buffs as possible, you should also anticipate heavy, stacked multi-target moments in the fight and use it there.

Killer Cobra Icon Killer Cobra simply emphasizes the importance of starting your Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath with as much Focus as possible. Otherwise, your gameplay will be the same.

Aspect of the Beast Icon Aspect of the Beast does not change your gameplay on a single-target. If you are dealing with multiple targets, it is a slight DPS increase to "cycle" Kill Commands between them, as this allows you to essentially "multi-DoT" with the Aspect of the Beast effect.

6.5. AoE Pets

As a Beast Mastery Hunter, two exotic pets have AoE abilities of their own. Using these pets for AoE will yield a DPS loss over following the multiple target rotation we gave at the start of this page, but we mention these two pets for completeness.

7. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 07 Feb. 2018: Added Dire Frenzy helper weakaura to the guide. Updated and cleaned up Dire Frenzy usage in the talents section.
  • 02 Feb. 2018: Rewrote Dire Frenzy section and placed it more logically. Expanded on advanced Aspect of the Beast usage in the talent section.
  • 05 Jan. 2018: Adjusted Kill Command further up in the general single-target rotation. Expanded the Qa'pla rotational changes. Added some rationale about casting Aspect of the Wild slightly later in the opener.
  • 03 Dec. 2017: Added a small note about Focus conserving/spending and how it relates to Bestial Wrath.
  • 02 Dec. 2017: Slight rotational update to Titan's Thunder.
  • 28 Aug. 2017: No changes needed for Patch 7.3.
  • 21 Jul. 2017: Rewrote rotational note about Qa'pla.
  • 13 Jul. 2017: Fixed incorrect mention of Bestial Wrath's CD reduction from Dire Beast (should be 12 seconds instead of 15).
  • 04 Jul. 2017: Reworded the multi-target rotation to start at 2 targets, not 1.
  • 01 Jul. 2017: Added way more context and detail to the rotation while simplifying the multi-target one.
  • 30 Jun. 2017: Expanded a bit on Cobra Shot and Dire Beast usage, especially to make it clearer for people using the "zoo" build. Copied the Dire Frenzy rotation section and put it into the talents section, as it was contradicting the detailed rotation description before.
  • 14 Jun. 2017: Added a note about Titan's Thunder usage in the opener when not using Dire Frenzy. Split up the 7.2.5 Rotational Changes and the Legendaries' Rotational Changes sections.
  • 13 Jun. 2017: Made the Mantle opener standard, and reworded the Mantle "rotation section" to just be a 7.2.5 rotational changes guide. Fixed mention of Parsel's Tongue increasing pet damage only. It increases ALL damage.
  • 04 May 2017: Reworded Dire Stable's effects (or lack thereof) on the rotation.
  • 17 Apr. 2017: Checked today and deemed updated.
  • 07 Apr. 2017: Fix One with the Pack reference that is no longer relevant. Fix opener typo.
  • 06 Apr. 2017: Expanded the Mantle of Command rotation section further. Updated regular opener. Added Mantle of Command opener.
  • 27 Mar. 2017: Added paragraphs about how certain Legendaries affect the rotation.
  • 21 Mar. 2017: Added Titan's Thunder to opener.
  • 14 Mar. 2017: Opener fix.
  • 28 Jan. 2017: Revise AoE rotation and get a bit more in-depth.
  • 26 Jan. 2017: Added set bonus talk.
  • 09 Jan. 2017: Updated for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 08 Nov. 2016: Changed potion in opener.
  • 06 Nov. 2016: Added note to cast Titan's Thunder right after Dire Beast where possible.
  • 16 Sep. 2016: Expanded on Surge of the Stormgod AoE rotation note.
  • 10 Sep. 2016: Applied the DB/KC shift to Multi-Target as well. Added note about rotational changes with Surge of the Stormgod.
  • 07 Sep. 2016: Added Titan's Thunder to rotation.
  • 07 Sep. 2016: Swapped Kill Command / Multi Shot and Dire Beast lines in the opener.
  • 04 Sep. 2016: Clarified Volley explanations to make it more explicit that it is to be used at all times, even on a single target.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 28 Jul. 2016: Very slight opener adjustment.
  • 23 Jul. 2016: Removed Barrage from rotation to avoid confusion, added note about Crows in Cooldown section.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Added opener.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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