Beast Mastery Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Shadowlands 9.0.5
On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Beast Mastery Hunter in both single-target and multiple-target situations. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.5.
If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic DPS Hunter rotation.
Beast Mastery Hunter Rotation
Welcome to our Rotation page for Beast Mastery Hunters. On this page you will find everything you need to know about actually playing the spec in Raiding and Mythic+ scenarios.
If the rotations below seem overwhelming to you, you might benefit from visiting our Easy Mode page which outlines a close-to-optimal rotation in simpler terms.
The content on this page is purely PvE-related. If you are looking for PvP Rotation Tips, please visit our PvP page below.
Beast Mastery Hunter Single-Target Rotation
The Beast Mastery rotation revolves around casting Kill Command on cooldown, not capping your Focus, while simultaneously not casting Cobra Shot so much that you waste its cooldown reduction and delay Kill Command unnecessarily.
The single target rotation for a Beast Mastery Hunter is based on the following priority system.
- Activate Aspect of the Wild on cooldown.
- Use Barbed Shot to maintain Frenzy on your pet, refreshing it as late as possible.
- ( Soulforge Embers) Use Tar Trap on your target's feet if Flare is off cooldown.
- ( Soulforge Embers) Use Flare right on top of your Tar Trap to explode it for damage.
- Use Bloodshed on cooldown, if you are using this talent.
- Activate your Wild Spirits Covenant Ability on cooldown, placing it on your main target, or as many targets as possible.
- Use Kill Shot when the target is below 20% health.
- Activate Bestial Wrath on cooldown. Dump all of your Barbed Shot charges right before using it.
- Use Barbed Shot to keep it from hitting two charges.
- Use Kill Command on cooldown.
- Use Cobra Shot to manage your Focus, using it when you have too much of it and to reduce the cooldown of Kill Command. Try not to use it when Kill Command's cooldown is less than 2.5 seconds, unless you would Focus cap from doing so.
- If you have downtime in your rotation during Wild Spirits, just use Barbed Shot or Tar Trap (with Soulforge Embers) regardless of anything. This is because Wild Spirits only ticks when you are firing off damaging abilities, so you pretty much always want to be pressing buttons during it.
There are a few rules you should keep in mind when trying to play Beast Mastery optimally. If you keep these things in mind, it will make it much easier to achieve a perfect rotation:
- Generally speaking, you should not cast more than 2 Cobra Shots in between Kill Commands. 2 is the sweet spot where you are spending as much Focus as you are generating, while also not wasting the cooldown reduction on Kill Command.
- Refreshing Frenzy as late as possible is almost always preferable. You should be careful not to overdo it, however, or you risk letting the buff drop completely.
- You should avoid casting Cobra Shot when there is less than 2.5 seconds remaining on Kill Command's cooldown, unless you are on ~100 Focus or above.
- While Frenzy uptime and management will guide your playing decisions a lot while playing Beast Mastery, it is not as significant as many people think, especially on a single target. The most common mistake that BM Hunters make is overcasting Cobra Shot, and undercasting Barbed Shot and Kill Command.
Keep in mind that you will not be able to keep up 3 stacks of Frenzy at all times. You should strive towards it, but it is impossible to always have it up. Dropping it sometimes is fine.
Important Note: Because the in-game "auto-cast" system for Hunter pets is very slow, it is recommended to put these 3 lines into macros for all of your offensive spells.
- /cast [@pettarget]Claw
- /cast Bite
- /cast Smack
We recommend adding these 3 lines to the end of your macros, in order for the #showtooltip part of your macros to work properly. Functionally, it makes no difference where you put them.
This ensures that you will always cast your pet's Basic Attack on cooldown, since Blizzard's automatic cast will delay each cast by up to 0.6 seconds. For more macros, please refer to our Beast Mastery Hunter macro page.
In addition to the above, you will also have to make use of several cooldowns, as we explain below.
Keeping Track of Frenzy
The default UI does not offer a very good way of keeping track of the Frenzy buff on your pet, which is very important to the spec. To help with this, we recommend using this WeakAura to keep track of the buff. You can also use this WeakAura, which will pop up and tell you when to use Barbed Shot. Both of these require you to have the WeakAuras 2 Addon installed. For more addons, please refer to our addon page.
Multiple Target Rotation for Beast Mastery Hunter
When facing more than 1 target, you should generally follow the priority above, but with these changes at certain target counts.
When fighting 2 targets or above, you should try to keep up Beast Cleave with 100% uptime, ideally never letting it drop for any reason.
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 is never worth it. If you have extra Focus to spend, you are better off casting Cobra Shot.
You should try and identify targets that are about to reach 20% health, so that you can use Kill Shot on them. The goal on every pack should be to get as many Kill Shots off as possible. Addons like Plater Nameplates can help you highlight enemies that are below 20% health.
Barbed Shot Multidotting (Advanced)
With enough gear, you will find that you often have more Barbed Shot procs than you know what to do with. In AoE scenarios, it can be a substantial DPS increase to "multidot" with Barbed Shot. That means using it on multiple different targets and ensuring that you have multiple dots rolling whenever possible. In a normal scenario where you are only cleaving off of one target, you would otherwise constantly be refreshing Barbed Shot on the same target and wasting the DoT.
To do it properly, we recommend using the supplied Barbed Shot mouseover macro from our Beast Hunter Mastery Addons page.
For information about Mythic+ as a Beast Mastery Hunter and the rotation you need to use in this game mode, please refer to our Mythic+ page.
WeakAuras for Beast Mastery Hunters
WeakAuras can have a tremendously positive effect on your performance. Since this is a broad topic, we made a page dedicated to it.
Cooldown Usage for Beast Mastery Hunter
As a Beast Mastery Hunter, you have two important cooldowns, namely Bestial Wrath and 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 .
Scent of Blood Opener Sequence for Beast Mastery Hunter
This section describes the recommended way to start the fight as a Beast Mastery Hunter if you are using the Scent of Blood Level 25 Talent, which causes Bestial Wrath to instantly give you 2 charges of Barbed Shot. It also assumes that you are using the other recommended talents for the spec.
- Use Aspect of the Wild and Bloodshed as soon as the fight begins.
- Activate Wild Spirits
- Cast Barbed Shot twice.
- Proceed with your normal rotation.
On fights that last longer than 5 minutes, you will be able to use two potions, provided that you use one of them at the beginning of the fight.
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.
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 a slow rate that varies by spec. In addition to this passive flow of incoming Focus, certain talents and abilities will amplify your Focus regeneration, or simply generate more of it.
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).
The greatest contribution to your DPS is your pet's damage, both through its simple melee attacks and through Kill Command. For this reason, it is important 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.
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, 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.
Detailed Cooldown Usage
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 damage buff, 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. You can delay Bestial Wrath for up to 15 seconds to line up with Wild Spirits.
Aspect of the Wild should be used alongside Bestial Wrath whenever possible. Casting Aspect of the Wild during Bestial Wrath itself is not optimal, but it is still better than delaying it until after Bestial Wrath.
Tier 1 Talents
Killer Instinct does not have a significant effect on your rotation.
Animal Companion does not have a significant effect on your rotation.
For more information on these talents, please refer to the Tier 1 talent section of our talent page.
Tier 2 Talents
One with the Pack does not have a significant effect on your rotation.
Chimaera Shot should simply be used on cooldown. Try to use it when you are at a Focus deficit, so that you do not waste its Focus generation.
For more information on these talents, please refer to the Tier 2 talent section of our talent page.
Tier 4 Talents
Spitting Cobra will encourage you to cast as many Cobra Shots during Bestial Wrath as possible. The cleanest way to do this is to use Bestial Wrath right before a Cobra Shot in your rotation (and right after two Barbed Shots in a row). Other than this, you should play manually. It is not worth delaying Kill Command in order to get extra Cobra Shots in. However, you could delay Barbed Shot for a cast or two if it means that you can end the Bestial Wrath period with close to 0 Focus, meaning that you have done as many Cobra Shot as is reasonable in that time.
Thrill of the Hunt does not have a significant effect on your rotation. You will automatically get everything out of the buff as long as you keep up your Frenzy buff with Barbed Shot because the buffs share a duration.
A Murder of Crows should be cast on cooldown. You can get even more damage out of it by casting it on targets that are about 10 seconds from dying. When they die, this will reset the cooldown of the ability and allow you to use it again for a large damage boost.
For more information on these talents, please refer to the Tier 4 talent section of our talent page.
Tier 6 Talents
Stomp does not have a significant effect on your rotation.
Barrage should be used on cooldown, even on a single target, although you should be careful not to let it mess up your Frenzy timings or other abilities. Furthermore, if there is imminent AoE coming up then you should delay it for that. It is not a high priority to cast on a single target.
For more information on these talents, please refer to the Tier 6 talent section of our talent page.
Tier 7 Talents
Aspect of the Beast does not have a significant effect on your rotation.
Killer Cobra makes it even more important to have as much Focus ready for Bestial Wrath as possible. It does not fundamentally change your playing. For the most part during Bestial Wrath, you will simply be alternating between Cobra Shot and Kill Command, with Cobra Shot constantly resetting Kill Command's cooldown.
Bloodshed should be used in synchronization with Aspect of the Wild and Bestial Wrath. Every minute, you will use it shortly before Bestial Wrath to stack the damage bonuses. Every second minute, you will do this and also cast Aspect of the Wild right before Bloodshed to fully overlap the different buffs with all their different durations.
For more information on these talents, please refer to the Tier 7 talent section of our talent page.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
- 29 Nov. 2020: Added Barbed Shot with two charges to the Rotation section.
- 27 Nov. 2020: Removed a duplicate line from the Opener Sequence.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
- 27 Oct. 2020: Added separate openers for Scent of Blood and One with the Pack.
- 24 Oct. 2020: Added a paragraph to talk about Potion usage, and removed it from the opener.
- 16 Oct. 2020: Multi-Target Rotation Changes.
- Added Kill Shot usage to the multi-target rotation section.
- Added Barbed Shot Multidotting to the multi-target rotation section.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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