Beast Mastery Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.2.5
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 — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.2.5.
If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic DPS Hunter rotation.
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.
- Cast Barbed Shot when the Frenzy buff on your pet is about to expire or when you are close to 2 charges of Barbed Shot, refreshing Frenzy as late as possible without dropping it. This is a higher priority than not wasting Bestial Wrath cooldown reduction. If Frenzy is not up, and Bestial Wrath is active, cast Barbed Shot regardless.
- Cast A Murder of Crows on cooldown.
- Cast Bestial Wrath on cooldown. If Aspect of the Wild is coming up within 15 seconds, delay it to sync them up. Try to enter Bestial Wrath with a good amount (90+) of Focus.
- Cast Aspect of the Wild on cooldown. Dump all of your Barbed Shot charges before using it if you have Primal Instincts.
- Cast Barbed Shot under the following conditions (aside from refreshing Frenzy):
- Cast Kill Command on cooldown.
- Cast Chimaera Shot on cooldown, if you are using it.
- Cast Barbed Shot when you are about to reach 2 charges of it - whether Frenzy is up or not.
- Cast Cobra Shot when you have a lot of Focus to burn, and when Kill Command is not coming off cooldown within 2.5 seconds.
- Cast Barbed Shot as a filler if it will reach 2 charges before your Frenzy buff expires.
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.
- If there is less than 1 second left on Kill Command's cooldown, you should never cast Cobra.
- Remember that casting Chimaera Shot on cooldown is only a high priority if you will not Focus cap from casting it. If you are at 100 Focus or above, then it is better to cast something else first.
- Sometimes, you will run into a situation where you are forced to cast Barbed Shot right when Bestial Wrath is coming off cooldown. As bad as this feels, it is worth it in order to refresh Frenzy.
- 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 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.
In addition to the above, you will also have to make use of several cooldowns, as we explain below.
Dance of Death Optimization
Whenever your Critical Strike Chance is over 40%, and Dance of Death is not up, you want to cast Barbed Shot in order to proc it, even if there is plenty of time left on Frenzy.
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.
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 other than Essence and Trinket casts that take more than 3 seconds to perform.
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.
The exception to this rule is if you are using the powerful Rapid Reload. This Trait causes Multi-Shot to reduce the cooldown of Aspect of the Wild by 1 second for each target hit. This means that you should always prioritize Multi-Shot over Cobra Shot on 3+ targets when using this Trait.
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 .
Opener Sequence for Beast Mastery Hunter
Primal Instincts 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 near-mandatory Primal Instincts trait. It assumes you are using the recommended talents for the spec.
- Just before the encounter starts, use your combat potion.
- About 1.5 seconds before the encounter starts, use Bestial Wrath. If you are using Condensed Life-Force, you should precast Guardian of Azeroth instead, and use Bestial Wrath at the 0-second mark.
- Cast Barbed Shot twice.
- Cast Aspect of the Wild.
- Cast A Murder of Crows.
- Cast Kill Command.
- Cast Chimaera Shot.
- Cast Cobra Shot.
- Cast Kill Command.
- When Frenzy is just about to expire on your pet, use Barbed Shot again to refresh it. If you can delay it further than this point, then you should do so.
- Proceed with your normal rotation.
Some trinkets and their combinations have to be used in a particular way. We cover the most interesting ones here.
- Ashvane's Razor Coral usage depends on your choice of Level 15 talent. With Killer Instinct, you should activate it on pull and activate it with your last Aspect of the Wild, stacked with Guardian of Azeroth. With any other Level 15 talent, you should activate the Coral with every Aspect of the Wild.
- Azshara's Font of Power should be precast around the 6-second mark, so that you have time to precast Guardian of Azeroth/ Bestial Wrath as well. During the fight, make sure that you use it shortly before Aspect of the Wild to line them up. Try your best to not drop Frenzy from your pet while channeling, but do not ever cancel the channel.
- The Cyclotronic Blast Red Punchcard effect which is used by the Pocket-Sized Computation Device should be used after your opener Aspect of the Wild is over, as it does not scale with it. Repeat this trend for the rest of the encounter.
If you are using the Coral and Font together, you should prioritize using Font, and activate Coral as soon as you can.
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 Aspect of the Wild.
Aspect of the Wild should be used alongside Bestial Wrath whenever possible, and it is typically worth delaying it until Bestial Wrath is within 5 seconds of coming off cooldown. Casting Aspect of the Wild during Bestial Wrath itself is not optimal, but it is still better than delaying it until after Bestial Wrath.
A Murder of Crows should be used on cooldown.
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.
Tier 2 Talents
Scent of Blood does not have a significant effect on your rotation.
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.
Tier 4 Talents
Venomous Bite does not have a significant effect on your rotation.
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.
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.
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.
- 12 Nov. 2019: Updated the 2-3 target multi-target rotation, prioritizing Beast Cleave over Kill Command at all times.
- 25 Oct. 2019: Updated the rotation further and added an extra tip about Frenzy management and its relative lack of importance in the notes below the rotation.
- 23 Oct. 2019: Updated the rotation.
- 23 Aug. 2019: Removed the non-Primal Instincts opener, as the Primal opener is so prevalent and useful that including an opener option without it was cluttering.
- 21 Aug. 2019: Updated the recommended usage of the Coral Trinket.
- 18 Aug. 2019: Expanded on Barbed Shot usage in the rotation, and added additional information about Dance of Death optimization.
- 10 Aug. 2019: Essences and Trinkets
- Added the Condensed Life-Force Essence Major to the opener, as it is by far the most popular raiding essence.
- Added information about how to use the popular on-use trinkets of Patch 8.2, as well as how to use them together.
- 24 Jun. 2019: This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
- 19 May 2019: Added small note about Kill Command leaving the rotation at 4+ targets with Rapid Reload enabled.
- 14 Apr. 2019: This page has been reviewed for Crucible of Storms and no changes are necessary.
- 26 Mar. 2019: Altered the Primal Instincts opener, added more details to Aspect of the Wild usage, added more detail to Barbed Shot usage and a few other changes.
- 24 Mar. 2019: Added Barbed Shot to the lowest priority in the rotation when there is nothing else to do.
- 01 Mar. 2019: Added note about Rapid Reload changing your multi-target rotation.
- 10 Dec. 2018: Updated opener, and added notes about delaying Bestial Wrath for Aspect of the Wild and vice versa.
- 16 Oct. 2018: Added note about Barrage being worth casting on a single target.
- 28 Sep. 2018: 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.
- 05 Sep. 2018: Added note about the Basic Attack macros' position in the macro not mattering.
- 03 Sep. 2018: Added an alternative opener for Primal Instincts. This is a miniscule DPS increase and not worth stressing about.
- 01 Sep. 2018: Adjusted Barbed Shot's position in the opener.
- 29 Aug. 2018: Updated the Opener Sequence. Clarified parts of the multi-target rotation.
- 23 Aug. 2018: 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.
- 15 Aug. 2018: Updated the Barbed Shot part of the general rotation.
- 12 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
- 07 Aug. 2018: 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.
- 01 Aug. 2018: Updated the target count requirement for Beast Cleave over Kill Command.
- 31 Jul. 2018: Two small additions.
- Added note about it being okay to drop Frenzy charges from time to time.
- Expanded on Aspect of the Wild usage.
- 21 Jul. 2018: Clarified that Barbed Shot is maximum priority at 2 charges.
- 19 Jul. 2018: 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: 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".
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