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Beast Mastery Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (BfA 8.0.1)

Last updated on Jul 18, 2018 at 13:54 by Azortharion 40 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 BfA 8.0.1. 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. Beast Mastery Hunter Single-Target Rotation

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

  1. Cast Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot when the Frenzy Icon Frenzy buff on your pet is about to expire, refreshing it as late as possible without dropping it. This is a higher priority than not wasting Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath cooldown reduction.
  2. Cast Chimaera Shot Icon Chimaera Shot on cooldown.
  3. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command on cooldown. Try to not cast anything right before it, so that you can cast it the very instant it comes off cooldown.
  4. Cast A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows on cooldown.
  5. Cast Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath on cooldown.
  6. Cast Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild on cooldown.
  7. Cast Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast on cooldown if you have chosen this talent.
  8. When Frenzy Icon Frenzy is down, cast Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot when there are 7 seconds remaining on the cooldown for the second charge. If you cast it before this, you will not be able to reach 3 stacks.
  9. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot when there is nothing else to do, when you have a lot of Focus to burn, and when Kill Command Icon Kill Command is not coming off cooldown within 2.5 seconds.

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 your spells.

  • /cast Claw(Basic Attack)
  • /cast Bite(Basic Attack)
  • /cast Smack(Basic Attack)

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.

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 Icon 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 spending 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 the highest, while conserving Focus 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.

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

2. 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:

  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 Icon Kill Command. Do not overcast Multi-Shot for this reason, though. If you can fit in Kill Command without letting Beast Cleave drop, then you should still do that.

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. Beast Mastery Hunter Legendaries' Effects on Rotation

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 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 for Beast Mastery Hunter

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 for Beast Mastery Hunter

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. About 1.5 seconds before the encounter starts, use Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild.
  3. Cast A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows.
  4. Activate Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath.
  5. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command.
  6. Cast Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot once.
  7. Cast Chimaera Shot Icon Chimaera Shot.
  8. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot.
  9. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command.
  10. When Frenzy Icon Frenzy is just about to expire on your pet, use Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot again to refresh it.
  11. Proceed with your normal rotation.

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 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.

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 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 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 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.

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

Killer Instinct Icon Killer Instinct does not have a significant effect on your rotation.

Animal Companion Icon Animal Companion does not have a significant effect on your rotation.

Dire Beast Icon Dire Beast should simply be used on cooldown. It can be worth delaying it slightly if you can use it right before Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath, allowing you to stack the 5% Haste buff with Bestial Wrath.

6.4.3. Tier 2 Talents

Scent of Blood Icon Scent of Blood does not have a significant effect on your rotation.

One with the Pack Icon One with the Pack does not have a significant effect on your rotation.

Chimaera Shot Icon 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.

6.4.4. Tier 4 Talents

Venomous Bite Icon Venomous Bite does not have a significant effect on your rotation.

Thrill of the Hunt Icon 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 Icon Frenzy buff with Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot because the buffs share a duration.

A Murder of Crows Icon 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.

6.4.5. Tier 6 Talents

Stomp Icon Stomp does not have a significant effect on your rotation.

Barrage Icon Barrage should be used on cooldown, but only when there is more than 1 target active. You should try never to let it interfere with your ability to refresh Frenzy Icon Frenzy with Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot. Basically, do not use Barrage if there is less than 3 seconds remaining on the Frenzy buff.

Stampede Icon Stampede should be used on cooldown along with Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath, and when there are multiple targets up.

6.4.6. Tier 7 Talents

Aspect of the Beast Icon Aspect of the Beast does not have a significant effect on your rotation.

Killer Cobra Icon Killer Cobra makes it even more important to have as much Focus ready for Bestial Wrath Icon 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 Icon Cobra Shot and Kill Command Icon Kill Command, with Cobra Shot constantly resetting Kill Command's cooldown.

Spitting Cobra Icon Spitting Cobra should be used on cooldown along with Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath.

7. ChangeLog

  • 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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