Beast Mastery Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated on Oct 16, 2018 at 14:23 by Azortharion 182 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 Battle for Azeroth 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 for many years. He is an accomplished player with dozen of top parses for all specs throughout the game's history. He is also the Admin of Trueshot Lodge, the Hunter Class Discord, and you can watch his stream on Twitch.

1. Beast Mastery Hunter Single-Target Rotation

The Beast Mastery rotation revolves around casting Kill Command Icon Kill Command on cooldown, not capping your Focus, while simultaneously not casting Cobra Shot Icon 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.

  1. Cast Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot when the Frenzy Icon Frenzy buff on your pet is about to expire or when you have 2 charges of Barbed Shot, 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 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.
  3. Cast Chimaera Shot Icon Chimaera Shot on 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. If Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath is coming up within the next 30 seconds, then delay Aspect of the Wild to line it up with Bestial Wrath.
  7. When Frenzy Icon Frenzy is down, cast Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot when you are about to reach 2 charges of it. If you cast it too early, you will not be able to reach 3 stacks and maintain it for very long.
  8. 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.

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 executing perfectly much easier and more intuitive:

  • Generally speaking, you should not cast more than 2 Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shots in between Kill Command Icon 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 Icon Frenzy as late as possible is almost always preferable. You should be careful not to do overdo it, however, or you risk letting the buff drop completely.
  • You should avoid casting Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot when there is less than 2.5 seconds remaining on Kill Command Icon Kill Command's cooldown, unless you are on 90 Focus or above.
  • Remember that casting Chimaera Shot Icon 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 Icon Barbed Shot right when Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath is coming off cooldown. As bad as this feels, it is worth it in order to refresh Frenzy Icon Frenzy.
  • It is worth casting Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot regardless of your charge status if Frenzy Icon Frenzy is down, and Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath is up. The idea is that you always want at least one stack of Frenzy active during Bestial Wrath, even if you cannot reach 3 stacks on it.

Keep in mind that you will not be able to keep up 3 stacks of Frenzy Icon 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.

1.1. 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.

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:

Firstly, whenever fighting more than 1 target, Chimaera Shot Icon Chimaera Shot has a higher priority than Kill Command Icon Kill Command.

When fighting 2 targets or above, you should start trying to keep up Beast Cleave Icon Beast Cleave. You should not do so at the expense of Kill Command Icon Kill Commands, but you should instead sacrifice some Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot casts in order to Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot every 2-3 globals.

When fighting 3 targets or above, you should keep up Beast Cleave Icon Beast Cleave at all times, even at the expense of Kill Command Icon Kill Command. You should still prioritize refreshing Frenzy Icon Frenzy on 3 stacks, since the attack speed buff it gives you is a massive increase to Beast Cleave damage.

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. 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 .

4. 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 combat potion.
  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 Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot once.
  6. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command.
  7. Cast Chimaera Shot Icon Chimaera Shot.
  8. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot.
  9. When Frenzy Icon Frenzy is just about to expire on your pet, use Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot again to refresh it. If you can delay it further than this point, then you should do so.
  10. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot.
  11. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command.
  12. Proceed with your normal rotation.

5. 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 Primal Instincts Icon Primal Instincts trait. It assumes you are using the recommended talents for the spec.

  1. Just before the encounter starts, use your combat potion.
  2. About 1.5 seconds before the encounter starts, use Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath.
  3. Cast A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows.
  4. Cast Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot once.
  5. Cast Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild.
  6. Cast Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot.
  7. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command.
  8. Cast Chimaera Shot Icon Chimaera Shot.
  9. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot.
  10. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot.
  11. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command.
  12. When Frenzy Icon Frenzy is just about to expire on your pet, use Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot again to refresh it. If you can delay it further than this point, then you should do so.
  13. 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.

Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild should be used alongside Bestial Wrath Icon 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 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, 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.

Stampede Icon Stampede should be used on cooldown along with Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath, and when there are multiple targets up. You should be careful not to use it when the targets in its path are about to move.

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

  • 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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