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Survival Hunter DPS Guide (BfA 8.0.1)

Last updated Today at 08:41 by Azortharion 18 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

Welcome to our Survival Hunter DPS guide for World of Warcraft BfA 8.0.1. Here, you will learn everything you need to know about playing a Survival Hunter in a raid environment and in Mythic+ dungeons.

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. Class Overview

Survival is the Melee Hunter spec. It has a versatile toolkit with lots of Crowd Control potential, very high burst AoE damage potential and good single-target damage.

2. Patch 8.0.1 Changes for Survival Hunter

  • Before anything else, it is worth noting that Survival is still a melee spec and there is no way to do competitive damage purely from range. Survival has a cooldown, Aspect of the Eagle Icon Aspect of the Eagle, that allows its main melee ability, Raptor Strike Icon Raptor Strike, to be used from a 40-yard range for 15 seconds.
  • Focus now regenerates passively at a much slower rate.
  • Many abilities that were not on the global cooldown before are now affected by it, including main cooldowns like Coordinated Assault Icon Coordinated Assault.
  • All pet specs now do the same damage, but the pet specs now provide different bonuses for defense and utility. We have listed them below.
Pet Spec Passive Effect Active Ability
Ferocity Predator's Thirst Icon Predator's Thirst gives you and your pet 10% Leech. Leech heals you based on how much damage you do. Primal Rage Icon Primal Rage, which provides the Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/ Heroism Icon Heroism effect, increasing Haste for you and all nearby allies by 30% for 40 seconds. This shares cooldown with Bloodlust/Heroism and similar effects.
Tenacity Endurance Training Icon Endurance Training increases the maximum health of you and your pet by 5%. Survival of the Fittest Icon Survival of the Fittest is a defensive ability that reduces the damage taken by you and your pet by 20% for 6 seconds. It has a 3-minute cooldown.
Cunning Pathfinding Icon Pathfinding increases the movement speed of you and your pet by 8%. Master's Call Icon Master's Call clears all movement-impairing effects from your pet and a friendly target, and makes them immune to movement-impairing effects for 4 seconds. The friendly target can be you. It has a 45-second cooldown.

3. Viability of Specs

On this page we will attempt to give a full picture of what the 3 Hunter specs are good at and when you might want to use them. Generally speaking, all the specs are competitive enough that you can play whichever one you prefer from a playstyle perspective. On this page, we will try to be as objective as possible when determining which spec is the best. To determine this, we will use simulations, intuition and occasionally WarcraftLogs Data to try and get a full picture.

3.1. Single-Target Spec Comparison Simulation

Single-Target Spec Simulation

As the title suggests, this simulation puts the specs up against each other in an ideal scenario for a pure single-target encounter, with no movement. We use a fight length for the simulation that best reflects the actual fight lengths in current Mythic content.

We will not be doing a multi-target simulation. This is because AoE sims are not usually very reflective of actual AoE gameplay. In reality, AoE is more bursty, and limited to packs in a Mythic+ dungeon, for example. These pulls are at most a minute long, and not very accurately reflected in an ideal situation kind of simulation, because you will not have cooldowns up for the start of every single pack, and so on.

3.2. Spec Viability in Practice

Simulations are all well and good, but they cannot provide the same picture of how the specs work in raids as actually playing them can. In this section we will look at some of the perks and downsides of the different specs in raids and Mythic+.

3.2.1. Beast Mastery

Beast Mastery's biggest advantage is that you can do full damage while moving. On top of this, Beast Mastery's damage is high and the spec is relatively easy to play. This makes the spec highly desirable for both Mythic+ and raids, where you will be guaranteed to have to move regularly for certain mechanics. Additionally, Beast Mastery works primarily with short cooldowns and instant casts that do heavy damage, which is a large benefit in terms of bursting down high-priority targets.

The biggest downside is that a lot of Beast Mastery's damage is entirely reliant on your pet being close to the target. On bosses where targets are far apart, you can lose a lot of damage during the travel time of your pet from one target to another.

3.2.2. Marksmanship

Currently, Marksmanship does not have any strong benefits. Unfortunately, it is currently tuned in a way that makes it less powerful than Beast Mastery, even in ideal situations. Because its mobility is limited, it will only lose damage in practical situations where you have to move for the mechanics.

One upside is that with Lone Wolf Icon Lone Wolf, there is no reliance on a pet to do the majority of your damage. This is helpful when trying to quickly deal with high-priority targets from afar. Casting Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot directly into 1-2 Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shots is a powerful burst DPS combo.

3.2.3. Survival

Survival is competitive in all areas, but does not excel in any specific one. As a melee spec, it is worthy of a slot in any raid. With pets now providing great utility and defensive abilities, Survival Hunters, alongside Beast Mastery Hunters. It is significantly less difficult to play than previously, making it less daunting to pick up, and the damage return for your efforts is now much more reasonable, and in line with other specs.

4. Strengths of Survival Hunter

  • Flexible toolkit, different viable playstyles
  • Good utility with traps and decent mobility

5. Weaknesses of Survival Hunter

  • AoE without Butchery Icon Butchery is somewhat lacking

6. Contents

To make it easy to navigate the guide, we have split it into 11 pages:

7. ChangeLog

  • 22 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Updated the optimal single-target potion.
  • 21 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Reverted the optimal flask, as the Flask of Falling Leaves was nerfed.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Reverted the optimal gem, as it was nerfed.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (talents page): Expanded slightly on Mongoose Bite's superiority only when not using the T21 4-piece set bonus.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (spells page): Moved the Gorilla and its Special Ability from Tenacity to Ferocity.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Made a few updates.
    • Updated Celerity of the Windrunners' Haste level from 2% to 3%.
    • Added Butcher's Bone Apron to the Legendary ranking.
  • 19 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Made several updates.
    • Added a tier-piece alternative to the off-piece Best in Slot helm, if you are using both top Legendaries.
    • Fixed Kil'jaeden's Burning Wish's position in the Legendary rankings, so that it no longer appears twice under the multi-target list.
    • Updated the 2nd BiS trinket from the Shadow-Singed Fang to Gorshalach's Legacy.
  • 19 Jul. 2018 (rotation page): Expanded on the impact that Wildfire Infusion can have on your rotation when trying to play optimally.
  • 19 Jul. 2018 (simulations page): Updated the racial comparison and changed the simulation parameters slightly to fix Troll's extremely low standing.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated the optimal talent from Mongoose Bite to Tip of the Spear and updated the stat priority.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (talents page): Small updates to talent recommendations and descriptions.
    • Updated Terms of Engagement description to note its usefulness in open-world content.
    • Added Aspect of the Eagle to the list of Aspects affected by Born to be Wild.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Added Kil'jaeden's Burning Wish to the bottom of the single-target legendary ranking.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Various updates with old-world gems, enchants, and consumables.
    • Updated the optimal potion to use.
    • Updated the optimal flask to use. Added note about Belt Buckles to the Enchants table.
    • Reverted the optimal potion to use, as Blizzard has nerfed the old one.
    • Updated the wording on the Healthstones/Healing Potion paragraph to say "and", as you can now use both of them at once.
    • Updated the recommended gem to be purely Haste gems, not the Saber's Eye Agility gem as well.
    • Removed Belt Buckles as they were hotfixed.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Updated Golganneth's Vitality to just be an Argus Personal Loot drop. Revised Legendary ranking and added Soul of the Huntmaster and Kil'jaeden's Burning Wish to it.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (this page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
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