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Survival Hunter DPS Guide (Legion 7.2.5)

Last updated Today at 16:08 by Azortharion 304 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

Welcome to our Survival Hunter DPS guide for World of Warcraft Legion 7.2.5. 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 average single-target.

2. What Has Changed in 7.2.5?

Survival is also getting new set bonuses as part of the Tier 20 Wildstalker gear set from the Tomb of Sargeras. These set bonuses are:

  • 2-piece set bonus: Increases Lacerate Icon Lacerate's damage by 15%, and causes it to last 6 seconds longer.
  • 4-piece set bonus: Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite deals 10% increased damage to targets that are affected by Lacerate Icon Lacerate.

2.1. Tomb of Sargeras Set Bonus Simulation

Survival Set Bonus Simulation

3. How Does it Work?

  • Focus is the primary resource. It is generated passively at a base rate of 10 Focus per second.
  • Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite is the main ability. It has 3 charges that each take 12 seconds to recharge. When you first cast it, it applies a 14-second buff that increases the damage of consecutive Mongoose Bites by 50% per stack, stacking up to 6 times.
  • Flanking Strike Icon Flanking Strike is the main "use on cooldown" ability. It deals high damage on a short cooldown, is quite expensive, and it has a high chance of giving you an additional charge of Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite.
  • Raptor Strike Icon Raptor Strike essentially serves as a Focus dump when there is nothing else to do, or when you are about to cap Focus. When using certain talents like Way of the Mok'Nathal Icon Way of the Mok'Nathal or Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting, it serves the additional role of refreshing the buffs/debuffs of those talents.
  • Lacerate Icon Lacerate is a simple DoT that should be kept up as much as possible.
  • Explosive Trap Icon Explosive Trap is a high-damage ability that is used on cooldown and manually placed with the mouse.
  • Fury of the Eagle Icon Fury of the Eagle is the Artifact ability. It deals extremely heavy damage on a 45-second cooldown. It is channeled over 4 seconds, and scales with stacks of Mongoose Fury Icon Mongoose Fury.

4. Viability of Spec Choices in Patch 7.2.5

Now that 7.2.5 has released, we can say with reasonable confidence and assuming no major changes, that Marksmanship will be the optimal raiding spec going into Tomb of Sargeras, mostly due to the potency of its new set bonuses. Its strengths remain the same as in the past, with a variety of different talents allowing for different playstyles, making it the most powerful spec for both single-target and multi-target in terms of raw damage. Its disadvantage on target switching has been significantly reduced, since Vulnerable no longer gives as much of a damage bonus to Aimed Shot that you cannot live without it. The spec is still much more limited by movement than Beast Mastery, and in hectic raiding situations this is its only potential downfall.

Beast Mastery remains a solid choice, though rather than being very competitive and sometimes even better at single-target than Marksmanship in ideal situations, it is now fair to say that its potential output is less than Marksmanship in nearly all situations. The same goes for Survival. Both these specs have fairly mediocre new Legendaries, and they do not benefit nearly as much from their set bonuses as Marksmanship does. Beast Mastery's ease of play and movement remains its biggest strength.

Survival did not get changed much in 7.2.5, and so its viability is not changed much either. Its set bonuses are generally weaker than in Tier 19, especially because they have a single-target focus whereas the Tier 19 set bonuses favoured all damage. With all set bonuses and best in slot legendaries for all specs, Survival is significantly off the pace of the other two specs, which is unfortunate given the resurgence it received in Patch 7.1.5/7.2.0. It is difficult to say where it will slot in in the bigger picture for raids just yet, as it still brings some of the best burst AoE in the game through Butchery, but while the new legendaries for the other two specs are both BiS for some situation, both the new Survival ones are fairly mediocre, and the same goes for its set bonuses.

Mythic+ is very much the same story. The fabled "memebuild" for Marksmanship is no longer as potent as it was before, because the new set bonuses strongly favour a Trick Shot-based build, but Marksmanship will still outdamage the other two specs in any dungeon, and with Beast Mastery's single-target advantage gone, in an ideal situation, there is not much reason to be playing the other two specs for Mythic+ either.

To rank the specs in terms of output and potential, focusing on raiding and Mythic+, here you can find a sort of "cheat sheet" on what to play in what situations, or what might be competitive if you do not like Marksmanship.

Below you will also find simulations for single-target and multi-target potential output of all the specs with different setups of legendaries and talents. Remember to read simulations in general with a grain of salt.

4.1. Tier 20 - Tomb of Sargeras Mythic Gear - Single-Target Spec Comparison

Hunter Spec Comparison Sims

4.2. Raiding — Single-Target Focus with AoE as a secondary objective.

  1. Marksmanship
  2. Beast Mastery
  3. Survival

4.3. Mythic+ — AoE Focus with single-target as a secondary objective.

Keep in mind that on high-level Tyrannical-affix keystones, single-target can sometimes be considered the #1 priority for Mythic+.

  1. Marksmanship
  2. Beast Mastery
  3. Survival

5. Strengths

  • Extremely powerful burst AoE
  • The lowest reliance on Legendary items for good DPS out of the Hunter specs
  • Flexible toolkit, different viable playstyles (with the complex one being the best).
  • One of the best utility specs in the game.

6. Weaknesses

  • Fairly complex spec to play optimally.
  • Switching targets is a chore, most damage requires setup of some kind
  • Still not as potent DPS as many other melee specs, with fewer spots to compete for than ranged specs.

7. Contents

To make it easy to navigate the guide, we have split it into 9 pages:

8. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 25 Jun. 2017 (gear page): Updated trinket simulations.
  • 18 Jun. 2017 (this page): Updated the comparison simulation to use ToS Heroic tier gear instead of ToS Mythic gear. Updated set bonus simulation.
  • 17 Jun. 2017 (gear page): Updated trinket simulations for 7.2.5. Updated Best in Slot list for the Tomb of Sargeras raid.
  • 17 Jun. 2017 (this page): Added a spec comparison single-target simulation. It should clear up a lot of questions on builds and set bonus combinations in Tomb of Sargeras, but your own gear can change the results significantly.
  • 15 Jun. 2017 (stats page): Removed mention of T19 2-piece set bonus from the Haste/Mastery talk.
  • 14 Jun. 2017 (this page): The change to Explosive Trap does not affect the trigger range, just the damage and spread range.
  • 13 Jun. 2017 (gear page): Added new Legendaries. Removed "Trinket to look for section" and other sections that are now invalidated or no longer useful, to pave the path for something new in Tomb of Sargeras.
  • 13 Jun. 2017 (addons page): Checked and confirmed for Patch 7.2.5.
  • 13 Jun. 2017 (this page): Updated the viability section and combined all specs into one. Updated strengths and weaknesses. Added 7.2.5 spec changes and set bonuses. Fixed a mention of the old version of the set bonus and made it the new one. Expanded significantly on Survival's viability in 7.2.5.
  • 13 Jun. 2017 (enchants page): Page reviewed and deemed updated for 7.2.5.
  • 13 Jun. 2017 (simulations page): Page reviewed and deemed updated for 7.2.5. Removed some invalid sections, and sections that are no longer useful.
  • 13 Jun. 2017 (easy mode page): Changed some talent recommendations.
  • 13 Jun. 2017 (artifact page): Updated relic/iLvl chart.
  • 13 Jun. 2017 (rotation page): Added note about prioritizing Explosive Trap if you are using the new Legendary cloak.
  • 13 Jun. 2017 (stats page): Updated stat weights and priority slightly. More updates might come leading into ToS in this department.
  • 13 Jun. 2017 (talents page): Page reviewed and deemed updated for 7.2.5.
  • 26 May 2017 (rotation page): Added detailed usage of Snake Hunter.
  • 25 May 2017 (rotation page): Cleaned up the rotation and added pointers that makes Fury of the Eagle usage more clear.
  • 25 May 2017 (stats page): Gave the stat weights a maintenance update.
  • 12 May 2017 (this page): Added a note about future patch viability. Nothing much to add yet.
  • 07 May 2017 (gear page): Removed a confusing paragraph about what tier you should pick if you have certain legendaries.
  • 06 May 2017 (stats page): Added Haste breakpoints for Mongoose Fury GCDs.
  • 06 May 2017 (gear page): Added Convergence of Fates to trinkets to look for.
  • 04 May 2017 (gear page): Added experimental way of ranking Legendaries.
  • 04 May 2017 (stats page): Expanded slightly on Mastery/Haste interactions and what they mean.
  • 18 Apr. 2017 (simulations page): Removed some simulations that no longer make sense/are adequately covered elsewhere.
  • 17 Apr. 2017 (enchants page): Checked today and deemed updated.
  • 17 Apr. 2017 (artifact page): Checked today and deemed updated.
  • 17 Apr. 2017 (talents page): Checked today and deemed updated.
  • 17 Apr. 2017 (rotation page): Checked today and deemed updated.
  • 17 Apr. 2017 (gear page): Trinket sim updated.
  • 17 Apr. 2017 (stats page): Checked today and deemed updated.
  • 28 Mar. 2017 (this page): Added note about legendary changes to the list of changes in 7.2.
  • 28 Mar. 2017 (enchants page): Made note of eating from the feast when possible, as it gives more stats than regular buff food.
  • 27 Mar. 2017 (rotation page): Added paragraphs about how certain Legendaries affect the rotation.
  • 27 Mar. 2017 (artifact page): Artifact path updated for 7.2 and traits vs iLvl chart added.
  • 27 Mar. 2017 (gear page): No changes needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 27 Mar. 2017 (this page): Added summary of Patch 7.2 changes.
  • 27 Mar. 2017 (talents page): No changes needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 27 Mar. 2017 (stats page): No changes needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 21 Mar. 2017 (simulations page): Legendary sims have been moved to the spreadsheet alongside the trinkets.
  • 17 Mar. 2017 (gear page): The trinket spreadsheet now also has legendary sims in it.
  • 27 Feb. 2017 (gear page): Trinket sim update.
  • 25 Feb. 2017 (gear page): Update BiS belt and trinkets.
  • 24 Feb. 2017 (stats page): Not really worth going all the way to 16% Mastery before Crit/Vers. Just 12%.
  • 18 Feb. 2017 (gear page): Updated legendary ranking.
  • 18 Feb. 2017 (rotation page): Added another clarifying paragraph to the rotation.
  • 18 Feb. 2017 (simulations page): More sim updates.
  • 16 Feb. 2017 (talents page): Level 30 talent rewording. Slight change in Level 15 recommendations.
  • 16 Feb. 2017 (simulations page): Sim updates.
  • 16 Feb. 2017 (gear page): Added link to trinket sim spreadsheet. Updated Legendary rankings. SimCraft's implementation of Aspect was fixed, vastly improving Call of the Wild.
  • 13 Feb. 2017 (gear page): Added new trinket sims. These sims test trinkets at a ton of different item levels, color coded for easy comparison.
  • 11 Feb. 2017 (gear page): Updated BiS legendary to Call of the Wild after SimCraft's issues with Aspect of the Eagle were fixed.
  • 08 Feb. 2017 (gear page): Updated "trinket to look for section", and legendary rankings + Frizzo description.
  • 08 Feb. 2017 (rotation page): Rewrote rotation. Updated opener slightly.
  • 07 Feb. 2017 (talents page): Updated talent cheatsheet recommendations slightly.
  • 07 Feb. 2017 (easy mode page): Updated stat priority and rotation slightly.
  • 07 Feb. 2017 (stats page): A more nuanced, detailed talk about stat priorities for Survival.
  • 07 Feb. 2017 (rotation page): Update Survival opener. So. Many. Buttons.
  • 07 Feb. 2017 (enchants page): Updated potion recommendation (with gear, Prolonged becomes better, and with Nighthold gear it wins for all situations).
  • 07 Feb. 2017 (gear page): Trinket sim update.
  • 05 Feb. 2017 (simulations page): Update racial sim.
  • 04 Feb. 2017 (talents page): Recommended Steel Trap for pure single-target.
  • 28 Jan. 2017 (stats page): Updated stat weights.
  • 28 Jan. 2017 (rotation page): Updated Survival opener.
  • 28 Jan. 2017 (talents page): Update several talent recommendations.
  • 28 Jan. 2017 (artifact page): Expanded slightly on Relic choice.
  • 26 Jan. 2017 (rotation page): Added set bonus talk.
  • 26 Jan. 2017 (gear page): Updated trinket sims with all the changes in hotfixes since 7.1.5. Updated BiS list accordingly. Added information about second-best tier item slots in case you have a Legendary that breaks the set. Updated legendary ranking.
  • 26 Jan. 2017 (simulations page): Added Legendary trinket.
  • 19 Jan. 2017 (this page): Updated viability section, strengths and weaknesses.
  • 17 Jan. 2017 (gear page): Updated trinket sims. Add BiS list.
  • 14 Jan. 2017 (rotation page): Add Caltrops to opener.
  • 14 Jan. 2017 (gear page): Update Call of the Wild description. Add Legendary trinket to description (but not ranking yet).
  • 13 Jan. 2017 (enchants page): Updated to Haste food/gems/etc.
  • 13 Jan. 2017 (gear page): Legendary boots give 25 Focus, not 15 now.
  • 12 Jan. 2017 (this page): Added Explosive Trap damage increase to Guerilla Tactics mention.
  • 12 Jan. 2017 (talents page): Changed wording on some changed abilities. Removed note about pet specs and special abilities as they are no longer relevant.
  • 12 Jan. 2017 (gear page): Fresh trinket sims. Update Legendary ranking.
  • 12 Jan. 2017 (rotation page): Put Caltrops in the rotation, removed note about Lacerate cooldown, updated best usage of Caltrops and Lacerate as a result.
  • 12 Jan. 2017 (easy mode page): Updated stat priority and talent recommendation to be even easier.
  • 11 Jan. 2017 (stats page): Updated stat priority and removed Agility from the listing as it does nothing but confuse at this point.
  • 11 Jan. 2017 (artifact page): Updated best AoE Relic to Hellcarver.
  • 09 Jan. 2017 (simulations page): Checked and confirmed for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 09 Jan. 2017 (gear page): Updated for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 09 Jan. 2017 (enchants page): Checked and confirmed for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 09 Jan. 2017 (stats page): Checked and confirmed for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 09 Jan. 2017 (rotation page): Updated for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 09 Jan. 2017 (artifact page): Checked and confirmed for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 09 Jan. 2017 (talents page): Updated for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 09 Jan. 2017 (easy mode page): Checked and confirmed for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 09 Jan. 2017 (this page): Updated for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 09 Jan. 2017 (addons page): Checked and confirmed for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 19 Dec. 2016 (talents page): Slightly improved our assessment of Butchery.
  • 18 Dec. 2016 (easy mode page): Added easy mode for Survival Hunters.
  • 08 Dec. 2016 (enchants page): Added note about Potion of Prolonged Power.
  • 08 Dec. 2016 (this page): Updated strengths/weaknesses and viability to be more realistic for current content.
  • 11 Nov. 2016 (simulations page): Added food sims.
  • 08 Nov. 2016 (rotation page): Opener update.
  • 06 Nov. 2016 (stats page): Updated Pawn string and stat priority.
  • 06 Nov. 2016 (talents page): Updated tier 15 and 30 talent recommendations/discussion.
  • 06 Nov. 2016 (enchants page): Changed enchants to Versatility, following stat priority change.
  • 06 Nov. 2016 (rotation page): Added Throwing Axes back to the rotation since it is still worth using in some situations.
  • 30 Oct. 2016 (talents page): Removed talent table at the beginning of the page.
  • 29 Oct. 2016 (talents page): Further Patch 7.1 updates regarding the Level 15 talents. Also added modified that pet section.
  • 29 Oct. 2016 (enchants page): Changed enchants to Haste.
  • 29 Oct. 2016 (stats page): Updated Pawn string for Patch 7.1, added note about how the top 3 stats are very close together in value.
  • 29 Oct. 2016 (rotation page): Patch 7.1 update with ability buffs and Way of the Mok'Nathal being the recommended talent.
  • 27 Oct. 2016 (stats page): Updates to Mastery description and value.
  • 25 Oct. 2016 (rotation page): Updated the paragraph about Animal Instincts, following its change in Patch 7.1.
  • 25 Oct. 2016 (simulations page): Updated all sims and introduced a potion sim.
  • 25 Oct. 2016 (talents page): Updated for Patch 7.1.
    • Updated Animal Instincts's description and added a note that the talent needs more extensive testing before its strength can be more properly assessed.
    • Updated Posthaste's duration. Was changed in Patch 7.1 to be 5 seconds (down from 8).
    • Trailblazer replaces Dash.
  • 17 Oct. 2016 (stats page): Ordered statistics explanation in order of priority because OCD.
  • 12 Oct. 2016 (enchants page): Switch potion to Old War as it should be.
  • 11 Oct. 2016 (rotation page): Slight opener change.
  • 09 Oct. 2016 (stats page): Added some notes to clarify frequently asked questions.
  • 02 Oct. 2016 (stats page): Updated stat prio to be in line with Pawn weights as it should.
  • 18 Sep. 2016 (enchants page): Now advising Mark of the Hidden Satyr instead of Mark of the Claw for neck enchant.
  • 13 Sep. 2016 (rotation page): Added Raptor Strike as a Focus dump in the rotation.
  • 08 Sep. 2016 (rotation page): Put Fury of the Eagle in the Survival opener.
  • 07 Sep. 2016 (talents page): Added Pet Talent section, which was missing from the guide.
  • 06 Sep. 2016 (rotation page): Updated Survival Hunter opener to get the most out of the buff to Mongoose Fury (12s > 14s duration).
  • 05 Sep. 2016 (rotation page): Updated Fury of the Eagle guide.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (this page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (stats page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (artifact page): Added.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (talents page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (rotation page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (addons page): Updated for the Legion expansion.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (enchants page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (simulations page): Added.
  • 18 Aug. 2016 (stats page): Updated stat weights after Mastery got buffed by Blizzard.
  • 29 Jul. 2016 (rotation page): Better rotation.
  • 28 Jul. 2016 (talents page): Updated stuff for the Caltrops row of talents to make it much clearer.
  • 27 Jul. 2016 (rotation page): Updated opener slightly.
  • 25 Jul. 2016 (talents page): Fixed error with Expert Trapper opinion.
  • 23 Jul. 2016 (rotation page): Removed talents from rotation to simplify it, added notes about handling Mongoose Bite stacks that should be easier to understand and put into practice.
  • 19 Jul. 2016 (rotation page): Added opener.
  • 19 Jul. 2016 (talents page): Explained in more details why Snake Hunter is so much better than the other Level 30 options.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (this page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (enchants page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (rotation page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (talents page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (stats page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (addons page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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