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Survival Hunter DPS Guide in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated Yesterday at 11:08 by Azortharion 39 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

Welcome to our Survival Hunter DPS guide for World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth (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 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. 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.

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

Survival10795+0.1%
Marksmanship10785 
Beast Mastery10606-1.65%
The original results can be found on raidbots.com

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.

3.2. Multi-Target Spec Comparison Simulation - 3 Targets

Survival17068+5.54%
Marksmanship16172 
Beast Mastery16124-0.3%
The original results can be found on raidbots.com

3.3. Burst AoE Spec Comparison Simulation - 5 Targets for 30 Seconds - No Bloodlust

Marksmanship29387 
Beast Mastery28837-1.87%
Survival25112-14.55%
The original results can be found on raidbots.com

3.4. Bursty Single-Target Spec Comparison Simulation - 1 Target, 30 Seconds

Marksmanship16702 
Survival16676-0.16%
Beast Mastery16620-0.49%
The original results can be found on raidbots.com

3.5. Spec Viability in Practice, Strengths and Weaknesses

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+.

3.5.1. Beast Mastery

  • Extremely mobile, fairly easy to play.
  • Able to bring numerous types of utility with its pets.
  • Short cooldowns make it a consistent Mythic+ performer.
  • Relies on pet AI, which can be inconsistent.

3.5.2. Marksmanship

  • Capable of extremely high burst damage, especially AoE.
  • Unfortunately does not use a pet for multi-target scenarios, costing it utility/survivability.
  • Short cooldowns make it a consistent Mythic+ performer.
  • Limited/no reliance on pet AI, more damage is in your hands.

3.5.3. Survival

  • Very high sustained AoE damage.
  • Lots of utility in pets.
  • Quite mobile for a melee spec.
  • Relatively simple to play.

4. Contents

To make it easy to navigate the guide, we have split it into 14 pages:

5. ChangeLog

  • 13 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated Survival cheat-sheet text.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated the usage of Shrapnel Bomb from Wildfire Infusion slightly.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (addons page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (stats page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (bosses page): Page added (empty for now).
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Page created for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Page added for Battle for Azeroth launch (empty for now).
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 12 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 10 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added Survival Hunter Azerite page.
  • 07 Aug. 2018 (addons page): Added an Intimidation macro.
  • 04 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Expanded on the Mongoose Bite talent's effect on the rotation.
  • 04 Aug. 2018 (spells page): Added Muzzle to the spell list.
  • 02 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Updated the racial comparison which has fixed some incorrect usage of the Blood Elf Racial.
  • 01 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated the single-target spec comparison.
  • 31 Jul. 2018 (spells page): Added some missing BfA pets to the pet family overview.
  • 31 Jul. 2018 (rotation page): Small additions to some talents' effect on the rotation.
    • Expanded Butchery usage to cover 2 targets, whereas Carve is >3.
    • Added note about not refreshing Serpent Sting during Mongoose Fury.
  • 31 Jul. 2018 (talents page): Fixed Birds of Prey showing an incorrect cooldown reduction value.
  • 23 Jul. 2018 (rotation page): Expanded on single-target rotation using Guerrilla Tactics.
  • 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 (talents page): Expanded slightly on Mongoose Bite's superiority only when not using the T21 4-piece set bonus.
  • 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.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (enchants page): Reverted the optimal gem, as it was nerfed.
  • 20 Jul. 2018 (spells page): Moved the Gorilla and its Special Ability from Tenacity to Ferocity.
  • 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 (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 (easy mode page): Updated the optimal talent from Mongoose Bite to Tip of the Spear and updated the stat priority.
  • 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.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Added Kil'jaeden's Burning Wish to the bottom of the single-target legendary ranking.
  • 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.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (this page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
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