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Survival Hunter DPS Guide (Legion 7.3)

Last updated on Sep 13, 2017 at 18:53 by Azortharion 322 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

Welcome to our Survival Hunter DPS guide for World of Warcraft Legion 7.3. 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 7.3?

  • The Porcupine family of pets has been renamed to "Rodent".

Survival has two set bonuses available in the Tomb of Sargeras from the Wildstalker armor set. They are as follows:

  • 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

Marksmanship has the strongest single-target and AoE damage output of all three hunter specs, but it is quite limited by movement which can be problematic in the hands of less experienced players, but the damage benefits it brings to Mythic raids in particular makes it worth learning and optimizing. It is also best for Mythic+ due to its AoE damage potential, and solid utility with Bursting Shot Icon Bursting Shot. It is generally the strongest spec for all fights in Tomb of Sargeras, being closely rivaled by Survival on Harjatan, and Beast Mastery on Maiden of Vigilance and Fallen Avatar.

Beast Mastery generally does the least damage of all the Hunter specs, but it does not suffer from movement at all which makes it excellent if you are new to raiding and whatever content you are doing. It has good short-term single-target bursts which can make it really strong on fights where this is important, such as the Maiden of Vigilance boss. In Mythic+, it can bring both Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust / Heroism Icon Heroism as well as battle ressurrections to your group using its pets, and its single-target burst comes in handy for dungeons like Upper Karazhan where there is not much AoE either. Its strongest fights are the Maiden of Vigilance and Fallen Avatar because of the respectively bursty, and movement-heavy nature of these encounters.

Survival has the second-best single-target potential of the three Hunter specs, and while it lacks in sustained AoE damage, it has excellent burst AoE using its Butchery Icon Butchery ability, and great AoE crowd control abilities through Caltrops Icon Caltrops AoE slow, battle-ress and Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Heroism Icon Heroism with pets, and enhanced traps across the board. In the aggregate, it is a competitive spec in the right hands, gaining a lot with a well-executed rotation, but also being a tad unforgiving and punishing when not played close to optimally. Due to this, in reality, it is often on par with Beast Mastery for single-target, due to the latter's ease of play compared to Survival. Its strongest fights are burst AoE-heavy ones such as Harjatan and the Demonic Inquisition.

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/Build Comparison

Hunter Spec Comparison Sims

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

  1. Marksmanship
  2. Beast Mastery for ease of play and Ranged. Survival for higher potential and Melee.

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 11 pages:

8. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 13 Sep. 2017 (artifact page): Updated the traits' weapon item level values.
  • 13 Sep. 2017 (Netherlight Crucible page): Updated all trait values to be based on weapon item level, rather than DPS% values.
  • 12 Sep. 2017 (Netherlight Crucible page): Updated the Tier 2 trait values after Blizzard changed them overnight.
  • 10 Sep. 2017 (Netherlight Crucible page): Added initial page for the Survival Hunter Netherlight Crucible.
  • 08 Sep. 2017 (enchants page): Added new healing potion.
  • 06 Sep. 2017 (stats page): Removed obsolete mention of T19 2-piece bonus when it comes to Mastery value.
  • 06 Sep. 2017 (rotation page): Made small fix to rotation.
  • 06 Sep. 2017 (gear page): Updated trinket simulations. Rearranged and reworded Legendary rankings.
  • 05 Sep. 2017 (easy mode page): Updated trinket simulations.
  • 28 Aug. 2017 (enchants page): Added Lightforged Augment Rune and new 7.3 epic gems.
  • 28 Aug. 2017 (stats page): No changes needed for Patch 7.3.
  • 28 Aug. 2017 (this page): The guide has been updated for Patch 7.3. More updates will follow as we draw closer to the release of the next raid.
  • 28 Aug. 2017 (rotation page): No changes needed for Patch 7.3.
  • 18 Aug. 2017 (easy mode page): Updated stat weights and removed obsolete mentions.
  • 13 Aug. 2017 (this page): Updated the spec/build comparison simulation.
  • 12 Aug. 2017 (gear page): Promoted Sephuz and Prydaz legendaries to Tier 1 due to their great secondaries.
  • 09 Aug. 2017 (stats page): Removed obsolete mention of T19 set bonus.
  • 08 Aug. 2017 (rotation page): Updated rotational note about Aspect of the Eagle, it should be used at exactly 10 seconds remaining on Fury. Added note about lining Umbral Moonglaives up with Aspect of the Eagle. Expanded on correct maximizing of the Helbrine Legendary belt.
  • 03 Aug. 2017 (talents page): Fixed inconsistency in Mythic+ level 30 talent choice.
  • 02 Aug. 2017 (stats page): Updated the stat weights and priorities section now that Nighthold is well behind us, and the T19 2-piece is not as widely used.
  • 28 Jul. 2017 (gear page): Updated trinket simulations.
  • 28 Jul. 2017 (simulations page): Updated racial simulation.
  • 28 Jul. 2017 (talents page): Updated to prefer Caltrops, even for single-target.
  • 27 Jul. 2017 (this page): Updated the spec/build comparison simulation.
  • 27 Jul. 2017 (spells page): Added spells summary section for Survival.
  • 25 Jul. 2017 (this page): Added that Survival can battle-ress/Bloodlust/Heroism as well.
  • 21 Jul. 2017 (this page): Reordered and changed the descriptions of the specs' single-target/raiding viability. Survival does have higher single-target potential but it requires a lot more work to unlock, therefore it is hard to definitively call it a better raiding spec than Beast Mastery.
  • 18 Jul. 2017 (this page): Updated the viability section, and updated the spec/build comparison simulation.
  • 18 Jul. 2017 (simulations page): Added guide video on simming yourself and talk about the importance/usefulness of it.
  • 13 Jul. 2017 (talents page): Removed obsolete mentions of the Nighthold.
  • 01 Jul. 2017 (rotation page): Updated small things in the rotation.
  • 30 Jun. 2017 (rotation page): Split the rotation into 2 phases and generally made it much easier to read. Added trinket usage section.
  • 30 Jun. 2017 (talents page): Updated level 30 talents - Mortal Wounds generally better than Crows.
  • 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 (artifact page): Updated relic/iLvl chart.
  • 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 (talents page): Page reviewed and deemed updated for 7.2.5.
  • 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 (addons page): Checked and confirmed for Patch 7.2.5.
  • 13 Jun. 2017 (easy mode page): Changed some talent recommendations.
  • 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 (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.
  • 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 (gear page): Trinket sim updated.
  • 17 Apr. 2017 (enchants page): Checked today and deemed updated.
  • 17 Apr. 2017 (stats page): Checked today and deemed updated.
  • 17 Apr. 2017 (artifact page): Checked today and deemed updated.
  • 17 Apr. 2017 (rotation page): Checked today and deemed updated.
  • 17 Apr. 2017 (talents 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 (artifact page): Artifact path updated for 7.2 and traits vs iLvl chart added.
  • 27 Mar. 2017 (stats page): No changes needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 27 Mar. 2017 (rotation page): Added paragraphs about how certain Legendaries affect the rotation.
  • 27 Mar. 2017 (this page): Added summary of Patch 7.2 changes.
  • 27 Mar. 2017 (gear page): No changes needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 27 Mar. 2017 (talents 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 (simulations page): More sim updates.
  • 18 Feb. 2017 (rotation page): Added another clarifying paragraph to the rotation.
  • 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.
  • 16 Feb. 2017 (simulations page): Sim updates.
  • 16 Feb. 2017 (talents page): Level 30 talent rewording. Slight change in Level 15 recommendations.
  • 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 (enchants page): Updated potion recommendation (with gear, Prolonged becomes better, and with Nighthold gear it wins for all situations).
  • 07 Feb. 2017 (stats page): A more nuanced, detailed talk about stat priorities for Survival.
  • 07 Feb. 2017 (gear page): Trinket sim update.
  • 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 (rotation page): Update Survival opener. So. Many. Buttons.
  • 05 Feb. 2017 (simulations page): Update racial sim.
  • 04 Feb. 2017 (talents page): Recommended Steel Trap for pure single-target.
  • 28 Jan. 2017 (talents page): Update several talent recommendations.
  • 28 Jan. 2017 (rotation page): Updated Survival opener.
  • 28 Jan. 2017 (artifact page): Expanded slightly on Relic choice.
  • 28 Jan. 2017 (stats page): Updated stat weights.
  • 26 Jan. 2017 (simulations page): Added Legendary trinket.
  • 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.
  • 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 (gear page): Legendary boots give 25 Focus, not 15 now.
  • 13 Jan. 2017 (enchants page): Updated to Haste food/gems/etc.
  • 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 (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 (easy mode page): Updated stat priority and talent recommendation to be even easier.
  • 12 Jan. 2017 (this page): Added Explosive Trap damage increase to Guerilla Tactics mention.
  • 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 (addons page): Checked and confirmed for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 09 Jan. 2017 (enchants 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 (stats 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 (this page): Updated strengths/weaknesses and viability to be more realistic for current content.
  • 08 Dec. 2016 (enchants page): Added note about Potion of Prolonged Power.
  • 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 (enchants page): Changed enchants to Versatility, following stat priority change.
  • 06 Nov. 2016 (talents page): Updated tier 15 and 30 talent recommendations/discussion.
  • 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 (enchants page): Changed enchants to Haste.
  • 29 Oct. 2016 (rotation page): Patch 7.1 update with ability buffs and Way of the Mok'Nathal being the recommended talent.
  • 29 Oct. 2016 (talents page): Further Patch 7.1 updates regarding the Level 15 talents. Also added modified that pet section.
  • 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.
  • 27 Oct. 2016 (stats page): Updates to Mastery description and value.
  • 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.
  • 25 Oct. 2016 (simulations page): Updated all sims and introduced a potion sim.
  • 25 Oct. 2016 (rotation page): Updated the paragraph about Animal Instincts, following its change in Patch 7.1.
  • 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 (stats page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (rotation page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (simulations page): Added.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (talents page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (enchants page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (addons page): Updated for the Legion expansion.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (artifact page): Added.
  • 29 Aug. 2016 (this page): Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 28 Aug. 2016 (talents page): No changes needed for Patch 7.3.
  • 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 (rotation page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (stats page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 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 (talents page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016 (addons page): Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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