Survival Hunter DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Pet Talents — Shadowlands 9.1

Last updated on Oct 09, 2021 at 14:48 by Azortharion 20 comments
General Information

On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Survival Hunter in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.

If you were looking for TBC Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Survival Hunter talents.

1.

Covenant Recommendation Change in Patch 9.1

ATTENTION

As of Patch 9.1 the recommended Covenant for Survival Hunter HAS CHANGED. Please check out the Covenant page of this guide for more information.

2.

Talent Choices for Survival Hunter

Level Choices
15 Viper's Venom Viper's Venom Terms of Engagement Terms of Engagement Alpha Predator Alpha Predator
25 Guerrilla Tactics Guerrilla Tactics Hydra's Bite Hydra's Bite Butchery ? Butchery
30 Trailblazer ? Trailblazer Natural Mending Natural Mending Camouflage ? Camouflage
35 Bloodseeker Bloodseeker Steel Trap Steel Trap A Murder of Crows A Murder of Crows
40 Born To Be Wild ? Born To Be Wild Posthaste Posthaste Binding Shot ? Binding Shot
45 Tip of the Spear Tip of the Spear Mongoose Bite Mongoose Bite Flanking Strike Flanking Strike
50 Birds of Prey Birds of Prey Wildfire Infusion Wildfire Infusion Chakrams Chakrams

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Still Mind Icon Tome of the Still Mind and Codex of the Still Mind Icon Codex of the Still Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

3.

Talent Cheat Sheets for Survival Hunter

These talent recommendations are based on simulations and logs/statistics to help you pick the best choice for any situation.

3.1.

Best Single-Target Talents for Survival Hunter (NTA Build)

This is the best Survival build for almost all raiding and single-target fights.

3.2.

Best AoE and Mythic+ Talents for Survival Hunter (WFI Build)

This is our recommended Survival build for encounters with cleave and intermittent AoE, as well as Mythic+ dungeons.

4.

NTA vs WFI

NTA and WFI refer to two completely different Survival Hunter builds. Both are covered in this guide. In addition to these names, you may see them referred to as "VV" or "AP", which is determined by whether Alpha Predator Icon Alpha Predator or Viper's Venom Icon Viper's Venom is being used.

NTA is a single-target focused build that uses the Nesingwary's Trapping Apparatus Icon Nesingwary's Trapping Apparatus Legendary which gives it its name. Combining this Legendary with Birds of Prey Icon Birds of Prey, it is possible to extend the Coordinated Assault Icon Coordinated Assault buff for long periods of time. This build is the bread and butter of competitive Survival Raiding. It is one of the most complicated, but also rewarding DPS builds in World of Warcraft.

WFI is an AoE-build that uses the Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion Talent. A variety of Legendaries are possible for this build, but it will most commonly be Wildfire Cluster Icon Wildfire Cluster or Rylakstalker's Confounding Strikes Icon Rylakstalker's Confounding Strikes depending on if you are using it in an AoE-heavy or single-target heavy context. This build is a lot easier and more forgiving than NTA, and we recommend starting out with it if you are new to the spec.

The WFI build can be used to do competitive single-target damage in raids, but the NTA build cannot be used to do competitive AoE damage in Mythic+, since the constant downtime will make it impossible to keep up Coordinated Assault Icon Coordinated Assault consistently.

4.1.

Raiding

The builds suggested above do not account for specific fights in the current raid tier. If you wish to have a boss-by-boss breakdown of talent choices, you should check out our dedicated page below.

4.2.

Mythic+

Mythic+ can potentially require a mix of certain AoE and Single-Target talents, depending on affixes and other variables. If you want advice that is specific to Mythic+, you should check out our page below.

4.3.

How To Use Survival Hunter Talents

Some talents will require you to play in a particular way to get the most out of them. You can find more information on how your rotation will look after selecting your talents on our rotation page below.

5.

Best Pet for Survival Hunter

Firstly, it is important to note that all pets do the same damage. They only differ in their utility and occasionally defensive capabilities.

For Raiding and Mythic+, we recommend using a Ferocity pet in pretty much all situations. They grant you Leech, which causes you to heal yourself whenever you do damage. This self-sustain is extremely useful and makes the spec partly live up to its name in Raiding situations.

For open-world content and leveling, we also recommend using a Ferocity pet. The Special Abilities of Scalehides are generally the best for such content, due to their defensive abilities.

Cunning Pets provide a movement speed bonus, trading in defensive passives for mobility. This is useful when you are farming old, trivial content.

You can see a list of all pet families and their special abilities on the //www.icy-veins.com/wow/survival-hunter-pve-dps-spell-summary page of this guide.

6.

Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Survival Hunter

This row consists of talents that improve your DPS in various ways.

Viper's Venom Viper's Venom Terms of Engagement Terms of Engagement Alpha Predator Alpha Predator

Viper's Venom Icon Viper's Venom is most commonly used with Birds of Prey Icon Birds of Prey-based builds for pure single-target situations and should be your default pick for those. In some gear combinations, it can also beat Alpha Predator Icon Alpha Predator for Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion-based builds and AoE, but this is not very common.

Alpha Predator Icon Alpha Predator should be used for pretty much all situations where you are also using Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion, such as cleave fights, AoE, or fights with irregular uptime that prevent the use of Birds of Prey Icon Birds of Prey.

Terms of Engagement Icon Terms of Engagement should never be chosen.

7.

Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents for Survival Hunter

This row consists of talents that improve your DPS in various ways.

Guerrilla Tactics Guerrilla Tactics Hydra's Bite Hydra's Bite Butchery ? Butchery
  • Guerrilla Tactics Icon Guerrilla Tactics gives Wildfire Bomb Icon Wildfire Bomb 2 charges, and causes the initial hit to do 100% increased damage.
  • Hydra's Bite Icon Hydra's Bite causes Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting to hit up to 2 targets that are close to your current target, allowing you to apply multiple Serpent Stings with a single usage.
  • Butchery Icon Butchery replaces Carve Icon Carve as your big-hitting AoE ability. It has 3 charges on a 9-second recharge and does extremely heavy AoE damage to 5 targets around you. It reduces the cooldown of Wildfire Bomb Icon Wildfire Bomb in the same way that Carve does.

Guerrilla Tactics Icon Guerrilla Tactics should be chosen for all situations.

Hydra's Bite Icon Hydra's Bite should never be chosen.

Butchery Icon Butchery should only be chosen for purely 2-target situations.

8.

Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents for Survival Hunter

This row consists of talents that improve your utility, mobility and survivability.

Trailblazer ? Trailblazer Natural Mending Natural Mending Camouflage ? Camouflage
  • Trailblazer Icon Trailblazer increases your movement speed by 30% whenever you have not attacked for 3 seconds. This is essentially just a helpful passive for moving between packs in Mythic+, or rare raid situations where you need to move for a while and are not able to attack anything.
  • Natural Mending Icon Natural Mending causes your Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration ability's remaining cooldown to be reduced by 1 second for every 20 (Marksmanship and Survival) or 30 (Beast Mastery) Focus you spend. We can generally expect a cooldown reduction of over 30 seconds.
  • Camouflage Icon Camouflage puts you in stealth for 1 minute and heals you for 2% of your maximum health every second. It has a 1-minute cooldown, and the cooldown only starts ticking once Camouflage has been cancelled.

Your choice of talent in this tier is mostly situational, but for general survivability in raids and dungeons, we recommend Natural Mending Icon Natural Mending by default.

9.

Tier 4 (Level 35) Talents for Survival Hunter

This row consists of talents that improve your DPS in various ways.

Bloodseeker Bloodseeker Steel Trap Steel Trap A Murder of Crows A Murder of Crows
  • Bloodseeker Icon Bloodseeker causes Kill Command Icon Kill Command to apply a bleeding DoT for 8 seconds. It also increases your attack speed by 10% for every bleeding enemy within 12 yards of you. This applies to all bleeds, even those applied by others.
  • Steel Trap Icon Steel Trap is an ability that puts a trap on the ground for one minute. The first enemy that touches it will take heavy Physical damage over 20 seconds. It also immobilizes them for 20 seconds, although this does not work on bosses or certain mobs.
  • A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows is a DoT ability that costs 30 Focus with a 1-minute cooldown. It applies a powerful 15-second DoT to the target that deals Physical damage every second. If your target dies while the DoT is active, the cooldown of A Murder of Crows is reset.

Bloodseeker Icon Bloodseeker should be chosen for all WFI build situations.

Steel Trap Icon Steel Trap is an essential part of the NTA Build and is best when combined with Nesingwary's Trapping Apparatus Icon Nesingwary's Trapping Apparatus, and Birds of Prey Icon Birds of Prey.

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows should never be chosen.

10.

Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents for Survival Hunter

This row consists of talents that improve your utility, mobility and survivability.

Born To Be Wild ? Born To Be Wild Posthaste Posthaste Binding Shot ? Binding Shot
  • Born To Be Wild Icon Born To Be Wild reduces the cooldown of your Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle, Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah and Aspect of the Eagle Icon Aspect of the Eagle (Survival) abilities by 20%, reducing their cooldowns to 2 minutes and 24 seconds and 1 minute and 12 seconds, respectively.
  • Posthaste Icon Posthaste increases your movement speed by 50% for 4 seconds after using Disengage Icon Disengage
  • Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot fires an arrow at a targeted location on the ground. If an enemy comes within 5 yards of the arrow, and then steps more than 5 yards away from it again, they will be rooted for 5 seconds. This ability has a 45-second cooldown.

Your choice of talent in this tier is mostly situational, but for general survivability in raids and dungeons, we recommend Posthaste Icon Posthaste by default.

11.

Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents for Survival Hunter

This row consists of talents that improve your DPS in various ways.

Tip of the Spear Tip of the Spear Mongoose Bite Mongoose Bite Flanking Strike Flanking Strike
  • Tip of the Spear Icon Tip of the Spear causes Kill Command Icon Kill Command to stack a buff that increases the damage done by Raptor Strike Icon Raptor Strike by 20% per stack. This buff can stack up to 3 times.
  • Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite replaces Raptor Strike Icon Raptor Strike. When you first cast it, it applies Mongoose Fury Icon Mongoose Fury which increases the damage of consecutive Mongoose Bites by 15%. Every cast of Mongoose Bite after that will add a stack to the buff, up to a maximum of 5 stacks, or a 75% damage increase.
  • Flanking Strike Icon Flanking Strike is a heavy-hitting ability on a 30-second cooldown. It also generates 30 Focus for both you and your pet.

Tip of the Spear Icon Tip of the Spear should be chosen for mixed situations, such as raid fights with some AoE moments, or 2-3 target cleave situations.

Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite should be chosen for all single-target situations.

Flanking Strike Icon Flanking Strike should be chosen for all heavy AoE and Mythic+ situations.

12.

Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents for Survival Hunter

Birds of Prey Birds of Prey Wildfire Infusion Wildfire Infusion Chakrams Chakrams

Tier 7 talents offer you a choice between 3 talents that increase your DPS.

  • Birds of Prey Icon Birds of Prey causes Raptor Strike Icon Raptor Strike and Carve Icon Carve to extend the duration of your Coordinated Assault Icon Coordinated Assault cooldown by 1.5 seconds per cast.
  • Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion causes your Wildfire Bomb Icon Wildfire Bomb to give you a random special effect for 5 seconds (which is the duration of the DoT itself) every time you throw it. Whenever you use it, the special effect for your next one changes randomly. You can see what effect your next Bomb will have on the icon, so that you know what you will be casting. You will find a detailed rundown of the different effects below.
  • Chakrams Icon Chakrams is an ability with a 20-second cooldown that throws two pairs of chakrams/glaives at your target that deal moderate Physical damage once when they reach the target, and then again when they return to your hand. Your primary target takes 100% increased damage from this ability. It costs 30 Focus.

Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion should be chosen as part of the WFI build to which it gives its name. It is the default AoE build and is strong for single-target as well.

Birds of Prey Icon Birds of Prey should be chosen as part of the NTA build when paired with Nesingwary's Trapping Apparatus Icon Nesingwary's Trapping Apparatus and Steel Trap Icon Steel Trap, which is the best build for single-target and most raiding.

Chakrams Icon Chakrams should never be chosen.

12.1.

Wildfire Infusion

Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion Type Description
Shrapnel Bomb Icon Shrapnel Bomb (Blue) Causes your Raptor Strike Icon Raptor Strike, Carve Icon Carve, and Butchery Icon Butchery (talent) abilities to apply a 9-second bleed to all targets hit that stacks up to 3 times.
Pheromone Bomb Icon Pheromone Bomb (Red) Gives your Kill Command Icon Kill Command a 100% chance to reset its cooldown for 5 seconds.
Volatile Bomb Icon Volatile Bomb (Green) Causes your bomb to explode for 50% additional damage on all targets that are already affected by Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting, and refreshes all of those Serpent Stings.
13.

PvP Talents (War Mode)

Since Battle for Azeroth, there is the option to go into "War Mode". Enabling War Mode provides the following benefits:

  • PvP talents enabled in the outdoor world.
  • At least 10% increase in World Quest rewards at maximum level.
  • 10% more experience gained while leveling.
  • Earn Conquest Points which can reward gear every week.

With the benefits of enabling War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended to enable the feature to maximize your leveling and rewards at maximum level. However, you will make yourself available for open world PvP, and the possibility to be "ganked" while leveling or doing World Quests exists.

13.1.

Survival Hunter War Mode Talents

In this section, we will rank the PvP talents best for leveling and doing solo / small group PvE content. Below is a ranking of all PvP Talents for Survival Hunter.

13.1.1.

Survival Hunter PvP Talents

  1. Sticky Tar Icon Sticky Tar reduces the melee attack speed of enemies affected by your Tar Trap Icon Tar Trap by 80% for 5 seconds. This can be used to significantly weaken melee attackers when you are close to dying.
  2. Dragonscale Armor Icon Dragonscale Armor causes magical DoT effects to do 20% less damage to you. This is a decent survivability option.
  3. Survival Tactics Icon Survival Tactics causes Feign Death Icon Feign Death to clear all harmful magic effects from you. It also reduces all damage taken by 99% for 1.5 seconds. This is useful for narrowly avoiding death from caster mobs, especially when they have already fired a spell at you.

You can consider the other options to be essentially down to preference.

For details on how to play in Survival Hunter PvP, please visit our Survival Hunter PvP page.

14.

Pet Talents

Pets do not have talent trees. Instead, different types of pet belong to one of three difference specs: Ferocity, Tenacity, and Cunning.

Each specialisation grants your pet a few specific abilities. Currently, there is no DPS difference between the different pet specs. The only differences are in utility.

15.

Changelog

  • 09 Oct. 2021: Clarified the differences between Alpha Predator and Viper's Venom and when they are most commonly used.
  • 25 Sep. 2021: Updated the recommendation status of Tip of the Spear.
  • 06 Jul. 2021: Noted that Butchery is optimal for purely 2-target situations.
  • 28 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
  • 28 Apr. 2021: Corrected an inconsistency in Level 45 Talent choice.
  • 19 Mar. 2021: Updated the recommendation status of Flanking Strike.
  • 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
Show more
Show less