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Survival Hunter DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Pet Talents in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated on Aug 29, 2018 at 11:59 by Azortharion 61 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent choices for Survival Hunters in World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth 8.0.1. We detail what each of the talents do and in which situations they should be taken.

The other pages of our Survival Hunter guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

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. Pet Choice

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 Tenacity pet in pretty much all situations. They provide you with an increased pool of health, and a small defensive in the form of Survival of the Fittest Icon Survival of the Fittest.

For open-world content and leveling, we recommend using a Ferocity pet. The Special Abilities of Scalehides are generally the best for such content. Ferocity pets give you a Leech bonus, which heals you when you do damage. This is an effective self-sustain when killing mobs and leveling.

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.

2. Survival Hunter Talent Cheat Sheets

While optimizing talents on a contextual basis is the highly recommended method of setting up your build, the talent build listed below works great for specific purposes.

2.1. For Raiding (and Mythic+)

This build offers you the recommended default choices for raid encounters, and multi-target options that will shine on AoE bosses and in Mythic+ dungeons.

3. 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 the strongest choice for almost all situations and should be your default choice. It takes very little work to incorporate into your rotation as well, so it is fairly simple to play with.

Terms of Engagement Icon Terms of Engagement is currently not very good for any PvE situation, but it is very useful for doing open-world content or leveling.

Alpha Predator Icon Alpha Predator is a competitive choice and offers you a less streamlined rotation, since you can safely delay Kill Command Icon Kill Command slightly, especially when using Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite where you want to get as many Mongoose Bites off with 5 stacks of Mongoose Fury Icon Mongoose Fury as possible. It is slightly inferior to Viper's Venom Icon Viper's Venom in terms of its maximum potential, so we do not generally recommend it as it is also more difficult to play with.

4. Tier 2 (Level 30) 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 all 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 your default choice for single-target situations and most bursty AoE situations, especially with more than 4-5 targets.

Hydra's Bite Icon Hydra's Bite is recommended when you can effectively make use of the multiple Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting DoTs, especially when combining its usage with Latent Poison Icon Latent Poison. It is extremely powerful for 2-3 target scenarios, but falls off when a lot of targets are added, especially when the fight is very short.

Butchery Icon Butchery shines in burst AoE scenarios where you quickly have to dispose of many closely-stacked adds at once.

5. Tier 3 (Level 45) 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.

6. Tier 4 (Level 60) 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 is a decent choice for all situations, and it especially shines in multi-target scenarios, especially when you can expect multiple enemies to be bleeding around you. It is your default choice for most situations, single-target and multi-target alike.

Steel Trap Icon Steel Trap does significantly less damage than Bloodseeker Icon Bloodseeker and is not recommended for any situation.

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows is not particularly good for any situation and we do not recommend its usage.

7. Tier 5 (Level 75) 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 20 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.

8. Tier 6 (Level 90) 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 40-second cooldown. It also generates 30 Focus for both you and your pet.

Tip of the Spear Icon Tip of the Spear is preferred for sustained multi-target scenarios. It is a very simple talent that increases your single-target damage passively.

Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite is generally the most powerful single-target option by a tiny bit and adds some flavour to the rotation. We always recommend using this, if you are also using Alpha Predator Icon Alpha Predator. With very high Haste levels, it can beat out Tip of the Spear Icon Tip of the Spear on multi-target scenarios as well.

Flanking Strike Icon Flanking Strike gains a significant amount of value in Mythic+ Dungeons, since its long cooldown can tick off while you are out of combat. Unfortunately, especially with higher Haste levels, it is a significant single-target DPS loss, and we do not recommend its usage unless it sims very well for you.

9. Tier 7 (Level 100) 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.

Birds of Prey Icon Birds of Prey is a decent single-target talent for all situations. We only recommend it as your default single-target choice if you have one trait of Blur of Talons Icon Blur of Talons, however. For multi-target, we do not recommend it.

Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion should be your default choice for all situations, unless you have a Blur of Talons Icon Blur of Talons Azerite Trait. Wildfire Infusion is always recommended for multi-target scenarios and Mythic+ Dungeons.

Chakrams Icon Chakrams is not a terrible choice for single-target or light cleave, but it is rather expensive to cast and we do not generally recommend its usage.

9.1. 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.

10. PvP Talents (War Mode)

In Battle for Azeroth, there will be the option to go into "War Mode". Enabling War Mode provides the following benefits:

  • PvP talents enabled in the outdoor world.
  • 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.

10.1. 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 both General PvP Talents and Survival Hunter-specific PvE talents.

10.1.1. General PvP Talents

  • Relentless Icon Relentless is a passive ability but it does not automatically remove crowd control abilities, but instead reduces the duration.
  • Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is an on-use ability that removes all movement impairing effects and all loss of control effects.
  • Adaptation Icon Adaptation is recommended, is likely your most passive choice since it will automatically remove loss of control effects over 5 seconds.

10.1.2. 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.
  4. Hunting Pack Icon Hunting Pack is a useful mobility option, allowing you to use Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah much more often.

Mending Bandage Icon Mending Bandage, Diamond Ice Icon Diamond Ice, Viper Sting Icon Viper Sting, Spider Sting Icon Spider Sting, Scorpid Sting Icon Scorpid Sting, Tracker's Net Icon Tracker's Net and Hi-Explosive Trap Icon Hi-Explosive Trap have limited use in PvE content in terms of increasing your damage in the open world, but they can be situationally useful.

11. 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.

12. Changelog

  • 29 Aug. 2018: Updated the recommendations on Level 90 talents, specifically phasing out the recommendation of Flanking Strike.
  • 24 Aug. 2018: Talent recommendation changes.
    • Recommend Wildfire Infusion by default, with Birds of Prey being chosen with the Blur of Talons Trait.
    • Changed Alpha Predator to a "?", as it can be competitive with Viper's Venom. It is a fair bit more difficult to get most out of, however, and it primarily synergizes with Mongoose Bite.
    • Revised the wording on the Level 90 Talents, but we still suggest simming yourself.
  • 23 Aug. 2018: Revised the recommendation of Hydra's Bite versus Guerrilla Tactics, as mistakes were made in the simulation methodology that led to the initial change.
  • 23 Aug. 2018: Significantly altered the recommendation of Guerrilla Tactics versus Hydra's Bite.
  • 21 Aug. 2018: Changed the Steel Trap recommendation.
  • 18 Aug. 2018: Added note about Wildfire Infusion potentially being better for single-target in some gearsets.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated Survival cheat-sheet text.
  • 12 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 31 Jul. 2018: Fixed Birds of Prey showing an incorrect cooldown reduction value.
  • 20 Jul. 2018: Expanded slightly on Mongoose Bite's superiority only when not using the T21 4-piece set bonus.
  • 18 Jul. 2018: 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.
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