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

Last updated on Nov 07, 2018 at 13:09 by Mysticall 3 comments

Table of Contents

Introduction

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play a Survival Hunter in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, PvP talents, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses. It is most applicable to Arena content, but most talents and racial bonuses will work in Rated Battlegrounds and skirmishes.

About The Author

This guide has been written by Mysticall, a seasoned PvP player who has repeatedly achieved Arena Master and 2500 rating. You can watch his stream on Twitch, and you can also check out his YouTube channel.

1. Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta for Survival Hunters

Survival Hunters are one of the best melee specializations in the game right now. They not only have some of the best single-target sustained damage, they also have a large amount of control on enemy players. They use abilities like Tracker's Net Icon Tracker's Net/ or Tar Trap Icon Tar Trap to slow an entire team, or Harpoon Icon Harpoon and Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap to lock a healer down.

1.1. Strengths of Survival Hunter

  • Consistent crowd control abilities
  • Decent mobility
  • Strong burst damage

1.2. Weaknesses of Survival Hunter

  • Difficult for newer players
  • Weak against teams with multiple stuns
  • Very few defensive cooldowns

2. Stat Priority for Survival Hunters in PvP

The stat priority for Survival Hunter in PvP is as follows:

  1. Agility;
  2. Haste;
  3. Versatility;
  4. Mastery;
  5. Critical Strike.

Agility is the best stat in all situations. Haste is the strongest secondary stat at all times, due to it reducing the Global Cooldown on abilities and increasing your attack speed.

3. Azerite Traits for Survival Hunters

Azerite traits are unlocked in you helm, shoulders and chest. With each Azerite level in your neck, you get closer to unlocking the center trait in your gear. These traits vary from increasing damage of certain abilities to helping increase your survivability. Depending on what traits you use, it can completely alter your playstyle and what talents you should be using.

3.1. Outer Ring

Below are the best Outer Ring traits.

  1. Latent Poison Icon Latent Poison
  2. Wilderness Survival Icon Wilderness Survival
  3. Blur of Talons Icon Blur of Talons
  4. Venomous Fangs Icon Venomous Fangs

The most important trait you are going to want to get in all pieces of your gear is Latent Poison Icon Latent Poison. This increases your sustained damage and will help you deal random bursts of large damage throughout an arena match. Wilderness Survival Icon Wilderness Survival and Blur of Talons Icon Blur of Talons both gives boosts to your total damage output. Venomous Fangs Icon Venomous Fangs is great because you will have Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting on all enemies and this will passively increase your damage output.

3.2. Middle Ring

Below are the best Middle Ring traits.

  1. Overwhelming Power Icon Overwhelming Power
  2. Gutripper Icon Gutripper
  3. Heed My Call Icon Heed My Call
  4. Earthlink Icon Earthlink

The Middle and Inner rings are important for additional damage and stat bonuses. All of the traits above do exactly this. These traits are best for providing small damage or stat boosts and results in increasing your overall damage output.

3.3. Inner Ring

Below are the best Inner Ring traits.

  1. Duck and Cover Icon Duck and Cover
  2. Impassive Visage Icon Impassive Visage
  3. Azerite Fortification Icon Azerite Fortification
  4. Gemhide Icon Gemhide

All of these traits give you additional ways of surviving. These are all passive, but are crucial to have.

4. Gear Recommendations

4.1. General Guidelines

In general, Survival Hunters want to get trinkets that line up well with Aspect of the Eagle Icon Aspect of the Eagle. These trinkets can have a passive or on-use effect. The stats you want to be increasing are either Agility or Haste. The Agility will provide a very large increase to your damage and Haste increases your attack speed, resulting in an increase to your damage output.

To be successful in 3v3 arena, you need to have at least 2 pieces of gear with the Latent Poison Icon Latent Poison trait and the third piece can have any of the traits listed above. You will also want either Overwhelming Power Icon Overwhelming Power or Heed My Call Icon Heed My Call in the second tier.

Below, we list the items that have these traits.

4.1.1. Helms

4.1.2. Shoulders

4.1.3. Chest

4.2. Recommended Items

Dread Gladiator's Medallion Icon Dread Gladiator's Medallion is good because of the Agility and the on-use Versatility effect. This increases your overall damage and lines up well with your burst cooldowns.

Dread Gladiator's Insignia Icon Dread Gladiator's Insignia provides a passive boost to your Versatility. This will increase your survivability versus teams that focus you. It also has a passive proc effect that will increase your Agility. This is a solid choice if you just want to increase your sustained damage and want to survive while in a stun.

Darkmoon Deck: Fathoms Icon Darkmoon Deck: Fathoms is not an item you get from PvP. Instead, you will have to look at the auction house or find an someone with the Inscription profession. This trinket also gives a passive effect. You cannot control the proc, but the damage this trinket can do is substantial. You will quickly notice a large increase to your overall damage.

4.3. Weapon Enchant

Enchant Weapon - Quick Navigation Icon Enchant Weapon - Quick Navigation is the best weapon enchant. The Haste proc that you get from this enchant is great for increasing your sustained damage. This enchant provides the largest boost to your overall damage output.

5. Talent Choices for Survival Hunters

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

While the above table provides a generally accurate overview of the viability of talents, some finer points are discussed in the sections that follow, and we recommend you read those for a deeper understanding.

5.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Viper's Venom Icon Viper's Venom is the best choice in this tier. This procs quite often and is an overall increase to your sustained and burst damage.

5.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Guerrilla Tactics Icon Guerrilla Tactics is the best choice in this tier. This gives your Wildfire Bomb Icon Wildfire Bomb 2 charges and increases its initial damage. This talent increases your already strong sustained and burst damage.

5.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Camouflage Icon Camouflage is the best choice in this tier. This gives Survival Hunters and their team more control in the opener and prevents teams from focusing you at the beginning of the game.

5.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows is the best choice in this tier. This is a significant increase to your burst damage.

5.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Born To Be Wild Icon Born To Be Wild is the best choice in this tier. This reduces the cooldown of Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle and Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah and is useful for increasing your survivability.

5.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite is the best choice in this tier. This is a very large increase to your overall damage output. The buff you get from this spell stacks up to 5 times and works well with the Viper's Venom Icon Viper's Venom talent. You can also use Aspect of the Eagle Icon Aspect of the Eagle to allow you to use Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite from range.

Note that Mongoose Fury Icon Mongoose Fury cannot be refreshed. It is crucial to have as many stacks, 3-5, as you can during your burst rotation.

5.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion is the best choice in this tier. This gives you a variety of choices, depending on the situation. Shrapnel Bomb Icon Shrapnel Bomb causes Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite and Carve Icon Carve to apply a bleed that stacks up to 3 times. Pheromone Bomb Icon Pheromone Bomb makes Kill Command Icon Kill Command have a 100% chance to reset against targets hit by this bomb. Volatile Bomb Icon Volatile Bomb deals damage and refreshes your Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Stings. All of the options are a significant increase to your overall damage output.

6. PvP Talents for Survival Hunters

The first PvP talent tier will give you a choice between Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion, Relentless Icon Relentless, and Adaptation Icon Adaptation. Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier. It is great for removing crowd control on you that your healer cannot dispel. Normally, you should save your trinket for Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle.

You can choose 3 of the following PvP talents. Each of them has their uses, but some are better for certain strategies than others. The top three choices are the most useful, but can be replaced with other PvP talents, depending on your team's goal.

Roar of Sacrifice Icon Roar of Sacrifice instructs your pet to protect a friendly target from critical strikes, making attacks against that target unable to be critical strikes, but 20% of all damage taken by that target is also taken by the pet. It lasts 12 seconds and this is a powerful defensive cooldown that is helpful for you and your teammates. With a cooldown of only 1 minute, this is an ability that your healer can call-out to use if they are stuck in crowd control. This is a mandatory PvP talent.

Tracker's Net Icon Tracker's Net allows you to hurl a net at your enemy, rooting them for 6 sec. While within the net, the targets chance to hit is reduced by 80%. Any damage will break the net. This is a great defensive talent with a very short cooldown. You should use this when the enemy team is using their burst cooldowns and you want to avoid incoming damage. This is a mandatory PvP talent.

Spider Sting Icon Spider Sting stings the target with potent spider venom for 4 seconds, causing their next offensive spell cast to silence the target for 4 seconds. When playing against classes that cast most of their spells (Mages, Warlocks, Elemental Shamans), this talent can be helpful. You can use it to interrupt their burst damage or crowd control.

Mending Bandage Icon Mending Bandage instantly clears all bleeds, poisons and diseases from your target, and heals for 30% damage over 6 sec. Being attacked will stop you from using Mending Bandage Icon Mending Bandage. You should take this PvP talent when playing against specializations like Feral Druid or Assassination Rogues. You can replace Spider Sting Icon Spider Sting with this PvP talent.

Survival Tactics Icon Survival Tactics causes Feign Death Icon Feign Death to remove all harmful magical effects, and reduces damage taken by 99% for 1.5 seconds. This is a mandatory talent when playing against classes with multiple DoTs (Affliction Warlock, Shadow Priest, Balance Druid). This reduces the enemies' overall damage and helps your healer with dispelling harmful effects. You can also use this to stop incoming spells that are being cast on you. You can replace Spider Sting Icon Spider Sting with this PvP talent.

7. Racial Bonuses for Survival Hunters

Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.

7.1. Horde

The passive Orc racial bonus (Hardiness Icon Hardiness) is great if you find yourself being stunned a lot and are having a hard time against melee classes.

The Troll racial bonus (Berserking Icon Berserking) gives you a decent amount of Haste, which is your best secondary stat.

7.2. Alliance

The Human bonus (Every Man for Himself Icon Every Man for Himself) is a great way to escape stuns. This can help you survive more easily against teams with multiple stuns.

If you do not what to play Human, the Iron Dwarf racial (Fireblood Icon Fireblood) is a great defensive that can also help increase your burst damage.

8. Playstyle for Survival Hunters

The main role for a Survival Hunter is simple: use your mobility to land Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Traps on the enemy healer and use your strong single-target cooldowns to burst your enemies down. Unlike other melee classes, Survival Hunters have strong crowd control and kiting abilities. This makes them very hard to kill and extremely deadly.

8.1. Before Gates Open

Make sure to use Camouflage Icon Camouflage before the gates open. This will guarantee an opener from you.

If you are playing against a team with stealth, make sure to use Flare Icon Flare to try to reveal them.

8.2. The Opener

The opener refers to your team's opening crowd control chain and damage done as soon as you get out of the gates. The main goal in the opener is to force your enemies to use their cooldowns. If the enemy healer uses their trinket in the opener, they are in trouble. Survival Hunters have Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap, Intimidation Icon Intimidation and Spider Sting Icon Spider Sting, which can help to this end.

This is the rotation you should use on your target at the beginning of the game.

  1. Use Kill Command Icon Kill Command as often as you can to generate Focus.
    • Kill Command Icon Kill Command has a 25% chance to immediately reset its cooldown. Make sure to pay attention and use Kill Command Icon Kill Command again, unless you are about to fill up your Focus bar.
  2. Use Wing Clip Icon Wing Clip to slow your main target.
  3. Use and maintain Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting on your primary target.
  4. Use one charge of Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion.
  5. Use Carve Icon Carve if the enemy team is stacked.
  6. Use Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite and start gaining stacks of Mongoose Fury Icon Mongoose Fury.
  7. Use your burst rotation.
  8. After your burst, perform your sustained damage rotation until your burst cooldowns are available.

8.3. Offensive Rotation

8.3.1. Burst Damage

When you have the enemy healer in crowd control and you are trying to kill an enemy, you use your burst damage.

The great part about Survival Hunters is that most of your burst comes from on-demand cooldowns and does not require Mongoose Fury Icon Mongoose Fury stacks when you start.

  1. Use Kill Command Icon Kill Command.
  2. Use Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting.
    • At any point, if you get a Viper's Venom Icon Viper's Venom proc, use it immediately.
  3. Use A Murder of Crows Icon A Murder of Crows.
  4. Use Coordinated Assault Icon Coordinated Assault.
  5. Use a charge of any bomb from your Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion talent.
    • Important Note: These bombs can break crowd control if the enemy healer is close by. You can skip using your Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion bombs if it can potentially break crowd control. Use it later in your burst rotation.
  6. Use Carve Icon Carve if the enemy team is stacked.
  7. Use your second charge of Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion, if you have it.
  8. Aspect of the Eagle Icon Aspect of the Eagle is not required for your burst rotation unless the enemy team is doing a great job at kiting your damage.
  9. Use Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite.
  10. Use Kill Command Icon Kill Command as soon as it is off cooldown.
  11. Keep using Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite for stacks of Mongoose Fury Icon Mongoose Fury.

8.3.2. Sustained damage

Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available.

  1. Use Wing Clip Icon Wing Clip to keep your main target slowed.
  2. Use Tar Trap Icon Tar Trap to slow entire teams and to help you land a Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap easier.
    • You can also use Harpoon Icon Harpoon to help you land the trap.
  3. Use Kill Command Icon Kill Command as often as you can to generate Focus.
    • Kill Command Icon Kill Command has a 25% chance to immediately reset its cooldown. Make sure to pay attention and use Kill Command Icon Kill Command again, unless you are about to fill up your Focus bar.
  4. Use and maintain Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting on your primary target.
  5. Use Carve Icon Carve if the enemy team is stacked.
  6. Depending on the situation, use Wildfire Infusion Icon Wildfire Infusion.
  7. Use Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite and start gaining stacks of Mongoose Fury Icon Mongoose Fury.

8.4. Pet Talents

Pets do not have talent trees, and instead have their own types of specialization (Cunning, Ferocity, or Tenacity).

Each specialization gives your pet a few abilities. Cunning provides the ability Master's Call Icon Master's Call and the Mortal Wounds Icon Mortal Wounds debuff, so we consider it to be the best specialization.

8.5. Defensive Techniques

Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle is our main defensive cooldown. Use this when the enemy team is focusing you down and your healer can not heal you through the damage or is stuck in crowd control. Although you can not attack with this cooldown active, you still have the ability to trap. Using this to ignore incoming attacks and use Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap on an enemy healer could be crucial.

Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration is a very strong instant heal. Try to stagger Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle and Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration and you will be very hard to kill.

Roar of Sacrifice Icon Roar of Sacrifice is a great utility ability for you or your teammates. This makes the teammate you use this on immune to Critical Strikes by spells and transfers 20% of the damage they are taking to your pet. Use this when the enemy team is using their cooldowns on a teammate or yourself and when not many defensive cooldowns are available.

Tracker's Net Icon Tracker's Net will mostly be used for landing a trap on an enemy, but it can be used to kite enemy players when you are in trouble.

Mending Bandage Icon Mending Bandage instantly clears all bleeds, poisons and diseases from your target, and heals for 30% damage over 6 sec. Being attacked will stop you from using Mending Bandage Icon Mending Bandage. You should take this PvP talent when playing against specializations like Feral Druid or Assassination Rogues.

Survival Tactics Icon Survival Tactics causes Feign Death Icon Feign Death to remove all harmful magical effects, and reduces damage taken by 99% for 1.5 seconds. This is a mandatory talent when playing against classes with multiple DoTs (Affliction Warlock, Shadow Priest, Balance Druid). This reduces the enemies' overall damage and helps your healer with dispelling harmful effects. You can also use this to stop incoming spells that are being cast on you.

9. Best Team Compositions for Survival Hunters

Now that you have the correct talents and understand your damage rotation, it is time to step into the Arena with your team. Survival Hunters are the most unique Hunter specialization. They do not need to rely on teammates to help them setup crowd control, thanks to Tracker's Net Icon Tracker's Net.

9.1. 2v2 Arena

In 2v2 Arena, you have a few options. It is best to focus the enemy DPS player. When you want to crowd control the enemy healer, you can use Harpoon Icon Harpoon, Tracker's Net Icon Tracker's Net or Intimidation Icon Intimidation to root them in place to setup Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap. If you are playing with a Holy Paladin or Restoration Druid, they should use their stun to start the crowd control. Follow that up with a Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap. At the same time you should be doing your sustained damage rotation. With this strategy, you are trying to do so much single-target damage to a target that the enemy healer will not be able to heal through it.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 2v2:

  • Survival Hunter + Discipline Priest
  • Survival Hunter + Restoration Druid
  • Survival Hunter + Holy Paladin
  • Survival Hunter + Mistweaver Monk

9.2. 3v3 Arena

Your role in 3v3 is similar to 2v2 Arena. You will be focusing on maximizing your single target damage, while still crowd controlling the enemy healer with Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap. When you start the crowd control chain, your teammates should stun the kill target and you should use your burst rotation. You do not always have to stun the kill target. If your team only has one reliable stun, like Hammer of Justice Icon Hammer of Justice or Mighty Bash Icon Mighty Bash, it is best to use it on the enemy healer. It is important to note that Tracker's Net Icon Tracker's Net can also be used defensively. If you or a teammate cannot kite away from incoming damage, you can use Tracker's Net Icon Tracker's Net to slow enemies and help your teammates.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 3v3:

  • Jungle (Survival Hunter + Feral Druid + Holy Paladin/Discipline Priest)
  • Cupid (Survival Hunter + Retribution Paladin + Restoration Druid/ Discipline Priest)
  • Thug (Survival Hunter + Subtlety Rogue + Restoration Druid/Holy Paladin
  • Survival Hunter + Frost/Unholy Death Knight + Holy Paladin/ Restoration Druid

10. Useful Macros for Survival Hunters

Macros are crucial to be successful in PvP. They allow players to use abilities on enemies without having to target them. This helps increase overall damage/healing and general awareness in the arena. Here are a few macros that all Survival Hunters can benefit from.

10.1. Muzzle Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip Muzzle
  • /cast [target=focus] Muzzle

This macro will use Muzzle Icon Muzzle on whichever enemy you have on focus. Because you will be primarily using Muzzle Icon Muzzle on the enemy healer, you should only need this focus macro.

10.2. Tracker's Net 123 Macro

  • #showtooltip Tracker's Net
  • /cast [target=arena1] Tracker's Net

Using this macro will use Tracker's Net Icon Tracker's Net on arena enemy 1. This makes it easier to crowd control an enemy while staying focused on your target. This will also help when placing your Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap. If you want macros for the second and third enemies, simply change the arena1 to arena2 or arena3.

10.3. Roar of Sacrifice party Macro

  • #showtooltip Roar of Sacrifice
  • /cast [target=party1] Roar of Sacrifice

Using this macro will use Roar of Sacrifice Icon Roar of Sacrifice on party player 1. This makes it easier to use this defensive on a teammate while damaging the rest of your team. If you want a macro to use Roar of Sacrifice Icon Roar of Sacrifice on the second party member, change the party1 to party2.

10.4. Master's Call party Macro

  • #showtooltip Master's Call
  • /cast [target=party1] Master's Call

Using this macro will use Master's Call Icon Master's Call on party player 1. This makes it easier to use this defensive on a teammate. If you want a macro to use Master's Call Icon Master's Call on the second party member, change the party1 to party2.

11. Changelog

  • 07 Nov. 2018: Added Gear Recommendations section.
  • 08 Oct. 2018: Added talent table.
  • 02 Oct. 2018: Revamped guide.
    • Removed PvP Gear and War Mode sections.
    • Added Azerite trait section.
  • 04 Sep. 2018: Updated guide for patch 8.0.1.
    • Updated Introduction and spec overview.
    • Added Stat priority.
    • Updated all regular talents.
    • Added PvP (War Mode) talents and gear sections for the new BfA system.
    • Updated Racial Bonuses section.
    • Updated Burst Damage and Sustained Damage sections.
    • Updated Defensive section.
    • Added Pets section.
    • Updated Macros section.
    • Removed Gear section.
    • Removed Artifact Traits and Relics sections.
  • 21 May 2018: Added an Arena Compositions section.
  • 10 Apr. 2018: Made several updates to the guide and its structure.
    • Added sections for Macros, Strengths, and Weaknesses.
    • Moved Gear, Artifact Traits, and Relics sections to the end, since they are not that important.
  • 13 Feb. 2018: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.5.
  • 24 Dec. 2017: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.2.
  • 21 Sep. 2017: Several changes needed for Patch 7.3
    • Removed Artifact Trait descriptions.
    • Changed recommended tier 5 regular talents.
    • Changed recommended tier 4 honor talents.
  • 12 Jul. 2017: Updated recommended Tier 2 and 4 regular talents, as well as sustained and burst damage rotations.
  • 26 Apr. 2017: Added Roar of Sacrifice under defensive techniques.
  • 09 Apr. 2017: Checked and confirmed that no updates are needed for patch 7.2.
  • 20 Mar. 2017: Survival Hunter PvP guide created.
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