Survival Hunter PvP Rotation and Playstyle (Dragonflight 10.2.7)

Last updated on May 07, 2024 at 11:20 by Slo 11 comments

PvP requires you to perform various actions in the course of a duel, match, or battleground: interrupting/silencing enemies, damaging them, bursting them down, defending yourself, keeping yourself alive, etc.. It is a game mode that fully utilizes your kit, especially spells that are rarely used in PvE. On this page, we go through all the spells you need to use in PvP as a Survival Hunter, how you should use them, and we explain what your playstyle should be.

This page is part of our Survival Hunter PvP Guide.


Playstyle for Survival Hunters

The main role for a Survival Hunter is simple: maintain pressure on the enemy team and use your mobility and slows/roots/stun to land Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Traps on the enemy healer when you're in a position to finish a kill.

You have many damage rotation sequences available and you can combine your abilities in a number of ways to deal damage to an enemy quickly.

For the most part, you want to use Wildfire Bomb Icon Wildfire Bomb whenever it's available, use Death Chakram Icon Death Chakram and/or Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot and then dump a full pool of focus into as many Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bites as you can into the kill target whenever it is safe to do so or when there is crowd control available for the enemy healer.


Before Gates Open

Important: On your minimap, there will be an icon for hunter tracking spells. You should always have Track Hidden Icon Track Hidden enabled. The game does not communicate it, but having this enabled will vastly increase the range of your stealth detection.

Choose your talents. Talents and PvP Talents are expanded on separately in this guide, but as a baseline, these PvP talents are good in everything:

  • Survival Tactics Icon Survival Tactics
  • Chimaeral Sting Icon Chimaeral Sting

And then the third PvP talent is based on what you're facing, e.g.

  • Sticky Tar Bomb Icon Sticky Tar Bomb (facing melee)
  • Tranquilizing Darts Icon Tranquilizing Darts (facing resto druid)
  • Diamond Ice Icon Diamond Ice (facing a demon hunter or Warlock playing Imp for dispel)
  • Mending Bandage Icon Mending Bandage (facing Feral Druid or Assassination Rogue)

Choose your pet. Pets are expanded on separately in this guide, but generally, you want a Cunning pet unless you expect the enemy team to burst you in a stun, in which case you are likely better off with a Tenacity pet.

Cunning pets make you mobile and help you to support your partner if they are the kill target. Tenacity pets make you more difficult to kill when you are the kill target.


How To Open


Before Combat

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, you will have an advantage over them for the next two minutes.

As Survival, you want to be setting the pace of the game as soon as possible with the strongest opener possible.

  • Use Camouflage Icon Camouflage, then summon your pet

Being in stealth will allow you to reliably get clean openers. While in stealth, you want to position in line of sight of the enemy healer to make it easier to land your Freezing Trap or cast Chimearal Sting.

It is important to use Camouflage before summoning your pet because then you are able to attack enemies with your pet while in stealth before you open (and you can even use Kill Command, Mend Pet, or Revive your pet during Camouflage). Make sure you either attack something with your pet or move it away from yourself so it does not give away your position.

This is particularly important when facing Demon Hunters, who will be able to see through your Camouflage with Spectral Sight Icon Spectral Sight. You can counter this by attacking the Demon Hunter with your pet during Camouflage.

  • Cast Flare Icon Flare if any member of the enemy team is in stealth

If somebody is in stealth, it is also a good idea to Disengage Icon Disengage towards the area you are expecting them to be in before firing the Flare to catch them off guard.

  • Cast Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark on your kill target

This will give you a damage bonus on your opener, although it will also make it obvious the player you are going to open on, and they might move to a pillar. If they do move to a pillar, it is fine to open on their partner without the Hunter's Mark.

If the team that you are facing is waiting for you to open, rather than running at your team, and their Healer dispels your Hunter's Mark, you can delay your opener and reapply it.


Opening Rotation

The below rotations are examples of what you can do in an opener, which you should modify based on positioning, what you're facing, and how your opponent reacts.

You should also be aware of what's going on in the game. If it's not safe for you to be in melee range, or if you've already forced defensive cooldowns, or if it's not safe for you to chase a healer for crowd control, it's fine to stay at range doing your sustained damage rotation (use Aspect of the Eagle Icon Aspect of the Eagle for this when available) until you have a good opportunity.

Chimearal opening rotation (recommended)

  • Cast Chimaeral Sting Icon Chimaeral Sting on the enemy healer
  • Cast Wildfire Bomb Icon Wildfire Bomb
  • Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command
  • Cast Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot
  • Cast Death Chakram Icon Death Chakram
  • Cast Harpoon Icon Harpoon on healer
  • Cast Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap on healer (at this point the healer should be silenced by Chimearal Sting)
  • Cast Wildfire Bomb Icon Wildfire Bomb
  • Cast Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite to dump focus and use Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot when available

Getting your First Trap with Chimearal Sting instead of with Intimidation is convenient because then you will be able to use Intimidation to set up your next trap.

Maximum damage opening rotation:

  • Cast Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot
  • Cast Intimidation Icon Intimidation on the enemy healer
  • Cast Death Chakram Icon Death Chakram
  • Cast Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap on the enemy healer
  • Cast Wildfire Bomb Icon Wildfire Bomb
  • Cast Flanking Strike Icon Flanking Strike
  • Cast Wildfire Bomb Icon Wildfire Bomb
  • Cast Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite

This opening rotation has higher burst damage but is greedier, because it delays the first use of Wildfire Bomb for so long. If you were crowd-controlled at any point in this rotation before throwing the Wildfire Bombs, you would lose damage from the Bombs you would otherwise have been able to use.


Sustained Damage (outside of cooldowns)

  • Cast Wildfire Bomb Icon Wildfire Bomb on cooldown
  • Cast Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot if available
  • Apply Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting to your target
  • Cast Mongoose Bite Icon Mongoose Bite to dump focus
  • Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command if you need focus

Remember that Wildfire Bomb does a large portion of your overall damage, but will break crowd control (eg Freezing Trap) if used on a nearby target. You should keep Wildfire Bomb on cooldown even if the enemy healer is in crowd control because you never want to be in a situation where the healer is in crowd control but you can't do damage because pressing Wildfire Bomb would break that crowd control.

Remember also that Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting can be applied by Mongoose Bite due to the Viper's Venom Icon Viper's Venom talent, or by Pheromone Bomb Icon Pheromone Bomb. If you are about to cast several Mongoose Bite's anyway, or have Pheromone Bomb active, you can apply Serpent Sting with those instead of using the actual Serpent Sting spell.


Coordinated Assault

Coordinated Assault will reduce the cooldown of your Wildfire Bomb (through Coordinated Kill Icon Coordinated Kill), allow Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot to be used regardless of the target's current health, and periodically apply the Coordinated Assault Icon Coordinated Assault for five seconds when your pet uses its basic attack.

Whenever Coordinated Assault Icon Coordinated Assault is active you want to make sure that you are consuming it using Kill Shot, rather than Wildfire Bomb. Only consume the buff with Wildfire Bomb if Kill Shot is on cooldown.

In most 3v3 or solo shuffle games it will be best to use Coordinated Assault on the second trap, rather than on the first. This is because Coordinated Assault will charge into the target and put you in melee range. At the start of any game, all melee DPS players will be using their offensive cooldowns and will be doing the most damage possible. During this time it is better to stay at range at a safe position and using Aspect of the Eagle Icon Aspect of the Eagle, rather than aggressively charging in.

On the second trap, most cooldowns should have ended and it will be safer for you to push with Coordinated Assault.

The enemy team will press all of their offensive CDs in the opener, so if you press in the opener you will be in melee range and risk dying. It's usually best to use Coordinated Assault on the second trap go.


How to Trap Healers

Hunter comps rely heavily on landing Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap on the enemy healer and this requires some setup (and a lot of practice).


Tools you have to help you trap:

  • Intimidation Icon Intimidation
  • Harpoon Icon Harpoon
  • Concussive Shot Icon Concussive Shot (Consecutive Concussion Icon Consecutive Concussion helps with trapping)
  • Tar Trap Icon Tar Trap + Entrapment Icon Entrapment
  • Disengage Icon Disengage (If you are struggling to trap, I highly recommend that you Concussive Shot and then Harpoon or Disengage into the Healer and use the @player Freezing Trap macro instead of aiming your trap)
  • Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot (if talented)
  • Tranquilizing Shot Icon Tranquilizing Shot (eg for Holy Ward Icon Holy Ward or Nullifying Shroud Icon Nullifying Shroud)
  • Flanking Strike Icon Flanking Strike
  • Coordinated Assault Icon Coordinated Assault

Every healing class has multiple ways to dodge or deny your trap; below is a non-exhaustive list of what each healing specialization has to avoid traps and some tips specific to that Healer. Having an addon like Omnibar to track important enemy cooldowns and Gladiatorlossa2 to tell you when they are used will make your life a lot easier.

Remember that in all cases, healers can use mobility and erratic movement to make it difficult for you to trap them. Also, remember that when they are spending global cooldowns trying to outplay your trap and moving instead of casting, you are still applying pressure even though the Healer is not caught in a trap because the Healer is not casting healing spells.


Discipline Priest

When trapping Discipline Priests you must be aware of:

  • Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death
  • Phase Shift Icon Phase Shift
  • Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream
  • Mind Control Icon Mind Control (cast as you throw the trap)
  • Shadowmeld Icon Shadowmeld
  • Ultimate Penitence Icon Ultimate Penitence


You may notice that almost all of the Discipline Priest abilities that can be used to avoid your traps are on the Shadow spell school. When you are standing near the Priest in the middle of the game, by kicking them on the shadow spell school, they will not be able to use Shadow Word Death or fade to avoid your trap.

You must always be aware of Psychic Scream, too. If you get too close to a Priest, when it is off cooldown, your plans will backfire, and you will be feared.

Other than that, trapping Discipline Priests is about tracking the cooldown of Shadow Word Death and Fade and throwing the trap when they are not able to use either.

During Ultimate Penitance, a Discipline Priest is immune to interrupts and crowd control. You can trap the initial cast if you are quick, but if the channel begins, they will be immune to your trap.

As Survival, as long as the priest doesn't pre-use Phase Shift, you can rotate between Intimidation to set up your trap, and then Chimearal Sting into Harpoon Trap for every second trap (use Harpoon and Freezing Trap when the silence activates).


Holy Priest

When trapping Holy Priests you must be aware of:

  • Shadow Word: Death Icon Shadow Word: Death
  • Phase Shift Icon Phase Shift
  • Holy Ward Icon Holy Ward
  • Spirit of the Redeemer Icon Spirit of the Redeemer
  • Divine Ascension Icon Divine Ascension
  • Mind Control Icon Mind Control (cast as you throw the trap)
  • Shadowmeld Icon Shadowmeld


Holy Priest is similar to Discipline with a few changes.

They have Holy Ward, which must be purged with Tranquilizing Shot (if you are unlucky and do not get the dispel, you will need to wait 15 seconds for it to expire unless your partner can take it off).

When a Holy Priest uses Spirit of the Redeemer, you can place a trap underneath the angel to trap them instantly when it ends. Be careful, though - if you do this too soon, their partners may try to eat the trap, or the Priest may see you throw it and cancel the guardian into a fade to immune the trap.

As Survival, as long as the priest doesn't pre-use Phase Shift, you can rotate between Intimidation to set up your trap, and then Chimearal Sting into Harpoon Trap for every second trap (use Harpoon and Freezing Trap when the silence activates).


Holy Paladin

When trapping Holy Paladins you must be aware of:

  • Blessing of Sacrifice Icon Blessing of Sacrifice
  • Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection (on the stun before trap)
  • Hand of Reckoning Icon Hand of Reckoning
  • Blessing of Freedom Icon Blessing of Freedom + Divine Steed Icon Divine Steed
  • Hammer of Justice Icon Hammer of Justice
  • Blinding Light Icon Blinding Light


The main thing here is to be very aware of when a Holy Paladin uses sacrifice and not to trap the Paladin during the duration. Remember that Holy Paladins are relatively squishy, so swapping to the Holy Paladin when they use Blessing of Sacrifice is always an option. If you are able to force their Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield doing this, they will gain Forbearance Icon Forbearance and will not be able to use Blessing of Protection to escape the next stun into Freezing Trap combo.

When you are trapping out of Intimidation into a Holy Paladin, make sure you throw the trap immediately, as otherwise, they can escape the trap by removing the stun with Blessing of Protection.

Like with Priests and Psychic Scream, you need to be careful when standing next to a Holy Paladin to avoid Blinding Light.

As Survival, as long as the Paladin when Blessing of Sacrifice is on cooldown, you should be able to be able to reliably trap them with just Grapple into Trap, but if Blessing of Sacrifice is ready you should either Intimidation into Trap or Chimearal Sting into Trap when they get silenced.


Mistweaver Monk

When trapping Mistweaver Monks you must be aware of:

  • Eminence Icon Eminence
  • Revival Icon Revival with Peaceweaver Icon Peaceweaver
  • Paralysis Icon Paralysis
  • Leg Sweep Icon Leg Sweep
  • Ring of Peace Icon Ring of Peace
  • Roll Icon Roll/Chi Torpedo Icon Chi Torpedo


Mistweaver Monks are difficult to trap when they know it is coming because of their high mobility. As another complication, they are able to teleport away when stunned using Eminence.

Fortunately, to be able to do high-output healing, Mistweaver Monks need to stand still. Either throw the trap when you see them casting and do not think they will move, or follow them until they have no movement abilities left, and then throw your trap.

Avoid trapping out of stuns and roots into Mistweaver Monks unless you know they are out of range of their Transcendence: Transfer Icon Transcendence: Transfer (40 yards) and have already used Revival (which can be used while stunned to immune your trap).

A good strategy into Mistweaver Monks as Survival is to Harpoon to them, which will make them instantly use their teleport, and then 10 seconds later when it is on cooldown either Intimidation into trap or just throw it at their feet.

If you are facing a "Fistweaver" (melee) Mistweaver Monk, it is easy to trap them when they chase you using the @player Freezing Trap macro and between your traps, it is a good idea to swap onto the Fistweaver, as they are likely the easiest kill target on their team.


Preservation Evoker

When trapping Preservation Evokers you must be aware of:

  • Nullifying Shroud Icon Nullifying Shroud
  • Hover Icon Hover
  • Deep Breath Icon Deep Breath
  • Dream Flight Icon Dream Flight
  • Stasis Icon Stasis to dispel themself
  • Dream Projection Icon Dream Projection by hitting themself with it as trap lands


Nullifying Shroud is a big counter to Hunters. Unless somebody on your team is able to remove the Shroud, a lot of the time, it is easier to do your opener without using crowd control on the Healer just to build momentum. Remember, you can still kick the Evoker during Nullifying Shroud.

A way to counter Nullifying Shroud is to take Tranquilizing Darts Icon Tranquilizing Darts, and then each time you interrupt or cast Tranquilizing Shot on the Evoker you will remove four seconds of the duration of Nullfying Shroud.

Avoid using Intimidation on an Evoker the moment that Nullifying Shroud ends because they will see the buff wearing off and use either Deep Breath or Dream Flight at that moment to immune your stun.

If an Evoker is casting Dream Projection, use Muzzle Icon Muzzle before throwing your Freezing Trap if available, as they can otherwise use the Projection to dispel themself.

As Survival you should usually be able to trap Evokers with Harpoon or Intimidation without issues.


Restoration Druid

When trapping Restoration Druid you must be aware of:

  • Wild Charge Icon Wild Charge
  • Dash Icon Dash
  • Mighty Bash Icon Mighty Bash/Rake Icon Rake/Maim Icon Maim into Cyclone Icon Cyclone
  • Tranquility Icon Tranquility with Keeper of the Grove Icon Keeper of the Grove
  • Grove Guardians Icon Grove Guardians (spawning tree NPCs that may "eat" your traps)
  • Growl Icon Growl on your pet
  • Shadowmeld Icon Shadowmeld


Restoration Druids are one of the hardest targets to trap. They do not cast as much as other healers and, therefore, have no reason to stand still when you chase them.

With practice, you get used to their movement, and it gets easier to trap them, but do not allow the Druid to bait you into bad positions when chasing them.

Be careful of Grove Guardians. Restoration Druids will deliberately spawn these non player characters when you push for a trap to make it more difficult for you to aim. Take your time and be precise when you can see the trees spawn next to the Druid.

When facing Druids, remember to take Tranquilizing Darts Icon Tranquilizing Darts because if you have high uptime, you can win with pressure rather than relying on big crowd control setups.

If you are fast, you should be able to reliably Harpoon into trap Restoration Druids as long as they do not use Shadowmeld. If there are treants nearby, it is best to take your time and make sure you aim it correctly at the Druid.


Restoration Shaman

When trapping Restoration Shamans you must be aware of:

  • Grounding Totem Icon Grounding Totem
  • Thunderstorm Icon Thunderstorm
  • Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso
  • Earthen Wall Totem Icon Earthen Wall Totem (does not stop the trap but will stop you being able to kill their teammates)
  • Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem


The main thing to watch for here is Grounding Totem. Good Shamans will be very quick with using it, stand near them, apply slows and roots, and wait it out. When the Shaman uses Grounding Totem, quickly kill it and throw your trap. Mouseover macros will help with this a lot.

Earthern Wall Totem is mentioned above because even though it does not deny your trap, it will stop you being able to kill somebody with your burst. Whenever you see a Shaman drop Earthern Wall Totem, you should be looking to knock their partner out of it using Bursting Shot Icon Bursting Shot. If you cannot get their partner out of the Earthern Wall Totem (or cannot kite them out of the totem), do not trap them until they are outside of it.

As Survival, you should be careful using Harpoon into Trap versus Restoration Shamans because they will use Thunderstorm or Lasso as soon as you get close. Either trap out of Intimidation/Chimearal Sting or be patient until you know that they can't stop you.


Cross Crowd Control

Even if there is a stun on the Healer before you aim your trap, there are other complications. For example, you could be facing a shaman who will press Grounding Totem Icon Grounding Totem to deny your trap, a warrior using War Banner Icon War Banner, or a Retribution Paladin using Blessing of Sanctuary Icon Blessing of Sanctuary to cancel your Intimidation Icon Intimidation.

You always want to cross crowd control on the off-target when you are trapping (usually Scatter Shot into Psychic Scream if you are playing with a Priest). Whether you Scatter before or after the trap depends on the matchup.


Defensive Techniques

Survival of the Fittest Icon Survival of the Fittest is an extremely powerful defensive ability. Use this when you expect to be stunned (for example, instantly use this if a rogue uses Blind Icon Blind on your Healer) or when you are taking heavy damage during your own offensive cooldowns and want to stay aggressive.

Fortitude of the Bear Icon Fortitude of the Bear is available to you when you have a tenacity pet summoned. This not only increases your maximum health as it says, but it also heals you for this same amount so that you are left with increased current HP after using it. Be aware that you can use this whilst you are in crowd control and stuns, but not when your pet is crowd-controlled. If an area of effect crowd control is coming (Ring of Frost Icon Ring of Frost, Leg Sweep Icon Leg Sweep, Blinding Sleet Icon Blinding Sleet) you will want to move your pet away beforehand so that you can still use this self-heal.

Feign Death Icon Feign Death is your main defensive tool due to its short cooldown and the Survival Tactics Icon Survival Tactics PvP Talent. Use it whenever you are about to take damage to reduce the burst damage you take and to force the enemy to re-target you.

Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle is our immunity 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 use Traps (except Steel Trap Icon Steel Trap), Flare, and other non-offensive spells. You will usually want to combine Aspect of the Turtle with your trinket when stunned for maximum value.

It is worth communicating with your Healer and deciding what enemy cooldown you will use your trinket and Aspect of the Turtle to counter.

Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration is a strong instant heal. Try to use this early as the cooldown resets quickly via Natural Mending Icon Natural Mending.

Roar of Sacrifice Icon Roar of Sacrifice is a vital utility ability for you or your teammates. This makes the teammate you use this on immune to being Critical Strikes by spells but causes your pet to take 10% of the damage that your teammate takes. Use this immediately when the enemy team uses their cooldowns on a teammate or yourself.

Do not rely on Roar of Sacrifice alone to save you from cooldowns. It will make the damage predictable because there are no critical strikes, but it is not a damage reduction cooldown, and most classes will be able to kill you with their cooldowns if you use Roar of Sacrifice and nothing else.

Master's Call Icon Master's Call is a utility cooldown to help you or your teammate kite or push for damage. Versus Balance Druids, it becomes an absolutely essential defensive cooldown. You must cast Master's Call on your Healer immediately when your Healer is rooted in a Solar Beam Icon Solar Beam.

Interlope Icon Interlope is a defensive cooldown that you may choose to use. It will allow you to either redirect damage off yourself or teammates or redirect crowd control off your Healer. An easy way to get value from this talent is to play it into Hunter teams and Interlope your Healer when they are stunned to redirect the Freezing Trap.



  • 07 May 2024: Reviewed for 10.2.7.
  • 22 Apr. 2024: Removed Fury of the Eagle from rotations.
  • 22 Apr. 2024: Reviewed for Dragonflight Season 4.
  • 23 Mar. 2024: Guide re-written.
  • 15 Jan. 2024: Reviewed for Patch 10.2.5.
  • 06 Nov. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.2
  • 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7
  • 10 Jul. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.5
  • 09 May 2023: Updated for Dragonflight Patch 10.1.
  • 30 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.5.
  • 11 Dec. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight Season 1.
  • 22 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
  • 31 May 2022: Reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 28 Feb. 2022: Updated the burst and general rotation.
  • 10 Nov. 2021: Updated all Damage rotations.
  • 03 Jul. 2021: Updated Burst and Sustained damage rotations.
  • 30 Mar. 2021: No updates needed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 05 Dec. 2020: Updated Rotations to include Covenant Abilities.
  • 29 Nov. 2020: Removed outdated Traits and Essences.
  • 16 Oct. 2020: Added How to Crowd Control section.
    • Updated all Damage Rotation section.
    • Updated Defensive section.
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