Warning: This is an outdated Wrath guide. For current information, see the level 85 Cataclysm version of the guide Here.
BM hunters have it easy in so many ways, and one of those ways is the Beast Mastery shot rotation. The BM hunter shot rotation is the simplest and easiest rotation of any hunter spec. But despite this, I do get emails from BM hunters trying to figure out why their dps is bad only to learn that they’re making their shot cycle way more complicated than it needs to be. So this guide will lay out the best BM hunter shot cycle to maximize the dps of your shot rotation.
To Begin With, Your Pet
BM hunters love their pets more than any other hunter spec. This is only natural as they are far more loving by nature. Before we get to the shot rotation, let’s address the pet:
The following pet abilities should all be on auto-cast: Rabid, Bite/Claw/Smack, and your pet’s special attack.
BM Hunter Shot Rotation – The Ideal Shot Cycle
Okay, our pet is all set. Here is the BM hunter shot rotation:
- Put Hunter’s Mark on target (usually before combat begins, or as part of a macro)
- Send pet in to attack
- Put up Serpent Sting (reapply to boss when it goes down)
- Aimed Shot / Multi-shot
- Arcane Shot
- Hit Steady Shot until another shot is off cooldown
And that’s all there is to it.
If there are 4 or more targets, send pet in and use Volley, otherwise, it’s Sting/Arcane Shot/Multi-Shot/Steady Shot. Arcane is much better than Steady Shot for the BM shot cycle because it costs the same amount, but since it’s magic it ignores armor. You’ll do a lot more damage with Arcane Shot.
The Multi-Shot Factor
Multi-shot will do more damage than Steady Shot, even against one target. Thus to really pump out the most dps possible out of your BM shot rotation, include multi-shot in place of a Steady Shot whenever possible. Obviously you need to be aware of cc’d targets — never multi-shot when something is cc’d. If you break it, everyone’s death is your fault. You pay their repair bills.
Many hunters don’t like multi-shot because it costs more mana. This is undeniably true; however, BM hunters already have a very mana-efficient shot cycle with their rotation, and with full 25-man raid buffs you’ll probably never run out of mana. You can afford to multi-shot. It will increase your dps.
The Aimed Shot Factor
Of course you can use Aimed Shot instead of Multi-Shot in your BM shot rotation. They both do about the same damage, so there’s no need to take the Aimed Shot talent unless you really want the instant shot, or if you PVP. You can see our detailed testing and explanation of this Here. The biggest advantage of Aimed Shot in a raid environment is to have another instant shot that you can fire off while running.
Dropping Arcane Shot
Eventually BM will want to drop arcane shot from their rotation. With a good ranged weapon, and enough stats, BM will eventually get enough armor pen rating that steady shot does more damage than arcane shot. The exact crossover point depends on your specific gear and raid composition.
In general, assuming raid buffs, BM will want to drop arcane shot somewhere around 750 armor pen rating.
You’ll still want to use arcane shot when on the move, or on non-debuffed targets.
And That’s It!
Now you have optimal BM hunter shot rotation for max dps against a single, stationary target. Life gets more interesting on running fights, but 90% of the time this is what you want to be doing.