reviewed and accurate
Reviewed 2/2/2012
Patch 4.3.2

View other WHU WoW Cataclysm hunter guides here.

This guide will detail the best dps spec for your cunning hunter pet for MM, SV, and BM hunters at level 85 in Cataclysm. We’re assuming a raid environment where you need the best possible dps from your hunter pet. Which pet you bring to the raid will depend on what pet buff your raid needs (see best hunter pet), and sometimes what’s best for raid is the buff that is brought by a cunning pet, in which case you need to know how best to spend those pet talents!

We’ll be covering beast mastery spec here as well, but we’ll be starting with the marksman and survival cunning pet spec. The poor guys have four fewer pet talents, so the least we can do is let them go first.

MM and SV Cunning Hunter Pet DPS Spec

Like our ferocity spec, our cunning pet spec is pretty straight-forward. Cunning pets offer a lot of PvP and utility options, but not a huge number of dps options. We’re actually able to pick up every raid dps talent available in the cunning tree. Be sure you don’t forget Owl’s Focus, which is a very large dps gain!

Wolverine Bite offers cunning pets an extra damaging attack, the only hunter pet spec to do so, and between their other focus and dps gains, the dps difference between a cunning and ferocity pet is incredibly minimal (all hunter pets inherit the same percentage of attack power from the hunter).

Note that depending on whether or not your cunning pet flies, it may have the Dive talent (pictured here) or the Dash talent. These are exactly the same thing.

BM Cunning Hunter Pet DPS Spec

Since we managed to get all of the raid dps options without the extra BM talent points, our BM cunning pet options are pretty wide-open and you can really spend them wherever you’d like.

I chose to go with Cornered on the off chance that our pet actually drops dangerously low on health (admittedly unlikely) and then went for movement-increasing talents, since travel time can add up in target switching fights, and is especially painful for BM hunters who need to wait for their pet to reach its target before using their signature shot, Kill Command.

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  1. Saberos says:

    You’re saying a cunning pet does about the same dps as a ferocity pet. But they’re still lacking the Call of the Wild ability. So even though you’re providing a missing raid buff with a cunning pet, is it still worth the personal loss?

    • flamehawk says:

      I would like to direct this to Saberos and anyone else who considers Call of the Wild to have such high weight.

      Its a 10% ap buff active for 20 seconds. It has a 5 minute cooldown. This means it is active for 1/15 of the fight. (this means you have, averaged out, .6% more AP for the fight, not stacked with other bonuses)

      I decided to do some number crunching. 10% AP buff Versus the 8% Magic Damage debuff. I did not check with an actual dummy, I worked the math out on my own with a calculator.

      For explosive shot damage alone, the 10% AP buff did roughly 1% more damage than the Flame Breath debuff. And this would only work for 20 seconds in a fight..so..about 4 explosive shots.

      The incredibly low damage increase did not prompt me to see how it would stack multiplicatively with other buffs and debuffs, as I would have to test to see how those would react multiplicatively with the debuff as well. However, you must also consider something else…

      What’s better for your raid? Everyone doing 8% more magic damage? Or you having a measely 10% more AP for 1/15 of the fight?

      • Ikthela says:

        altho Call of the Wild has a 5 min CD you can dismiss and ressumon a new ferocity pet for a fresh call of the wild whenever you need a CD

  2. rkaycom says:

    Ummm, Frosthiem, your BM Cunning build has 21 points…

    • Frostheim says:

      Yes…. as it should. I’m not sure what you’re suggesting.

    • Skarn says:

      You’ll get one extra pet talent point on the way to 85.

    • Kubota says:

      I’m not sure if they still do. But BM spec hunters used to get more talent points then the other specs. I can’t recall at the moment how many more points though.

  3. Eidelweiss says:

    Cunning pet builds added! Nice!

  4. Lackies says:

    I’ve got a couple questions regarding Survival hunters and Cunning Pets, I apologize if this has been answered elsewhere.

    First how does Owl’s Focus interact with Sic ‘em? Does the next basic attack consume both? Does Owl’s Focus get used First? Can free attacks from either proc another Owl’s Focus? (assuming yes but doesn’t hurt to check)

    And regarding Survival Hunters with Sic ‘em does the Explosive Shot’s dot tick crits proc sic ‘em? This seems likely but would like to know for sure since it does effect how much focus regen a pet needs. Especially with a ferocity pet and 2/2 Wild Hunt.

    Also how much DPS is Call of he wild worth since a cunning pet would have to out DPS a ferocity pet by a large enough margin to also account for the lack of this cooldown ( although roar of recovery is probably worth about an arcane shots worth of damage). Especially with the new DPS Agility potions and Trinkets that proc large amount of crit rating etc to stack it on.

  5. bgrffdave says:

    I’m a BM and go to spec out a cunning pet (a cobra) and can’t add points to Mobility. It requires 1 point in Dive but this pet has Dash. Another cunning pet I have does have Dive. What am I missing… why does Mobility show on a talent tree that has an unavailable dependant (i.e. a tree with Dash and not Dive)?

    • Sannhet says:

      Dive and Dash are interchangeable and do not affect whether you can get mobility or not. The point you have in Dive on your other pet will simply go in Dash on your new one.

    • Paduala says:

      I am also having an issue with this. My silithid has dash instead of dive and I’m not able to put a point in mobility.

  6. Ujimm says:

    Currently bugged on live. Any cunning pet that does not have Dive cannot grab Mobility.

  7. Tenzi says:

    Your cunning pet talents are out of date as I think you are using the old builds that did not have Dash as the new has now.

    • Frostheim says:

      Flying pets have dive, non-flying have dash — but they are both exactly the same talent.

  8. Snow says:

    Hi, I’ve tried both ferocity and cunning pets in 5 mans in Surv build. I prefer the cunning pet due to focus regen but get constant grief about my pet choice. Is there an optimum choice in the cunning pet stable to use?
    Without being informed “your using a pvp pet huntard”?

  9. bloodgreaver says:

    I’m a MM hunter mainly though i do switch to surv when i get bored. I’ve tried both cunning and ferocity pets in raids and dungeons alike interchanging and watching my dps to boot. One of the main things i’ve noticed is that most cunning pets have a “trick” ability instead of a beneficial/fighting ability. The reason for this is because they do a slight bit more damage than the ferocity pets, albeit only 100-200 more. So when they say “You’re using a pvp pet huntard” just reply “Yeah, and i’ll easily outdamage you.”

  10. Mynk says:

    What pet are you using?

    Usually for Surv I carry a Cat (ferocity, agi/str buff), Wolf (ferocity, raid-wide +5% crit), Dragonhawk (cunning, 8% spell damage debuff, since Surv has quite a bit of magical damage), and Ravager (cunning, 4% physical damage debuff).

    I swap them out depending on what buff/debuff my group is missing, usually in the priority : Cat > Wolf > Dragonhawk > Ravager.

    Usually pvp pets would refer to pets that provide buffs more useful in a pvp setting, like the Bird (Disarm), Spider (5s freeze), etc.