This is a guide to pet tanking in Mists of Pandaria, primarily for instance tanking.  It is not intended for advice on soloing, PvP, PvE, leveling, etc.

Stat Priority

In this order (for a BM tanking hunter):

  • Hit / Expertise (to cap)
  • Mastery (for threat) / Stamina (for survivability)
  • Crit
  • Haste

Technically, either Mastery or Stamina will be more important than the other.  But this is very contextual.  Can you hold aggro?  Are you staying alive?  What’s more important in the content you’re tanking, or the group you run with?  The answer will vary.

Our crits will grant our pet extra focus, so it gets the slight edge over Haste.

Avoidance Stats:

If you have new information on this, please share in the comments.  As it is, I don’t think avoidance stats are transferring to pets despite some early promises for MoP, though I still have to test it.

Consumables

Flask:

Food:

Many won’t have immediate access to the best food or feasts.  Adjust accordingly.

Misc.:

Gems, Enchants & Reforging

There isn’t much to say here.  Follow the stat priority list and you’ll be fine.

The lone curveball is that you’ll want the Austere Primal Diamond as your meta gem.  While our normal dps meta gem (Agi. + Crit chance) helps slightly with threat, this will more directly impact the survivability of our pets.

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  1. Helfarch says:

    As you’re referring to mastery = threat, is it fair to say that your opinion is that BM is the only option for pet tanking in Mists?

    • Arth says:

      Maybe not the only option, but certainly the best. Some spot-tanking can be done in any spec, but anyone trying to tackle an instance or raid boss wouldn’t want to be anything else.

  2. Whitefyst says:

    You might want to make it clear that you are referring to BM hunters here since they are the only ones where mastery effects pet threat and the only ones where crits affect pet focus.

    Sadly, MM/SV hunters will have poor pet tanking ability in MoP since our pets are so starved for focus that maintaining threat will be a difficult issues, unless they are just off tanking something like I did as MM with some of Halfus drakes in Cata where the pet is just holding it while everyone else worries about a higher priority target.

    • Arth says:

      I will add that in, and thanks. But realistically, I highly doubt there’s a subset of hunters who know enough about their class to tank instances or raid bosses (the guide does differentiate this from soloing and leveling) but who don’t know that BM is the correct spec for it.

      • Whitefyst says:

        You would be surprised. There are a lot of huntards. :)

        And although BM may be best, until MoP, it was not the only good option. I have never played BM in my live (besides to grab a few BM only pets), but I have succesfully pet tanked in certain situations numerous times as MM. One of these is as I mentioned earlier is off tanking a drake on H Halfus. In that situation, MM tanking was better since you just need the pet to old aggro on a target that no one else is attack while still performing maximum hunter only DPS on other targets including AoE (which MM does both way better than BM hunter only). I have also tanked a few 5-mans as MM too when we were waiting for a tank replacement.

        However, in MoP, MM and SV pets are just too focus starved to generate enough consistent threat to keep DPS from pulling off them. I have not actually tested this, but its a reasonable surmise with pet basic attacks being delayed by 1.3s when unhasted and even delayed a little during BL (SV delays are larger). Plus, MM and SV pets almost never see WH after the start of the fight.

    • Arth says:

      You make some good points in your second post, but while it may have been possible in MM, it’s rarely, if ever, going to be ideal. Your Halfus anecdote is a notable exception, and many hunters figured out similar tricks, but the world of guide-writing dictates that I’m writing for the 99% of scenarios, not the lone exception that could just confuse the huntards you referred to. ;-)

      The other, where you spot-tanked an instance (which is a cool utility of our class), it’s again going to be more viable in BM, even if it’s possible in the others.

      Again, in a practical sense, our pet is our “tank” in any spec. But when we’re min-maxing our tanking, BM is and has always been the only serious option for general tanking.

  3. Jaeger says:

    FYI, GC just commented in the Class Balance forum thread about pet armor.

    question from player:
    I was wondering if you could comment on the design intent for pets?
    Currently, it seems all pets are missing avoidance and their armor value isn’t enough to withstand incoming damage. Even with Mend Pet glyphed, you still have a lot of trouble healing through damage without using another ability (such as Spirit Mend) on your pet as well.

    Answer from GC:
    Pets lost a lot of armor coming into Mists. The new scaling system didn’t make up for all of the base armor they had before. So, we are going to significantly buff pet armor across the board. Theorycrafters will want to reset the armor values of relevant pets when this fix goes live. As an example, hunter pets will go from 100% of master armor to 170%. Cloth wearers will get more and plate a little less.

  4. hillbillyhatfield@hotmail.com says:

    Bm has usually been the soloing spec, even though Ive done it a few times in MM over the years. For the sheer survivability of the pet, BM is usually the best. Now with SB, that is an extra little heal.

    I’m glad we are getting a armor boost. But has there been any word on the AoF damage. I have heard it’s a bug, and that it’s not.

    Good article by the way.

  5. farmer100 says:

    Good news in mop. Thanks to share.
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