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

Spec:

You’ll want to be Beastmaster spec’d of course — Kill Command gives BM an unquestionable threat advantage for pet tanking.  Then for our talents, several tiers don’t have any meaningful tanking choices.  We’re only going to look at those with relevant choices.  On the rest, do whatever floats your fancy.

Lvl 45 Talent:

The idea here is that Spirit Bond represents more overall healing, particularly because you’ll never get the full benefit of a 100% pet health heal and may not always need it every time it’s off cooldown, and it’s also one less cooldown to manage.  However, Exhilaration will come into play on fights that are relatively easy except for brief periods of intense damage.  Exhilaration will also be GREAT when paired with Last Stand.

Lvl 60 Talent:

While not the most efficient talent (you’ll often not get the full benefit of focus regen), Fervor is the only talent at this level that directly helps our pet.  It also is not on the GCD, so it’s easy to weave in as needed (or macro to shots if you’re feeling a bit lazy).

Lvl 75 Talent:

I <3 Blink Strike.  It’s a great way to start a pull; it hits like a truck; and it’s a quick way to switch targets.  It’s a big win for tanking.  Lynx Rush is also powerful, and will be best for holding multiple mobs.  As hunter tanks, we shouldn’t often be trying to hold numerous targets, we should be CCing instead.  But it will still have occasional use.

 

Glyphs

Here’s where things get interesting.  As opposed to PvE, which saw glyphs become more about play style and less about “right or wrong,” pet tanks have numerous excellent options for their Major Glyph slots.

Necessary:

  • Glyph of Animal Bond – This is something of a no-brainer.  10% extra heals, especially with skilled healers in a group, is a bigger boost to a pet’s survivability than anything else we could do.
  • Glyph of Mending – Our own heals are very powerful, and you should have near 100% uptime on Mend Pet.

Others in the running:

  • Glyph of Distracting Shot – I like this glyph, because it provides some interesting utility. But it’s not a solution for low threat.  However, it will have situational use.
  • Glyph of Misdirection – More a quality of life glyph than a necessity, there will nonetheless be times when this helps to shore up threat on a secondary or third target on larger pulls.
  • Glyph of Mend Pet – Only useful  when your pet is frequently getting detrimental debuffs.  A situational play.

Don’t Use

Minor Glyphs:

  • Glyph of Revive Pet is the only one I can see having any potential function.  The rest are cosmetic.

Some of this advice may fluctuate as I test more.  But it should do well in preparing you to tank.

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  1. Dolgun says:

    thanks for all your hard work and efforts …you ROCK!!

  2. Thoak says:

    If I’m not mistaking Distracting Shot doesn’t work on raid bosses, so the glyph might not be that good, except for adds ofc.
    Thanks for your work anyway!

    • Arth says:

      Yeah, that’s a possibility, and a likely one. A shame, but the glyph won’t be without uses. Since it’s not an answer for low boss threat anyway, its primary use will be to pull individual mobs off of dps or healers. It may also function as a “false taunt” that will keep a boss occupied for a few seconds before fading. Not useful for full-time tanking, but it could have spot use in groups where we are simply dps’ing.

      Though I’ve heard some reports that Growl is a real taunt that works on raid bosses and puts pets to top aggro and doesn’t fade. Which, if true, may also have bearing on Distracting Shot’s utility.

      • Cloudbuster says:

        I don’t know about MoP, but Distracting Shot definitely worked on Deathbringer Saurfang back in the day. More than once I accidentally DS’d Saurfang on to me when carelessly tabbing while ping-ponging the oozes with another hunter.

  3. Bowmont says:

    And I was about to ask a few tanking questions, you are such a mind reader. Thanks Arth!

  4. Mythriak says:

    Great post, keep up the awesome work!

  5. Armin says:

    Great post, just one remark.

    You’ll want to be Beastmaster spec’d of course — but not because Kill Command gives BM an unquestionable threat advantage for pet tanking.

    In MoP thread is a non-issue, because misdirect has NO cooldown. You can macro it in all your shots, so you will have 0% threat all the time. Well sort off, nice ablities like traps etc aside. So together with the glyph, you have 100% uptiem of misdirect.

    Now of course it does cost you a glyph, and BM does give you the maximum pet survivability, but in case pet health is not the deciding issue for a certain solo-boss consider the other specs as well.

    • Arth says:

      Thanks. I agree it’s not the only reason; survivability plays a role as well. But MD threat still fades after 30 seconds, so there’s a limit to how many we can have going. And good dps can pull threat off of pets, just as they could in Cata. So it’s still a primary concern.

      This also presumes use of the glyph which, as mentioned, will likely be only a small percentage of the time. We will usually want others in play to min-max survivability.

      • Jetlag says:

        Good DPS don’t pull threat from whoever/whatever is tank :P

      • Arth says:

        Agreed Jetlag, but if possible, we also don’t want to inhibit group dps when we tank. Then it feels like a novelty that they’re holding back for, not a legit tanking option. As it is, in Cata I could hold off of all but the top dps in my guild, so we should be ok as long as we prepare for it.

        We also don’t live in a perfect world, unfortunately. If I only tanked with really good players, I wouldn’t have done a lot of my tanking. Appealing to the ideal doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare for the rest.

  6. Purcy says:

    @Armin

    This is about pet tanking. The remark about the advantage of KC is because your PET’S threat is what matters when tanking. You can’t give your pet threat with misdirect, you can only boost it for a short period of time, then that threat is gone.
    When tanking an instance, or raid boss, your pet needs ongoing threat generation along the lines of an actual tank class or your healers and dps will eventually pull aggro.

    IT’s true that threat is a non-issue when soloing, but real and ongoing threat generation is just as essential to a pet tank as it is to any other tank class.

    Speaking of which, any word on how soon we can expect the announced fix to pet armor?

  7. Vrik says:

    The lack of Chimera Shot for healing wont be a loss?

    • Arth says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by this question. In true pet tanking, you’re with a group that includes healers. Chimera’s self-heals aren’t necessary for these situations, and pet survivability and threat is far more important.

      You’re probably thinking of extreme soloing, where the hunter has to be tank, dps, and heals all in one. Many hunters refer to soloing endeavors as pet tanking, though, so this confusion exists for many.