Best BM Hunter Talents

Posted: by Azortharion

reviewed and accurate
Reviewed 2/24/2015
Patch 6.1

View other WHU WoW WoD hunter guides. Updated for patch 6.1.
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This guide will cover the optimal raid dps hunter spec for level 100 Beast Mastery hunters in Warlords of Draenor.  With the coming of 6.1, all hunter specs are the most balanced we’ve ever seen. With the 4-piece tier set bonus, we’ll see Beast Mastery pull ahead in single target situations, and remain the go-to AoE spec.

For a raiding BM hunter choosing talents, we traditionally consider which talents will have the greatest impact on single-target DPS. Keep in mind there will be fights where multi-target or AoE DPS matter more, and you’ll want to tweak your BM hunter spec for those fights. In Blackrock Foundry, you’ll find all but one fights have at least cleave-based targets.

We’re going to take a look at the best BM hunter talents for both raid and 5-man single-target + AoE situations.

BM Hunter Single Target / Raid Talents for level 100:

  • Level 15 Talent: This tier does not impact DPS. Take the talent you’d like.
  • Level 30 Talent:  This tier does not impact DPS. Take the talent you’d like.
  • Level 45 Talent:  Iron Hawk is the default raid talent, as it reduces total heal demand the most.
  • Level 60 Talent:  The extra focus for both the hunter and their pet provided by Steady Focus is going to offer the most DPS out of this tier.
  • Level 75 Talent: With the latest buffs in 6.1, Stampede is the premiere single target talent from this tier. However, Blink Strikes still benefits your pet’s basic attacks and may be preferable for some fights.
  • Level 90 TalentBarrage changes make it focus heavy but very powerful.
  • Level 100 Talent: Adaption will provide baseline pet damage and helpful abilities without changing your pet’s spec.

It’s worth stressing that while these are the theoretical best talents for top BM hunter DPS in most raid situations, very often there are alternative talents that are very nearly as good.

BM 5-Man / AoE Hunter Talents for WoD

I group 5-man and AoE together because, frankly, 5-mans are all about AoE. You spend far more time AoEing down trash than you do fighting bosses — and killing those bosses isn’t hard, so it’s not like you need to optimize to avoid a wipe.

Here are your BM AoE and 5-man talent selections:

  • Level 15 Talent: Any talent of your choice. This tier does not impact DPS.
  • Level 30 Talent:  Any talent of your choice.
  • Level 45 Talent:  Spirit Bond is usually best for 5-mans, where you can’t always rely on a healer willing to heal. Stick with Iron Hawk in raids, however.
  • Level 60 Talent:  Steady Focus will remain the best option for AoE Raid situations.  Thrill of the Hunt will be preferable in 5-player dungeons where targets won’t necessarily be alive long enough for you to utilize Steady Focus.
  • Level 75 Talent: Blink Strikes is the preferred AoE talent in this tier, as it enhances your beast cleave damage.
  • Level 90 Talent: Barrage is the clear winner in AoE talents. Just be aware that it likes to shoot off at odd angles and long distances to pull in extra packs of mobs. With a little practice and positioning experience, however, you can learn to prevent these accidents.
  • Level 100 Talent: Adaption will provide baseline pet damage and helpful abilities without changing your pet’s spec.

The talent that really impact your 5-man or AoE DPS is the level 90 talents. At level 90 Barrage is a must — it is massively superior in AoE.  It’s worth noting, that while Blink Strikes may provide greater AoE damage, that often isn’t your goal, so using Stampede, or Crows to focus down the boss or particular targets may be better for your raid.

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  1. Shae says:

    “A Murder of Crows: Be aware you cannot have this ability active twice at once.”

    The exception would be fights with multiple active bosses (e.g. Stone Guardians). Unless they changed it in 5.2, you can put the dot on 2 separate bosses for double the DPS.

  2. Kheldul says:

    I’ve had plenty of fight mechanic and target switching that drive me away from AMoCs.

    For the stone-guard example you don’t want to apply it to a guard that will soon be by itself and have huge damage reduction. You also don’t want to bother applying it to anything that is dying soon. And it can’t help with adds, which are incredibly prevalent.

    Blink strike is definitely lower target dummy type damage. But there are some situations where it really helps get the pet in position fast. It does make the priority order very VERY busy if you want to get it almost close enough. I’d guess that most of the damage deficit of using it is at the cost of all the extra GCDs used.

    The nice middle-ground is Lynx Rush; It’s good at single target and multi. It ticks quickly so you can use it and not lose any of the DoT. And the flexibility on use with adds is great. Yes, it’s not what it once was, but it still is good.

    Similar to that … and yes with all the caveats mentioned I’d recommend Glaive Toss for mixed fights. Good single target damage and it can be very good multi-target damage if positioned. It’s an excellent flexible tool. Now some abilities will always be good to swap in instead of it, but it is a good default IMHO.

    • Skarn says:

      You definitely need to think about each individual fight and swap talents as necessary. As you point out, Stone Guard is a fight that Crows can easily be negated. If you’re lucky with the “charges” it can be fine, but Lynx Rush is probably safer on that fight. A single target fight like Feng probably won’t see much difference between the two talents. Crows is probably slightly better on such a fight.

      Thinking about Throne of Thunder, I can see either working for Jin’rokh. I hear Lynx Rush lines up better with the pools, but I haven’t tested that myself. It’s still a single target fight, so if Lynx is ahead it’s probably not by much.

      For Horridon, there are a lot of adds and a lot of AoE. Most of the adds will simply die too fast for Crows to be worthwhile. A few of the larger adds might live long enough, but overall Lynx will be much better on the adds. I still prefer Crows. I like to cast it on Horridon on cooldown. If your raid’s add DPS is fine, I recommend using Crows on Horridon. If you’re struggling on adds, then Lynx Rush! Even Blink Strike can be useful for the frequent burst.

      On Council, either talent is fine. You should have no problem getting full Crows duration. I like being able to drop Crows on the Sandcrawler at the start, Readiness and toss Crows on the Frost King. You don’t have to wait for the CD! Lynx Rush you’ll have to wait for the bleed to fall off.

      Both have their place, just think about the fights.

  3. Khang says:

    Any thoughts on AOE pets? Used the worm alot in Cataclysm to good effect, often exceeding the dps I would do for SV – assuming the mobs stay in a tight area.
    It seems much weaker now, mabye due to the nerf because of stampede aoe.
    With the beast cleave buff- are the pet aoe abliities worthless now?, or does the pet get any benefit from beastcleave while aoe’ing.

    I guess for most 10 man raids it’s moot as you probably have to use a certain buff pet anyhow- either that or mobs are all over the place)

    • Frostheim says:

      Technically the Worm will do slightly higher AoE dps than cleaving/multi-shot, but only if you are able to use it very precicely and without wasting any time. I feel like the safest advice for most hunters is just to rely on Beast Cleave.

  4. Mikear says:

    stat prioties still the same as pre 5.2?

  5. Shannon says:

    Since Binding Shot is a MM talent, what do you suggest out of Silencing Shot, Wyvern Sting, and Intimidation for the raiding spec? I personally keep Silencing around, since interrupts are very useful. Also, considering the recent nerf to Stampede damage, is there a talent you recommend that mitigates some of that nerf?