Best BM Hunter Talents

Posted: by Azortharion

reviewed and accurate
Reviewed 3/20/2013
Patch 5.2

View other WHU WoW WoDhunter guides. Updated for patch 6.0.2.

This guide will cover the optimal raid dps hunter spec for level 100 Beast Mastery hunters in Warlords of Draenor. WoD sims point trouble for BM single target, with MM ahead of the pack and Survival close to BM hunters. At level 90, you will find BM and MM hand and hand for single target.

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 SoO, you’ll find quite a few more cleave-based targets, but the AOE dps you’ll be doing in 6.0 will not be nearly as sustained as prior, since the fights will be much, much shorter.

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 Raid Talents for level 90 MoP:

  • 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:  Aspect of the Iron Hawk is the default raid talent, as it reduces total heal demand the most.
  • Level 60 Talent:  Dire Beast, as it compliments BM mastery.
  • Level 75 TalentBlink Strikes benefits your pet’s basic attacks and allows it to jump onto a target every 30 seconds.
  • Level 90 TalentBarrage changes make it focus heavy but powerful single-target. Glaive Toss is a close second, and can be used if you’re not a fan of pooling 60 focus or need more practice.
  • 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 single-target situations, very often there are alternative talents that are very nearly as good. Fervor is removed, therefore losing the benefit of focus regeneration for your pet, thus making Dire Beast the go-to for BM single target. Steady Focus is just not performing as well for single target nor AoE. I would stress, however, that Thrill of the Hunt is a poor choice for non-AoE fights.

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
  • Level 60 Talent:  Thrill of the Hunt provides the best general or sustained AoE DPS ability. It is changed, but the change in the math make it proc well with new barrage and multi-shot spam.
  • Level 75 Talent: Blink Strikes is my 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. Do not forget that it now costs 60 focus and has a 20 second CD.
  • Level 100 Talent: Adaption will provide baseline pet damage and helpful abilities without changing your pet’s spec.

The two talents that really impact your 5-man or AoE DPS are the level 60 and level 90 talents. At level 90 Barrage is a must — it is massively superior in AoE. For level 60 Thrill of the Hunt will generally serve you best in 5-mans, as steady focus and dire beast do not benefit you outside of basic focus regeneration and a minor boost in single target damage.

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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?