Best SV Hunter Talents

Posted: by Delirium


reviewed and accurate
Reviewed 10/09/2014
Patch 6.0

View other WHU WoW WoD hunter guides. Updated for patch 6.0.

This guide will cover the optimal raid dps hunter spec for level 100 Survival hunters in Warlords of Draenor.  Unfortunately, WoD launched with SV close to the bottom of the DPS charts for single target.

For a raiding SV 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 SV hunter spec for those fights.

We’re going to take a look at the best SV hunter talents for both raid and 5-man (AoE) situations.

SV 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:  Any talent of your choice; note that Binding Shot is a useful talent in some boss encounters.
  • Level 45 Talent:   Iron Hawk is generally the default raid talent, as it smooths out times of heavy damage, when heals are needed the most by everyone. However, due to the increased health pools and other changes to healing in Warlords, Spirit Bond will often provide more healing than Iron Hawk will provide mitigation. This generally won’t be an issue because Lone Wolf is such a strong talent, but is worth mentioning.
  • Level 60 Talent:  Dire Beast is currently offering the largest single target DPS boost.
  • Level 75 Talent: A Murder of Crows As it currently stands, aMoC provides the greatest increase to single target DPS for MM hunters, and with the reduced focus cost, CD and duration, it is much simpler to fit into your rotation.
  • Level 90 TalentBarrage is currently providing the greatest DPS, compared to the other two talents in this tier.
  • Level 100 Talent: As it currently stands, Lone Wolf has the greatest impact on single target DPS for MM hunters.

It’s worth stressing that while these are the theoretical best talents for top SV DPS in most single-target situations, very often there are alternative talents that are very nearly as good. I would stress, however, that Thrill of the Hunt is a poor choice for non-AoE fights, as you won’t have enough time at the beginning of the expantion to use many Arcane Shots. I point this out because it is a very deceptive but fun talent that lures many hunters into sub-optimal DPS… especially SV hunters for some reason, who are lulled into the dream of endless Arcane Shots and end up neglecting more damaging shots.

SV AoE and 5-man Hunter Talents for MoP

When dealing with occasional Cleave needs, SV Hunters can use the single target rotation, simply using Barrage on adds, or keeping up Serpent Sting through the use of occasional Multi-shots.  With 4 or more targets, however, the following represents your SV 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; note that Binding Shot and Wyvern Sting are the generally preferred 5-man choices, depending on your group make-up.
  • Level 45 Talent:  Spirit Bond is usually best for 5-mans, where you can’t always rely on a healer willing to heal. Due to changes to healing mechanics in WoD, Spirit Bond is now a viable option for a raid talent also, as it will often provide more healing than Iron Hawk will mitigate.  However, most healers / raid leaders will prefer you use the damage mitigation talent, as it is most helpful in times of high damage, when healing is more necessary.
  • Level 60 Talent:  Thrill of the Hunt provides the best general or sustained AoE DPS a, as it allows more Multi-Shot/Serpent Spread spam.
  • Level 75 Talent: For AoE, all three level 75 talents provide very similar DPS.  Blink Strikes currently has the most potential for general AoE damage; however, because you will generally you need to prioritize one target over others, a Murder of Crows will serve your raid the best.  
  • 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: When dealing with lots of adds, Focusing Shot provides the greatest DPS boost, in the form of additional Multi-shots, and an easy way to insure the use of Barrage on CD.

The talents that really impact your 5-man or AoE DPS are the level 60, level 90 and level 100 talents. At level 90 Barrage is a must — it is massively superior to Glaive Toss in AoE. For level 60 Thrill of the Hunt will generally serve you best.  Though it may be counter-intuitive for AoE fights, which generally require greater movement, the additional Multi-shots you’ll be able to use from Focusing Shot should put it ahead of the rest at Level 100.

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  1. Dracodraco says:

    Dire beast is not the strongest surv talent. Fervor is, by far, the strongest of the 3. I don’t even know why you’d suggest dire beast as it’s the weakest. FD shows me at a 7.3K dps loss, going from fervor to dire beast.

    • Frostheim says:

      It’s certainly possible that you have a specific combination of gearing that favors Fervor; however, I suspect you might be getting an anomalous result. Try manually bumping your haste up and down by 5 or so — it can sometimes radically change the benefit of certain abilities.

  2. Dracodraco says:

    Feel free to simulate me yourself – Dracodraco on Laughing Skull EU.
    136320.00 DPS with fervor.
    129066.10 DPS with Dire Beast.
    Adding and subtracting 5-10-15… and so on haste, up to a total of +50 and -50, the biggest difference is:
    -274.92 at +30 haste.
    -181.01 at -50 haste.

    There’s just no way that this is a case of shot shifting or small overvalueing. But hey, if you can find the error, feel free. It’s probably because Dire beast doesn’t scale as well with gear as the focus from fervor does, I do have 523 ilvl after all.

  3. Dracodraco says:

    Aah, I found it now – I forgot to add dire beast to my shot priority :). My bad ;s.

  4. wtf says:

    wtf how does someone with a 523 ilvl not know how to play?

  5. Anjan says:

    Thrill of hunt actually quite good. it grants u 3 free arcane shot. As long as u dont see red and keep pushing the arcane shot button more than thrice u will be fine. ur primary target is explosive shot, but when ToH procs, which procs often and can proc from any attack, quickly fire 3 shots.

    Also its worth noticing that –

    1) T15 4 set bonus can proc a free 100% weapon damage as nature while u cast arcane and multi shot

    2) if u have the legendary meta gem, u will absolutely love the 3 free arcane shot, as sometimes each of the 3 arcane shot fired grants u 3 charges. and upon reaching 5 charges u electrify the current target :D

    Most of all, played right u shouldn’t be focus starved, and playing as surv ur beast is not as powerful as compared to a BM hunter. ur kitty only get stronger if ur atack power increases. So that kinda make dire beast or fervor less preferable for me :D

    Also, the less cooldown i have to track the better :P

    just my thoughts!

  6. Link10 says:

    I have a feeling the decision for tier 4 talent changes with T16 2piece
    ToTH with that 2 piece, may equal about 4 or more rapid fires on a every long encounter
    8 seconds CD reduced per arcane shot, arcane shot regularly costs 30, with proc 10. 3 times as many arcane shots. instead of regular 8 seconds reduction, 24. Ideally, as long you do not forget any other ability (LnL, BA) you can have 16 seconds quicker Rapid Fire. Around 5 procs you have a rapid fire again, and then with ToTH and a new rapid fire you are getting closer to the next rapid fire.

    • MonsterNRG says:

      This brings up a good point, i have not looked/thought of this as i am currently running Dire Beast. I think i’ll switch to ToTH tonight and see how this flows.