Best SV Hunter Talents

Posted: by Frostheim

reviewed and accurate
Reviewed 3/19/2013
Patch 5.2

View other WHU WoW MoP hunter guides or all hunter builds. Updated for patch 5.2.

This guide will cover the optimal raid dps hunter spec for level 90 Survival hunters in Mists of Pandaria. MoP launched with SV just behind BM in the spec race, and after some buffs in patch 5.2 SV is nearly neck & neck for the top dps spec, just a hair behind BM but with superior AoE capabilities. SV remains one of the top AoE specs in the game.

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:  Aspect of the Iron Hawk is the default raid talent, as it reduces total heal demand the most.
  • Level 60 Talent:  Dire Beast
  • Level 75 Talent: A Murder of Crows Be aware you cannot have this ability active twice at once. If you use Readiness to reset A Murder of Crows, you still need to wait for the full duration to expire. If you reapply it while the crows are active, you’ll overwrite it — effectively ending the effect and starting over with a new one.
  • Level 90 TalentGlaive Toss

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. 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 5-Man / AoE Hunter Talents for MoP

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 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.
  • Level 60 Talent:  Thrill of the Hunt provides the best general or sustained AoE DPS ability, though Fervor is better for AoE-on-demand – when you need to AoE hard at the drop of a hat, but aren’t generally AoEing most of the time. I usually stick with Thrill of the Hunt until it’s a raid boss where you know Fervor will be better.
  • Level 75 Talent: Lynx Rush is my preferred AoE talent in this tier, although it doesn’t make a huge difference. A Murder of Crows is essentially useless in the short AoE burn situations, but it can be worth hanging onto for the bosses.
  • 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.

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 to Glaive Toss in AoE. For level 60 Thrill of the Hunt will generally serve you best in 5-mans, and Fervor can sometimes be better for certain raid bosses. But for raid trash I’d still stick with Thrill of the Hunt.

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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.