View other WHU WoW MoP hunter guides. Updated for patch 5.2.
This guide will cover the optimal Beast Mastery hunter shot rotation for level 90 in Mists of Pandaria. We’ll cover both single-target raid dps and AoE / 5-mans.
Hunters no longer have any kind of fixed rotation like we did in the days of yore, instead we fire our shots in a priority system, making decisions as we play about whether to save up focus for the BM signature shot, or to burn focus before it caps out, and working in a host of shots all on different cooldowns.
BM Hunter Shot Priority
- Kill Shot if available
- Bestial Wrath
- Kill Command
- Glaive Toss
- A Murder of Crows
- Dire Beast
- Focus Fire
- Arcane Shot
- Cobra Shot as needed to regen focus
BM has the most cooldown-heavy rotations of the hunter specs, with Bestial Wrath and Focus Fire popping up regularly to interrupt the already hectic shot priority.
During Bestial Wrath your shots will cost half focus and most of the time you’ll be able to just spam Kill Command and Arcane Shot. Bestial Wrath is also a good time to burn A Murder of Crows, to get the focus discount on the expensive ability.
When BM pops all of its cooldown at once, it has the largest burst dps of any hunter spec, allowing BM hunters to soar to the top of the charts at the beginning of the fight. There is endless discussion of the exact “right” order to hit every ability, but in general you want to burn your cooldowns, Readiness, and burn them again for a nice super long period of hasted Bestial Wrath / Stampede / crow frenzy.
BM Hunter AoE Rotation
The best BM AoE rotation assumes that you’re taking the best BM AoE talents (Barrage, Thrill of the Hunt). However it’s common for BM hunters optimized for single target damage to still need to deal out the AoE, and in that case you’ll just drop or substitute a few shots from your AoE rotation.
The key to the BM AoE is their passive Beast Cleave ability (that all BM hunters automatically have), which allows your pets melee attacks to inflict 30% damage to nearby targets after you Multi-Shot. Their AoE combines well with Bestial Wrath, which drops the cost of Multi-Shot in half, allowing BM a small period of quite good burst AoE, followed by longer period of fairly so-so AoE. Note that Beast Cleave will not all mobs in a pack — just the nearby ones.
The BM AoE priority rotation is:
- Explosive Trap
- Lynx Rush (if you have the talent)
- Barrage (or Glaive Toss)
- Moar Multi-Shot
- Cobra Shot to regen focus.
Keep in mind that Beast Cleave only works for 5 seconds after you Multi-Shot, so you want to be sure that you are Multi-Shotting at least every five seconds, to maintain your pet’s cleaving ability. I generally like to Multi-Shot immediately after launching the Explosive Trap, and then Barrage and do another Multi-Shot just after the Barrage.
Depending on your situation, you may want to also fire Kill Shot as the mobs are dying. Generally this works best when you’re AoEing smaller numbers of mobs with larger health pools. For 5-man trash the mobs will usually be dead before your Kill Shot can hit — but it can be a good way to save some focus for the next pack when it works.
It’s also worth noting that while Glaive Toss is technically an AoE-ish ability, it depends heavily on the positioning of the mobs and you’re unlikely to hit them all. If you are using Glaive Toss be sure you’re targeting someone in the back of the pack and try to position yourself to hit as many mobs as possible. If, on the other hand, you are using Barrage, be sure to position yourself to avoid pulling any packs of nearby mobs.