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The question of what is the best hunter pet has been around since vanilla — and for many years, there’s was a right answer. In today’s WoW of Mists of Pandaria, the answer isn’t nearly so simple.
Each pet brings a unique (or multiple unique) abilities, but otherwise does the same damage. In a PVE situation, the goal is to find the pet that brings the best raid buff that your group doesn’t already have.
Let’s start by taking a look at the MoP pet raid buffs, then we’ll get further into the best pet discussion:
MoP Hunter Pet Raid Buff List
Here is a list of all of the raid buffs in MoP — the ones that are going to be useful in PVE — and which hunter pets can bring that buff to your raid or 5-man group.
- Stats: +5% Strength, Agility & Intellect
- Shale Spider (exotic only) - Embrace of the Shale Spider
- Attack Power: +10% melee & ranged attack power
- Hunters bring this automatically via Trueshot Aura
- Spell Power: +10% Spellpower
- Water Strider - Still Water
- Critical Strike: +5% melee, ranged, & spell critical chance
- Stamina: +10% Stamina
- Silithid (exotic only) - Qiraji Fortitude
- Attack Speed: +10% melee & ranged haste
- Spell Haste: +5% spell haste
- Sporebat – Energizing Spores
- Mastery: +3,000 mastery
- Burst haste: +30% melee, ranged, & spell cast speed
- Core Hound (exotic only) - Ancient Hysteria
- Combat Resurrection: rez a player during combat
- Quilen (exotic) – Eternal Guardian
- Armor: -12% armor
- Cast Speed: -30% cast speed
- Healing: -25% healing recieved
- Physical Damage Reduction: -10% physical damage dealt
- Physical Vulnerability: +4% physical damage taken
- Spell Damage Taken: +5% spell damage taken
12 Stable Slots to Bring All Raid Buffs
Every raiding hunter should be capable of bringing every necessary raid buff. Here then are the minimum number of pets that you’ll have to have in your stable to bring these buffs, while giving you the maximum amount of spec options — these pets will take up 12 slots in your stable:
- Shale Spider (exotic)
- Water Strider (exotic – can replace wolf/hydra)
- Silithid (exotic)
- Core Hound (exotic)
- Quilen (exotic – can replace wolf/hydra)
- Wolf or Hydra
- Tallstrider or Raptor
- Serpent or Hyena
- Boar or Ravager
- Dragonhawk or Wind Serpent
Note that the physical damage reduction debuff is brought by all tanks, so is not included on the minimum stable list. BM hunters have a few more choices in some slots (like bringing a Spirit Beast instead of a cat), but this list is intended to give the maximum spec flexibility.
The Best Pet is Based on Raid Composition
Ferocity-specced pets do the most damage, and thanks to the generous Mists of Pandaria changes, every pet in the game can be specced ferocity. This makes the only difference between pets a matter of which buff it brings.
The best pet is the one that brings the buff that will benefit your raid or 5-man group the most. And this might be different from the pet that will benefit you the most.
Typically, your raid leader will be making this call. In a 5-man you’ll have to make the call on your own, in which case it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the various buffs and debuffs and noting the composition of your group. Perhaps there’s only once spell caster, and so physical damage vulnerability is better. But maybe someone is already bringing that debuff, so now the haste buff is better.
Alas, there is no easy right answer to the best pet question in MoP: you actually have to use your brain.
There is No Flowchart for Best Pet
There is also no flowchart that can tell you what the best pet to bring is based on what specs and classes you have in your group or raid. A flowchart like that would only suggest which pet is best for your personal dps, not what is best for the raid as a whole (and thus most likely to let the raid succeed). It is a selfish look dps, and not worthy of us hunters.
Keep in mind that not only do you need to consider composition — how many casters vs melee, magic damage vs physical — you also should keep in mind the contribution of those classes. Maybe you have three rogues, but the two mages actually output more dps than the rogues do, so a buff that favors mages will benefit the group more.
Considerations like that are why we have raid leaders in the first place. They want to be in charge? Then they can deal with the buff hassles.