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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.

Buffs

Debuffs

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)
  • Cat
  • Wolf or Hydra
  • Tallstrider or Raptor
  • Serpent or Hyena
  • Boar or Ravager
  • Dragonhawk or Wind Serpent
  • Sporebat

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.

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  1. Arth says:

    Some potential quick fixes:
    - Sporebat brings the cast speed slow, so Fox/Goat aren’t needed in the list of 13.
    - You left the physical dmg. reduction off the list of 13 (bear/carrion bird)
    - Also Devilsaur, which overlaps with the Crit buff pets but is the only that can bring the reduced healing debuff.

    …so the 13 should probably be 14 if we’re being very thorough, though the latter two there are hardly ever needed.

    • Frostheim says:

      As it says just below the list, physical damage reduction is left off because that is the one buff that *every* tank brings, so we should never need to bring it to any raid. Great catch on the sporebat though — that should let us actually reduce our load to just 12 pets.

  2. Dibbler says:

    Since it’s very rare to be completely missing a buff in 25 man raiding, the only pet I’ve found to be really worthwhile to always have available is a Tallstrider. Dust Cloud instantly applies a 3-stack of the sunder armor debuff in an AOE – something no player class can do. It does require a little more micromanagement to use perfectly though.

  3. Arth says:

    I also kinda already made this months ago: http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/2012/09/pet-taming-for-raids-in-mop/
    …though without the disclaimers on flowcharts and such. I hope you were just revamping it for a new audience, rather than doubling up by accident.

    :D

    • Frostheim says:

      Yeah, rather than flushing that one out and expanding it to make it a guide, I figured I’d make it a new post, which has the added benefit of making more people aware that it exists ’cause it pops up on the homepage again.

  4. Baldriano says:

    AFAIK Sporebats dont give spell haste, they do the opposite to enemies. :)

  5. Gorgor says:

    I thought Sporebat was the best? ;)

  6. Flint says:

    Poor little Sporebat didn’t get credit for his 2 best buffs.

    Tinybits – Hits the Raid boss in his man parts causing instant death.

    Sporebat-H – Causes Rogues to bleed from their anus. This effect stops rogues from stealth as your pet can follow the blood trail.

  7. Something that might help in the list would be what classes bring an equivalent buff…

    For example,
    5% increased stats
    * Druid – Mark of the Wild
    * Paladin – Blessing of Kings

    Increased mastery
    * Paladin – Blessing of Might

    etc…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Did they change the Quilen rez? the last time I tried to use it I got the message that it could not be used because I was in combat.

    • Lateef says:

      oops. forgot to fill in my name…

      • Roachkilla says:

        My brother has also been claiming that it doesn’t work in combat, but as far as I know, while I was still BM for the beginning of MoP, it worked, but not always.

      • Shadowhawque says:

        I’ve found it to be quite picky. It has a 20 yard range from the pet, so if the rez is being used on a player that is outside of that range it will not go into effect. Also, spamming the rez in a hurry does no good as it causes the Quilen to stop movement.

        My best strategy that always works is target dead player, run on top of dead player (or as near as possible), dismiss current pet, take out quilen (keep quilen on passive at all times), use rez, dismiss, take out original pet. This way I know the quilen won’t run off to the boss before I can get the rez out – and, the only real reason I have the quilen is for the ability anyway so keeping him on passive is a smart choice (for me.)

    • Anonymous says:

      That message means that the number of allowed battle rez’s has already been used for that encounter

  9. Jork says:

    We need a pet that brings a random missing buff.

    • Arth says:

      Yes, the other classes wouldn’t complain about that at all.

      “Who should we bring, mage, shaman, or hunter?”
      “What buffs are we missing?”
      “Who cares. Bring the hunter and we’ll be covered.”

      Wonderful for us, hate-inducing across the rest of WoW.

      • Flint says:

        Isnt that the way it should be now? Each Hunter should have all these buffs covered we have the slots for it.

  10. Raggamuffin says:

    For the lazy, “RaidCheckList” is a great little tool (add-on) for figuring out who’s bringing what to the raid you’re in, so you can quickly figure out which pet is needed. I’ve been using it for over a year and find it very handy.

  11. Sev says:

    You’ve got the wrong ability linked for the Sporebat’s spell haste: it should be Energizing Spores, not Spore Cloud.

    I disagree with the “no flowchart” statement. Alright, no flowchart will tell you with total precision which buff is most helpful, but sometimes you need to know at a glance what pet to bring. This is what I use, and I find it very helpful: http://i.imgur.com/ZQyR1.jpg

    • Frostheim says:

      The flowchart only tells you what buff is best for *you* — not what’s best for your raid. It doesn’t even try to predict what’s best for your raid (and it can’t since it has no idea what your composition is).

      • Sev says:

        I don’t wish to nitpick, but this flowchart has 3 paths: caster-heavy, melee-heavy and balance. It DOES try to give you the best for your raid.

      • Flint says:

        Sev,
        What Frost is saying is that even with a caster heavy flow chart or a melee heavy raid chart you would need a chart for each individual raid boss to cover every possible situation. There is just so much more to consider than what a flow chart brings. A flowchart can give you a basic idea, but it can not substitute knowing the fights, your raid composition and player style. Too many variables to cover with a black and white do this type of chart.

        If you are at the raid level and need a flow chart to understand what your raid needs for a given boss fight you are doing it wrong and more tan likely over your head. This is a generality and not a reflection of your individual raid skill because I do not know it.

    • Skarn says:

      I’m only 4 decisions into that flowchart and I’m already skeptical. Maybe it’s just to make the flowchart work easier, but I wouldn’t pick a Battle Rez without checking to see if the raid needs any buffs like Stats first. True that Rez can have more impact on the fight, but I’d rather figure out how to not die in the first place! I’m sure there are others who will disagree with me. :)

      Next, it checks for the Mastery buff before the crit buff. That’s an incredibly subjective call. Just for the hunter, crit should be better. For the whole raid, it’s going to vary a lot based on the classes you have and their specs. Fury Warriors, for example, prefer crit. They prefer it so much they gem for it instead of strength! On the other hand, some (all?) warlock specs prefer mastery over everything. Then you also have to ask, how dangerous is this fight to the tanks? If it’s a deadly tank fight, then Mastery will be better. If it’s not very rough on the tanks, then crit could be better.

      It’s probably a useful chart for someone that doesn’t know what they are doing, but it’s definitely flawed. There are simply too many raid variables for a flowchart to account for them all.

  12. Nenia says:

    What do y’all think is the “best” pet for selfish solo DPS (for soloing, scenarios, other unbuffed PvE)? As Survival, I use either a wolf, cat, or dragonhawk (all ferocity) when soloing. But my numbers are too noisy to determine which is most effective.

    • NightGriffin says:

      I love to bring the Water Strider along. 5% crit chance with Water Walking is so usefull.

    • Skarn says:

      If you’re BM, probably the Shale Spider since it gives you 5% more agility. Otherwise it’s going to be anything that gives you 5% crit (wolf, quilen, etc) or 10% attack speed (serpent, hyena).

      Definitely not a cat, that’s just mastery. A dragonhawk is increased magical damage on one target, which is obviously sub-par if you’re pulling more than one mob and still not as good as crit, agi or attack speed on a single mob.

  13. Chevonne says:

    Poor little Porcupine. He brings Incapacitate. Ok, so its not so hot for raids. But most of the time its good for questing and such. (I know. I said the Q word.) Make the list complete…just saying. ;)

  14. Skarn says:

    Frost, under the 5% spell haste you link the wrong ability for the Sporebat. It should be Energizing Spores http://www.wowhead.com/spell=135678

    :)

    • Great! Sporebat has particulate enriched flatulence that he blows all over the raid. …and the raid LOVES it.

      For some reason I hear John Cleese saying “I fart in your general direction.” I wonder if we could get Blizz to add that soundbite to the calling of the sporebat.

  15. Sonicross says:

    Frost / Arth….can you label these by how they actually appear in the game please? It would really help for quick reference.

    Buffs: Stats, Attack Power, Spell Power, Critical Strike, Stamina, Attack Speed, Spell Haste, Mastery.

    Debuffs: Armor, Cast Speed, Healing, Physical Damage Reduction, Physical Vulnerability, Spell Damage Taken

    You can still use – http://raidcomp.mmo-champion.com – to figure out which buff you need.

  16. sheppo says:

    to re-cap what raggamuffin said above. Raid Check List (http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/raid_checklist) is an awesome addon that will show you all of this pet information, including what specific pets bring each ability. It also covers all other buffs and debuffs that other classes in your group / raid can bring, and are bringing. Or are missing.

    It’s very easy to get all the bases covered for buffs and debuffs in a 10man raid if you keep an eye on what’s missing, and be prepared to fill the gap.

  17. Gentle giant says:

    Hey guys, firstly thank you for all your information….
    One thing that eludes me is whether Serpents give the same “bleed” de-buff as Hyenas do?
    If this is a stupid question then please excuse my research capabilities.. :)

    Gentlegiant. :)

  18. Rientus says:

    What are the best pets for Stampede? Since as a survival hunter or any kind of hunter for that matter, all the pets seem to use their specials during stampede.

    • Arth says:

      Just make sure they’re all ferocity spec’d. Otherwise, the same truths hold: bring the best buffs for you or your group. Some, like the hyena buff, will linger after Stampede ends, so there’s potential benefit.

  19. Dargonis says:

    Sporebats do give 5% increased spell haste to players, shocked that this was completely missed, I mean you do play one right?

    also you may want to even hint towards the fact that hydra’s are untameable and you can only have one if you were lucky to tame one years ago when it was bugged to let you do so. that way we dont have tons of hunters scrambling about to try and tame one now.

    • Arth says:

      The Sporebat spell haste buff is listed. It wasn’t missed. *shrugs*

      Wolves are listed as an alternative to hydras in the “short list.”

  20. Kirbside says:

    I had to switch to BM and get out my quilen to rez a tank in one battle and a top DPS’er another in a LFR…. Saved the group from a wipe both times…. One was a shaman and was shocked to find out a hunter rezzed him.

  21. Bruno says:

    You might want to include the scorpid for its disarm ability.