View other WHU WoW MoP hunter guides. Updated for patch 5.2.
This guide will cover the optimal Survival 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 SV signature shot, or to burn focus before it caps out, and working in a host of shots all on different cooldowns.
SV Hunter Shot Priority
- Black Arrow
- Kill Shot if available
- Explosive Shot
- Glaive Toss
- A Murder of Crows
- Dire Beast
- Arcane Shot
- Cobra Shot as needed to regen focus
Note that during Lock & Load procs, you should spam Explosive Shot — there is no longer any need to wait between shots and your Explosive Shot will still do the full damage (the damage of the ticks increases as you apply new Explosive Shots).
SV Hunter AoE Rotation
SV is the king of AoE and the best hunter AoE rotation naturally assumes that you’re taking the best SV AoE talents (Barrage, Thrill of the Hunt). However it’s not uncommon for SV 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 awesome SV AoE is the power of Improved Serpent Sting combined with Serpent Spread. Every mob you hit with your Multi-Shot will have Serpent Sting applied to them, and those Serpent Stings will cause additional instant damage when it hits, making the SV Multi-Shot hit far harder than any other spec.
The SV 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.
As SV, I usually like to start by launching an Explosive Trap then immediately firing one Multi-Shot before hitting up Lynx Rush and Barrage. You want to get those Serpent Stings and Explosive Trap DoT ticks going as soon as you can.
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.