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Beast Mastery Hunter DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoW 4.3.4)

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In this article, we list your Beast Mastery Hunter (WoW 4.3) core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation). We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that playing a Beast Mastery Hunter will face you with. The other articles of our Beast Mastery Hunter guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the left.

1. Basic Single Target Rotation↑top

The single target rotation for a Beast Mastery Hunter is based on the following priority system:

  1. Apply Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark on the target.
  2. Apply and maintain Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting to the target
    • it will be refreshed by Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot so it only needs to be done once, normally.
  3. Cast Kill Command Icon Kill Command on cooldown.
  4. Cast Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot (only available below 20% health).
  5. Cast Focus Fire Icon Focus Fire when your pet's Frenzy Icon Frenzy reaches 5 stacks (the icon will glow)
    • do not cast Focus Fire if you are about to use Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath (see below)
  6. Cast Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot to dump any excess focus.
  7. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot.

2. Basic Multiple Target Rotation↑top

When facing 3 or more enemies, you should abandon your normal shot priority and use the following priority instead:

  1. Cast Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot as often as your focus allows.
  2. Cast Froststorm Breath Icon Froststorm Breath or Burrow Attack Icon Burrow Attack, depending on which pet you are using.
  3. Cast Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot.
  4. Cast Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot whenever you have insufficient focus for Multi-Shot.

3. Cooldown Usage↑top

Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire should be used as many times as possible during an encounter. Follow these rules:

Fervor Icon Fervor and Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath should be used as many times as possible during an encounter.

In order to use your cooldowns optimally, you will need to read the section below named More on Cooldown Usage.

4. Aspects↑top

You should always have an Aspect active. As a Beast Mastery Hunter, you should always be using Aspect of the Hawk Icon Aspect of the Hawk.

Should your raid require Nature Resistance while lacking another source for it (a Shaman totem), you should use Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild.

When you have to move for extensive amounts of time, consider using Aspect of the Fox Icon Aspect of the Fox, which will allow you to use some of your abilities with a cast time while moving.

Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah and Aspect of the Pack Icon Aspect of the Pack are generally not advised during combat because of their negative dazing effect, but can be useful for speeding up your raid's running after a wipe.

A hunter's aspect will persist until removed by the hunter or until the hunter's death. Aspects can be changed in combat, but they cannot be changed while a cast is in progress. It is worth mentioning also that hunter aspects are on a different global cooldown, only affected by each other.

5. Optional Read: Mastering Your Beast Mastery Hunter↑top

While the rotations we gave in the previous sections will yield very good results, there are many things you should be aware of, in order to play your Beast Mastery Hunter to its full potential. You will need to understand all the subtleties, pertaining to your abilities, rotations, and cooldown usage, that we present below.

5.1. Focus

Hunters and their pets use a unique resource, called focus. Focus works in much the same way as other class resources, like rage and energy, in the sense that some abilities grant focus, while others cost focus in order to be used.

A Beast Mastery Hunter's focus has a maximum capacity of 110, and regenerates at an innate rate of 6 focus per second. This rate is increased by Haste Rating. In addition to this, certain abilities such as Steady Shot Icon Steady Shot and Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot also grant focus.

Most of the abilities in the hunter rotation cost focus to use, and some talents decrease the focus costs, or offer other ways to gain additional focus.

Hunter pet focus works similarly, and is of no concern to you as you cannot do anything to modify it, nor will you be casting pet abilities manually.

As a general rule, you should aim to always have enough focus to cast your shots, but also to never have 110 focus (as any extra focus you generate would then go to waste).

5.2. Auto-shots and Special Shots

Hunters do the majority of their damage through the use of shots. The rest of the damage is made up of pet damage and DoT damage.

Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot is the default Hunter attack, which works similarly to melee classes' auto attacks or "white swings". It is affected by your Ranged Attack Speed, and it continues to work while moving.

The other hunter shots are of all varieties: instant cast or with a cast time, costing focus or granting focus and some are utility shots which cost no focus and deal no damage.

5.3. Abilities in Detail

This section presents all the abilities you will use as part of your single target and multi-target rotation.

  • Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot: this is your filler shot. It has a cast time, no focus cost or cooldown and it generates 9 focus. Each time it is cast on a target affected by Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting, it will refresh its duration by 6 seconds, up to a maximum of 20 seconds. When Careful Aim Icon Careful Aim is talented, Cobra Shot has a 60% increased critical strike chance on targets above 90% health.
  • Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting: this is a DoT which deals Nature damage to the target over 15 seconds. It is an instant cast, costs 25 focus and has no cooldown. It is refreshed by Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot.
  • Kill Command Icon Kill Command: this is one of your key abilities as a Beast Mastery Hunter. It is an instant cast, costs 37 focus and has a 6 second cooldown. It causes your pet to perform a very powerful attack.
  • Focus Fire Icon Focus Fire: thanks to Frenzy Icon Frenzy, your pet will stack a buff on itself, increasing its attack speed by up to 30% at 5 stacks. Focus Fire is a self buff, which consumes the Frenzy stacks currently on your pet and transfers them to you, increasing your attack speed. The buff provided by it has a 20 second duration, while the ability has a 15 second cooldown, thus allowing for perfect uptime. It has no focus cost and it is off the global cooldown.
  • Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot: this is your focus dump ability. It is an instant cast, costs 25 focus and has no cooldown.
  • Kill Shot Icon Kill Shot: this ability only becomes available when your target is under 20% health. It is an instant cast, costs no focus and has a 10 second cooldown. By using Glyph of Kill Shot it becomes usable twice in a row.
  • Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot: this is your AoE attack. It strikes the target, and all targets within 8 yards of it. It is instant cast, has no cooldown and costs 40 focus.
  • Explosive Trap Icon Explosive Trap: places a trap on the ground, which explodes when touched by an enemy, and deals fire damage to all enemies in an area around the trap. It shares a cooldown with Black Arrow. Useful especially during AoE situations, but depending on the number of enemies and the time they will spend in the affected area, it may not be worth the global cooldown.
  • Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark: this ability places a debuff on your target, increasing the ranged attack power of all attackers on the target. It is an instant cast, it has no focus cost and no cooldown, and casting it does not trigger combat.
  • Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire: this is your most powerful DPS cooldown. It grants you 40% increased attack speed for 15 seconds.
  • Fervor Icon Fervor: this is a relatively weak DPS cooldown. It provides you and your pet with 50 focus, on a 2 minute cooldown.
  • Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath: this is a potent DPS cooldown, which increases the damage done by your pet by 20% and the damage done by you by 10%, in addition to reducing the focus cost of all your abilities by 50%. It has a 10 second duration and a relatively low cooldown.

5.4. Single-target Rotation Subtleties

Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting should be maintained on the target, which is not difficult as Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shot will refresh it each time it is cast. The rest of your global cooldowns should be used to dump excess focus with Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot. Usage of Focus Fire Icon Focus Fire and other DPS cooldowns is detailed below.

While Kill Command Icon Kill Command does have a higher priority than applying Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting, you should apply Serpent Sting at the start of the fight, as your pet will not immediately be in melee range to perform Kill Command. After this point, there should always be time to refresh Serpent Sting through Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shots between Kill Command cooldowns.

5.4.1. Pet Contribution

The greatest contribution to your DPS is your pet's damage, both through its simple melee attacks and through Kill Command Icon Kill Command. For this reason, it is imperative that your pet is always on the target, stays alive, and that you always cast Kill Command on cooldown. Keep this in mind, otherwise your DPS will plummet.

5.5. Multiple Target Priority Subtleties

Beast Mastery is a rather poor specialisation in terms of AoE DPS. There are no talents that improve your Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot in any way, and the only way for you to gain an advantage in AoE situations is to use one of the two pets which have AoE abilities: worms and chimaeras. Chimaeras are advisable because they are Cunning pets, as opposed to worms which are Tenacity pets.

If you are progressing on an encounter which requires heavy AoE damage, we do not advise playing as Beast Mastery, but if you do choose to do so, the best results will be achieved by using the rotations presented at the beginning of the article.

If the enemies are going to remain in the same general area, and are going to be alive for a sufficient amount of time (10 or more seconds), you can place an Explosive Trap Icon Explosive Trap as well, through use of Trap Launcher Icon Trap Launcher.

Burst AoE DPS can be achieved by using Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire. Doing this will allow you to use considerably more Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shots and will drastically reduce the amount of Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shots you get to cast.

Alternatively, you can cast Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath during the AoE stage, allowing you to cast Multi Shots for only 20 focus cost.

5.6. More on Cooldown Usage

As a Beast Mastery Hunter, you have three DPS cooldowns: Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire, Fervor Icon Fervor and Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath. In addition to this, you have Focus Fire Icon Focus Fire, which provides you with a 15% attack speed buff with near full uptime. It is not a DPS cooldown per se, but its interaction with Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath makes it worthy of mention in this section.

5.6.1. Rapid Fire

Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire should be used as many times as possible during an encounter. This will likely mean it will be used twice, during most fights. The rules for using Rapid Fire are:

The reason why you do not want to use it together with Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath is that the increased focus regeneration granted by Rapid Fire will be useless as Bestial Wrath (thanks to The Beast Within Icon The Beast Within) reduces the focus cost of all your abilities by 50%.

5.6.2. Fervor

Fervor Icon Fervor should be used as many times as possible during an ecounter. A good time to use it is whenever the 50 focus granted by it will not go to waste (i.e., you are at or below 60 focus). Ideally, you should use it at a point where both you and your pet have low focus. You may also wish to use Fervor right before casting Bestial Wrath, so that you can spam more Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shots during that time.

5.6.3. Focus Fire

Focus Fire Icon Focus Fire should be used as soon as your pet's Frenzy Icon Frenzy reaches 5 stacks. When that happens, your pet's buff of 30% increased attack speed will be transformed into a 15% ranged haste buff for you. The duration of the buff is 20 seconds, and it takes between 15 and 17 seconds for Frenzy Icon Frenzy to reach 5 stacks on your pet again.

There is, however, one exception where you should not use Focus Fire Icon Focus Fire at all, and instead allow your pet to retain its 5 stacks of Frenzy Icon Frenzy: during Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath. Because your pet's damage done is so great, and because it receives double the attack speed increase from Frenzy that you do, while Bestial Wrath is active (increasing your pet's damage by 20%), you should allow it to retain the attack speed increase. As soon as Bestial Wrath wears off, you should use Focus Fire.

5.6.4. Bestial Wrath

Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath should, as well, be used as many times as possible during an encounter. In addition to the aforementioned interaction with Focus Fire, it's also advisable to delay your Bestial Wrath so that its duration lines up with Kill Command Icon Kill Command cooldowns in such a way that you can use two Kill Commands during Bestial Wrath. You should ensure that you have a fair amount of focus when casting Bestial Wrath, and should spend its 10 second duration casting Kill Command and Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot, and as few Cobra Shot Icon Cobra Shots as possible.

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