Cataclysm Classic Beast Mastery Hunter PvE Guide

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This Cataclysm Classic Beast Mastery Hunter PvE guide is specifically written to provide answers to the most common questions regarding how to play as a Beast Mastery Hunter.

Cataclysm Classic Beast Mastery Hunter PvE Guide

Damage Abilities

Kill Command (KC)
Our primary nuke ability. You want to use this as often as possible.
Serpent Sting (SrS)
Since Cobra Shot refreshes this, you will only have to apply it once per target in most cases. It has low DPS but a very high DPCT (theoretically infinite, with cobra shot refreshing it).
Arcane Shot (AS)
This is focus dump ability. No cooldown, 25 focus (22 with 3/3 Efficiency).
Cobra Shot (CoS)
Always use this in place of Steady Shot. Generates 9 focus and refreshes Serpent Sting.
Hunter’s Mark (HM)
AP bonus, always put this up before combat if possible.
Multi Shot (MS)
Together with Explosive Trap our AoE abilities.
Explosive Trap (ExT)
It ticks every 2 seconds, 10 times total for AoE fire damage.
Immolation Trap (ImT)
Right now it looks like this cannot crit and flat out does less damage on single target than explosive trap
Kill Shot (KS)
Not quite as strong as it used to be (150% weapon damage, down from 200%) but still quite powerful. One of its main benefits is that it costs no focus.

Aspects

In Cataclysm we have two important aspects during fights: Hawk and Fox. For PVE, the primary benefit of each is that Hawk provides additional AP and Fox allows you to cast Cobra Shot while moving. Ideally, you will not have to use Fox and can do all of your movement while casting instant shot casts (everything but Cobra Shot) and in between auto shot casts. In practice, there will probably be times when you want to move while not having the focus for instant cast shots. Aspects are on a separate global cooldown (GCD) from other abilities, so you can swap between Hawk and Fox without losing a GCD for damage abilities.

Cataclysm Classic Beast Mastery Hunter PvE Guide: Rotation and Priority

Cataclysm Classic Beast Mastery Hunter PvE Guide

Single Target

The most basic priority for single targets will be something like this:
1. If your pet is on the target, Kill Command
2. If the mob is going to live long enough, apply Serpent Sting.
3. If mob is below 20% health, Kill Shot
4. If you have enough focus to cast Kill command on CD, Arcane Shot
5. Cobra Shot

In a given 6 second cycle you should be able to fit 1 Kill Command, 1 Arcane Shot and 2 Cobra Shots with any excess time from shortened casttime going to extra arcane shots over time as focus allows and additional Cobrashots.

Cooldowns

Bestial Wrath

Our shortest length “big” cooldown, it lasts for 10 seconds. The talent Longevity and the Glyph, brings the cooldown down to 70 seconds (1.17 minutes). The primary benefit of Bestial Wrath is that it reduces the focus cost of all our focus costing abilities by 50%. In addition it increases the pets damage done by 20% and with The Beast Within it also increases the hunters damage by 10% for the duration.
During Bestial Wrath you do not want to use Cobra Shot to regenerate focus, since the only benefit to Cobra Shot is 10% more damage. You want to make sure you have focus before using BW. During a BW you should be able to get off 2 Kill Commands and 6-7 Arcane shots, possibly using Fervor if you are low on focus before you use BW. BW should not be used while under Rapid Fire or external haste effects unless not using it will cause you to lose 1 or more BW’s over the course of the fight.

Fervor

Fervor has the same base cooldown as Bestial wrath, 2 minutes, however it is not affected by Longevity. Fervor instantly grants both us and our pet 50 focus and has no other strings attached. This is best used when both hunter and pet can benefit the most from it, but most often the usage will depend on the hunters focus need.

Focus Fire

Focus Fire is a personal haste boost that lasts 20 second and is on a 15 second Cooldown. How much haste we get is dependant on our pet. Frenzy stacks on our pet once per basic attack (3 second cooldown) to a maximum of 5 stacks. Focus Fire consumes these stacks, and grant us 3% haste for each stack thus consumed. The build-up time for Frenzy is 15 seconds of pet-on-the-target time, meaning that we will have a near constant 15% haste bonus. Focus Fire should be used when full, in theory on cooldown, but with the 4.3 change to duration we have a little leeway now.The exception is just before a BW, as the frenzy stacks on the pet increase the attack speed of the pet by up to 30% (at 5 stacks) and we don’t benefit massively from the haste during BW per above. This increased attackspeed for the pet translates directly into more damage from the pets autoattacks.

Rapid Fire

A 5 minute cooldown that increases our ranged attack speed by 40% (50% if glyphed) for 15 seconds. Together with Focus Fire, this should see our Cobrashot at a 1.0-1.2 second cast time. Even at this casttime Arcane Shot wins over Cobra Shot Shot in DPCT, so during Rapid Fire you should stick yo your regular rotation casting Cobra Shots between your Kill Commands and adding any arcane shots possible. Rapid Fire should not be used while under Bestial Wrath or external haste effects like Bloodlust since we would then waste a lot of the haste effect.

Ancient Hysteria / Bloodlust

Ancient Hysteria / Bloodlust / Heroism / Time Warp.
As BM hunters we can provide this otherwise external haste buff by bringing a Core Hound. Ancient Hysteria (or one of the other names) buffs the haste of the entire party or raid by 30% for 40 seconds. This is slightly less than Rapid Fire, but should still see our Cobra Shot casttime approach the GCD. Under AH maintain your regular priority, as above under RF.

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Cataclysm Classic Beast Mastery Hunter PvE Guide: Talents

Beast Mastery Talents

Improved Kill Command – Required. Kill Command is our bread and butter, so a 10% increased chance to crit with it is a no-brainer.
One with Nature – Required. AotH has been buffed to provide 2.700 AP. Each point in OwN is now a straight 351 AP increase with Animal handler and fully talented, OwN gives us 1053 AP (1158 AP when under the influence of BoM, TSA or AM).
Bestial Discipline – Recommended. Recommended if your pet is not getting the full benefit of Wild Hunt every time – additionally it is a better choice than the tier 2 utility talents for output.

Pathfinding – Not Recommended. Pathfinding provides a mounted speed increase of 10% which does not stack with the level 3 Guild Perk, Mount Up. Leaving Pathfinding at a miserable 4/8% speed increase to Aspect of the Pack/Cheetah.
Spirit Bond – Recommended. Not only does Spirit Bond provide a (small and passive) self heal, it increases the healing done on you (and your pet) by 10%. In the new environment where mana matters to your healers, this is a good investment – additionally there isn’t a lot of choice at this point in the tree.
Frenzy – Required. Frenzy increases the attack speed of your pet by 6% for every basic attack (stacking to 30%), Frenzy can also be consumed by Focus Fire for hunter haste.
Improved Mend Pet – Optional. If your healers have time (and mana) to spare to keep your pet cleansed, this point doesn’t provide a real benefit. If you are expected to keep your own pet alive and functional to spare the healers, the cleansing effect can be nice. With Mend Pet ticking every 2 seconds, 1 point here could easily be enough.

Cobra Strikes – Required. This talent directly increases the damage from your pet. Since we want to add as many arcane shots into the cycle as possible without delying Kill command, you should see this trigger quite often.
Fervor – Required. This talent unlocks Bestial Wrath, and is a pretty good ability in its own right-
Focus Fire – Required. This is our constant haste function, should be kept on CD except during BW and the first 15 seconds of a fight.

Longevity – Required. Reduces the CD of BW by 30%. Pet special abilities aren’t that important, and neither is intimidation.
Killing Streak – Required. This reduces the focus cost and increases the damage done after 2 successive Kill Command Crits. The successive crits don’t have to happen within the same combat.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera – Not Recommended. In a group or rading environment you should not be getting hit with anything that triggers this talent.
Bestial Wrath – Required. See the in depth workings above.
Ferocious Inspiration – Required. While the bufff can be provided by others, this talent is a prerequisit for Invigoration.

Kindred Spirits – Recommended. While the 10 extra focus may seem static, this allows us to build up our focus before unloading it through BW. 10 extra focus is almost 1 more Arcane Shot before needing to use Fervor (if at all)
The Beast Within – Required. This is the talent that grants the hunter the benefits described under Bestial Wrath above.
Invigoration – Required. 6 Focus everytime the pet crits on a basic attack (1 basic attack every 3 seconds), this is the talent that will let you use Arcane Shot more often.

Beast Mastery – Required. Unlike previously, the ability to bring exotic pets to a raid is now required to be a Beast Mastery hunter. The Exotic pets have some of the better raid buffs that can be missing. All exotic pets (except the Shale Spider) also gets 2 abilities to use, 2 of them have a channeled AoE attack.

Marksmanship Talents

Go for the Throat – Required. See the pet section for more details, but obtaining more focus for pets is now a worthwhile pursuit.
Efficiency – Optional. 3 focus reduction for Arcane Shot.
Rapid Killing – Not Recommended.

Sic ‘Em! – Recommended. It can be recommended for the same reason as Go for the Throat. Has the potential to be very strong for BM due to mastery and Wild Hunt, dependant on the amount of Arcane shots you get out and your crit chance.
Improved Steady Shot – Not Recommended. Not worth using Steady Shot over Cobra Shot.
Careful Aim – Optional – Not very strong, and competes with Pathing in the Survival tree.

Survival Talents

Hunter vs. Wild – Not Recommended. Should only be considered if you find yourself consistently lacking health. Not worth it compared to the other options in any other scenario.
Pathing – Recommended. 3% haste for 3 talent points is not what I consider a strong talent, but it is, nonetheless, a good option – competes with Sic’Em and Careful Aim.
Improved Serpent Sting – Recommended. 5/10% increased crit chance for Serpent Sting is a good option.

Survival Tactics – Optional.
Trap Mastery – Optional.
Entrapment – Optional. Probably encounter specific for PVE.
Point of No Escape – Optional. Bosses will not trigger Frost Trap and the crit bonus now only affects you, so this talent is fairly weak.

Glyphs

Recommended Prime Glyphs:
Kill Command – 3 focus cost reduction of KC
Kill Shot – effectively lets you do back to back Kill Shot
Arcane Shot – 12% Arcane Shot damage

Other Prime Glyphs (in alphabetical order):
Rapid Fire – +10% haste
Serpent Sting – 6% crit
Neither of these provide as much benefit as the above in a stand still fight.

Reccomended Major Glyphs:
Bestial Wrath – Reduces the cooldown of BW by 20 seconds (down to a total of 70 seconds with Longevity)

From a damage perspective, there are no other required major glyphs for every scenario, although Trap Launcher is recommended for any AoE situations (with Explosive Trap). As a BM hunter 2 other major glyphs do stick out intuitively – Mending and Misdirection. With glyph of Mending a tenacity pet can easily tank a mob for a short (or longer) while without requiring much, if any, attention from healers. A properly specced tank pet will be healed for 6k+ hps from mend pet alone in entry level (ilvl 346 blue) gear. With a 2 second cast to switch out your pet (equivalent of 1 lost Cobra Shot) and a taunt, you have a real “Oh snap” ability here.

Recommended Minor Glyphs:
Revive Pet – Should the worst happen and our pet die, we need to revive it. Revive is no longer reduced by talents, and is a (base) 10 second cast. Avoiding pushbacks during it is essential in the cases where we need our pet up and about. It is not possible to summon another pet if your current pet is dead.

Pets

Pets are a major source of damage for BM hunters. They inherit 100% of the hunter’s hit, haste, and crit, and scale considerably from AP. All 3 pet types (Ferocity, Tenacity and Cunning) inherit the same AP scaling, so the only difference in the potential damage output is the pet talents. This means it is okay to bring a tenacity pet if the raidbuff it provides is needed, as you will only lose what the pet talents provide.

That being said, right now, Ferocity and Cunning pets are both close in theoretical damage and require more numbers before one becomes more preferable than the other. Ferocity has the advantage of Rabid and Call of the Wild, although the long cooldown and short duration of Call of the Wild lessen its value (though it is greater for BM than for the other 2 specs, thanks to Longevity). Cunning has decent talents in Feeding Frenzy, Roar of Recovery, and Owl’s Focus, but Wolverine Bite is currently poor.

AoE

Multi-Shot

Multi-Shot is our base AoE tool. It costs 40 focus and incurs a normal GCD as of 4.1. As BM we can couple Multishot with BW and fire them off at a cost of 20 focus, giving us 6 Multi-Shots back to back.

Explosive Trap

Explosive Trap is our other AoE ability. It has a small base damage (29 per tick) but with a 54.5% RAP coefficient it does a substantial amount of damage. It is also our most efficient ability by far, costing 0 focus if dropped in place or 20 focus with Trap Launcher (10 focus glyphed). Explosive Trap’s major caveat is obviously that it requires the target(s) to stay in the targeted area for 20 seconds for full effect, making it impractical on some fights.

Chimaera / Worm

Beast Mastery hunters can bring exotic pets, and in AoE situations this means we can increase our damage by bringing a Worm or a Chimaera.

Burrow Attack

The Worm can channel an AoE attack called Burrow Attack. When this is used the pet burrows underground for 8 seconds dealing damage every second. Burrow attack does 11.52% of our RAP + 205 damage per second over 8 seconds, so at 10k RAP burrow attack does 1357 dps to each enemy in the attacks radius. Burrow Attack is on a 30 second cooldown.

Froststorm Breath

The Chimaera also gets a channled AoE attack, Froststorm Breath. FsB does less damage as a base since it does 11.52% of our RAP + 205 every 2 seconds over 8 seconds, so at 10k RAP FsB does 678.5 dps (half of Burrow Attack). Froststorm Breath, unlike Burrow Attack, does not have a cooldown, so if the AoE situation lasts more than 16 seconds, Froststorm Breath will do higher dps while AoE’ing.

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Stats

I’ve used a roughly BIS with all / best raidbuffs enabled list to get these numbers, with the theory that we can derive some broader understanding of stats. For less generalized stat weights, it is recommended that you use your gear in Rivkah’s DPS Analyzer or similar tool.

Relative stat values

Agility
Your best stat, by far, with the possible exception of hit. One agility provides 2 AP and 1/324.85 critical strike percent, before scaling. You get 5% extra from wearing all mail, 5% from raid buffs. The AP is again increased by 30% by Animal Handler, the passive BM benefit, and 10% from raid buffs. Agility is so much better than any secondary stat that some Wrath enchants that are pure agility come out significantly ahead of the 50 and 65 rating points in mastery, crit or haste that newer enchants give.
Hit
Gearing for the hit cap is generally a good idea. Ranged attacks have a 8% chance to miss against mobs 3 levels higher than us and each point of hit rating gives us 1/120.109%, so we need 961 hit to reach this, or 841 for draenei.
The consensus is that it is better to be slightly over than slightly under the hit cap
Attack Power
Raw attack power is going to be rare, but still exists for some enchants, Pure AP is the slightly better than crit/haste/mastery point for point.

Crit
Almost all abilities crit for 200% damage, or 206% damage with a [Chaotic Shadowspirit Diamond]. Some exceptions include Explosive Trap and Serpent Sting which uses spell crit damage (and crit chance) – 150%, or immolation trap which cannot crit.
Mastery
Mastery affects all damage done by our pet, including Kill Command, and each point of mastery increases pet damage by 1.7%. Mastery beats haste hands down.
Haste
Haste affects both the speed of your shots (cobra and auto) and your rate of focus regeneration. You need 128.057 haste rating to get 1% haste. Haste effects generally scale multiplicatively. If you have 32% haste from gear, 3% from Pathing, and Rapid Fire, a base casting time of X would now be X/1.32/1.03/1.4. Procs that increase haste rating will stack additively with your total haste rating value (32% in this example). Focus regeneration appears to be a base of 4 focus per second scaling multiplicatively with haste; i.e. 30% haste would be 4*1.3=5.2 fps. You will likely not see a huge increase in focus regen from upgrading gear. Haste is further devalued with the 2t13 bonus, as we will be using CoS a lot less.
Mastery or Haste?
First you should reforge to hit cap (961 rating if you are not a Draenei), as close as possible, from any of the other 3 secondary stats.
Haste/Mastery: Reforge Haste to Crit unless Mastery is significantly higher than haste (40-60% higher), then reforge Mastery to Crit.
Crit/Haste: Reforge Haste to Mastery
Crit/Mastery: Don’t do anything

Enchants

Head: [Arcanum of the Ramkahen] (Ramkahen Revered)
Shoulders: [Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal] (Therazane Exalted) or Swiftsteel Inscription (Scribes only)
Cloak: [Enchant Cloak – Major Agility]
Chest: [Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats]
Wrist: [Enchant Bracer – Agility] or Draconic Embossment – Agility (Leatherworkers only)
Gloves: [Enchant Gloves – Major Agility]
Legs: [Dragonscale Leg Armor]
Boots: [Enchant Boots – Assassin’s Step] (if not using [Fleet Shadowspirit Diamond]. Movement speed is somewhat less powerful as a DPS increase in the age of Aspect of the Fox as well.) [Enchant Boots – Major Agility]
Two-Hand Weapon: [Enchant 2H Weapon – Mighty Agility]
Ranged: [Flintlocke’s Woodchucker] outperforms the others by a fair margin. Alternatively [Gnomish X-Ray Scope] or [R19 Threatfinder]

Nota Bene! The three enchants here that use Wrath of the Lich King mats are not cheap alternatives to Cataclysm enchants. They are on par with or superior to the Cataclysm alternatives.

Gems

Gem choices are fairly obvious now that our only viable meta gem is [Agile Shadowspirit Diamond]. Agility is more than twice as valuable as any secondary stat, so with superior quality gems the only socket bonuses worth picking up are those that give 20 agility or more. For example, the tier helmet and chest. Other sockets can safely be filled with [Delicate Inferno Ruby] with socket bonuses ignored.

Conclusion

In conclusion, mastering the Beast Mastery spec requires a blend of strategic pet management, optimal talent builds, and precise execution of rotation priorities. We hope that this Cataclysm Classic Beast Mastery Hunter PvE Guide has helped answer some of your questions regarding this spec!

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