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World of Warcraft: Legion: Survival Hunter guide (7.1.5)

Our freshly updated guide to playing the newest Hunter specialization in WOW.

Hunter being the target of the most drastic class overhaul this tiume around, Survival Hunters are now a very differet proposition from that of past expansions, having transitioned from a purely ranged role to melee-only. While it is an excellent damage-dealing specialisation, its complexity has often led to players to underperform somewhat, granting the spec an undeservedly bad reputation. Never fear though - this Survival Hunter guide will put you on the right track.

The Survival Hunter specialisation is now centered around the Mongoose Bite skill, an attack with 3 charges and a 12-second cooldown. This attack interacts with several other attacks and abilities, leading to the dreaded playstyle complexity. Our focus with this guide will be to simplify the playstyle as much as possible, while avoiding cutting corners that result in significant damage-per-second loss.

The Survival Hunter sits somewhere between the Beast Mastery and Marksmanship Hunters in terms of pet efficiency. Your pet is an important source of damage, but the majority of your damage will still come from your own actions and skills. There is no real pet recommendation that will significantly affect your damage output here. Instead, we recommend you set your pet’s specialization as “Tenacity” for levelling and World Quest content, and “Ferocity” for group content.

In this Survival Hunter guide, we will recommend a simple talent build for levelling and running end-game content, as well as an explanation of Survival’s combat mechanics, along with a clear rotation that you can implement in any situation.

In the next update of this guide, we’ll detail the optimal Artifact Weapon upgrade path, and include a table detailing the effects of each primary and secondary stat on your character build, so you can make well-informed gearing choices.

All articles in this series

Survival Hunter talent build

This talent choice combines the advantages of a simplified playstyle with healthy boosts to your main melee abilities and the very important Explosive Trap. It should serve you well for questing, dungeon-running and heroic raiding. Mythic raiding might require some extra optimisation and is beyond the current scope of this guide.

Level Talent Option Reason for Choice
15 Animal Instincts - Flanking Strike also reduces the remaining cooldown by 3 sec of a random one of the following abilities: Flanking Strike, Mongoose Bite, Aspect of the Eagle, Harpoon. We will be using Flanking Strike and all the other abilities constantly (except Harpoon which can be very useful but is a situational tool), so this choice is a no-brainer.
30 A Murder of Crows - Summons a flock of crows to attack your target over the next 15 sec. If the target dies while under attack, A Murder of Crows' cooldown is reset. Unbeatable while questing, this is also the talent that performs more consistently well in endgame activities.
45 Posthaste - Harpoon also frees you from all movement impairing effects and increases your movement speed by 60% for 5 sec. A crucial choice, as it helps lessen the Survival Hunter’s greatest weakness: movement-heavy fights.
60 Guerrilla Tactic - Explosive Trap deals 50% more damage, and Waylay's effects are further strengthened. Freezing Trap will not break due to damage for the first 6 sec. Tar Trap reduces enemy's' movement speed by 90% for the first 4 sec. Explosive Trap causes the target to miss their next 2 melee attacks. We’re getting this chiefly for the huge increase in Explosive Trap’s damage. The bonuses to the Waylay mechanic are nice to have, but the mechanic itself is still too quirky and cumbersome to be effectively used for anything other than questing and PvP content.
75 Ranger's Net - Hurls a net at the enemy, rooting the target for 3 sec and reducing movement speed by 50% for 15 sec. Damage may break the effect. The best of a lackluster tier, don’t dwell too much here, and feel free to choose any one of the others if you fancy them more.
90 Serpent Sting - Targets hit by your Raptor Strike and Carve are also affected by Serpent Sting, dealing high Nature damage over 15 sec. A good boost to the damage from your filler abilities.
100 Expert Trapper - All of your traps are improved. When Freezing Trap's incapacitate effect ends, the victim and all nearby enemies' movement speed is reduced by 50% for 4 sec. Explosive Trap's damage to the triggering enemy is increase by 75%. Enemies moving through Tar Trap have a chance to be rooted in place for 4 sec. Your Steel Trap also deals immediate, high Bleed damage when triggered. Increases Caltrops damage by 50%. Again, the chief reason for this choice is the big boost to Explosive Trap damage. That said, while the other traps don’t figure into our recommended rotation, you shouldn’t ignore them altogether. Use them to set up the battlefield to your advantage before attacking enemies while on world or leveling quests.

More WOW class guides:

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Blood Death Knight guideHavoc Demon Hunter guideBalance Druid guide
Frost Death Knight guideVengeance Demon Hunter guideFeral Druid guide
Unholy Death Knight guide-Guardian Druid guide
--Restoration Druid guide
Beast Mastery Hunter guideArcane Mage guideBrewmaster Monk guide
Marksmanship Hunter guideFire Mage guideMistweaver Monk guide
Survival Hunter guideFrost Mage guideWindwalker Monk guide
Holy Paladin guideHoly Priest guideAssassination Rogue guide
Protection Paladin guideDiscipline Priest guideOutlaw Rogue guide
Retribution Paladin guideShadow Priest guideSubtlety Rogue guide
Elemental Shaman guideAffliction Warlock guideArms Warrior guide
Enhancement Shaman guideDemonology Warlock guideFury Warrior guide
Restoration Shaman guideDestruction Warlock guideProtection Warrior guide

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Survival Hunter rotation

Playing Survival doesn’t have to be as hard as most make it out to be. Just try to keep track of how many charges of Mongoose Bite you have, along with how many stacks of the Mongoose Fury self-buff you have, and don’t run out of Focus, your main resource. Learn to juggle these three things and you’ll be at 80% effectiveness - the rest is mostly a question of practice and tweaking.

This rotation is the same regardless of the number of targets you're facing, with the notable exception of switching your “filler” ability. Details are in the right column at the appropriate steps.

Action Condition / Further Instructions
1 Fury of the Eagle (level 100 Artifact Ability) If you have 6 stacks of the Mongoose Fury buff.
2 Aspect of the Eagle If you have 0-1 charges of Mongoose Bite and Mongoose Bite’s cooldown is 4+ seconds and the fight will last over 1 minute longer.
3 A Murder of Crows
4 Mongoose Bite If you have 2 charges or more.
5 Flanking Strike
6 Explosive Trap Either target it at enemy’s feet, or move slightly back so it triggers it.
7 Lacerate
8 Mongoose Bite If you have less than 2 charges.
9 Raptor Strike If you can do none of the above and you are facing a single target.
10 Carve If you can do none of the above and you are facing two or more targets.
11 Repeat from Step 1.

This concludes the first iteration of our Survival Hunter guide! The next update will introduce an Artifact upgrade section, as well as an overview of the primary and secondary stats and how you should balance them with your gear.

Did we miss anything? Please help us out by giving us your feedback via the comments section just below!

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