The Beast Mastery Hunter is one of World of Warcraft’s major ranged damage-dealing classes. It fulfills the fantasy of the beast master or huntsman, with most of its abilities interacting heavily with the hero's animal companion. In this Beast Mastery Hunter guide, you’ll find that the specialisation offers a very powerful and straightforward approach to damage-dealing that can appeal to any kind of player that enjoys a pure offensive role.
In Legion, Blizzard made a radical revamp to the Hunter class, aiming to further differentiate the several Hunter specialisations. The classic pet-assisted ranged combat gameplay that has been associated with the Hunter class over the years is now the exclusive domain of the Beast Mastery specialisation, although now - more than ever - it's focused on pet damage unleashed via Hunter-controlled abilities.
In this Beast Mastery Hunter guide, we’re going to make specific recommendations on the talents you should choose as you level up - talents that, once you hit the level cap, can be tweaked to serve you perfectly well for the endgame as well. We will also introduce you to the optimal rotations and strategy for this playstyle, so you use all your abilities to their greatest effectiveness. We'll also advise you on the best way to spend your artifact power once you get the Beast Mastery Artifact Weapon, Titanstrike.
As the expansion progresses, we’ll update this guide with gearing and general loot recommendations, and offer some suggestions that will help you play your Beast Mastery Hunter like a pro.
Editor’s note: Update #1 - The latest patct brought few changes of note to this specialisation. It is, however, worth pointing out the addition of the Tier 3 Trailblazer talent across Hunters in general, replacing our previously favorite levelling mobility ability, Dash. While clearly aimed at solving the shortcomings of the Survival Hunter, it is nonetheless a very good quality-of-life increase to have while levelling and questing as Beast Mastery, and so we have included it in our levelling build. We have updated our talent section accordingly.
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Beast Mastery talents
First of all, here's a quick look at all of the talent choices you have at your disposal as a Beast Mastery Hunter. You'll find our preferred picks just beneath, along with a brief explanation of why we've made the choices that we've made.
|Level||Option 1||Option 2||Option 3|
|15||Big Game Hunter - Increases the critical strike chance of your auto shot and Cobra Shot by 50% on targets who are above 80% health.||Way of the Cobra - Cobra Shot deals 8% increased damage for every pet or guardian you have active.||Dire Stable - Dire Beast / Frenzy generate 12 additional Focus.|
|30||Stomp - Casting Dire Beast deals moderate Physical damage to all nearby enemies.||Dire Frenzy - Replaces Dire Beast, causing your pet to enter a frenzy, performing a flurry of 5 attacks on the target, and gaining 30% increased attack speed for 8 sec, stacking up to 3 times.||Chimaera Shot - A new ability that deals high damage. It can hit up to 2 targets that are close to each other, and it generates 10 Focus for each target hit.|
|45||Posthaste - Causes Disengage to free you from all movement-impairing effects and boost your movement speed by 60% for 8 seconds.||Farstrider - Causes your critical strikes to have a 10% chance to reset the cooldown of Disengage .||Trailblazer - Your movement speed is increased by 25% anytime you have not attacked for 3 seconds.|
|60||One with the Pack - your auto shot critical strikes now have a 35% chance to reset the cooldown on Dire Beast (up from 20% without this talent).||Bestial Fury - Increases the damage bonus of Bestial Wrath by an additional 15%, making it 35%.||Blink Strikes - Increases the damage of your pet’s basic attacks by 50%, also allowing it to instantly teleport behind the target. It can do this every 20 seconds.|
|75||Binding Shot - Fires an arrow at a targeted location on the ground. If an enemy comes within 5 yards of the arrow, and then steps more than 5 yards away from it again, they will be stunned for 5 seconds.||Wyvern Sting - Puts the target to sleep for 30 seconds, or until damaged.||Intimidation - Is a standard 3-second stun on a 1-minute cooldown.|
|90||A Murder of Crows - Summons a flock of crows to attack your target for 15 seconds, with a 1-minute cooldown. If the target dies while under attack, its cooldown is reset.||Barrage - This ability deals high to moderate damage to all enemies in a frontal cone area, over 3 seconds. It is canceled if you use other abilities during those 3 seconds.||Volley - When you activate this ability, you spend 3 Focus per second, and your auto shots also launch a volley of shots that deal moderate damage to all targets within 8 yards in front of you. The area of effect is thinner than Barrage’s.|
|100||Stampede - Summons a herd of beasts to charge towards your target, dealing very high damage to all enemies in their path for 12 seconds.||Killer Cobra - Causes your Cobra Shot to reset the cooldown of Kill Command while Bestial Wrath is active.||Aspect of the Beast - Taking this will add a permanent boost to your pet’s Kill Command attacks. Ferocity pets will gain a bleed effect, dealing damage over time to enemies. Tenacity pets will gain damage reduction, and Cunning pets will slow their targets.|
Beast Mastery Hunter talent build
We advise a Beast Mastery build for leveling over the other Hunter specializations because it features a simple and easy to learn rotation - as opposed to the more complex Survival spec - while being extremely mobile (much more so than the Marksmanship spec).
The end result is a smoother, faster overall experience. It is, however, completely viable to level a Hunter as any other specialization if you prefer! While this guide is focused on the Beast Mastery spec, we will soon add other specs to our general Hunter guide.
|15||Dire Stable - Dire Beast / Frenzy generate 12 additional Focus.||More Focus generation means less downtime, resulting in faster leveling. Big Game Hunter doesn’t have enough uptime on smaller targets than make up the bulk of questing.|
|30||Stomp - Casting Dire Beast deals moderate Physical damage to all nearby enemies.||A good damage boost to a constant ability in your rotation, less situational than the other two choices.|
|45||Trailblazer - Your movement speed is increased by 25% anytime you have not attacked for 3 seconds.||Added in patch 7.1, this is an excellent quality-of-life perk to have while questing, massively decreasing your downtime.|
|60||Bestial Fury - Increases the damage bonus of Bestial Wrath by an additional 15%, making it 35%.||A flat increase to an ability that you’ll use nearly every fight. One with the Pack should be superior only if you have a very high critical strike rating, which should not be the case while leveling.|
|75||Binding Shot - Fires an arrow at a targeted location on the ground. If an enemy comes within 5 yards of the arrow, and then steps more than 5 yards away from it again, they will be stunned for 5 seconds.||While a bit fiddly to use, this gives you a good edge when facing a group of enemies over a long range. It should not be part of your rotation, but you should open with it if your targets have reasonable ground to cover once engaged.|
|90||A Murder of Crows - Summons a flock of crows to attack your target for 15 seconds, with a 1-minute cooldown. If the target dies while under attack, its cooldown is reset.||All talents in this group are great, but this one has the edge. While questing, targets tend to die quickly, so this will almost always have its cooldown reset, and therefore fits very nicely into your rotation.|
|100||Aspect of the Beast - Taking this will add a permanent boost to your pet’s Kill Command attacks. Ferocity pets will gain a bleed effect, dealing damage over time to enemies. Tenacity pets will gain damage reduction, and Cunning pets will slow their targets.||Again, a permanent boost to one of your staple rotation abilities. Just make sure you use your pet in the Ferocity specialization while questing. If you’d rather have your pet in tanking (Tenacity) mode, go with Stampede instead, and use it at the start of each fight if off cooldown.|
Beast Mastery Hunter rotation
The Hunter’s rotation is centered around managing the class' exclusive Focus resource, which is used to fuel its most important attacks and is regenerated at a constant rate. Some special abilities accelerate the regeneration rate.
Your aim with the rotation should be to keep your focus up so you can always use your main abilities ( A Murder of Crows, Kill Command and Dire Beast) once they come out of cooldown, while never actually reaching maximum focus - since the regeneration is continuous, hitting max focus means you will be wasting resources.
To achieve this you should balance focus spenders with focus regenerators, and be ready to use Cobra Shot to dump any extra focus if you come close to your upper limit.
Beast Mastery Hunter - Single target rotation
|2.||Aspect of the Wild||If Bestial Wrath is active and the fight will last for at least 1 minute.|
|3.||A Murder of Crows|
|6.||Auto-attack||If the abilities above are on cool down and under 90 Focus|
|7.||Cobra Shot||If you have over 90 Focus|
|8.||Repeat from Step 1|
Beast Mastery Hunter - Multiple target rotation
Your main priority in the multiple target rotation is still to manage Focus, but in addition to that you should cast Multi-Shot whenever needed to keep the Beast Cleave buff up - this is your main source of damage against groups of mobs.
|2.||Aspect of the Wild||If Bestial Wrath is active and the fight will last for at least 1 minute.|
|3.||Multi-Shot||If no Beast Cleave buff, or Beast Cleave with 2 seconds or less remaining.|
|6.||Auto-attack||If the abilities above are on cooldown and under 90 Focus|
|7.||Multi-Shot||If over 90 Focus and Beast Cleave with 2 seconds or less remaining.|
|8.||Cobra Shot||If you have over 90 Focus.|
|9.||Repeat from Step 1|
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Beast Mastery Hunter Artifact and Relics
The Beast Mastery Hunter's Artifact Weapon is Titanstrike, which gives you access to a second pet called Hati that will mirror the basic commands you give to your core pet. While Hati is not a fully-fledged pet, you can make it very much like one via your first major Artifact Trait.
Our recommendations for how to best progress along your Artifact Trait tree, which you will find below, are laser-focused on unlocking your three major (golden) traits as quickly as possible. Titanstrike is quite linear in its upgrade path, and unlike most classes you will have to make few concessions to "not-so-good" traits while on the path, as the major traits are for the most part locked behind useful minor traits.
Our single greatest concession amounts to leaving the Spiting Cobras minor trait for you to unlock after all the major traits. We do this because, although Spitting Cobras is a good damage increase to your focus-dumping Cobra Shot, if you follow our rotation recommendations then you will rarely have excess Focus, and should almost always have something more productive to do with your resource.
Once you reach level 110 you will have the chance to reset your Artifact Power and start over, but you should avoid doing so, as the cost increases with the amount of Artifact Power you have already invested. There should really be no need for that anyway, as the Titanstrike's upgrade path is pretty much cut and dry.
The main value of Relics is to increase your Artifact’s item level. The extra traits are usually a nice bonus, but should not be your main focus. If two relics have the same item level, or are less than 5 item levels apart, you’ll want to prioritise the one whose trait offers a greater ability damage increase, in this order:
- Furious Swipes
- Pack Leader
- Jaws of Thunder
- Spitting Cobras
- Unleash the Beast
- Wilderness Expert
|1||Focus of the Titans||This starts our Artifact progression off nicely with a significant buff to our multiple target rotation, and puts us on the path to the first and most important major trait.|
|2||Mimiron's Shell||A slight survivability increase, the only reason we're getting this now is to progress further into the tree.|
|3||Jaws of Thunder||A small chance for a DPS increase on one of our main rotation abilities.|
|4||Master of Beasts||This first major trait turns Hati into an almost fully-fledged pet, considerably increasing his damage contribution.|
|5||Furious Swipes||Yet another boost to your multiple target rotation, this increases your Beast's cleave damage.|
|6||Unleash the Beast||A flat damage increase to Bestial Wrath, a cooldown which you'll want to maximize the uptime of.|
|7||Surge of the Stormgod||The chance of this activating is quite high (about 25% according to research from the community) and it results in a high damage increase when fighting multiple targets.|
|8||Pathfinder||Being able to access your speed boost more often is a small quality-of-life improvement, as we make our way to the last major trait.|
|9||Pack Leader||A straightforward damage increase to one of your most used spells.|
|10||Wilderness Expert||A small increase to one of your damage cooldowns, it's not going to set the world on fire but it's not bad either. It's also the last step before our final major trait.|
|11||Titan's Thunder||Your final major trait, this gives you another button to press, one that deals a considerable amount of damage to your target. It's easy to fit into any rotation: use it as soon as it's available, immediately following Dire Beast, and make sure its 8-second duration overlaps with Dire Beast's 8-second lifespan.|
|12||Spitting Cobras||A nice, flat damage increase to your Focus-dumping ability.|
|13||Spirit Bond||A decent amount of semi-passive healing, increasing your survivability.|
|14||Natural Reflexes||Yet another passive survivability increase.|
|15||Hunter's Advantage||A great increase to your pet's survivability when tanking, this can help you escape some pretty tricky situations.|
This concludes our Beast Mastery Hunter guide. Future updates will include stat and gear advice, as well as some talent tweaks for raiding and Mythic+ time attacks. Until then, please leave your suggestions and experiences in the comments below!