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The Best Survival Hunter PvE DPS build

The Best Survival Hunter PvE DPS build

Top Tier Hunter DPS build for World of Warcraft Raids in Patch 8.2.0

Survival Hunter PvE DPS Build
Odealo's Pocket Guide
Updated for Patch 8.2.0

You can find all our Pocket Guides for other World of Warcraft classes right here: Best WoW Builds

Spec Overview

Survival Hunter is currently the second best DPS class in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. It ranks #2 on our WoW DPS Tier List  Unlike the other two Hunter's specializations, Survival is melee and offers unparalleled mobility for a melee character. At the same time, it has a very high single-target and AoE DPS and is one of the most well-rounded classes in World of Warcraft. Survival Hunter can also control Pets, and you can time your powerful attacks with them. Survival Hunter utilizes two-handed weapons, mainly Spears and Staves, and if you decide to min-max your build, it appears that Gnome race leads by a small margin on the DPS charts. 

 Pros  Cons
 Very high burst AoE damage  Hectic AoE rotation
 High single-target DPS  You will never find a room for two Survival Hunters in a Raid party
 Amazing mobility for a melee class  Mediocre defenses compared to other melee classes
 Easy and powerful single-target rotation  
 Decent crowd-control  

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Statistics Priority

  1. Agility - your basic attribute which increases Attack Damage and the damage of most of the Survival Hunter's abilities
  1. Haste - by far the best secondary attribute for a Survival Hunter. It increases the Attack Speed of your character and your Pet, as well as, reduces the cooldown on some of your attributes
  1. Critical Strike - grants increased chance to Critically Hit with your attacks and abilities dealing double damage
  1. Versatility - increases all your damage done, and reduces all damage taken
  1. Mastery - increases the damage you deal with abilities that cost focus and also provides moderate self-healing


The Best Talent Choices

Alpha Predator
Level 15: 
Recommended choice - Alpha Predator
Alpha PredatorAlpha Predator - which gives your Kill CommandKill Command two charges, and causes it to deal 30% increased damage. It's one of the two recommended options on this tier, while it provides the highest DPS in the hands of a more experienced player, it is slightly more difficult to master than playing with Viper's VenomViper's Venom.
Viper's VenomViper's Venom is another viable choice on this tier. It gives your Raptor StrikeRaptor Strike a chance to cause your next Serpent StingSerpent Sting free and do an additional 250% damage initially. It's fairly easy to use and fits into most of the possible situations, making it a more suitable choice for general usage. Terms of EngagementTerms of Engagement, on the other hand, increases the damage of HarpoonHarpoon and makes it generate 20 Focus over 10 seconds. It has no use in higher tier content, but can be very useful during leveling and exploring.
Guerrilla Tactics
Level 30: 
Recommended choice - Guerrilla Tactics
Guerrilla TacticsGuerrilla Tactics - which causes your Wildfire BombWildfire Bomb to have two additional charges and deal 100% increased damage, is the best choice on this Tier. It is the best choice for both single-target DPS and when burst AoE damage is required.
Hydra's BiteHydra's Bite shines when you can apply multiple poisons using Serpent's StingSerpent Sting combined with Latent PoisonLatent Poison. However, it has greatly reduced usability in short fights and when you have to deal with multiple targets. ButcheryButchery is a decent AoE attack which helps you deal with multiple enemies instantaneously. 

Level 45: 
Recommended choice - Natural Mending
Natural Mending - Reduces the remaining cooldown of Hunter's Exhilaration by one second for each 20 Focus you spend on abilities; This gives you on average a 30 seconds cooldown reduction. This grants very good self-healing in Raids and Mythic+ Dungeons boosting your survivability greatly
Trailblazer increases your movement speed by 30% if you have not attacked for 3 seconds which is a nice mobility bonus between packs, but in general quite useless in actual encounters. Camouflage grants healing over time and puts you into stealth for one minute. It grants considerably less healing compared to Natural Mending and is usually used in PvP builds
Level 60: 
Recommended choice - Bloodseeker
BloodseekerBloodseeker - causes your Kill CommandKill Command to inflict bleeding on your target for 8 seconds, and increases your (and your Pet's) attack speed by 10% for every bleeding enemy. It is the single best pick for this Tier which is useful in all types of situations. It makes you deal considerably more damage than other Talents here, and it truly shines in fights against several targets
Steel TrapSteel Trap deals a moderate amount of damage and immobilizes your target for 20 seconds. It deals way less damage than Bloodseeker, and can only be considered as a crowd-control skill. On the other hand, A Murder of CrowsA Murder of Crows has near to none usability, making it only viable during leveling and open world farming when the cooldown reset makes it a valid choice.
Level 75: 
Recommended choice - Posthaste
Posthaste - Using Disengage will remove all movement impairing effects and grant 50% increased movement speed for a short duration. It's our recommended Talent choice for this tier which grants decent mobility bonuses and greatly helps out with repositioning yourself.
Born to be Wild reduces the cooldowns of Aspect of the Cheetah and Aspect of the Turtle which is the best option when it comes to pure mobility. Binding Shot is an AoE snare which lets you snare multiple enemies if they move 5 yards away from the position of the arrow. Since it is no longer an AoE stun, it has greatly reduced utility and is very situational.
Mongoose Bite
Level 90: 
Recommended choice - Mongoose Bite
Mongoose BiteMongoose Bite - replaces Raptor StrikeRaptor Strike and becomes a powerful attack that deals increased damage with each consecutive hit, stacking up to 5 times. This scales greatly with high Attack Speed/Haste making it the best pick on this tier. It works best during single-target fights.
Tip of the SpearTip of the Spear causes Kill CommandKill Command to increase the damage of your Raptor StrikeRaptor Strike by 20%, stacking up to three times. Overall, a very competitive choice when it comes to DPS in both AoE and single-target fights, however, we find it more suitable with characters with slightly lower Haste Rating. Flanking StrikeFlanking Strike makes you and your pet charge on your target dealing high burst damage. It can be found useful in Mythic+ Dungeons. It could also be used in PvP to finish off your enemies, but in general, it grants significantly less DPS than Mongoose BiteMongoose Bite.
Wildfire Infusion
Level 100: 
Recommended choice - Wildfire Infusion
Wildfire InfusionWildfire Infusion - casting Wildfire BombWildfire Bomb makes your next cast have an additional effect. It grants the highest bonus DPS out of all Talents on this tier and since you can see which bonus you got, you can adjust your rotation accordingly for optimal performance.
Birds of PreyBirds of Prey makes your Raptor StrikeRaptor Strike and CarveCarve increase the duration of Coordinated AssaultCoordinated Assault by 1.5 seconds with each cast. This is the preferred choice if it comes to solely increase your single-target DPS. ChakramsChakrams, on the other hand, is a decent AoE/cleave ability, however, because of high cost and cooldown, it's not recommended.


Basic Survival Hunter Rotation

Survival Hunter's rotation may seem complex at first because of various effects Wildfire InfusionWildfire Infusion can have, and how it's affected by Alpha PredatorAlpha Predator. If you have played other builds, you may see how it affects the decision making for Survival Hunters.

Use the following priority list to maximize your Single Target Damage output:

  1. Coordinated Assault should be always cast at the beginning of your fight. It's your primary offensive cooldown
Coordinated Assault
  1. Serpent Sting should be used whenever the DoT falls off

Serpent Sting

  1. Wildfire Bomb should be used when it's close to reaching two stacks. For additional effects when using Wildfire InfusionWildfire Infusion you can read below
Wildfire Bomb
  1. Mongoose Bite which is your core rotational ability. It should be heavily prioritized if you have five stacks of Mongoose BiteMongoose Fury
Mongoose Bite
  1. Kill Command should be used to put it on cooldown and generate extra Focus. Remember to dump it into extra casts of Mongoose BiteMongoose Bite if you are lucky with the cooldown resets
Kill Command ⇒ Mongoose Bite
  1. Reapply Serpent Sting when it's about to expire
Serpent Sting
  1. Use Wildfire Bomb when there is nothing else to do. Remember to take into consideration the extra effect
Wildfire Bomb
  • Volatile Bomb refreshes your Serpent StingSerpent Sting cooldown, and it should be used shortly before its DoT is about to expire or when you are about to reach two stacks of Wildfire BombWildfire BombNot reaching two stacks should be one of your priorities
Volatile Bomb ⇒ Serpent Sting
  • Shrapnel Bomb causes Raptor StrikeRaptor Strike/Mongoose BiteMongoose Bite to inflict bleeding that can stack up to three times. It should be used if you have at least 60 Focus to make sure that you can apply all three stacks during its effect
Shrapnel Bomb ⇒ Mongoose Bite
  • Pheromone Bomb coats enemies in Pheromones, giving your Kill CommandKill Command a 100% chance to reset cooldown when used against affected enemies. It should be used when you want to build up Focus or when there is nothing else to do in your rotation. Just make sure you dump excess Focus on Mongoose BiteMongoose Bite before using it
Mongoose Bite ⇒ Pheromone Bomb ⇒ Kill Command
Multiple Targets Rotation is very similar to your single-target rotation, just make sure to:
  1. Apply Serpent Sting's DoT on every enemy you are fighting
Serpent Sting
  1. Follow up the same rules when using Wildfire Bomb, just make sure that you have both (all preferably all the other) enemies in the radius of your Wildfire Bomb
Wildfire Bomb
  1. Use Carve for good AoE/cleave damage and to reduce your Wildfire BombWildfire Bomb's cooldown
  1. Use Kill Command whenever off-cooldown to generate Focus since multi-target fights are much more demanding in that matter
Kill Command
Survival Hunter's offensive cooldowns:
  1. Coordinated Assault is your primary offensive cooldown and should be used whenever you engage enemies
Coordinated Assault
  1. Aspect of the Eagle increases the range of your attacks which increases your DPS in fights against multiple targets and where repositioning is required
Aspect of the Eagle
Survival Hunter's offensive cooldowns:
  1. Exhilaration is very solid self-healing ability which greatly increases your survivability in Radis and Mythic+ Dungeons
  1. Aspect of the Turtle is Survival Hunter's core defensive cooldown. It makes you immune to most attacks and abilities and reduces your damage taken by 30%. However, during its effect, you are unable to attack
Aspect of the Turtle
  1. Survival of the Fittest is a very solid defensive ability which reduces all damage taken by you and your pets by 20% for 6 seconds
Survival of the Fittest
Survival Hunter's utility cooldowns:
  1. Aspect of the Cheetah grants increased movement speed. Initially, it grants a very strong burst followed by a smaller one
Aspect of the Cheetah
  1. Feign Death allows you to drop threat from enemies and avoid some of the skills targeting you
Feign Death
  1. Flare reveals stealth and invisible enemies
  1. Mend Pet heals your Pet for 35% of its total life
Mend Pet
  1. Tar Trap is a very powerful AoE slow
Tar Trap
  1. Muzzle interrupts spell casting and prevents spells from the same school to be cast in the next 3 seconds
  1. Intimidation commands your Pet to stun a single-target for 5 seconds
  1. Misdirection allows you to redirect the threat from you to a selected party member (or your pet). It is a great Raid/team utility skill which can help you manage adds
  1. Harpoon makes you jump to your target and root it in place


Tips and Tricks for Improving your Gameplay

  1. Learn how to manage your primary Resource - Focus. Never run on capped Focus, nor have it too low to pop in your cooldowns when needed. Excess Focus is best spent on Mongoose BiteMongoose Bite
  1. Make sure to understand the core mechanics of each fight and how to use your defensive cooldowns. Survival Hunter offers middling defensive capabilities for a melee class
  1. Try to never fight with two stacks of Wildfire BombWildfire Bomb, always make sure you can it regardless of your rotation whenever it's getting close
  1. Always analyze and try to improve upon your mistakes, because practice makes perfect

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This is the premiere version of our Survival Hunter Pocket Guide. We plan to upgrade it and add further sections. If you feel like the guide is missing certain important aspects, or you would like to leave your feedback, you can do that in the comments below. We will appreciate your contribution including constructive criticism if it helps us improve our content. 

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