I’ve noticed somewhat of a lack of information out there regarding Beast Mastery. Not many people talk about it and it’s often dismissed since Marksmanship is the raiding spec of choice for the majority of Hunters. Personally, it’s all I’ve really been playing in Legion, so I thought it would be worthwhile to answer some of the most common questions people have about the spec in regards to PvE content. If I miss anything, ask in the comments and I’ll either answer there or add it to the FAQ if necessary. Most of this info is also covered in my Wowhead BM guide, but some may prefer it in this format instead.
At the bottom you’ll also find a guide for how to sim your own personal stat weights (which is always a lot better than using weights you find elsewhere).
This FAQ will be kept up to date as new patches and hotfixes are released.
Last Updated: November 15, 2016 — Added opener, enchants/gems, consumables
- I heard Beast Mastery was terrible. Can I play it?
- What are Beast Mastery’s strengths and weaknesses?
- What is the best pet?
- What are some cool looking pets I can tame?
- What is the best talent build?
- What is the priority/rotation?
- What’s the best opener?
- What’s the best artifact build path?
- What are the best relics?
- What are the best Legendaries?
- Are there any helpful addons for Beast Mastery?
- Are there any good WeakAuras for Beast Mastery?
- Are there any good macros for Beast Mastery?
- What do I do when my pet gets stuck in combat?! HELP!
- What is the best in slot gear for Beast Mastery?
- What are the best Beast Mastery trinkets?
- What are the best enchants and gems for Beast Mastery?
- What are the best consumables for Beast Mastery?
- What’s the stat priority / stat weights for Beast Mastery?
- How do I find my own personal stat weights and use them to compare gear?
No, it’s not. And yes, you can.
- Good for progression. No movement restrictions means you can learn the mechanics without sacrificing much DPS.
- Solid single target and priority target damage (with the right talents and 26+ traits).
- Excellent AoE and cleave damage if targets are stacked up.
- Fun and impactful legendaries.
- All those cool pets!
- Not quite as good for post-progression raiding. Once all the other ranged classes learn the fights, know when to plan out their movements, etc. their DPS will rise more than yours. You’ll still always have room to improve, but it may not be as much as some other classes. You may find yourself at or near the top of the charts for progression, but dropping to middle of the pack for farm nights.
- No spread cleave capability. Targets have to be within 12 yards of your primary to get hit by Beast Cleave, and currently Barrage is not a great choice for BM.
- Not good for fights where adds spawn a far distance from the boss because of pet travel time. They have to be within 25 yards for the Kill Command teleport to work.
- Single target DPS outside of Bestial Wrath is fairly weak (though you do spend about 40% of your time in Bestial Wrath on average).
Short answer: Get a Sporebat.
Long answer: Just make sure your pet is in Ferocity spec for dungeons and raids. I recommend keeping a pet with blood lust (like a Core Hound) and a pet with battle rez (like a Quilen) in your active pet list at all times. With the huge focus on dungeons this expansion, being able to provide blood lust and a battle rez is incredibly useful. The Spirit Beast heal has been nerfed to be completely useless, so don’t worry about keeping one around except for aesthetics. For doing soloing and world quests, I highly recommend something like a Turtle in Tenacity spec.
- Any of the new Mechanicals added in Legion. I have a complete guide to taming all of them at Wowhead.
- Bulvinkel the Spirit Moose, added in Legion.
- Thok the Bloodthirsty, a raid boss from Siege of Orgrimmar. (Featured in header image)
- Lowland Manashell, a turtle that looks like the raid boss, Tortos. (Featured in header image)
- Check out my previous featured pets from past expansions.
- Browse all pet looks on Petopia.
The above build is the go-to for almost every situation, certainly every current raid encounter. I find that if I start going to the AoE talents the boss damage simply suffers too much. In high level Mythic+ (say 7+) where the trash lives for a long time and you’re doing big pulls (4+ mobs), then Volley is a pretty nice choice for sustained AoE damage. Stampede is also good if you’re trying to do some particularly insane pulls and need everything to die within a couple of stuns. The downside to taking both of these talents is your single target DPS falls off a cliff. We’re talking like a 20% cliff here, but in some cases it might be worth it.
Special note about Stomp: Stomp does not reliably work at long range (more than 30 yards). Sometimes the beast will stomp before it reaches the target, meaning it does no damage. Try to stay under 30 yards when using this talent when possible. (Yes, this is obviously a bug. I’ve been reporting it and trying to get it fixed since Legion Beta. Feel free to pester Blizzard about it!)
This will be updated if our talent choices get improved in patch 7.1.5.
- Use Bestial Wrath on cooldown.
- Use Dire Beast on cooldown.
- Use Kill Command on cooldown.
- When at 90+ Focus, dump extra with Cobra Shot.
That’s the very basic priority list, but of course there’s more to it:
- Plan ahead so that when Bestial Wrath finishes cooldown you are at full or nearly full Focus. This lets you get the most out of the Killer Cobra talent.
- Ignore the 90+ Focus rule during Bestial Wrath if you’re using Killer Cobra. Spend your Focus as fast as possible with that talent. Squeeze in every possible Kill Command.
- A Murder of Crows is super high priority. Don’t sit on it for long, but it is acceptable to wait ~10 sec or so if Bestial Wrath is coming up.
- When Bestial Wrath and Dire Beast finish their cooldown around the same time, always always cast Bestial Wrath first. This is so you get the 15s cooldown reduction from Dire Beast.
- If Dire Beast is ready, and Bestial Wrath has less than 3-4 sec left on its cooldown, hold off on Dire Beast until after Bestial Wrath. Anything more than 4 sec, just use Dire Beast right away.
- Titan’s Thunder should be used as much as possible, but the best way to use it is either immediately after summoning a Dire Beast, or during Bestial Wrath.
- Aspect of the Wild should always be stacked with Bestial Wrath, and used as much as possible with that consideration.
For AoE DPS, swap out Cobra Shot with Multi-Shot. If there are 2-3 targets, you should still take advantage of Killer Cobra as much as possible. Try to do one Multi-Shot for every Cobra->Kill Command combo as an example. Outside of Killer Cobra just make sure to keep Beast Cleave up at all times.
If there’s 4+ targets (and you have Master of Beasts + Surge of the Stormgod traits), you can drop Kill Command from the rotation and spend all your Focus on spamming Multi-Shots. This doesn’t apply if one of your targets is high priority — in that case you should still be Kill Commanding it when you can.
This is the one I personally like to use.
- A Murder of Crows
- Bestial Wrath
- Dire Beast
- Titan’s Thunder
- Aspect of the Wild
- Kill Command
- Resume normal priority list
Kill Command might seem low, but remember that all of the cooldowns are off the GCD. I like putting Dire Beast first to get the cooldown reduction rolling as early as possible (and to hope for an early Wild Call proc). You could throw Aspect of the Wild in with Bestial Wrath, but I like to wait the extra GCD to avoid focus capping in the opener too much. Shifting these abilities around a bit ultimately isn’t going to affect things much.
- Go directly to Master of Beasts
- Go directly to Surge of the Stormgod
- Go directly to Titan’s Thunder
- Spitting Cobras, Spirit Bond, and whatever’s left.
The goal is to unlock your 3 golden traits ASAP, and this is the quickest way. It’s essentially clockwise around the tree.
Master of Beasts makes Hati duplicate your main pet’s Kill Commands (at 30% damage) and Beast Cleaves (at 75% damage).
Relic traits can sometimes be more valuable than item level upgrades. In some cases, you may want to do something like swap out a heroic raid relic for a mythic dungeon relic simply because it has a better trait.
The item level numbers next to each trait below represent their equivalent value to increasing Titanstrike’s item level, which aids in relic comparisons.
Remember: When I talk about ilvl here, I am talking about the ilvl granted to Titanstrike, NOT the ilvl of the relic item itself!
Top Relic Traits
- Pack Leader (+11 ilvl)
- Jaws of Thunder (+11 ilvl)
- Furious Swipes (about +15-20 ilvl in AoE, depending on target number)
These traits are worth a LOT. The Kill Command ones are equally worth the equivalent of a 11 ilvl upgrade to Titanstrike (even slightly more). The Beast Cleave one is worth as much as a whopping +20 ilvl for AoE damage. What does all this mean? It means that a relic with Pack Leader and +40 ilvl is worth slightly more than a relic with a non-DPS trait (like Mimiron’s Shell) and +50 ilvl. The Beast Cleave one is a bit harder to calculate since it’s not useful at all for single target, but it’s incredible for multi-target. On average I’d value it at about the same as the Kill Command ones.
Mid-tier Relic Traits
These traits are worth in the neighborhood of 1-5 ilvl upgrades to Titanstrike. To give another example, a relic with Pack Leader and +40 ilvl is worth roughly the same as a relic with Unleash the Beast and +46 ilvl. Basically be a toss-up.
Non-DPS Relic Traits
Avoid, avoid, avoid. It’s a trap! The only way relics with these traits are worth it is if they are significant ilvl upgrades. There are simply very few cases where these are worth it. In order to replace a Mythic dungeon relic (840) with a Kill Command trait, you’d need a Mythic raid relic (880) with one of these non-DPS traits. That’s a 40 ilvl gap on the relic itself (or a 12 ilvl difference for Titanstrike).
Best Trait Combo?
For my money, I would go with two Kill Command traits (any combination of Pack Leader or Jaws of Thunder), and one Beast Cleave trait. If you don’t raid and instead focus solely on dungeons, then go for the triple Beast Cleave relics.
Remember, traits matter! This is the polar opposite of how Marksmanship views relics.
Here’s a rough ranking of the Beast Mastery specific legendaries:
- Roar of the Seven Lions
- The Apex Predator’s Claw
- Qa’pla, Eredun War Order and Call of the Wild (pretty much tied)
All four BM-specific legendaries are quite nice. Not all specs in the game can claim that! Roar of the Seven Lions is a fantastic combination with the Killer Cobra talent, and The Apex Predator’s Claw is not only a good DPS boost but gives you nice extra utility. The 30% speed boost and extra pet tankiness without sacrificing DPS is amazing. Qa’pla, Eredun War Order isn’t one I’ve been able to try yet, but in simulations is shows as a pretty nice DPS gain. Normally your priority is to always cast Dire Beast before Kill Command, but with this legendary it might be better off reversing that to fully take advantage. Call of the Wild is nicer than it looks. The extra Aspect of the Wilds are so very nice with the Killer Cobra talent, and now you can use Aspect of the Cheetah and Turtle much more often.
- The Shadow Hunter’s Voodoo Mask: Very nice stats on this item, and now you get a 20% heal every 30 seconds. Not bad if you ask me.
- Roots of Shaladrassil: Again, it has great stats. The heal is pretty decent, but I would prefer the voodoo mask. One of BM’s advantages is to always be moving, and this plays against that.
- Sephuz’s Secret: The dreaded Sephuz. Ugh. So it’s decent in Mythic+ dungeons, but pretty mediocre in raiding. The proc can be triggered by things like Binding Shot, Intimidation, and Wyvern Sting. A tenacity’s pet Charge will also do it. Unfortunately, Concussive Shot does not trigger it. I mean, if it’s one of your two legendaries there’s not much you can do but use it, right? The proc is nice, but you have to use a GCD to trigger it, so you lose 1.5s of that 10s buff immediately. Also if you’re using Binding Shot you have to rely on the mobs moving. It goes without saying you cannot trigger this on bosses (but it will trigger on some of their adds).
- Prydaz, Xavaric’s Magnum Opus: Well, it’s got a socket and lots of Mastery, so that’s nice. The bubble will help you survive some raid mechanics if it’s up, but ultimately all it does is make your healer’s job ever so slightly easier. The best thing about the bubble is you can’t get dazed off your mount while it’s up.
ClassMods is a relatively new addon that was based on JSHB (JS’ Hunter Bar), an addon that is no longer updated. You still get all the old features of JSHB (and some new ones), the main difference being it now supports all classes instead of just Hunters.
It handles timers, alerts, crowd control, and adds a custom health and Focus bar, target bar, easy right-click Misdirection, and more. Everything can be customized and you can even add your own alerts, which are basically just like WeakAuras, only simplified.
If you’re interested in an all-in-one solution, it’s worth trying. All of the main hunter components are setup out of the box. The only real thing you have to do is drag all of the various components where you want on your screen. From there you can customize each component individually. You can also disable the ones you don’t want to use, or the ones that are duplicating functionality you have from addons you already use.
This addon is very simple. It displays the distance between you and your current target. It’s not precise, but instead gives you numbers such as “25-30” or “10-15” yards. This is accurate enough for our purposes though. The reason this addon is handy is because of two things: Stampede and Stomp.
Stampede only hits enemies out to 30 yards, which is shorter than our regular 40 yard range. It’s easy to forget this. With this addon you can make sure you’re within 30 yards every time.
As I talked about in the talent section, Stomp has a bug which most people aren’t aware of: At long distances the Dire Beast will sometimes perform its Stomp before it’s in range of the target. When that happens, Stomp does no damage! Yikes! At anything more than 30 yards, Stomp is unreliable at best and often won’t do damage. At 25 yards it is 100% reliable. I reported this bug multiple times but it doesn’t seem to be getting any attention from Blizzard. 🙁
So anyway, if you’re using either of these talents, you can use RangeDisplay to make sure you’re within 30 yards of your target.
Not Hunter specific, but if you’re not using this (or BigWigs) you should be. Helps with dungeon and raid encounters.
These are for using your own stat weights to compare gear, discussed here.
Helps you track your buffs, debuffs, cooldowns, etc. by creating custom “auras” which display graphics or text on your screen, or play sound. See below for some BM-specific WeakAuras that you can import.
These are WeakAuras I’ve put together over the last couple of years. Some are made by me, most are modified from ones I’ve found. They are BM focused but some will apply to MM and SV. To import these weakauras, do the following:
- Install WeakAuras 2
- Click a text box below containing the weakaura string (you should only need to click it once to highlight everything) and copy it.
- Go in-game and open up weakauras: /weakauras
- Click New, then Import
- Paste the string you just copied
- You should get separate pop-up window with an import button. Click import.
- In your list of weakauras you can change the display options of each one (such as the size of fonts, icons, or bars) and also drag it wherever you want on your screen.
Beast Mastery Focus Bar
Depending on your UI setup, you may or may not have a Focus bar displayed near your cooldowns. If you don’t already — or you’re looking for something different — then check out this one.
This particular Focus bar is meant for BM as it changes color based on your Focus level: Below 30 Focus it’s red (meaning you wouldn’t have enough for your next Kill Command), from 30-90 it is yellow, and above 90 it is green (meaning you should be dumping Focus with Cobra Shot now). Drag and resize this puppy wherever you want.
The next two WeakAuras tell you the total number of pets you currently have summoned and alive. It factors in your main pet, Hati, and Dire Beasts. Why should you care? Well, I guess it’s not a huge deal, but I like having the information at hand because of Way of the Cobra and Titan’s Thunder. The former isn’t something you can really control, but the latter is something that you want to try to use when you have as many pets summoned as possible.
Pet Counter – Text version (displays “Pets Active: X”):
Pet Counter – Icon version (Beast icon with number of current pets):
Hunter Pet Status / Pet Management
This set of WeakAuras helps you keep track of what your pet is doing:
- Alerts you if your pet is not summoned (or is dead) in combat.
- Alerts you if your pet’s Basic Attack (Claw, Bite, or Smack) is turned off.
- Alerts you if your pet is NOT attacking something while you are in combat (which probably means it is stuck somewhere).
- Alerts you if Growl is turned ON in a dungeon or raid group (does not always work reliably when joining queued groups, if anyone has a better one let me know).
- Alerts you when your pet’s health drops below 20%.
If you don’t like any of them, you can disable or enable each one individually. Note that this one also has built-in functionality for MM and SV Hunters (it will also know if you’ve picked Lone Wolf and will ignore it).
A simple icon letting you know how much time is left in your current Bestial Wrath. Good information to have!
Aspect of the Turtle
A simple icon letting your know when Aspect of the Turtle will expire. Remember to make a macro with the following line as well, to cancel Turtle when you no longer need to soak damage: /cancelaura Aspect of the Turtle
Beast Cleave Bar
This is an expiring cast bar for when Beast Cleave is active. Once it disappears, you’ll know it’s time to refresh Beast Cleave with Multi-Shot during multi-target situations. Not entirely necessary, but I prefer having it.
You can find more WeakAuras here on Wago.io. Some Hunters have uploaded complete rotation/cooldown helpers and some other things you might be interested in.
Misdirection macro: This will cast Misdirection on whatever player you are mousing over, and if you’re not mousing over someone it will cast on your focus target. If that also fails, it will simply cast on your current target.
/cast [@mouseover,help,nodead][@focus,help,nodead] Misdirection
Pet Misdirection macro: Misdirects to your pet with one click.
/cast [target=pet] Misdirection
Aspect of the Turtle macro: Oftentimes you only need to use Turtle to block or soak a specific ability. Once that’s done, you can use this to easily cancel Turtle and get back to DPSing.
/cancelaura Aspect of the Turtle
Pet Attack macros: These are highly recommended to improve your overall pet control. It makes sure that your pet will attack your current target when you switch, and always keeps them on the correct target for optimal Beast Cleave. Make one for both Kill Command and Multi-Shot and use these instead of the regular ability buttons.
#showtooltip Kill Command
/cast Kill Command
Counter Shot macro: Interrupts your focus target, and if you have no focus target set it will interrupt your current target instead.
#showtooltip Counter Shot
/cast [@focus,exists,harm,nodead] Counter Shot
I wish this wasn’t necessary, but it is. Pet pathing and AI is still a huge issue for Beast Mastery (you’d think after 12 years they’d upgrade the pet AI). So if you every get the “no path available” error for Kill Command or your pet is just stuck up on a ledge somewhere, you can do the following: set your pet to passive, then back to assist, then back to passive, then back to assist again. If all goes well, it should teleport to your side (this only works in combat — if you’re out of combat you need to dismiss and resummon). You can also spam this macro a few times which should hopefully get your pet unstuck:
There’s no such thing as best in slot — not in a world with warforging, titanforging, and sockets. Trinkets are a little different, and I’ll highlight some of those below. See the artifact relic section for information on what relics to use. For armor see the discussion below about stat weights and how to find your own.
I’m not going to cover every single trinket. The best way to compare them is to simulate them with your own character, but I’ll summarize the best trinkets from each source — there are simply too many variables to declare one trinket better than the others (unless you assume they’re all the same item level).
BoE, World Quest, World Bosses:
- Six-Feather Fan — The ilvl 835 and higher versions of this trinket are quite nice. If you manage to find an ilvl 850, it rivals some of the raid trinkets out there.
- Darkmoon Deck: Dominion — A decent choice if you’re having trouble getting good trinkets to drop, but only if you upgrade it all the way with Obliterum.
- Three-Toed Rabbit Foot (world quests) — These stat sticks come under a bunch of different names, this is just one example. If you can get one to roll a high ilvl with Mastery or Haste, you are in business. At 850+ these are some of the best.
- Unstable Arcanocrystal (world boss) — Really, really good. If this warforges, consider yourself extremely lucky. At ilvl 860, this is about as good as an ilvl 880 world quest stat stick. BM benefits from all the secondary stats.
- Aran’s Relaxing Ruby — Outstanding trinket for dungeons, and also quite good for single target DPS. It will do a huge percentage of your DPS in a dungeon. Best AoE trinket by a wide margin.
- Ethereal Urn — Big ol’ stat stick. Delicious.
- Chrono Shard — The poor Hunter’s Bloodthirsty Instinct.
- Stormsinger Fulmination Charge — Pretty good trinket with a mastery proc from EoA.
- Tempered Egg of Serpentrix — What makes this one decent for BM is the serpents are buffed by our Mastery. It is very random though, so be prepared for long droughts of no procs followed by 3 Serpents up at the same time.
- Hunger of the Pack — Another stat stick. I’m noticing a pattern here…
- Bloodthirsty Instinct — Probably the best overall trinket for BM. Even the Normal version is valuable.
- Eye of Guarm — Oh look, another stat stick beating out other trinkets with procs. Try to get one with Mastery or Haste, but any stat will do really. It’s a lot of stats.
- No, I did not forget anything. The other trinkets are pretty mediocre.
The Best: Like I said, there’s no BiS because of all the ilvl randomness at work — but if all ilvls were equal, the best combination would be Bloodthirsty Instinct + Eye of Guarm (Mastery) for raiding, and Bloodthirsty Instinct + Aran’s Relaxing Ruby for Mythic+.
- Food: Fisbrul Special (single target) or Nightborne Delicacy Platter (AoE/dungeons) — both are very close, OK to use Mastery food for all situations
- Flask: Flask of the Seventh Demon
- Augment Rune: Defiled Augment Rune
- Combat Potion: Potion of Prolonged Power
- Critical Strike
Agility is well ahead of the pack, and all of the secondary stats are quite close in value, so in most cases ilvl upgrades are upgrades regardless of secondary stats (especially if one of them is Mastery or Haste). The biggest exception is sockets, which can give another 10-20 ilvls of value depending on the slot.
Stat weights are more complicated since it varies from person to person, based on currently equipped gear. However, this is the best way to determine upgrades when comparing gear that is within 5-10 ilvl of each other, or if one of the pieces has a socket. If you are interested in simming your own weights, check out the short guide below.
It’s easier than it looks! I just split it up into many different steps to make it as clear as possible:
- Download Simulation Craft here. The 32-bit or 64-bit installer is easiest. If you’re not sure if your Windows is 32 or 64-bit, just use the 32-bit. Install it.
- Download the Simulation Craft addon here and the Pawn addon here. Install both of them.
- Go in game, make sure you’re wearing your raiding gear and have your raiding talents set.
- Type this: /simc
- Copy all of the text in the window that pops up.
- Open Simulation Craft, go to the “Options” tab at the top.
- Under “Globals” tab: Set iterations to 10,000, length to 300, vary length to 20. Leave everything else for now (you can play around later if you want).
- Under “Scaling” tab: Click Enable Scaling and Toggle All Character Stats
- Go to the “Simulate” tab at the top.
- Delete all the text there and then paste what you copied from earlier in the game with the /simc command.
- Click the Simulate button at the bottom right. Depending on your CPU speed, this will take anywhere from 20 seconds to 5 minutes.
- Once simulating is done, it will pop up a new “Results” window. The top will show your simulated single target DPS. Scroll down a bit to the “Scale Factors for <your name> Damage Per Second” table. These scale factors are your personal stat weights.
- Below that, you will see something called “Pawn string” — this is for the other addon you just downloaded. Copy everything after “Pawn string” including the brackets.
- Example: ( Pawn: v1: “Bendak”: Agility=12.69, CritRating=9.13, HasteRating=10.57, MasteryRating=11.11, Versatility=9.35, Dps=4.61 )
- Go back in game and type /pawn
- Click the Scale tab at the bottom then click the Import button. Paste in what you just copied and click OK.
- On the left hand side, you should see the one you imported. You can delete the default scales the addon put there in the first place (should have been one for each spec) or else they’ll show up in you tooltips as well. All that matters is the one you just imported (which should just be listed as your name).
Now your tooltips will show comparisons between items. Try it out by going into the Dungeon Journal and looking up some Mythic raid gear or something you know is an upgrade. Hover over it and at the bottom of the tooltip it should show if it’s an upgrade and by how much. This also factors in best enchants and gems, so don’t worry about that (it assumes you will be gemming and enchanting). Note that this feature isn’t useful for trinkets or relics.
Every time you get a couple of upgrades, it’s worth doing this over again since your stat weights will change slightly. You can delete your old pawn string and import the new one, or just manually edit the new values into your old one.
If any of this wasn’t clear, let me know.