Beast Mastery in 6.1

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since patch 6.1 dropped and I can say I haven’t once specced out of Beast Mastery the entire time, and I’m loving it. I don’t know what it is, but I just have more fun playing it. Survival is still strong but it was becoming stale for me. What I like about BM is all of the opportunities to stack cooldowns and trinkets. Focus Fire has turned into its own little mini-game, with a ton of variables to take into account rather than the old method of simply using it when the button flashed.

I feel like having so much DPS potential built into Focus Fire has added an entire new dimension to the spec that rewards you for proper decision making. There is a downside with the RNG component, but that probably helps keep it balanced. If gaining Frenzy stacks was more predictable, it’s possible that Focus Fire wouldn’t be able to have the same power level. And to be honest, the awesome feeling I get when I have a pull with good Frenzy stacks outweighs the pulls where I have bad luck. I actually grin when I get good RNG as I play Beast Mastery. I never did that with survival.

In the first paragraph I said I don’t know what it is, but I guess I just answered my own question.

Focus Fire

Focus Fire has become far too valuable to always wait for full Frenzy stacks. The goal is to line it up on top of other cooldowns — like Bestial Wrath, Stampede, and blood lust/heroism — rather than simply “5 stacks” or nothing.

  • On your opener, use Focus Fire as soon as you get a Frenzy stack just so you can stack it more with cooldowns/trinkets/blood lust. You could try waiting an extra few seconds to see if you’re lucky enough to get a second Frenzy stack, but the more you wait the more potential damage you lose in your opener where everything aligns.
  • If Frenzy is going to fall off (less than a few seconds remaining), you should use Focus Fire. Even if you were super unlucky and only have 1 stack, use it.
  • Use Focus Fire right before going into Bestial Wrath, regardless of how many stacks you have. If Focus Fire becomes available during during Bestial Wrath, you can use it there too (if there’s more than a few seconds left on BW to get a meaningful benefit).
  • If Stampede is active, use Focus Fire regardless of stacks. Let’s say you pop Focus Fire before Stampede, and halfway through when it falls off Frenzy is only back up to 1 stack. Use it anyway. This is a 5 minute cooldown and you want to boost it as much as possible.
  • The only time you would want to delay Focus Fire at 5 stacks is if Bestial Wrath has about 10-20 seconds left on its cooldown. In this case, it can be worth holding onto it until Bestial Wrath has 10 seconds left on its cooldown so that it will gain the full benefit of Focus Fire. Another reason you may want to delay 5 stacks is if you know an important burn phase is imminent, you’re progressing on the fight, and need all the DPS you can get to push a new phase or kill a priority target. But I personally would never delay a 5 stack more than 10 seconds.
  • Otherwise, just use it when it reaches 5 stacks.

It is a lot to remember, but as you get better at it, you will reap the benefits on the meters. If you use WeakAuras, I highly recommend this Focus Fire group by Azortharion. It will help let you know when to pop it. The only thing I changed was I added some alert sounds.

I have to wonder if Blizzard even knew what they were birthing when they tied all of this damage into Focus Fire, or if they simply chose it as a tuning knob and this extra level of gameplay was completely unintentional?

Either way, I like it. I hope they keep it as a cornerstone of the spec. The only thing I wish it had was better feedback. For example, when you use Bestial Wrath you know you’re using it. It feels like Focus Fire should have similar impact (at least when used at 5 stacks).

Talent Choices

Level 60

  • Single Target: Dire Beast or Steady Focus. I personally prefer Dire Beast because it’s just simpler to use. Steady Focus sims slightly below Dire Beast, but not dramatically.
  • AoE: Steady Focus. More pet basic attacks for Beast Cleaving, it’s that simple. Note that you can no longer weave Kill Command in between your two Cobra Shots. I’m not a huge fan of the talent, but it’s hard to deny its benefits.

Level 75:

  • Single Target: Stampede, Stampede, and Stampede. It doesn’t matter what the fight length is. Stampede.
  • AoE: Blink Strikes whenever you spend a large portion of the fight on 3+ targets. However, if you don’t use Steady Focus there is a lot less benefit to using Blink Strikes.
  • There is one fight I found myself using A Murder of Crows, and that was Blast Furnace Heroic. There are many opportunities to reset the cooldown and use it on priority targets. Most important of all is the Primal Elementalists. My overall damage may be lower, but I was often #1 on the Elementalists. Outside of progression, you can pick your poison.

Level 90:

  • Barrage
  • Barrage
  • Yes, even Barrage in single target.

Level 100:

Beast Mastery Stats

In the last Locked and Loaded, I covered the basics of Blackrock Foundry BiS hunter loot. I would get a lot of random questions (usually about trinkets or when to sacrifice ilvl for set bonuses), so that covers most of those questions. But since I have to cover all 3 specs, I had to be brief.

Looking at Beast Mastery specifically, I have to say it’s pretty easy to gear for. Stats are ridiculously close in value. Here are what my stat weights look like today (for single target).

My single target weights
My single target weights

Pretty much all gear is workable (at least for single target), but you still want to aim for Mastery on as much stuff as possible.

Things become a little more skewed when it comes to AoE weights.

My Add Cleave weights
My Add Cleave weights

The above weights are from the “Hectic Add Cleave” simulation. The biggest standouts are Haste and Multistrike. The more targets, you have, the better Haste gets and the worst Multistrike gets.

My Sustained 3-Target weights
My Sustained 3-Target weights

The above weights are sustained 3-target, think of something like Iron Maidens. Sustained AoE is where Haste skyrockets. The reason is simple: more Beast Cleaves.

When you combine all of these together, you get your basic stat priority (putting slightly more emphasis towards single target):

Mastery >= Haste > Multistrike > Crit > Versatility

This guy has your trinket.
This guy has your trinket.


Blackrock Foundry has 3 hunter trinkets:

And Beast Mastery loves all 3 of them, in any combination. Seriously, they are extremely close. Take what you can get. I enjoy having the on use trinket for extra control, but like I said, they’re all good.

I tend to say the Gruul trinket over the Blackhand one simply because there will be less competition for it, and if another hunter in your raid is MM/SV they will see more of a benefit from the Blackhand trinket over the Gruul one, while BM will take full advantage of either.

The Scales of Doom from Butcher is still very relevant too, but only the Mythic version surpasses any BRF trinkets (including normal mode).

Outside of raids, there are two main choices:

The LDSC has dropped quite a bit in price and it’s a valuable trinket, but not recommended if you have Beating Heart of the Mountain because the two trinkets cannot be stacked (they trigger a 20-second cooldown on each other).

The Stone of Fire is new to 6.1, and was made BoE in a recent hotfix (it also no longer requires Alchemy to equip). This is a strong trinket, even surpassing normal mode BRF trinkets (but not the heroic ones). The proc may look weaker, but it only has a 55 second internal cooldown with a 35% proc chance.

Doesn't include the legs, and helm is mogged.
Doesn’t include the legs, and helm is mogged.

Rylakstalker Set Bonuses

I’m not the biggest fan of the look of this set, but I am really digging the set bonuses. I’m also digging that it’s an actual “stalker” set since I think any hunter tier set without “stalker” in the name is an abomination.

2-piece bonus: Kill Command has a chance to reset the cooldown of Bestial Wrath.

This is RPPM and feels very streaky. On average, you will be using Bestial Wrath every ~40 seconds instead of every 60 seconds, but sometimes RNGesus will bless you and it feels awesome. There’s nothing like 30 seconds of uninterrupted Bestial Wrath on the pull.

The one thing you have to be careful of is to never overlap Bestial Wraths. It’s common for a reset to happen on the pull.

By itself, this bonus actually isn’t worth a ton of DPS, but its value increases as soon as you get the 4-piece bonus.

4-piece bonus: While Bestial Wrath is active, one additional pet is summoned to fight with you.

This is a powerful set bonus. The extra pet summoned works similar to a pet summoned by Stampede (auto attacks only), but it does twice the DPS of a Stampede pet!

It summons pet #1 in your active pet list (and if you’re already using pet #1, it uses pet #2). If Stampede is up, it counts as a 6th pet. If you have Dire Beast, it’s possible to have a whopping 7 pets attacking your target at once.

It’s worth giving up significant item level to complete the 4-piece bonus, so you shouldn’t question equipping normal mode tier pieces in place of heroic non-tier.

The Beast Mastery Hype Train

This post started as a short “Hey, Beast Mastery is awesome guys!” fluff post and somehow turned into some sort of pseudo guide. Well, hopefully you found it useful. 🙂

I’m fully committed at this point. The crafted gear has been changed to Feverflare (Haste/Mastery), everything has been enchanted with Mastery, and all 5 of my active pets are Exotic!

Despite all this BM love, don’t think you can’t play the other specs anymore. Heck, just look at Method’s hunters. Rogerbrown and the other Method hunters are still rocking Survival in 6.1. That should be proof enough that you don’t need to jump on the BM hype train if you don’t want to. It’s a good time to be a hunter!

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44 thoughts on “Beast Mastery in 6.1”

  1. Great article. I love the play style of BM now and the kind of wheel of fortune you play with the Focus Fire mod. I was telling my fellow hunters who play SV and MM that BM is just super fun and I feel like there is just so much to keep track of. You are always micro managing something to boost potential and when you have something like SV that kind of does good out of the box it gets stale.

  2. Basically i agree totally with the friend that wrote the article, BM is the best hunter spec for me. A variety of cds make the spec very good and give you the oportunity to push the damage against for example SV who doesnt have any cd.

    But let me ask a question…Do you feel that BM is better than SV generally or only at the BrF fights? BrF fights give an advantage to the aoe specs and classes that’s why i am asking. I find myself to pull much more single target dps as survival rather than as a beast master. But as a beast master at aoe fights i feel really strong. So as conclusion whats your opinion? Should we spec to the “aoe beast master” because of the fights or we should go for the best single target dps because of the difficult heroic and mythic Blackhand?

    1. My advice… keep lots of Tomes of Clear on you. You’re going to be toggling talents left and right if you want to maximize performance. But I usually run Steady Focus, Stampede, and Barrage as a nice balance. Steady Focus and Barrage are great for AOE – while Stampede/Barrage are also good ST.

    2. I think BM can keep up with SV single target in most situations, but if your gear is already optimized for SV it could explain what you’re seeing. MM will be the highest single target until you get the 4-piece, then BM catches up. Also it’s worth noting that it is easier to get your max potential DPS out of survival. BM needs proper cooldown stacking (and a bit of luck) to truly shine.

      Honestly though, the specs are still so close. You’re just going to do better at what you enjoy playing IMO.

      1. I agree with you, i switched to Bm from boring SV cookie cutter spec and i love it, so fun and pf course i get to use Loque!

  3. Hey Bendak, I would like to add that if you are using Glyph of Stampede, your pet summoned by the 4 set bonus will be the same as your active pet! It’s very cool… have 7 of the same pet on pull!

  4. I have been running BM for a couple months now and usually top damage charts in battlegrounds.

    I usually run TotH, AMoC and Barrage, though. I have tries Dire Beast and Stampede but it didn’t feel as effective especially with the constantly resetting cool downs in battlegrounds.

    Anyways, I have a question: I always use Kill Command as a opener as it causes my pet to charge the target, should I macro Focus Fire with Kill Command, Bestial Wrath or just manage it alone like I’ve been doing?

    1. Right, these talent suggestions in the post are for raiding, not PvP.

      Don’t macro Focus Fire to Kill Command. Stack it with your other cooldowns like Bestial Wrath (or trinkets) as discussed in the post, unless it’s at 5 stacks at which point you should use it. When to use it in PvP is an interesting topic, but I think it would be mostly the same answer: stack it with other cooldowns.

  5. How in the bloody hell do you make that Weak Auras link go into the addon?? I have it installed, but took one look at the learning curve and said “fuggedaboutit” is it just a cut and paste??

    1. Open up /weakauras, then create a new weakaura and pick the “Import” option. Then paste that long mess of random characters into it and import it.

      1. I have to say with a couple tweaks to Azor’s WA FF Group (so it displays how I want it to), it’s a VERY useful addon – especially the Delay and the Stampede warnings. 🙂

        1. Once you have made those tweaks, please share. Always good to see what others are doing to perhaps improve my own play!

  6. I have done some sims, and it looks like you are missing one detail in the use of Focus Fire.
    When Stampede is comming of CD it’s worth to save 5 frenzy stacks, until using both.
    So when Stampede is getting close to be ready agine, don’t use it with BW.

  7. Hey, thanks for the writeup, Bendak. Awesome article, as always; definitely going to tweak some things before my raid tonight to see if I can squeak out some more DPS.

  8. Yes, I currently have all 3 of my hunters running BM 😉
    I think I am just addicted to watching all those yellow numbers flying everywhere.
    Thanks for all the extra info, Bendak…. Great content!

  9. Loving your article. But I find it annoying is that people told me BM sucked before 6.1. (Even though I did great damage) Now everyone is roiling BM. Fucking posers.

  10. Great article! Got a question, I have the following trinkets, which 2 should I use together for best performance?

    Scales of Doom (685)
    Beating Heart of the Mountain (665)
    Lucky Double-Sided Coin (640)
    Captive Micro-Aberattion (670)

    I play survival mainly at the moment, for sure Scales of Doom will no question be one of the trinks, but what about the other one? I do have access to Stone of Fire (680) too, if its better than the other trinks above, I’ll go get one. Thanks!

      1. Thanks for the fast reply! What about for the BM then with the trinks above? I do plan to make the switch once I got 4Ts.

  11. Thank you for a great post/analysis of my beloved BM spec.
    I’ve always been and always will be a hunter too much in love with my furry friends and finally BM shines again.
    I’m having a problem though, I’m struggling in DPS compared to other hunters and I honestly can’t tell where I’m going wrong, whether it’s my rotation, my talents or simply being undergeared.
    Maybe I’ve played solo for too long and forgot how to raid?

    Please, please, I feel like I’m letting my raidleader and my guildies down whenever they bring me along, like a newbie being boosted on an alt run instead of progressing with the rest. I still need to get gems and chants, but other than that I’d greatly appreciate a second opinion. latest raid I participated in.

    I use JS Hunter Bars instead of weakauras, although I’m trying to switch.
    Any and all tips would be greatly appreciated.

    1. It mostly comes down to not hitting your buttons enough. Best way to see this is to compare the number of abilities used (Kill Command, Cobra Shot, etc.) in a particular fight versus the other BM hunter in your raid. They are simply using their abilities more than you.

      Your simulated DPS is about 32k (with Stampede), so I’d say if you can make it up to the 30k range on a fight like Gruul you are doing pretty decent. The other BM hunter outgears you a lot, so you can’t expect to do that kind of damage.

      Also, you can try Stampede over AMoC on single target fights for some extra damage.

  12. Hey there!

    I love BM (aside from SV, long time SV fan) and have the 4PC – however I’m a bit overwhelmed what to fire when and where.

    Could you possibly add the 4PC rotation here, too? ST & AoE?

  13. Heya! Thanks for this post, it is very informative. I have one question regarding pet and pet attacks. I’m struggling a bit with the switch to BM and when I compare logs I notice one big difference, other hunters pets basic attack (pet name – melee) are hitting for often twice as much as on hunters that parse higher than me with comparable gear. Is this a haste issue or player error? Thanks for you help 😀

    1. lol that post was kinda unclear! For example on a single target fight my pet-melee will do 251 casts/hits whereas someone in comparable gear’s pet-melee will do 434 casts/hits…any ideas why this would occur?

      1. Sounds like they are using Glyph of Stampede. So all their Stampede hits count towards the main pet’s damage. It’s not their main pet hitting more often. Also the 4-piece bonus pet will get copied with the glyph for even more hits attributed to the main pet.

  14. I cant believe it took me so long to find this website.
    Love your posts, informative and fresh!!!
    After reading this post i’m thinking about running BM for a bit through Pvp just for Shits n Giggles to see how it feels. you’ve got me really excited.
    i’m running SV for Pvp only because i love the ease with which it handles Pvp, but i think i’ll jump out of my comfort zone.

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