Blizzard has finally announced a buff for Beast Mastery. This is what’s happening with 8.1.5 next week:
- Barbed Shot damage increased by 125%.
- Barbed Shot’s bleed damage now ignores the target’s armor.
- Cobra Shot damage increased by 25%.
It works out to roughly a 6-7% single target buff.
It doesn’t fix any of the core issues that led us to this point, but it’s a band-aid for the time being. Performance will still be below Marksmanship in most cases, but the gap is smaller. We should be closer to the middle of the pack (except for multidot fights). Buffing Barbed Shot and Cobra Shot specifically shows they’d rather put the extra damage on the Hunter rather than the pet.
I also would have liked to see small buffs on all BM Azerite traits besides Primal Instincts, to help a bit with how poorly we scaled with the 5th ring compared to other specs. At the very least Serrated Jaws needs a buff. It was supposed to get a 40% buff in a hotfix a while back but it never went live for some reason. It’s really a dead trait.
What the future holds for BM is going to depend a lot on the 8.2 Azerite changes (which we know nothing about yet). It’s potentially an opportunity to tweak classes and specs in another way, if it’s going to be something similar to an artifact tree where you unlock new passives and active abilities. In the meantime, this is probably all we’re going to get until then. If it’s not enough for you, then it’s time to pick up Marksmanship or Survival.
Beast Mastery should still be pretty good for Mythic+ in 8.1.5 as long as you have the right traits. Ideally you want 1x Rapid Reload and 2x or 3x Primal Instincts. With this setup, you can pump out some pretty good, consistent trash damage (especially Reaping waves). For those still unaware, Rapid Reload’s cooldown reduction applies to every target hit. That means a lot more Aspect of the Wild (with Primal Instincts) casts. Just remember to take off that Rapid Reload again before you raid.
P.S. The image is from the Hati questline coming in 8.1.5.