4.0.1 Beast Mastery Hunter Spec

UPDATE! This is now out of date. Please go here for the current 4.3 Spec and much more!

Original post:

UPDATED (Twice, actually): After playing around on Live with the new hunter, I’ve settled on a recommended spec.

I’ve been playing around with Wowhead’s Cata Beta talent calculator. Assuming that it’s basically the same as what we’ll have when 4.0.1 hits tomorrow, I thought this would be a good time to put together a possible 4.0 Beastmaster spec. At level 80, we have enough points to put 31 into the BM tree and 5 elsewhere. I’ve gone for 31/2/3 build – I’ll probably want Sic ’em for Level 81+ but since I can’t get that right now the Tier-1 Survival talents are more attractive than Efficiency. Click on the image to be taken to the build at Wowhead. Justification below…

Looking for the spec for Cataclysm patch 4.3?
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Click for Spec

Beast Mastery

Improved Kill Command: 10% more Kill Command crits. Well, yes.

One with Nature: A 30% boost to AP contribution from Aspect of the Hawk and +3 focus per tick in Fox? This is as close to mandatory as it gets in the top tier.

Bestial Discipline: +30% pet focus regen. It may not seem terribly inspiring, but at this stage I’m heaping on pet focus regen so that I can benefit from redesigned Wild Hunt (improved Basic Attack damage while your pet has more than 50% focus)

Frenzy: Good on its own merits, and allows us to pick up Focus Fire.

Spirit Bond and Imp. Mend Pet: I pick a point each here. In Cataclysm we will inherit a lot more of the responsibility for keeping ourselves alive. Think it’s hard to get healers to heal your pet today? It’ll be the next best thing to impossible in the future. I consider pet survivability too important now that we have a ten-second Revive Pet cast. I want to keep at least one point in Imp. Mend (as opposed to going 2/2 Spirit Bond) because it’s not as if anyone else will be cleansing our pets.

Cobra Strikes: The proc chance is small, but the proc is pretty decent. Some experimentation will be required to see how valuable it is in practice.

Fervor: You expect me to turn down a +50 focus button on a 2 minute cooldown? Unlikely. While it’s not a straight DPS cooldown, I can see it being a valuable part of any emergency button.

Focus Fire: This gives us a pretty significant amount of haste for 15 seconds, although it deprives our pet of Frenzy stacks (in exchange for a whopping 4 focus. Yes). The uptime on this is pretty good, too.

Longevity: Of course.

Killing Streak: The crit rate on Kill Command appears to be quite respectable, and I get regular procs from this. It might be more valuable point-for-point than Cobra Strikes, and is certainly worth taking with crit rates as they are currently. Unfortunately I had to sacrifice a point from Spirit Bond which I didn’t really want to do. There’s not enough room to spend points on survivability talents at the moment I think.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera: The excellent name aside, I haven’t specced into this but I could see myself doing so for a PvP. Where would the points come from, though?

Bestial Wrath: … You want a justification for me choosing this?

Ferocious Inspiration: Unless you have another class in your raids that can provide this.

Kindred Spirits: Larger focus pools for hunter and pet.

Beast Within: Please see Bestial Wrath. I still hate the fact that this no longer breaks stuns, fears and movement impairing effects and I fully intend to complain about this at great length later. Doesn’t make me want to not spec into it though, this is massive burst power.

Invigoration: More focus for me, yes!

Beast Mastery: I am a Beast Master.


Go for the Throat: Again, I’m aiming to keep my pet’s focus above 50% as much as possible to benefit from Wild Hunt. Testing reveals that the extra regen from GftT is pretty necessary at this point.

Efficiency: This isn’t particularly inspiring, but I’ll probably want Sic ‘Em at level 81 come Cataclysm-proper and I need enough points in MM to get to the second tier. Since we can’t even reach the second tier till Cataclysm though…


Hunter vs Wild: Up to 10% extra stamina. A dead DPSer does no DPS, and our chances of being put in the dead-book are a fair bit higher in Cataclysm, what with healers potentially only having enough mana to heal the tank. Unfortunately, Blizzard haven’t really allocated us enough talent points at 80 to pick up many survivability talents.

Pathing: More haste! I thought BM was the machine-gun tree. Haste is definately an improved stat in Cataclysm, but you need absolute tons of it to make a significant distance. 3% is not very much, sadly. 1% is even less, but it’s still better than a point in Efficiency. I’m wondering actually if I could reallocate the point here into Spirit Bond or something, I don’t think the DPS loss would even be noticable at the moment.

Imp. Serpent Sting: Serpent Sting now does (up to) 30% of its periodic damage instantly. This is a nice little bonus, as we’ll be reapplying Serpent Sting a lot.


This is my recommended spec after some time playing around with the 4.0.1 Beastmastery Hunter both at the target dummies and in 5-man encounters. I intend to have a “This is Beast Mastery in 4.0” up within a month, although I need to get quite a bit of testing, PvP, 5-mans and raids in before I can start to work on that.

As always, I encourage you to experiment for yourself! Take nothing for granted, if there was ever a time to blow some gold on respecs and mess about with your talent tree, this is it. Don’t let anyone tell you that your spec is wrong – there’s a very good chance that whoever is telling you this doesn’t have any idea what they’re talking about.

There are some things I’m not looking forward to, but on the whole… this should be fun!



27 thoughts on “4.0.1 Beast Mastery Hunter Spec

  1. bigshots 13/10/2010 / 18:07

    I like your spec, but I opted for killing streak instead of 1 point each in imp. mend pet and spirit bond. I also dropped Efficiency for Pathing in the survival tree. Haste now gives focus regen which makes it a great stat and it also scales with our pets now. I also read mastery is one of our best stats now so we need to reforge a lot of stats into mastery to help with pet damage.

  2. Durkonkell 13/10/2010 / 19:06

    Thanks for dropping by, Bigshots!

    My usual ‘thing’ is to encourage people to experiment and play around themselves rather than simply accepting what I have to say. I seem to have forgotten to expound upon this in the post, I’ll edit it in!

    I’m going to hold off on speccing into Killing Streak until I can see what the crit rate is like for Kill Command. Actually I expect it to be pretty high, so I’ll probably end up taking this also. As for haste, it should be a lot more attactive than it was in Wrath – and probably better than a slightly cheaper Arcane Shot. I do want to take a good hard look at focus regeneration rates though and the effect of Haste upon that.

    Since I can’t reach Go for the Throat for now anyway, I may well look into dropping efficiency for the time being.

  3. Steffa 19/10/2010 / 22:09

    Do u recommend beast mastery to be best also for raiding? Cause ive been hearing lots of diff opinions and its driving me utterly insane.

  4. Icesnake 19/10/2010 / 23:58

    Looking for recommended pet talent specs for 4.0.1 – I have the idea that I could have a RaidBear and a QuestKitty or something along those lines, but I want to optimize their talents for their roles. Up until the middle of this year, I was All Mage, All The Time, so I’m happy to accept pointers for my hunters.

  5. Durkonkell 20/10/2010 / 00:04

    Most of the hunter theorycrafting tools are not 4.0 compatible at the moment, so it’s difficult to work it out for certain.

    Current thinking in the hunter community suggests that Marksmanship has a slight advantage as Beast Mastery and Survival are hampered by the lack of Cobra Shot.

    My recommendation though is to play whatever spec you prefer till Cataclysm. Everyone’s DPS will be all over the place anyway, and the three specs are clustered REALLY closely together at the moment. Experiment to see which spec you enjoy playing the most and run with that!

  6. Durkonkell 20/10/2010 / 00:54

    @Icesnake: Heh, you commented as I was typing the other reply :P

    I’ll have some pet specs up really soon, next couple of days. Fact of the matter is that Ferocity pets still have an edge in raids because they have more damage-enhancing talents. It seems as though pets are clustered pretty closely in terms of damage now though, compared to Wrath. I’ll crunch some numbers related to that soon.

  7. Todd 21/10/2010 / 17:24

    Thank you sooooo much for this; I have been really frustrated. My dps was running top spot in icc before the change; now I cannot seem to get a handle on it. I confess I relied on spellflash, but it does not work anymore so i am having trouble figuring out my rotation, etc. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts.


    • Durkonkell 21/10/2010 / 22:00

      I’m glad I could help, Todd!

      Best advice at the moment is to practice your shot rotation at the target dummy until you feel like you have a good idea of what you’re doing, then run lots of heroics. Don’t compare yourself to other DPSers, class balance is still all over the place at the moment.

      It’s actually harder to make the transition as a veteran hunter but once you get into the rhythm of the new shot rotation you’ll find your DPS figures stabilising.

  8. Lewis 27/10/2010 / 00:58

    I was talking to a hunter earlier about specs she advised me to Beastmastery but wasn’t willing to help with a rotation. What’s the best method to go around this ? Dummies ? Also she had a exotic cat where as I think a devilsaur or a wolf would still be best ? Any help will be appreciated as I’ve been so stuck on my hunter after the patch. Thank you

    • Durkonkell 27/10/2010 / 01:29

      Greetings, Lewis!

      I have discussed the BM shot priority / rotation here: https://durkonkell.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/4-0-beastmastery-so-far/

      I have a proper “This is BM in 4.0” in the works too. As for pets, the best pet at the moment is… pretty much any Ferocity or Cunning pet you like! Pet damage has been normalised, so cats, devilsaurs, wolves and spirit beasts all do the same. From what I’ve seen, Cunning pets are doing just as well as Ferocious ones but I’ve not had a chance to get into a proper raid yet to check this in practice. If your raid leader doesn’t need a certain buff from a pet, use whatever you prefer.

      A work in progress guide to pet specs in 4.0.1 is here:

      Good hunting!

  9. Lewis 27/10/2010 / 01:52

    Sweet ! Cheers for the help buddy I’ve came so close to deleting my hunter this week the shear horror of what blizzard have done, not only is wow bugged like crazy my hunter has lost 3k dps ! Il respec tomorow and try everything out if no improvement bugger him. Rant over ! Thanks for the help : )

  10. Icesnake 27/10/2010 / 02:16

    Lewis, I’m using a very poor shot rotation (still leveling so I can get away with it) of Steady Shot, Arcane Shot (repeat 3 times), Mend Pet. Of course I always open with Serpent Sting and renew as needed, and I pop both trinkets right after the first Steady Shot. For leveling, this works well as I rarely run out of focus (usually after pulling 5 or more mobs by mistake and having to spam Arcane Shot) and my pet stays alive.

  11. Lewis 28/10/2010 / 13:22

    I ran forge or souls yesterday ! RESULT ! 3k dps through out, boss fights 3.7k My gears no great and I had a lvl 78 pet so yeah this is defo working for me. Il see my performance in ICC tonight :) thanks for your help.

  12. Fletchr 30/10/2010 / 03:42

    This is all Blizzards sick joke on us hunters. The non-80 hunters are ok with things, but ICC geared hunters are seeing massive dps drops. Today we talked with a MM hunter that was getting 15-18k in ICC before the patch, watch as his dps fell to 7-8k dps after the patch and was sick about it. After re-forging, re-specing, and totally re-gemming, he has less crit, more mastery, more haste and barely at the hit cap. He claims now back to 14-16 k consistently.

    I was floundering at 6k on the practice dummies,(even less in ICC with 10 man party buffs while the mages were doing 12-16k) so I followed his example except for 2 gems I could not get yet and switched to his preferred rotation. After almost 1000 gold and 2 hours at the heroic dummy working out the rotation, I found myself at 500-700 dps better than before.

    If he can double his dps with the changes, why can I only get 10% boost?
    Yes, his gear is a bit higher than mine so he has more to re-forge into mastery but not worth 3 times mine.
    Blizzard is aware of the situation but that does not help me down the Lich King for the “Kingslayer’ title before they fix it. Yes I’ve been on the frozen throne many times and my dps is lower than the tanks. This sucks totally because now I am not on the team anymore.

    Vicious, sick joke.

  13. Lewis 30/10/2010 / 05:51

    Makes ne laugh, I filled out a ticket a couple nights ago they got back to me tonight, I said “why is hunters have been nerfed so much and the shear amount of focus to shoot is really not worth shooting for” in reply they wrote ” we understand this is a growing problem for Many players our support team is working hard on resolving it, give them time they are only human” ….. So how they plan on resolving I do not know maybe lower the cost of focus per shot, I they do anything at all :/

    Moving on my icc geared mate has had the same problem he’s lost so much dps but gained alot of it back in MM, his top move ( 44% ) is *wild quiver* : O that how much mastery he has reforged second top move is auto shot. It’s depressing for other chars knowing his white damge is mainly puting him on top dps ;) haha.

    Let’s all just pray one day blizzard will realize hunters would so much rather mana or cheaper shots aleast ! /pray

  14. Fletchr 31/10/2010 / 10:32

    Lewis, I don’t follow how wild quiver can be your highest shot value when it procs off your mastery points. I have everything re-forged into mastery and my wild quiver has a 32% chance to proc. It is ok but still only half the damage value of my steady shot.
    SS =27%, Auto=22%, WQ= 14%, Arcane=13%. Chimera shot is only 5.4% of my overall damage and #7 on my list of damage skills. Yes, serpent sting even beats it.

  15. Fletchr 31/10/2010 / 10:49

    Oh, and yesterday 30/10/2010, they nerfed the MM ‘mastery’ skill. It used to read, “grants a __% chance for your ranged attacks to also instantly fire a ranged shot for 115% normal damage”…. Today it reads, “for 100% normal damage”. I was on the whole time between when I read the 115% and later when it said 100% except for the odd Disconnect from the game while flying over Stranglethorn Vale.
    They are at it again. Not satisfied that we are now the lowest dps in the game, they have to nerf us even more for trying to get the most out of what they have left us with.
    This is not the way you return hunters to the “utility” class: by making it more complex and frustrating without giving unique skills that every raid needs but nobody else has.

  16. Durkonkell 31/10/2010 / 23:42

    (EDIT: Whoops. Text-crit alert! Sorry for length.)
    Greetings, Fletchr.

    Apologies for delay in response, 12 hour work days. Bah.

    It’s possible that the MM Mastery tooltip was simply updated. A very large number of tooltips are currently wildly inaccurate and will continue to be so through to Cataclysm’s launch. Blizzard are occasionally correcting tooltips as they go.

    Couple of points I’d like to reply to:

    As regards Hunters being the lowest DPS in the game: I believe you’re overstating the situation slightly. Yes, hunters have for the most part lost DPS compared to 3.3.x, but it’s not catastrophic – Semseye was hitting very high numbers as BM in ICC recently. Melee types have generally fared much worse than Hunters, while casters are doing better.

    There are problems, however. BM and Survival are relying on the suboptimal Steady Shot as Cobra Shot’s not available yet, and ALL hunter specs are dealing rather poorly with PvP and high movement fights due to the lack of Aspect of the Fox. Stand still fights, though? I hit over 8k in Violet Hold a couple of days ago, and I’m in middle-grade ICC epics (2p T10, one Sanctified only, 2p T9 still).

    The second point I’d like to make is that the concept of adding utility to certain classes to ensure representation in raids is a thing of the past now. Cataclysm’s systems are very much geared towards realising Blizzard’s “Bring the player, not the class” philosophy. Blizzard weren’t really happy with the situation in the past where Shaman were required in raids for Heroism/Bloodlust – you could end up taking a poorer player and leaving someone out who deserved it. I’m very much in favour of this, although DPS will need to be more consistent across classes and specs for raid leaders to genuinely ‘bring the player’ above all else. I’m confident that this situation will improve in time – and at 85 if nothing else.

    Contrary to popular belief, Blizzard does not actually hate and target particular classes or specs! They do however screw up on occasion. That has been known to happen…

    Good Hunting!

  17. Avengis69 11/11/2010 / 19:18

    What pet do you use and what spec do you have with him? I’m using a devilsaur but im not sure if its the best after the new patch.

    • Durkonkell 12/11/2010 / 20:29

      Sorry it took a couple of days to get back to you, Avengis. I was stuck in traffic on the way home yesterday FOR SIX HOURS (it’s a 45min journey) and was in no fit state for anything when I finally got back.

      Please review this article for DPS pet specs for Ferocity and Cunning. As for which pet, I run with a Spirit Beast but you could equally use a Cat or Wolf or Raptor or Devilsaur or indeed any Ferocious pet – they all do the same damage now! I’ve also done some investigation and it looks a lot like Cunning pets are doing highly competitive DPS too, so that expands your options even more.

      The future. We are living in it.

      • Avengis69 13/11/2010 / 01:32

        Its all good man, thanks alot

  18. York 27/12/2010 / 16:30


    first thing first, i am a big fan of ur site, recomended this for many hunters and hunter twink(s). i like to ask for you or some one to post the uptodate spec for hunter lv85, beast and survival. so far, i have copy exactly on beast spec as your recomendation.

    Thank you,


    Meat Puppet (azgalor)

  19. Teldrinn 13/01/2011 / 18:51

    The problem is, you guys want to stick with old raiding styles and that just wont cut it anymore. Your dps should come of your burst then steadily rise with your signature moves. I’m a Beast Mastery hunter and pull 11k dps at 85 with primarily low level questing gear. I’ll send my pet out and pop my cooldowns that are macroed together then hit bestial wrath, serpent sting, kill command, and then I repeatedly hit arcane shot until the cooldown for kill command is up then hit that one more time. The focus varies but typically after that last Kill command you can get off another one or two arcane shots, after that I hit fervor and do one more arcane shot and another kill command. After this you have to just go into priority mode, spamming cobra shot/steady shot and using arcane shot or kill command when appropriate. This has seemed to get the job done for me most of the time.
    PvP is also quite nice with the combinations of stuns and your burst damage, Also since your pet functions on its own you can use deterrence macroed with spirit mend then use kill command, this allows you to heal, deal a large amount of damage to your enemy and drop a trap if necessary.

    anyway that’s how I roll, any questions feel free to hit me up in Kael’thas

    • York 17/01/2011 / 21:50

      can you pls post ur macro for me. i want to step up my game, ppl told me to use macro, but i dont know what to do with it.



  20. Teldrinn 20/01/2011 / 14:31

    For me, I have a blood elf, so i macro arcane torrent and fervor, i also do bestial wrath and a trinket, And I macro rapid fire with the pet buff that gives 15% attack power, I can’t remember the name at the moment, also you can macro spirit mend with deterrence for pvp

    /cast spirit mend

    That’s the trickiest one.

  21. Teldrinn 07/02/2011 / 15:26

    And for those who insist on bumming on hunter’s dps, Surv has top 2 if not THE highest dps in the entire game right now…..However, I greatly prefer BM for pvp, damage is better and it’s far more versatile.

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