Welcome to part one of my Beast Mastery Hunter PvP guide! My goal with this series of posts is to help you better understand the spec, and to provide you with the necessary tools and information to enable you to have success as a Beast Mastery PvPer.
Why PvP as a Beast Master?
That’s a good question and one I hope that I can adequately answer. 😉 Rather than try and sell you on Beast Mastery, I’ll explain why I choose to spec BM for PvP. That way you can better determine if it may be a good choice for you.
For one, I like having a powerful pet. The ability to have a pet is what attracted me to the hunter class in the first place. Early on I decided that I wanted a pet who was regarded as more than just a mild nuisance. I’ve actually watched as my pet’s soloed enemy players at the gold mine in Arathi Basin, while I’ve stood atop the cliff looking down with pride.
As a Beast Master I feel more invincible. What I lack in sustained damage capability, I more than make up for in survivability. In turn, less time spent in the graveyard equals more damage anyway. Not to mention, less dying equals more fun, right..?
I feel more capable of dealing with most any situation as a Beast Master. Although Beast Mastery possesses the lowest overall DPS of the three hunter specs, it’s arguably the strongest when it comes to 1v1 and 1v2 situations. Due to the specs inherent health regen, immunity to CC and increased run speed, I feel much less vulnerable and and far more slippery as a BM Hunter.
I don’t arena all that much, apart from double DPS 2v2, but BM fits the bill here quite well. I find BM to be a more effective build when running without a healer, simply due to the spec’s increased mobility. Because many of the successful arena classes possess loads of CC, I find BM to be a good answer for that. With good communication and coordination, a carefully popped Bestial Wrath is usually all the additional firepower needed to get an opponent down anyway.
So those are a few reasons why I look to the Beast Mastery tree for my PvP needs. I guess to truly see if it’s a spec you’ll enjoy, you’ll have to read my guide and try it for yourself.
Let’s start with the build. Here’s a look at mine…
Update: 08/03/10 – My current build is slightly different than this one. To see the spec I’m rocking right now, read this post.
I’ve been using this very same build, give or take 1 or 2 points, for quite some time. It’s a pretty solid build as is, although you may want to shift a couple of points around to tailor it more to your needs.
Anyway, here are the methods to my madness…
Beast Mastery Talents
- Endurance Training 5/5 – Really the only option in the first tier. IAotH is largely useless for PvP, where as more health is, well… invaluable.
- Focused Fire 2/2 – Provides a nice 2% DPS increase for you while your pet’s alive. More important for PvP is the 20% added crit chance for your pet during Kill Command.
- Thick Hide 3/3 – I like the added armor for my pet and I. Some will elect to grab Improved Revive pet, and while that’s a good option, the best option is to not let your pet die. 20% more armor will help mitigate physical damage done to your pet, thus helping that cause. Also, Thick Hide is working all of the time, where as Improved Revive Pet is only beneficial in cases where you need to res your pet.
- Aspect Mastery 1/1 – Additional DPS and survivability (when Dragonhawk is active). Sign me up.
- Unleashed Fury 5/5 – 15% bonus to pet damage. ‘Nuff said.
- Ferocity 5/5 – 10% boost to pet crit. More pet crits equals more Frenzy uptime, Ferocious Inspiration uptime, more Wolverine Bites (if using a Cunning Family pet), more DPS, etc… You get the point.
- Spirit Bond 2/2 – Spirit Bond increases survivability and decreases downtime (mainly in BGs). For one, this talent provides a nifty 2.2% health regen for you and your pet every 10 seconds. It also increases all healing healing effects on you and your pet by 10% – including the talent itself, hence the 2.2%. I love this talent. It grants me around 4K additional HPs during the course of a 1 minute arena, and it gives me the ability to be constantly on the move in BGs, without the need to eat or bandage. Plus, when I do have to bandage, I get 798 health per tick from a bandage as opposed to 725.
- Intimidation 1/1 – Command your pet to stun a target for 3 seconds. Also a prerequisite for Bestial Wrath. Absolutely mandatory.
- Bestial Discipline 2/2 – Doubles the rate at which pet’s regenerate focus. A huge talent. Pet focus is harder to replenish in PvP since Go for the Throat procs are fewer and far between. The reason for this is due to fewer uninterrupted shots, as well as the reduced chance to crit due to player resilience. This talent is necessary.
- Animal Handler 2/2 – More DPS and more survivability. A solid PvP talent. The 10 seconds of Master’s Call that this talent grants can allow for 20 seconds of near CC immunity when used following The Beast within.
- Frenzy 4/5 – I go with 4/5 here, as I prefer to stick one point into Cobra Strikes for the added burst. 80% is not quite as good as 100%, but with my 30% unbuffed crit chance, 80% is good enough for decent Frenzy & FI uptime, especially when combined with the 1/3 in Cobra Strikes.
- Ferocious Inspiration 3/3 – 3% increased damage is always nice, plus it makes Arcane Shot hit harder. Good stuff.
- Bestial Wrath 1/1 – Turns your pet into an unstoppable DPS machine doing 150% damage for 10 seconds. Yea, you’ll want to grab this one.
- Serpent’s Swiftness 5/5 – 20% increased attack speed for you and your pet. Max it.
- Longevity 3/3 – 30% shorter cooldowns on all of your pet’s specials, as well as Bestial Wrath and Intimidation. Gotta max it.
- The Beast Within 1/1 – This is the defining talent of the tree, and one of the primary reasons for going BM for PvP. The damage bonus is great, but the CC immunity is the real strength of this talent.
- Cobra Strikes 1/3 – I’m not a huge fan of RNG for PvP, but this talent is worth putting at least one point into. When it does proc, it provides a nice DPS boost, plus it guarantees a refresh on Frenzy.
- Kindred Spirits 5/5 – 20% increased damage for your pet, plus a 10% passive run speed bonus for both of you. Awesome.
- Beast Mastery 1/1 – Beast Mastery’s lackluster 51 point talent. While it’s not the standout talent that Chimera or Explosive Shot are, it’s still worth grabbing. Three of the seven exotic pets are arguably three of the best PvP pets period (Chimaera, Silithid, Worm). Not to mention, the 4 extra talent points help to further buff your already formidable pet.
- Lethal Shots 5/5 – 5% additional crit is always nice for PvP.
- Careful Aim 3/3 – Converts all of your intellect into AP. A must-have talent for hunters of all builds.
- Mortal Shots 5/5 – Adds 30% to your critical strike bonus for your ranged specials. Gotta have it. Also, another prerequisite for Aimed Shot.
- Go for the Throat 1/2 – Gives your pet an instant 25 focus (50 w/ 2 points) whenever you crit with a ranged attack. Important for DPS as well as pet utility. More pet focus = more nuking ability.
- Improved Arcane Shot 3/3 – 15% damage bonus to BM’s primary damaging shot. Provides a nice synergy with Ferocious Inspiration.
- Aimed Shot 1/1 – An absolute must-have-ability for all PvP Hunters. Not only does it provide you with another ranged instant cast ability, but more importantly, it reduces healing done to your target by 50%. You must have this ability.
- Hawk Eye 1/3 – This is a nice talent, but not a mandatory one. I put a floater point in here, as I find it gives me an ever so slight tactical advantage – both offensively and defensively. It affords you a little cushion outside the 35 yard range of many harmful spells that can be used against you, as well as saving you a step or two when chasing someone down for the kill or when trying to land an MS or KB before they LoS you.
That’s a breakdown of my talent point allocation. Hopefully it gives you a clear idea of where I put points and why.
As I said, apart from the core talents, there is a little room for customization depending upon your gear, play style, etc. Deviations from my build could be:
- 1/3 Thick Hide and 2/2 Improved Revive Pet – I like this for BGs, but for arena, not so much. Pets are a lot more likely to get gang raped in BGs and/or suffer collateral damage. With Improved Revive Pet, you can get back into the action quickly. In arena however, the players who are wise enough to effectively take down your pet will typically prevent a res. Pets are pretty vulnerable following a res, so even if you do manage to revive it, there’s a good chance the opposing team will just burn it down immediately. To me, losing your pet in arena is not an option, therefore I prefer the physical damage mitigation over the improved res. Yet, as I’d said, I find the improved res can be a good option for BGs.
- 1/2 Improved Mend Pet and 1/2 Spirit Bond – Some players like this setup for the chance to cleanse your pet along with the cheaper heals. Improved Mend Pet can remove harmful DoTs, as well as snares and other nasty stuff. The caveat is, it has only a 25% chance per tick. I like the guaranteed health regen and bonus to healing that Spirt Bond gives you, but Improved Mend Pet is a decent option as well.
- 2/2 in Go for the Throat – Two points here is not a bad idea at all. Pets can have a tendency to become focus starved in PvP, so 50 focus as opposed to 25 can make a nice difference here. If you find that your pets are running out of focus a lot, then you may want to max this talent. Just don’t borrow the point from Aimed Shot! 😉
- If you’re short on hit, then placing points as needed in Focused Aim should be a priority. I’d recommend borrowing from Lethal Shots in order to reach the PvP hit cap of 5%. However, a couple pieces of Wintergrasp gear and/or some welfare epics with +hit is usually all that’s needed to get you up to snuff for for PvP.
Those are a few popular alternative point placements I can think of.
There are three major glyphs that are far and away the top choices for PvP Beast Masters, and they are…
- Glyph of Aimed Shot – A staple for all PvP Hunters.
- Glyph of Bestial Wrath – Reduces the BW cooldown to 70 seconds. Very useful.
- Glyph of Disengage – Disengage is a valuable escape tool for PvP. This glyph reduces the cooldown to 20 seconds.
For minor glyphs, there are two that I would highly recommend…
- Glyph of Feign Death – Lowers the cooldown on Feign Death to 25 seconds. This is a bargain for a minor glyph slot. Feign Death is a crucial and oft used skill for PvP, so 5 seconds off the cooldown is huge.
- Glyph of Mend Pet – Pretty much a standard glyph for all hunters for the same reasons. Eliminates the need for food and keeps your pet happy.
The last two minor glyphs can be either…
- Glyph of Revive Pet – If you are specced 2/2 into Improved Revive Pet, then get this glyph. The whole point of the Improved Revive Pet talent is to be able to pull off a quick res during battle. This will help facilitate that by eliminating casting time push back suffered by damaging attacks.
- Glyph of Scare Beast – Scare Beast can prove useful vs Feral Druids and hunter pets. This glyph reduces spell push back, allowing you to get the cast off easier while in combat.
Coming up next in Part 2… Beast Mastery PvP pets & pet builds.