So You Want to Raid as a Beast Master Hunter

I recently had a comment left asking a question similar to “Is Beast Mastery viable in a casual ten-man Naxx raid?”

The answer is yes, yes, and very yes.

Because I did it once a week for a good few months, and heck, this was before pets had Wild Hunt and Shark Attack available– good ol’ post-nerfs but pre-3.1 Beast Mastery. (Then my Naxx group disintegrated and scientists are still baffled about it. True story.)

Anyways, I would hit 3800 or so on Patchwerk and slightly less on other bosses (Loatheb being the exception of course). Occasionally some rogue would pop out of nowhere and get 4000 and snag “First Place on Recount” from me but I can’t recall ever being worse than second.

If that isn’t viable enough for a “causal ten-man Naxx”, then I dunno what is!


Of course, Beast Mastery is kinda touchy. Because it does the lowest DPS currently of all three hunter specs, it can be difficult to coax DPS out of it. Here is my advice to you:


Have a viable spec. By viable I don’t mean “zomg most top DPS evar, no exceptions!” so much as a spec that isn’t just darts thrown at your talent tree. Back when I first began doing weekly Naxx runs, I was 53/18/0 and I did very well. I respec’d to 53/11/7 and did better, and I’m currently running with 54/12/5 which does the highest spreadsheet DPS in a 25man at the cost of slightly lower DPS in five-mans, as compared to 53/11/7. Both would get you roughly similar numbers in a ten-man. All of these three specs are good, as are specs that are very similar. See which one works best for you.



These go hand in hand together especially for us Beast Masters. You want at least Glyph of Bestial Wrath and Glyph of Steady Shot. Once you have these, your rotation is Bestial Wrath (when available) -> Kill Shot (when available) -> Arcane Shot -> Multishot -> Serpent Sting (when it needs to be refreshed) -> Steady Shot. Use Kill Command and Rapid Fire when they are up, as well. Kill Command works especially nicely in conjunction with Bestial Wrath.

A quick word on Multishot: I used to tell people to only use it when you have mana replenishment, however, I’ve been playing around with Zeherah’s Hunter DPS Analyzer (I am in love with it) and discovered that you should always use Multishot when you can.

I also used aforementioned website to try talenting into Aimed Shot, snagging the Glyph of Aimed Shot, and using that in place of Multishot. While the resulting numbers weren’t bad per se, they were still a fairly moderate DPS loss as opposed to spec’ing something like 53/11/7 and just using Multishot. So, that is that!

You will notice that I haven’t mentioned a must-have third glyph; you have a couple options here. Kill Shot, Hawk, and Serpent Sting are all viable ones. I get the best results with Serpent Sting myself: less having to refresh Serpent Sting, more time to do other shots!



I still say you should use what you love when it comes to pets ^_^ however, Devilsaurs are the proven top DPS pet for Beast Masters at the moment. Raptors and Wolves are fairly close behind; I think Raptors edge ahead of Wolves a bit. Cats, Moths, Spirit Beasts, etc. aren’t bad options either, although they aren’t in the “Top Three”.

The important thing when it comes to pets is to have them spec’d for pewpew!

Following these simple steps will have you more than ready to conquer Naxx10 with a Big Red Pet. How viable is it for other, bigger raids, you may ask? Well, I’ve done OS25, VoA25, and a good portion of Naxx25 as BM and performed rather nicely. You may not be #1 on damage but you will be pulling your weight. As for Ulduar, well, I’ve no idea how you’d do in there, although there are some Beast Master hunters on my blogroll who are in Ulduar and are doing very well. There’s also a thread on Mania’s Forums dedicated to studying Beast Master DPS in Ulduar.

Oh, and did I mention this screenshot of the EU first kill of Yogg-Saron with no keepers? Notice the devilsaur in the picture and the little Ferocious Inspiration icon in the corner? It made me very happy to see that. To be fair, from what I understand, it’s largely because the mechanics of the fight favor DoTs, and your pet is essentially a very large DoT. Still, it’s proof that there is a time and place for Beast Mastery even among the best of the best.

In closing: If you wanna be a Beast Master, be a Beast Master. Most of us aren’t in the hardest of the hardcore raiding guilds and we can get away with it quite nicely! Bestial Wrath away, my friends.


35 thoughts on “So You Want to Raid as a Beast Master Hunter”

  1. BM is a viable raid spec, it just won’t top the meters and won’t get you in hardcore raiding guilds. Still it’s my favorite spec and the only time I switch out is to do the safety dance. I haven’t been in Ulduar much so I can’t speak to how well it performs but in all other raids (minus Maly, never been in that one) I’ve been in the top 3 for 10 mans and top 7 for 25 mans. I really think Ferocious Inspiration is the most underrated raid buff ever. I’m pretty sure some people don’t know it exists!

    I will say 25m OS is probably the hardest boss just because of the lava waves and the pet control required.

  2. Oh! I forgot also. Multi shot FTW if you’re a BM and don’t have aimed shot. Another instant shot is amazing. Sorry for the double post.

  3. Everything is viable spec in someone’s hand who can use it. Some are more optimal, but all are useful. The big line is not between BM and surv. The big line is between the hunter and “lulz whatz iz seprent string?”

  4. If Shagrat could have a third spec it would be Beast Mastery. I love the tree but both of my spec slots are variants on a 7/57/7 MM build. Cairlinn (my nelf) is currently a 53/11/7 BM hunter and I have no plans on respeccing her out of the tree.

  5. Welcome to Beast Master’lic Anonymous:

    My name is Chawakanda and I have cleared Naxx as a BM hunter. And with a Cat by my side. And I am not ashamed.

  6. @Chris. Wanna rename your pet? Scribes can make a scroll that will enable you to change your pet name. Cooldown is 7 days. But if you love your pet name, you shouldn’t change it :3

    @ no one in particular
    I do miss Ferocious Inspiration >_< I should go back to check MM


  7. Could one not argue that the DPS from a BM hunter + pet is equal to (or greater than) DPS from [other spec] hunter + pet?

  8. @ Darthregis – when we speak of hunter DPS across the specs, it includes hunter + pet. BM hunter + pet DPS, at its best, is a good thousand or so DPS behind MM or SV hunter + pet DPS.

  9. Ah, Pike, this is why I love this site. Just when I was starting to feel unsure of myself, you come in and smack me around with logic! Thanks!!

  10. Great job pike! awesome as always!!

    Whenever people over at or the Lodge want to say BM isn’t raid viable I always refer them here! Why? Because your living proof that it’s not always about the spec but solid DPS doesn’t happen without the player!

    Keep up the great work!

  11. Fantastic Pike! Baby raider here, but love BM spec. Dual now MM/BM, but this is good news. Send the guild hunter to read this, as he’s very pro MM.

  12. I have BM as a dual spec, and use it when I don’t need to be ‘top tier’ dps. Mostly as an excuse to break out my spirit beast. I wish it was more viable for progression and whatnot, but we just don’t have the leeway there as a semi-casual guild.

  13. I raid as BM in Ulduar 25 most of the time except for fights like Hodir, IC, and Yogg. A lot of it boils down to how much you can manage your pet. It felt amazing to see my pet do 6k dps all by himself to XT’s heart.

  14. It’s good to see how Yogg is being downed with BM hunters in the raid, boosts the idea that BM is still viable in raids. I think in raids, I’ll end up having to figure out what’s best for me. Thank you for putting up this though, almost 80 with my first hunter, so this is very helpful information that I won’t have to sift through ElitistJerks for. XD;;

    Thanks Pike. c:

  15. As a hunter I see alot of negative feedback about the class–from people who play them in my own guild and the old stereotype of the “huntard” which to be honest I question if I am one. Casual sites like this that remind me how fun the class is and that it can do well if you try are extremely wonderful to see- thank you Ms. Pike 😀

  16. Not sure if anyone will see this now that it’s a few days after the post but I thought I would ask anyways.. I’m leveling my hunter, he’s level 50 as of last night, tauren. My pet currently is a Mistvale Gorillia that I love, he’s tanking up to 4 raptors in Un Gor Crater and I’m having a blast playing him. I came to check out the site to see if you had any pointers on how to use steady shot as I just trained in it. Thank you for the advice.

  17. Dear Chawakanda: you are my new best friend. I am also a Beast Master-aholic. I make it work. I’ve been shamed for it in Raids though. Pugs are the worst. My guild gets me tho 🙂

  18. @ Turkich – Short answer: use it when your other shots are on cooldown, if you have the mana for it.

    Long answer: I’ve actually been planning to write a post about this exact thing: learning to Steady Shot in WotLK. However, I’m waiting for my currently level 45 hunter to hit 50 so he can learn it and I can sort of re-learn it. See, my past two hunters to snag Steady Shot got it at level 62 when it was very different than how it is now, so I’ve gotta get in there and see how it is now myself. /nod

    @ Kimberly – I am always very sorry to hear when people are made fun of for being BM in a raid. I must admit it has never happened to me; I’ve done dozens of raids as full on non-apologetic BM and I have only been called out on it twice, and both times were friendly (one was a “omg, I can’t believe you’re doing that much DPS as BM!” and the other time was a very polite “You know SV is tops right now right? Just wanted to check!” followed by a “I’m glad you are playing what you like to play!”)

    @ Donovitch and all the other people leaving kind words – thank you for all the support! It means a lot to me that you all put your faith in my hunterness.

  19. Good luck on hitting 50, I’ve got my Hunter the Beastermaster BOA shoulders the other day, helps with leveling. Trying to get him the Upgraded Dwarf Hand Cannon, 13 shards away. If only Horde could win WG on my server 8-/

    Thank you for the advice, have to rearrange my buttons so I remember to use Steady Shot in my rotation.

  20. Am very glad others are supportive of a persons decision to run BM, i have been BM from the start as it is how i enjoy playing. Even though survival is on the top now, i expect more balancing to happen in the future.
    My guess on this is Blizzard would like it to not be a big difference between the talents in terms of damage. A well specced and geared survival hunter should do about the same as a BM hunter. we will see if that comes to pass though 🙂

    and Pike, i have had the same comments in pugs. I may not always be the top DPS, but i am always near the top.

    I thought about switching to survival but is dummy testing I wasn’t doing a TON more to make it really seem feasible. perhaps if i re-gemmed for agility instead of BM, but that is an expensive test.
    And i would have to give up my spirit beast 🙂


  21. I love walking into a 25 man pug, pulling out ol’ Crichton the Devilsaur, and getting the whispers from other hunters, “You are BM? LOL! L2Play!” . I then pump out 3600 dps and usually get top hunter dps.

    I raid Ulduar 10 with my guild, and they have no problems with my dps. We also run with a MM and a SV hunter (yes, you can succeed in Ulduar with a 30% hunter ratio!) the MM is usually at 4400. Back in the good ol’ days of 3.0 when both of us ran BM he would top me by 5-10 %. The SV runs at 2800-3200, but is fairly undergeared. If he had my gear he would probably be in the 36-3800 range.

    Is BM the best DPS talent spec? No. But in our guilds case, running 3 MM hunters would be a waste of buffs. My FI helps as well as the SV replenishment and the MM’s Trueshot aura.

    25 man Naxx and 10 man Ulduar are very BM friendly. The slimpified rotation of BM alows me the ability to take care of my responsibility of running the raid without a great loss of dps.

    My sugestion to Blizz to buff the 51 point talent to include a ” Pet crits will increase your next Arcane Shot damage by X% ” It woulds reward us for doing what good BM hunters do, and make us use something other than spamming Steadies

  22. Thanx alot for the info!!! I’ve been feeling sheepish about specing back to BM for a while. When i was leveling i loved it and wanted to pick it back up but the whole “BM sux in raids” argument always kept me away. I’m going to respec back right now.

  23. Just recently dual specced to Surv, but have been a die hard BM hunter since day 1.

    I just love the synergy with my pet. The hardest part running things as BM is keeping my pet alive. As Surv., when a big AOE hits I just keep plugging away and don’t really worry about my pet (cat or wolf), but as BM my pet is like 40% of my dps so I have to take time out to Mend Pet if the healer doesn’t heal it, which makes my dps go south.

    Here’s hoping that avoidance in the next patch means I can spend more time pew-pewing.

  24. Oh thank you so much for posting this! I play BM because I just love it. I’m 72 now on my first hunter, and playing with pets. I’ve settled on my lion as the main since I control him a lot easier than my Devilsaur. Though, I’m sure raid siutations may move me in a different direction when 80. I just OT better with my cat. Anyway, I was getting down as I hit wrath and dropped from top dps in instance groups (partly because I am toying with moths, corehounds, etc), and someone told me “Hey, Pro, you’d level faster in MM spec.”

    This just reinforced my joy of BM. I’m not looking to be the best of the best of the best. I just wanna be decent, and have fun. 😀 Really, I don’t know why I’m drawn to BM, but my poor main is quickly becoming replaced.

    Ohyeah, I think you fixed my rotation. I just need to test it out. I was doing a burst shot rotation with Steady/Serpent, Steady/Arcane, Steady/Multi, Steady/Arcane, Steady/Multi, Steady/Arcane, Steady/Serpent (or earlier if needed).

  25. Hooray! A world of BM lovers. Thanks Pike (and other posters) I’ve played a BM for the last year and continually get comments of “but SV is better DPS” Doh! I know that, but I love having a pet. I currently use the following rotation, Serpent/Arcane/Steady, but wondered why there are posts about using multishot (I thought is would pull too many mobs?)

  26. @ Sasrielle – Frankly in this day and age of WoW it’s rare that you need to worry about Multishot pulling or breaking CC. I can think of maybe one example where you’d need to worry about that… the pulls in Ulduar before Kologarn/Iron Council. Other than that, Multishot will do amazing things to your DPS.

  27. Pike this post is revolutionary and such a relief to read! I’ve recently reached 80 and I’m currently awful…at about everything (if you dare see just how gosh darn bad I am you can check me out on the armor). I’m glad you included the shot rotations and glyphs…and I suppose if I’m doing anything right I have had a devilsaur named Sheila since they became availale to tame!

    Thanks for the hunter help!

  28. Update: Thanks to you , Pike, my dps has increased by 1k!! I now do 2k to 2.5k easily and am topping the charts in heroics wearing pre naxx gear!
    Many thanks!

  29. I love BM, i wont run around without it. though when i pug i switch to Surv. why? because i like it 😛
    i run lowbies and solo dungeons in BM so my pet takes most of the aggro, tho with my increasing gear im kinda having a hard time making him a meat-shield…
    I used to use a devilsaur, but he didnt give me much dps, so i had to stable him… then i had to put him out to pasture as i loaded my stable with wolves and cats, each for different purposes…

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