Straight for the Jugular! Go for the Throat and Company

The discerning blog reader who has clicked around on my links and Armory profiles lately may have noticed something interesting; namely, my two level eighty hunters, while both Beast Masters, are currently sporting (slightly) different specs:



Tawyn is using a 53/11/7 build, and Lunapike a 52/12/7. It may look like a difference of one talent point on the surface, but it’s actually three. Let’s dig deeper and take a look.

Tawyn has: 3/3 Cobra Strikes, 1/2 Go for the Throat, and 0/2 Invigoration.

Lunapike has: 2/2 Invigoration, 2/2 Go for the Throat, and 0/3 Cobra Strikes.

First, we’ll take a look at Invigoration vs. Cobra Strikes.

Why the difference?

Short answer
: Lunapike just hit 80, while Tawyn has been 80 for a while and has thus amassed a relatively decent set of gear.

Long answer: Cobra Strikes is a solid DPS boost. However, Invigoration should theoretically keep you out of Viper for longer and thus could also be construed as a DPS boost. Which one you want to take is situational.

Lunapike just hit 80, as I mentioned. At the moment she is mostly doing dailies, and five-mans and heroics where Replenishment may or may not happen. She also is still mostly in leveling duds and thus has a very small mana pool.

Tawyn has a larger mana pool and is mostly in raids these days, where there’s often a lot of mana regen being thrown around.

Guess who is going to want Invigoration, and guess who’s going to want Cobra Strikes?

Both are, in my mind, acceptable, though in general, I feel a level 80 hunter is going to eventually migrate from Invigoration to Cobra Strikes. Your mileage may vary, as always, so play around with it… but I sorta think this is a common sense one. /nod

Now, let’s move on to Go for the Throat, that lovely, lovely talent that all hunters everywhere of every spec should have at least one point in, because it’s such a DPS boost.

Lunapike has this talent maxed out. Tawyn only has one point in there… the “other” point is going to max out Cobra Strikes.

Why the difference?

Short answer: Lunapike just hit 80, while Tawyn has been 80 for a while and has thus amassed a relatively decent set of gear. (Why yes, I did just copy paste this from above.)

Long answer: Go for the Throat works off of critical strikes. The more you crit, the more focus you feed to your pet. Let’s compare the critical strike chance of our two examples, unbuffed:

Here’s Tawyn:


And here’s Lunapike:


Big difference in stats, huh? Especially in crit rating! Tawyn crits almost twice as much as Lunapike!

This, my friends, is why Tawyn can get away with only one point in Go for the Throat. Because she crits enough that she only needs one point in there. Actually, even Tawyn is barely squeaking by. The online hunter spreadsheet tells me that unbuffed, I could use another point in GftT, if I had one to spare. Fully raid-buffed, though, I’m good to go, so I feel fine with not having the extra point… it’s hard enough to find places to pull talent points from as it is; there are so many goodies out there for us to nab.

But can you imagine if Lunapike, with her mere 17% crit, only had one point in Go for the Throat? If the online hunter spreadsheet could have a stroke, it would. Of this I have no doubt. All the hunter theorycrafters of yesteryear would collectively roll in their virtual graves. It’d be a disaster, I tell ya!

Conclusion? Well, when it comes to Beast Mastery, there really is no set-in-stone spec. 41/20/0 and its rigidness has been nailed tightly in its coffin for some time now and in its place we have a little bit of flexibility. Having mana issues? Invigoration is the way to go. Not so much? Go for Cobra Strikes and scoop up the extra pet crits. Below about 30%ish crit? Two points in Go for the Throat. Otherwise, you can get away with just one.

But above all, remember to try things out, and see what gets you the best results. Heck, you may have the best results by dropping some of the points in Survival all together and distributing them among the talents we talked about today. Research: it does a hunter good.

And with that… hunterbots, roll out!

12 thoughts on “Straight for the Jugular! Go for the Throat and Company”

  1. @ Lupius – It has plenty of uptime for me! (With a Ferocity pet anyway– with others, not so much.)

    But if it doesn’t for you, then don’t use it ^_^

  2. I was told that having two points in Go For The Throat was overkill because your pet genereates too much focus. Then again, I’m a marksmanship hunter, so I personally am doing most of the crits vs my pet. Haven’t had time to try her out in raids though. She’s not even hit capped, nor heroic geared. Basically a fresh 80.

    Armory link:

    May eventually get her into my main’s guild to start raiding, but.. meh. Too busy having fun with my Alliance shammy. 😀

  3. I wish I had enough talent points for 2/2 Invigoration AND 3/3 Cobra Strikes. However in 25 mans, if you have a good variety of classes, mana is almost not an issue. I look at my mana bar after we get the boss down 50% and I still have 80% of my mana left.

    But when I’m a MM Hunter I feel like I have no mana. All those instant abilities burn my mana like no tomorrow.

  4. But when I’m a MM Hunter I feel like I have no mana. All those instant abilities burn my mana like no tomorrow.

    Yep. If you don’t have both JoW and Replenishment 100% of the time you’ll be hurting bad.

  5. We rollin’ !

    Seriously, though. Thanks for posting this. I was planning a re-spec in the very near future and had completely missed the practicality of including ‘Go For The Throat’ in anything but a pure BM build.

  6. @ Xianghua –

    Two points is overkill if you have 30% crit or more. Most Marksman and Survival hunters have well over that and hence, most Marksman and Survival hunters only go with one point!

  7. They should both pick up 1 point in invigoration, regardless of their spec or gear. You only use one point because it gives you partial regen, but there are other talents available that boast a much higher sustained dps output. From what i’ve seen, the second point spent in GFTT roughly boosts dps output, by 33% of the dps gained from the first point.

    Just like the first poster mentioned – Invig draws from Cobra strikes, as Cobra Strikes draws from raw crit rating. As you hit level 80, your priority should be 3/3 Cobra Strikes, then you can throw 1 in GFTT, 1 in Invig, and then you’re all set while you gear up.

    What confuses me the most is that at level 80 you have the same amount of points to throw into your spec. Cobra strikes is a must, and there should be at least 5 talent points available between these three talents, yet you only have four.. Sooo… I have to assume that one talent point for both hunters has been poorly spent!

    Further more, the first hunter is hit capped which leads me to believe that he has no talent points in Focused Aim, this gives him the edge over the other hunter in speccing for maximum sustained dps. The second hunter should have at least 2 points invested into FA, which gives one point left over (there’s the 5th talent point that you never happened to mention). XD

    My opinion: Luna should have 3 Cobra, 1 Invig, 1 GFTT.
    the 50% drop in mana regen is made up by the pet dealing 2 guaranteed crits in a row, as opposed to a 100% chance to get 1% mana with a louzy crit rate.

  8. @ Felidire – They are both “she”s, not “he”s! =P

    I’m afraid I don’t follow what you’re saying in your comment; I apologize. I don’t see Cobra Strikes as a must for a hunter that is not really doing any instances and thus doesn’t need top-notch DPS, if that is what you are trying to suggest. And with her current crit rating, all theorycrafting I have done says that 2/2 GftT is a very large DPS gain over 1/2 GftT.

  9. Invig proc = more mana = more shots = higher chance to proc CS = more pet crits = more Invig proc = more mana.

    The math indicates that with 17% crit and 3/3 Cobra Strikes, Splitting 2 points between GFTT and Invig would yeild slightly higher dps. If you’re going to put 2 points into Go for the Throat, it should be done after you’ve had the time to bulk up your AP and build on to your manapool. Cobra Strikes -is- a must if you want a proper BM spec that deals the best damage possible, regardless on whether you Raid, PvP, or run around shooting monkies all day.

    I tested Cobra Strikes & Go for the Throat out on my hunter, and after 1 point in GFTT you should really fill up Cobra strikes. After Cobra Strikes you should chuck the last point into Invigoration if you find you’re lacking in mana. It’s not worth putting a second point into GFTT unless your pet is pwnage, because that second point is only a 33% dps increase to that of the first point.

    Yeah I probably fail at explaining it, but just trust me; for someone with average gear it’s an additional 170 dps on average (if you do your shots right).

  10. @ Felidire – Well, the truth is that I’m trying to save up money for an epic flyer for Lunapike right now, so I don’t want to spend the gold to respec anyways! =D

  11. Fair enough, I got my hunter an epic flyer at 77 so I could camp a Spirit Beast.

    I’m guessing this is yours?:

    Here’s my one:

    The only difference is that you’ve picked the Sting Glyph over the AotV Glyph, and you’ve cut back on a lot of talents in order to fill up Improved Tracking.

    If you did respec in the future, you could probably put 3/5 in Frenzy like mine. My crit is higher so I was just on my way to the trainer to try out 2/5 Frenzy. I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

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