Hunter 101: Survival Rotation
Something I am often asked is “What is your rotation for SV/MM/BM?”
The long and the short of it is… there is no rotation for any of these specs. It’s all about shot priority. For SV and BM, you’re going to be managing cooldowns and with MM it’s all about being ready for your next Chimera.
As of patch 4.3 Survival is the top DPS spec for most fights in Dragon Soul, so I’ll start there and go in order of “best” to “worst” spec DPS-wise.
This is part one of a three-part guide.
Please keep in mind each fight is different and there may be situations in which you would intentionally delay the use of a specific shot or cooldown to wait for a more optimal time in the fight to use it. A good example of this would be a BM hunter on Spine of Deathwing saving Bestial Wrath for the tendon burn phase, rather than popping BW on cooldown.
Survival Shot Priority
- Kill Shot
- Explosive Shot
- Black Arrow / Explosive Trap for melee range or AOE
- Arcane Shot
- Serpent Sting
- Cobra Shot
Survival is the DoT spec for Hunters. We deal buttloads of nature damage with this spec and when done right, you can do insane amounts of multi-dotting through the use of Serpent Spread and smart positioning.
You want to always have enough focus to make sure you aren’t delaying yourExplosive Shot. This is your “power shot” and it’s essential you use it the SECOND it comes off cooldown for maximum damage output.
As with every spec, Kill Shot becomes your top priority as soon as it’s available.
Black Arrow and Explosive Trap share a cooldown because they both proc Lock and Load (via your points in T.N.T.). When you’re able to stack in with melee and drop an Explosive Trap at your feet, that’s ideal because it costs zero focus to do so and you are still proccing LnL. On a fight like Heroic Yorsahj, you essentially want to keep an Explosive Trap at the boss’s feet almost the entire fight, since you’re going to be stacked under his butt most of the time you’re in there.
When you get your LnL procs, you want to weave other shots in between your free Explosives to allow the DoT to tick for 2 seconds. Use instant shots like Arcane, Kill, or Black Arrow. If you won’t have enough focus for the third, non-free Explosive at the end, use a Cobra Shot between free Explosives, but this is a non-optimal choice as you’re delaying your Explosive Shot by anywhere from .4-.7 seconds depending on your haste. If you accidentally do two Explosives in a row, it’s okay, it’s not the end of the world, but you’re clipping your DoTs and missing out on the extra damage they provide for you.
Survival DoT clipping: The GREAT Debate!
There is a lot of confusion going around with whether or not you should do Explosives Back to back, some people say the DoTs stack with certain shot combos and some people think the DoTs only clip after the second shot. Just think about that, guys. It makes NO sense for a shot to behave differently based on what order you do it in. I found the thread on EJ that started all this nonsense. I’m not going to link it because people get confused by what’s posted there and for some reason, people think EJ is the end all gospel on game mechanics and if it’s posted there, they think they HAVE to do it regardless of whether or not it actually works for them.
Here’s the long and the short of what the guy said: If you hesitate slightly between Explosives and wait for the global to come up, your DoT won’t clip and latency will make up for the second tick. This is all well and good in theory, but this “trick” was discovered standing still on a target dummy where you can tunnel your cooldowns and hesitating half a second to wait for the GCD isn’t hard.
Put that in to practice on a fight and tell me you’re going to sit there and hesitate between LnL procs while bursting down a tendon on Heroic Spine and I’ll slap you and call you a liar, because you, sir, are a goddamn liar. In the real world, on boss fights, you’re going to be queueing up shots like you SHOULD be doing and you’re going to clip all your DoTs. Just get in the habit of weaving shots. Don’t be an elitest derp. Just play your class correctly.