Hunter 101: Which pet should I get? (WOD)

One of the most frequently asked questions from new hunters is:

What is the best pet for the DPS?

You see, my little hunters, there is no one “right” answer for this. There are many pets in our hunter arsenal that are the best pet for the situation. The best pet for your DPS is dependent upon what you’re doing. I wouldn’t use the same pet for raiding that I would use in a battleground. My arena pet might be different from my battleground pet. The pet I use for questing isn’t the same as the pet I use to run 5 man dungeons, and I certainly do not use that pet when I hunter tank or do some extreme soloing.

Hunter pets are one of the biggest utilities we have to offer and the sign of a truly good hunter is one who knows which pet to use in what situation and why. Blizzard blessed us with an overflowing stable in Cataclysm… we have FIFTY pet slots now! This is a fantastic opportunity, use those slots well.

Table of Contents

Change Log

  • July 17, 2011 — Original post, included data for Cataclysm pets
  • September 4, 2012 — 5.0.4 update, added Mists of Pandaria info from beta
  • September 10, 2012 — Added new MoP Sporebat buff
  • October 28, 2014 — 6.0.4 update, added Warlords of Draenor info from beta

Petopia

Petopia is an AMAZING resource and a website EVERY hunter should have bookmarked. Petopia was the first WoW website I ever went to when I was leveling my first baby hunter and wanted to find a cool pet that not many other people had. Petopia doesn’t just index all the cool pets, it also tells you where to find them, what their abilities are and at what level you can tame them.

The information in this post is a consolidation of large amounts of information from Petopia and Wowhead, organized in a logical way for new hunters. A note about the pet list: Petopia indexes the abilities by pet, I list the pets by ability—if you know what buff you need, this list will tell you which pet provides it.

What’s different in Warlords of Draenor?

There are a lot less changes in Draenor than there were going in to Mists, so we can be thankful for that!

The only real changes are a loss of pet CC (discussed below in the PvP section), some pet buffs were shuffled around to accommodate new stats being introduced in 6.0, and a few new pet families are available to tame.

New pet families

Clefthoof (exotic)

Replaces the rhino family, all rhinos are now clefthooves!

  • Pet family: Tenacity
  • Special Ability: Wild Strength
    • Raid buff: +3% versatility
    • Raid buff: +5% multistrike
  • Special Ability: Thick Hide
    • Reduce damage taken by 50% for 12sec (similar to a Turtle’s Shell Shield)

Hydra

Replaces the rhino family, all rhinos are now clefthooves!

  • Pet family: Ferocity
  • Special Ability: Keen Senses
    • Raid buff: +550 Mastery

Riverbeast

Hungry hungry hippos!

Rylak (exotic)

Like a chimaera, but 300% more horrifying!

  • Pet family: Cunning
  • Special Ability: Savage Vigor
    • Raid buff: +5% haste
    • Raid buff: +10% stamina
  • Special Ability: Updraft
    • Slow falling speed for 30 seconds

Stag

We asked, and Blizzard listened… we can finally tame a druid!

  • Pet family: Ferocity
  • Special Ability: Grace
    • Raid buff: +3% versatility

When should I use which spec?

When you quest, you’ll more often than not be using your pet as a tank, so you’ll want a solid pet with good defensive abilities at your side. Any pet can be a tenacity pet now, so if you want a tenacity sporebat, make it so! But keep in mind only certain pets have special abilities that lend themselves to the tanking role better than others.

Bears and turtles are my picks for the best tenacity pets and I personally use a turtle for all of my hunter tanking needs.

I have tanked adds in phase one on Nefarian with my turtle. I have tanked Sunwell Plateau with my turtle. I have soloed countless dungeons and raids with my turtle. Why turtles? They have the ability Shell Shield, which reduces the turtle’s damage taken by 50% for 12 seconds every minute. Clefthooves have this ability, too, but turtles are a non-exotic family that can be used with every spec and tamed at very low levels.

Quilen are also a very good option for a tank pet, because they have the ability Stone Armor, which is a lesser damage reduction than a Turtle’s Shell Shield, but give your pet a self-heal whenever he drops below 40%. This self-heal, combined with Mend Pet, should get your pet through most damage spikes without much trouble.

 Pro tip! A cool turtle you can tame at level 23 is Ghamoo-ra in Blackfathom Deeps.

If you are not having problems staying alive while questing or prefer to level via Random Dungeon Finder, you will want to use a ferocity pet.

The most universally useful ferocity pet is the cat, for the Roar of Courage, which is a mastery buff. Cats are also some of the most common beasts in the game with dozens of different skins, so you can very easily find one you like. Wolves are also a really useful pet to keep on hand for their Furious Howl buff, which increases your crit chance by 5%.

Pro tip! A cool cat you can tame at level 19 is the spawned Ghost Saber in Darkshore.

If you plan to PvP at all, you will want to get a pet that gives you an extra advantage against other players. The best pets for PvP are usually the ones that can provide some CC for you, so you will want to pick up a spider, monkey, dog or crab.

crab

Currently, Blizzard has removed all pet stun/root CCs from the game, hopefully this will get overturned or patched at a later date. As of right now, the only remaining PvP from the original 4 (Spider, Monkey, Dog, Crab) with any usefulness in PvP is the Spider:

Spiders have a ranged slow with their Web Spray ability, slowing enemy movement by 50% for 6 seconds.

There are several other pets that provide great utility for PvP, but Spiders are my recommendation for a universally good PvP pet. As always, choose the right pet for your play style and opponent.

Spiders are everywhere, you can find them in Tirisfall Glades, Elwynn Forest, Teldrassil and Ghostlands all by level 10.

bear

The basic, non-exotic hunter stable at level 100 is:

  1. Cat/Hydra/Tallstrider — +550 mastery buff
  2. Bird of Prey/Boar/Porcupine/Ravager/Stag — +3% versatility buff
  3. Wolf/Raptor — +5% crit buff
  4. Dog/Gorilla — +5% stats buff
  5. Hyena/Sporebat/Wasp — +5% haste buff
  6. Bat/Dragonhawk/Wind Serpent — +5% multistrike buff
  7. Bear/Goat — + 10% stam buff
  8. Serpent — +10% spell power
  9. Carrion Bird/Riverbeast/Scorpid — 25% healing debuff (mortal wounds)
  10. Crocolisk/Spider/Warp Stalker — 50% movement speed reduction
  11. Nether Ray — Blood Lust/Heroism
  12. Crane/Moth — battle rez

BM pets you should REALLY consider taming:

  1. Spirit Beast — targeted HOT
  2. Water Strider — water walking
  3. Rylak — slow fall
  4. Core Hound — DOT to melee attackers
  5. Chimera/Worm — AOE damage

loque

Once you level a bit more, you might want to branch out and tame some pets based on the buffs or debuffs they provide your group. If you plan to raid, especially if you will be raiding in a 10 man, you will want to bring a pet that will benefit your raid group best. We have over 15 different buffs/debuffs/abilities we can provide, be sure you are prepared to fill a role should your raid group need it.

A full chart of every buff, debuff, & ability available and which pet provides it:

BUFFS

+550 mastery

  • Cat
  • Hydra
  • Spirit Beast (BM)
  • Tallstrider

+3% versatility

  • Bird of Prey
  • Boar
  • Clefthoof (BM)
  • Porcupine
  • Ravager
  • Stag
  • Worm (BM)

+5% crit

  • Devilsaur (BM)
  • Quilen (BM)
  • Raptor
  • Shale Spider (BM)
  • Water Strider (BM)
  • Wolf

+5% strength, agility, intellect

  • Dog
  • Gorilla
  • Shale Spider (BM)
  • Worm (BM)

+5% haste

  • Hyena
  • Rylak (BM)
  • Sporebat
  • Wasp

+5% multistrike

  • Bat
  • Chimaera (BM)
  • Clefthoof (BM)
  • Core Hound (BM)
  • Dragonhawk
  • Wind Serpent

+10% stamina

  • Bear
  • Goat
  • Rylak (BM)
  • Silithid (BM)

+10% spell power

  • Serpent
  • Silithid (BM)
  • Water Strider (BM)

DEBUFFS

25% decrease to healing taken (mortal wound)

  • Carrion Bird
  • Devilsaur (BM)
  • Riverbeast
  • Scorpid

50% movement speed reduction for 6 sec

  • Chimera (BM)
  • Crocolisk
  • Silithid (BM)
  • Spider
  • Warp Stalker

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Targeted heal over time

Spirit Beast (BM)

Water walking

Water Strider (BM)

Slow fall

Rylak (BM)

Battle rez

  • Crane
  • Moth
  • Quilen (BM)

Blood Lust/Heroism

  • Core Hound (BM)
  • Nether Ray

AOE damage

  1. Chimera (BM)
  2. Worm (BM)

DOT to melee attackers

Core Hound (BM)

PET ONLY BUFFS

note: these buffs only affect your pet and cannot be cast on another target

Reduced damage taken

  • Beetle
  • Clefthoof (BM)
  • Crab
  • Quilen (BM)
  • Shale Spider
  • Turtle

Self heal

  • Devilsaur (Consume humanoid/beast corpse, heal 20% over 6 sec) (BM)
  • Quilen (When <40% HP, heal 3% HP/sec for 8 sec) (BM)

Spell reflect

Direhorn

+20% chance to dodge

  • Fox
  • Monkey

FUN NON-COMBAT PET SKILLS

  • Birds of Prey and Cranes will do a flip on command
  • Foxes will dance on command
  • Bears and Porcupines will take a nap on command

NO BUFFS AT ALL

Basilisk

Cheat sheet for the lazy

If you have made it all the way through this post and still want me to just tell you what pet to use rather than using situational awareness to determine what pet is best for the situation, here’s a cheat sheet for you:

  • Raid: Sporebat
  • Challenge Mode: Sporebat
  • Dungeon: Sporebat
  • Brawler’s Guild: Sporebat
  • Proving Grounds: Sporebat
  • Add control: Sporebat
  • Tank pet: Sporebat
  • Soloing old content: Sporebat
  • Soloing current content: Sporebat
  • PvP: Sporebat
  • Make rogues bleed from their anus: Sporebat

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