Survival Talent Guide

This Survival Talent Guide goes over each of the talents in the talent tree meant to keep you alive the longest. The survival talent tree is usually viewed as the melee talent tree, but this isn't necessarily true. It is more about getting away or avoiding melee damage than actually fighting in melee.It provides bonuses to things like dodge, agility and critical hits. Many of its talents are heavily geared towards PvP aspects of the game, so if you PvP a lot, this may be the talent tree for you.

The survival tree is also the one that allows you to stack the highest attack power through it's various abilities. This means that in raid situations it can come close to the damage output of a Beast Master specced Hunter.

Tier 1

Tier 1 is available at level ten, when your first talents open up.

  • Improved Tracking - Max 5 points, this talent increases all non-periodic damage done to targets that are being tracked by up to 5%.
    • Can add significant damage against anything you track.
    • As a base level talent it is very solid.
    • The only down side is that you need to track creatures in instances or raids to boost your damage, this can get annoying as your mini-map will become un-usable as it will be filled with dots marking whatever you are tracking.
    • Recommended
  • Hawk Eye - Max 3 points, increases the range of your ranged weapons by up to 6 yards.
    • 6 yards can be significant in that it allows you to out range everyone else in PvP and avoid more AoE in PvE play.
    • If you are in the survival tree this is an essential talent.
    • Recommended
  • Savage Strikes - Max 2 points, increases the critical strike chance of raptor strike, counterattack and mongoose bite
    by up to 20%.
    • Unless you spend a lot of time in melee, this isn't a talent that most hunters even look at.
    • If however you spend a lot of time in battle grounds or arenas, it could be a useful addition as you will be swarmed at some point.

Tier 2

Tier 2 talents are available as soon as you have 5 points in that talent tree.

  • Surefooted - Max 3 points, reduces the duration of movement impairing effects by up to 30%.
    • Allows you to spend less time slowed in several key fights or situations.
    • Any resist of movement slowing effects in PvP can save your life.
    • Must have for Raiders or PvP

  • Entrapment -
    Max 5 points, gives your immolation, frost, snake, and explosive traps up to a 25% chance to entrap the target, preventing them from moving for 4 seconds.
    • A very useful, if somewhat unreliable talent. The 25% chance just isn't enough to count on. When it does proc, it's great, but too often it doesn't when you really need it.
    • Very handy in PvP where any chance is worth the points.
    • Recommended for PvP
  • Improved Wing Clip - Max 3 points, gives your wing clip attack up to a 20% chance to immobilize the target for 5 seconds.
    • Another ability like entrapment, it's great when it goes of, but leaves you wanting to much of the time.
    • Very nice when it proc's when kiting a MOB or in PvP.
    • Essential in PvP where you will be charged.
    • Recommended for PvP
  • Survival Instincts - Max 2 points, reduces all damage taken by up to 4% and increases the critical strike chance of your Arcane Shot, Steady Shot, and Explosive Shot by up to 4%.
    • 4% of all incoming damage can really add up.
    • Again in PvE you shouldn't be taking much, while in PvP you will be hit a a lot.
    • The 4% critical hit rate on all of you key shot abilities though is hard to pass up as it will add a significant amount of damage.
    • Recommended for all around utility

Tier 3

Tier 3 talents are available as soon as you have 10 points in that talent tree.

  • Survivalist- Max 5 points, increase your total health by up to 10%.
    • At level 80 when geared up for PvP, this could mean another 2000 health.
    • In PvE where you are rarely hit, it's not a huge deal. In PvP though this can save your life and your team many times over.
    • Strongly recommended for PvP

  • Scatter Shot - 1 point skill,
    A short-range shot that deals 50% weapon damage and disorients the target for 4 sec. Any damage caused will remove the effect. Turns off your attack when used.
    • This is a shot that is considered essential if you PvP at all.
    • It can be used to interrupt a spell casting, delay an attacker, or even as very short term crowd control in PvE.
    • This is a skill that almost all hunters want for its usefulness, but especially PvP players.
    • Recommended
  • Deflection - Max 5 points, increases
    your parry chance by up to 5% and reduces the duration of all disarm effects used against you by up to 50%.
    • A very good talent in that it allows you to survive much longer in melee combat.
    • Combine this with counter attack later on in the tree for a great combo.
    • The disarm effect does not come into play that often as a Hunter.
    • Highly recommended for PvP players
  • Survival Tactics - 2 points max. This talent reduces the chance your Feign Death ability and all trap spells will be resisted by up to 4% and reduces the cooldown of your Disengage ability by 4 seconds.
    • The lower resist chance on your Feign Death ability can really save you when you need it to work.
    • A great part of this talent is the reduced chance to resist traps. This means that enemies will take more damage from your traps as they will resist them less, and that you can more reliably crowd control one in your traps.
    • The biggest part of this talent for PvP players is the reduced time on Disengage, as it is a key ability to create space between you and an opponent so that you can continue firing.
    • Strongly recommended for all players

Tier 4

Tier 4 talents are available as soon as you have 15 points in that talent tree.

  • TNT - Max 3 points, your Immolation Trap, Explosive Trap and Explosive Shot have up to a 15% to stun targets for 3 sec when they land, and increases the chance your Explosive Shot will critically hit by up to 9%.
    • This is yet another stun ability to add to your traps, making them more effective in PvP.
    • Only slightly useful in PvE as you will be placing those traps for damage not control.
    • The damage boost for your explosive shot is nice but not really worth the 3 points unless it it a big part of your rotation.
    • Recommended for PvP

  • Lock and Load - Max 3 points. You have up to a 100% chance when you trap a target and up to a 6% chance when you deal periodic damage with your Serpent Sing to cause your next 2 Arcane Shot or Explosive Shot spells to trigger no cooldown, cost no mana and consume no ammo.
    • Wow! This talent can add a significant amount of damage even just with the 6% chance off of shots. When you use traps regularly though the damage increase adds up even quicker.
    • Strongly Recommended

  • Hunter vs. Wild - Max 3 points. Increases you and your pet's attack power and ranged attack power equal by up to 30% of your total Stamina.
    • Since stamina is found on almost all gear you are going to have quite a bit of it. The 30% boost to your and your pet's attack power can work out to be a big increase.
    • This ability scales with your gear, and scales even more with PvP gear which is good as it compensates you slightly for the lower damage output that PvP gear has.
    • Recommended

Tier 5

Tier 5 talents are available as soon as you have 20 points in that talent tree.

  • Killer Instinct - Max 3 points, increases your critical strike chance by up to 3%.
    • 3% critical strike adds a lot to your DPS and is well worth having.
    • This is a requirement for wyvern sting and if you want that you must max this talent out.
    • Must have talent
  • Counterattack - 1 point skill, this strike can only be used after you parry an opponents attack. It deals 40 damage and immobilizes the target for 5 seconds. This attack can not be dodged, blocked or parried.
    • A great talent and definitely worth putting 21 points into survival for.
    • This talent adds a huge amount to your PvP survivability due to the 5 second immobilize allowing you to get to range again.
    • Recommended for PvP, Skip for PvE

Tier 6

Tier 6 talents are available as soon as you have 25 points in that talent tree.

  • Lightning Reflexes - Max 5 points, increases your agility by up to 15%.
    • The 15% improvement in agility also means a huge attack power increase.
    • This is an amazing talent as it scales with your gear as you level.
    • Must have talent
  • Resourcefulness - Max 3 points, reduces the mana cost of all your trap and melee abilities by up to 60% and reduces the cooldown on your traps by 6 seconds.
    • A great talent as it keeps you full of mana longer and allows you to constantly keep a trap up. Combined with item set bonuses you can drop a lot of time off your trap cooldown.
    • If your this far into survival, you need to grab this.
    • Recommended

Tier 7

Tier 7 talents are available as soon as you have 30 points in that talent tree.

  • Expose Weakness - Max 3 points, your critical hits from ranged attacks have up to a 30% chance to expose weakness. This effect increases the attack power of all attackers against that target by 25% of your agility for 7 seconds.
    • Very useful for long raid boss fights or for PvP burst damage.
    • Not always useful in short fights where it does not contribute much.
    • If you are survival and raid however, this is that talent you went survival for, it increases the damage against that target for the whole raid by a large amount.
    • Must have for raiding
  • Wyvern Sting - 1 point skill, This sting puts your target to sleep for 12 seconds. Any damage will wake them up. Once wakened the sting will cause 300 nature damage over 12 seconds.
    • This is a very good opening shot for some limited crowd control.
    • It can also be useful as an additional interrupt on casters or healers, or just for time to land an aimed shot, set a trap, and send your pet to attack.
    • While not always useful, your this deep into survival so you should grab it.
    • Recommended
  • Thrill of the Hunt - Max 3 points, gives you up to a 100% chance to regain 40% of the mana cost of any shot that critically hits.
    • A very nice talent for long raid boss type fights where you would otherwise run out of mana.
    • Really requires a high crit % to make the most of this talent.
    • Recommended for raiding

Tier 8

Tier 8 talents are available as soon as you have 35 points in that talent tree.

  • Master Tactician - Max 5 points, your successful ranged attacks have up to 10% chance to increase your critical strike chance by up to 10% for the next 8 seconds.
    • This can up your damage by quite a bit and ends up being active a surprising amount of time.
    • Will raise your critical hit rate significantly allowing you to do more and more damage.
    • Recommended
  • Noxious Stings - Max 3 points, if Wyvern Sting is dispelled, the dispeller is also afflicted by Wyvern Sting lasting up to 50% of the duration remaining, and increases all damage done by you on targets afflicted by your Serpent Sting by up to 3%.
    • This makes removing your Wyvern Sting dangerous for other players in PvP.
    • Will place a healer to sleep for up to 6 seconds when they remove in, giving you a chance to put more damage on your main target.
    • Great for PvP use and really makes healers second guess removing it off of their arena partners.
    • No real PvE use though.
    • Must have for PvP

Tier 9

Tier 9 talents are available as soon as you have 40 points in that talent tree.

  • Point of No Escape - Max 2 points. Increases the critical strike chance of all attacks on targets affected by your Frost Trap, Freezing Trap and Freezing Arrow by up to 6%.
    • When you use your traps to slow down your opponent in PvP which will be as often as possible, you will up your and your partners critical hit rate.
    • This can add up to a bit of extra damage when you most need it in PvP
    • Recommended for PvP
  • Trap Mastery - 1 point talent. Frost Trap and Freezing Trap - Increases the duration by 30%. Immolation and Explosive Trap - Increases the damage done by 30%. Snake Trap - Increases the number of snakes summoned by 30%.
    • This talent raises the effectiveness of all of your traps by 30%. Since you will constantly be using traps as a survival hunter it makes this a key talent.
    • Recommended

  • Sniper Training - Max 3 points. Increases the damage done by your Steady Shot, Aimed Shot and Explosive Shots by up to 6% if you are 30 yards or further from your target, and increases the critical strike chance of your Kill Shot ability by up to 15%.
    • With the increased range you gain as survival, most of your damage should be done at extreme distance, and this will upgraded your damage by 6%.
    • It also ups your damage with Kill Shot which helps to finish off enemies.
    • May not be as useful in PvP as PvE as in PvP keeping distance is difficult.
    • Strongly Recommended

Tier 10

Tier 10 talents are available as soon as you have 45 points in that talent tree.

  • Hunting Party - Max 5 points. Your Arcane Shot, Explosive Shot and Steady Shot critical strikes have up to a 100% chance to grant up to 10 party or raid members mana regeneration equal to 0.25% of their maximum mana per second. Lasts for 15 sec.
    • This ability allows you to bring a solid group and raid benefit to your group. While not a huge boost in mana regeneration, it adds up over long fights since you will be able to keep it up constantly.
    • Essentially a PvE talent though as most PvP fights do not last long enough to make a difference.
    • Recommended

Tier 11

Tier 11 is the top tier talent and is available as soon as you have 50 points in that talent tree.

  • Explosive Shot - 1 point skill, this talent allows you to fire an explosive charge into the target, dealing Fire damage. The charge will blast the target every second for an additional 2 sec. Each charge also deals Fire damage to all nearby enemies within 5 yards of the target."
    • This ability talent provides another viable ranged AoE attack to go along with your barrage and multi-shot.
    • Great in both PvP and PvE as it provides either another DOT that needs to be removed or as a finishing shot to assist in extra damage.
    • Great all around talent

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.


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