Selecting Talents for the Hunter

When it comes to specing your Hunter you have several options to choose from to establish a solid build. The real trick to figuring out what will work best for you is to determine...

When it comes to specing your Hunter you have several options to choose from to establish a solid build. The real trick to figuring out what will work best for you is to determine first what you want to accomplish. Do you want to be able to solo better, do you want a solid PvP build, are you looking to spec for groups or raids, or do you just want to become a beast at damage? All these are viable options through various builds using the three talent schools for the Hunter. Each school has a specific focus and will appeal to various play styles.
  • Beast Mastery - This tree focuses on building up your pet abilities and increases your pet's damage output. The advanced section of this tree also allows you to tame exotic pets. Beast Mastery Hunters can provide a raid with strong dps and their buff Ferocious Inspiration is a beneficial proc buff for raids. The drawback is that the hunter's own DPS can suffer as a great deal of damage enhancing talents go to making the pet DPS its primary focus.
  • Marksman - This is a high damage dealing school. It focuses on enhancing the Hunter's ranged damage attacks with damage enhancing talents. Marksmen can dish out a great deal of damage and in some cases enhance their groups damage output through talents like Trueshot Aura.
  • Survival - This tree's big perk is the ability to enhance your traps and use some of them to augment your DPS. Damage with this build is among one of the best. With the 3.1 updates, the Survival hunter has gained some useful new skills that can make it very deadly.

Beast Mastery PvE/PvP Build:

Building an efficient Beast Master hunter can be done by making sure you take advantage of all pet enhancing talents that work well together. For example, the Beast Master is given the option to train a tier 7 talent known as Ferocious Inspiration after they have invested 30 points into the Beast Mastery talent school. This talent provides the Beastmaster's pet with the chance ability to buff a party or raid after a successful critical hit by enhancing their damage by up to 3% for ten seconds. This alone can make the Beastmaster an indispensable tool of destruction and a well desired element for any group or raid. There are many talents in this tree that can help by enhancing your pet's damage and increasing their chance to land a critical strike such as Focused Fire. By building these talents you can maximize your pet's potential for dealing a critical strike and thus increase the possibility that he can aid a group or raid with the Ferocious Inspiration buff.

For this guide I have established a pretty solid build for the Beast Mastery line (link above). The excess points have been invested in the Marksman and Survival trees to add an increase to damage. The most important thing about being a Beastmaster is focusing on powering up your pet any way possible. If you follow the Beast Mastery build I have provided, you will have a few points left over that you can use to try different things with. In the build I have included, I make use of Marksman and Survivability talents, but you can change those out for other talents that might better suit your play style. The beauty of the Hunter is that there are no shortage of talent build variations and you can always find something different to try.

Talents to avoid as a Beast Master Hunter:
The Beast Mastery tree provides one of the best lines of talents for this class, but there are a few things talents you should avoid like the plague. You will want to avoid wasting points in Catlike Reflexes. I know an added dodge chance sounds tempting, but if you're doing your job as a Hunter you shouldn't be close enough to be getting hit anyway. Spend those three points somewhere more important. Pathfinding may sound nice for increased speed, but in the grand scheme of things it's pretty useless. Your mount speed will be more than sufficient for transportation once you have one and that will render this a pointless skill and it's more of a burden in dungeons and on raids since you get stunned when hit. The enhancements are minor and really not worth giving up points in other more important things.

Key Talents of Beast Mastery Tree
Name Points Spent Requirement Maximum
Talent Details
Focused Fire
5 2
  • Increases your damage by up to 2% while your pet is active.
  • Increases the critical strike chance of your pet's special abilities by up to 20% while Kill Command is active.
  • Highly Recommended for PvE and PvP.
15 5
  • Increases your pet's critical strike chance by up to 10%.
  • This talent works in coordination with many of your other talents such as Ferocious Inspiration.
  • Highly Recommended for PvE and group PvP.
20 1
  • A high hate generating attack for your pet that will help them keep aggro on an enemy
  • Useful for soloing and having your pet off tank in a group.
  • Highly Recommended for PvE.
Requires 1 point spent in Intimidation.
  • This talent can send your pet into a rage for 18 seconds increasing their damage by 50%.
  • Useful for both PvE and PvP.
  • Highly recommended for PvE and a great asset in PvP.
The Beast Within
Requires 1 point spent in Bestial Wrath.
  • When your pet is under the effect of Bestial Wrath, you also go into a rage, causing your attacks to do 10% additional damage and reducing the mana cost of all spells by 20% for 18 seconds.
  • Useful for both PvE and PvP.
  • Highly recommended for PvE and a great asset in PvP. This is a must have to compliment the damage of Bestial Wrath.
30 3
  • (With 3 points invested) When your pet scores a critical strike, all party or raid members have all their damage increased by 3% for 10 seconds. In addition, the damage of your Arcane Shot is increased by 9%.
  • Very highly recommended if you intend to raid a lot.
50 1
  • Allows you to train exotic pets.
  • Increases your total amount of Pet Points by 4.
  • Must Have ability for Beastmasters.

Marksman Builds

The Marksman Talent school is focused on increasing your damage in ranged combat. If strait hunter damage is what you are shooting for, this may be a good choice for you. However, this build won't do your pet any favors and is a bit different for soloing as you'll need to be more careful with managng aggro since your pet won't be able to hold it as well. A Marksman may be better served in groups where a tank can hold aggro and leave you free to dish out damage without having to worry about the enemy shifting their focus to you as often.

The Marksman can develop a wide range of cooperative talents that can increase their DPS greatly. In their Tier 7 talent line, they have an ability they can train known as Trueshot Aura. This aura provides an attack bonus to party and raid members that can add a nice boost in DPS and make the Marksman a desired class for groups and raids. Other skills such as Chimera Shot and Serpent Sting work well together and can prove to be beneficial in PvP battles and on raids. You can choose to change my suggested build around a bit for some other flexible skills. If you need more hit chance, you can swap something out for Focus Aim. Improved Concussive Shot is not recommended unless you want it for PvP, but you would be better served to cross this off your PvE and raiding build list.

Talents to avoid as a Marksman Hunter:
There are a few talents to avoid in the Marksman line that are for the most part a waste of points. In the Marksman Tree, avoid putting points into Concussive Barrage and Improved Concussive Shot unless you want to substitute these skills for PvP. There are much better options to invest those talent points into and you would be better served to use them elsewhere. 

Key Talents of Marksman Tree
Name Points Spent Requirement Maximum
Talent Details
5 5
  • This talent increases your critical strike damage for ranged attacks by up to 5%.
  • Highly recommended as this talent increases the critical damage bonus on all ranged attacks.
N/A 1
  • When activated, this skill refreshes the cooldown timer on all skills except for Bestial Wrath.
  • Useful for both PvP and PvE combat.
  • Highly recommended for Marksman hunters as it is highly useful and a prerequisite to Trueshot Aura.
Requires 1 point spent in Readiness
  • Increases the attack power of party and raid members within 45 yards.
  • Recommended for Raiders and group PvE and PvP.
35 5
  • Increases your critical strike chance by up to 5%.
  • Reduces the Mana cost of Steady Shot by up to 25%.
  • Recommended for Raiders and PvP: This is a good investment for anyone looking to do raids or PvP and is a prerequisite to Silencing Shot.
Chimera Shot
50 1
  • This talent gives a skill that deals 125% of your weapon damage and refreshes your current sting attack and triggers an effect
  • Serpent Sting - Instantly deals 40% of the damage done by your Serpent Sting.
  • Viper Sting - Instantly restores mana to you equal to 60% of the total amount drained by your Viper Sting.
  • Scorpid Sting - Attempts to Disarm the target for 10 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once per minute.
  • Recommended for PvE and PvP players.


Survival Hunter

The Survival Tree has some great skills you can put to use. With the 3.1 update this tree got a bit of a rework. Some things were moved and a new skill called Black Arrow was added. If you choose to go with this tree you will have the option to enhance your traps and gain another high damage skill known as Explosive Shot. These skills are very useful to a raid and can make you a useful tool for any encounter.

There are a few ways you can split your points between the Survivalist Tree and another to try and provide a hybrid build that can help enhance your DPS. The build I have put together above is useful for raids as and has become one of my favorites as it provides a nice boost in DPS and utilizes some of the useful skills of the other trees. It breaks down to a 1/15/55 build and is very useful for raids and all around high DPS.

In PvP this tree can hold its own with high damage attacks and useful trap skills to keep some enemies on ice when needed. By slowing or freezing foes in place with traps, this build allows other group members a chance to catch unfortunate enemies in a vulnerable position. In a straight face to face fight, Survival Hunters can hold their own, but they may be vulnerable against certain classes. However, from a distance, the hunter is a lethal foe with a strong advantage and capable of cutting their enemies to ribbons. So if you intend to PvP as a Survival Hunter, make sure you bring friends and keep your distance.

Talents to avoid as a Survival Hunter:
Ranged attacks are your best asset so try to steer clear of wasting points in melee related skills. After all, melee Hunters are one of the many Hunter groups of the community that have aptly earned the name a Huntard. If anything, invest a few points into enhancing your pet so that he can aid you by keeping aggro while you dish out the damage. As a Survival Hunter you will want to invest any additional points you might have into increasing ranged DPS. Steer clear of melee talents such as Deflection, and Savage Strikes.

Key Talents of Survival Tree
Name Points Spent Requirement Maximum
Talent Details
5 3
  • Increases the Duration of Frost Trap by 30%.
  • Increases the damage of Black Arrow and Immolation and Explosive Traps by 30%
  • Increases the number of snakes summoned by Snake Trap by 9.
  • Highly Recommended for Survival Hunters specing for trap specialization.
15 3
  • You have up to a 100% chance when you trap a target with Freezing Trap, Freezing Arrow or Frost Trap and up to a 10% chance when you deal periodic damage with your Immolation Trap or Black Arrow to cause your next 2 Arcane Shot or Explosive Shot spells to trigger no cooldown, cost no mana and consume no ammo.
  • Highly recommended for Survival Hunters looking a little more punch for PvP or PvE. This is a great talent that can add some nice numbers to your damage output.
15 3
  • Increases the damage done by your Immolation Trap, Explosive Trap, and Explosive Shot.
  • Recommended for Survival Hunters who want a little extra damage.
Requires 3 points spent in Killer Instinct
  • A ranged attack that has a chance to put a target to sleep for up to 30 seconds.
  • Once the sleep effect wears off, the target suffers 300 Nature damage over 6 seconds.
  • Recommended for Survival Hunters as an added method of crowd control and additional damage. This talent is also a prerequisite to Noxious Stings.
Black Arrow
40 3
  • This attack fires a Black Arrow at the target and increases all damage done by you to that target by 6% and deals Shadow damage over 15 seconds.
  • This is a skill no Survival hunter should be without. It will be one of the key attacks in your rotation and adds a nice boost to DPS. Highly recommended.
Sniper Training
40 3
  • Increases the critical strike chance of your Kill Shot ability by up to 5%, and while standing still for 6 seconds, you gain Sniper Training, increasing the damage done by your Steady Shot, Aimed Shot, Black Arrow, and Explosive Shot by up to 6% for 15 seconds.
  • Highly recommended for the extra punch it puts behind your attacks.
Requires 3 points spent in Thrill of the Hunt
  • Increases Agility and your Arcane Shot, Explosive Shot, and Steady Shot critical strikes have a chance to grant up to 10 party or raid members temporary mana regeneration based on a percentage of their maximum mana per second.
  • Highly Recommended for Survival Hunters looking to help out groups or raids with regenerating mana. This is one of the most beneficial talents a Survival Hunter can provide to a group.
Explosive Shot
Requires 1 point spent in Black Arrow.
  • An Explosive Shot that deals a high amount of damage to the target and then blasts them for additional damage every 1 second for 2 seconds.
  • Highly Recommended for Survival hunters. This will be one of your primary high damage attacks.

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