Hey what’s up guys my name is Dilly, and I’ll just give a little bit of a backstory on myself for those of you that don’t know me. I’m 4x R1 Hunter (Season 14, 15, 16, 17), as well as a 3x GCDTV Tourney Champion (#6, #10, #20). I also competed in the 2014 NA regionals.
I’m writing this guide in the hopes that I can teach people how to play a Survival hunter in arenas! Enjoy :)
Table of Contents
- Damage as a Survival Hunter
- Which Pet to use
- Master’s Call
- Roar of Sacrifice
- Wyvern vs Binding
- Cross CC
- Advanced Techniques
- 3v3 Comps for a Survival Hunter
- Recommended Addons
Tier 1: Posthaste is almost always going to be our go to choice as a survival hunter. It’s wonderful for helping us kite melees, great for helping us push in close range to get traps, and also very helpful when we need to run LoS from casters. As an added benefit it breaks roots/snares on us, making it so we can generally save master’s call for our teammates.
Narrow Escape isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s just not very needed especially when you consider that survival has entrapment to provide roots for you, on top of some of our most common partners having roots available anyways.
Tier 2: Binding Shot or Wyvern are both viable options in this tier. A simple rule of thumb is binding shot when your team is lacking stuns (or you’re playing solo or 2s with a healer), and Wyvern Sting is very useful when you already have enough stuns (a great example is if you have a rogue on your team - you’ll always take wyvern with them, however BM hunters play with rogues over survival hunters so this is just an example to give you an idea) and cross CCing or just getting CC without having to push in for it is more important.
However it’s not always as simple as that, and I’ll go into more detail in explaining this choice in a later section of this guide.
Tier 3: Ironhawk is always best when you’re playing with a healer (i.e hunter healer 2s/3v3 arena), and spirit bond is always best otherwise (i.e double dps 2s, duels, bgs etc)
Tier 4: Thrill of the Hunt is always our best choice as a survival hunter in pvp. The cheap arcane shots are awesome since survival is a very focus intensive spec, so the added burst or totem killing power is wonderful.
Tier 5: Murder of Crows is our best and only offensive CD as a survival hunter, as well as being our strongest and most potent damage over time effect. CawCaw
Tier 6: Glaive toss is always the best choice as survival since it’s just a cheap instant filler. Mostly it’s just there to use when we have nothing else available to use as long as it won’t break a CC.
Barrage is way too focus dependent and just hinders our damage because of that, on top of it easily breaking CCs which we are almost always using in PvP. It’s a good choice for BM hunters since they have tons of excess focus as well as it synergizing well with mechanics like Focus fire and Bestial Wrath, but if you’re playing survival this choice is a giant no-no.
Powershot could be used for fun every once in a while, but having to stand still to use it is generally just a bad choice. You always want to be moving as a survival hunter, so this just hurts that. Plus it’s CD is pretty long for a tier that we just want a extra filler from when we have all our dots up and no ToTH procs available.
Tier 7: Exotic Ammunitions, and more specifically Frozen Ammo is the only available choice for us in this tier. The obvious huge annoyance of Frozen Ammo is great in pvp since it provides a perma slow on whoever we’re attacking. It’s nice since not only is our damage rotation very Focus demanding, but also GCD demanding so Frozen Ammo basically gives us more globals to keep up our damage.
Incendiary Ammo’s damage is so negligible as well as it having an aoe effect that could break our CC, it’s just a big nono. Poison ammos damage takes so long to ramp up to be even half relevant, that Frozen ammo is actually more effective damage wise anyways in a pvp situation.
Lone Wolf doesn’t provide nearly enough damage for a spec that’s based around DoTs, on top of it also sacrificing our pets which provide Roar of Sacrifice, Master’s Call, and the Mortal Wounds debuff (which with that 25% healing reduction is effectively equal to the damage lone wolf gives us anyways).
Focusing Shot makes it so that we can’t generate focus on the move… lol, just a PvE talent basically.
Because being a Survival Hunter in PvP is all about utility, especially from traps, we’ll always be taking our trap focused glyphs. This is a cookie cutter choice, so there won’t really be any variance.
Solace Glyph: Allows us to always trap a target we need worry free without our dots or a team mates dots (i.e if you’re playing with a feral, this will let you use his rake stuns as something to trap off of, without this glyph you wouldn’t have that at your disposal.)
Glyph of Explosive Trap: This is one of our best glyphs in pvp. It’s useful for kiting or stopping casts (i.e vs mages since they will CC your healer off deep freezes, and they have two schools to cast from - if you lock their sheep they will frostjaw/RoF so knocking the school that you didn’t lock them out in is huge).
Glyph of Snake Trap: This is always an amazing choice because this let’s us get full use of our entrapment passive. Entrapment works by making it so that our Ice and Snake traps will root nearby enemies around it’s trigger radius for 4 seconds. However, because Freezing trapping is so important in winning games, and with Ice Trap sharing a CD with our Freezing Trap, this glyph gives us the best of both worlds because Snake Trap has a separate trap CD since it’s on the nature trap school.
This means we can use the root from the snakes to help us land a trap on a healer instead of only relying on concussive shot>trapping (in the situation we don’t have a stun to trap off of).
Plus, the snakes that are summoned from the trap are actually able to eat AoE fears like Psychic Scream/Howl of Terror/Intimidating Shout (the AoE portion of it) - it’s like a hunter's version of tremor totem and that’s an awesome utility for us since Spriest/Mage/Holy Paladin is one of the scariest comps we can fight, so being able to stop the priest from getting that fear will save our lives, or the lives of our teammates.
When playing a survival hunter it’s important to keep in mind that your damage is mostly magic over time dot effects. In general, your goal should be to keep up all your dots up on a single target, instead of trying to dot up multiple enemies.
Your full dots on your kill target should be as follows: Serpent Sting, Black Arrow, A Murder of Crows (assuming it’s available), and Explosive Shot. You’ll have very potent damage when you have all of these dots up, but keep in mind that black arrow is a magic effect, and therefore it is dispellable. Even though the cooldown on it will get reset once it is dispelled, it has such a high focus cost that you will starve yourself on damage as well as focus if you’re not properly planning when to use it.
It’s best to use your black arrow when you have a freezing trap available so that you can prevent it from being dispelled, plus the 2pc PvP bonus will give us 50 focus back whenever we successfully land a freezing trap, makes using them together very beneficial.
As far as a simplified priority of our damage it’s as follows:
- Explosive Shot
- Black Arrow
- Arcane Shot for serpent’s sting
- Cobra Shot to regen focus
- ToTH Arcane Shots
- Glaive Toss
- Arcane Shot as an excess focus dump when all else is on CD
As far as the biggest burst you could have available (even though survival doesn’t really burst) it would be as follows:
- A Murder of Crows+ On Use damage trinket
- Black Arrow
- Explosive Shot
- Arcane Shot
- After this point you’d go back to your normal priority
It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to wait to space out explosive shots when LnL procs like we had to do in the past, so if it procs you can just dump them all at the same time.
4. Which Pet to Use
I’ll be short and sweet with this section. You’ll pretty much never play with any classes that provide healing reductions (i.e warrior/ww) as a survival hunter. BM hunter+Rogue has great synergy, but since this is survival oriented, and survival hunters won’t play with rogues we’ll just assume that you won’t for simplicities sake.
Anyways, because your spec is based around consistent pressure and gradually overwhelming the enemy healer especially after long CC chains, a healing reduction pet is always the most important to have. It’s a 25% healing reduction, which is essentially a 25% increase in effective damage, making it the most powerful buff you could have from any of your pets.
The 3 families that provide this debuff are as follows: Scorpids, Carrion Birds, and Riverbeast (Devilsaurs provide it too but that’s BM only). Pick whichever one you think looks cooler
5. Master’s Call
Master’s Call is extremely important to utilize as a hunter. This ability grants safety to yourself or your teammates. Using it properly will be crucial towards your success.
The ability has such a wide range of uses so I’ll just list some examples:
- Useful for freedoming your healer while he’s frost jawed by a mage. in order to let him line of sight follow up CC’s.
- You can also use it to freedom your healer out of a boomkins root>solarbeam combination
- If you’re playing against a resto druid and they use ironbark or barkskin it’s really useful if you use it on your melee dps partner (even feral druids since it will save them GCD’s from shifting and let them keep up damage). This is because when you melee attack into barkskin or ironbark, you’ll get rooted, so preventing your team mates from sitting those roots and giving them uptime is huge. The added bonus is your pet will be able to keep up it’s healing reduction effect as well because Master’s call freedoms the target of choice and your pet.
- If it’s used on yourself it has great synergy with posthaste when you’re kiting, you’ll be sprinted with freedom up and it will be very difficult to touch you.
6. Roar of Sacrifice
Ok well RoS isn’t as useful as it was in previous expansions since WoD made critical strikes 150% in pvp, and also added multistrikes into the game which RoS doesn’t effect, but it still is necessary to use to mitigate some damage.
You’ll want to mostly just systematically use it to trade CDs i.e:
- Recklessness - you can completely negate its use just by using RoS on whoever the warrior is hitting
- Shadow Dance from a Sub Rogue/Vendetta from an Assassination Rogue/Red Buff Killing Spree from a Combat Rogue
- Frozen Orb
- An enemy hunter using Crows
- When a frost DK uses Pillar of frost, use it on his kill target
- Use it when a feral pops Incarn and Berserk together. Berserk lasts 15 seconds and the Incarn lasts 30. The big damage comes from the Beserk, not the Incarn itself, so use your RoS on whoever he’s hitting when you see those used together. The best ferals will delay their zerk until later in their incarn so don’t be fooled
7. Wyvern vs Binding
Just to go in more detail from the talent choice section, for me when I’m playing 3s it depends on what comp I am playing and what comp the enemy is playing.
Since Jungle is a common comp for us, and we can run it with a variety of healers, the go to choice depends on which version I’m running.
When playing with a Holy Paladin Wyvern is my default choice because not only does my feral have his stuns (maim, rake and bash), but my healer also has HoJ every 30 seconds. This makes binding shot not as necessary, so I’ll almost always play this talent, with the exception being when we fight Turbo Cleave (Enh/Warrior/Healer) or Thundercleave (Ele/Warrior/Healer).
The reason behind this is that against these comps the ele or enh can tremor pretty much every single wyvern so it’s not as useful, and also because it can be hard for my feral to either stun the warrior (especially if we’re focusing their healer) or because if we’re focusing the shaman it can be hard for my feral or paladin to overextend for a stun on their healer, making it required for me to trap by myself.
When we play with a disc priest or a resto shaman I’ll take binding by default since we’re very squishy and sometimes my feral can’t push in to stun the healer, making binding useful in those situations. The only time I’ll take wyvern when playing with these healers as Jungle is when we fight Mage/Shadowpriest/Healer. This is because the shadowpriest can’t mass dispel wyvern stings like he can for freezing traps, and we can’t afford to use interrupts on mass dispel when we need to stop a mage from getting deep>sheeps.
The biggest part of control is mostly about our Freezing Traps. You’ll either use them to CC a healer, or sometimes you’ll use it on a DPS when the healer is your focus.
It’s important to understand that your traps have a very long travel time when shot from range making them much easier to dodge. However at close ranges, your traps have no travel time and will instantly activate, so if you can’t trap off of another CC, it’s best to get very close to your target.
If you’re playing at long ranges then you should try to trap off of your wyvern sting or binding shot if you’re going for the CC without your team mates help, or if they can help you CC the healer with stuns such as Fist of Justice or Maim/Rake/Bash - then you can just follow up your trap off of those.
9. Cross CC
CCing just one target is fine and dandy when you’re playing 2s, but in 3v3 it’s important to recognize that there are obviously 3 players. Because of this, it can be very important that you can set up controls on multiple targets simultaneously.
This is something that you’ll mostly emphasize on when you’re playing Wyvern Sting and the way you would do this is either:
Get a trap on the healer, and wyvern the off target
Get a trap on the off target while you wyvern their healer.
This will isolate the target that you’re focusing making it so that he will have no help at all from any of his teammates, and situations like this will force them to use their trinkets or other outs in order to prevent death or save their partner.
Positioning is very crucial as a Survival Hunter. We’re obviously very fragile, yet extremely slippery at the same time, so it’s important that you’re always in the right place at the right time.
When you and your team are playing offensively, then you’ll generally want to push in and try to get as close as you can to their healer so that you can prepare to Freezing Trap him at close range. Since you’re being offensive, you’ll want to harass them as much as you can, and there is no better way to do that than to stand on their healer until you and your team are ready to trap.
It’s especially useful if you guys are pushed into their team knowing that they have no more offensive pressure and you just wait on top of their healer letting you bait out sacs/grounding totem/rolls and ports from a MW etc. until the perfect time to trap.
This is pretty much all situational and will really depend on you proactively managing your defensive CDs and escapes.
If you’re running away from a melee, it’s best to drag the melee into a position where you are still in line of sight of your healer for incoming heals, but you are far enough away that the melee cannot easily interrupt his heals.
If you’re fighting a caster such as a mage, it can be good to sit behind line of sight while being close to your healer so that you can easily stop incoming CC’s from landing.
11. Advanced Techniques
#1 Using Glyphed Explosive Trap to knock an enemy back into a Freezing Trap you missed. The reason I’ll try to do this is in high pressure situations you might go for a risky trap that will end the game if you land it, but something could happen making you end up missing it or they avoid being trapped. Because that trap can be so crucial to winning the game, you can sometimes try to clutch it out and knock them back in the trap.
#2 Feign Death: You can use your Feign Death in order to interrupt incoming spell casts on you, because the ability will cause them to drop their target. It’s great if you know a mage is trying to get a polymorph on you before they go for one on your healer, so it can let you avoid getting CC’d. So essentially, use it to prevent getting CC’d from polymorphs/cyclones on you.
You can also use feign death when you’re playing against a mage/hunter/rogue (anyone with breakable CC) and feign death when you’re right on top of your CC’d healer. Because feign will cause them to drop their target, they might end up retargeting your healer, and end up accidentally using damage that will break those CCs.
Most of the macros I have are target/focus/arena 1-3 for CC abilities, stop-casting in almost all my abilities (to stop cobra shot/steady shot channels in order to use a spell), as well as utilities like Masters Call and Roar of Sacrifice for my team mates. They are very crucial as a hunter in arenas, so I recommend you use most if not all of them.
The full list is right here: http://www.skill-cap...Dillypoo/Macros
Personally, I’d recommend that everyone find and create their own keybinds that they are comfortable with. However, I’m really open to sharing my own keybinds if people want examples of it: http://www.skill-cap...llypoo/Keybinds
The best thing you can make from this is just to actually get an idea of which abilities you should have keybound, because as you can see there I have plenty :P
You might be wondering why I brought this section up. The answer is pretty simple - being able to quickly switch your target and focus target is an extremely important habit for any arena player to have.
What I mean by this is having binds to target and focus arena enemy 1, 2, and 3. This is much more efficient than clicking their frames, and as a hunter you’re always going to be moving your character or aiming a trap, so you don’t really have that much time to click your frames - making these binds is important.
In order to do this, go into your options -> Keybindings -> targeting. From there you can look for this: http://imgur.com/SMYrvRa and then just set your binds for Target Arena Enemy 1, 2, and 3, as well as Focus.
15. 3v3 Compositions
Jungle: Feral + Hunter + Healer. This comp works great and is one of our best compositions. Feral Druids bring a ton of burst damage from their incarnation - but it has a very long CD meaning they have a ton of down time. However, since survival hunters provide excellent sustained magic damage (meaning any target is a viable target for you) they make up for the ferals downtime while the Feral compensates your lack of burst.
This comp also works very well together as far as CC’s go. Ferals can help the hunter land traps because they have bash, maim, and rake stuns available in order to secure those, while successful traps from the hunter give the feral more opportunities to utilize cyclone.
Ret Hunter Healer or PHX: Similar to Jungle, the Ret brings the burst, while the Hunter brings the sustained. FoJ from the ret makes it so you can land traps on the enemy healer every single DR. Rets lack CC so the hunter makes up for that, and they also lack a healing reduction effect which you also provide. Lastly Hunters are very squishy so the offheals the ret brings on top of giving extra outs for your healers CC makes it so that you can survive very well - and that extra defensive support means you can play way more aggressively.
16. Recommended Addons
Personally I don’t use many addons, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are tons of useful ones for new players.
The ones I would personally recommend are as follows:
Gladius or sArena: Either one of these addons will give a tracker for the enemy teams trinkets. This is useful for knowing when they don’t have any outs left and will have to sit full CCs. Gladius also has a built in DR tracker so you can know when you’ll have full traps/stuns etc. available.
Diminish: This is the one addon I use, since I don’t use Gladius or sArena. All it does is just give you a DR tracker, just like gladius does. It’s simple but effective.
Omnibar: This is a move-able bar that tracks enemy cool-downs for you such as interrupts and other CCs or offensive/defensive cool-downs based on your preferences.
Alright guys, that’s it for this guide! I hope many of you were able to learn from it. You won’t automatically become amazing from reading this guide, but this will give you all the tools you will need in order to understand what is necessary to do as a hunter, and it’s up to you to practice all the information and techniques in this guide.
If you’re looking to watch any of my gameplay or just follow me on social media I’ll just plug it all in here.
Twitch: twitch.tv/dillypoo69 (I stream pretty much every day)
Edited by Dills, 25 December 2015 - 02:22 AM.