[Hunter][Raiding] Survival Hunter



Survival Hunter Raiding Guide

Table of Contents

  1. Talent Builds
  2. Stat Values
  3. Rotations
  4. Glyphs
  5. Enchants
  6. Gem
  7. Pet Choice
  8. Addons


With patch 3.08 the Survival Spec has become the new maximum dps build for aspiring hunters everywhere. I will show you what stats to reach for, what builds to use, how to use the rotation effectively and more. First off the Talent build.

Talent Builds

There is a lot of flexibility in the Survival Tree, being that there is no set cookie-cutter build. However there are some core talents that you must take. They are in this talent build.

You will notice that there are 6 points to spare, and you will have to decide for yourself based upon your gear where to spend them. You should be aiming to have Haste and Hit Rating at these values:

  • 10% Unbuffed Haste
  • 8% Hit Rating

If not don’t worry. There are talent points to compensate for this. Namely, Focused Aim and Improved Aspect of the Hawk. If you are not at 10% haste then you might want to consider the Aspect of the Hawk Glyph. Here are some sample talent builds.


As a Survival Hunter you will find that some stats you are looking for are different than that for the Beast Mastery Talent build. Here are some key points on each stat.

Level 80 Stat Conversion

  • 1 agi = 1.15 ap .012% crit
  • 1 ap = 1ap
  • 1 stam = .3 ap
  • 1 int = 1 ap 15 mana

High Value.

First of all, you will want to be aiming to have:

  • 10% Haste

What this will do, is it will get your Steady Shot cast time to be at 1.5 seconds, allowing you to maximize your dps. You can have less if you have the Glyph, and talent points into the Improved Aspect of the Hawk talent.

High Value.
Scales with Lightning Reflexes and helps your Expose Weakness, and unlike Attack Power boosts your Crit Percentage.

Critical Strike Rating
High Value.
It increases the uptime of Expose Weakness and Hunting Party and increases your Pets focus regeneration, as well as giving you mana back with Thrill of the Hunt.

Attack Power
Medium Value.
Now scales, still gives your pet 22% of your Attack Power.

High Value.
Careful Aim gives 1 AP per 1 Intellect Point. And to Quote Elitist Jerks:

More Int means a higher manapool, thus a higher return from the ReplenishmentBuff that Hunting Party lends and a higher return when in AotViper, thus less time spent in AotViper.


The Survival Hunter’s rotation is extremely straightforward, but requires more attention due to Lock and Load procs. This is the first Standard Rotation:

(Remember to only cast Serpent Sting on the first Rotation and then again when it wears off.)

What to do when Lock and Load procs?

(You must wait untill atleast 2 of the DoT ticks from Explosive Shots go before firing your next Shot)

Now continue with the Regular Rotation.


Major Glyphs:

Steady Shot – Increases Damage, whats to complain?
Serpent Sting – Less time refreshing, more time dpsing.

3rd slot – Only 2 decent choices.

Hunters Mark – Huge boost to the AP, works extremely well when you are specced into Improved Hunter’s Mark as other hunters and you get more AP.

Improved Aspect of the Hawk – Only get if you havent points in the talent, helps you get 1.5 second Steady Shots.











1 Handed Weapon

Two Handed Weapon

Ranged Weapon


This link pretty much shows you what gems for each colour, and what they are required for, far better than I could.


There are three kinds of pets. Cunning, Ferocity and Tenacity.

Cunning Pets

Viable in 10 mans for their Roar of Recovery. There are currently only two Cunning pets worth noting:

  • Sporebat: Useful for their Armor Reduction if no one else has one.
  • Wind Serpent: Highest DPS cunning pet.

This is the talent build you should be using for your pet.

Ferocity Pets

Viable for their Call of the Wild. Can be used in conjunction with other cooldowns for a dps increase.

  • Wasp: Useful for their Armor Reduction if no one else has one.
  • Cat: Worthwhile for the Rake Bleed DoT.
  • Wolf: Good for Furious Howl, periodic Raid AP increase.

This is the talent build you should be using for your pet.

Tenacity Pets

Useless for Raiding since the Scorpid Nerf.


These are the addons I use, and what they do:

  • Elkano’s BuffBars: You can create a BuffBar that shows you when Lock and Load procs and how many seconds are left till it expires.
  • DeadlyBossMods: Pretty much self explanitory; tells you what the Raid Boss is going to do.
  • Quartz: Shows me my shot timer, cast bar, and how long is left on my Serpent Sting DoT.
  • PowerAuras: Extremely versatile addon, designed for providing visual cues (auras) when you gain buffs, debuffs and many more. Very useful for shorts buffs or debuffs. You can draw into the center of the screen or wherever you want. Extremely customizable.
  • Classtimer: Provides the same functionality as Power Auras. You can add pretty much anything from how long your Hunter’s Mark has left up on the target, to how many seconds of Bloodlust you have left on you. Again, extremely customizable.
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    Oct 18, 2009 @ 15:22 pm

    hey can u update this forhey can u update this for 3.2 and 3.3 when it comes out thanks as im a bm hunter but im duel spec and my other is suv and i think i should be doing a lot more dps than i currently am

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    Aug 18, 2009 @ 11:39 am

    I would suggest you stickI would suggest you stick with BM until you hit 80, it is (probably) better for leveling (I have noticed my hunter pulls aggro from the pet A LOT as SV compared to BM). At 80 you can respec SV for heroics/raiding if you want, and you don’t need to worry about which order to choose for talents.

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    Apr 22, 2009 @ 6:37 am

    To any hunters that dontTo any hunters that dont know yet:

    This guide is outdated as of the 3.1 patch.

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    Apr 13, 2009 @ 15:24 pm

    To expand on this (FromTo expand on this (From []Elitist Jerks[/url])

    As Zerinj says, the hit cap is 8% without talents.

    At level 80 to gain 1% hit you need to have 32.79% hit rating. This means that with:
    0/3 Focused Aim you require 263 hit rating (262.32)
    1/2 Focused Aim you require 230 hit rating (229.53)
    2/3 Focused Aim you require 197 hit rating (196.74)
    3/3 Focused Aim you require 164 hit rating (163.95)

    Additionally hit gained from focused aim does [b][u][i]NOT[/i][/u][/b] transfer to your pet, therefore it is always better to gain the hit cap through gear/gems and enchants.

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    Apr 13, 2009 @ 15:17 pm

    I’ve found Aimed/Multi inI’ve found Aimed/Multi in raids is fine at the moment with the insane mana regen we get from blessing of wisdom and Mana Spring Totem, only ever running close to running out of mana on long fights like KT, of course this will change depending on raid composition.

    The video I learned to use Power Auras on has mysteriously disappeared however Big Red Kitty (yes yes I know he is controversial) explains how to setup Power Auras extremely well in [url=] this video[/url]. There is also a great text and picture walkthrough on Power Auras setup at [url=]this site.[/url]

    Anything else I can do to help out let me know 🙂

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    Apr 10, 2009 @ 21:49 pm

    ThanksThanks for the additional info. I will add most of that in in the coming days. (free time is hard to come by.)

    The only issue I have whenever I swap multi/aimed shot into my rotation is that I run oom too fast. Otherwise, I have noticed a dps boost.

    The videos about customizing Power Auras would be appreciated as I do not use that addon.

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    Apr 10, 2009 @ 21:43 pm

    6% with 2 pointsThe hit cap without talents is 8%, so with 2 points spent into Focused Aim it is 6%.

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    Apr 9, 2009 @ 19:21 pm

    Hit CapDoes anyone know what exact hit rating you need for cap with 2 points in Focused Aim? People have told me 8% is cap and others have said 7% is cap. Thanks.

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    Apr 2, 2009 @ 2:01 am

    This guide is well done andThis guide is well done and presented however I just have a few suggestions:

    [url=]Aimed Shot[/url] is an almost vital talent if you’re going for maximum dps after the recent buff to it in the last patch. Weaving this into your shot rotation provides a huge boost over spamming steady shot. Of course on multiple mobs you should still be using [url=]Multi-Shot[/url].

    The shot rotation should end up more of a “priority” for lack of a better word.
    If [url=]Serpent Sting[/url] needs refreshing, refresh it
    Cast [url=]Explosive Shot[/url]
    Cast [url=]Aimed Shot[/url]/[url=]Multi-Shot[/url]
    Cast [url=]Steady Shot[/url]

    In your [url=]Lock and Load[/url] section you advise waiting in between explosive shots, I disagree. [url=]Explosive Shot[/url] ticks once every second for 3 seconds which is exactly 2 Global Cooldowns. Therefore after you fire [url=]Explosive Shot[/url] you are waiting for 1 GCD before you fire it again, why not use this chance to refresh [url=]Serpent Sting[/url] or add in an [url=]Aimed Shot[/url] or a haste capped [url=]Steady Shot[/url].

    In an ideal situation when [url=]Lock and Load[/url] procs the shot rotation should be: [url=]Explosive Shot[/url] -> [url=]Aimed Shot[/url]/[url=]Multi-Shot[/url] -> [url=]Explosive Shot[/url] -> Refresh [url=]Serpent Sting[/url] if it is almost finished/Haste capped [url=]Steady Shot[/url] -> [url=]Explosive Shot[/url].

    Additionally removing the waiting period to replace it with a shot also stops “trigger happiness,” where you fire the [url=]Explosive Shot[/url] too early and it ends up clipping the final tick of you’re previous [url=]Explosive Shot[/url].

    I think this may have already been mentioned but the “trap dancing” vs. Sniper training method may be something you would like to look into, or I would be happy to help out with it if you would like, Glyphs such as [url=]Glyph of Immolation Trap[/url] would have to be added and other things like this.

    Finally I would like to recommend adding “[url=]Power Auras[/url]” This addon has quickly become on of my favorites, it allows you set notifications for hugely customizable certain events. For instance I have notifications for: [url=]Lock and Load[/url] procs, [url=]Aspect of the viper[/url] on (in combat) [url=]Serpent Sting[/url] falling off my enemy target (in combat) and many more. There are some great videos on Youtube on how to set it up for a Hunter UI but it is well presented and easy to use by following the instructions on the download screen. If you would like me to grab you the URLs for any of the videos just let me know and I’ll be happy to do it.

    Well done on the guide so far, I hope you keep it up.

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    Feb 8, 2009 @ 17:41 pm

    Looks goodLooks good 🙂

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    Jan 25, 2009 @ 14:29 pm

    Hunters bring theHunters bring the Replenishment effect, and yes it would be logical. I would suggest taking the core build I have linked, with points into Sniper Training and Improved Aspect of the Hawk.

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    Jan 25, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

    Any Raid Buff?First, thank you for your guide. It is well presented and seems has good info.

    I haven’t gone for raiding with my hunter and still levelling one (74 at the moment). Two questions:

    1- What about any buff Survival Hunter brings to the raid? If there is, it is better to mention here.
    2- I am levelling my hunter with BM spec. After the patch, is it logical to change to SV? anf if yes, what is your suggestions about talent taking order and shot rotation?



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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 21:41 pm

    Or you could use Aimed, orOr you could use Aimed, or Multi if you’re not specced for Aimed. It’s better than nothing. Personally I just hate seeing my toon only autoshooting even if it’s just for a few seconds.

    Once upon a time, I had an [url=]iWin button[/url]

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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 20:22 pm

    But but… I miss my iWinBut but… I miss my iWin Button 🙁 I’m still a Beastmaster at heart, though 😉

    Behold the power of my [url=]iWin button[/url]!

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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 19:37 pm

    While you’re Survival it’sWhile you’re Survival it’s illegal to use the iWin button in your comment!!!!

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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 15:31 pm

    Working on that, will be upWorking on that, will be up later this week.

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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 13:34 pm

    Thank you for the comments,Thank you for the comments, I have fixed most of the stuff you suggested.

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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

    This guide is a goodThis guide is a good starting point, but you didn’t mention THE most important thing when it comes to playing a survival hunter.

    There’s more to playing SV effectively than spamming the shot rotation. There are basically two ways you can play your SV hunter: Trapdancer or Sniper.

    A trapdancer will always be running to the boss to drop an Immolation Trap, to get a proc from Lock and Load. This playstyle has the highest DPS potential, although it only really shines in a tank’n’spank fight like Patchwerk. It’s also next to impossible to use for some bosses such as Heigan. It’s not easy to perform properly and you most likely will need a lot of practice.

    That’s why you have the talent [url=]Sniper Training[/url], so that when you are in a melee-unfriendly fight or otherwise unable to trapdance, you can still dish out some decent dps. It’s also a great way to play your hunter if you just can’t seem to get the hang of trapdancing. [url=]Hawk Eye[/url] is an excellent talent if you want to play a Sniper. The downside is that you wll always have to be at maximum range, which basically requires an addon. I recommend [url=]RangeDisplay[/url].

    [url=]Here[/url] is the SV spec I am currently trying out. I was very pleased to see I did as much damage as my pre-3.0.8 50/21 spec. I didn’t take Scatter Shot, as it’s almost useless in PvE, and decided to take Aimed Shot instead. It’s nice to have another instant shot for those fights where you have to move a lot (you can fire it while running) and I believe it’s better for DPS purposes that Scatter. This build is focused around Sniper Training, all LnL procs coming from Serpent Sting. You can take points out of Focused Aim and put them into IAotHawk once you are hit capped.

    More info about SV post-3.0.8 can be found at elitist jerks. There are also some good stickied guides at the official US hunter forum.

    Behold the power of my [url=]iWin button[/url]!

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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 8:10 am

    Looks very good, just oneLooks very good, just one thing: you have wrote “Addons” in the pet paragraph 😛 I think you meant “Pets” 😉

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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 2:39 am

    RevisionFirst of all: Impressive, to-the-point and excellent guide!

    However there are a couple of mistakes.

    [quote]Hunters Mark – Huge boost to the AP, works extremely well when you are specced into Improved Hunter’s Mark as the melee dps get more AP.[/quote]

    There is no Melee Attack Power added to Hunter’s Mark, you’re probably thinking of the old version of it. Proof:
    [url=]Hunter’s Mark[/url],[url=]Talent[/url],[url=]Glyph[/url] – This also makes the Glyph rather useless – atleast in my humble oppinion.

    2. I would never Spec for Hit, since; 1) Hit is very easy to get on your gear in WotLK, 2) [url=]Focused Aim[/url] is currently bugged in 2 ways; It doesn’t increase the Hit% of your Pet (This might be intended), and it, probably, [url=]decreases your Crit Return[/url] – The best solution is to Gear, Gem and Enchant for Hit.

    3. [url=]Multi-Shot[/url] should be added to your Shot-Rotation, as it will yield more DPS than only shooting [url=]Steady Shot[/url]. It simply does more damage.

    4. Agility is the superior Stat with Survival Spec – When you’re Hitcapped. (Otherwise the Elitist Jerks Gem-Guide wouldn’t recommend the [url=]Delicate Scarlet Ruby[/url] – Unless the author is mistaken..) This means [quote]Wrists

    Greater Assault
    Major Agility

    should be changed so you only recommend Hit and Agility (There’s also a typo, it should be Hands, not Wrists 😉 ) – Furthermore the same correction should be made to the Enchant recommendations for 1 Handed Weapons and Feet. And Agility’s value should be revised in the Stats section as well.

    5. Nitpicking/Addon: Your Pet section has the topic “Addons”. 🙂 – [url=]Kharthus’s Hunter Timers[/url] is an excellent addon to track various Shots/Procs.

    I hope this was helpful! 🙂

    – Skadie

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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 1:26 am


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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 1:24 am

    That would work but only ifSorry, but I would highly recommend in not doing that. Even if you are at 1.5 second [b]steady shots[/b] the GCD would have passed by, and would have a time frame in which there is no [b]Explosive Shot[/b] DoT. The way I recommended ensures that it has basically 100% uptime when LnL procs to maximize the dps you can get.

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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 1:10 am

    Added. Thanks for yourAdded. Thanks for your comments.

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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 1:05 am

    Very Nice guideAlthough on LnL procs i would suggest using this rotaion:

    Explo – Steady – Explo – Steady – Explo

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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 1:01 am

    I completely agree! GreatI completely agree! Great guide for the new 80 hunters!

    If you’re too lazy to link the names, its


    and when lock n load procs


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    Jan 24, 2009 @ 0:54 am

    This looks very nice, thoughThis looks very nice, though I can’t speak for it’s accuracy since I don’t play a hunter. However it sounds like you know what you are talking about!

    I am so excited, I logged on and three new guides were submitted right after!

    I am going to direct a very good friend of mine to this, he loves the survival spec and played it even when it really sucked for raid DPS 🙂

    [b]Edit:[/b] One suggestion – make those pics in your rotation link to the wowhead spell that they represent, simply by putting url tags around them pointing to that page. This is nice for noobs like me who are curious what those spells are. Actual hunters will know what they are, but it is still nice for completeness!

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