Beast Mastery Hunter and Patch 4.0.6: Talent Spec and Shot Rotation

Patch 4.0.6 has definitely shifted Hunter DPS across the three specs in the past couple of weeks, particularly in boss and single enemy fights. Before, the Survival spec was the most powerful Hunter build the class and perhaps the entire game has ever seen in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, but with the nerfs and buffs that's been done in the recent patch, the legendary Survival Spec's overall DPS has decreased while BeastMastery and Marksmanship increased, making spec selection a little less one sided.
Let's review first what happened to the Hunters in general and the Beast Mastery spec:
  • Arcane Shot damage has been increased by 15%.
  • Kill Shot's attack power scaling has been increased by 50%.
  • Animal Handler now provides a passive 25% bonus to attack power, up from 15%.
Okay so there's nothing much up there. Beast Mastery DPS has significanly increased thanks to the Arcane Shot buff and the Animal Handler ability. What's amazing about Beast Mastery though is that the spec can give pet buffs that are rarely seen in a group and sometimes raid. Beast Mastery has Ferocious Inspiration which gives +3% damage to the group, and of course Ancient Hysteria, provided by Core Hounds, incase a Mage or Shaman isn't present. Overall, BM has and always will be both a DPS and utility spec that a party/raid would always welcome.
Ability Rotation
A BM Hunter's ability rotation revolves around the Kill Command, Arcane Shot and the Cobra Shot. Hunters often wait until their pets reach the target before doing anything else (except Hunter's Mark of course). Once the pet reaches the target, Hunters must immediately use Kill Command followed by Arcane Shot and then two Cobra Shots. Cobra Shot not only refresh your Serpent Sting, they also generate Focus like the Steady Shot. It's important to land those Cobra Shots or else miss the opportunity to immediately use the next Kill Command.
There will be instances when Hunters may use more than one Arcane Shot in a rotation,especially during the 
effects of Bestial Wrath. During Bestial Wrath, Hunters are no longer required to spam Cobra Shot since their abilities cost 50% less of the focus required. So instead of spamming Cobra Shot, spam Arcane Shot  instead and hit the Kill Command when available.

Some Hunters ask when is the right time to use Fervor. Basically it's ideally used anytime when your focus is down to 0 or couldn't anymore do any other shots after two Cobra Shots. Arcane Shot does significantly more damage than Cobra Shot, and having more than two Cobra Shots in one rotation often leads to DPS loss.
As for Focus Fire, whenever it pops, just use it. However, when you're under the effects of Bestial Wrath,  it's best to let the pet keep its Frenzy stacks so that it can attack faster.
And so there you have it. The BeastMastery for some is still the weakest spec out of the three, but nevertheless it gives just the right amount of DPS for boss fights, plus the benefits of Ferocious Inspiration and at times the Core Hound's Ancient Hysteria.


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