Survival Hunter Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities

by on August 29, 2012

So, new patch – it’s time for us Survival Hunters to roll the dice again. Will we be great? Will we suck? Who knows? But what we do know is that patches always change something – talents, new glyphs, stat priorities, reforging or gems. This guide will get you back Explosively Shotting in WoW patch 5.4 and MoP in no time – no need to read a wall of text!

Updated 17th September 2013 to World of Warcraft Patch 5.4

Survival Hunter changes in Patch 5.4

Readiness has gone away.

Survival “Rotation” and Priorities

Remember, Misdirect is important! Always Misdirect onto the tank at the start of any pull.

Single-target DPS

When starting to attack any target, put Hunter’s Mark and Serpent Sting up on them. You shouldn’t subsequently have to refresh either.

  • Top Priority: Fire Explosive Shot if it’s available. If Kill Shot is available, use that.
  • Second Priority: Otherwise, fire Black Arrow if it’s available. Fire Serpent Sting if it’s no longer up for some reason.
  • Third Priority: If you’ve got more than 60 Focus, use Arcane Shot. If not, use Cobra Shot.


For less than 4 opponents, perform your single-target rotation, but use Trap Launcher with Explosive Trap rather than Black Arrow and Multi-Shot rather than Arcane Shot.

Against 4 or more opponents:

  • Top Priority: Fire Multi-shot if it’s available. Place an Explosive Trap under your opponents with Trap Launcher, if one’s not already running.
  • Second Priority: Fire Black Arrow on cooldown. Fire Explosive Shot on Lock and Load. Fire Kill Shot if it becomes available.
  • Third Priority: Fire Cobra Shot.


  • Rapid Fire – Use whenever it’s available.
  • Feign Death – Please do remember to use this if you get aggro!
  • Disengage – Leap backward – useful in a wide variety of situations.
  • Stampede – Powerful DPS cooldown – use whenever it’s available.
  • Deterrance – Powerful defensive CD – most often useful if Feign Death is on cooldown or didn’t work!


Keep Aspect of the Hawk up.

Survival Hunter Talent Choices

Several tiers of Hunter talents are very situational – Tier 1 and 3 in particular for PvE – so you should experiment to find your favourite talents. However, here’s a solid build to get going with:

  • Tier 1: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera.
  • Tier 2: Silencing Shot – gives you a spell interrupt ability.
  • Tier 3: Aspect of the Iron Hawk
  • Tier 4: Dire Beast – gives you a new damage cooldown. Use whenever it’s available.
  • Tier 5: Murder of Crows – another damage cooldown. Use whenever it’s available.
  • Tier 6: Glaive Toss – ANOTHER damage cooldown. Use whenever it’s available, etc, etc.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Survival Hunter

Big change here: we need Expertise now.

Stats order: Agility > Hit (until capped at 2,550 / 7.5%) and Expertise (until capped at 2,550 / 7.5%) > Critical Strike Rating > Haste > Mastery

Reforging: Reforge for Hit and Expertise cap first, then reforge for Crit. Reforge out of excess Hit and Expertise first, then Mastery, then Haste.
Gems: Delicate gems in Red sockets, Deadly gems in Yellow sockets, Glinting gems in Blue sockets.
Meta Gem: Agile meta gems.

Survival Glyphs

Glyphs are a matter of personal preference these days, so don’t feel there’s a “right” option. However, here are some good ones for PvE:

Major: Glyph of Deterrence, Glyph of Animal Bond, Glyph of Liberation
Minor: Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah is great, as is Glyph of Fetch – with the latter, your pet can loot for you!

Survival Hunter enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulder – Greater Tiger Claw Inscription
  • Cloak – Accuracy or Superior Critical Strike, depending on if you’re at hit cap.
  • Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Wrist – Greater Agility
  • Hands – Superior Expertise
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Shadowleather Leg Armor
  • Feet – Blurred Speed
  • Ranged – Lord Blastington’s Scope of Doom


If you want to get into more detail with your Survival play:

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