Feral Cat Druid DPS Rotation in WoW Patch 4.2 – A Complicated Beast

As with many other classes in Cataclysm, there’s not really any such thing as a feral cat DPS ‘rotation’ – instead, feral druids rely on a ‘priority’ system. So, there’s no feral druid rotation, just a sequence of abilities you use in order. This priority system is notoriously complicated, but if you’re looking to get a handle on the basics of the WoW feral cat rotation at level 85, this is the guide for you.

Apply debuffs

The first thing to do at the start of a fight, or when switching targets, is to apply your debuffs. You have two debuffs available. The first is applied every time you use your Mangle ability, and it increases the damage the target takes from Bleed effects. It’s pretty important, so make sure it’s always up.

The other debuff you can apply comes from Feral Fairie Fire, which decreases the armor of your target. Feral Fairie Fire can stack up to 3 times, so you can be pretty liberal about applying it.

You will also apply a Bleed debuff through use of Rake, but this comes lower down in the priority system.

Normal rotation

Like the Rogue class, Feral druids build up Combo Points as they attack. These combo points can then be expended when using certain special actions. Generally speaking, the more combo points you expend on an action, the more powerful that action’s results will be. Feral druids generate most of their combo points through the use of Shred, but as we’ll see there are quite a few other abilities which have a higher priority.


It’s important not to focus on building up to 5 combo points (the maximum) at the expense of everything else. There’s a lot going on for a feral druid, and you need to keep on top of all of it. Here are your priorities, in descending order of importance:

  • Hit Tiger’s Fury if it’s not on cooldown, but only if you’re on less than 40 energy (because Tiger’s Fury will generate a lot of energy for you). Burn off some energy on other abilities first if you need to.
  • Use Beserk every time it’s off cooldown.
  • If you’ve built up 5 combo points, use Rip. On bosses, use Ferocious Bite instead, but only once the boss hits about 25% health.
  • Use Rake. You need to make sure the debuff from this stays active, which will mean hitting Rake about every 8-10 seconds.
  • Use Savage Roar to increase your auto-attack damage. Using Savage Roar will give you a buff, which you should try to keep up. The length of the buff depends on how many combo points you had when casting, but don’t wait for a 5 combo point stack before you cast if the buff is about to expire.
  • Finally, use Shred to generate combo points.

This is a tricky priority scheme to get right. There’s lots of buffs and debuffs to keep track of, so don’t worry if you let some things drop while you getting the hang of it. Try to remember your priorities and build up your precision over time.

AoE Rotation

The most effective system when fighting multiple mobs is to repeatedly switch targets, and use a combination of Rake and Rip to apply damage. Watch your aggro when you’re doing this, and make sure you give your tank enough time to build threat.

Feral druids do have a pure AoE ability in the form of Swipe. Opinion is very much divided as to when to use Swipe. Don’t even think about it for groups of less than three mobs. Many cat druid players only Swipe on groups of five or more mobs.

Further resources

Feral druid DPS really is a complicated beast – pun intended – and as one might expect there’s a lot of resources available. You should start with our guide to feral kitty talent spec, reforging and glyphs for patch 4.2. Other excellent resources are Fluid Druid (slightly outdated but excellently written), druidrotation.org, this magnificently detailed post on the official WoW druid forums by Tangedyn and, of course, Elitist Jerks.

Read more →