Interview with a Beast Master

Garxz, Gladiator BM Hunter

…and not just any Beast Master, but Garxz, one of the top ranked Hunter PvP’ers in all of WoW. His 3v3 team is currently ranked just shy of 3k, and at the time of this post, Garxz is holding down the #3 slot on the ArenaJunkies hunter class leaderboard. Did I mention #3, as in #3 in the world

Yeah, I know… pretty impressive.

For starters, I have to thank Kazador of Emberstorm for suggesting I contact Garxz. Kaz has been a regular here at The Lodge for the past few years, as well as a hunter PvP enthusiast and all-around devotee of the class. Kaz discovered Garxz when doing some online searches for the top hunters in the world.

Anyway… Kaz sent me an email a few weeks back…

Hey Gar,
I was looking up top hunters today, and stumbled across the top BM PVP hunter in the world, currently at just under 3K rating. This player must be your long lost twin. Hugely successful in BM PVP, and clearly has a thing for taming rares, especially spirit beasts. And named Gar. Weird.
Anyway, seems to be a very cool person, active on forums, etc. I’d strongly suggest you get a hold of this person, and interview them. BM macros, strategy, etc. I’d love to see you lead the community in a good discussion of BM PVP, with the best there is.
I hope you can tackle this project!

Well, tackle it I did!

I sent Garxz a message to his ArenaJunkies profile, asking if he’d be kind enough to share a bit of hunter PvP wisdom with all of the nice folks here at The Lodge. He quickly and most graciously replied, saying, “sure! I’m up for an interview”. 🙂

For convenience sake, I chose to throw together an email Q&A to which he could reply at his leisure. The interview consisted of questions that I compiled from your comments to this post, as well as a few questions of my own.

Here’s the interview…

Garwulf: How long have you been playing a hunter, and why do you think hunters are so much more fantastic than all of the other classes in World of Warcraft? 😉

Garxz: I have been playing hunter since classic, and I like how hunter is unique from all casters and melee classes, also being a pet class.

Garwulf: You’re known for being one of the top rated Beast Mastery hunters in the world. Is Beast Mastery your favorite spec for PvP?

Garxz: Yes it is. In season 8 I used to play MM when I first started PvPing at a high level, but when Cataclysm was released it felt so strange playing MM. I lvled as BM and ended up PvPing as BM as I didn’t like Survival or MM. Also, I played BM a lot in Classic, TBC and in WOTLK.

Garwulf: If another hunter asked you what it takes to be successful in arena, what would you tell them? I’m talking about the basics… i.e., team composition, knowledge of your class, talents, gear, communication with teammates, etc… Hunters are arguably the least ‘arena friendly’ class, so what things would you stress when trying to mentor other hunters who wish to try and succeed in arena?

Garxz: You need to take one step at a time and progress, find the right arena partners, and practice a lot. Making mistakes as a hunter is not very forgiving, and you need a decent combo and good partners to try and get a high rating.

Garwulf: Does your build, gear and play style for Rated Battlegrounds differ from what you typically run with in arena?

Garxz: No. I use the same build, gear and play style in arena.

Garwulf: What are your favorite PvP pets, and does your pet choice differ depending upon whether you’re competing in BG’s or arena?

Garxz: In arena and rated battlegrounds I use Spirit Beast, but if I can save our tank by using a Silithid for the crit immunity buff (i.e., Roar of Sacrifice) I will swap pet.

Garwulf: I have a lot of macros that I use for PvP and I know that you do as well. Would you mind sharing some of the macros that you find useful as a top arena hunter?

Garxz: From my post in the EU Forums. I posted my macros there earlier because everyone kept asking me about macros 😀

Garxz PvP Hunter Macros

#showtooltip Scatter Shot
/cast [target=focus,exists][harm] Scatter Shot
#showtooltip Kill Shot
/cancelaura Hand of Protection
/cancelaura Deterrence
/cast Kill Shot
/use 10
/use Blood Fury
#showtooltip Feign Death
/cast Feign Death
#showtooltip Flare
/use !Flare
#showtooltip Cobra Shot
/cast Focus Fire
/cast Cobra Shot
#showtooltip Master's Call
/use [@mouseover,help][@player] Master's Call
/use 6
#showtooltip Master's Call
/cast [target=Thehatex] Master's Call
#showtooltip Bestial Wrath
/cast Bestial Wrath
/cast Focus Fire
/use Ruthless Gladiator's Badge of Conquest
/cast Call of the Wild
/cast Roar of Recovery
/use Unsolvable Riddle
#showtooltip Roar of Sacrifice
/cast Ancient Hysteria
/use [@mouseover,help][@player] Spirit Mend
/use [@mouseover,help][@player] Roar of Sacrifice
#showtooltip Freezing Trap
/cast !Freezing Trap
/cast [target=pettarget] Growl
#showtooltip Aspect of the Fox
/cast !Aspect of the Fox
#showtooltip Aspect of the Hawk
/cast !Aspect of the Hawk
#showtooltip Disengage
/cast Disengage
/use 15
#showtooltip Tranquilizing Shot
/cast [target=focus] Tranquilizing Shot
/cast Deterrence
/use item:58489
/use item:64361
/use item:64881
/use item:28788
/use item:44430
/use item:64383
/use item:64358
/use [target=Garxz] the heartbreaker
/use item:64399
/use item:63359


Failed a bit on having Bestial Wrath and Focus Fire in same earlier but everyone makes mistakes ^^.

If you’re not sure what a macro is, please visit my hunter macros page. If you’re familiar with macros but have some questions concerning Garxz’s Hunter PvP Macros, then post them in the comments section below. Either Garxz or myself will try and assist you.

Garwulf: What specific addons do you use for PvP and why..?


  • Gladius, allowing me to select focus and target my enemies.
  • LoseControl displays the icon of CC effects on me, focus, and target.
  • Icicle showing enemy cooldowns.
  • SpellAlerter, showing important spells being cast. Mine isn’t working atm, but it isn’t that important for me — I have good control of what is going on without it.

Garwulf: Considering the fast pace of PvP and the need for split-second timing, I imagine you use a lot of keybindings for your various abilities. Can you give us an idea of how you have your keyboard (and perhaps mouse) set up? I’m not necessarily looking for a complete mapping of all your abilities (however, if you want to share all of your keybindings then that’d be awesome), but how do you have some of the more frequently used and important abilities assigned?

Garxz: Well I can share that my pinky finger isn’t in that good condition, so I do not tend to use shift a lot, except for my aspects (1-4) and a few more keybindings.

  • I use F1-F6
  • Ctrl – Q W E R A S D F G Tab |
  • F V G |
  • 1-7

Garwulf: As a general rule, do you bother applying Hunter’s Mark in arena? What about Serpent Sting?

Garxz: I use Serpent sting a lot in arena, however I mostly use Hunter’s Mark to cover traps from being dispelled, or unless I have extra time to apply it.

Garwulf: How much do you utilize Tranquilizing Shot, and what are the buffs you’re always sure to try and knock off? Do you use any sort of addon to monitor dispellable debuffs?

Garxz: I dispel mages and ret paladins, trying to keep them clean, else I just keep an eye out for other important buffs like Unholy Frenzy, Fear Ward, etc.

Garwulf: I noticed that you’ve talented both Focus Fire and Killing Streak – two talents that I ignore. I’ve gone into the reasons for that in this post ( However, since you’re obviously more of an accomplished PvP’er than I am, I’d like to learn why these two talents are useful in PvP. Also, I am curious as to why you macro Focus Fire with Cobra Shot? Why not manually activate it when needed, or when it’s fully buffed at 5 stacks?

Garxz: Focus Fire allows me to get those Cobra Shots off more easily, and it helps a lot versus classes that slow my casting speed. Also, Focus Fire will most of the time be at 5 stacks, but also grants my pet focus. I find Killing Streak a lot more useful than having 10 more focus — it doesn’t give me anything to have 10 more focus if I’m always below 100 anyway.

Garwulf: I’m well aware that most of the top arena players ‘practice incessantly’ in order to learn how to counter other classes – you being no exception (over 5.5K duels, with a 4-1 win ratio). So now… The Million Dollar Question that everyone wants the answer to… What are some basic strategies – as a Beast Master – that you employ when dealing with various classes 1v1?

Garxz: You want distance or LoS. And you either need to outlast them, trade cd’s or burst them down.

Shadow Priests, if they Dispersion before you pop your cd’s you win, you can burst him down with everything. If he fears your pet you should Bestial Wrath, keep range and avoid letting him do damage, buying as much time as you can. I usually open with Scatter -> Ice Trap, and then a few Tranquilizing Shots to clean him.

Against good mages you need to Bestial Wrath before the Deep Freeze, to break pet CC, but that is rare, you should save it for Deep if you can. Keep range, and dispel in opener if you get the Scatter -> Ice trap. If he blocks you can Cobra Shot the pet for focus while getting more range. Avoid Shatters with Feign Death and Deterrence.

Garwulf: Considering the amount of discussion that’s taking place concerning ways to improve upon the hunter class (along with the other 9 support classes), what suggestions would you make to improve the class as a whole? And specifically, what could be done to make Beast Mastery a more viable PvP spec? I know that last question may sound a little facetious, given that you’ve nearly broken 3K rating as a Beast Master, but many players struggle to make the spec work in a PvP setting.

Garxz: I would like to see BM get an interrupt. They could also make Kill Command a bit less clunky.

Garwulf: Most Hunters agree that Survival is broken at the moment and not as viable a PvP spec as either BM or MM. What do you think Blizzard could do to make the spec competitive again?

Garxz: Tricky question, but we need some more reliable talents for Survival, and maybe some sort of dispel protection. The funny thing about Survival is that it doesn’t have any survival what so ever.

Garwulf: Alright… well I think I’ve hit you with enough questions for today, so I’m going to wrap this up. I truly appreciate you taking the time to share some of your PvP hunter wisdom with all of us here at, especially those of us that love our big red pets.

In closing, is there anything else you’d like to add, e.g., YouTube channel plug, player shout outs, etc..?

Garxz: is my YouTube channel, sometimes I post new videos — mostly WoW related or random stuff that I get recorded.

And a big shout-out to one of the best hunters out there, Braindeadly. <3

Also, a big shout-out to my partners Thehatex and Loony.


So there ya have it folks… some hunter PvP insight from one of the best there is. 🙂

Now I know a few of you may be wanting more answers, further explanation, or a proper 1v1 strategy vs a Feral Druid, so I’ve asked Garxz to stop by and address some of the visitor comments, should he be so inclined.

I have a feeling he will, so ask away…

20 thoughts on “Interview with a Beast Master”

  1. Gar… thanks for putting such high quality and class in your site. I always feel like I’m getting a pat on the shoulder when I read your entries. It helps a guy like myself who doesn’t have a ton of time to invest get much more out of this incredibly fun character.

  2. Last thing for now: Arena Tactics

    What tends to be your strategy in Arena? As I mentioned, I typically do Hunters Mark and Serpent Sting, then scatter-trap the healer, then Bestial Wrath. My teammates do follow-up CC on the healer, and burst as much DPS as they can on the kill target.

    Obviously this varies some depending on what teammates I’m with, what teams we’re facing, etc, but this is a general pattern. We’ll sometimes also do this pattern to initiate a target switch later the match if our initial target doesn’t die.

    How do you typically begin a match? Do you use Bestial Wrath in the first few seconds, or wait? Do you use Intimidation to lock the target down during Bestial Wrath, or save it for more situational or defensive uses?

    Is there any special synergy with a Feral Druid, or is it just that Thehatex is exceptionally good? My DPS partners in 3s have been rogue, DK, and Warlock, all of which seem decent, but not necessarily ideal. Can you give some thoughts on good Arena Comps or synergies with other classes for BM hunters? It seems we need partners who can reliably CC the healer during a burst phase, keep the kill target slowed and/or rooted out of your melee range, and hopefully provide a lot of burst themselves…

    Looking forward to seeing your responses.

  3. Glyph of Concussive Shot: Garxz takes this Glyph, I prefer Glyph of Disengage…

    I like Glyph of Concussive Shot for Battlegrounds, but don’t see it being all that valuable in Arena. Thoughts on that?

    I take Glyph of Disengage instead, reducing my Disengage CD by 5 seconds. I see you’ve spent 2 talents on Survival Tactics just to get a 4 second reduction for Disengage…

    Wouldn’t you be better off taking the Glyph of Disengage, and spending those 2 talent points elsewhere?
    What does Glyph of Concussive Shot bring to Arena that is worth more than 2 talent points?

    • If I can add: the survival instinct is not just about shorter CD on disengage, but maybe the most important is trap resist thing. Without it ur trap will be resisted even if t have spell pen cap. There was discussion about this on AJ forum (so not from my head).

        • Traps can no longer be resisted. That was fixed recently. So Survival Tactics no longer does anything other than reduce your Disengage CD by 4 seconds. Not a ton of benefit for 2 talent points…

          • That’s odd, though. Just over a week ago a Shaman walked over my trap in a BG and “Resist” came up, wasting my freeze. Maybe he had a talent/skill procced, but I dunno.

          • Hmm… If u are talking about patch4.2 then it’s not true. Reedful from AJ tested it post-patch and without ST with SP220 it can be resisted BUT with ST it cant. You still need it because of some other mechanic in traps, or so… You can read about it on AJ.
            But if u r talking about some hotfix which I dont know, then let me know where can i find hotfix notes(I’m intrested in all these stuffs.thx)

            • Huh, I’ve read that Blizz finally removed the resist mechanic. Maybe not, I haven’t tested it in a controlled setting. If someone on AJ has tested it recently, then I’ll believe that.

  4. Another Question: On Serpent Sting and Hunters Mark…

    It seems to me that the key to success in BM PVP is to time your massive DPS burst while you have an enemy healer fully CCed. Your steady state damage isn’t as important as your ability to burst down a target before they get out of CC. (This is why I tend to prefer the MM talents, which increase burst damage greatly).

    Therefore, I try to make sure to have Hunter’s Mark and Serpent Sting up on the Kill Target just before beginning Bestial Wrath. This increases the damage per second during that critical kill opportunity.

    So, I typically begin by marking the kill target, then Serpent Sting. Then Scatter and Trap the healer. Then Intimidation and my Bestial Wrath macro on the kill target, while teammates take care of any follow-up CC on the healer.

    Does this sound roughly correct?

    Don’t you think that adding Hunter’s Mark and Serpent Sting before Bestial Wrath is a good idea, to get the most damage squeezed into your kill opportunity while the healer is CCed?


  5. Garwulf and Garxz, thanks so much for providing inspiration to BM PVP hunters!

    Garxz, question for you. I see you spend a lot of talents to get to Entrapment, forgoing points you could have spent in Go for the Throat, Efficiency, and Sic ‘Em.

    At least for Arena 2s and 3s, I don’t find Entrapment to be all that useful. I’m using a Freezing Trap for CC, so the only use for Entrapment is with Snake Trap. In 5s and in rated battlegrounds, I’m more likely to use Ice Trap, and there are more players to hit with Entrapment, so I can see the utility there.

    In 2s and 3s, is it really worth forgoing the fairly massive DPS bonus available from the 3 key MM talents, and instead spend those points in SV talents to get Entrapment? Why or why not?

  6. Garwulf, thanks so much for this interview, and thank you Garxz for sharing some of that wisdom with us. =D

    I actually did some of the things he said, and melted quite a few Mage faces. He was so right.

    One of the things I’d like to ask is what he usually does with Rogues? Does he go aggressive or defensive? Mostly I BG, so it’s not uncommon to have 2 Rogues do a UMADBRO cleave on me with one stunlocking after the other.

  7. Awesome interview! So glad you reached out this guy! And thank you Mr. Garxz for doing this interview. You’re my freakin’ hero! 🙂

  8. All I can say is wow. There is so much great insight in there that I cant wait to apply. Since speccing Beast Mastery and adhering 100% to your guide I’ve improved vastly, so thank you Garwulf and thank you Garxz.


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