Hunter Pet Retrospective: Spiteflayer

Spiteflayer aka "Pesky"Ah yes… Spiteflayer, the incredibly ugly, but also common looking vulture from the Blasted Lands. The average player would look at it and think, “why on earth would a Hunter choose a homely and annoying flying pet such as that one”? The answer was simple really.

Long before TBC, pets came with all sorts of different skills, as well as attack speeds. Carrion Birds were unique in the sense that they had 3 different attacks, where as a lot of other pets had only one or two. These were: Bite, Claw, and Screech. Claw and Screech had no cooldown on them, so a Hunter could turn Bite off and this thing would dump focus like nobody’s business.

The Carrion Birds were good pets for BM Hunters, because they were great for solo farming due to the Screech AoE along with their decent damage, health and armor. However, that’s not what I primarily used this guy for. Along with Deathmaw and the Slavering Worgs from SFK, this bird had the distinction of having the blazing fast 1.2 second attack speed.

While he was definitely not a group-friendly pet for PvE due to his big flappy wings posing targeting issues, he excelled for PvP. Spitfleyer ended up becoming my pet of choice when grinding AV. Flying pets were annoying as hell to opponents anyway, but when you tossed in a 1.2 second AS, Dive, Screech and then Bestial Wrath, they became really annoying. 😈

I ended up abandoning Broken Tooth in order to tame this pet, and I never looked back. After taming Deathmaw, the rare Worg from the Burning Steppes, I hardly ever pulled BT out of the stable again. Deathmaw fared quite a bit better in AV, which comprised about 80% of my play time back then. Broken Tooth was fantastic for PvP, but once that fact became too well known, he became a primary focus-fire target that went down quickly. I needed something that could take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ so to speak. Enter the Carrion Bird.

This bird had the same basic stats as a wolf, but with a lot more functionality. Carrion Birds came with: Bite, Claw, Screech and Dive; while wolves only had Bite, Furious Howl and Dash. Claw was superior to Bite, in that it had no cooldown. Furious Howl was fairly useless back then for Hunters (especially BM Hunters) because the damage bonus only applied to players within melee range of the wolf. MM Hunters would use them sometimes for raids, but just keep them out of combat and at their side to refresh the buff when needed. Screech was a nice substitute for Furious Howl because it offered a small AoE AP debuff and had no cooldown.

All of the pet’s stats looked great on paper, or web page rather, but how well would it actually perform for PvP? Well, I needed to go tame him to find out, so off I went to the Blasted Lands.

Blasted Lands is probably one of the least enjoyable places to quest or farm due to the desolate gaming environment, plus it also lacks an Inn. However, the interesting thing about the place, for Hunters anyway, is that it probably contains the highest concentration of tameable rare spawns in the entire game. BL is home to:

  • Grunter – The level 50 black boar, while not uncommon looking, has the distinction of being the only black boar above level 11.
  • Ravage – The level 51 purple Hyena.
  • Spiteflayer – The level 52 black Carrion Bird.
  • Clack the Reaver – The level 53 silver Scorpid.

All of these pets share spawn areas that are very close in proximity. Chances are if you head to the Blasted Lands, it’s very likely you’ll encounter at least one of them. The irony though, is that there is no Stable Master in the Blasted Lands. 😐

Oh… and yes, I have tamed all of the aforementioned pets at one time or another.

My taming story is not exciting in the least. I flew to the Blasted Lands, went to his patrol area and there he was.

Drop Freezing Trap, begin Tame Beast, and done. I was then the proud owner of a mangy vulture.

Out of the four rare spawn pets in the Blasted Lands, Spiteflayer is the only one who doesn’t stand out. The other 3 have unique skins compared to the other similar species in the area. Although vultures were often farmed for Ground Scorpok Assay and Gizzard Gum, the area that he patrols is away from the bulk of the other birds needed for those quests. This made Spiteflayer probably the easiest pet to obtain in the Blasted Lands. On the other hand, if you’re after Grunter, you’d better set aside some time. Boars were, and still are, heavily farmed in that area for quests and leather. In addition to that, Grunter sticks out like a big black sore thumb when compared to the other beige boars in the area. Grunter is arguably one of the rarest rares in the game in my opinion.

Spiteflayer was an incredible pet for PvP. I aptly named him “Pesky”, in reference to his ability to annoy casters and melee alike. He was not only great for interrupting spells, but also caused huge targeting issues for melee opponents. I just loved him.

With all of the pet changes that have gone on since then, there really is no reason to tame him anymore. Demoralizing Screech is a situational and average skill at best, not to mention there are far better choices for pets in the Ferocity tree than Carrion Birds.

If I ever find myself in the Blasted Lands I always run by the area where he roams, just to say hello, crack a couple brewskis and reminisce about old times. I’ve got this thing about targeting the rare spawns, but leaving them be. It’s sort of a karma thing for me. Plus, there’s just something about that Silver Dragon frame around the portrait that makes me happy.

So far I believe my passive nature towards the rare spawns in the game has worked to my advantage. I’ve had pretty good luck overall when trying to find and tame rare pets. Well, unless they’re Spirit Beasts. >.<

4 thoughts on “Hunter Pet Retrospective: Spiteflayer”

  1. Humm a lion hard to tame for alliance, nice teaser!
    The first that came to mind was the Rake. A nice 1.2 attack speed from Mulgore. My first pet as a horde hunter. But I do not think it will be. Then, Humar the pride was maybe a bit hard to get but I don’t think so as well.. So my bet will be for the one in winterspring, or Echee yakee (sorry for the spelling if I am wrong). Am I right, am I right? Ok I’ll be patient ^^

    I am new to the hunter blogosphere (just a reader), but I have to say I really enjoy reading yours so keep the good words flowing!

  2. I’m glad you enjoy reading these stories Miste.

    Hunter has such a different dynamic than the other classes due to the pet aspect. It’s this variable that made the Hunter class so appealing to me when I started playing WoW. Now after 3+ years of playing Hunter, it’s still the thing I find most engaging.

    It’s also fun to remember how WoW used to be for Hunters. I never had a bat pre-TBC, but I had my Wind Serpent, and I vividly remember going into ZG to learn Lightning Breath Level 6.

    Prior to Karazhan I had never once raided. I was primarily a PvP guy. When I found out that the only way to learn Lightning Breath Level 6 was via a 10 man, I was determined to find a solo workaround.

    After some searching, I found a video of a Hunter solo taming a Son of Hakkar on YouTube. The video made it look easy, so I had to give it a go.

    I went to WPL and tamed one of those undead bears as a trash pet. I then invited my wife’s toon to my group, formed a raid, and then entered ZG all by my lonesome.

    Having never ventured in there before, this was a pretty exciting mission for me. I went through the steps as instructed in the taming video and eventually wound up on the platform with the Sons of Hakkar. This definitely ranks up there with some of my most memorable moments playing WoW. It’s this sort of stuff that made the Hunter class so much damn fun. Shame things have changed so much.

    Anyway, I remember having to time the patrols just right, then trapping and taming one. Once the tame was successful I was so excited!

    I sicked him on some mobs, learned the level 6 Lightning Breath, then abandoned his ass and trained my pet (Arash-ethis). That was definitely a fun night. I sort of miss that dynamic of having to tame pets to learn new skills, but I don’t miss having to relinquish the last stable slot for that purpose.

    I didn’t really have a set pattern for my pet reflections, but so far I’ve mainly been going with my favorites. These are pets that I’d kept for awhile and had taken screenshots of.

    I’ll give you a teaser though… I think my next feature will be on a special lion that was previously very difficult for Alliance Hunters to obtain.

  3. This was by far the easiest rare pet to tame (on the list you started I mean ^^) but I never found it before being 60… I always ran into this purple hyena but at this time, they had not special skill. As an horde character, it was easier to go there as there was an inn not too far. I remember that I had to go in ZG to tame a bat in order to get that screech ability at lvl 60. Solo taming there was epic but fun if you had time and patience. I used to love screech, I thought of it as a huge aggro magnet, working well with grawl.
    The bat was huge once you get lvl 60 and I remember it to be pretty annoying in BG as it takes a lot of space.
    I have to say I am now wondering and waiting for your next retrospective, which pet are you going to talk about =)


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