Let me begin by saying that I absolutely love some of the Hunter changes introduced in 3.2, especially from a Beast Master’s standpoint. The reworked Animal Handler has been a godsend. While the auto-capping of expertise for pets has indirectly buffed all Hunters, BM really made out when Blizzard decided to replace the now-unnecessary expertise bonus with raw attack power.
The change to Wild Hunt is nice too, even if it is still a bit buggy. I noticed right away that the stats still weren’t carrying over when I specced into Wild Hunt after the patch went live. I’ve been making sure I dismiss and resummon each time I swap out pets just to be on the safe side.
Anyway, these two welcome changes were well deserved, as BM has needed some love here for quite some time. To review, 10% additional attack power for the pet from Animal Handler, plus 10% increased AP inheritance from the Hunter… good stuff. I like this a lot. I currently PvP with a Beast Mastery spec so this is just gravy for me.
It seems as if there’s a lot of confusion concerning this talent choice. That, or some Hunters are just assuming it’s a huge buff and are jumping all over it. The addition of the decreased cooldown on Kill Command has Hunters confuddled, scrambling for places to steal points away so that they can get the 30 second cooldown on Kill Command.
I didn’t pick it up. Here’s why…
From a PvP standpoint this talent looks pretty good. I know, I know… BM PvP is quite the oxymoron. I’ve been doing this for a long time and it’s just how I roll. 😉 I love the hardiness of BM and I relish the last-man-standing style of warfare.
Anyway… the problem is, which talent(s) do you borrow from to pick up Catlike Reflexes. I’ll tell you… none of them.
First of all, this talent is worthless in my opinion without 3 points invested. A properly talented and glyphed BM Hunter will have a 1 minute, 4 second cooldown on Bestial Wrath. The cooldown on KIll Command is 1 min, which is absolutely perfect. Any BM Hunter worth their salt knows to macro Kill Command with Bestial Wrath, and if you don’t, then feel free to visit my macro page to copy and paste. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it on the down low. No one will have to know. 😉
So anyway, in order to make Catlike Reflexes a logical choice, you’d have to invest the full three points to get it down to 30 seconds so as to not be off cycle with the Bestial Wrath cooldown. Again, here in lies the problem… What would be a worthwhile sacrifice for this talent?
For example, this is what my PvP build looks like…
In fact, I would recommend this build for anyone looking to PvP as a Beast Master. The only point I consider to be a floater is the one I have in Improved Arcane Shot. I’ve actually been currently experimenting with it in Invigoration, but that talent is crap. I found I was going oom a lot more in arena after the patch, due to our lack of burst in 2v2, therefore making the matches last longer. Ret Pallies got their nuts cut off in 3.2 that’s for sure. Anyway, I’ll save that for another time.
Apart from Improved Arcane Shot, there are really only three other places I’d recommend sticking that point. Focused Aim if you’re not hit capped (5 %for PvP unless you’re Draenei, then it’s 4%), Improved Tracking, or Hawk Eye for a little extra range. It’s up to you.
Oops… getting off track a bit there. Ok, so back onto Catlike Reflexes…
As you can see by my talent build pictured here, I passed right by Catlike Reflexes on my way down the tree. Again, my reasoning behind that is I cannot justify robbing points from anywhere else.
Given my rule of thumb concerning all or nothing with this talent, there are only a couple of options here. The first place to look would be Ferocious Inspiration. FI is Catlike Reflexes’ neighbor just on the other side of Bestial Wrath. It too is a three point talent. Well there ya go!
Wrong… Ferocious Inspiration is a thousand times better for PvP. In addition to the 3% damage buff, it gives you 15% increased damage on your highest burst attack apart from Kill Shot. Arcane Shot I might add is unmitigated by armor, where as pet specials such as bite and claw are.
Another place to look could be pulling one point away from Spirit Bond and two from Cobra Strikes. I’ll admit… I’m pretty biased when it comes to Spirit Bond, but I do know that it’s not exactly a “crucial” talent to have. However, you won’t see me set foot in a BG without 2 points in it. 😉
Cobra Strikes on the other hand is a crucial talent. Now I know some players are opposed to chance on hit or crit, this and that happens… blah, blah, blah… I for one usually avoid those types of talents for PvP. But… Cobra Strikes is essential for BM’s burst. Secondly, it further helps to ensure that Frenzy stays refreshed. And… if that wasn’t enough… look at the synergy it has with Ferocious Inspiration. See what I mean. No way Catlike Reflexes is more valuable than Cobra Strikes.
A third option could be to remove points from the Marksmanship tree, but that decision dead ends as well. As I’d stated, there’s already one “floater” point in my build in the MM tree which means you’d only need two more. It’s arguable you could pull a point from Go for the Throat, but I recommend against it. Reason being is, crits are fewer and far between in PvP. You need the 50 focus regen to keep your pet’s pressure up in my opinion.
However, even if you did try to live with 1/2 in GftT, you’d still have to steal a point from Careful Aim. That’s a blasphemous thought for a BM Hunter. Once you open up the Marksman pane, Careful Aim should automatically swallow three of your talent points. That goes for any Hunter in fact.
The tooltip on Kill Command is somewhat misleading. While the duration of the buff is 30 seconds, it is consumed by only three attacks. Therefore, provided your pet possesses the available focus, you can exhaust Kill Command within seconds. Add to that the fact that the 2nd and 3rd attack have diminishing returns and Kill Command isn’t sounding so hot anymore.
Notice I didn’t even mention the fact that it gives the player 3% added dodge and the pet 9%. This is inconsequential for PvP. Pets mainly die from AoE, caster spells or DoTs, and the only thing 3% added dodge is going to do for a Hunter is buff their chances of getting Overpowered.
So that sums up my thoughts on Catlike Reflexes for PvP. Now onto how it can be incorporated into a Beast Mastery raiding build. I know, another oxymoron…
If I were to get the hankerin’ to raid as a Beast Master again, this is what my build would look like.
Notice once again that Catlike Reflexes has been ignored. Apart from Improved Aspect of the Hawk over Endurance Training, one point from Spirit Bond to Mend Pet, and one point stripped from Frenzy, the talent tree looks pretty similar to my PvP build.
Also notice that I dropped some points from MM as well – 6 to be exact. So, with one extra point available from Frenzy along with 6 points from the Marksmanship tree, surely there’s got to be room for Catlike Reflexes in this build..?
Those points are needed in the Survival tree. I shouldn’t have to explain what a boost Improved Tracking can be to ones’ DPS. 5% increased damage is better than one extra Kill Command each minute anyday. Secondly, once we dump five points into Improved Tracking, we can now dump two points into Survival Instincts.
Survival Instincts provides an incredible synergy with the BM talents in this build. It boosts the crit rate on the two special shots BM Hunters use the most, Arcane Shot and Steady Shot. Coincidenatally, those are also two of the shots that proc Cobra Strikes. Cobra Strikes procs Ferocious Inspiration as well as Frenzy. See where I’m going with this…
“Can’t I take Catlike Reflexes in favor of Ferocious Inspiration since there’s always a Ret Pally in my raid who overwrites the buff? Seems Like FI is a waste in this case”. I could understand that way of thinking, but what about in the off-chance that a Ret isn’t in your raid. Or… heaven forbid… the Ret dies mid-fight. Also, note that the 9% increased damage to Arcane Shot is passive. Ferocious Inspiration need not be up to get the 9% damage boost.
In my opinion, take Kill Command for your Ultimate BM Soloing build. The 9% dodge will make a difference there, as will the added aggro gains from the additional Kill Command.
Thank you for reading my wall of text.
So, what do you guys think? Anyone disagree? Let’s theorycraft, shall we..? Or, I suppose I could just go plug it into Zehera’s DPS Analyzer and be done with it, but what fun is that..? Not to mention, that won’t dispel my thoughts about it concerning PvP.
I’m anxious to hear others’ takes on Catlike Reflexes. Perhaps someone can prove me wrong, causing me all sorts of grief while I busily try to reapportion my talent points.
Let the discussion begin…