PvP Hunter Pets: Cataclysm Edition (Accurate as of Patch 4.3)
The care and feeding of PvP Hunter Pets
Keep ’em on a short leash
All three specs, not just Beast Masters, should exercise very careful control over their pets in PvP. If you’re serious about PvP, then you’re no doubt bringing a pet with you into battle that provides some sort of PvP utility. Obviously, should your pet die, you’d lose this ability, its talented pet family abilities, along with some added DPS. That’s no good.
In addition to the fundamental practice of keeping your pet alive, you also want to keep them relatively close. Don’t send your pet off willy nilly, chasing after some fleeing player, while you sit there blasting away at attackers, oblivious to where Fido’s headed. You absolutely need to have your pet nearby in the event you need Master’s Call. This is one of our greatest escape buttons, so be sure to keep your pet within a reasonable distance so that you can access it quickly when needed.
Another reason to keep your pet relatively close is so that you can reach it with heals. Not exactly a revelation, but I’m just pointing that out because it’s important. When pet’s get focused, they often get slowed as well, which makes it that much harder to get a heal off if they’re too far away.
For PvP, I keep my pets on defensive mode most of the time. When I settle in for some burst, then I put them into assist. I have /petassist macro’d into a few of my abilities – ensuring that they’re always focusing the target I’m pressuring. If I need to pull them away from harm, then I put them in passive stance. Tying the pet stance commands in with macros is a very easy way to improve control over your pet. Have a look at my macros guide for examples of this.
In short, pet micro-management is a pretty important part of effective PvP huntering – especially if you’re a BM hunter. Take good care of your pet, and your pet will take good care of you.
Use a proper pet
Pet buffs aren’t all that important in PvP, where as PvP utility is huge. For this reason, choosing a pet for PvP is much different than choosing one for dungeons. A pet that can slow, snare, stun, heal, disarm, silence, etc… will be more effective than one that provides a slight DPS boost by way of a buff. Also note that many of those buffs will be overwritten with other class buffs anyway. The one exception… Core Hounds. If you’re a Beast Master, it’s a good idea to have one of these babies at the ready, so that you can call it into action for its Ancient Hysteria buff when needed.
I’ll often use my Core Hound early on in a battle, then stable it and bring out my Spirit Beast while Ancient Hysteria is on cooldown. If my group needs the buff for some offensive pressure, I bring out Lave Dog once again. For all-around duty however, I just can’t seem to stay away from GC for very long. He’s my best good friend. 😉
Best BM Hunter PvP Pets
Because a good portion of a Beast Master’s damage comes by way of the pet, I find it advisable to use a Ferocity pet. It’s not to say there aren’t other good options for different types of PvP situations, but generally speaking, I feel a Ferocity pet should be used. Other pets such as a Silithid or Shale Spider can be good options as well, but neither can provide the necessary DPS pressure to nuke opposing players. Ferocity pets provide higher DPS (Call of the Wild, Rabid, Shark Attack), have a higher crit rating, and also provide Charge – all huge benefits for PvP.
Since exotics benefit from having two special pet abilities as opposed to only one, to me they’re the clear choice. My go-to pet is the Spirit Beast, but I also use my Core Hound on occasion for the previously mentioned Ancient Hysteria buff. Their casting speed slow is nice as well, but nothing beats having a pocket healer, in my opinion. Also, their Roar of Courage provides a nice little added firepower when you don’t have a similar buff applied.
Because Spirit Beasts are rare, and it can’t be expected that every Beast Master has one already, I’d advise the use of a Core Hound as a first choice if you’ve no Spirit Beast(s) yet.
Other BM pets that are worth a mention…
Shale Spider – Shale Spiders are Tenacity pets, which means their DPS is lacking, but the utility they bring is the result of pure awesomeness. Shale Spiders have a ranged stun, a fantastic stat and resistance buff, great survivability, plus some great Tenacity talents, such as: Charge, Roar of Sacrifice and Intervene.
Another cool thing about Shale Spiders is they’re pretty low profile considering they’re exotic. It’s not like they’re easy to kill, but being that they don’t have the usual “Hey..! I’m a big bad BM pet… Kill me and my master will be instant weaksauce” sign around their neck… this means you don’t have to babysit them as much. Opposing players are a little less apt to focus these pets in other words.
At any rate… all of the above pets are decent choices as well, but I still recommend the use of Ferocity pets. Beast Masters need the improved DPS for pressure and burst. However, depending upon your play-style or group composition (if you arena or queue with a regular guild group), a Cunning or Tenacity pet such as the ones I’d mentioned, could be just the ticket.
After trying all of the PvP-worthy BM pets, I find the Spirit Beast stands head and shoulders above the rest, mainly due to Spirit Mend. This little heal is incredibly useful. If you want to PvP as a Beast Master, I highly suggest you go get a Spirit Beast if you don’t have one already. Ghostcrawler and Karoma may be a bit tough to get right now, but there are four SBs residing in Northrend – just waiting for you to claim one of them.
BM Hunter PvP Pet Builds
There isn’t really ‘best build’ for PvP pets. PvP pet builds can vary depending upon your play style, but there are some ‘preferred’ talents and best practices for speccing PvP pets. Here’s what I recommend…
BM Ferocity PvP Pet Build
My ferocity build for PvP is essentially the same as a PvE build. The reason being, when I’m using a Ferocity pet – which is 99% of the time as BM – I want my pet to do as much damage as possible.
- 2/2 Serpent’s Swiftness – Faster attack speed means more: chances to crit, pet DPS, and cast interrupts.
- 1/1 Dash – Speed kills.
- 1/2 Bloodthirsty – I like it for a tiny bit of added healing and pet survivability.
- 3/3 Spiked Collar – 9% more pet damage. A must have talent.
- 1/1 Boar’s Speed – Added pet speed is always needed, especially when Dash and Charge are on cooldown.
- 3/3 Culling the Herd – 3% increased damage for you and your pet. More damage – plain and simple.
- 1/1 Charge – Extremely important for PvP. It helps your pet close the gap, gives a 1 second root, and buffs your pet’s first hit.
- 3/3 Spider’s Bite – A huge DPS boost, not just from the straight added crit damage, but also from the talents that benefit from pet crits.
- 1/1 Rabid – Big pet DPS cooldown. Gotta have it.
- 1/1 Call of the Wild – Huge DPS cooldown for you and your pet. Macro it with Bestial Wrath for maximum punishing power.
- 2/2 Shark Attack – 6% more pet damage… yeah!
- 2/2 Wild Hunt – More burst for your pet when they’re above 50% focus.
I have a few different BM Ferocity pets I use for PvP – most of them Spirit Beasts, with some minor variations between each build. Most of my Ferocity pets follow this same basic blueprint, but I have a few pets that I spec into Lionhearted, for example. This talent is useful for getting your pet out of CC quicker during the times when Bestial Wrath is on cooldown. I generally pull two points from Culling the Herd to talent Lionhearted.
Some notes on the talents not included in my recommended BM Ferocity PvP Pet Build…
- Great Stamina – More pet health is definitely a good thing, but I prefer Serpent’s Swiftness for a first tier talent.
- Natural Armor – More of an extreme soloing talent. These points can be better used for additional DPS talents, or for better survivability talents, IMO.
- Improved Cower – Removes the speed penalty from your pet’s Cower ability. I don’t have much trouble with my pet getting focused and killed, but I would definitely look into this talent if I did.
- Lionhearted – A solid talent for keeping your pet ‘active’ by reducing the length of CC effects on your pet.
- Heart of the Phoenix – I don’t use this much due to it being somewhat unreliable. A res’d pet is extremely vulnerable during the first couple of seconds after using this ability due to the time it takes fr the game to calculate the pet’s health. Pets can get easily one-shotted after using this, making it a wasted talent, along with the extra point of Bloodthirsty required to get it. Best bet… don’t let your pet die. 😉
- Great Resistance – The resilience that my pet inherits from my gear takes care of most of the damage reduction that it needs – I find, anyway. Not a horrible talent, but I just can’t see borrowing from anyplace else to get it.
- Lick Your Wounds – I like this talent, but since I don’t typically go with Heart of the Phoenix, it’s not one I usually take.
As I said, my build is not necessarily “the way to do it”, but it’s what I’d consider a preferred Ferocity BM PvP Pet Build.
Feel free to experiment a little with your BM Ferocity PvP Pet Builds, but I would consider the following talents mandatory:
- 1/1 Dash
- 3/3 Spiked Collar
- 1/1 Boar’s Speed
- 1/1 Charge
- 3/3 Spider’s Bite
- 1/1 Rabid
- 1/1 Call of the Wild
- 2/2 Shark Attack
BM Cunning PvP Pet Build
This is the build I like for a Cunning BM PvP pet.
- 2/2 Serpent’s Swiftness
- 1/1 Dash
- 1/2 Mobility – BM pets have a shorter cooldown on Dash/Dive due to Longevity. Only one point needed here.
- 2/2 Owl’s Focus – More economical pet focus usage. Great for ensuring there’s ample focus for utility abilities, e.g., Venom Web Spray, Dash, Charge, etc.
- 3/3 Spiked Collar
- 3/3 Culling the Herd
- 2/2 Lionhearted
- 2/2 Cornered – Prerequisite for Bullheaded, plus it gives my pet a little added survivability -especially when combined with Bullheaded.
- 1/1 Wolverine Bite – Huge damage attack for Cunning pets.
- 1/1 Bullheaded – Works like a PvP trinket and mini shield wall for your pet. Very handy for both maintaining pressure and for keeping your pet alive.
- 2/2 – A little added pet survivability, but these points mainly go here in order to reach Roar of Sacrifice.
- 1/1 Roar of Sacrifice – One of the main reasons to use a Cunning Pet. Protects you or a teammate from crits for 12 seconds.
BM Cunning PvP Pet Build (DPS version)
Cunning pets are in the middle in terms of DPS and survivability, so depending upon how you talent them, you can go either way. The build posted above is one that emphasizes utility and survivability. This build here is an example of a Cunning BM PvP pet build that brings more damage to the table.
This build drops Lionhearted and picks up Feeding Frenzy for a little added finishing power. Cornered and Bullheaded are sacrificed for a bit more speed with Boar’s Swiftness, and some more burst potential with Wild Hunt.
This build loses some damage mitigation and defense against pet CC, but adds a little speed and some killing power.
Personally, I prefer to just go all-in with Ferocity if I’m speccing for DPS, but if you want to dish out the DPS with either a Silithid or Chimera – for the added CC – then a build like this one is great.
Thanks to Kazador of Emberstorm for sharing this build. 🙂
BM Tenacity PvP Pet Build
If you’re going to use a Tenacity pet for BM PvP, then there’s really only one choice… Shale Spider. Their 3 second ranged stun is simply awesome, plus they provide a valuable group buff (pet version of Blessing of Kings, Mark of the Wild).
If you plan on using a Shale Spider for the added survivability, utility and group buff, then here’s a decent build…
- 2/2 Serpent’s Swiftness
- 1/1 Charge
- 3/3 Great Stamina
- 1/1 Boar’s Speed
- 2/2 Blood of the Rhino
- 2/2 Lionhearted
- 2/2 Grace of the Mantis
- 1/1 Last Stand
- 1/1 Roar of Sacrifice
- 1/1 Intervene
- 2/2 Wild Hunt
This build will provide for a very hardy pet with loads of utility. This pet will be very hard to focus down and will also provide you and your teammates with some added survivability by way of Roar of Sacrifice and Intervene.
An option to this build could sacrifice Last Stand and Wild Hunt for 3/3 Culling the Herd. Again, this will depend largely upon your play style and finding what works for you.
I’d avoid Thunderstomp for the most part due to its AoE effect that can end up being a liability if not used properly (i.e., broken CC). PvP is more about single target damage anyway, so I suggest saving Thunderstomp mainly for solo play.
Best MM and SV Hunter PvP Pets
For MM & SV, pet DPS is less of an issue, so what’s preferred is a pet that applies some sort of stun, snare or slow – to your opponents. Wasps (2 sec stun) & dogs (4 second root) are both good choices if you wish to use a Ferocity pet. However, since pet DPS is of little consequence for MM & SV, having added pet survivability along with a talent like Roar of Sacrifice, is often a better option. Cunning and Tenacity pets both have some excellent PvP utility, with Tenacity having access to Intervene as well.
Good options for Cunning pets are: bat (2 sec ranged stun), spider (5 sec ranged root) and poop tossers (i.e., monkeys). Out of those choices, I’d suggest spider as the best overall. A 5 second snare, with a 30 yard range, on a 40 second cooldown, is just too awesome. The bat’s stun is great, but the cooldown is a bit long at one minute. The monkey’s blind is also nice, but again, the cooldown is a little long at one minute, plus any damage will break the effect.
There are other pets with some nice PvP utility (e.g., cast speed reduction, silences, disarm, etc), but I like to suggest pets which are effective vs all classes, and in most situations. A disarm will be of little use vs a caster, and a casting speed reduction will be of zero benefit while a rogue is stabbing you in your face. These types of specialty pets are best served by hunters looking to fill in some piece of missing utility in an arena comp. Even then, it’s tough to beat a pet like a spider, for example. Roots, snares and stuns are always valuable, plus they work equally as well for defensive purposes (eg: escape, protecting your healer, etc…), as they do for applying offensive pressure.
MM and SV Hunter PvP Pet Builds (17 point pet builds)
The following three builds are pretty solid for either MM or SV PvP. Again… you can make a case for swapping a few talents here and there – depending on what works best for you – but all of these configurations are pretty solid.
I’ve explained reasons for the talents in my BM pet section, so please refer to that portion of this guide if you need additional details pertaining to any of the talents.
More PvP goodness on the way…
Well I hope my little overview of pets was helpful to those of you wondering which beasts to use on the battlefield… I still have a lot more PvP-related discussion to discuss, much of which I haven’t discussed since the 4.0 patch, which disgusts me considering the disgusting workload this post-shattering-hunter-overhaul has imposed upon me.
I’m behind on lots of guide updates in other words. 😉 And yes… I am silly.
As always… if you have any additional questions or comments, please fill in the comment form below.