Home World of Warcraft Classes Survival Hunter 9.0.5 Guide

Survival Hunter in Shadowlands

Survival Hunter is a brutal melee fighter who prefers to rely on various traps, their pet and Physical damage in the pursuit of their prey. This spec is especially strong in PvP, but it can also show good results in PvE.

In this guide, we will cover many different aspects to help you get the maximum benefit out of your character, including the best gear choices, the most effective talents, Covenants, Soulbinds and Conduits.

Survival Hunter has a unique playstyle, compared to any other melee spec. Their main weapons are polearms and staffs. Your main resource is Focus, which is similar to Energy.

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of this specialization:


  • High stable damage to single targets
  • Immunity spell
  • A lot of self-healing thanks to the passive ability Predator’s Thirst with a Ferocity pet


  • Low burst potential
  • Poor AoE damage
  • Loss of DPS during downtime in combat
  • Dependence on pet mechanics

The Author

The author of this guide is Aaeril. For quite a long time, he used to be a part of the Exorsus guild, participating in a number of World First events. In Season 4 of BFA, he reached about 6k Rio. Twitch channel – https://www.twitch.tv/aaeril

Main Abilities



General information. On reaching several levels, you will open new Talent tiers. In each tier, you can choose one Talent at a time. Talents can affect your abilities in different ways: add new ones, replace old ones, passively modify various effects and spells. You can change Talents while you’re in Sanctums or in rest areas, but if there are no such places nearby, you can use Tome of the Tranquil Mind, which allows you to change Talents within a minute. Note that Talents can’t be changed in combat. Also, if a Talent selected in a certain tier is on CD, you’ll have to wait for it to recharge in order to change it.

Tier 1 Lvl 15. Talents that affect DPS

Survival Hunter 9.0.5 Guide

* Here we have two options:

Viper’s Venom is a great choice against single targets.

Alpha Predator is used in M+ and AoE fights. 

Tier 2 Lvl 25. AoE and Cleave

Survival Hunter 9.0.5 Guide

  • Guerrilla Tactics. Wildfire Bomb now has 2 charges, and the initial explosion deals 100% increased damage.
  • Hydra’s Bite. Serpent Sting fires arrows at 2 additional enemies near your target, and its damage over time is increased by 10%.
  • Butchery. Replaces Carve. Attack up to 5 nearby enemies in a flurry of strikes, inflicting Physical damage to each. Reduces the remaining cooldown on Wildfire Bomb by 1 sec for each target hit. 3 charges, 9 sec recharge, 30 Focus. 

* Here we take Guerrilla Tactics, it’s a versatile Talent. It allows you to minimize the downtime of Wildfire Bomb. Without this talent, we’d have to use it on recharge, while with it, we don’t have to force it while there’s at least 1 charge is on CD, same as Alpha Predator.

Tier 3 Lvl 30. Utility and Survivability

Survival Hunter 9.0.5 Guide

  • Trailblazer. Your movement speed is increased by 30% anytime you have not attacked for 3 seconds.
  • Natural Mending. Every 20 Focus you spend reduces the remaining cooldown on Exhilaration by 1 sec.
  • Camouflage. You and your pet blend into the surroundings and gain stealth for 1 min. While camouflaged, you will heal for 2% of maximum health every 1 secs.

* This tier is responsible for your survivability, so choose depending on your needs. In raids we mostly use Natural Mending, while in M+ dungeons, Camouflage allows you to skip some packs, which is very useful. 

Tier 4 Lvl 35. Talents that affect DPS

Survival Hunter 9.0.5 Guide

  • Bloodseeker. Kill Command causes the target to bleed over 8 sec. You and your pet gain 10% attack speed for every bleeding enemy within 12 yds. 
  • Steel Trap. Hurls a Steel Trap to the target location that snaps shut on the first enemy that approaches, immobilizing them for 20 sec and causing them to bleed over 20 sec. Damage other than Steel Trap may break the immobilization effect. Trap will exist for 1 min. Limit 1.
  • A Murder of Crows. Summons a flock of crows to attack your target, dealing Physical damage over 15 sec.  If the target dies while under attack, A Murder of Crows’ cooldown is reset. CD 1 min.

* Pick Bloodseeker, this Talent will be good enough in any situation. 

Tier 5 Lvl 40. Survivability

Survival Hunter 9.0.5 Guide

  • Born To Be Wild. Reduces the cooldowns of your Aspects by 20%.
  • Posthaste. Disengage also frees you from all movement impairing effects and increases your movement speed by 50% for 4 sec.
  • Binding Shot. Fires a magical projectile, tethering the enemy and any other enemies within 5 yards for 10 sec, rooting them in place for 8 sec if they move more than 5 yards from the arrow.

* Choose whatever Talent you like, as this tier gives you several unique abilities that don’t affect your DPS in any way.

6 lvl 45. Talents that affect DPS

Survival Hunter 9.0.5 Guide

* For single-target fights, always take Mongoose Bite – the other Talents require a huge buff. For M+ and AoE, you can use Tip of the Spear when there’s no way to stack Mongoose Fury.

 Tier 7 Lvl 50. Talents that affect DPS

Survival Hunter 9.0.5 Guide

  • Birds of Prey. Attacking your pet’s target with Mongoose Bite or Butchery extends the duration of Coordinated Assault by  1.5 sec.
  • Wildfire Infusion. Lace your Wildfire Bomb with extra reagents, randomly giving it one of the following enhancements each time you throw it:
    • Shrapnel Bomb: Shrapnel pierces the targets, causing Mongoose Bite or Butchery to apply a bleed for 9 sec that stacks up to 3 times.
    • Pheromone Bomb: Kill Command has a 100% chance to reset against targets coated with Pheromones.
    • Volatile Bomb: Reacts violently with poison, causing an extra explosion against enemies suffering from your Serpent Sting and refreshes your Serpent Stings.
  • Chakrams – Throw a pair of chakrams at your target, slicing all enemies in the chakrams’ path for Physical damage. The chakrams will return to you, damaging enemies again. Your primary target takes 100% increased damage.

* Your standard choice in this tier is Birds of Prey. Wildfire Infusion can be used in Mythic Keystones or sometimes in raids, but overall this Talent is fairly weak against single targets.

Talent builds

Raid / Single Target:

  1. Viper’s Venom or Alpha Predator
  2. Guerrilla Tactics
  3. Natural Mending
  4. Bloodseeker
  5. Posthaste
  6. Mongoose Bite
  7. Birds of Prey

AoE / M+:

  1. Alpha Predator
  2. Guerrilla Tactics
  3. Natural Mending
  4. Bloodseeker
  5. Posthaste
  6. Tip of the Spear
  7. Wildfire Infusion


The best choice in terms of DPS (against any number of targets) is the Night Fae. The Kyrian work too, especially considering your poor sustain. Phial of Serenity is way more useful than Soulshape for this spec.

The Kyrian

  • Signature ability – Summon Steward. Call your steward to bring you a Phial of Serenity that can be consumed to restore 20% health and remove all Curse, Disease, Poison, and Bleed effects.
  • Class ability – Resonating Arrow. Fire a resonating arrow to the target location that deals Arcane damage to any enemy in the area, and fill the area with echoing anima for 10 sec. The effect causes your attacks to ignore line of sight to enemies in the area, and you have a 30% increased critical strike chance against them.

The Night Fae

  • Signature ability – Soulshape. Turn into a Vulpin, teleporting 15 yds forward and increasing your movement speed by 50%. You may reactivate Soulshape every few sec to teleport again.
  • Class ability – Wild Spirits. Evoke the energy of Wild Spirits at the target location, dealing Nature damage And apply Hunter’s Mark to all enemy targets within the area for 15 sec.

While the Wild Spirits are active, each damaging ability you or your pet use against a target in the area will strike up to 5 nearby targets for Nature damage.

The Necrolords

  • Signature ability – Fleshcraft. Form a shield of flesh and bone over 4 sec that absorbs damage equal to 20% of your maximum health for 2 min.
  • Class ability – Death Chakram. Throw a deadly chakram at your current target that will rapidly deal Shadow damage 7 times, bouncing to other targets if they are nearby. Generates Focus.

The Venthyr

  • Signature ability – Door of Shadows. Wend through the shadows, appearing at the targeted location.
  • Class ability – Flayed Shot. Fire a shot at your enemy, causing them to bleed for Shadow damage over a few sec. Each time Flayed Shot deals damage, you have a 10% chance to gain Flayer’s Mark, causing your next Kill Shot to be free and usable on any target, regardless of their current health.


Soulbinding is a system of progression in which players who join a Covenant are able to bind themselves to one of its members, sharing some of their power through an artifact-like talent tree. Conduits add further customization to those Soulbind trees, allowing players to fill empty sockets in the trees with bonuses of their choice. However, these Potency Conduits are absolutely imbalanced in terms of DPS, HPS and survivability, so their effectiveness may vary greatly. Let’s have a look at interesting Soulbind features of all Covenants.

The best Soulbinds for PvE:

  1. The Kyrian – Pelagos
  2. The Venthyr – Nadjia
  3. The Necrolords – Emeni
  4. The Night Fae – Niya

The Venthyr

Nadjia the Mistblade

  • Dauntless Duelist– The first enemy you damage in combat is marked as your Adversary. You deal 3% more damage to them, and they deal 1.5% less damage to you. You may only have one Adversary at a time (tree with 1 less Potency Conduit).
  • Thrill Seeker– while in combat, you gain a stack of Thrill Seeker every 2 sec, or 4 stacks on killing an enemy. At 40 stacks Thrill Seeker  is consumed to grant you Euphoria, increasing your Haste by 20% for 10 sec. Thrill Seeker decays rapidly while you are not in combat.
  • Exacting Preparation – the benefits of Well Fed, Flask, and weapon enchant effects are increased by 20%.

Theotar the Mad Duke

  • Soothing Shade – your spells and abilities have a chance to call Tubbins and Gubbins to your side for 12 sec, parasol in hand. Standing in the shaded area grants you 525 Mastery (tree with 1 less Potency Conduit).
  • Wasteland Propriety – activating Resonating Arrow signals the start of tea time, granting 10% Versatility to you and 4% Versatility to up to 4 nearby allies. Lasts 10 sec. Tea time may only occur once every 1 min.
  • Refined Palate – the effects of combat potions last 100% to 200% longer.

General Draven 

This Soulbind is good for survivability and maybe PvP, while for DD’s he’s not quite useful.

The Kyrian


  • Let Go of the Past – using a spell or ability increases your Versatility by 1% for 10 sec. Using another spell or ability increases this amount by 1% when it is not a repeat of the previous spell or ability, stacking to 5%.
  • Combat Meditation – activating Resonating Arrow increases your Mastery by 5% for 20 sec and occasionally expels Sorrowful Memories. Walking through Sorrowful Memories extends this effect by 3 sec.


  • Valiant Strikes – you and your nearby allies’ critical strikes grant you stacks of Valiant Strikes, up to 40. At 40 stacks, you heal yourself for 10% of your maximum health and up to 4 nearby allies for 5% of their maximum health over 10 sec.
  • Pointed Courage – critical strike is increased by 1% for every nearby enemy or ally, up to 8%.

Forgelite Prime Mikanikos

  • Hammer of Genesis – damaging a new enemy grants you 2% Haste for 10 sec, up to 5 stacks (tree with 1 less Potency Conduit).
  • Bron’s Call to Action – after using 90 damaging or healing spells and abilities, your next spell or ability summons Bron, knocking back enemies on arrival and attacking and healing your targets for 30 sec.

The Necrolords

Plague Deviser Marileth

Has no significant abilities for DD’s.


  • Gnashing Chompers – gain 3% Haste for 10 sec after defeating an enemy, up to 15%.
  • Lead by Example – activating Death Chakram increases your primary stats by 5% and nearby allies’ primary stats by 2% for 10 sec. You gain 5% additional primary stats for each ally affected, up to 15%.

Bonesmith Heirmir

The Night Fae


  • Niya’s Tools: Burrs – your damaging attacks and spells have a chance to toss Niya’s Spiked Burrs under your target. The burrs latch onto the first enemy to cross them, reducing movement speed by 20% and inflicting Nature damage over 6 sec. 
  • Niya’s Tools: Poison – your interrupting abilities apply Niya’s Paralytic Poison to the target, dealing Nature damage over 30 sec. Targets with Niya’s Paralytic Poison take additional Nature damage if interrupted once more. 
  • Grove Invigoration – healing or dealing damage has a chance to grant you a stack of Redirected Anima. Redirected Anima increases your maximum health by 1% and your Mastery by 25 for 30 sec, and stacks overlap. Wild Spirits grants you 6 Redirected Anima stacks.



Has no significant abilities for DD’s.


  • First Strike – damaging an enemy before they damage you increases your chance to critically strike by 25% for 10 sec.
  • Wild Hunt Tactics – your damage to targets above 75% health and healing to targets below 35% health are increased by 10%. When your spells and abilities are enhanced this way, you gain 10% bonus movement speed for 5 sec.


There are 3 types of Conduits:

  • Potency Conduits improve the effectiveness of your character in their main role.
  • Endurance Conduits provide additional defensive value through damage mitigation or increased healing.
  • Finesse conduits grant extra utility to your class.

Endurance and Finesse are class Conduits, 1 per each Covenant, and 4 Potency Conduits per each spec.

Potency Conduits

Potency Conduits rating:

  1. The best Potency Conduit is a Covenant Conduit (unless you’re a Necrolord).
  2. Next goes Stinging Strike, it should be used under any circumstances.
  3. If, for some reason, you’re a Necrolord, take Strength of the Pack instead.


  • The Kyrian

Enfeebled Mark – your attacks and abilities deal increased damage to enemies inside Resonating Arrow.

  • The Night Fae

Spirit AttunementWild Spirits lasts 3 sec longer, and deals increased damage.

  • The Necrolords

Necrotic BarrageDeath Chakram generates additional Focus stacks and grants bonus damage.

  • The Venthyr

Empowered ReleaseFlayed Shot has an additional 5% chance to proc Flayer’s Mark and it increases the damage of your next Kill Shot.

Endurance Conduits:

  1. Harmony of the TortollanAspect of the Turtle‘s cooldown is reduced. It can be very useful in some boss fights where you need extra immunity.
  2. Rejuvenating WindExhilaration heals you for an additional amount of your maximum health over 8 sec. Fairly weak for PvE and can hardly save your life.
  3. Markman’s AdvantageHunter’s Mark decreases the damage the target deals to you. Works great against single targets and in boss fights.
  4. Resilience of the Hunter – when Feign Death  ends, you take reduced damage for 8 sec. Very effective if you take high damage once every 30+ sec.

Finesse Conduits:

  1. Reversal of Fortune – successfully interrupting an enemy with Counter Shot grants Focus. Too insufficient and rarely used.
  2. Cheetah’s Vigor Aspect of the Cheetah’s secondary movement speed lasts an additional 3 sec, and its cooldown is reduced. Probably the most useful Finesse Conduit, which grants bonus mobility.
  3. Tactical RetreatDisengage slows nearby enemy movement speed by 20% for 3 sec. It’s also weak, since there are many other more effective slows.

Legendary items

Overall, the Hunter spec has 16 available Legendary Items:

4 general class, 4 spec specific and 8 general powers.

The best Legendaries:

  • Single target / raids: Nesingwary’s Trapping Apparatus. Whenever a trap is triggered, gain 45 Focus and increase all Focus gained by 100% for 5 sec.
  • AoE / Mythic+: Wildfire Cluster. Wildfire Bomb drops an additional cluster of bombs around the target, each exploding for Fire damage.


  • Rylakstalker’s Confounding Strikes. Raptor Strike has a 15% chance to reset the cooldown of Wildfire Bomb.
  • Latent Poison Injectors. Serpent Sting‘s damage applies Latent Poison to the target, stacking up to 10 times. Raptor Strike consumes all stacks of Latent Poison, dealing Nature damage to the target per stack consumed.
  • Butcher’s Bone Fragments. Raptor Strike increases the damage of your next Carve by 20%, stacking up to 6 times.

If you have different Legendaries that are not listed above, and you want to find out which one will suit you better, we recommend using Simcraft.

Choosing a race

Generally speaking, races hardly affect your DPS, as each race grants a DPS bonus, so if you do not strive to become one of the world’s best players, just choose the race you like more.
However, in terms of DPS (only), while there are still very few stats, the best races are:

Survival Hunter 9.0.5 Guide

  • Horde: Trolls and Goblins.
  • Alliance: Gnomes and Night Elves (only at night, as their stats change).


The rotation below assumes that you have Birds of Prey. In this case, follow the priority:

Single target

  1. Use Kill Shot on recharge, when the target is below 20% HP.
  2. Cast Coordinated Assault on recharge. It has no GCD, so you can cast it at any moment. Try to generate as much Focus as possible before using it in order to extend the duration.
  3. Use Mongoose Bite as often as possible to keep up Coordinated Assault.
  4. Kill Command is used on recharge, unless you’re about to hit the Focus cap.
  5. Cast Serpent Sting to spend Viper’s Venom procs, when DoT is about to end. If you have no Viper’s Venom, Serpent Sting is used only when Coordinated Assault is inactive, as you require Focus to maintain your burst.
  6. Use Wildfire Bomb on recharge, unless you’re about to hit the Focus cap during this GCD. Also, don’t cast it too fast, as you want the 6-second DoT to tick off completely.

In multi-target fights, your priority is a bit different.


  1. Use Carve on recharge to refresh your Wildfire Bomb, unless the latter is going to spend more than it will restore.
  2. Wildfire Bomb on recharge, same as with single targets, let the DoT tick off.
  3. Kill Command priority is still rather high, so use it as often as possible, just don’t let your Focus reach the cap. Carve has a fairly high cost, so it’s necessary to maintain Focus for cleave rotation.
  4. Keep Serpent Sting active on as many targets as possible if they can live long enough.

As for the rest, stick to the single target priority. Remember that a pack is considered dead when the last mob dies.

Wildfire Infusion deserves special attention. You should keep in mind the following things:

Wildfire Infusion

  1. Volatile Bomb is green. Try to use it to prolong the effect of Serpent Sting on as many targets as possible. But of course, avoid reaching the cap!
  2. Shrapnel Bomb is blue. It must be used at a high Focus value, as we want to stack powerful DoT over its duration.
  3. Pheromone Bomb is red. Cast it when your Focus is low and use the maximum number of Kill Commands while it’s active to refill Focus.

Each Bomb provides a separate DoT effect, so they can overlap.

This is the whole system of priorities. There is no specific mandatory opener, but based on the information above, it’s gonna look something like this:

To start with:

  1. Use Harpoon to get to the boss, if necessary.
  2. Mark the target with Serpent Sting.
  3. Use Wildfire Bomb.
  4. Cast Coordinated Assault.
  5. Next, Mongoose Bite
  6. Apply Kill Command to trigger its CD.
  7. Keep dealing damage according to the standard rotation.


Your basic stats priority is the following:

Finesse > Haste > Crit ~ Versatility > Mastery

Haste is generally important for Survival Hunters, it increases your and your pet’s attack speed and Focus regeneration, and reduces the cooldown on many of your abilities, including  Carve. Besides, it improves the uptime of Coordinated Assault due to a more frequent use of Mongoose Bite.

To maximize your stats, use raidbots.com (-> Stat Weights) and import this information into the game with Pawn (addon) for further convenience.

Based on the above-mentioned characteristics and your own simulation results, let’s move on to Gems, Enchants and Consumables.




Flasks and Pots


Modifier kick. Hold Shift to apply to your focus target, or apply to your current target by default:

/cast [mod:shift,@focus][] Muzzle

Instant activation of Aspect of the Turtle and Feign Death (interrupts your current cast, can be extremely useful):

/cast Feign Death


/cast !Aspect of the Turtle

The exclamation mark is necessary so that subsequent clicks don’t cancel the effect immediately when this key is spammed.

Disabling Aspect of the Turtle, as you don’t always want to keep it active, since you can’t attack over the duration:

/cancelaura Aspect of the Turtle

Misdirection at the cursor position

#showtooltip Misdirection
/cast [@mouseover, exists] Misdirection

Trap macros. You can use these macros to instantly place a trap under your character or at the cursor position, e.g.:

/cast [@player] Freezing Trap

 /cast [@cursor] Freezing Trap

Such macros can also be used for all ground abilities, such as Flare or Binding Shot.


Bartender4 is a highly customizable panel addon.

Chatter allows you to customize chat.

Deja Character stats – adds more information about the character.

Sexy map – makes your minimap super sexy!

Shadowed unit frames – an alternative to ElvUI for unit frames.

WeakAuras is probably the most important addon in modern WoW. With its help, you can set up almost anything, and on wago.io you can find hundreds of useful auras and import them to your game in a few clicks. You can also find a full pack of auras for any spec, check out this link

BigWigs/Deadly Boss Mods – addons with timers and announcements for bosses in raids and M+, choose either of these. It’s also super useful in PvE. For BigWigs, the instance module, LittleWigs, must be installed separately. 

ElvUI is an all-in-one global build for fans of a neat and concise interface. Replaces several addons at once. On wago.io you can also find a large number of different customized profiles for ElvUI. 

Details! Damage Meter is the most up-to-date and advanced damage meter at the moment. 

Plater Nameplates– an addon from the author of Details that changes enemy nameplates. Fully customizable design and a huge number of available features, as well as the ability to import profiles and mods from wago.io – what else do you need?

Pawn – helps you find upgrades for your gear, Requires SimCraft.

SimulationCraft – a tool to explore combat mechanics and optimize your character.

Exorsus Raid Tools is an addon for raids that includes a lot of useful features.

Move Anything – allows you to move and resize any part of your interface.

World Quest List – groups your world quests to the left of the map and filters them by zones.

Legion ToDo –  saves information about your characters and displays it in a customizable list.

PRO Tips

I personally recommend playing with a higher SpellQueueWindow value, 300-400. It will protect you from micro lags and downtime between casts.
/console SpellQueueWindow 350

Hunters often complain that Feign Death doesn’t work. The two most common reasons are:

  1. You clicked Feign Death with the right mouse button held down and moved it. Unfortunately, this ability can be canceled when you turn your character. Therefore, make it a habit to release the right mouse button when you click Feign Death.
  2. You used Feign Death during the GCD with a queued up spell. Accordingly, your Feign Death gets interrupted by another ability. Here’s how to prevent it:


/use Feign Death

The first command – /CancelQueuedSpell – cancels the queued spell, so if this macro is the last one you click, you definitely won’t get up immediately.

That’s it, guys! We hope that now you’re armed and ready! And if you still have questions or just want to check out my gameplay, click on this link twitch.tv/aaeril. Thanks for tuning in! Best of luck in the world of Azeroth!

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