Hello everyone, and welcome to the second post in a series of posts designed to help talent your pets for PvE success!
Last time, we discussed the Ferocious pets, and how to talent them to deal the maximum amount of damage. There were some foggy areas, but after some testing we came up with the best specs possible. As a forward to this post, I’d like to point out that if there is something you think is wrong, I will test it myself and update the post if need be.
With this in mind, I’d like to remind everyone that suggestions, advice, and criticism are good, and are encouraged around here. If you think something is fishy, don’t dismiss it: tell me. I’ll be sure to post the results.
Now, let’s begin with probably to most convoluted of the trees!
Cunning pets are similar to Ferocity pets in that they both deal damage, but where they differ is in how they do the damage. Whereas Ferocity is straight up numbers, Cunning does damage depending on the situation. Once again, like the Ferocity tree, you must be talented properly to even begin to deal damage. It is possible to talent your cunning pet to deal no extra damage, and that’s not what we want for PvE.
Here is how your Cunning pets should be talented if you are to take one into a PvE Environment.
The two talent specs are incredibly similar, but there are 4 more points in the beastmaster tree. There are a few key talents for PvE that both specs share, and some that are unique to the beastmaster tree due to the extra 4 points you can get via the Beast Mastery talent for all the beastmaster hunters out there.
Yes, I am that lazy.
Where this gets complicated is when we get to the DPS talents: with 1 exception, all of our DPS talents here are subject to different parts of the pet’s environment. Anything from the target dodging an attack to your pet attacking something near death can affect your pet’s DPS. As such, it’s important to remember that pure mathcraft cannot properly measure the DPS your Cunning pet can put out: the only way to find out is to try one out.
Cobra Reflexes: A 30% increase to attack speed is nothing to sneeze at. This talent is nothing but a DPS upgrade, so we take it. We move on.
Spiked Collar: Did I mention I love this talent? It’s a straightforward increase in DPS no matter how you look at it. 9% increase to all damage dealt. 7 word which make me become teary eyed. It’s like a chick flick, but for hunters, and with even more kleenex. Please, Bring Your Own Box. Heck, take it another 2 times, and don’t regret it. It’s okay to cry for joy here.
Feeding Frenzy: This is where the interesting talents kick in. On top of the 9% increase to all damage from Spiked Collar, Feeding Frenzy adds another 16% increase to damage. 16%. That is, by itself, more straight damage from one talent than Ferocity gets from 2 talents!.. there’s just one catch. The opponent has to be at less than 35% HP in order for this effect to take place.
Now, the interesting thing about Feeding Frenzy is that when your pet attacks an opponent at less than 35% HP, your pet gets a buff. The buff is Feeding Frenzy. If your pet attacks something else after having attacked someone at less than 35% HP, it will keep the buff for the 10 seconds that it lasts.
I’ll leave it to your creative minds to figure out what you can do with this knowledge, but a word of reminder: the 35% mark is roughly the time when most people burn their cooldowns and use Bloodlust/Heroism.
Wolverine Bite: This ability can be described in 4 words: Bite their face off. This ability packs the punch of a unique ability while being trainable to all Cunning pets. Every time your opponent dodges, they pay for it dearly. At level 80, this ability does 405 damage before armor reduction, and it does ~300 after it from my experience. It frequently crits for 600+, and it does even more when other talents become effective.
Wolverine Bite is a huge, I mean HUGE damage ability. Every time it hits, it hits like a truck. With the number of times your pet attacks, your target is bound to dodge a number of them. Every time they do, your pet does the damage it was meant to, and then some. Consider it a move that counters the loss of damage other pets have to put up with.
Owl’s Focus: This ability is like a 2 for 1 deal at a gun store. Buy 1 bullet, get 1 free! Well, the same applies here: use an ability, and you have a 30% that you can use another one for free. What do you do when you see free stuff? You take of course! 2 ranks, no question.
Roar of Recovery: First off, this is not a direct increase to your pet’s DPS. This is an increase to your DPS! This is the only talent that we’ve covered for pets that increases your DPS rather than your pet’s. How does an increase to your mana increase to DPS? Simple: more time spent outside of Aspect of the Viper is more time doing actually damage. Enjoy the 1 rank you take in this, because it’s one rank that you will enjoy and savour every minute of.
Half of Wild Hunt: Now, here’s where the Non-BM tree ends with 1 rank in Wild Hunt. In the last Furrious Raiders post, there was a discussion about what was stronger: 3% increase to all damage, or a 10% increase to attack power inheritance. I did tests which had the same results as Rilgon and other reputable sources(WoWLadies and Elitist Jerks. They know their math); Wild Hunt was stronger when you had more stats. We beastmastery hunters get 2 ranks in this lovely talent, increasing the 10% into a 20%! That’s a big change!
Now, the Beastmasters out there still have 3 points to go. There’s only 1 logical place to put them all.
Half of Cornered: Although it requires your pet to be at 35% hp to work, a potential 50% increase to DPS isn’t too shabby. Wait, what? 50% increase to all damage. That, if you can control it, is astounding. The Ferocity tree couldn’t even try to compete with that damage increase. The problem is that it’s not exactly easy to get your pet at that precarious amount of HP, and it’s best not to leave your pet there unless you have a plan to save it when the time comes. Oh, and that time will come. It will come.
Dash: Fastest one is the first one in. Fastest one is the first one out. If you ever wished your pet would just move faster, this is a good, all purpose talent for that. Get it please.
Avoidance: In PvE, stuff blows up. I don’t mean normal explosions and that stuff. I mean big fantastic fireworks of magic and death that kill those rogues dead if they’re not careful. Now normally that would kill our pet dead too, but we have this talent to thank profusely. See, 75% reduction of all AoE damage is huge. Massive. Gigantesque. I kid you not, without this talent, your pet will die miserably in 9/10 boss fights without a chance of revival. Take 3, glorious ranks in this talent. You did it? Fantastique. Now never look back. Just don’t.
Besides, you need this to get Wolverine’s Bite, and if you skip that I will shoot you.
The Other Half of Wild Hunt: For the non-BM users out there, you get one rank in this talent. One beautiful, gorgeous rank. It will give your pet a 20% increase to Stamina inheritance. The Beastmasters out there can get excited, ’cause it gives us a whopping 40% increase instead! This proves we’re cooler. It must. Either way, it helps keep the pet alive, and that’s good for all of us. Like Flinstone vitamins.
Bullheaded: This is the last point that beastmasters get. Now, this is normally a PvP talent. However, with all the damage flying around, Bullheaded can be incredibly helpful. A 20% decrease in damage taken for 12 seconds can be all it needs to survive a Sartharion lava wave. Or a bonk on the noggin that it gets for being in the lava wave in the first place. Silly Link.
The Other Half of Cornered: Once again, your pet needs to be precariously close to death in order for this to start working. However, a 60% reduction in your opponent’s chance to critically hit you can actually save that pet of yours sometimes. Think of it as a jack in the box, with a really, really bad spring that doesn’t always work.
So let’s take a look at the talents we used here: 7 parts damage talents, 4 parts survivability. This is slightly skewed from the 2 parts damage, 1 part survival that Ferocity had down to a science. However, when the damage talents get working for cunning, the damage dealt jumps, leaps, and bounds in circles around the DPS of Ferocity pets.
This being said, there’s nothing I would change. For Non-BM hunters, the only change you could really do it replace Owl’s Focus with Cornered, but I wouldn’t do it since Owl’s Focus is a much more consistent, safe increase to DPS. The only thing for BM hunters is swapping Bullheaded with Carrion Feeder, and I wouldn’t do that because Bullheaded can keep your pet alive in a fight, where Carrion Feeder just saves some paltry amount of gold in food for the pet.
Do I see anything else worth changing? No, not at all. I’m a stubborn person like that, and I think that these talent builds provide the best DPS that a cunning pet could produce. Since that is exactly what we’re after, so we’re not going to change one bit. Right? RIGHT.
Will there be a “next time”? Why, yes, there will be. Will it be for DPS? Heck no. When it comes to the Tenacious, they hold the line instead of break it.
We’re talking Tanking, peoples, and tanking with pets. So stay tuned!