wotlk pve survival hunter rotion&cooldowns

Survival Hunters do not have a set rotation but rather choose what spell to cast based on a priority system — if something procs, it’s bound to take priority over whatever else you were doing at the time.

Shot Priority

  1. Explosive Shot – make sure this shot is always on cooldown. It’s almost half of your total damage, so you don’t want to let it go to waste — it’s almost worth it to cancel a finished steady shot for, that is how good it is.
  2. Kill shot
  3. Serpent Sting (adds 3% damage taken in single target build)
  4. Black Arrow / Trap (Black arrow adds 6% damage taken to the target)
  5. Aimed Shot
  6. Steady Shot

AoE Rotation & Lock and Load

When it comes to lock and load, lock and load is a proc that gives you three free instant explosive shots. Given that explosive shot is your biggest damage contributor, this is a very big deal. Assuming you have decent latency, you should fire your next explosive shot right before the last explosive shot is about to tick. You could also explosive shot into a different shot into another explosive shot, but this is slightly less ideal. However, it is much more forgiving for beginners, so don’t be shy about doing it this way if you struggle to time your chained explosive shots.

The reason you do not just instantly shoot it 3 times is that it will not have time to do damage, as It essentially works just like the damage over time effect does. you end up overriding your previous shot and doing no damage.

Lock and Load can proc any time you deal periodic damage with a damage trap or black arrow, but only at a 6% chance. You can proc it 100% of the time with your frost trap, freezing arrow, or freezing trap — note that this only applies to mobs and bosses that can be slowed.

AoE Rotation

For the highest AoE possible you should put an explosive trap where the mobs are going to be tanked, then put another explosive trap from a different rank on top of that to create another AoE diminishing return – after that, you spam Volley until your explosive trap is back off cooldown. Remember that Black Arrow shares cooldowns with your damage traps. so if you use a trap on adds and then refocus on the boss he will be missing a 6% damage taken debuff plus a small dot, if the boss is your primary target and you cannot go into melee you may want to rethink if you want to use a damage trap.


Let’s start off with damage cooldowns since that’s really all we care about… right?

Rapid Fire is a very straightforward cooldown, and to be completely honest, does not do a lot for us, since our GCD is capped at 1.5 seconds – and our steady shot at 0 haste is at around 1.66 seconds so all this cooldown really does on its own is increase auto shot frequency. Rather, the point of this cooldown is to stack it with damage-increasing cooldowns so those extra shots gain value cooldowns such as the following:

  • Furious Howl, which increases your Attack Power by 320 for 20 seconds
  • Call of the Wild which increases your Attack Power by 10% and double dips off other AP cooldowns – this ability can be used before a fight and during a fight (assuming you have two ferocity pets in your stable). You can pop call of the wild, then stable your current pet and its cooldown will be reset, ready to be used right after your first one expires (or a more suitable moment).

You can also stack these cooldowns with trinket cooldowns, both proc and on use, as well as pots and orc/troll racial. Stacking these up is what makes your wowclassicdb.com/wotlk/spell/3045 worthwhile, not using it on its own.

feign death has multiple usages. One is to reset all your threat from the boss immediately. The second is to stand in a corner and use the wowclassicdb.com/wotlk/spell/5384 and survive, while everyone else is running back or repairing.

Disengage was probably the biggest disappointment I had when I used it in TBC, however, Disengage in Wrath is sort of like a… reverse aerial blink in the air with a parachute… it provides hunters with excellent mobility and tricks on some bosses. You can gain extra distance using this ability while jumping or even flying in the air, as long as you are in combat.

Distracting Shot forces the target to attack you for 6 seconds. This could be any enemy, and does not count as a taunt. This is extremely helpful for bosses that need to be ping-ponged around but cannot become taunt immune (looking at you, Professor Putricide).

Deterrence you essentially become immune to all projectiles thrown at you as well as melee attacks, except those from behind.

https://www.wowclassicdb.com/wotlk/spell/34477 If you use this ability on a target it will send all the threat you would produce to the target you used https://www.wowclassicdb.com/wotlk/spell/34477 on instead, helping them with maintaining aggro.

https://www.wowclassicdb.com/wotlk/spell/19801 removes 1 enrage and 1 magic buff from a target, rarely used for PvE tho (Gluth comes to mind for Phase 1 and Faction Champions for Phase 3)


Explosive Trap – this is your highest damage trap, it does a lot of AoE and can be glyphed in order to make it crit, it scales off Ranged Crit which Agility helps a ton with, hence why its a bit more powerful on survival than let’s say a marksmanship hunter, and honestly should be the only one you use, Immolation trap exists but is worse in every way imaginable. (including single target)
Frost Trap puts down a trap at your feet that will trigger an ice patch on the floor that will slow mobs on it for a substantial amount, lasts really long as survival too, and gives your lock and load a 100% chance to proc (if it finds a target to slow) – assuming the internal cooldown of lock and load is up
https://www.wowclassicdb.com/wotlk/spell/14310 puts down a trap at your feet that will trigger an iceblock around the enemy add walking into it. acts as crowd control and also triggers lock and load for a 100% chance like Frost Trap.
https://www.wowclassicdb.com/wotlk/spell/34600 Does a little bit of damage but is usually utilized for soaking mechanics like the green ooze on Professor Putricide or by pre-placing it somewhere you know mobs are gonna come, it’s not worth the global cooldown to put down in combat though (damage-wise)


About the Author


I played this expansion hardcore for 10 years
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24 days ago

Is it not better to down rank your explosive shot so you can fire off 3 shots in row (4,3,4) after lock and load because the dot doesn’t overlap.
And i thought aimed shot was a wasted talent multi-shot does basically the same dmg and it saves you a talent point.
just looking for your insight ,thanks

Survival Superstar
Survival Superstar
4 months ago

I would prio black arrow / expl trap over serpent sting, because of the Lock and Load talent. LnL is rng as it is and losing procs is very devastating to your DPS

2 months ago

Hey Jamie!
Thanks for a very good and easly understandable guide. Came back to WoW just so I could play this type of SV again.

Now,a question. Why isnt arcane shot in the rotation at all?

Reply to  Specter
2 months ago

I believe it might share a CD with Explosive Shot

Reply to  hpsauce
2 months ago

ah,didnt think of that,thanks!

1 month ago

Hey, the Call of the wild stablepet call of the wild trick, does it still work ? I cant really make it reset the cd

26 days ago

Question regarding Explosive trap. What is the best way to trapweave with the ST build? I’ve noticed on some fights if you don’t put the trap directly in the middle of the bosses hitbox, it doesn’t trigger the trap.

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