Think of survival as a toolbox spec, with multiple methods to punish prey. While beast masters deal the beatdown with their angry red pets and marksmen pour on the pain from afar, survivalists use a variety of tools to achieve their ends. Survival hunters play a finesse game, relying on their traps to set off a synergy of procs and usually comport themselves fairly well in close range.
- Hunter vs. Wild This tribute to television's most popular survivalist is simply a great, uncomplicated talent to have in the new, stamina-intensive PvP environment. It's all about having a lot of health, and a 10 percent stamina boost delivers that.
- Survival Tactics You'll want Survival Tactics to make sure your traps aren't duds. This also ensures you can use Disengage every 16 seconds when glyphed with Glyph of Disengage (major). Both are equally important to survival PvP.
- Trap Mastery There's so much heavy investment this shallow into the survival tree already, but you'll want Trap Mastery mostly for the extended duration of Ice Trap (Freezing Trap will break sooner in PvP than its intended duration) and the bonus snakes from Snake Trap. Depending on your playstyle, you'll want to use glyphs that enhance the trap you use the most. Glyph of Ice Trap (major) seems like a minor boost at an additional 2-yard radius, but the area of effect snare is extremely powerful in the battlegrounds, where Ice Traps can be laid at key choke points. Glyph of Freezing Trap (major) is powerful when used to crowd control and kite on a one-on-one situation while Glyph of Snake Trap (major) raises the survivability of your snakes which are easy, low health targets for AoE spells. If you're so inclined, there's even Glyph of Immolation Trap (major) to translate into better damage in an environment where DoTs can be dispelled. Your choice of glyphs in this case should reflect your playstyle and your favored trap in PvP.
- Entrapment A talent that makes your Ice and Snake Traps apply an AoE root? Yes, please. What? We're only on tier 2 of the survival tree? And we've already invested 12 talent points? Unfortunately, yes. There's just a lot of PvP goodness here and Entrapment is freakishly effective in the battlegrounds, where it's easy to lure groups of opponents into one easy-to-trap area.
- Counterattack This talent simply doesn't get a lot of love from hunters because it's so situational, especially with low parry values. However, it helps make Deterrence shine and saves the use of Disengage by keeping opponents immobile and allowing you to create some distance the old-fashioned way -- by running away. If you have a point left over, consider putting it into Counterattack.
- Resourcefulness More trapping means more killing.
- Mirrored Blades This is the most PvP-centric talent in the tree and defines a survival hunter's finesse. Optimizing its use will require good judgment and timing, especially with Deterrence's long cooldown. Being able to use Mirrored Blades to reflect a Cyclone or a Polymorph is priceless, so find an addon to alert you to critical spells being cast your way.
- Wyvern Sting and Noxious Stings The survival tree is all about control, requiring a completely different approach to PvP compared to the other two trees, and Wyvern Sting is a cornerstone ability that makes survivalists far more capable of dictating the combat environment. In the battlegrounds, use it to take healers out from play or stop flag carriers in their tracks.
Survival is arguably a more challenging playstyle, although unlike the old days, there's less engagement at close range thanks to Trap Launcher
. There's a reliance on traps, especially with high DPS talents such as Lock and Load
and even Point of No Escape
. A survival hunter also has a lot more major glyphs to choose from depending on the playstyle -- in fact, survival might be the only spec that can truly capitalize on the Glyph of Raptor Strike
(major). Suffice it to say, all three trees will have different characteristics, and the means to deal with one spec won't necessarily translate to the other two. That's part of the learning process in a post-4.0.1 world, and it's going to be a whole lot of fun.
Zach delivers your weekly dose of battlegrounds and world PvP in one crazy column. He talked about how to prepare yourself for Cataclysm in the weeks to come, as well as how to build your battleground premade. Also get excited as he discusses the shape of Cataclysm battlegrounds PvP.