Survival versus MM: When I use what.

Let me preface this post with this comment: Both specs are putting up great numbers and there isn’t a dire need to be able to switch specs during Ulduar. Since I have not partaken in Arena lately both my specs are designed around raiding.

My first spec is a Survival spec is a 0/15/56 build. This build was chosen after tinkering around with the spreadsheet for a little while. I went to Wowhead and clicked in a basic Survival spec, imported it to the spreadsheet and then modified talents until I found what was going to provide the highest DPS for my gear.

My second spec is straight from the Elitist Jerk’s top theoretical DPS thread for Hunters, and it is a 7/57/7 build.

Most of the time I choose to stick with my Survival spec. It’s a little less mana intensive compared to the MM spec most of the time since our group composition varies a lot and we don’t always have as much mana regeneration as I would like.

But that being said, I do find myself switching specs frequently depending on certain fights for a couple reasons, most of which are not game-breaking as I said.

For example, Auriaya I prefer to be Marksmanship. The reason is I like to be able to drop Explosive Trap during the little cat spawns to speed up their demise. Since Black Arrow shares a cooldown with my traps and provides a significant increase in Survival DPS, I prefer to use the the DPS build that is not reliant on a trap cooldown.

Moving down that hallway we come across Hodir, a fight where I choose Survival over Marksmanship. I have designated myself as the person who is going to be primarily focused on stacking the Singed debuff to help our casters. Explosive Shot goes a long way in keeping that stack as high as possible.

I also opt to use Marksmanship for Yogg-Saron since Silencing Shot can help silence adds during phase 1 in case your raid composition needs it.

Now as I mentioned, not everyone is going to want to keep both specs are raid DPS specs. Some people want Beast Mastery so that they can keep those fun exotic pets around or use it for your 3v3 team or what not. For a while I had my second spec as a janky BM/MM spec designed just to solo Zul’Gurub bosses and other old content.

Provided that you are not completely stuck on one spec and are willing to adjust the best question to ask yourself is what kind of raid composition can you expect in your raid? Do you need to have a silencing effect? Does your raid need Trueshot Aura in lieu of another 10% AP buff effect? Perhaps you need replenishment.

A lot of this will depend if you are focusing on 10 or 25 man content. Perhaps a spec for both? If you are looking at a focused 10-man raid group it will be easy to determine what role you need to fill. I know our other Hunters have picked up Trueshot Aura and are primarily raiding as MM so it’s a talent I don’t need.

So here is the list of my spec of choice for each fight:

  • Flame Leviathan: Ummm . . . . yeah. :)
  • Ignis: Survival
  • Razorscale: Ehh, no preference.
  • XT Deconstructor: Marksmanship (since we’re working on hard mode I can back-to-back Rapid Fire so its up the entire heart phase)
  • Kologarn: No preference
  • Iron Council: MM since we are only doing medium mode and there is the Black Arrow/Trap cooldown conflict
  • Auriaya: MM
  • Hodir: Survival
  • Thorim: MM while working on hard mode and I am in the hallway and I use Rapid Fire on the minibosses
  • Freya: No preference but I am usually Survival. Remember to mil Freya by keeping Viper Sting on her during the add phases :)
  • Mimiron: Survival, but I haven’t tried it as MM yet and imagine the spec would work just as well
  • General Vezax: Survival
  • Yogg-Saron: MM

Do you run with two DPS specs? Or have you chosen just one build and stuck with it? Share your thoughts, your reasoning behind the different specs you might be running, or share your thoughts on mine. As always post ‘em in the comment or stop by the forums!

About Drotara

Drotara (or BehemothDan) considers himself a geek on many levels. A web developer and programmer by trade, he has no shortage of geeky hobbies. When not fulfilling husband and daddy duties, he enjoys WoW, the WoW TCG, Magic: The Gathering, and great board games with friends and family.