Shadowlands Hunter class changes

New baseline abilities

  • Arcane Shot: A quick shot that causes Arcane damage. 30 focus cost, instant cast, no cooldown.
  • Steady Shot: A steady shot that causes Physical damage. Usable while moving. 0 focus cost,1.8 sec cast, no cooldown.
  • Kill Shot: You attempt to finish off a wounded target, dealing Physical damage. Only usable on enemies with less than 20% health.
  • Tranquilizing Shot: Presumably it removes 1 enrage and 1 magic effect on a cooldown (details unknown).
  • Hunter’s Mark: Apply Hunter’s Mark to the target, increasing all damage you deal to the marked target by 5%. The target can always be seen and tracked by the Hunter. Only one Hunter’s Mark can be applied at a time.(focus gain on target death is removed).
  • Eyes of the Beast: Controls your pet for some time (details unknown).
  • Scare Beast: Scares a beast, causing it to run in fear for up to 20 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. Only one beast can be feared at a time.
  • Wing Clip: Maims the target, reducing movement speed by 50% for 15 sec. Costs 30 focus. (Appears to be replaced by Concussive Shot for BM and MM, but this is unclear).

Changes to existing baseline abilities

  • Most AoE spells are now capped to a certain number of targets. This applies to most specs in the game and the cap changes from spell to spell. The exceptions seem to be Stomp, Stampede, Volley, and Wildfire Bomb. More in the spec-specific sections.
  • The way certain spells interact with ranks during levelling has been changed. For example, the rank of Disengage that made it take 10 fewer seconds to cool down is now gone and the effect is baked into the base ability. They are also changing/removing some baseline characteristincs, such as Arcane Shot’s focus cost and Rapid Fire’s focus gain and moving them onto levelling perks. More on that in the next section.
  • Narrow Escape for Disengage seems to be returning in some form. This was a talent from MoP and WoD that made Disengage root targets around you when you used it. Presumably it’s a talent but it’s not clear where this falls in the talent tiers.
  • Misdirect is now reverting to an earlier version such as that in MoP where when you use it on a target it doesn’t activate until you start attacking, effectively giving you more leeway between when you cast it and when you start attacking.
  • Revive Pet now has a 6-second cast time, up from 2 seconds.
  • All Hunters will have their stable size significantly increased (exact number unknown).
  • All pet dispells are being removed due to the addition of Tranquilizing Shot.

Covenant Abilities

  • Kyrian: Resonating Arrow: Fire a resonating arrow to the target location that fills 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 30% increased critical strike chance against them.
  • Venthyr: Flayed Shot: Fire a shot at your enemy, causing them to bleed for Shadow damage over 20 sec. Each time Flayed Shot deals damage, you have a 15% chance to gain Flayer’s Mark, causing your next Kill Shot to be usable on any target, regardless of their current health.
  • Necrolord: Death Chakram: Throw a deadly chakram at your current target that will rapidly deal (50% of Attack power) Shadow damage up to 7 times, bouncing to other targets if they are nearby. Each time the chakram deals damage, its damage is increased by 15% and you generate 3 Focus.
  • Night Fae: Wild Spirits: Summon a Wild Spirit at the target location that applies Wild Mark to all enemy targets below it for 15 sec.
    While the Wild Spirit is active, each damaging ability you use against a target affected by the Wild Mark calls forth a spirit beast to strike your target for Nature damage.

Anima Powers (Torghast)

These enhancements are available while progressing through Torghast which is like the “Horrific Visions” of Shadowlands. You can unlock these as you go along.

  • Assassinate: Kill Shot has a 25% chance to instantly kill the target.
  • Bursting Tar: Tar Trap radius Increased by 100%.
  • Constricted Movement: Enemies affected by any of your traps deal 25% less damage for 10 sec.
  • Critical Focus:
    – Marksmanship: Rooting a target with Binding Shot increases your critical strike chance by 100% and critical damage by 100% for 15 sec.
    – Beast Mastery, Survival: Stunning a target with Intimidation increases your critical strike chance by 100% and critical damage by 100% for 15 sec.
  • Death Deceiver: Feign Death cooldown reduced by 15.0 sec, and Feign Death now removes most negative status effects from yourself.
  • Deflected Gaze: The target of your Misdirection has all of their damage increased by 20% while your Misdirect is active.
  • Focus Fire: Hunter’s Mark now increases damage the target takes from all sources by an additional 10%.
  • Hardened Turtle Shell: Aspect of the Turtle no longer prevents you from attacking, and its duration is increased by 100%.
  • Heightened Senses:
    – Beast Mastery: When choosing this power, and at the start of each new floor, gain the effects of Bestial Wrath for 60.0 sec.
    – Marksmanship: When choosing this power, and at the start of each new floor, gain the effects of Trueshot for 60.0 sec.
    – Survival: When choosing this power, and at the start of each new floor, gain the effects of Coordinated Assault for 60.0 sec.
  • Hunter’s Spoils:
    – Beast Mastery: The damage of your next Barbed Shot is increased by 20% when you break an Ashen Phylactery. Stacks up to 100 times.
    – Marksmanship: The damage of your next Steady Shot is increased by 20% when you break an Ashen Phylactery. Stacks up to 100 times.
    – Survival: The damage of your next Kill Command is increased by 20% when you break an Ashen Phylactery. Stacks up to 100 times.
  • Ignition: If you launch a Flare into your Tar Trap, all enemies inside of the Tar Trap will burn for Fire damage every 2 sec for 12 sec.
  • Inner Beast: Aspect of the Cheetah cooldown reduced by 30.0 sec.
  • Killer Instinct: Kill Shot damage increased by 20%.
  • Natural Protection: The target of your Misdirection takes 90% reduced damage while your Misdirect is active.
  • Natural Resources: Exhiliration cooldown reduced by 20.0 sec.
  • Nimble Defender: Disengage reduces all damage you take by 50% for 10 sec.
  • Petrified Pet Food Ashen Phylacteries have a 10% chance to contain some Petrified Pet Food when destroyed. Consuming Petrified Pet Food will increase your pet’s size by 100% and damage by 20% for 15 sec.
  • Predator:
    – Beast Mastery: Duration of Bestial Wrath increased by 20%.
    – Survival: Duration of Coordinated Assault increased by 20%.
    – Marksmanship: Duration of Trueshot increased by 20%.
  • Safe Withdrawal:
    – Beast Mastery, Marksmanship: Your first Concussive Shot against a target now roots them in place for 5.0 sec.
    – Survival: Your first Wing Clip against a target now roots them in place for 5.0 sec.
  • Scaredy Rat: If you use Scare Beast on a Mawrat, it will die after 3 sec.
  • Speedy Retreat: Disengage increases your movement speed by 3%, permanently, stacking up to 30 times.
  • Sticky Tar: Tar Trap snares the target by an additional 15%.
  • Strategic Trapping: Disengage drops a random trap from where you leap from, and where you land.
  • Tactical Combat:
    – Marksmanship: Aimed Shot damage increased by 30%.
    – Beast Mastery, Survival: Kill Command damage increased by 30%.
  • Tactical Retreat: Disengage cooldown reduced by 4.0 sec.
  • Trap Mastery: Dropping any trap increases you and your pet’s damage by 25% for 10 sec.

Levelling perks

There are some ability modifications that have been datamined and appear to be perks gained while levelling. These include:

  • Beast Mastery
    Cobra Shot: Cobra Shot deals 100% increased damage (may already exist in game)
    Pack Tactics: Passive Focus generation increased by 100%.
  • Marksmanship
    Arcane Shot: Focus cost reduced from 30 to 15.
    Rapid Fire: Each shot of Rapid Fire now generates 1 Focus.
    Steady Shot: Steady Shot now generates 10 Focus.
    True Aim: Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot damage increased by 25%.
  • Survival
    Wildfire Bombs: Wildfire Bomb deals 25% additional damage.
    Wing Clip: Wing Clip Focus cost is reduced by 10.

N.B. Some of these are baseline effects moved to perks, such as the Arcane Shot, Rapid Fire, and Steady Shot changes. If you are max level you shouldn’t feel anything different from these v.s. live servers. It’s unclear whether these are spec-specific.

Some earlier levelling ranks are being removed and in most cases their effects are baked into the baseline ability. These include:

  • Cobra Shot: Cost reduced by 10 focus.
  • Disengage: Cooldown reduced by 10 sec.
  • Raptor Strike: Damage increased by 40%.
  • Coordinated Assault: While Coordinated Assault is active, Kill Command’s chance to reset is increased by 25%

Cobra Shot’s final focus cost on the alpha is 45 focus so for this instance it seems the entire effect of the spell rank hasn’t been incorporated into the baseline ability.

Beast Mastery

Baseline changes:

  • Beast Cleave is now capped at 5 targets.
  • Multi-Shot is now capped at 5 targets.
  • Spirit Mend is being nerfed.

New talents:

  • Bloodshed: Command your pet to tear into your target, causing your target to bleed for some damage over 18 sec and increase all damage taken from your pet by 15% for 18 sec. 60 second cooldown. Replaces Spitting Cobra (tier 7).

Updated talents:

  • Scent of Blood: Activating Bestial Wrath grants 2 charges of Barbed Shot (old design removed).
  • Spitting Cobra : When Bestial Wrath ends, summon a Spitting Cobra to aid you in combat for 15 sec. Each Cobra Shot used during Bestial Wrath increases the damage this Spitting Cobra deals by 10%. Replaces Venomous Bite (tier 4).
  • Venomous Bite has been removed.
  • Aspect of the Beast now also buffs pet healing by 30% in addition to its damage abilities.
  • Dire Beast now costs no focus, down from 25 focus.
  • Stampede is now a 2-minute cooldown, down from 3 minutes.
  • Barrage is limited to 8 targets.


Baseline changes:

  • Multi-Shot is now capped at a certain number of targets (not stated what the number is for MM).
  • Binding Shot is now baseline for MM. It’s still a talent option for the other two.

New talents:

  • Dead Eye: Kill Shot has 2 charges, and causes Aimed Shot to recharge 50% faster for 3 sec. Replaces Barrage (tier 6).
  • Binding Shackles Targets rooted by Binding Shot deal 20% less damage to you for 8 sec after the root effect ends. Replaces Binding Shot (tier 5).
  • Chimera Shot: Same as the BM version. It is now available to both BM and MM via talents. Replaces Hunter’s Mark (tier 4).

Updated talents:

  • Volley : Rain a volley of arrows down over 6 sec, dealing Physical damage to any enemy in the area, and gain the effects of Trick Shots for as long as Volley is active. Instant cast, 45-second cooldown. Replaces Piercing Shot (tier 7)
  • Master Marksman: Aimed Shot has an additional 25% chance to deal a critical strike (old design removed).
  • Piercing Shot has been removed.
  • Barrage is now a tier 2 talent in place of Volley. It is limited to 8 targets.
  • Explosive Shot is limited to 6 targets.
  • Hunter’s Mark is now baseline for all specs. It no longer grants focus when your target dies.


Baseline changes:

  • Mastery: Spirit Bond: Nerfed to 13% increased damage from Focus-spending abilities, down from 16%.
  • Carve now only damages up to 5 targets.

Updated talents:

  • Hydra’s Bite: Serpent Sting damage over time increased by 20% up from 10%.
  • Butchery: 88% of attack power up from 80%, limited to 5 targets.
  • Steel Trap: 200% attack power up from 120%.
  • Tip of the Spear (25% increased Raptor Strike damage per stack, up from 20%).
  • Flanking Strike: 30 sec cooldown down from 40 sec.
  • Chakrams: 15 focus cost down from 30.

Dammit Bepps, beat me by minutes! ^^


The following abilities are now baseline for all specs:

  • Arcane Shot
  • Kill Shot
  • Tranquilizing Shot
  • Hunter’s Mark
  • Eyes of the Beast
  • Scare Beast

Well, only the following left then:

  • Distracting Shot (combo with Misdirection).

  • Aspect of the Fox (WoD edition).

  • Master’s Call (no longer a pet family-specific ability).

Beast Mastery

Sure, I guess.

Still needs some more changes though.



Sounds okay I guess.

More needed?


Nothing to say really. More damage to talents.


Hopefully we’re not done here.


They don’t even know what to do with survival except for buff talents they barely even use lmao that is actually hilarious to me. Seriously do not want EOTB back though. I’d rather masters call be baseline like it should be and marksman have chimera shot back in its spellbook like it originally belongs.


I was really hoping for some engaging changes. I’m thrilled we are getting more stable space, that KillShot is back… but the rest? It’s feeling really lack luster. Nothing really exciting and doesn’t seem to address most of the concerns I had around the issues Hunter struggles with now days.

I was really hoping we’d see changes to how camo works and dire beast becoming worth while talent. A focus builder instead of spender.

No way to deal with how we can’t kite any more. And apparently no way to make a dark ranger / old survival type build either.

Since this is just Alpha maybe if we poke and prod enough they’ll make some more helpful changes.


it’s clear blizz has no idea what to do with survival at this point. why don’t they just revert it back to wod design and change the mastery to be multistrike?

edit: actually, there is going to be the level squish too so “higher damage” is irrelevant since the damage is getting squished down again, right?


Survival “changes” big disappointment. Buffing talents nobody used is kind of a cop out when they should just be replaced. Heck, replace them with Azerite traits or something.


I’m so happy Tranq shot and fear beast are coming back baseline… Gives mm a bolster to their cc. Still more is needed for them to be viable, but this is a good start. I was hoping MM would get a stun of some sort since scatter and trap are on same dr. If they just changed scatter dr back to disorient that’d be great.


Wait so Survival hunters will have Arcane Shot… That sounds cool XD


Will it really be that helpful to have Tranq Shot? We already have pets the provide that. Does fear beast work on more than one creature?


I consider these changes to be expected but disappointing. Like they said at Blizzcon, they are making no drastic changes beyond reintroducing a lot of pruned stuff. This would have been a good stance to take in WoD when the classes were still in very good states. Some specs need drastic changes.

The new baseline stuff is good.

  • Kill Shot: The big winner. Awesome to have this back. It looks like they are incorporating it into some talents and covenant abilities too, so this ability should shine next expansion.
  • Arcane Shot: Cool, I guess? Unless they add some additional effect this ability will NEVER see use outside of exceedingly niche circumstances for BM and Survival so this is a bit pointless outside of “flavour” and I’m not sure if it has any of the same charm as something like Eyes of the Beast.
  • Tranquilizing Shot: I’m pleasantly surprised to see this come back. Let’s hope they commit to it this time. Remember, this spell made it onto the BFA alpha only to be pruned again before released. If they add that they are probably going to remove the pet dispell, otherwise BM will be overpowered in that regard. The downside of TS is that it’s on GCD, the upside is it’s ranged.
  • Hunter’s Mark: It’s nice thematically, but having to spend a GCD on every target switch really sucked. Having it automatically apply in MoP sucked too because some times you want to keep it on a certain target for the stealth detection. The best solution is also the simplest: take it off the GCD.
  • Eyes of the Beast: Happy to see it back, even if it doesn’t have any real use. This is just a flavour ability.
  • Scare Beast: Same as before, although this one might shine in specific PvP situations.

Things I wish they brought back: I would like to see Distracting Shot again. But more broadly they should really reconsider Glyphs. The ability to customise your abilities was nice and I miss things like the longer Disengage range and having a baseline knockback Explosive Trap (speaking of which, Scatter Shot should return to baseline at least for MM).

As for the spec changes, they are mostly disappointing because they are entirely talent changes, beyond the new baseline class stuff of course.

BM really needs a new rotational mechanic. Kill Shot is nice but I don’t think that’s enough and Arcane Shot will never see use like I said earlier. I still think Chimera Shot should be baseline along with perhaps the Primal Instincts trait. The talent changes they did make, though, are quite good. They are effectively eliminating our 3 worse talents (reminder that Spitting Cobra STILL doesn’t work at >20 yards!). Hopefully the new versions will be nice.

One change they really need to bring into BM is the old Stampede. Yes, the new one can be a useful AoE burst. But the thematic value of the old one was so much higher. Having 5 pets out at once was awesome. Summoning a line of random animals… not so much.

MM is not getting the help it needs. It’s AoE is confirmed to still be capped at 5 and there is no word on its 2-target cleave. The new Volley talent doesn’t sound great and even if it did fix our AoE it is still a TALENT. Binding Shot baseline is great, but the new Binding Shackles talent frankly sounds terrible. We can’t really tell how it will do in PvP this time around but most of its PvP improvement is coming from baseline Hunter elements which isn’t a good sign. They need to consider the WoD sniper training buff as a better mobility compromise and they need to redesign Trueshot; right now it effectively makes you stand still and frantically cast as much as possible, all the while your Aimed Shot charges and Focus are maxing out and wasting time which doesn’t feel great.

Survival, survival, survival. You all know how I feel about this spec in general. I think it’s a joke right now, it was a joke last expansion, and it looks like Blizzard doesn’t know what to do with it given they aren’t doing anything with it. Going into the next expansion 2/7 of SV’s priority kit (2/6 if you exclude Arcane Shot) uses the melee weapon and that’s just sad. All of these baseline elements added to the class plus the covenant abilities are all centred around the ranged weapon, meaning despite Blizzard’s Legion revisions the ranged weapon is still inseparable to our core identity, which just makes SV more ill-fitting. I’m a bit sick of this spec leaning so heavily on BM’s identity. I can see why they do it, though, because there’s really no better way to keep this spec as a recognisably Hunter spec. SV Hunters can give suggestions if they want because there is nothing I can suggest for this spec other than to pull the plug and go back to what’s proven to work.

But hey, at the very least it means SV is going into a new expansion without a total spec remake for the first time since 2014?

The most important thing

Blizzard MUST figure out how to make this all work given the loss of azerite traits and essences. We can’t have another Legion artifact situation. All specs are very reliant on their azerite traits not only to perform but to function at a basic level. MM is not so bad here but BM and SV are. They need to figure out what parts of the Azerite system become baseline or how they will make up for them.

I’ll speak for BM here. Our most important traits are Dance of Death, Primal Instincts, and Rapid Reload:

  • Dance of Death is our single best one. I’m not sure if I would keep going with exactly how it works now since it effectively overrides the value of Frenzy. Nowadays we aren’t using Barbed Shot to maintain Frenzy but instead to maintain Dance of Death. And it’s a raw RNG proc. I’ve had fights where I cast up to 8 Barbed Shots without getting a DoD proc and I have over 40% crit. It’s like a terrible reverse Survival T16 4-set (the Explosive Shot chain one).
  • Primal Instincts is what makes Aspect of the Wild work. Without it, AotW is just terrible. I think this is the strongest candidate for being baseline, but at the same time they need to look into AotW being overloaded with functionality. With PI Considered, AotW is giving you focus per second, reducing your GCD, increasing your crit, increasing your mastery, and giving a charge of Barbed Shot. That’s a LOT piled onto one ability and it reeks of bandaid-fixing. Barbed Shot itself actually has a similar issue.
  • Rapid Reload: It’s great fun but I don’t know if it’s fair of me to ask for this to stay. This is what makes BM stupidly effective in M+. It’s nice to have a CDR mechanic for AotW but maybe this one is just a bit too powerful.



I assume that means it will be removed from pets.

The biggest advantages will be that you are not forced to use a specific pet family and that it is limited by your range instead of requiring the target to be in melee range of your pet.

The one disadvantage however is that it will be tied to your own GCD instead of your pet’s, so you cannot use a damaging ability at the same time.


I like TS better because it’s ranged. For me the biggest problem with Spirit Shock is often my pet is not in range to cast it. Then, of course, there’s the fact that only certain pets have a dispel.

Really the only benefit of pet dispel is that it doesn’t incur a GCD.


I am super disappointed in the SV ‘changes.’ This spec needs some spice. It’s ‘okay’ right now, at best. Can we at least get a dual-wield option, since it is an oft-requested feature + the precedent has already been set with Frost DKs and monks?

With the wording of their post, I’m actually hoping that they haven’t made a major SV pass yet.


They said in the post that ALL Hunter specs are getting: Kill Shot, Arcane Shot, Scare Beast, Eyes of the Beast, and Tranq Shot.

Positives so far (imo):

  • Return of Tranq Shot, Kill Shot and Scare Beast

  • Flayed Shot (From the previous post)

  • Binding Shot apparently baseline

  • Dead Eye seems interesting but we’ll have to see what other talents it’s competing with

Negatives (imo):

  • I really wish they got rid of the Barbed Shot mechanic, however this is just a personal preference

  • Based on the description of Volley, it seems Trick Shots will not be removed but I suppose we’ll have to see if there’s an update to how it works/procs.


Bring back Legion MM


Whoops, right you are.

Just another thought: Go look at the class changes for patch 3.1. Just as an example, Survival got Black Arrow in that patch i.e. an entirely new rotational ability. It really feels like these EXPANSION changes are at a similar level to what we used to expect from PATCH level class revisions.


I don’t know what they intend to do with Arcane Shot being baseline, but I’m very worried about the implications that might have.

In its current iteration, adding it to BM and Survival would clearly be ability bloating as both specs have their clearly defined focus dumps and don’t need another low damage spammable one.

To be worth using, it would need to go back to having a cooldown and increased damage.

But then it wouldn’t really feel at place for any of the specs:

  • BM is built around the interactions between its different abilities. Arcane Shot would also need something extra.
  • MM would lose its own focus dump
  • Survival just doesn’t seem like it has a direction with a bunch of melee and ranged abilities mixed in together with no real cohesiveness

With arcane shot returning to Survival…potential for a ranged option???


I was excited to see in their blog post them saying they noticed they were going too far from the design that made us fall in love with the class all those years ago.

Imagine my disappointment once I get to the Hunter section and they literally do nothing to address the core issues with Hunters.

Beast Master is still going forward with the abysmally boring Barbed Shot.

Marksman still looks like it’s going to be at a disadvantage for every scenario. They don’t address it’s mobility issues or anything of the sort. But hey, we get kill shot back…?

Survival is still melee with… some damage buffs? I’ve been maining Survival this entire expansion (I HATE MM and BM right now), but I would delete my character in a HEART BEAT to have WoD survival back. I’m begging you dev team, please give us a 4th spec.

I know it’s still early, but WoW’s track record shows that what we see at the early stages will end up being the final product. The time for criticism is now.