Survival In Arena – “Two men enter! One man leaves!”

February 22, 2008 at 10:40 am (Arena, General Hunter Knowledge, Marksmanship, Survival)

So, here it is.

The long-awaited Arena article.

You may notice that I have no Arena ranking whatsoever, and you may also be asking, “What kind of qualifications does he have?! 2000 honor kills, 2 welfare epics, under a hundred resilience, what gives? Why’s this nubcake writing an Arena article?”

At which point, I’ll kindly remind you that this blog is mine, so pour yourself a nice glass of Shut Up and a Humility chaser, before you sit your ass down.

In Summation :

If you’re going in as a Survival Hunter, the odds will be against you. Arena matches are BG’s in a microcosm, boiled down from major objectives to how fast you can bring the other guy’s health bar to 0%.

It favors large and quickly delivered amounts of DPS, which you cannot deliver on the level of a Warlock or a Mage. You also lack the healing abilities of a Druid or Shaman, the cockroach-in-plate-appeal of a Paladin, the lockdown capabilities of a Rogue, and the pure Mama-said-knock-you-out attitude that goes with being an Arena-geared Warrior.

Your CC is trickier. Depending on your Survival spec, you may or may not even have Scatter Shot, which is considered an essential skill to the successful Hunter.

Point is, spend some time in the BG’s, and get good at PVPing with your class first.

You’ll get the gist of what you need to stay competitive very quickly.

Staying Competitive :

Namely, instants. You will love Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot more than life itself, and Serpent/Wyvern/Viper Sting will be big for you as well. Rapid shot = your best friend.

Your pet, also, must be carefully managed. Don’t send ‘em after guys on the other side of an obstacle; you’re just headed for a heartbreak. (I actually can’t stand Winger, but that reference was so good I had to toss it in.) Keep your pet within line of sight as much as possible, and recalling your pet is never a bad idea, if you think they’re in any kind of danger.

Traps, however, are a trickier matter. Placing them in anticipation of a foe’s movement is the goal; but good opponents will out-maneuver them, and be aware of your traps. Your best bet is to work on that skill in PVP so that you can effectively trap, hinder, or disable your opponent at a second’s notice.

You can make effective use out of all traps in Arenas, thus giving your Immolation, Frost, Snake, and Freeze traps a lot of play. Explosive Traps would work better in BG’s, where you’re spreading out a lot of damage, but as Arena’s focus is “The Quick and the Dead”, you’re either very fast about doing damage or you’re very dead.

In this case, disabling opponents comes into play, and a Frost, Freeze, or Snake Trap might be just as, if not more valuable, than an Immolation Trap.

Most games will be over once an opponent blasts you with a couple of “nuke” or “skill” spells. (Skillcoil, Skill Lance, Skill Shot, etc.), especially if you don’t have PVP gear to even things out.

Hence, spending equal time in BG’s is just as important as spending time in Arena; you can work on getting two pieces of gear, keep your requisite skills sharp, and use BG matches to test ideas for Arena matches.

Generally, the lower brackets you’ll start in won’t be too much of a worry, as competitors in this stage will be either at the ranks they’ve earned, just starting out, or totally Season 3 geared veterans looking for a high ranking. Don’t sweat it, have fun.

Your Approach :

Ideally, you want a high concentration of Agility, Stamina, and Intellect. I’d recommend, depending on the situation, to either use Aspect of the Viper or Aspect of the Monkey.

Viper will help keep your DPS going longer throughout the match, as it depends almost entirely on Mana, and Monkey will take your already-high Dodge rating (from stacking all of that agility, remember?) to new, dizzying heights.

As Arena gear will max out your physical longevity, you’ll want to figure out whether you want to extend your longevity by becoming a hard target to hit, or to increase the amount of time in which you can do large amounts of damage. As I said before, don’t forget the spell-casting element of your class. When you’re out of mana, you’re almost out of hope.

Also, consider the brackets you want to play in. You, as a hunter, should only be in 2v2 for fun and possible points; as there are other classes with better 2v2 synergies (LAWL NERF CYCLONE), you won’t contribute as much, and shouldn’t expect to do as well as you could in a larger group.

3v3 and 5v5 is where you’ll shine. You, as a hunter, can pick your battles and your strategies, and when you’re not the main DPSer, your flexibility increases tremendously. You may be engaged with teams where the main goal is to sleep tanks and wreck their healers, or drain their casters, etc. You’ll be much more successful in these environments.

This isn’t to say you can’t kick some 2v2 ass, but the other brackets are where you’ll make more of a difference.

Survival in Arena? :

Finally, there’s your spec to consider.

To be truthful, for what Arena is based around – creating and seizing momentary advantages – MM / SV is best. Going for Improved Stings, Scatter Shot, Silencing Shot, and some choice Survival Skills will get you the damage you need with the flexibility you crave. You most likely will do the best with an emphasis in Marksmanship, I’ll be honest.

But I can tell by that look on your face that you’re not.

If you want to spec Survival and do Arena, here’s what I recommend. This is all entirely debatable, and I open the floor to anybody who has a solid argument against some of these skills.

1) Improved Wing Clip. No questions. Get it.

2) Survivalist. You want more health. Debatable, but still recommended.

3) Surefooted. The +hit is negligible; it’s hitting other level 70’s. What you really want is the 15% to resist movement impairment.

4) Resourcefulness. Drop Thrill of the Hunt, and get this. We’re talking about Mana efficiency here. (Speaking of which, get 5/5 in Efficiency.) You will depend on your traps to a much greater extent, and being able to cut their cost, as well as their cooldown period, is key.

The reduced cost of your Melee attacks is also a strong determinant in picking this.

5) Mull over Exposed Weakness. It may or may not work for you. Like Thrill of the Hunt, it’s crit-based. You’re playing against people with resilience gear, and while you will still crit, it won’t be to the degree that it was in PVE.

Raw DPS will win the fight; also, you will rarely be standing around long enough to take full advantage of keeping EW up on a target. (I said RARELY. It can happen, but not often.)

6) Clever Traps / Entrapment / Humanoid Slaying. Get them.

7) Readiness. Possibly the most dangerous of all Survival Hunter tricks. Might even be worth giving up Scatter Shot for.

All in all, Survival will do what it is intended to do – be the pesky PVP hunter that you were meant to be. Your perspective should, likewise, shift; learn to think on your feet.

You have less time to plan for things, but you should spend time preparing your reactions. You’re not just the sniper-guy with a pet who’s good at setting traps, and occasionally melees.

In order to succeed as a Survival Hunter, you have to be a quick thinker, be able to adjust to any situation, know the abilities that will help you achieve your goals, and more importantly, don’t get lulled into a false sense of security.

Remember, Xutoo gave us a little Portuguese proverb back in January – “The water the river carries never returns, but the river will always stay.”

You’re the river, not a dam.

Once you’ve made mistakes, don’t obsess over them. Learn from them. Each match is a fresh learning experience, and don’t forget that, after all, it’s just a game.

Have fun!




  1. kotaros said,

    Nice post mate 🙂 Arena is a tricky beatch, and my first foray into it as an undergeared BM was ouchies. Honestly, it’s such a tough choice between Readiness and Silencing Shot. If you can keep one person out of the fight for long enough (compliments of double Wyvern Sting or traps), good chance you win, but SS is a pain in the bum for casters or works as a quick insta cast shot too 🙂

  2. Brought by the letter ‘G’ « Great Green Hunter said,

    […] Survival Hunter in Arenas […]

  3. Ryukio (RYU) said,

    Hey, my first time posting here.. i love this site, please keep it up, I have recently been delving into arena… NO EASY TASK! But, that being said… i don’t think survival really has a chance.. i do great in PVE (instances especially), BG’s (battle grounds) but, arena seems hopeless… i wish some one could mention more specific tactics and specific gear, and by tactics I mean, what to do against each class! And what to watch out for from each class, i don’t have the time to level them all, nor would I , I love the hunter class, and the only other class I’l ever play is a bard.. but they apparently are too ignorant to know how many want that class.

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