Player Spotlight: Turbosalad

Hello everyone! Welcome to the sixteenth RaiderIO Player Spotlight. My name is Samantha aka Vitaminpee and with this series, I am aiming to highlight the amazing players of World of Warcraft regardless of their chosen class, spec, language, and/or region. I hope to bring you valuable information and help you learn more about your favorite top players or discover new ones that you may not know.

This week, I interviewed one of the top world Hunters in Mythic+, Turbosalad, who also happens to be our very first Alliance interviewee. Due to the current meta of full-melee DPS compositions in dungeons this season, there aren’t many Hunters currently pushing high keys on live servers. I reached out to Turbosalad to learn more about the class and how to better utilize it in my own Mythic+ runs. I think it’s important for people to know that, while Ranged DPS classes are not in the current Mythic+ meta right now, Hunter is actually very strong and can be helpful to bring along⁠—especially if you understand its utility kit, since it’s not everyday that you may come across a Hunter in high Mythic+ keys. I hope you guys find this interview as informative as I did and I’d like to give a big thanks to Turbosalad for providing such thorough insights!

“I personally feel that Beast Mastery Hunters are one of the best Ranged DPS options for Mythic+. I’m not sure people realize how strong they can be when utilized properly.”

VitaminP: Hi Turbosalad! Can you please tell us a little more about yourself?

Turbosalad: Hi! My name is Kevin and I’m 26 years old. I’m from Cleveland, Ohio and I have lived in Northeast Ohio all of my life. I graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. I started playing WoW back in 2006 during late Vanilla and have played in each expansion except for WoD. I did some Mythic+ in Legion, but I didn’t start trying to push keys competitively until BFA. Outside of WoW, some of my other interests include competing in Amateur/Pro Billiard Tournaments, Basketball, Weight Training and working on cars. I also play other video games casually from time to time.

VitaminP: We haven’t seen too many hunters in high keys so far this expansion. Why have you picked hunter and what utility/benefits do you think your class brings that may be overlooked?

Turbosalad: Right before the launch of BFA, I decided to main swap from Warlock to Hunter. I was a Warlock main for most of my WoW career and decided it was time for a change of pace. Beast Mastery Hunters have a lot of strengths that are worth mentioning. We have good single-target damage, great burst AoE during Aspect of the Wild/Bestial Wrath, no AoE target cap with Beast Cleave and excellent player mobility (you can do your full DPS rotation on the move). We also have a pretty unique utility toolkit which includes Binding Shot (an 8-second AoE root), Spirit Mend (a single-target heal that also puts a HoT on the receiver), Spirit Shock (which dispels 1 Magic and 1 Enrage effect), Freezing Trap and [spell=187698Tar Trap, Misdirection, and Intimidation (a single-target stun). Hunters also have pretty good survivability with Aspect of the Turtle, Exhilaration, Survival of the Fittest/more health when using a Spirit Beast, and the ability to wear Mail armor.

VitaminP: What do you think are the biggest weaknesses of your class/spec in Mythic+ and/or raiding? What do you do to work around and even overcome these obstacles?

Turbosalad: I would say the biggest weakness of Beast Mastery Hunter is probably the Pet AI. It’s very important to know where your pet is at all times to ensure you’re optimizing your damage potential. There are certain trouble spots in some dungeons/raids where the pet can occasionally get stuck and won’t find a path to the target you’re trying to attack. In most of these situations, the only way to get your pet “unstuck” is to dismiss and re-summon it or, if possible, pre-dismiss and then summon it when you’re past the trouble area. For these reasons, I always recommend keybinding all of your pet’s abilities in order to efficiently (and safely) control your pet movement.

VitaminP: Why do you think Beast Mastery is the best hunter spec right now for Mythic+? Do you foresee this changing at all in patch 8.2?

Turbosalad: I think Beast Mastery is the best Hunter spec for Mythic+ because it provides both good single-target and AoE damage potential, a unique utility toolkit, it has good survivability, and it also deals extremely well with player movement. With 8.2, we will no longer have the Reaping affix which helps Beast Mastery hunters reset the cooldown of Aspect of the Wild (AotW) when using a Rapid Reload Azerite trait. Being able to get those resets and more overall uses of AotW, Beast Mastery is able to do some insane AoE damage in a dungeon. However, without having large reaping packs to get multiple AotW resets to use on subsequent pulls, I can definitely see Beast Mastery’s overall damage potential decreasing in patch 8.2 with the new Beguiling affix. Regardless, I think Beast Mastery will still be the most used Hunter spec for Mythic+ in 8.2, just maybe not as dominant as it was for season 2.

VitaminP: What is your go-to Beast Mastery talent build for Mythic+ and what Azerite traits do you favor? What variations might you make to your traits and talents for various affixes/dungeons?

Turbosalad: When it comes to Beast Mastery Hunter talents, there typically isn’t much room for variation. A lot of our damage talents are underperforming at the moment and aren’t even worth considering. Having certain Azerite traits can give you a few extra build options.

I’ll start off by saying that having 1x Rapid Reload trait is an absolute MUST for pushing Mythic+. Without it, your overall damage and effectiveness from pull to pull will be severely hindered.

My current talent setup that I prefer to run in every dungeon at the moment is:

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This talent setup is paired with an Azerite trait set up of 1x Rapid Reload, 2x Primal Instincts, 2x Dance of Death and 1x Blightborne Infusion. This provides me the best combination of single-target, cleave and AoE DPS. With this build I recommend prioritizing Critical Strike over any other stat. I prefer running this setup over the more traditional 3x Primal Instincts build.

For those who do not have the Soulscarred Headgear (which has 1x Dance of Death and 1x Blightborne Infusion), I’d recommend running 1x Rapid Reload, 3x Primal Instincts, and filling in the other two traits with the best options available to you. Dance of Death, Blood Rite, Haze of Rage, Treacherous Covenant, etc. are a few solid choices among others.

In most cases with a 3x Primal Instincts setup, I’d choose to swap:

It is good to make a habit of running simulations to get an idea of what trait and talent setups perform best for your character’s current gear. What is optimal for my character may not always be optimal for yours. I use Hectic Add Cleave sims the most when trying to optimize my Mythic+ gear and talent builds.

Important talent comparisons:

One with the Pack (OwtP) vs. Chimaera Shot (CS):
I think both of these talents are in a great spot at the moment and are very competitive with each other. OwtP performs well with high critical strike rating and when paired with multiple Dance of Death (DoD) traits and/or Soulscarred Headgear. With the proper Azerite setup, OwtP will typically sim higher damage for both single-target and AoE compared to CS. CS has been the go-to talent for pretty much all of BfA. It is very strong for single-target and two-target situations and generates instant focus compared to Barbed Shot’s focus generation that happens over time. I would recommend using CS to most Hunters. Anyone not playing a crit-heavy build with at least 2x DoD traits will most likely get more value from CS in pretty much every situation.

A Murder of Crows (AMoC) vs Thrill of the Hunt (TotH):
I recommend using AMoC over ToTH in pretty much every dungeon and here is why: AMoC provides very good single-target and priority target damage, which is something that I feel is too often devalued or overlooked when it comes to pushing Mythic+. If you can predict when a certain target will die and properly time your crows, you can get multiple resets and gain HUGE value out of this talent. TotH will do slightly more damage than crows in big AoE/reaping situations; however, you already do great AoE with Beast Cleave and I don't feel like this little extra AoE damage is worth losing the large single-target increase and important priority damage from AoMC. It’s also worth noting that ToTH doesn’t increase your base Crit values or your pet’s Critical Strike chance. It only increases your Crit chance of certain abilities. If this talent increased your Critical Strike stat itself and not just select abilities, I could see it being a very strong choice.

VitaminP: What are some of the strongest dungeons for Beast Mastery Hunters? What are some of the hardest dungeons for your spec and why?

Turbosalad: From an overall damage perspective, my best dungeons are probably Freehold, The Underrot, Waycrest Manor and The MOTHERLODE!! These dungeons in particular tend to have a lot of mobs in each trash pack or can be pulled in such a way that you can be fighting many targets at one time. In these dungeons, you can also manipulate the pulls to get large reaping mobs stacked together, which is amazing for a BM Hunter. Since BM doesn’t have an AoE target cap, it is able to hit all nearby mobs with Beast Cleave for big damage. Even more importantly, these large pulls allow you to spam Multi-Shot and reset AoTW very easily, allowing you to get very high uptime on the buff throughout the course of the dungeon.

The weakest dungeons for Beast Mastery damage tend to be Temple of Sethraliss and King’s Rest, since those dungeons are designed for smaller pulls and more spread-out Reapings. Although the damage may be lower in these dungeons, Beast Mastery can still perform well and the utility they provide with Spirit Mend and Magic/Enrage dispels make them a solid choice for your group.

Who says BM can’t do single target damage?! Here’s an example:

VitaminP: What changes do you think the Beast Mastery spec would need from Blizzard in order to become a Mythic+ meta this expansion? What about for Marksmanship and Survival Hunter specs?

Turbosalad: I personally feel that Beast Mastery Hunters are one of the best Ranged DPS options for Mythic+. I’m not sure people realize how strong they can be when utilized properly. With that being said, some possible changes that could be made to make hunters more desirable would be:

  • Giving a Battle Res ability back to Hunters with a 40 yd range
  • Have Survival of the Fittest grant the 20% damage reduction for 6 seconds to all party members as well as yourself.
  • Reducing the cooldown of the Intimidation stun (currently a 1 min cd) and/or making it an AoE Stun. This could help tremendously with mob control.
    Reducing the cooldown of Counter Shot, which is currently a 24-sec cooldown. I think it should be reduced to 15 sec to compete with the melee metas.
  • Have Aspect of the Cheetah grant movement speed to all party members, similar to a Guardian/Feral Druid’s Stampeding Roar. This could be paired with Shroud to make for some interesting routes/skips.

From a damage standpoint, I think Beast Mastery is in a really good spot for Mythic+. However, our 2-4 target cleave outside of AotW/BW tends to be pretty average. One way I’ve thought they could increase our 2-4 target cleave is to have the Barbed Shot DoT also apply to 2 or 3 additional nearby targets. They could make it so when you use multi shot, your next Barbed Shot will also hit 2-3 nearby targets. They could reduce the damage of the additional DoTs applied if needed to prevent the DPS increase from being too large. I think that would be an interesting change to the spec without altering its playstyle or rotation too much.

Marksmanship and Survival Hunter current potential:

Both Marksmanship (MM) and Survival (SV) have an AoE Target cap, so to speak. MM AoE burst damage is limited to 6 targets since Trick Shots will only hit up to 5 additional targets. This can be problematic during big pulls and for handling dangerous Reapings (think Shrine or Motherlode with many caster mobs). SV doesn’t necessarily have a target cap per se, since Wildfire Bomb and Carve can hit all targets in front of you. Carve reduces the cooldown on Wildfire Bomb by 1 second for each target hit up to 5, thus kind of capping your damage potential and not allowing immediate bomb resets.

MM and SV both have the potential to do more single-target damage than Beast Mastery, but it’s not a large enough difference to compensate for their lack of AoE DPS. MM and SV also lack the utility that a Beast Mastery Hunter can provide with a Spirit Beast. The Spirit Mend Heal and Dispel/Soothe in addition to the added survivability brought by having a Spirit Beast (5% health buff and 20% damage reduction cooldown) make it hard for MM and SV to compete with BM in Mythic+. However, there have been a few Hunters this season that have had success in Mythic+ as MM regardless.

VitaminP: Classes with pets such as Hunter and Warlock are often the culprits for accidental pulls or bugs, which has given Hunters a particarly poor reputation in the game throughout its history. Sometimes the “huntard hate” is justified, but other times it’s not. What are some of the things you do to ensure a clean key? Are there any tips you can give to anyone trying to push Mythic+ keys as a Hunter?

Turbosalad: As I mentioned earlier, I recommend always keybinding all of your pet abilities such as Pet Attack, Move To, Follow, Assist, Passive, etc. in order to have complete control over what your pet is doing at all times. Whenever your group is about to Shroud past mobs in tight areas, always dismiss your pet before doing it. I make sure to remind my group over voice comms that I need a second to dismiss before shrouding. It's definitely worth doing to avoid unwanted pulls that could result in depleting the key.

Although player movement doesn’t hinder our ability to DPS, having to move our pet to the target or make a swap can cause a significant loss in DPS while the pet is traveling (like on Mythic Fetid Devourer in Uldir for example). For this reason, I like to manually control my pet’s Dash ability to use it exactly when I need it. Remember that Kill Command and Barbed Shot will also make your pet charge the target, helping eliminate downtime from pet travel.

Consistent Mythic+ Pet Bugs I’ve encountered and play around:

When fighting Viq’Goth in Siege of Boralus: your pet can often get stuck when trying to move from the second to third platform. In order to deal with this, I dismiss my pet on the second platform and resummon it on top of the Demolishing Terror. Once it is dead, you can then spam Kill Command/pet attack on the Gripping Terror across the platform. It will initially tell you that there is “no path available”, but your pet will still reach it in a second or two.

After fighting Lord Stormsong in Shrine of the Storm, there’s a bug where, when you jump in the water to swim to the final room, sometimes your pet will get stuck and not be able to cross the water with you. It's worth noting that all of the water in Shrine can bug your pet out. Groups often like to “snap” reaping mobs into water so that it stacks them up quickly. Doing this can cause your pet to have no path available to the targets and you won’t be able to DPS the mobs.

VitaminP: What are some of the funniest moments you’ve been able to capture on stream in Mythic+ so far in BFA?

Turbosalad: How Alliance does Siege of Boralus:

“If you’re interested in pushing higher level keys, take the time to research what abilities each and every boss and trash mob are able to use. This may sound obvious, but knowing which spells need to be interrupted and which you can allow to go through is an essential part of a clean Mythic+ run.”

VitaminP: What are some final pieces of advice you can provide to someone looking to play Hunter in competitive or even casual Mythic+?

Turbosalad: Use Aspect of the Wild and Bestial Wrath as frequently as possible. Maintaining high uptime on this buff is essential to optimizing your damage output throughout the dungeon.

Always be looking for ways to draw upon your utility toolkit throughout the run, especially Feign Death, Spirit Mend, Binding Shot, and Aspect of the Turtle. For example, you can avoid the Severing Axe on Kula the Butcher (one of three bosses in the Council of Tribes fight in Kings’ Rest) if you hit your Turtle while the axe animation is in the air, as shown in the clip below.

Feign death acts as a budget Shadowmeld and has a base 30-second cooldown. It can be used in death skips to drop combat as well as to avoid harmful spells. Some of the spells you can avoid with Feign Death include:

Use Feign only after the cast/channel goes through on:
  • Mchimba’s Drain Fluids (If you feign before the channel starts, it will recast to another player instead of negate the damage)
  • Aqu’Sirr’s Undertow
  • Rezan’s Pursuit

You can Feign the following abilities really early in the cast timer (if you wait too long, the cast will still go through and hit you):

You can also Feign Death to avoid most single-target spells that are cast at you such as the Grave Bolts cast by reaping mobs.

Speaking of Reaping, Feign Death does not drop combat with reaping effectively like Shadowmeld. Therefore, it cannot be used to skip Reaping packs.

My last piece of advice applies to all players looking to progress in Mythic+. If you’re interested in pushing higher level keys, take the time to research what abilities each and every boss and trash mob are able to use. This may sound obvious, but knowing which spells need to be interrupted and which you can allow to go through is an essential part of a clean Mythic+ run. The Mythic Dungeon Tools (MDT) addon is a great resource to use as it gives information about every enemy in each dungeon as well as lets you plan out your route ahead of time so you know what to expect before you start a key.


About the Author

Vitaminpee mains a Brewmaster and loves to do competitive Mythic+. She is the Social Media Manager for Big Dumb Gaming and is attending Graduate School to pursue her Masters of Business Administration. She is a partnered Twitch streamer who plays all tanks at max level and loves pushing keys with her teammates Oddy, Sham, Jake, and any Rogue she can find :)