Sorry readers for the short hiatus I have taken, but for medical reasons I’ve been a bit dark for a while. But I’m back and doing well. Now onto the show…
SlowWolf has yet again posted an excellent blog on the cunning tree for pets. He has, as usual, a very well written explanation on talent points for this particular pet tree that is another must read.
If you haven’t yet please read Furious Raiders: The Cunning Mk. 2 by SlowWolf along with this post to get the most out of the information we're providing.
What I would like to do is take the time to explain and expand on the types of pets and why you should be selecting certain ones over others. Pet selection is as important imo as proper point placement in their trees. Choosing the right pet can make or break your performance in a substantial way. Although all cunning pets are geared more towards pvp they don’t all behave the same or provide the abilities that will separate you from a “huntard”. Especially now with all the changes in pet buffs and new abilities that have taken place for us in Cataclysm. If you haven’t read my blog on the new pet abilities and buffs in Holy Crit! you might want to read or reread it to see why I’ve made the choices I have. I will also be going over again, as I did in a previous blog, about the possible utilization of a cunning pet in a pve environment because they do have their use. In fact with the changes in Cata, cunning pets are performing very well in dps contribution more than ever.
Much like ferocity and tenacity pets are geared towards dps and tanking respectively there have always been certain ones that perform better than others, the same goes for cunning pets. One of your main concerns are the slowing or rooting abilities they have. The paramount purpose of a cunning pet is its capacity to hold an enemy to promote kiting and attack methods. You’re not going to be concerned so much with how much damage they can contribute as much as how long can they snare that opponent to make it easier for you to keep them at bay. That’s not to say you want to completely ignore their dps contribution but when you’re pvping keeping your adversary at range is essential to getting the job done and staying alive long enough to do it. There are definitely talent points that are going to be placed in dps abilities as SlowWolf showed in his talent tree examples so be sure to follow these point placements exactly. He’s given perfect examples of point placement for both BM and non BM specs. There are also utility talents that you don’t want to ignore because they’re going to be helping your pet get in there to do the job faster and more effectively. Of particular note is dash/dive, this is extremely important because, obviously, the faster fluffy gets to your opponent the faster he can hold him in place while you begin the destruction.
First off, as a side note, pvp gear is in the game for a reason. If pve and pvp gear was easily interchangeable then everyone would just pick out the best of one or the other for both types of game play. But the fact is you NEED that resilience. Don’t think that stacking stamina on extra pve gear that you’ve accumulated will make up for a good resilience rating because it won’t. If you’re dying too quickly then your pet selection and pvp strats won’t mean squat. So be sure to do your best to begin acquiring some pvp gear.
Now let’s talk pets. Like I said your main concern is their snaring/rooting abilities and which have the best durations and cooldowns. You’ll be using these in conjunction with your icing type traps as well as concussive shot. In fact keep in mind and practice getting in the habit of firing off concussive as often as you can. With the cool down being practically the same as the duration you should do your best to never let that buff drop off. You also need to be practicing kiting an opponent, never ever, ever, back peedle away from someone. It’s just too slow and will do you more harm than good. So with these things in mind let’s examine the best pets.
The spider. The spider has long been one of the most preferred pets in pvp because of it’s web ability which is an excellent snare. Now the difference in a snare vs a slow ability are simple and the names say it all. A snare is going to affect an opponent by holding him/her in place while a slow is just that, it slows them for a certain percent of movement speed. Now the spider’s web has a 5 sec root, dogs and silithids have a similar ability but they’re only a 4 sec root with dogs and silithids are 5 but are an exotic so they’re limited to BM hunters. All have a 40 second cooldown so this is why you need to be conscious of using icing traps and concussive shot in the meantime. Overall I still think this is the best overall pvp pet just based on the extra second you get in the snare duration especially if you’re in a soloing pvp situation. Plus the great thing about the spider is no leveling necessary if you go tame a Darkwood Broodmother from Tol Barad, he’s an 85.
The ravager. The ravager is a really sweet cunning pet for a pve environment. This guy is actually incredibly helpful due to his ability/buff ravage. This gives you a 4% increased physical damage for 25 sec with only a 15 sec cooldown. This is a perfect example of, depending on your team's makeup, your ability to bring in a useful buff just based on your pet.The monkey. I mention him only because he is a new addition with Cata but he’s sorely lacking. His blind ability has a 4 sec duration but with a 1 min cooldown. Pass on this dude he’s bringing so much less to the table than the spider.
On a quick side note I want to bring up a couple of ferocity pet equipped with some very pvp type moves. With these two you're getting pretty close to the best of both worlds with the ferocity tree dps and a cunning type ability. Raiders rejoice!
The dog. Now the dog is still a very viable alternative in pve fights where you need a snare and will give you more overall dps since it is in the ferocity tree. It’s Lock Jaw ability will hold for 4 sec and has the 40 sec cooldown. If you’re in a close pvp group situation where you’ve got a healer close by and other dps it may be a good choice to help burn down an opponent fast
The hyena. Same bonuses as the dog but with a slightly different ability Tendon Rip, it’s no longer a slow ability as it has been, it now increases bleed effects by 30%. So again if you’re in a pvp group setting you could experiment with this one if you have another team member with a snare ability and you want to bring something extra to help send him off to the graveyard faster.
As for the rest of the cunning pets they’re going to be situational choices if you’re running in a pvp group. For example, if you and some guild mates are grouped up and you’ve got a healer and say a dk, mage, and warlock in the group running with you a dragonhawk might be a good choice because of it’s firebreath that increases magical damage by 8%. Or you may have a lot of melee in your pve group and they'd love to have that ravager along for the buff to help overall team dps. Again experiment with your choices to see what works best with your makeup. But overall the spider is still king of the hill in pvp.Visit Petopia for a detailed rundown of all the pets abilities, skins, locations, etc. Everyone's needs are going to differ depending on your team's members and what buffs they may be missing, so choose accordingly.
Now as I mentioned a cunning pet may be one you want to have along in a pve environment. As we saw in Wrath with Saurfang and the spider or the Valks with the hyena you may come across a fight where it may be your job to concentrate on a mob and keep it at bay by kiting and slowing. Keep this in mind and you may experience some trial and error as some mobs can be slowed but not snared by your pets like the Valks. It's all situation, situation, aaaand situation. Always a good idea to check strats for a fight online and see what is working for the top raiding guilds. Who knows, as in the case of the ravager, you might save the day by bringing the missing buff.