That Scorpid Poison Stacking Thing

I haven’t been paying enough attention lately to hunter gossip, so I know I am really late to the party on this one. But I was intrigued to learn today about some of the interesting side effects of Scorpid Poison– and how you can use those side effects to your advantage.

Basically, it goes like this: Scorpid Poison (known as SP in this post, so I don’t keep misspelling it every sentence) is a pet ability that only scorpids can learn. It’s a damage-over-time (DoT) effect that can stack up to 5 times on a single target. Each time the applied spell ticks, it does damage for each poison in the stack – so if your target has SP stacked five times and a single SP would have done, say, 10 damage (a completely made up number, by the way) then the entire stack will do 50 damage this tick.

The interesting thing is that, even though you can think of the stack as being made up of individual applications of the poison, the entire stack actually acts as a single entity in most ways. For example, when a new posion is added to the stack the time left on the entire stack is reset.

It might just be the late hour, but I am confusing myself already. So let’s use a concrete example. Say your scorpid has SP1, which lasts 10 seconds and has a 4 second cooldown. On second 0 he applies the first poison. On second 4 he applies the second poison, creating a stack of two. Now at this point the first application only has six seconds left — it would have worn off at second 10 — but because a new posion has been applied the timer on the entire stack has been reset. If your scorpid doesn’t apply any more posions then the stack of two poisons will last until second 14 (ten seconds after the second poison was applied) and then both with wear off at the same time.

Of course, you can never stack more than five poisons (because the skill says so), but it is this behavior that let’s you get to a stack of five. If the timer didn’t reset, then you could never have more than three posions stacked at once.

A little confusing, but simple enough. But here’s the trick: it’s not just the timer of the stack that acts as if it were a single entity. The damage also behaves this way. In other words, if the first poison that was applied did a different amount of damage than the second poison (say, 12 and 8), then the stack doesn’t store those two damages and add them together (which would be 20) – no, it grabs the first one and multiplies by two (which is 24)! And that damage number will persist as long as the stack persists, even if the particlar application of the poison that did that damage is long past. (With those example numbers, you will do 12 damage for each poison in the stack so long as you can keep the stack going — even though the new poisons you are applying would only do 8 damage normally.)

How is that useful? Well, it means that if you put everything you’ve got (namely Bestial Wrath and AP trinkets) into play before your scorpid lands its first SP, then you can jack up the damage of that first poison. Then if you can keep the poison stacked continuously, without any breaks at all, you can keep the extra damage to SP from Bestial Wrath and your trinkets going as long as the stack persists, even after the buffs themselves wear off.

This also explains why a lot of people are training SP4 these days, even though they are high enough level to learn SP5. Rank 4 of the skill lasts for 10 seconds with a 4 second cooldown, but Rank 5 for some reason only lasts for 8 seconds (still with a 4 second cooldown). If you are trying to stack posions for as long as humanly possible, that extra two seconds counts for a lot.

Now I strongly suspect that this behavior is not completely intended — although I also suspect that ‘fixing’ it is going to give some poor coder a major headache. But this is something that it seems Blizzard might want to change at some point in the future, so I’d be careful about coming to rely on it too much. But I’ve been seriously wrong before, and I’m sure I will be again. :>

And that’s what I learned today!

13 thoughts on “That Scorpid Poison Stacking Thing

  1. Peter

    A review for “Thunderstomp” would be also interesting. Haven’t seen many hunters walking around with a gorilla – but why not ?

    Typically all pets without the abitility to speed up when starting an attack are less common, or, less welcome.
    On a PvP realm, this is a “must”, because opening a pet attack a lot faster is a major advantage.
    Scorpids are slow, also gorillas a.s.o. – so they are only useful as a tank pet.

  2. Mania Post author

    I wouldn’t call this a review, really — I just wanted to share what I’d heard about this weird aspect of Scorpid Poison. I would like to do a review of scoprids but I haven’t leveled up a character using a scorpid yet, so I don’t have detailed notes on the overall feel.

    Gorillas are on my list also, of course — they will be sharing a character with owls (because gorillas aren’t available until level 32 and owls are functionally identical to bats for my purposes, and I already have a bat character). But I haven’t made the owl/gorilla character yet, so it will be a bit before I can review Thunderstomp.

  3. Tiiaa


    properly applied it had normal ticks of 1156, the above Screenshot was during Magtheridon’s Banish Phase during which damage dealt is inceased by 100%

  4. Svend

    That’s very impressive. I play a mage myself, and you may (or may not) have heard of the so called “rolling ignites”. It’s very similar to what you describe here.

  5. Tiiaa

    I used Rank 4 for the double reapplication chance. with rank 5 you just won’t keep the stack running, because the level 73 Bosses will resist at some point.

    @Svend – yes it works exactly the same – the difference is just that our stacks ticks barely 4 digit, I remember our mages going crazy about the 5 digit stacks ;)

    And I agree with Mania, this will get a nerf – the Wind Serpent was weaker and got slapped, so I wouldn’t count on it being there for too long anymore…

  6. Bulldazhor

    I would be very surprise also that blizzard leave SP as it is.
    an easy way to fix it would be to put all the level on 8s timer like Rank 5 instead of the 10s.
    in that case the miss rate on boss would be enough to break the 2min long dot.

  7. Tiiaa

    Actually in that case the Poison Skill would be useless because it wont even stick long enough to stack up properly. It would be more balanced to have it act like any other dot, calculate the damage for each tick based on the actual amount of spelldamage at that time. With my hunter that would be approximately 325 damage per tick at full 5 stacks when no modifers are up.

    Scorpid Poison Rank 4
    Claw Rank 9
    Growl Rank 9
    Avoidance Rank 2
    Cobra Reflexes
    Nature Resistance 5
    Great Stamina 9
    Natural Armor 1

    that’s for Serpentshrine, in Tempest Keep I use a Cat (VR is immune to poisons, on A’lar I’m usually on the Embers where sprint on the pet is more useful, and on Kael’thas I have yet to find a way to keep my pet alive whilst I’m busy kiting Phoenixes since I don’t have time to check whether its in a flame patch or something)

  8. Alejandra

    I am on th fence about this being a bug; the specific fights and bosses wheer you can take advantage of this are really very small. It’s totally useless in pvp (whereas windserpents and imps were way OP in pvp,) and it actually takes very specific itemization, speccing, and planning to pull off effectively.

  9. Tiiaa

    Actually I quite often kill people in pvp with a dot stack ticking for 500-600 because people tend to ignore pets at first glance, and you can’t exactly get rid of a Bestial Wrathed Scorpid for quite some time.

    Limited PvE use is something very debateble:

    Tier 1 BC Rading:
    Maulgar no
    Gruul yes
    Magtheridon yes

    Tier 2 BC Raiding:
    Hydross no
    Lurker yes
    Leo no
    Karathress yes
    Morogrim yes
    Vashj yes

    Al’ar no
    Loot Reaver no
    Solarian no
    Kael’thas yes (except when kiting Phoenixes – I tend to not have time to check wether he’s in a flame patch or something)

    Actually I use a max arcane resist cat for TK – no troubles on VR or Solarian, and easier to keep up through Keal’s constant Arcane Disruptions

    Tier 3 BC Raiding (as far as we are):
    Rage Winterchill yes
    Anetheron yes

    Naj’entus no (even with frost resist it gets killed very fast when in melee range eating splashes from rogues and/or warriors)
    Supremus yes
    Akama yes (but I admit, the full stack only kicks in when the Shade is already below 50%)

    I feel that thats quite a good number of Bosses where you can run a 400+ dps Pet Skill

  10. Bulldazhor

    It’s seem that the Scorpid Poison have been modified during the last Patch on the 2.2 PTR

    For the moment for a BM hunt with 2000AP
    Rank 4 : 22 by tick -> 110 at full stack
    Under BW : 33 by Tic -> 165 full stack

    Rank 5 : 27 by tick -> 135 Full stack
    Under BW : 40 by tick -> 200 Full stack (we are far from the 800 it could do)

    Seems like an end of a great fun time as a BM.

  11. Dmouse

    I totally hate it when hunters start using a particular pet that owns some classes, and Blizzard goes and nerfs it. I guess they are trying to make the playing field equal in some aspects. But Pets adds to a hunters ability to dish our the dps needed in PVP and PVE fights. And i just started using a scorpid and now blizzard does this. Sigh i wish they’d make up their minds

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