RFC: Arena Pets

RFC stands for Request For Comments, and that’s exactly what this post is. I want to get your comments on hunter pets for the Arena.

I was extremely impressed with the great information I learned in our last RFC thread, RFC: Raiding Pets, and I’d like to pick your brains again — this time for the Arena. With the advent of the Tournament Test Realm (TTR), there has been a lot of renewed focus on hunters in the Arena, and I freely admit that I know nothing useful about this!

Just as we did with the RFC for Raiding, let’s break this topic down with the following questions:

  • What is the role of a hunter pet in the Arena?
  • Are there multiple strategies for pets? If so, do these depend more on the pet, your team, or your opponents?
  • What pet stats (armor, health, DPS) are particularly important in the Arena?
  • What active pet skills are most useful — or least useful — in the Arena?
  • How about passive skills?
  • What other considerations go into choosing an Arena pet?
  • What other questions should I be asking? Because honestly, I have no idea about Arenas.

Again, my main purpose here is to educate myself — and I’m really completely clueless about Arenas in particular and PvP in general, so please keep that in mind and explain any special terminology or concepts to me as clearly as you can. And I’ll do my best to understand.

You are also free to e-mail me your comments if you’d rather not post them here.

As always, thanks for your help with this!

29 thoughts on “RFC: Arena Pets

  1. Misty

    I am a marks hunter. I play on a hunter/druid 2v2.
    This is probably the most popular non-BM choice pet for 2v2.

    I use a Scorpid.

    Scorpid Poison being the reason why.

    The idea behind that being you send him in on the opposing teams healer so when you Viper Sting the healer they have a chance to dispel a scorpid poison rather than the viper sting.

    The other role he plays is to keep the healer in combat so the healer cant run away and drink for more mana. Any pet can fill this role.

    My pet has Scorpid Poison (rank 5), Cobra Reflexes, full nature resist, full frost resist, and the rest of the points are in shadow resist.

    All the resistances are to keep him from getting crowd-controlled so the opposing teams healer can get away for a few precious moments to drink.

  2. Chris

    I’ve been thinking about switching over to a scorpid exactly for this reason: the stacking poison + the dispel chance. I’ve been using one of the white cobras from Coilskar with the ranged poison spit, which has been ok, but I’m ready for something different.

  3. batgrl

    I’m definitely still a beginner in the arena game (we use our 2v2 just to practice pvp), but as a shadow priest I’ve been killed off quite nicely by a good many hunters, so I’ll pop in with a few comments. The majority of pets I go up against seem to be cats. Not that the kitty can’t fillet me and serve me on a plate quite well, it’s just that when I go up against a different pet it 1) shakes up any strategies I may have and 2)often seems to do more damage (but it may just be the surprise, hard to tell). I may be biased because my hunter has a boar – but man, being battered by charge is sometimes just enough for the hunter to pop more ranged damage before I can actually get to said hunter and damage him/her. Those who do use their cats on prowl also get a chance to get more damage off thanks to the element of surprise. Strangely I haven’t ever gone up against a scorpion, which seems odd since in the battlegrounds I’ve been pestered quite a bit by them and they seem really effective. (My hunter hasnt’ had one since her 20s, but I did love the poisoning.) I’ve come to really think that going up against hunters and locks in 2v2s is really tough just due to the “pet=extra player on that team” aspect, especially if the pet is played well.

    I have a question – as someone who eventually wants to take my hunter into an arena. (And my server should rejoice, because I’ll be an easy kill for a long time!) I’ve had nature resist explained as most important to fight off rogues’ poisons and druid spells – does everyone feel nature resist is crucial in bg and arenas? More important than maxing stamina and armor? And how little nature resist can you get away with and still have something useful?

  4. Fish

    Misty is 100% Correct. Scopid is the prime arena pet of choice, for no other reason but to keep that viper sting applied.

    Nothing more to it; looking to raise up the ranks, then it’s Scorpid all the way :)

  5. Fish

    This is to batgrl:

    Best spec when used with a scorpid, (Drain team) is the one i’ve linked below:


    You use the 11 points in BM, for the Swiftness Talent – keeps druids from getting a way and drinking – and Impr Revive pet for the very reason, that your pet will get focused at some point, but with a quick CC, be it Trap, Cyclone, what ever, impr revive pet will have that pet out fighting before it’s ended.

    Don’t bother with the armour, or the hp, but instead stick to Max rank Poison, and the resistances.

    Now, find a resto druid, and it’s win, win from there :P

  6. jericho

    I am a BM hunter that does both 5v5 and 2v2 regularly.

    I use my Scorpid for 5v5 for the Scorpid Poison covering the Viper Sting issue. I really dislike this pet. Yet, it does do the job that is needed of it. It keeps the drain target in combat and poisoned up so drains keep going. Its not going to do much damage though.

    For 2v2, I use my cat. The 2v2 game is more about bursting people on my team, so putting a fast hitting pet on he healer/caster to knockback is of greater help to defeating teams than keeping viper sting on a player.

    I do keep full Frost and Nature resists on the scorpid, while keeping Nature on the cat.

    I have found that armor and stamina on arena pets tends to be overkill. My scorpid has none, and while it may die in prolonged fights against teams with a chunk of AOE, by the time it dies it will have done its job. If you are smart and not sending in your pet to get instagibbed stam/arm aren’t worth it compared to resists to prevent CC.

  7. Chanman

    I acknowlege the usefulness of scorpids for the viper sting reason. However, my personal favorite pets for arena are boars, cats, and ravagers. Boars because of the charge interrupt and the gore chance to hit double. I like cats and ravagers for the very high damage output, attack speed, and of course gore’s chance to hit for double damage (ravagers only)

  8. roguedubb

    Wind Serpent as a BM Hunter.

    Why? Some might think Lightning Breath is just a focus dump, but it’s a 50 point focus dump, which is better for burst damage especially with all the focus regeneration talents. But the real killer is because it’s a ranged attack, so it can blast down runners, or if left out in front of you can zap that Warrior before they charge.

  9. Ronorin

    Personally there are a couple factors I think of when choosing an arena pet. Size, ability, and damage.

    Bats and Carrion Birds aren’t used much in arenas, but I actually used Blind Hunter to some reasonable success. Pets major purposes are to slow down and distract the enemy. The damage is helpful, but the main reason for them is their just an additional annoyance the enemy has to deal with. Bats are HUGE and say “Deal with me or else.” You can’t see around them and they are almost impossible to ignore. Bad choice if you’re BM, where if your pet dies it can be very bad. Bats and Owls tend to be the best “Diversion” pets in my opinion as they have nice and high damage. I usually put Shadow, Frost, and Arcane resistance on them just so they can’t be CCed. The more time they’re being annoying the better. And if I can actually make the opponent spend the time to kill them, even better.

    Scorpids are king in arena right now. I don’t even need to explain why, lots of people already know this.

    Boars. I love boars. I really really do. I have a RFK armored Boar and have since 26 and have used it in PvP, PvE, raiding, and arena to great success. Boar Immobilize is GREAT. In arena it’s not uncommon to dance in and out of combat pretty often, so you actually get the opportunity to use charge pretty often during a battle. This can be absolutely awesome against a War or a Rogue. Note, Sprint only removes Snares, it doesn’t prevent their application. Rogues hate losing a second of sprint to a Boar Charge. This may just be rabid fan syndrome, but I often wonder why more people don’t use Boars in arena. Look at the popularity of Felguards, afterall.

    The last major option is cats and ravagers. Honestly, Prowl kinda sucks in arena in my opinion. A one time use stealth just isn’t great. If only Cats had pounce… They’re still very popular though. But Ravagers are pretty awesome. Very, very nice DPS. Put one of these on a Healer with Cobra’s Reflexes and things get a lot easier.

    Just my opinions. I’m no king of arenas, but this is what I see others using and this is what I use. Normally I keep a Scorpid for Arena, Wolf for PvE, and Boar for PvP/PvE. But there really is no WRONG pet for arenas. It’s more your synergy with the pet that matters. Lots of people say “Scorpids are best.” but I’d much rather have a Boar against a Rogue/War team than a Scorpid.

  10. Fish

    roguedubb – Never used a Wind Sepent, but i hear they can be nasty; i might just go a head and give one a go :)

    Ronorin – Had a RFK boar myself, before TBC, loved it. In arena though, i feel the boar is pretty gimped – Poor damage, and the charge isn’t that great in an arena setting.

    Scorpids, are mainly used for Marks, i hate Marks, and i hate scorpids :) but it’s the better spec if arena is your focus.

    Ravenger, is a BM pet, that an any other variation of Cat. I’d personally not run with a scorpid myself.

  11. Sasha

    Dear Mania.

    1) The role of hunters for 2v2:

    We do moderate damage, mana drain, and CC with other team member. We also offer a pet which can keep the enemy healer in combat, drastically increasing the chance of a win. For 2v2 the best combo is a restoration druid (spec’d into feral charge) and a marksmanship hunter.
    ————————–Side Note——————————————
    Beast Mastery is definitely allot harder to pull off. I would not advise it with a healer composition, unless your ungodly good at PvP. BM does not give your druid ways to escape besides intimidate. This usually results in your healers death.

    Another match up is Hunter + Priest, which can be fairly good especially when it comes to removing enemy mana. However the drawback is your priest is squishy, and highly susceptable to drains too.

    If your doing a Double DPS team, its a given you should be with a Mage, or perhapses a Warlock. (Stong CC classes) Most D-DPS teams are beast mastery for burst damage. With the warlock variety this is especially true.

    One things for sure, because of LOS hunters are never considered to be “Burst DPS” Very few teams can lock a target down in LOS for the hunter to truly be able to burst. *Couple the LOS issues with the fact that any damage we take pushes back our Steady Shot…making this problem worse*

    3v3, this bracket offers more variety to BM hunters, although like all arena brackets Marks is most desired simply because of our cheesy CC.

    5v5, BM hunters best chance to stay 100% BM would be here. Again pair with strong CC classes on the team for best effects.

    2) Multiple Strategies for Pets:

    YES! Most hunters with good healers who are on the ball with pet heals, will use a scorpid pet. The reason, widely known is to abuse the poison it places on the enemy healer, making it difficult to cleanse viper stings.

    In a 1h 30 minute battle its critical to have a scorpid. Every extra tick of mana you drain will make the fight more in your favor. With the new drinking 5 second rule coming in 2.4 this may actually FORCE all hunters to get a scorpid. We will not have as much time to throw around chipping away mana with only 3 seconds from silence shots.

    Keep your eye on that change, it may force arena hunters to abandon other pet strats because simply, our healer cant drink either… It would be really risky to allow enemies even the tiniest amount of mana by choosing something other then a scorpid if this is the case.


    Some teams, use pets with dash. They do not enable dash. The strategy is to use dash manually to run the pet back for heals. This is especially good if you play with a healer who might not always be watching your pets health. (He has ADD in my case) So without dash, we literally don’t stand much of a chance. I found this an amusing way to get over someones handicap.

    However my Pridelord Kovu, doesn’t help me with my mana drains. We have had to become especially good with drink rotations. (scatter shot trap right after his CC cycle finishes) and he has to run away and go drink asap. We do this frequently. We keep his mana as high as possible…

    Another strategy I have seen, is to use a high health pet or high amour pet, Which can take a beating. You don’t tend to see this very often though. This is because pets in Arenas can die wicked fast. They don’t have resilience like players do. So they are super susceptable to criticals.

    3) What Pet Stats are most important:

    I would say you have to decide what your trying to do. Scorpids are hawt, but they don’t have many healer friendly ways to save them. Their amour can help. However like I said before its the crits which kill your pets.

    Top 3: (no order) Armour, HP, DPS


    Pet skills which are most useful:
    1) Scorpids poisons
    2) Dash / Charge / Dive
    3) Gore / Prowl (if your Night Elf)

    In a drain team you really don’t care too much about the damage on your pet. Damage is nice… sure… but your pets purpose is only to keep the enemy healer in combat so they cant drink, and you can, and eventually you just make them go OOM and they die.

    In a double DPS team. Damage would be very important. Ravager or a cat would almost be required since you have to kill the target before the CC on the other one wears off…

    Worst: Cower, Growl, ect


    Good Passive skills:

    Cobra Reflexes: You want to make casting time increase for the healer.

    High Nature Resistance: Since there are ALOT of druid healers, you want full NR to have your pet resist CC, and or shorten the length of time they are CC’d.

    High Shadow Resistance: Most lock + healer teams dot everything, even your pet to try and burn through the druids Mana. You can mitigate that damage by giving your pet shadow resistances, and ease that pressure considerably.

    High Fire or Frost Resistance: Take your pick. It can either prevent damage done or CC. Most people go with frost, since your pet typically cant get CC’d by fire … CC by fire = death lol. Also most (ALL) mages are Frost in the uper brackets so once your past 1700 most people switch from Fire to Frost resistance.

    Avoidance for 5v5. It can help out in 2v2 but most of the time AOE is not an issue, its all single target dps. It does help in BG’s though.

    Usually after this point, you only have a few training points left for your pet. Most people don’t really care and just pick either stamina or armor increases. Whatever is left that they can afford.

    6) Other considerations:

    In my case, having a resto druid with ADD… I think hunters should be choosing a pet which complements your healer and your needs. If your healer has big slow heals, maybe that high hp, tank pet may work better for you then a scorpid. Or the pet with dash/dive, who can save itself from certain death and give time for those heals to go off.

    Generally though, your pets main purpose is to just keep the enemy healer in combat. All pets can do this.

    7) What other questions should you (Mania) be asking???

    Havn’t you asked enough of them already?! J/K
    This was allot of fun to write and got me thinking about the new changes in 2.4

    I would be concerned with Blizzard. We hunters are fairly adaptive. I still consider my class incomplete. Especially when it comes to pets. As far as arena teams go, pets can be the most important, or the least important part of a strategy.

    Hope this helps!


  12. Palladiamorsdeus

    A pets role in the arena varies from spec to spec. Marksman and Survival, its a hindrance. Your pet is there to bug the crap out of the opponent. Straight casters, druids, shaman, then paladins. Non-BM lose effectiveness as order of armor goes up. The more armor, the less useful a non-BM pet is. The scorpid strategy has been explained, so I won’t go over it again.

    After that, it really all depends on your opponents team composition, and their tactics for dealing with pets. A solid suggestion for night elves is to not summon your pet at the start of the arena, and shadowmeld. Or if you have a cat, have them prowl. The opponent will go crazy trying to find your stealthed member, and generally end up attacking your partner if they are non-stealthed. Obviously thats not good if you’ve got a clothy backing you up, but one of my partners is a warrior, so it always worked well.

    Now, if your beast master, the tactic changes. Drastically. Beast master pets are perfectly capable of causing casters to break into hives, both from damage and from annoyance. Pay attention to see if your opponent is going to bother CCing your pet, and if they do, pop beastial wrath, and focus fire on the caster. A beast masters pets main purpose is to suppliment the hunters damage, while causing a severe distraction. In my experience from DPSing teams, you want the fight over fast. In my experience from healing teams, you want the fight over just slightly slower. Its always a good idea to send your pet after a healer, even if thats not your main target. That goes for BM and non.

    Granted, these strategies worked up until about eighteen hundred for me, until the gear difference really just smacked us in the face. I dunno if it varies for better ranks of gear or not.

  13. Raaxis

    There are two vastly different roles a Hunter can play in any given Arena team, and his/her pet will always reflect this. Your role will shift along a spectrum between Team Utility (TU) at one end, and Damage Output (DO) at the other end:

    Burst Role (Damage Output focus)– generally speaking, you are a machine gun, pumping your focus fire target so full of arrows, claws, teeth, and the like that they end up your little toy pincushion.
    *Major spec (Maximum DO/Minimum TU): Beastmastery. With Beastmastery, you maximize your damage output in a short period of time, as well as buy yourself 18 seconds of “free” DPS with Beast Within.
    >General pet choice: Cat, Ravager, Windserpent
    *Minor spec (Moderate DO/Moderate TU): Marksmanship. Marksman Hunters can (if spec’d correctly) almost match the raw damage output of Beastmastery Hunters, while still adding some utility and longevity to the fight with Improved Stings.
    >General pet choice: Cat, Windserpent, Owl, Scorpid, Boar

    Longevity Role (Team Utility focus) — Outlast is the name of this game. Though adding significantly to damage, this role focuses less on zerging down a single target, and more on slowly breaking down the defenses of the opposing team, and outlasting them until they become vulnerable (usually with Stings, Entrapment, etc.)
    *Major spec (Maximum TU/Minimum DO): Survival. As a Survival Hunter, the primary role is as a distraction (with supplemental DPS). Wyvern Sting adds excellent crowd control, Entrapment gives opponents a nasty time getting around, and Improved Stings slowly whittle away at your enemy’s mana pool.
    >General pet choice: Scorpid, Boar, Windserpent
    *Minor spec (Moderate TU/Moderate DO): Marksman. A hybrid Marksman/Survival spec still focuses primarily on TU, but also supplements their utility with a little extra oomph (DO).
    >General pet choice: Cat, Windserpent, Owl, Scorpid, Boar

    In all these cases, the pet choice is entirely dependent on how your team is played. The suggestions I’ve given are merely the “usual” pets you see associated with that particular Hunter role, and I am by no means suggesting that this is an end-all, be-all, “every Hunter must do this” list. It is merely a compilation of averages I’ve observed and noted in my experience as a PvPer.

    Best regards,
    ~Duelist Raaxis, Bloodscalp
    –2005 2v2, 1988 3v3

  14. marzix

    well, there are a few mis-guided people posting about cats/ravagers being better because of attack speed. they are wrong, with cobra reflexes all pets have the same speed. also, the amount of damage your pet does is irrelevant almost any good team will have the pet dead in a few seconds. i know as marks, i find it highly satisfying when i can kill their pet running at me before he gets to BW, and its over. the best abilites to train are max nature/frost, avoidance, cobra reflexes, bite/poison/gore etc, and throw the rest into shadow resits. armor and hps are not useful at all because the difference between max hps and no hps is like 1 mage frostbolt or 1 whirlwind.

  15. Witch Doctor


    It’s a bit of a gamble, but some people are sufficiently arachnophobic to completely freak out at the sight of a spider – even if said spider consists of little more than a bunch of polygons :>

  16. Blood God

    All i can deduce from the above posts is that Scorpids are used just for their poison skill…Serpents have a poison spit aswell so why is this forced focus on them?
    Can anyone here point me the diference between Scorpids and Serpents?
    I for one would just use my favorite pet and be done with this isue…it all comes down to how skilled you are as a hunter and althou the pet is important, IT WILL NOT COMPENSATE FOR YOUR LACK of experience.

  17. Concrete

    Poison Spit = Spits poison at an enemy, dealing 120 Nature damage over 8 sec.
    Scorpid Poison = Inflicts 55 Nature damage over 10 sec. Effect can stack up to 5 times on a single target.

    Its the stacking effect that is so nasty for Scorpid poison. Scorpids have +10% armour too. Granted their dps is 6% less but you don’t want it for DPS you want it for the poison.

  18. Concrete

    Re- Blood God. Your pet is crucial in PvP if you want to maximise your chance of winning. If you don’t belive me try doing arena with a sporebat. Heck get the best pvp hunter in game to pvp with a sporebat. It just won’t work, its comparative to doing pvp with a grey bow/gun/crossbow.

    Preperation is half the battle. Thats why Mania is asking this question for the best pet for pvp. She’s not wanting to know whats the best tactics, just simply what is the best pet to use and why.
    By using the best pets it helps the talentless players play better.

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  20. Tsume

    Blood god has it right, Concrete. I have pvp’d with a sporebat before, and i still tore it up(not as easily mind you). Pet wont make you good at pvp, and it also wont make you bad. I can kill people just fine with no pet at all. It all really boils down to preference. Pets all have different utility purposes, and you can spec them for different strategies. Scorpids are almost a must for 5v5 just to reduce fight duration, but you can really get away with any pet you feel good with in the smaller brackets. It’s all what compliments your play style and what you feel good with. Having a certain pet will not win your games, but how well you can utilize all your skills and how well your timing and coordination is- will.

    As a side note: Most of us here know what the hell we are doing, and seem to be on the same page anyway. We all know what the text books say.. ^~ yet we all got different styles and ideas on how to play our class. That’s what makes the hunter community so fun. =)

  21. Jobobsa

    I use a wolf. because of dash and howl. and bite.. all very nice and I’m a marksmanship hunter. i do quite well in Arenas of all sizes and doungens i’m good for DPS

  22. Etona

    I agree with all the valid arguments about scorpids.

    However, I must say I enjoy my warpstalker in Arena (I am not a hard-core Arena person- however I’ve had numerous wins with my little dragonlike baby).
    The Warp ability cannot be praised enough. It’s better than Dash (much lower CD), and is instantaneous, rather than simply faster movement. So what if Snuggles is slowed by CoC / slowing poison / etc.? He still teleports right up to that healer every 15secs. Granted, he can’t Warp out of being frozen in place, sheeped, etc., but then that’s why I’m a BM Huntress too! I greatly enjoy using Intimidate + Warp or Warp + Kill Command as often as possible.

    Again, I agree completely with the Scorpid pet as pretty much the #1 arena pet, but for those looking to try something outside the the very common box, may I suggest looking at a Warpstalker? ^_^

  23. Etona

    P.S. to my comment above:
    Warpstalkers are also able to learn Claw, a great Focus-dumping skill. Though their DPS is set at a sad -6%, at the very least they do gain +5% AC and no positive or negative on hp.
    Also, his Warp ability does grant him a 50% melee dodge for 4sec- not much, but a nice plus to an already great skill.

    A negative to the Warpstalker is that he is low to the ground, and easy to fight around. This is a plus for me personally as he’s easy for me to target around, but he doesn’t make clothies run around frantically clawing at their head like my bat does. >:)

  24. Anonymous

    I use a bat.
    It has a HUGE wingspan, which causes problems with targeting for some people.
    Screech is hella annoying when it’s on you. ;)

    Imagine a giant bat flying at you and yelling. wouldn’t you stop for a second and go “WTF?”
    That second has won me quite a few arena battles.

    Then again, I do arenas for fun, not rating. So, whatever works.

  25. Wolfington

    I would have to agree with everyone out there about the bat. In the 2-3 areanas I have been in the hunters with bats have annoyed me big time, because they are just so HUGE.
    The only problem I see with them is that the high level ones don’t use the run emote, and that annoys me more than the largeness when fighting one.

  26. Rawdeal

    I suggest to bring your favorite pet in Arena. Nothing is better to have your best friend fighting with you (win or loose).It’s about confidence and having fun. I can’t stable my long time companion (Sinbad) for a newby pet…it’s a slap in is face…..

  27. apossomposse

    I use a owl with screech the attack power reduction and least not forget its a aoe to boot has worked better for me then scopins and wind serps in 2v2

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