04 April 2011

What pets should I have in my stable?

When 4.0.1 hit and we started preparing for Deathwing's changes, the biggest impact on my game was the inclusion of the new stable and call pet mechanics. Once you reach level 85, you can carry around 5 pets with you for usage in your instance or raid run. You also can stable 20 additional pets with your trusty stable master, allowing for 25 different pet choices.

What's a hunter to do? So many pet choices... Well, to review, let's take a look at the buffs and debuffs afforded by each pet family.

Pet Debuffs (Target)
Disarm: Birds of Prey & Scorpid
Reduce Melee and Ranged Attack Speed: Fox & Tallstrider
Reduce Casting Speed: Core Hound & Sporebat
Increase Magic Damage Taken: Dragonhawk & Wind Serpent
Reduce Physical Damage Caused: Carrion Bird & Bear
Interrupt Spell Casting / Spell School Lockout: Nether Ray, Moth & Gorilla
Increase Physical Damage Taken: Ravager
Increase Bleed Damage Taken: Hyena, Boar & Rhino
Reduce Armor: Serpent & Raptor
Reduce Healing Received: Devilsaur
Stun: Bat & Wasp
Root: Silithid, Spider, Dog & Crab
Slow Movement Speed: Chimaera, Crocolisk & Warp Stalker

Pet Buffs (Party & Raid)
Increase Strength & Agility: Cat & Spirit Beast
Increase Critical Chance: Devilsaur & Wolf
Increase Stamina: Silithid
Bloodlust / Heroism / Time Warp (30% haste): Core Hound

Who says that all hunters do is DPS? Pffftt!

Here's how my choices have broken down to date. First and foremost, one of my talent trees will always remain Beast Mastery for the aptly named Beast Mastery talent enabling taming of exotic pets. I invested so many hours in taming Loque'nahak that I refuse to lose the ability to tame or control Exotic pets. Just last weekend, my guild was gracious enough to allow me to tame Chromaggus in Blackwing Lair, so the Core Hound will also be a permanent fixture. My exotic pets tamed just because I can tame them include:
  • Sprit Beast (looks and utility)
  • Core Hound (looks and utility)
  • Devilsaur (because I love having a pet T-Rex)
  • Silithid (utility only - ugliest and most annoying pet in the game)
So far, that's 4 out of 25 taken.

Now I branch out into PVP vs PVE pets. Some of the pet abilities really lend themselves to PVP play. My essential PVP pets include:
  • Bird of Prey (for disarming)
  • Chimaera (for ranged slowing)
  • Wasp (for stunning)
  • Monkey (for sheer poo-flinging fun)
  • Rhino (for knock backs near cliffs)
  • Crab (for root)
  • Spider (for ranged root)
  • Moth (spell caster interrupts)
As an aside regarding PVP, nothing makes me giggle more than busting out Rhino near the edge and blowing a healer that's parked near a cliff off the map. Depending if I'm targeting healers (casting slow or interrupt) or melee (stun, disarm) the other pets are tailored for the tactic. The Crab and Spider are throwbacks to Wrath PVP.

That's 8 more, bringing me to 12 and leaving 13 more... Now, for PVE usage.

  • Tallstrider (reduces target's attack speed)
  • Wind Serpent (increase magic damage taken)
  • Carrion Bird (reduces target's physical damage dealt)
  • Ravager (increase physical damage taken)
  • Hyena (increase bleed effectiveness)
  • Raptor (reduced armor)
  • Wolf (critical chance buff)
  • Cat (str/agi buff)
  • Dog (root) (used on Valks in LK fight)

The PVE pet I unveil depends upon the makeup of the group or raid. The Wolf is always with me, because he's the general purpose DPS and buff that doesn't compete with any other classes. Alternatively, if I see that we have several casters but nobody is debuffing the target for magic damage, the Wind Serpent arrives (especially nice for Survival specs). Or, perhaps we have a rogue or marksman hunter and the other buffs are covered? Why not buff bleeds with the Hyena? Lots of physical damage? Ravager to the rescue! Just want to be THAT hunter? Break out the Tallstrider (I adore running randoms with my pink flamingo!).

Anyways, that's another 9, bringing my total number of tamed pets to 21 and leaving 4 spots. Now, for solo tanking or achievement farming, I want some good old fashioned tanking pets.

  • Bear (general purpose stuff)
  • Beetle (extreme soloing -- the combo of harden carapace and cower is amazing, especially when combined with the 2 piece t5 set bonus)
  • Shale Spider (alternative extreme soloing for the stats buff)

The additional 3 brings me to 24 spots leaving 1. So here I sit wondering what pets to complete my  stable with. I prefer having one of each pet family, so no duplicate families.  I'd love to hear from readers on their favorite pets to tame and why you love them so!