FTFY: Tier 21 Set Bonuses - Pt 1 - Beast Mastery

Tier 21 - Nagastalker

Last week, when Blizzard released Argus onto the PTR, we got our first glimpse of what might, possible (ok, probably won't) be our tier bonuses in the next raid, Antorus.  Being as though we are very, very early in the development cycle, they were very incomplete, and listed zeros where all the numbers will go (if the mechanics even stay the same).  I wrote this big long article predicting what they would replace the zeros with, and then Tuesday afternoon, a new PTR build pops up with numbers replacing the zeros...  

Fortunately, however, the numbers are still fairly silly.  I'm guessing they're just going to plug in random numbers, and see how that affects the QA team. I, however, thought maybe we could do some mathing to skip ahead to the right answer; as it seems perhaps the developers at Blizzard are too busy working on new spell animations to do the math (no, I don't really think that's true, but come on, just go with it, for the sake of the narrative of this piece). Being the ever gracious logician I am, I figured I'd take a stab at them in this new series (which I just made up and decided will be a series) called: Fixed That For You, Blizzard

Beast Mastery Set Bonuses

I thought I'd start off with Beast Mastery, because BM players rarely get much love here on my site. Here are the Set Bonuses as they exist now on the PTR:

  • 2P Set Bonus - Kill Command damage increased by 10%.
  • 4P Set Bonus - When Wild Call resets the cooldown of Dire Beast, the cooldown of Kill Command is reduced by 1 second.

The 2 Piece; AKA, Let's see if I remember how to do middle-school Algebra

The 2 piece should be the simplest to figure out values for.  In this case, I'm going to assume that the expected value for each.set bonus is 4-5% increase in single target.

For this little analysis, I took the top Mythic Goroth BM Parse (or at least what was the top parse at the time of my writing this), and pretended I was making adjustments there.  

In this case, the Hunter did a total of 320.21 million damage in about 254 seconds.  Of that, 105.67 million damage came from Kill Command, which is to say 33% of the total damage. That was split between main pet, Hati and Jaws of Thunder (though all of them should be affected equally by a generic KC increased damage buff), across 65 casts of Kill Command. 

Seeing as though Kill Command is already the largest portion of a BM Hunter's damage, it's safe to assume that its usage is already being optimized, and having a damage buff to it won't really affect the number of KCs used in a fight.  

If we want to increase the total damage by 5%, we need to do an additional 16.01 million damage. Split across 65 Kill Commands, that's an additional .2463 million damage per Kill Command.  Kill Command was averaging 1.63 million damage per cast in this parse, so that extra .2463 million is 15.15%, which we can call an even 15% as generally we see some set bonuses that are a bit lower than a 5% overall buff, and some that are a bit higher, and people seem to like more rounded numbers like a multiple of 5.  

Another way to solve the problem would be to take that 16.01 million, and divide that by the total of the Kill Command damage, which as we said above was 105.67 million.  This also gives us .1515, or 15.15%.  

I feel fairly safe from this saying that we have a good answer there, and will fill in the 2 pc set bonus to match:

2P Set Bonus - Kill Command damage increased by 15%.

Other Notes:
The current top BM parse on Mythic Goroth that didn't take the Killer Cobra talent only used 46 Kill Commands, in a 5 minute fight.  That's one every 6.52 seconds, compared to the top overall parse (with Killer Cobra) that averaged using Kill Command once every 3.91 seconds. For the AotB BM Hunter, they would need a 30.5% buff to Kill Command to get a 5% overall buff to their damage from the 2 pc.  Basically, that's not going to happen, so get ready to play with Killer Cobra.

One reason I like this approach to a 2-pc set bonus, which should be fairly simple, is that it rewards you most for playing the spec well.  If you're not managing your focus, you'll cast fewer Kill Commands, and will thus benefit less from the bonus.  In the example I'm using here, we're looking at nearly perfect play, so a hunter playing on this level will see the full benefit, increasing their single target damage about 5%.  Every step down from the ideal rotation, however, will 'cause you to see less benefit from the 2-piece set bonus.  

Another thing I tend to like about this design is that it plays into BM's strengths, which are already Single Target.  It still can be useful in AoE fights, because most of the time you still have a priority-target, but you won't see nearly as much benefit.  However, this may improve BM's single target enough that we'll see occasions where ranged hunters will want to play BM for single-target fights, and MM for AoE.  That will, of course, depend greatly on the other tuning the devs have in store for the specs.  

The 4 Piece

This one gets a bit more complicated, and I'll have to double check that I remember all of the weird mechanics BM has right now.  The biggest trouble comes from the over-use of the Killer Cobra talent, which resets the cooldown of Kill Command during Bestial Wrath when you cast Cobra Shot. This means, essentially, the set bonus will be worthless during Bestial Wrath when taking the Killer Cobra Talent.  

The other problem here is in reducing the CD of Kill Command.  In this case, I'm going to assume that means your current CD, not the CD of your next cast.  That means, if you are using KC immediately any time it's available, you've got a good chance of reducing the CD when it's about to come off CD anyway.  

The Basic Mechanics:

For the numbers portion here, I'm going to look at the same parse as above.  We need that Hunter's haste and crit, and some other info, which I'll paste here:

Avg Crit30.3%
Base Haste14.95%
Avg Haste20.48%
Fight Length254 seconds
Auto Shots102
AShots Interval2.49 seconds
KC CD6.23 seconds
Avg KC CD3.91 seconds
KC Casts65
Dmg/KC Cast1.87 Million

To clarify, base Haste is from the stats on the hunter's gear, where as "Avg Haste" is what I calculated from the base Haste and the time spent in Bloodlust and any other buffs.  "KC CD" is the actual cooldown of Kill Command, and "Avg KC CD" is just the total number of Kill Command's cast divided by the length of the fight, which should account for any CD Reset mechanics, like Killer Cobra, which I mentioned above.  

Wild Call has a 20% chance to proc each time an Auto Shot crits.  With 30.32% Crit and the One With the Pack talent (which will become even more mandatory with this tier bonus), each Auto Shot will have a 15.16% chance to proc Wild Call. Given that this hunter averaged an autoshot every 2.49 seconds, that means Wild Call should proc, on average, once every 16.4 seconds.  Over a 254 second fight, that means this hunter would average around 15.5 procs.  

The Damage Portion:

Now we've got a pretty good idea of how we'll get the damage, let's see what kind of damage we need. To get an additional 5% of our new total damage (which was 320.21 million damage, for those who weren't following along doing the math), we'll need to do an additional 16.81 million damage.  

Since our new Kill Command (after the buff from the 2 pc set bonus) averages 1.87 million damage per cast, that means we'll need 9 additional casts.  

The Hard Part (for me at least):

Basically, we need a way for 15.5 procs of Wild Call to reduce the CD of Kill Command enough to give us 74 total Kill Command casts, up from our original 65 casts. 

And, as we discussed above, we'll further muddy the problem because we're just as likely to proc Wild Call at the end of a Kill Command CD as we are at the beginning of the CD (which I'm going to call the "Short CD Reduction Problem"), and during Bestial Wrath, most Kill Command CDs will only last one or two GCDs anyway, with just enough time to cast a Cobra Shot, or a Cobra Shot and a Dire Beast, between casts of Kill Command (which I'm going to call the "One With the Pack Problem").  

The One With The Pack problem should be the easiest to solve, so I want to start there.  I also suspect that it's going to solve the other problem for us, but we'll get to that later.  

Though anyone who's made it this far in a post like this will likely innately understand this, it's still worth noting that above when I said "Wild Call should proc about every 16.4 seconds", that isn't to say that it's at all on a 16.4 second timer.  That's only an expected value.  In reality you're just as likely to get 2 that are 2.5 seconds apart as you are to get 2 that are 33 seconds apart.  So we can't use any sort of knowledge of timers to plan out Bestial Wrath. 

Instead, let's just take the Bestial Wrath up-time, and assume we'll get an even distribution of Wild Call procs.  In the case of the parse I've been using for this, that hunter had a 53.04% Bestial Wrath up-time. Our best bet then is to assume that 53.04 of our Wild Call procs will fall within Bestial Wrath, on average.  That leaves us with only 7.28 Wild Call procs during not-Bestial Wrath, and 8.22 procs during Bestial Wrath. 

There is some value to getting procs during Bestial Wrath, so it's not all wasted.  Mostly this is because Cobra Shot costs focus, so the fewer Cobra Shots needed to reset the CD, the more focus you have for casting Kill Commands (if you have enough to cast anyway).  

In this particular parse, the hunter averaged 6.4 seconds between Kill Command casts while not in Bestial Wrath, and averaged 2.7 seconds between Kill Command casts during Bestial Wrath.  That means there is a bit of room to improve when you get a wild call proc during Bestial Wrath. 

There is fairly little value to getting these procs during Bestial Wrath when taking One With the Pack, because it resets so quickly anyhow. But, it won't be nothing, so let's work through it.

During Bestial Wrath, if we we're lucky enough to get the proc immediately after casting Kill Command, and we had enough focus to continue casting Kill Commands (and the CD reduction is more than 2.7 seconds, which we haven't actually decided yet), then instead of casting 6.07 Kill Commands in that window, we could cast 6.24. Of course, if it happened at the end of the Kill Command proc, then we wouldn't get any extra procs.  So we can call that an average of 6.16, or an extra .09 Kill Commands per Wild Call proc. 

If we're expecting to get 8.22 Wild Call procs during Bestial Wrath at a rate of .09 Kill Commands each, that will only take us to .74 extra Kill commands, only 8.24% of what we need (again, assuming that our CD reduction from the set bonus is greater than the interval of Kill Command casts during Bestial Wrath, which is to say, it resets the CD).

Outside of Bestial Wrath, we can calculate the value with the same method.  If we expect to get a Wild Call proc every 16.4 seconds, on average, in that same amount of time we will have cast 2.56 Kill Commands on average. The same rules for the "Short CD Reduction Problem" apply above, in that we're just as likely to get the proc at the very end of the CD (which provides no benefit) as we are at the very beginning of it (which would at best provide an extra 0.796 KCs per Wild Call proc). So then on average (again, if the set bonus removed the entire duration of KC's CD) , we're looking at an extra 0.398 Kill Commands per Wild Call proc outside of Bestial Wrath.

Because we're expecting (in the parse being used as an example here) 7.28 Wild Call procs outside of Bestial Wrath, we can expect that to get us about 2.9 extra Kill Commands, for a grand total of about 3 extra Kill Commands across the fight...  Far short of the 8.98 we need to get our 5% damage buff from the set bonus.  

1 Second CD reduction?

That's not the worst of it, though. If the bonus provides less than the entire CD reduction, then it will lose value significantly. For example, if it reduces the CD by only 1 second, as Tuesday's datamining suggests, then we'd be looking at only a 0.057 extra Kill Commands per Wild Call proc during Bestial Wrath, and 0.078 extra KCs per Wild Call proc outside of Bestial Wrath, for a grand total of 1.03 extra Kill Commands across the entire fight.

A Better Solution

The trouble that we're continuing to run into is what I above labeled the "Short CD Reduction Problem": you're as likely to get no value from the proc as full value.  One way to get around that issue altogether is instead of reducing or resetting the current CD, have the proc affect your next CD. Which brings us to my proposal:

4P Set Bonus - When Wild Call resets the cooldown of Dire Beast, the next Kill Command you cast will not incur a cooldown.

The results here would be slightly better.  Using the same process as above, only without having to average our CD reduction based on when the Wild Call proc occurs means we get almost an entire extra Kill Command per Wild Call Proc.  I say almost only because we still have a GCD to worry about.  Essentially, we'd average an extra .18 Kill Commands per Wild Call proc during Bestial Wrath (this number remains fairly low because the GCD is a large portion of your CD when you're casting KCs on average every 2.7 seconds), and an extra .8 Kill Commands per Wild Call proc when we're not in in Bestial Wrath, for a total of 7.24 extra Kill Commands in the Parse we're analyzing.  

That still falls short of our 5% goal, which was to hit 8.98 extra Kill Commands, but is much, much closer than using the CD reduction or reset method, but it gives us about a 4.23% damage increase, on average, which is well within the range of normal set bonuses.  

One With The Pack and Killer Cobra

Right now, with still using the 2 piece set bonus from tier 19, for single target the vast majority of top parses are using a crit heavy build, with Stomp!, One With the Pack, and Killer Cobra.  Without that tier 19 2-piece, you have the option of playing a that Stomp build, or using the Bestial Fury build which emphasizes mastery, and doesn't take Killer cobra or One With the Pack.  

It's hard at this point to predict whether or not that build will remain viable if you need to drop One With the Pack, given the tier 21 2-piece will benefit so much from the extra Kill Commands.  But if it is dropped, then the loss of extra Wild Call procs from not having One with the Pack should balance out with the extra Kill Commands you'll get all the time, as BW won't have that much, much higher rate of usage for Kill Command without Killer Cobra.  

How this works out is, assuming our friend from the parse i've been using was wearing the same gear, instead of getting a Wild Call proc every 16.4 seconds (on average), they would only get one every 40ish seconds.  However, each of those procs (assuming they go with the method I'm proposing) would get you an extra .8 Kill Commands.  Instead of half of them (those happening during Bestial Wrath with OWTP) only getting you an extra .18 Kill Commands.  

TL;DR: Fixed That For You, Blizzard

Here are my Delirium approved Beast Mastery Tier 21 set bonuses:

  • 2P Set Bonus* - Kill Command damage increased by 15%.
  • 4P Set Bonus* - When Wild Call resets the cooldown of Dire Beast, the next Kill Command you cast will not incur a cooldown.

*Note, anyone reading this who just googled "Beast Mastery Tier 21 set bonuses", these are my proposed fixes, not the actual bonuses.  Maybe try searching on wowhead... 


  1. Now do survival, because jesus christ is that a train wreck. WotMN or gtfo basically. Ugh. /retch.

    Gr8 tho <3

    1. Working on SV as we speak, probably will have something up tomorrow. 4-piece should be easy enough to make meaningful, but the 2-piece is just weird...

  2. Love reading these. As I only play BM, appreciate that effort!