Night Fae is the go-to covenant for all forms of PvE content, providing the highest dps in every scenario. Convoke the Spirits provides Feral with a much needed burst Cooldown and as such, a very desirable and relevant damage profile, especially in Single Target scenarios. It is important to note that Moonfire casts from Convoke in Cat Form are treated as ones cast with Lunar Inspiration and, along with multiple casts of Rake, add to its value on Cleave and AoE, while 3-6 casts of Ferocious Bite (also note that all Ferocious Bites that Convoke casts count as having 5 Combo Points and 50 Energy) add massively to its value on Single Target.
Soulshape is also a great mobility tool, which is always nice to have, despite Feral not lacking in terms of mobility. If you’re planning on playing Feral in any sort of relevant high-end content (aka if you plan to raid Mythic or push relatively high keys), Night Fae is a no-brainer and miles ahead of the alternatives. This guide is going to assume you’re playing Night Fae.
Necrolord provides Feral with bleed-focused gameplay and is reminiscent of the spec in earlier expansions gameplay wise. Fleshcraft is a nice bit of defensive utility, but Feral already has an incredible amount of damage mitigation and healing, making it redundant more often than not. While Necrolord is only slightly behind Night Fae on paper (at least on Single Target), it comes with multiple downsides.
Firstly, Necrolord sims aren’t entirely reproducible which makes the Covenant even worse in practice.
Secondly, Necrolord is both harder to play and has a significantly worse damage profile. Its focus on DoTs makes it so it has no burst potential as well as no real ability to target swap, since it has significant ramp-up time. Necrolord Feral can be fun but has no place in high-end content at the moment.
Kyrian and Venthyr
Both of these Covenants play very similarly to Night Fae while being strictly worse so there’s really not a whole lot to say about them. In 9.1, Kyrian has become competitive with Night Fae in Mythic +, but is still significantly weaker in Raid, so it’s a valid choice if you exclusively play Mythic+, but that’s about it.
Soulbinds and Conduits
Taste for Blood: This Conduit makes Ferocious Bite deal increased damage for every Cat Form Bleed on the target (meaning the Conduit does not interact with non-Cat Form Bleeds, such as Embrace of Kimbul, the Zandalari Troll Racial). It synergises well with both Sabertooth and Apex Predator’s Craving. This is Feral’s strongest Conduit on Single Target and Low Target Cleave situations.
Conflux of Elements: This Conduit simply increases your damage and healing done during your Convoke the Spirits channel. Note that it doesn’t only increase the damage/healing of abilities cast by Convoke itself, but also makes your Bleed ticks stronger for the duration. It is a very strong Conduit and enhances your burst potential by a decent amount. It will be your second best Potency Conduit option in all situations.
Born of the Wilds: This Conduit reduces the Cooldown of the entirety of the Level 35 Talent Row, making it the only Finesse Conduit that is a dps gain, since Heart of the Wild is a dps Talent in a utility Talent Row. That fact alone makes it so you can safely lock this Conduit in.
Well-Honed Instincts: This is one of the strongest Endurance Conduits in the game and is a fairly safe option to go with, acting as a pseudo Cheat Death. Note that the heal is cancelled if you shapeshift in or out of a form during its 3 second long duration, so try your best not to do that when it procs.
Innate Resolve: This Conduit buffs both Frenzied Regeneration (which only really applies to Feral through Well-Honed Instincts, since Guardian Affinity is generally not taken) and Regrowth cast on yourself, most(if not all) of which should be cast while you’re pooling and Predatory Swiftness is active. This is a very good option as a second Endurance Conduit, seeing as it both synergises with Well-Honed Instincts and improves your self-healing throughput.
Ursine Vigor: This Conduit gives you a large amount of increased health and armor for 4 seconds every time you enter Bear Form, making it effectively a potent defensive with no cooldown. While it’s rather situational, since there’s fights where you’d never make use of it and fights where it’s incredibly strong, it is definitely something to keep in mind and often switch on and off of when appropriate.
Niya is a very strong Soulbind, offering one Finesse Conduit slot, two Endurance Conduit slots, two Potency Conduit slots and the choice between a third Potency Conduit + Niya’s Tools: Poison OR a third Endurance Conduit + Niya’s Tools: Burrs. Niya’s Tools: Poison either does nothing on Raid Encounters with no Interrupts, or does negligible damage when Interrupting is possible, making it so you can ignore it for the most part.
Niya also offers Grove Invigoration, a very powerful Mastery buff with solid uptime, buffed even further through Bonded Hearts. Generally, double Potency + Niya’s Tools: Burrs is recommended for Raids and triple Potency is recommended for Mythic+ and Raid Encounters where you’d take the Predator Talent. Niya should be your go-to Soulbind for all Raid Encounters and Mythic+ Dungeons, swapping between Niya’s Tools: Burrs and Carnivorous Instinct for the two pieces of content.
Note: Conduit Placement matters since patch 9.1 brought with it Conduit enhancements.
Feral is in a bit of a unique situation in that it has 5 strong legendaries, each with its own niche. You’ll find yourself swapping Legendaries more often than Talents, especially in Raid and even more so during farm Raids. Each of their niches, as well as when and how they should be used is outlined below.
While this is still accurate in theory, Celestial Spirits is genuinely something you can lock-in and forget about and still be optimal 99% of the time. Especially since Bonded Hearts became available, Celestial Spirits pulled ahead of alternatives on everything except extremely niche cases and even then, Celestial Spirits would be very marginally behind.
Draught of Deep Focus
Draught of Deep Focus is an incredibly powerful Single Target Legendary, increasing the power of your Rips and Rakes (Moonfires too technically, making it so you want to Moonfire in every Owlweaving cycle while you’re using this Legendary) when they’re only on one target. This should be your go-to for every fight where the focus is Single Target, even if there’s adds. Having this Legendary on makes using Rip on a second target roughly dps neutral assuming they live the entire duration, so generally speaking you only want to Rip one target at a time with this on. Rake on the other hand, can be spread, since the opportunity cost for using Rake is effectively Shred, which does very little damage. This Legendary is the optimal choice for most Raid Encounters, especially during progression.
Optimal Slot: Neck
Apex Predator's Carving
Apex Predator’s Craving is a strong legendary that allows your Rip ticks to have a chance to proc a free Ferocious Bite, which acts as one used with 5 Combo Points and 50 Energy. It synergizes very well with Sabertooth. Using it in combination with Primal Wrath is your only real “funnel” option on the spec, allowing you to use the free Ferocious Bite on a priority target, which can be especially useful on Inspiring weeks in Mythic+. Apex also shines in Low Target Cleave situations, outperforming the alternatives. There’s also the misconception that Apex is a good Single Target Legendary option, since it interacts with the spec’s two main Single Target finishers.
This is false, since all other options mentioned here outperform it on Single Target. Its proc is not RPPM, meaning it’s entirely random, making it a Legendary with a high amount of variance, especially on lower target numbers. This Legendary is the go-to for 2 or 3 Target Cleave Bosses as well as AoE Bosses with priority targets. It’s also a viable option for Mythic+.
Optimal Slot: Belt
Circle of Life and Death
Circle of Life and Death Circle makes your DoTs do their full damage in a shorter duration, effectively increasing their damage, but making it so you have to refresh them more often. It is a very strong AoE option thanks to its synergy with Primal Wrath. It shines on higher target numbers and is generally the best Mythic+ Legendary option.
Optimal Slot: Ring
Frenzyband makes your generators during Berserk place a stacking Bleed effect on the target, while also reducing the Cooldown of Berserk by a bit for every generator used. The Cooldown reduction is roughly 20 seconds in current gear levels and can be effectively ignored for the most part, as utilizing it may do more harm than good through desyncing Berserk and Inscrutable Quantum Device /Jotungeirr, which you definitely want to be using with this Legendary. It provides a great amount of burst, making it a solid option on encounters that favour burst damage. Those include fights with burst phases, significant downtime and fights with short duration. It is also a solid option in Mythic+, but has become weaker with the removal of the seasonal affix, Prideful.
Optimal Slot: Wrists / Waist
Stats: Crit/Mastery OR Crit/Vers
The Night Fae Covenant Legendary, it reduces Convoke the Spirit’s Cooldown to 1 minute, but it now casts 12 spells instead of 16. After its massive buff right before it became available, this has become a very strong Legendary option. It is now easily our best all-around option and competitive in every scenario. It especially shines on encounters where no other Legendary’s niche is prevalent, for example fights where there’s enough cleave for Draught of Deep Focus to lose value, but not quite enough to make swapping to Apex Predator’s Craving worth it. Its synergy with Niya’s Grove Invigoration and Bonded Hearts adds to its power as well.
Optimal Slot: Legs
With the release of the Sanctum of Domination, our Best in Slot Weapon is Jotungeirr, Destiny’s Call. I’ll go into more detail on its specific section below, but this Weapon’s on-use effect puts active Trinkets on a 20 second Cooldown, making active Trinkets that give stats (and therefore ones you would want to use together with your Cooldowns), such as Inscrutable Quantum Device considerably weaker, meaning we’ll mostly be focusing on passive Trinkets, or ones with on-use effects that deal damage instead of providing you with stats. That said, if you don’t have access to the Mythic version of Jotungeirr, using a 252 Weapon combined with Inscrutable Quantum Device will outperform the Heroic version of Jotungeirr combined with alternatives.
Domination Sockets: The current best Domination Shard Set Bonus for Feral is Unholy, so you want to run 3 Unholy Shards and then the 2 leftover damage based ones from the others sets.
Jotungeirr, Destiny’s Call: This is our Best in Slot Weapon from the Sanctum of Domination. It boosts all our Secondary Stats for 30 seconds on a 3 minute Cooldown. It greatly adds to our burst potential and lines up nicely with Berserk. It shares a 20 second Cooldown with active Trinkets, making it so you’d want to either run passive Trinkets with it, or active ones that just deal a flat amount of damage or otherwise have an effect that isn’t a buff to your stats.
Noteworthy Dungeons Trinkets:
Inscrutable Quantum Device: This Trinket is both simple and complex. Most of its uses will give you a large amount of one of your two best Secondary Stats for 20 seconds. This is changed to 25 seconds of your best Secondary Stat guaranteed if used during a Bloodlust effect. Unfortunately, it also has several other conditions that can make it difficult to get Stats more than once per encounter. It can heal a friendly target with low health, give mana to a Healer with low mana, remove CC from yourself and deal a flat amount of damage if your target is on low HP. This last one can be avoided by targeting yourself before using it, which can be very useful.
It also has a trigger to spawn an “illusory decoy” that grabs aggro, the spawning conditions of which aren’t entirely clear yet. This Trinkets massively adds to your burst and is a very strong option in most scenarios.
Phial of Putrefaction: Phial a strong and consistent passive Trinket. Its poison effect stacks but does not refresh. Its RPPM is solid and you can generally put it on and forget about it. Phial is very strong in this Tier and easily contends with Raid Trinkets, arguably beating all but Titanic Ocular Gland.
Noteworthy Raid Trinkets:
The Sanctum of Domination has a plethora of solid Trinkets for Feral, 4 out of the 5 dropping from the Raid being strong options. Titanic Ocular Gland and Salvaged Fusion Amplifier are the current highest simming options, but Decanter of Endless Howling and Relic of the Frozen Wastes are only slightly behind. All of them are fairly straightforward in what they do but I’ll outline their effects below.
Titanic Ocular Gland: Increases your highest Secondary Stat (should always be Crit) while above 50% health , but decreases it while you’re below 50% health. This Trinket is particularly good on Feral, even on progression, since with the spec’s plentiful self healing and strong defensive Cooldowns and Endurance Conduits, it should always have a near 100% uptime.
Salvaged Fusion Amplifier: An active Trinket that gives your attacks a chance to deal some Arcane damage. Can be used as a regular damaging on-use Trinket but make sure to maintain uptime while under its effects.
Decanter of Endless Howling: A crit Stat stick with an Agility proc and a solid RPPM. It also heals you if it procs while under 50% health, which technically means it has synergy with Titanic Ocular Gland, but this should never be relevant in practice.
Relic of the Frozen Wastes: This Trinket gives your attacks a chance to deal a small amount of damage and has a damage-dealing Active that allows you to hit more than one target if they’re located between you and your target. Generally quite good, partly because of the higher ilvl it’s available at.