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PvP Race Guide 5.4

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The choice of your race is not only of aesthetic nature, but also comes with several racial skills that are not equally valuable in PvP. This guide discusses the additional benefits each race provides in PvP combat.

Although objectively speaking it will be optimal to choose the best race, you should not pick one you absolutely hate or change your race only because there is a stronger one. The benefits are, however nice they may be, minor and will most likely not decide between win or loss.


We cover four topics in this guide:





spell_shadow_charm.jpgEvery Man for Himself removes every crowd control effects from yourself and thus works just like the PvP Trinket. It is one of the best racials currently available in PvP, because instead of equipping a PvP Trinket like inv_jewelry_trinketpvp_01.jpgTyrannical Gladiator's Medallion of Cruelty you can use another trinket that provides further bonuses. This makes Humans the best Alliance race to choose. Note that it shares a cooldown with the other available PvP trinkets. How good the bonus exactly is, is shown in the "math" section.

inv_enchant_shardbrilliantsmall.jpgThe Human Spirit gives a small boost to spirit and is valuable for healers, while inv_hammer_05.jpgMace Specialization and ability_meleedamage.jpgSword Specialization provide 1% expertise, which is a neat buff for some classes. Unless you want to be inv_misc_tabardpvp_03.jpgThe Justicar, inv_misc_note_02.jpgDiplomacy is useless in PvP.


Dwarves can use spell_shadow_unholystrength.jpgStoneform to reduce the incoming damage by 10% for 8 seconds and remove posion, disease and bleed effects every 2 minutes. Although seemingly strong at a glance, Stoneform is actually not as beneficial as you might think. A 10% damage reduction is nice, but does not really matter much. In the 8 seconds it is active you might, for example, receive 400,000 burst damage. Stoneform would reduce this to 360,000 damage. Another hit or two and you are dead.

inv_musket_03.jpgCrack Shot and inv_hammer_05.jpgMace Specialization provide 1% expertise, so make sure you use the appropriate weapons. spell_frost_wizardmark.jpgFrost Resistance is almost useless with 1% damage mitigation and only works against a certain spell school, but it is nice to have regardless. inv_misc_map08.jpgExplorer is, of course, useless in PvP - at least I can not think of one situation in which archaeology has given a PvP player an advantage.

Night Elf

ability_ambush.jpgShadowmeld is a very strong cooldown and only second to spell_shadow_charm.jpgEvery Man for Himself on the Alliance side. Shadowmeld allows you to go into a stealth state until you move around or use a skill, which not only removes you from the target and focus of your enemies and thus creates confusion, but it can also be used to avoid spells provided you time it correctly. A Rogue can directly go into stealth after using Shadowmeld, which renders being a Night Elf especially useful to Rogues. While the racial is very powerful, it is also hard to use, so you might consider choosing a different race if you are not comfortable using it.

spell_nature_spiritarmor.jpgNature Resistance only provides 1% damage mitigation and is thus negligible. ability_racial_shadowmeld.jpgQuickness is actually nice, because you could end up dodging an important ability that would have otherwise hit you. Many melee classes stack expertise until they have negated the caster dodge cap, but do not pay attention to the Night Elf dodge cap, so there might be a slight chance that you are dodging more - unless you are of course an agility class in which case you are dodging more either way. spell_nature_wispsplode.jpgWisp Spirit is a nice utility and especially nice when you die for the fifth time while camping Orgrimmar, but it is useless in competitive PvP.


ability_rogue_trip.jpgEscape Artist frees you from all movement imparing effects including roots every 90 seconds. Thus it is an excellent racial skill for melee classes, especially because it does not share a cooldown with a similar ability. It does not have a global cooldown as well, so you can use it whenever you are rooted or slowed. While it is useful for melee players, it is not as useful for ranged damage dealers or healers. I can see some cases where a healer can use Escape Artist after they were rooted behind a pillar and save their mate, but healers generally have means to dispel most of the roots, and ranged DPS classes can make damage while rooted most of the time - unless of course pillars are involved.

inv_enchant_essenceeternallarge.jpgExpansive Mind increases your mana pool by 5%, which is especially useful to healers. It not only increases your mana by 15000, but also improves percentage based mana regeneration skills by a small amount due to the larger mana pool. spell_nature_wispsplode.jpgArcane Resistance provides 1% damage reduction to arcane magic - and again, this passive bonus is negligible. inv_weapon_shortblade_05.jpgShortblade Specialization provides 1% expertise with Daggers and One-Handed Swords, which is as nice as the other racial expertise buffs. inv_misc_gear_01.jpgEngineering Specialization gives you no combat advantage - except the "early" trade_engineering.jpgNitro Boosts. Disclaimer: Icy Veins is not responsible for eventual death caused by fuel leaks while using Nitro Boosts.

It may be worth noting that Gnomes have a smaller "targeting box". So there might be the slight chance that a player clicks to target you and misses, because you are smaller than all the other races. Do not bet on that, though.


spell_holy_holyprotection.jpgGift of the Naaru has a severe problem as a racial ability. The 20% healing are reduced by ability_creature_cursed_05.jpgBattle Fatigue to only 9% healing and the healing is distributed over 15 seconds. A player that has 400,000 life heals for an astonishing 2,400 health per second. This amount is practically nothing and since such an ability is only useful in burst situations - yet burst damage requires burst heal - we can safely say that the Draenei racial active skill is the worst we have seen yet and will probably see.

inv_helmet_21.jpgHeroic Presence is equivalent to the expertise racial buffs we have seen, but it increases your hit chance, not expertise. This makes it useful for caster classes as well. spell_shadow_detectinvisibility.jpgShadow Resistance is another 1% damage reduction and thus negligible. And as always, spell_misc_conjuremanajewel.jpgGemcutting is useless in PvP.

Draenei is the worst race you could pick, at least when it comes to the racial abilities.


ability_racial_darkflight.jpgDarkflight increases your movement speed by 40% for 10 seconds. As with similar skills, the downside is that neither snares nor roots are removed. This makes the skill, albeit being useful in some situations, not helpful against most classes, since they will likely slow or even root you regardless. Darkflight is useful to close the gap between you and your enemy, but does in no way outvalue the benefits Humans, Night Elves or Gnomes provide.

spell_shadow_antishadow.jpgAberration is a 1% damage reduction against Nature and Shadow spells. The 1% are again almost negligible in PvP. ability_hunter_pet_wolf.jpgViciousness increases your critical strike chance by 1%, which is beneficial to every class. As 1% expertise or hit require less points than 1% critical strike chance, the racial is better than similar 1% bonuses. ability_druid_rake.jpgFlayer, achievement_worganhead.jpgTwo Forms and ability_racial_runningwild.jpgRunning Wild are not relevant to PvP.

Worgen has very little benefit in PvP and we do not recommend playing one.



racial_orc_berserkerstrength.jpgBlood Fury increases your attack power by 4514 and/or your spell power by 2257 depending on your class. This effect lasts 15 seconds and the skill can be used every two minutes. This makes the racial an excellent additional burst ability in PvP. Although the human racial is still better statwise if you do the math, it can be used at the same time as on-use burst trinkets like spell_holy_championsbond.jpgMalevolent Gladiator's Badge of Conquest and is thus extremely useful in burst situations, on the Horde side that is.

inv_axe_02.jpgAxe Specialization increases the expertise with Axes and Fist Weapons by 1%. Like the other expertise racials, this is another excellent bonus for some classes. ability_warrior_warcry.jpgCommand increases the damage dealt by pets by 2% and is a nice buff especially for hunters. inv_helmet_23.jpgHardiness decreases the duration of stuns by 15% and stacks with similar effects. This is absolutely massive in PvP. It will for example decrease a 6 second stun to 5.1 seconds, which is a whole global cooldown for some classes.


spell_shadow_raisedead.jpgWill of the Forsaken removes charm, fear and sleep effects and is an excellent second PvP Trinket. However, it shares a 30 second cooldown with the PvP Trinket itself, so be careful when using Will of the Forsaken. This is one of the best PvP racials and this alone makes Undead a strong PvP race.

spell_shadow_fingerofdeath.jpgTouch of the Grave has a 20% chance to inflict 12654 to 14706 additional damage to a target when using spells or attacking and heals you for the damage done. The net gain is minor though. If we take the median of 12654 and 14706, of 13680 damage you will do about 4378 damage to a player with 72% resilience and due to ability_creature_cursed_05.jpgBattle Fatigue the healing will only be about 1970.

ability_racial_cannibalize.jpgCannibalize is an interesting spell. You can use it to eat an enemy Humanoid or Undead corpse to regenerate 35% of your health and mana over 10 seconds in 2 second intervals. You can use it in combat, but any action or damage taken will cancel the effect. I could see uses for it in PvP if it would not be canceled by damage and even then it would be hard to get the full 35% health back. You would have to crowd control your opponent effectively and have another corpse available. The problem is that you will probably not be able to pull it off against classes that either have a DoT effect on you or have a pet, because both things mentioned do damage to you. And even if you can use Cannibalize in such a situation, it is surely not helpful to be placed in a disadvantageous position and your self-heal will probably heal you more than this racial skill. Outside of combat you are better off eating and drinking something. So Cannibalize is practically useless in PvP; although it sounds nice at first.

spell_shadow_detectinvisibility.jpgShadow Resistance reduces the Shadow damage taken by 1%, a number that is too low to be significant.


ability_warstomp.jpgWar Stomp stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds. This is an excellent interrupt and short CC ability. If the cast was not delayed by attacks, it would be an excellent skill for healers as well - in the current form it is just situationally usable. As you have to stand near your opponent, you can not use this ability in your CC chain reliably. However, it can be used by melee classes to interrupt enemy casters and healers, which can be the small factor that decides between win or loss.

spell_nature_unyeildingstamina.jpgEndurance increases your base health by 5%. The term base is important in this context. As every character on level 90 has 146663 base health, this racial skill only increases the health by 7333 points, which is not much and will not be a big factor in winning or losing a fight.

spell_nature_spiritarmor.jpgNature Resistance reduces the nature damage taken by 1% and is thus negligible. inv_misc_flower_01.jpgCultivation is useless in PvP. How can a big cow be the best at picking flowers anyway?


racial_troll_berserk.jpgBerserking increases your attack and casting speed by 20% for 10 seconds and can be used every 3 minutes. It is a nice racial in situations where you need burst damage or healing. However, the Orc racial racial_orc_berserkerstrength.jpgBlood Fury still provides a far bigger advantage and Berserking can not come close to the utility spells of other races.

spell_nature_regenerate.jpgRegeneration increases your health regeneration rate by 10% and 10% of your total health regeneration continues while in combat. You regenerate 1% of your total health every 2 seconds at level 90. So with 1.1% health regeneration, you will regenerate 0.11% of your total health every 2 seconds, which is practically less than nothing and makes the racial skill useless.

inv_misc_idol_02.jpgDa Voodoo Shuffle be good for da roots mon! No seriously, it is a cool racial for melees especially against these nasty 8 second roots. inv_weapon_bow_12.jpgDead Eye is a nice expertise buff for hunters, but useless for all other classes. inv_misc_pelt_bear_ruin_02.jpgBeast Slaying is useless in PvP.

The Troll racials are not entirely useless, but not the most amazing either. Ya should be choosin' Troll for da stylez mon! Okay, enough of the flat Troll accent jokes. I promise.

Blood Elf

spell_shadow_teleport.jpgArcane Torrent instantly silences nearby enemies for 2 seconds and restores your primary or secondary energy source every 2 minutes. It is an excellent additional interrupt and thus especially useful to counter healers or casters. Although it only silences for 2 seconds, it does not trigger the global cooldown, which makes it usable without wasting a global cooldown that would bring in damage or healing. In contrast to ability_warstomp.jpgWar Stomp it has no cast time, which makes it especially viable to interrupt a cast in the last second.

spell_shadow_antimagicshell.jpgArcane Resistance is a 1% damage reduce that affects Arcane damage. Like the other reduction racials, this is negligible as well. inv_enchant_shardglimmeringlarge.jpgArcane Affinity is useless in PvP.

Blood Elves only have one racial skill that is useful in PvP, which makes them a quite inferior race. More interesting is that the most played Horde race is Blood Elf, but not everyone is a PvP player either.


inv_gizmo_rocketlauncher.jpgRocket Barrage and ability_racial_rocketjump.jpgRocket Jump are the active abilities of the Goblin, but they share a cooldown. The first mentioned is a simple damage spell, but does not provide a huge damage bonus, while ability_racial_rocketjump.jpgRocket Jump lets you jump about 20 yards forward. It is a nice skill to get away or possibly adjust your positioning. Comparing it to the other racials however does not yield a good result: The Horde active racial skills are generally useful in PvP combat - this one is too, but more a gimmick than a serious ability.

ability_racial_timeismoney.jpgTime is Money provides a nice passive bonus to haste and can not be moaned about. ability_racial_bestdealsanywhere.jpgBest Deals Anywhere, ability_racial_betterlivingthroughchemisBetter Living Through Chemistry and ability_racial_packhobgoblin.jpgPack Hobgoblin are nice quality of life racial skills.




pandarenracial_quiveringpain.jpgQuaking Palm disorients your target for 4 seconds every 2 minutes. You can only use it at melee range and it is on the same diminishing returns as other frequently used crowd control spells as you can see here. That said it is a very viable CC racial especially in PvP and an additional CC spell never hurts. However, I don't think it is as viable as the Orc or Human racial.

pandarenracial_epicurean.jpgEpicurean doubles the stat bonus you get from any spell_misc_food.jpgWell Fed effect, which effectively gives you 300 points of your primary stat on level 90. This is a very good passive bonus, but requires you to eat a lot, so you might consider not rolling a Pandaren if you try to watch your figure.

pandarenracial_bouncy.jpgBouncy can be useful in battlegrounds when you are kicked off of a cliff, but otherwise it does not provide a huge benefit in PvP. pandarenracial_innerpeace.jpgInner Peace doubles your rested experience, which will come in handy while leveling. pandarenracial_gourmand.jpgGourmand is of course useless in PvP.




 The Math

This section tries to express the usefulness of several racial skills in numbers. We can of course not measure the power of situational racial skills in a precise way, but the results presented can be used to comprehend our reasoning behind the recommendations made above.


Orcs & Humans

Comparing Orcs and Humans is fairly easy. It is basically the same as comparing an additional PvP burst trinket to a procc effect PvP trinket.

spell_shadow_charm.jpgEvery Man for Himself gives us the opportunity to choose another trinket. This will be a procc effect trinket like inv_misc_token_argentdawn3.jpgTyrannical Gladiator's Insignia of Dominance or a similar PvE trinket. The effect can procc every 45 seconds for 20 seconds. The chance of activation is 15%, so it will probably be activated a few seconds after the internal cooldown of 45 seconds is finished. As the trinket grants about 4065 spell power, in the optimal case we can assume that we have a permanent spell power increase of 1807. This is a very good number, which even increases as item levels get higher, in contrast to the Orc racial.

racial_orc_berserkerstrength.jpgBlood Fury grants 2257 spell power and an equivalent amount of melee attack power to the caster for 15 seconds with a cooldown of 2 minutes. This is a permanent spell power increase of about 282. Granted, the spell can be used in combination with the burst trinket, but so can the effect of the additional trinket for Humans with an uptime of 44% of the time.

1% Is Really Low

Throughout the guide I said that 1% damage reduction is negligible. I want to show why.

First of all, the racial passive damage reductions are limited to one or two categories (like spell_shadow_detectinvisibility.jpgShadow Resistance and spell_shadow_antishadow.jpgAberration). Thus it is a bonus that only works against certain classes. Even worse, it does practically nothing against physical damage, which accounts for a significant amount of the damage on the battlefield. An exact number of the actual amount of damage reduced can not be given as every fight is different, but we can make a generous estimate and say that in a standard game about 25% of the incoming damage can be reduced by the passive. This is more of a wild gut feeling guess, but it will probably be less. Feel free to measure it exactly.

In order to show the unimportance of the racial skill, let's assume the absolute best case for the passive. A Draenei with 72% resilience and no further damage reduction is hit by a Shadow Bolt for 1000 damage. As Draenei have the spell_shadow_detectinvisibility.jpgShadow Resistance racial passive, the damage of the Shadow Bolt will be further reduced by 1%. As always, we apply the damage reductions multiplicative:


1000 * 0.28 = 280

1000 * 0.28 * 0.99 = 277.2


The first calculation is without the 1% damage reduction, the second with. We have a stunning difference of 2.8 damage. If the initial damage was 300,000, which is a big critical hit, we had a damage of 84,000 after applying resilience and further 83,160 after applying the 1% damage reduction. Again, a mind-blowing difference of 840. This will surely save lives. Who forgot to close the irony tag?

But seriously, the damage reduction is so low that it will make no practical difference. Additionally, the fact that it is only useful against certain spell categories makes the racial passive unreliable, which is of course bad.


If we go the DPS route and say that a player is hit by about 100,000 damage per second from various sources, and assume 25% of the damage is reduced by 1%, we get the following DPS formula.


100000 * 0.28 = 28000

100000 * 0.28 * (1 - (0.01 * 0.25)) = 27930


We have a DPS difference of 70. By now it should be clear that the passive is, as said, useless.

Stat Buffs

Every race has a secondary stat buff of 1% in some form. We will list them and evaluate their usefulness.

  • Worgen get 1% Crit, which equals to 600 Crit rating.
  • Goblins gain 1% Haste, which is 425 Haste rating.
  • Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs and Trolls gain 1% Expertise, which amounts to 340 Expertise rating. Expertise is not only useful for melee classes, as it grants a bonus to Spell Hit as well. Dreanei get 1% Hit, which is 340 Hit rating.
  • Human casters also gain 3% more Spirit, which will give 255 additional spirit with about 8500 spirit and scales very well.
  • Tauren gain 5% more base health, which amounts to about 733 Stamina. They would stat-wise be on top of the list, but Stamina is not very useful in PvP. Night Elves gain 2% Dodge Chance, and the importance of this stat is as well quite low.
  • If Pandaren are spell_misc_food.jpgWell Fed, they gain a doubled amount of stats, thus 300 Agility, Intellect or Strength additionally. This is technically the best stat buff, but not allowed in the Arena. Sadly, this makes it the worst stat buff in competitive PvP.



If you have any questions, suggestions or mistakes to point out, feel free to reply here or send me a personal message.

Edited by Marco
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Greetings Marco,


First, gratz for the exelent and quite usefull  guide you wrote for all pvp-ers.


I only have one quiestiuon but i m not sure if i m right, so sorry if my info is not correct.


You say that: Every Man for Himself removes every crowd control effects ...This makes Humans the best Alliance race to choose."

But i think they made that skill to share cooldown with the trinket so its not that important now. Sure its usefull if you dont have the trinket but that 's 1 st item you get when you go pvp. In case i m right the player can choose other race to benefit from other skills.

I might be wrong about the cooldown and if so i m sorry for the wrong info.

Again, great guide and wish you luck.

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It is true that the human racial and the trinkets share cooldowns.  What this means, however, is that rather than carrying the cc trinket, you can replace it with a trinket with stats for your class.  The amount of stats available from this is superior to the gains of any other race.

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It is true that the human racial and the trinkets share cooldowns.  What this means, however, is that rather than carrying the cc trinket, you can replace it with a trinket with stats for your class.  The amount of stats available from this is superior to the gains of any other race.

Exactly. That is what I wrote as well, in a sense. :)


And thanks for the feedback, Varkaaf!

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The race change will be a minor improvement, like 2% to 3% DPS. I don't think your race is the first thing you have to fix. I play a Night Elf, for example, and can still do good damage.

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Ok so where is this PVP guide. And if i was just reading it that has to be the shortest and sadest thing i ever seen. what didi i learn here? Nothing..is the correct answer. Why? It tells us what we already know and offers us what Blizzard wants to give back for the millions of dollars they soak you for over the years and that is, here let me do the math . Absolutely less than 1 % . So if there is a pvp guide that can be called a guide then what web age may i find it.? Also when is this greedy company going to actually show its appreciation to the players.? 

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Ok so where is this PVP guide. And if i was just reading it that has to be the shortest and sadest thing i ever seen. what didi i learn here? Nothing..is the correct answer. Why? It tells us what we already know and offers us what Blizzard wants to give back for the millions of dollars they soak you for over the years and that is, here let me do the math . Absolutely less than 1 % . So if there is a pvp guide that can be called a guide then what web age may i find it.? Also when is this greedy company going to actually show its appreciation to the players.? 

Dear Biggestwood,


Thank you for your input! Users' first posts have to be approved by a moderator before it gets published. I have deleted your second and third comments, because they were completely inappropriate. 

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Lol, did you really make an account just to comment on an outdated guide from Mists of Pandaria?

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