Balance Druid Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.0.2
Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Balance Druid. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.
This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:
- Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
- Druid Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Druids gain by joining each Covenant;
- How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
- General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
- Druid Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Druids.
Selecting a Covenant for Balance Druids
It is important to understand the depth behind selecting a Covenant. When you select a Covenant, you are choosing 2 new abilities, 3 possible Soulbind trees, and a Covenant specific Conduit to boot.
This page will talk mainly about the all around optimal choice for entering high end PvE content. That being said, the remaining options can still be used just at the cost of some throughput.
We cover our thoughts on the Covenants and their Soulbinds in this section further below.
Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits
|Single-Target Kyrian||Kyrian||Pelagos||Balance Druid Single Target Pelagos tree|
|Multi-target Kyrian||Kyrian||Pelagos||Balance Druid Multi-target Pelagos tree|
|Single Target Night Fae||Night Fae||Niya||Balance Druid Niya Single Target tree|
|Multi-target Night Fae||Night Fae||Niya||Balance Druid Niya Multi-target tree|
As you can see, there is merit to choosing either Kyrian or Night Fae. Overall, we think that Kyrian is the better of the two options as it is the more adaptable of the two. Kyrian is slightly worse on one and two targets but better as we begin to scale up in target count. Night Fae ends up being up to 6% better on single target and single target type fights but falls off sharply. If you are largely playing solo or pugging content, Night Fae should be your choice.
When to Choose Kyrian as a Balance Druid
|Low cooldown burst||Relies on others for damage|
|Best multi-target option||Damage can be reduced by damage taken|
|Additional Healing potion during fights||Only second best single-target option|
|Combat Meditation is a powerful Soulbind trait|
For Balance Druid, Kyrian is the most flexible of all Covenant choices. It gives the Kindred Spirits ability, which can give up to 15% damage boost to you and your bonded partner. It scales well with multiple targets and is best on fights with adds or in dungeons but it can still be used on single target. A 1-minute cooldown that works well with the kit helps with damage on more sustained fights and makes us less cooldown reliant.
The Soulbind trait, Combat Meditation (provided by Pelagos), provides a substantial amount of Mastery, our strongest secondary stat. This spell lines up both duration wise and cooldown wise with out primary ability Kindred Spirits which compounds its effects.
Explaining Kindred Spirits
Kyrian has one of the more complicated abilities to understand out of almost any other Covenant choice in the game. When you use Kindred Spirits on an ally, that spell is transformed into 1-minute cooldown called Empower Bond. Let us get into how that works.
- Cast the spell Kindred Spirits, preferably on an ally that does more damage than you or has good cooldowns that align with Empower Bond's 1-minute cooldown.
- Use the ability Empower Bond. This will give both players two buffs. One has a 20-second duration and is an empty pool. The other buff takes 20% of all damage you deal over 10-seconds and places it into the linked players pool.
- While the pool is has anything in it, you are granted 15% additional damage and healing in the form of an additional ability. When you take damage, you gain an absorb equal to 15% of the damage you take.
- These benefits last until the pool expires or empties.
The best link partners are Unholy Death Knight, Marksmanship Hunter, Retribution Paladin, and Fire Mage.
Note that when you self-link, you do not gain a pool to be filled and just gain a flat 15% damage bonus. Self-linking makes Kyrian the worst of the Covenants in most content except against Necrolord on multi-target.
When to choose Night Fae as a Balance Druid
|Strongest single target burst cooldown||Falls off sharply with extra targets|
|Strong synergies with Legendary Powers||Two minute cooldown often requiring desyncing abilities|
|Grove Invigoration provides defense and damage|
|Short range blink|
Night Fae gives the Convoke the Spirits class ability, which is a powerful single-target ability. It casts a total of 16 Druid Spells over 4-seconds. On average, Convoke the Spirits will cast four Starsurges and a Starfall on single target as well as some additional Balance, Healing, and Melee (if in range) spells. This synergizes extremely well with Balance of All Things to create one of the highest burst combinations in the game.
Explaining Convoke the Spirits
Convoke the Spirits is a "RNG" spell. This means that the damage it deals between pulls can be different for no apparent reason. However, we can often times manipulate the RNG in our favor. Here are some things to look for before casting Convoke.
- Avoid standing in melee if possible. While normally, Convoke the Spirits will replace a Healing spell with a Melee spell, it can sometimes eat a Balance spell instead.
- See if your group is low on health. Sometimes 1-2 extra Healing spells will be cast if your party or raid is low.
- Have Moonfire applied to your target. If a Moonfire is on the target, it will not try to cast Moonfire and use that slot instead on a better Balance ability.
- Always cast this during the Balance of All Things window. The bonus Critical Strike chance is strong when you cast 10-11 damaging spells inside its window.
In the below sections, we will be talking about all the usable Balance Druid Conduit choices separated by type. You get two Potency slots per Soulbind tree pheir availability is tied to Renown. This means that the second Potency Conduit for one Soulbind can be unlocked during different weeks. For a more comprehensive list of all Conduits, check out our Conduit page below.
Potency Conduits increase damage dealt. You get two Potency nodes with every Soulbind and every Covenant has their own Covenant specific Potency Conduit as well. Keep in mind that many Soulbinds do not use two Potency Conduits and instead have other options.
Balance Druid Potency Conduits
Balance Druid has four spec specific Potency Conduit choices. Balance Druid Potency slots are often minor upgrades that are more specific to the type of content you are doing. Keep in mind that you have a limited number of swaps so plan out swapping carefully if you are running low.
- Fury of the Skies is probably the best overall sustained choice for Balance Druid. This is a great raiding Conduit as it facilitates better sustained damage. In dungeons where mobs can die quicker, other Conduits can be better.
- Umbral Intensity is a good all around Potency Conduit which buffs the starting bonus of our base Eclipse. This is a good secondary option in most cases, especially one multi-target where you cast significantly fewer Starsurges.
- Stellar Inspiration is a poor single target option and a passable multi-target option. It fills its niche best on sustained multi-target where we may need some additional DoT extension.
- Precise Alignment is the least usable of the conduits. This can be useful in niche situations where you can take advantage of some extremely buff Eclipse bonuses inside your Cooldowns.
There are also four Conduits that are locked behind their respective Covenants that interact with their abilities.
- Conflux of Elements is the best Covenant specific Potency Conduit. Night Fae relies on Convoke the Spirits for a bulk of their damage and this buffs that ability by a flat damage percentage. Best on single target.
- Endless Thirst is the Venthyr Potency Conduit. This buffs your Critical Strike chance per stack but is too undertuned to be used in most cases.
- Evolved Swarm makes Adaptive Swarm buffs our DoT damage further while its on the target. This is just a single target Conduit on our worst Covenant choice.
- Deep Allegiance is actually a damage loss in most cases. This offsets Kindred Spirits with Combat Meditation's 1-minute cooldown.
Balance Druid Endurance Conduits
Endurance Conduits should help with survivability against various mechanics. Balance Druids have access to three Balance specific Conduits as well as an additional fourth Conduit from the Guardian Endurance section.
- Well-Honed Instincts is the Guardian specific Endurance Conduit. Swap Guardian and then apply this into the slot and swap out. It offers a nice layer of protection in damage heavy fights. This is the best overall of the four Conduits unless there is a specific mechanic you are looking to address.
- Tough as Bark is another versatile go-to Endurance Conduit. Allowing you to cooldown more often reducing your damage intake.
- Ursine Vigor will be the one shot avoiding Conduit. Potentially good to help soak raid mechanics or high level keys with one shot bosses.
- Innate Resolve is the most underwhelming of this Conduit set. Self healing is the worst of our survivability options and this is a negligible buff to that.
Finesse Conduits provide some increased utility, mobility, or sometimes even both.
- Front of the Pack will be the safe choice in most raid encounters. Increasing the range and duration on Stampeding Roar which is already one of the top group movement bonuses in the game.
- Tireless Pursuit is a huge quality of life benefit on heavy movement bosses. Allowing you to keep up or get ahead while still doing damage even if it is even reapplying DoTs.
- Born of the Wilds could be broken on Mass Entanglement add management fights but otherwise the cooldown reduction will be largely unneeded.
- Born Anew provides a better stat bonus than even most food buffs. This should be a default choice if you do not need the additional mobility or cooldown reduction. You can even resurrect multiple people in a raid encounter during a wipe and have this buff applied to multiple people on reset.
Covenants for Balance Druid
Kyrian: Kindred Spirits
Kyrian is the best all around Covenant choice. Kindred Spirits is just a flexible, easy to use spell you can normally just hit on cooldown. You do somewhat rely on another player for best results so make sure to link with the highest DPS player.
Summon Steward grants a potion which cleanses most non-magic debuffs and heals you for 20% of your Health. This could be particularly useful on a variety of Raid and Dungeon mechanics with potentially otherwise undispellable debuffs.
Night Fae - Convoke the Spirits
Night Fae is the best Covenant for single target and remains competitive up to three or so targets. It does an immense amount of single-target burst but only if there is one target. The biggest downside Convoke the Spirits is the targeting. You do not get to choose which targets get hit by your spells meaning this loses power on fights with priority targets.
Soulshape shapeshifts you into a spectral fox which immediately casts a short distance blink as well as also increasing our movespeed. This ability is a nice mobility increase which can help get out of pinch. Soulshape does not cost a global to return to Moonkin Form either as you can cast a Balance spell to shift back instantly.
Venthyr - Ravenous Frenzy
Venthyr grants Ravenous Frenzy which is the third best single-target option and the second best multi-target option for Balance Druid. The long cooldown makes it an all-or-nothing sort of ability. A powerful cooldown nonetheless making it best multi-target burst of all the Covenants.
Door of Shadows
Door of Shadows is a long range channeled blink. While when a blink-like is strong, Door of Shadows will also be but in the same vein as Soulshape, Druids have access to an arsenal of movement abilities, most of which can clear the distance of Door of Shadows in the cast time. The cast time does not scale with Haste.
Necrolord - Adaptive Swarm
Necrolord is primarily a single-target Covenant with the Adaptive Swarm ability. This can be maintained on a few targets but at the end of the day it pays the hybrid tax for its healing properties. This Covenant begins to drop off rapidly after 3-targets.
Fleshcraft can potentially have some interesting uses on fights with single large hits. You can swap to Bear Form and even use Conduits like Ursine Vigor to further increase the long duration damage absorb.
Soulbinds for Balance Druid
Soulbinds are an important aspect to Covenant selection providing flavor, throughput, survival, and utility options throughout the tree. The Soulbind talent trees are time gated meaning that the final nodes of each Soulbind could take months to unlock.
- Pelagos is far and away the strongest Soulbind with Combat Meditation. As mentioned previously, the Mastery boost synergizes well with Kindred Spirits in addition to being our best secondary stat.
- Kleia is significantly worse than Pelagos in single target but Pointed Courage can make it somewhat with more available targets.
- Forgelite Prime Mikanikos is way worse than the other two available options.
Night Fae Soulbinds
- Niya has a strong starting traint, which increases our max Health as well as our Mastery. This is the best Soulbind option for Night Fae.
- Korayn is a decent reverse execute burst choice with Wild Hunt Tactics.
- Dreamweaver is similar in throughput to Korayn when their talent tree is maxed out but it does have Podtender which gives an edge in the defensive department.
- Nadjia the Mistblade is the best pure single-target Soulbind with Dauntless Duelist deep into the tree but still scales with targets through Thrill Seeker.
- Theotar the Mad Duke is a bit more well rounded and does not rely on the final row of the tree as those options do not beat out a second Potency Conduit.
- General Draven can still be competitive with the other options but does require you to fill out his whole Soulbind. Even still Built for War requires you to maintain above 50% Health or you lose uptime. You then need to wait 12-seconds to fully restack the Intellect buff.
- Emeni is the best choice for Necrolords and goes for both Potency Conduits in all situations.
- Bonesmith Heirmir is the second choice but requires a full talent tree to be filled. Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone synergizes with Starfire cleave but never actually beats out Emeni.
- Plague Deviser Marileth is a low impact Soulbind and is the worst of the three options.
- 07 Dec. 2020: Added Kyrian partners and best choice Disclaimer.
- 27 Nov. 2020: Reformatted for easier reading.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Page added.
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