Balance Druid Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.2
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
|Theotar Venthyr||Venthyr||Theotar the Mad Duke||Balance Druid Theotar tree|
|Night Fae Niya||Night Fae||Niya||Balance Druid Niya tree|
|Night Fae Korayn||Night Fae||Korayn||Balance Druid Korayn tree|
|Night Fae Dreamweaver||Night Fae||Dreamweaver||Balance Druid Dreamweaver tree|
Unlike the previous two tiers, we have a selection of competitive Covenants to choose from at all levels of difficulty. Given that you can swap freely between any Covenant you have ready, you may very well find yourself changing Covenants between bosses or dungeons.
For most players, we will be recommending keeping up to date with both Venthyr and Night Fae and below we will cover the strengths and weaknesses of both choices. Kyrian is still a viable Covenant performing on par with the other two options given an ideal partner and fight but with its reliance on others, we would advise prioritizing the less volatile options.
When to Choose Venthyr as a Balance Druid
|Ravenous Frenzy is strong for both single and multi-target||Requires the ability to fully utilize a 30 second damage window|
|Powerful Legendary synergy||Turns the class into a pure 3-minute cooldown class|
|Long range blink is great for navigating dangerous abilities||More skill-based than other Covenant choices|
Patch 9.2 nerfed the powerful Sinful Hysteria Legendary Power, bringing the Venthyr Covenant more in-line with the other Covenants. While nerfed, this Legendary is still a strong ramping tool which helps to deal a large amount of damage to any target or targets around you.
With Patch 9.2, we will be adding a second Legendary Power and set bonuses to our kit. Primordial Arcanic Pulsar is going to be the main secondary Legendary for almost all situations once you receive your tier set bonus. There are some limited synergies between all of these overlapping mechanics. The Balance Druid 2-Piece (Celestial Pillar) generates extra Astral Power at the start of each ramp and the Balance Druid 4-Piece (Umbral Infusion) reduces the Astral Power cost of your spender spells allowing you to spend more time casting more powerful spells.
Venthyr has one major problem and it is sustained damage as damage outside of Ravenous Frenzy is one of the lowest for DPS classes in the game. When Primordial Arcanic Pulsar is acquired as our second Legendary, it does help to alleviate some of that painful downtime while we wait for cooldowns to return.
Overall, Venthyr is a more niche Covenant comparatively to Night Fae. Venthyr is the more optimal multi-target choice assuming you can land those windows within Ravenous Frenzy. It has great long range mobility and still has quite good single-target. However if you find yourself looking for more consistent damage, have more sporadic multi-target fights, or are unable to make use of cooldowns in dungeons, you may want to choose a different Covenant for that encounter.
Explaining Ravenous Frenzy
Ravenous Frenzy by itself was a more lackluster choice before the introduction of the Legendary Power Sinful Hysteria. Sinful Hysteria extends the duration of Ravenous Frenzy by .1 second per spell cast and then also adds on a 3-second buff which increases your damage and Haste depending on how many stacks of Ravenous Frenzy you accumulated.
The half-minute ramp culminates in a huge amount of damage done and the bulk of your damage is done here. This long window plays into the Balance Druid Empowerment system where you stack up your Wrath buffs for some hard-hitting Wrath casts. At the tail end of the buff, you utilize the large damage boost to buff several Starsurges and Fury of Elune.
When to choose Night Fae as a Balance Druid
|Strong single-target burst cooldown||Falls off sharply with extra targets|
|Short-range instant blink||Second Legendary Power spike is lower than most|
|Grove Invigoration provides defense and damage||Has some issues scaling with stats like other Covenants|
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.
With the addition of a second Legendary Power as well as the two- and four-piece set bonuses, Night Fae becomes a more fast-paced playstyle able to dish out damage at a regular pace when compared to its Venthyr counterpart.
Celestial Spirits brings Convoke the Spirits down to a 1-minute cooldown while making it weaker than the 2-minute counterpart. This downside is slightly mitigated by Primordial Arcanic Pulsar and the resource generation from our set bonuses. Convoke the Spirits will be easily lined up with every Pulsar activation.
Night Fae is a versatile Covenant with a steady output of good DPS and strong defensive capabilities. All Soulbinds have some use with Niya being our standard go-to when we do not need a cheat death or sporadic add waves. Night Fae has some incredible mobility with Stellar Drift getting value twice-fold with the free Starfall from Convoke the Spirits. Night Fae is easy to play without knowing any fight timings, but you may want to look to other Covenants if you need more burst damage or burst multi-target.
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.
- Be within 40-yards of your target or it will not cast Balance spells. This is important because we can sometimes outrange our Convoke the Spirits since we have a 45-yard range.
- 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.
- When used with Balance of All Things, be sure to use Convoke within the increased Critical Strike window. When used with Primordial Arcanic Pulsar, save Convoke for a cooldown proc.
- With Celestial Spirits, avoid standing in melee of your target while casting Convoke the Spirits.
In the below sections, we will be talking about all the usable Balance Druid Conduit choices separated by type. You get up to three Potency slots per Soulbind tree their availability is tied to Renown. For a more comprehensive list of all Conduits, check out our Conduit page below.
Potency Conduits increase damage dealt. You get three Potency nodes with every Soulbind and every Covenant has their own Covenant specific Potency Conduit as well. Keep in mind that some Soulbinds do not use all of their 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.
- Precise Alignment is a staple Conduit choice for Empowerment damage and to better line up with Ravenous Frenzy. Not great if you do not get full value of the extra duration.
- 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 on 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.
There are also four Conduits that are locked behind their respective Covenants that interact with their abilities.
- Endless Thirst is the Venthyr Potency Conduit. This buffs your Critical Strike chance per stack and becomes incredibly strong when combined with the duration increase from Sinful Hysteria.
- Conflux of Elements is the best Potency Conduit for Night Fae. Night Fae Druids rely on Convoke the Spirits for a good chunk of their damage, and this buffs that ability by a flat damage percentage; best on single-target.
- Evolved Swarm makes Adaptive Swarm buff our DoT damage further while it is on the target. This is just a single-target Conduit on our worst Covenant choice.
- Deep Allegiance is powerful when combined with Kindred Affinity's stat gain, allowing for higher uptime on the double stat benefit.
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 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 often the worst of our survivability options, however it can also buff the healing from Well-Honed Instincts if both other options are not necessary.
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.
Covenants for Balance Druid
Venthyr - Ravenous Frenzy
Venthyr grants Ravenous Frenzy, which is the best all-around option for Balance Druid. The long cooldown makes it an all-or-nothing sort of ability. You have to have some knowledge or plan on when and how you will be utilizing this cooldown as it will end early if you ever stop casting for too long.
Door of Shadows
Door of Shadows is a long-range channeled blink. While a blink-like ability is strong, Door of Shadows' utility exists in the same vein as Soulshape. Druids already 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 also does not scale with Haste.
Night Fae - Convoke the Spirits
Night Fae is a strong 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.
Kyrian: Kindred Spirits
Kyrian grants the spell Kindred Spirits which 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.
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.
- Nadjia the Mistblade is the best pure single-target Soulbind with three Potency Conduits and a powerful buff combinaton in Thrill Seeker and the eventual Fatal Flaw.
- Theotar the Mad Duke is a bit more well-rounded but its main attraction, Soothing Shade, does require you to remain relatively stationary to maintain the Mastery buff. As an added bonus, you can get a permanent stat boost of your choice with the final node on his tree.
- 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.
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. First Strike is very powerful during bosses or encounters with waves of enemies where you can keep a high uptime on the Critical Strike buff.
- 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. Dream Delver is a basic damage increase on a single target and not particularly noteworthy.
- 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. Newfound Resolve can grant a Intellect and Stamina boost but requires you to interact with the ability as a caster when you generally want to remain stationary.
- Kleia is significantly worse than Pelagos in single-target but Pointed Courage can make it somewhat with more available targets.
- Forgelite Prime Mikanikos is only powerful when you get value out of the Kindred Spirits cooldown reduction but when you can get a viable melee partner, this becomes the strongest Soulbind.
- Emeni is the best choice for Necrolords and goes for both Potency Conduits in all situations. Pustule Eruption would be rather unutilized in raid but the rest of the tree is very defensivly-oriented.
- Bonesmith Heirmir is the second choice but requires a full talent tree to be filled. Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone, Carver's Eye, and Mnemonic Equipment all offer some various passive damage increases, but nothing extraordinary.
- Plague Deviser Marileth is a low-impact Soulbind and is the worst of the three options.
- 21 Feb. 2022: Page reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2.
- 01 Nov. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.5.
- 28 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
- 01 Feb. 2021: Updated Covenant Selection.
- 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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