Balance Druid DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated on Dec 10, 2018 at 19:50 by Bora 40 comments

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Balance Druid in both single-target and multiple-target situations. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.

1. Single Target Rotation for Balance Druids

For one, two, and three targets, the Balance Druid rotation is based on the following priority list.

  1. Apply and maintain Moonfire Icon Moonfire, Sunfire Icon Sunfire, and Stellar Flare Icon Stellar Flare (if talented) on the target.
  2. Cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge to consume Astral Power.
  3. Cast Lunar Strike Icon Lunar Strike while you have Lunar Empowerment Icon Lunar Empowerment up.
  4. Use Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath while you have Solar Empowerment Icon Solar Empowerment up.
  5. Cast Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath without an empowerment, to generate Astral Power. If you can cleave onto a second target, cast Lunar Strike Icon Lunar Strike.

At all times, you should avoid generating Astral Power when you are at maximum capacity.

1.1. Opening Rotation for Balance Druids

The ideal opening rotation at the start of the fight is as follows:

  1. Stand as far away as possible from the boss and when there are 2.5 seconds remaining before the pull, cast Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath twice.
  2. Apply Moonfire Icon Moonfire, Sunfire Icon Sunfire, and Stellar Flare Icon Stellar Flare (if talented) to the target.
  3. Continue casting Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath until you reach 40 Astral Power.
  4. Cast Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment (or Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune, if you have taken this talent).
  5. Cast Warrior of Elune Icon Warrior of Elune, Force of Nature Icon Force of Nature, or Fury of Elune Icon Fury of Elune (if talented)
  6. Continue your normal rotation.

2. Multiple Target Rotation for Balance Druids

For when to use this rotation, read the When Do I Starfall Section below.

  1. Cast Starfall Icon Starfall to consume Astral Power.
  2. Apply and maintain Moonfire Icon Moonfire and Sunfire Icon Sunfire on all targets, if they will live longer than 6 seconds.
  3. Cast Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath when you have a Solar Empowerment Icon Solar Empowerment and Lunar Strike Icon Lunar Strike if you receive a Lunar Empowerment Icon Lunar Empowerment through the Eclipse Icon Eclipse passive.
  4. Cast Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath to generate Astral Power, but if you can hit one additional target with Lunar Strike Icon Lunar Strike, use that instead.

3. Starlord and Arcanic Pulsar Optimization

With the introduction of Arcanic Pulsar Icon Arcanic Pulsar, Astral Power generation is extremely important to our core gameplay. Equipping Arcanic Pulsar makes Starlord the most attractive talent on the level 75 row. Below, we will talk about how best to utilize Starlord.

3.1. Which Talents to Run

The point of this build is to maximize Astral Power gains to bring the uptime of Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment up. The highest Astral Power generator talents are Nature's Balance Icon Nature's Balance and Stellar Flare Icon Stellar Flare. If you are using this build on multiple-targets, you can still talent Twin Moons Icon Twin Moons.

3.2. Cancel Aura Macro

To play the Starlord Icon Starlord build, the Starlord macro is important.

  • /cancelaura Starlord

This macro cancels the Starlord Icon Starlord buff and allows you to reset the rotation every three Starsurge Icon Starsurges. The normal rotation will involve building three stacks of the Starlord buff, with the three stacks build to 80~ Astral Power, cancel the buff via the new macro, and spend your Astral Power immediately. This rotation maximizes the spec and reduces the effect of downtime during the buff duration.

When using this macro and rotation, there is a 7-second cutoff on casting Starsurge Icon Starsurge. If you have to cast Starsurge at any point with 6 or 7-seconds remaining, it is better to cancel the buff and start your cycle over.

3.3. The Starlord and Arcanic Pulsar Opener

When using this build, you use a different opener for maximum DPS.

  1. Cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge on the target.
  2. Apply Moonfire Icon Moonfire, Sunfire Icon Sunfire, and Stellar Flare Icon Stellar Flare (if talented) to the target.
  3. Build 40 Astral Power and cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge.
  4. Build another 40 Astral Power and cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge.
  5. Build another 40 Astral Power and cast Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment
  6. Build up to 80 Astral Power, cast you Starlord cancelaura, and begin your normal rotation.

3.4. When to use this Build

This build can be used in a variety of different instances. This can be used in Mythic+ and in Raid. Generally you will take Soul of the Forest Icon Soul of the Forest for extended multi-target and Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune for burst damage. Also, certain fight timings line up better with Incarnation. One minute, four minute, and seven minute fights do benefit Incarnation more than they do Starlord Icon Starlord.

This rotation will be for more practiced players. Once you get into the proper rhythm, it will be much easier to pull off. This being said, if you are unfamiliar with the build, or find that you can not maintain the rotation during a boss fight, Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune will be a more practical choice.

4. Cooldown Usage for Balance Druids

As a Balance Druid, you only have one DPS cooldown, by default: Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment. You should use this during periods of increased damage to the boss. In any case, it should be used as many times as possible during the encounter.

5. Recommended Read: Mastering Your Balance Druid

While the rotations we gave in the previous sections will yield very good results, there are a few subtleties that you should understand in order to truly excel at your role.

5.1. When Do I Starfall?

More of a Balance Druid's multi-target power is being shifted away from Starfall Icon Starfall and into our DoTs and Empowerments. This begs the question: in which situations do we actually press Starfall?

On one and two targets, you never cast Starfall Icon Starfall. When there are three targets, we only cast Starfall if we have Stellar Drift Icon Stellar Drift talented. However, if you have the Arcanic Pulsar Icon Arcanic Pulsar equipped, you will not cast Starfall regardless of talent choice.

At four targets, you can cast Starfall Icon Starfall if you do not have Arcanic Pulsar Icon Arcanic Pulsar equipped. If you do have Arcanic Pulsar equipped, You may only freely cast Starfall at five targets.

Keep in mind, the more spread out the targets are, the more likely you are to cast Starfall Icon Starfall regardless of target count. If there are 4-targets, but but they are all spread, it is more valuable to cast Starfall as the damage dealt from an empowered Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath and Lunar Strike Icon Lunar Strike will not hit them.

5.2. Mastery: Starlight

Your Mastery: Starlight Icon Mastery: Starlight increases the damage of your Starfall Icon Starfall, Starsurge Icon Starsurge, Empowerments (Lunar and Solar), as well as Moonfire Icon Moonfire and Sunfire Icon Sunfire.

5.3. Lunar and Solar Empowerments and the Eclipse Passive

Each time you use Starsurge Icon Starsurge, you gain 1 stack of both Lunar and Solar Empowerment. These buffs increase the damage of your next Lunar Strike Icon Lunar Strike (Lunar Empowerment Icon Lunar Empowerment buff) and Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath (Solar Empowerment Icon Solar Empowerment buff) as well as granting your Solar Wrath the ability to cleave to additional targets. The exact amount depends on your Mastery. You can accumulate up to 3 stacks of each buff, but each Lunar Strike or Solar Wrath cast only consumes one stack.

When you are casting Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath and Lunar Strike Icon Lunar Strike, you have a 20% chance to generate an Empowerment of the opposite type. Be careful when casting an ability that can overcap you on either spell. The trick will be to even out your charges before continuing your normal rotation.

5.4. Mitigating Movement DPS

With the loss of Stellar Drift Icon Stellar Drift in our single target and multi-target rotations, movement management is more important than ever before. Try to line up windows of movement with instant cast spells like Moonfire Icon Moonfire, Sunfire Icon Sunfire, and Starsurge Icon Starsurge. Additionally you can delay using Warrior of Elune Icon Warrior of Elune and save any amount of charges for movement.

If you know there is movement coming in the coming seconds, do your best to hold 40 Astral Power so you can move and cast a Starsurge Icon Starsurge. Depending on the distance being traveled, you can instead Dash Icon Dash, Wild Charge Icon Wild Charge, or Tiger Dash Icon Tiger Dash to reach your destination more quickly. If you cannot reach your destination within two or three globals cooldowns, it is best to use a movement ability.

For single target, you should practice what is called "Astral Power pooling" or "Astral Power floating". This is where you purposefully do not use Starsurge Icon Starsurge until you have a large amount of Astral Power saved up (about 80 normally). This way, when you need to move, you have enough Astral Power to cast at least two Starsurges, giving you about 2 seconds of movement without any penalty to your DPS.

For multiple targets, Astral Power pooling is still important, but not as much. In this scenario, you can take advantage of Stellar Drift Icon Stellar Drift's casting while on-the-move if you talent it. When running Twin Moons Icon Twin Moons, you can use Moonfire Icon Moonfire as a filler when you have no Astral Power to put down another Starfall Icon Starfall.

5.5. Using Your Defensives

Balance Druid has a wide array of healing utility and defensive spells. From our base kit, we can shift into Bear Form Icon Bear Form which will grant us additional Health, we can Barkskin Icon Barkskin to reduce our damage taken, and we can also heal ourselves and others using Regrowth Icon Regrowth.

Our strongest survivability combination would be from talenting Guardian Affinity Icon Guardian Affinity for the 6% damage reduction, casting Barkskin Icon Barkskin for a 20% damage reduction, and shifting into Bear Form Icon Bear Form for the 25% Stamina increase and then casting Frenzied Regeneration Icon Frenzied Regeneration for the heal.

You want to view each situation and use personals (Bear Form Icon Bear Form / Barkskin Icon Barkskin) accordingly. Barkskin does have a 1-minute cooldown while Bear Form has no cooldown whatsoever. For big hits, pop Barkskin and sometimes even Bear Form to mitigate as much damage as possible, if the hit should not kill you, there is no need to shift into Bear. For little hits, you can just cast Barkskin if there is no other incoming damage in the next minute.

If there is downtime in a fight but still damage being dealt to either yourself or the raid, you can help off-heal using Regrowth Icon Regrowth. Any time there is a large amount of damage being done to a player or the raid, you can always help off-heal as one or two globals can be the difference between a wipe or a kill. Dead DPS is no DPS.

6. Changelog

  • 10 Dec. 2018: Added Starlord Optimization.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 21 Jul. 2018: Added a section on The Emerald Dreamcatcher
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