Balance Druid DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated on Aug 13, 2018 at 00:36 by Bora 40 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Balance Druid core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth 8.0.1. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Balance Druid.

The other pages of our Balance Druid guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author

This was written by Borabank, a Balance Druid theorycrafter and raider in Encore. You can watch him on his Twitch channel or in the Dreamgrove Discord server.

1. Single Target Rotation for Balance Druids

The single target and 2-target 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

Against multiple targets, the rotation is the following, assuming you are fighting 3+ enemies.

  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. 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.

4. Optional 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.

4.1. 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.

4.2. 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.

4.3. 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.

4.4. Starlord Optimization

Starlord Icon Starlord is the only talent that can be actively optimized for a damage increase. The way the talent works is that once you cast your first Astral Power spender in Starsurge Icon Starsurge or Starfall Icon Starfall, you start a 20-second timer. During that timer, you need to cast two more spenders to max out your stacks and fully utilize the talent. The higher the uptime on your 3-stack, the more DPS you will deal.

The best way to keep a high uptime is to pool Astral Power. After you hit your initial 3-stack Starlord Icon Starlord, you want to note how much time is remaining on the buff. Without capping Astral Power, you want to finish spending your Empowerments and then continue to cast fillers. If you must cast a Starsurge Icon Starsurge during your 3-stack you can but try to at least have 40 Astral Power saved up.

Once the previous Starlord Icon Starlord buff dissipates, immediately cast one of your spenders to restart the 20-second timer. After your initial cast, every time you can cast a spender you should as to stack the buff up as quickly as possible.

Obvious exceptions to utilizing this playstyle for Starlord Icon Starlord would be pooling Astral Power for movement or for priority target swapping.

4.5. 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.

5. Changelog

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