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Balance Druid DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.3.2)

Last updated on Aug 28, 2017 at 15:28 by Vlad 220 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 Legion 7.3.2. 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 Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Slippykins, long-time Balance Druid theorycrafter and moderator at MMO-Champion and the Druid discord. You can catch him in his theorycrafting thread, or on Discord.

1. Single Target Rotation

The Balance Druid rotation is based on the following priority list.

  1. Apply and maintain Moonfire Icon Moonfire, Sunfire Icon Sunfire on the target.
  2. Cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge to consume Astral Power.
  3. Cast  Icon New Moon (and its other versions) to generate Astral Power. Make sure its charges are always rolling.
  4. Use Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath while you have Solar Empowerment Icon Solar Empowerment up.
  5. Cast Lunar Strike Icon Lunar Strike while you have Lunar Empowerment Icon Lunar Empowerment up.
  6. Cast Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath without an empowerment, to generate Astral Power.

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

1.1. Opening Rotation

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

  1. Shortly before the pull, use your potion and pre-cast Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath.
  2. Cast  Icon New Moon.
  3. Apply Moonfire Icon Moonfire, Sunfire Icon Sunfire to the target.
  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 Half Moon Icon Half Moon and Full Moon Icon Full Moon.
  6. Continue your normal rotation.

2. Multiple Target Rotation

The multiple target rotation is very similar to the single target rotation, with a few differences.

You should keep Moonfire Icon Moonfire and Sunfire Icon Sunfire up on any targets that will live longer than 6 seconds. Also use  Icon New Moon (and its other versions) as you would against a single target.

You should still use Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath to generate Astral Power, as a rule. Against 3+ targets, a Lunar Strike that benefits from Lunar Empowerment Icon Lunar Empowerment is preferable to a Solar Wrath that is empowered, while against 4+ targets, even unempowered Lunar Strikes are better than empowered Solar Wrath.

To consume Astral Power, use Starfall Icon Starfall if you are fighting 2 or more enemies, and Starsurge Icon Starsurge otherwise.

Note that you can stack Starfall Icon Starfall, but you can only have one Stellar Empowerment Icon Stellar Empowerment debuff up at a time, so some of the damage from the extra Starfalls is wasted. This is still best to do when you are AoEing.

3. Cooldown Usage

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 and Starsurge Icon Starsurge, and also increases the effects of your Empowerments (Lunar, Solar, and Stellar).

4.2. Artifact Ability

Your Artifact weapon grants you the  Icon New Moon ability. This ability has 3 charges and a 15-second recharge time. It is peculiar in that when you cast New Moon, the ability (in your spellbook) changes to Half Moon Icon Half Moon, and casting Half Moon Icon Half Moon turns the ability into Full Moon Icon Full Moon. Cast Full Moon turns it back into New Moon, and the cycle repeats this way.

All 3 versions of the ability share the same number of charges and recharge time. However, they differ in other aspects.  Icon New Moon deals damage to a single target and generates 10 Astral Power. Half Moon Icon Half Moon deals more damage to the target and generates 20 Astral Power. Full Moon Icon Full Moon deals even higher damage to the main target, as well as reduced damage to all enemies in a radius around the target, and generates 40 Astral Power.

Throughout the guide, we refer to the ability simply as  Icon New Moon, but this signifies whichever version of the ability is currently active.

4.3. Lunar, Solar, and Stellar Empowerments

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). 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.

Moreover, using Starfall Icon Starfall debuffs each affected target with Stellar Empowerment Icon Stellar Empowerment, which causes them to take increased damage from your Moonfire Icon Moonfire and Sunfire Icon Sunfire (the exact increase, again, depends on the amount of Mastery you have).

With regards to Stellar Empowerment, this will simply offer you a periodic damage increase when multi-DoTting targets.

4.4. Mitigating Movement DPS

Maintaining your DPS on the move is one of the harder parts to playing Balance. The important thing to note for movement is that you can still cast your instant cast spells, like Moonfire Icon Moonfire, Sunfire Icon Sunfire, Starsurge Icon Starsurge, and Starfall Icon Starfall. Therefore, whenever you anticipate movement you want to be able to use these spells.

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, or 110 with the 2-piece Tier 20 Set Bonus). 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. This is extremely important if you want to maintain your AoE DPS while dodging mechanics, and you can safely generate enough Astral Power to always have a Starfall Icon Starfall up.

5. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 28 Aug. 2017: No changes needed for Patch 7.3.
  • 11 Jul. 2017: Made various small tweaks to the single and multiple target rotations, and added a section on dealing DPS while moving.
  • 12 Jun. 2017: Removed Emerald Dreamcatcher playstyle since it is no longer relevant.
  • 27 Mar. 2017: No changes needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 09 Jan. 2017: Checked and confirmed for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 27 Nov. 2016: Further detailed the Lunar Strike versus Solar Wrath usage in multiple target situations, and slightly updated the opening rotation.
  • 31 Oct. 2016: Removed the Mastery snapshotting section since it is no longer relevant.
  • 25 Oct. 2016: Updated the Full Moon description to account for Patch 7.1 changes.
  • 02 Oct. 2016: Made various improvements to the existing rotations, added a section about Mastery snapshotting, and also added a section about how The Emerald Dreamcatcher affects the playstyle.
  • 08 Sep. 2016: Updated the recommendations on when to use Lunar Strike.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 20 Jul. 2016: Fixed a small issue that recommended not to cap Empowerments, when in fact it should have said that you should not generate more Empowerments when you are capped.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Added Stellar Flare to the rotations, and added a mention about using Blessing of the Ancients as your tier 6 talent.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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