Balance Druid DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.5

Last updated on May 12, 2019 at 18:36 by Bora 50 comments
General Information

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) 8.1.5.

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.

1.1.1. Opening Rotation using Nature's Balance

  1. Stand as far away as possible from the boss and when there are 3.5 seconds remaining before the pull, cast Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath twice.
  2. Cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge.
  3. Apply Moonfire Icon Moonfire, Sunfire Icon Sunfire, and Stellar Flare Icon Stellar Flare (if talented) to the target.
  4. Continue casting Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath until you reach 40 Astral Power.
  5. Cast Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment (or Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune, if you have taken this talent).
  6. Continue your normal rotation.

2. Multiple Target Rotation for Balance Druids

This is the rotation used when there are enough targets to warrant casting Starfall.

  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.

2.1. When to Starfall

# of Targets Starfall Rule
1 & 2 Never cast SF
3, 4, & 5 Only cast SF if you do not have AP
6 Cast SF unless you have AP & 1 or 2 Strs
7 Cast SF unless you have AP & 3 Strs

The abbreviations in the above table are found below.

3. Starlord 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 a more attractive talent on the level 75 row. Below, we will talk about how best to utilize Starlord if and when it is a viable situation.

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. Optimizing the Starlord Rotation

When playing with Starlord Icon Starlord, your goal is to have high uptime on two and three stacks of the buff. To achieve this, your goal is to pool towards the end of your buff, and quickly cast two Starsurge Icon Starsurges to boost back up towards three stacks. Cast your third Starsurge as quickly as possible and then focus on generating Astral Power until the end of the buff draws nearer.

The opener for this rotation is the same as it is while running Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune.

3.3. When to run Starlord

Starlord Icon Starlord becomes better than Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune in most situations at Battle of Dazar'alor gear levels. Incarnation can be used when you can make strong use of the cooldown or if you are undergeared.

Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune is strong in Mythic+ when you can utilize the duration of your cooldown well. Incarnation can also be strong when you require a certain duration of burst damage (under 1-minute), such as during the raid fight against King Rastakhan.

4. Arcanic Pulsar Window Optimization

When you reach the eighth stack of Arcanic Pulsar Icon Arcanic Pulsar, you need to prepare your next several casts. Arcanic Pulsar, when paired with Streaking Stars Icon Streaking Stars, can lead to very powerful burst windows in just the 6-seconds you have access to Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment.

Firstly, you want to pool a reserve of Astral Power. The goal of this window is to:

  1. Fit two Starsurge Icon Starsurges in this 6-second window.
  2. Between every spell cast you will want to cast Solar Wrath Icon Solar Wrath.
  3. Avoid casting Lunar Strike Icon Lunar Strike unless you do not have the Astral Power to cast Starsurge Icon Starsurge and have already cast Solar Wrath as your previous spell. Also avoid overcapping Lunar Empowerment Icon Lunar Empowerments during this window.
  4. Finally, your last global during this window will be to reapply your lowest duration instant DoT (Moonfire Icon Moonfire or Sunfire Icon Sunfire).

If you play correctly, you should receive six or seven Streaking Stars Icon Streaking Stars stars hits in this window.

5. 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.

6. 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.

6.1. 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.

6.2. 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.

6.3. 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.

6.4. 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.

7. Changelog

  • 12 May 2019: Added optimizations for when you are using Starlord and Arcanic Pulsar.
  • 16 Apr. 2019: This page has been reviewed and no changes are necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 10 Apr. 2019: Updated Celestial Alignment opener.
  • 18 Mar. 2019: Updated Starfall Rules Chart.
  • 13 Mar. 2019: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1.5 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Jan. 2019: Added a Nature's Balance opener section and amended the Starlord section.
  • 17 Dec. 2018: Added a table for Starfall Rules.
  • 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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