Balance Druid PvP Guide in Battle for Azeroth (BfA 8.1)
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, PvP talents, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses. It is most applicable to Arena content, but most talents and racial bonuses will work in Rated Battlegrounds and skirmishes.
1. Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta for Balance Druids
Balance Druids are known for strong spread pressure and securing a kill with a strong burst of single-target pressure. However, this has changed significantly. Balance Druids do use DoTs, but they are now known for their strong single-target damage and can easily kill an enemy in a stun.
1.1. Strengths of Balance Druids
- Strong control
- Multiple mobility spells
- Strong burst damage
1.2. Weaknesses of Balance Druids
- Cannot do damage when forced into Bear Form
- Little consistent damage
- Long burst cooldown
2. Stat Priority for Balance Druids in PvP
The stat priority for Balance Druid in PvP is as follows:
- Critical Strike;
Intellect is the best stat in all situations. Haste is the strongest secondary stat at all times due to it reducing the Global Cooldown on abilities and reducing your cast time. Critical Strike will increase the chance your spells will deal additional damage.
3. Azerite Traits for Balance Druids
Azerite traits are unlocked in your helm, shoulders and chest. With each Azerite level in your neck, you get closer to unlocking the center trait in your gear. These traits vary from increasing damage or healing of certain abilities to helping increase your survivability. Depending on what traits you use, it can completely alter your playstyle and what talents you should be using.
3.1. Outer Ring
Below are the best Outer Ring traits.
If your goal is to deal spread damage, the most important trait to have in all pieces of your gear is Lunar Shrapnel. This trait is crucial to maintain spread pressure versus enemy teams. If you want to increase your burst damage, The trait is Streaking Stars. This makes your Celestial Alignment an even more powerful cooldown. The other traits also help increase your sustained damage.
If your goal is to have strong burst damage while Incarnation: Chosen of Elune is active, Lively Spirit is the best trait to have. When Innervate expires on your target, you gain Intellect for each ability that player casted.
3.2. Middle Ring
Below are the best Middle Ring traits.
The Middle and Inner rings are important for additional damage. Balance Druids have multiple defensive spells, so maximizing your damage is crucial for securing kills on enemy players. Elemental Whirl and Overwhelming Power increase both your burst and sustained damage. Earthlink gives you a small stat boost to your Mastery and Leech.
3.3. Inner Ring
Below are the best Inner Ring traits.
All of these traits give you additional ways of surviving. These are all passive, but are crucial to have.
4. Gear Recommendations
4.1. General Guidelines
In general, Balance Druids want to get trinkets that line up well with Incarnation: Chosen of Elune. Because this ability has a 3 minute cooldown, your trinkets can have a passive or on-use effect. The stat you want to be increasing is Intellect. The reason you want to increase Intellect is because it drastically increases your overall damage output.
Below, we list the items that have these traits.
4.2. Recommended Items
Dread Gladiator's Badge is strong for the Versatility and the on-use Intellect effect. The 2-minute cooldown lines up well with Incarnation: Chosen of Elune, and should be used every time you want to use your burst rotation.
Dread Gladiator's Insignia has a good amount of Versatility on it and has a passive effect. This effect increases your Intellect. This increases your sustained damage.
4.3. Weapon Enchant
Enchant Weapon - Quick Navigation is the best weapon enchants. This enchant provides a proc that gives you more Haste. This reduces the cast time of your important spells and results in an increase to your overall damage. It also increases the rate that your DoTs deal damage.
5. Talent Choices for Balance Druids
|15||✔ Nature's Balance||✔ Warrior of Elune||✘ Force of Nature|
|30||✘ Tiger Dash||✔ Renewal||✘ Wild Charge|
|45||✘ Feral Affinity||✔ Guardian Affinity||✘ Restoration Affinity|
|60||✔ Mighty Bash||✔ Mass Entanglement||✘ Typhoon|
|75||✘ Soul of the Forest||✘ Starlord||✔ Incarnation: Chosen of Elune|
|90||✘ Stellar Drift||✔ Twin Moons||✘ Stellar Flare|
|100||✔ Shooting Stars||✘ Fury of Elune||✔ New Moon|
While the above table provides a generally accurate overview of the viability of talents, some finer points are discussed in the sections that follow, and we recommend you read those for a deeper understanding.
5.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents
If you are playing against a team with two melee on it, Warrior of Elune is the best choice in this tier. This will allow you to apply pressure even if you are the focus. Against any other team, Nature's Balance is the better choice. This talent gives you a passive way to generate Astral Power, which results in an increase to your sustained damage.
5.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents
5.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents
5.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents
Mighty Bash is the best choice in this tier. This is best because you will usually be on only one target. This will help when you are using your burst cooldowns to get a kill, or as extra crowd control on the enemy team.
If you have reliable stuns on your team already or you are playing against a team with multiple interrupts/melee, Mass Entanglement is the best choice in this tier. This will allow you to either peel for teammates or use it on a healer with Solar Beam.
5.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents
Incarnation: Chosen of Elune is the best choice in this tier. This talent will give you the strongest single-target damage for killing an enemy. Although this has a long cooldown, you will normally get a kill while your Incarnation: Chosen of Elune is active.
5.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents
Twin Moons is the best choice in this tier. This talent increases your overall sustained damage and can also help with killing an enemy at low health.
5.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents
If you are playing against a team with multiple interrupts, Shooting Stars is the best choice in this tier. This increases your sustained damage while generating Astral Power without having to cast.
If you are playing against a team where you can cast frequently, New Moon is the best choice in this tier. This gives you an extra way to potentially get a kill when you do not have Incarnation: Chosen of Elune active.
6. PvP Talents for Balance Druids
The first PvP talent tier will give you a choice between Gladiator's Medallion, Relentless, and Adaptation. Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier. It is great for removing crowd control on you that your healer cannot dispel. You will normally trinket a stun to enter Bear Form and use Renewal.
You can choose 3 of the following PvP talents. Each of them has their uses, but some are better for certain strategies than others. The top three choices are the most useful, but can be replaced with other PvP talents, depending on your team's goal.
Cyclone is a powerful crowd control that can be used to control the enemy team. Use this ability on healers if you are trying to secure a kill or on DPS if your teammates are being focused. Important note: you can also use Cyclone if an enemy player is low and your teammates cannot secure a kill. This will prevent all healing and damage done to that enemy.
If you are playing against a team with two melee on it, you can use either of the following two talents.
Thorns should be placed on you or a teammate and any melee strikes will deal Nature damage to the attacker. This will deal a large amount of damage if the melee DPS do not swap off of you.
Against any other team, you should use one of the abilities below.
Celestial Guardian reduces spell damage you take and increases healing received while in Bear Form. This talent is crucial versus teams with heavy spell damage. While enemy casters are using burst cooldowns, you can stay in Bear Form and drastically reduce the amount of spell damage you are taking.
Faerie Swarm disarms your target and reduces their speed. This is best used when an enemy melee DPS is using their burst cooldowns. It is important to note that this ability can be dispelled. You should put the enemy healer in crowd control then use Faerie Swarm on your target so it cannot be dispelled. You can replace Moonkin Aura with this PvP talent.
7. Racial Bonuses for Balance Druids
Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.
Troll is the best race for Balance Druids, thanks to the ability ( Berserking) that gives you an on-demand Haste increase.
The Night Elf bonus ( Shadowmeld) is a great way to avoid incoming crowd control. This racial has a high skill cap, but using Shadowmeld to avoid crowd control can be very powerful. For example, if a Warlock is casting Fear on you, use Shadowmeld to avoid it. If you use Shadowmeld at the same time that a Priest uses their Psychic Scream, you will not be feared.
8. Playstyle for Balance Druids
Balance Druids have two roles when in an Arena match: use your strong single target damage to pressure the enemies and use your mobility/crowd control to set-up kills. Balance Druids have access to Cyclone, which is arguably the strongest crowd control in the game. An addition to Cyclone, there is Entangling Roots and Mighty Bash. Ideally, you will want to Cyclone the enemy healer and Mighty Bash your kill target.
8.1. Before Gates Open
Have a plan for who you will be mainly using your crowd control on. Balance Druids have two powerful crowd control abilities in the form of Mighty Bash and Cyclone that can be used on kill targets or the enemy healer. You can also use Entangling Roots with Solar Beam to keep the healer silenced. They also have Entangling Roots, which is great when used against melee classes.
Balance Druids do have access to some utility spells for their teammates: Hibernate, Remove Corruption and Soothe. Hibernate can be used on Druids that are in animal form or Hunter pets to stop their damage. Remove Corruption can be used to dispel curse spells like Hex or Agony. You can use Soothe to dispel Fury Warrior enrage effects.
8.2. Offensive Rotation
One unique thing about Balance Druids is that they have two schools of spells. Keep this in mind and try to use it to your advantage; for example, if you are interrupted while casting Full Moon, you can still cast Cyclone on an enemy. This is very important to maximizing your win potential.
8.2.1. The Opener
The opener refers to your team's opening crowd control chain and damage done as soon as you get out of the gates. The main goal in the opener is to force your enemies to use their cooldowns.
This is the rotation you should use on your target at the beginning of the game.
- Use Moonfire on all targets.
- Use Sunfire on all targets.
- If you are talented into New Moon, you will want to start using it to generate Astral Power and to build up your burst damage.
- Use Starsurge to consume Astral Power.
- Cast Half Moon on your main target to generate Astral Power and to gain access to Full Moon.
- Cast Solar Wrath to generate Astral Power.
- Cast Lunar Strike to generate Astral Power.
- Cast Starfall to spend Astral Power if the enemy team is stacked.
8.2.2. Burst Damage
When you have the enemy healer in crowd control and you are trying to kill an enemy, you use your burst damage.
- If you have multiple Lively Spirit traits, use Innervate on your healer and make sure they cast as many spells as possible. Continue with the rotation when Innervate expires.
- If you are a Troll, use Berserking.
- Use Incarnation: Chosen of Elune.
- Use Moonfire on all targets.
- Use Sunfire on all targets.
- Cast Full Moon.
- Use Starsurge.
- If you are talented into Warrior of Elune
- Cast Solar Wrath.
- If you get interrupted while casting Solar Wrath, you should immediately start casting Lunar Strike.
- For the remainder of Incarnation: Chosen of Elune:
8.2.3. Sustained damage
Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available.
- Maintain Moonfire on all targets.
- Maintain Sunfire on all targets.
- Use Solar Wrath and Lunar Strike to generate Astral Power.
- Use Starsurge to consume Astral Power.
- Cast New Moon and Half Moon to generate Astral Power and gain access to Full Moon.
- Use Starfall if the enemy team is stacked.
8.3. Defensive Techniques
Bear Form is your primary defensive ability Druids have. When you see incoming damage on you, it is a good idea to use Bear Form. When using the Guardian Affinity talent, you get great defensive abilities such as Frenzied Regeneration. This is best used when the enemy has used their cooldowns and your team is trying to stabilize your health.
Barkskin reduces all damage dealt to you by 20%. It is important to note that this can be used while stunned and in any of your forms. This should primarily be used if you are stuck in a stun and are not in Bear Form.
Renewal is a great instant heal that can be used in any form. Use this if you are being focused and you cannot cast. This is a talent and you will not have access to it every arena match.
Regrowth is a strong heal that should be used when your healer is stuck in crowd control. This is strong if the enemy team is focusing your teammate and you can cast without being interrupted.
Entangling Roots is a great ability when playing against melee. You can use this to help you or your teammates get distance between them and an enemy.
Balance Druid mobility also helps with survivability. Dash can be used when running after enemies or when you are in trouble. If you are not slowed or rooted, this is effective for kiting enemies.
9. Best Team Compositions for Balance Druids
Now that you have the correct talents and understand your damage rotation, it is time to step into the arena with your team. With spells like Full Moon and great mobility, Balance Druids can play aggressively with their damage and defensively with Bear Form.
9.1. 2v2 Arena
In 2v2 Arena, you should be playing with a healer that has a reliable stun. Start the game by building up damage to reach your Full Moon. When you are ready to use your burst rotation, your healer should stun the kill target. At the same time, use Entangling Roots and Solar Beam on the enemy healer. After you are done using your burst rotation, you can use Cyclone on the enemy healer and continue doing consistent damage. When you are done using Cyclone or get interrupted, use Mighty Bash.
Here is a list of the best team compositions for 2v2:
- Balance Druid + Holy Paladin;
- Balance Druid + Restoration Shaman;
- Balance Druid + Discipline Priest;
- Balance Druid + Holy Priest.
9.2. 3v3 Arena
Your role in 3v3 is similar to 2v2 Arena. You want to build up your damage to get a Full Moon as fast as possible. When you and your partner are ready to use your burst rotation, you should use Entangling Roots and Solar Beam on the enemy healer. Your healer or DPS partner should then stun your kill target. After your Solar Beam fades, use Cyclone and Mighty Bash on the enemy healer.
Here is a list of the best team compositions for 3v3:
- Balance Druid + Havoc Demon Hunter + Holy Paladin;
- Balance Druid + Windwalker Monk + Discipline Priest/Restoration Druid;
- Balance Druid + Affliction/Destruction Warlock + Restoration Shaman/Holy Paladin;
- Balance Druid + Elemental Shaman + Holy Paladin.
10. Useful Macros for Balance Druids
Macros are crucial to be successful in PvP. They allow players to use abilities on enemies without having to target them. This helps increase overall damage/healing and general awareness in the arena. Here are a few macros that all Balance Druids can benefit from.
10.1. Cyclone 123 Macro
- #showtooltip Cyclone
- /cast [target=arena1] Cyclone
Using this macro will cast Cyclone on arena enemy 1. This makes it easier to crowd control an enemy while staying focused on your target. If you want macros for the second and third enemies, simply change the arena1 to arena2 or arena3.
10.2. Entangling Roots Focus Macro
- #showtooltip Entangling Roots
- /cast [target=focus] Entangling Roots
If you find that you do not have much room on your action bars, you can use a focus macro. This is much simpler to use than the arena123 macro. Put an enemy on focus and this macro will cast Entangling Roots on that player while you are still focused on your target.
10.3. Mighty Bash Focus Macro
- #showtooltip Mighty Bash
- /cast [target=focus] Mighty Bash
This macro will use Mighty Bash on whichever enemy you have on focus. Because you will be primarily using Mighty Bash on the enemy healer, you should only need this focus macro.
10.4. Remove Corruption Macro
- #showtooltip Remove Corruption
- /cast [@PlayerNameHere, exists] Remove Corruption
This macro will use Remove Corruption on whichever teammate you put into the macro. It is recommended that you make a macro for both of your teammates.
10.5. Mass Entanglement, Solar Beam Macro arena 123
- #showtooltip Solar Beam
- /cast [target=arena1] Mass Entanglement
- /cast [target=arena1] Solar Beam
Using this macro will use Mass Entanglement and Solar Beam on arena enemy 1. This makes it easier to crowd control an enemy while staying focused on your target. If you want macros for the second and third enemies, simply change the arena1 to arena2 or arena3.
- 16 Dec. 2018: Updated Azerite traits section for Patch 8.1.
- 03 Dec. 2018: Made various updates.
- Added Gear Recommendations section.
- Updated Azerite Traits section.
- Updated Burst Damage rotation.
- 08 Oct. 2018: Added talent table.
- 02 Oct. 2018: Removed PvP Gear and War Mode sections.
- 27 Sep. 2018: Added Azerite Traits section.
- 10 Sep. 2018: Updated guide for Patch 8.0.1.
- Updated Introduction and spec overview.
- Added Stat priority.
- Updated all regular talents.
- Added PvP (War Mode) talents and gear sections for the new BfA system.
- Updated Racial Bonuses section.
- Updated Burst Damage and Sustained Damage sections.
- Updated Defensive section.
- Updated Macros section.
- Removed Gear section.
- Removed Artifact Traits and Relics sections.
- 05 Jun. 2018: Added an Arena Compositions section.
- 04 Apr. 2018: Made several updates to the guide and its structure.
- Added sections for Macros, Strengths, and Weaknesses.
- Moved Gear, Artifact Traits, and Relics sections to the end, since they are not that important.
- 24 Jan. 2018: No major changes needed for Patch 7.3.5.
- 12 Dec. 2017: No major changes needed for Patch 7.3.2, so only updated "About The Author" section.
- 09 Sep. 2017: Removed Artifact Trait descriptions, updated the opening rotation, and changed the recommended Tier 4 regular talents.
- 12 Jul. 2017: Changed recommended talent for Tier 2 regular talents.
- 04 May 2017: Guide was created.
- WoW Esports in 2019
- PvP Season 1: Arena and RBG Title Cutoffs
- Tides of Vengeance Part II: Survival Guide
- Patch 8.1.5 Build 28938: Class Changes
- BfA PvP Season 2 Preview [Official]
- Tools of the Trade in Patch 8.1.5
- Four New Collectible Blizzard Books Coming This Fall
- Kul Tiran & Zandalari Druid Empowered Moonkin Form
- Knight85's home for probably stupid questions
- Guardian Druid 8.1
- Need help with BoS
- Feral Druid 8.1
- when to use blizzard/aoe as frost?
- Windwalker Monk PvP 8.1
- Unholy Death Knight PvP 8.1
- Survival Hunter PvP 8.1