Restoration 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 Restoration Druids
Restoration Druids are the jack-of-all-trade healers. They are the best healer to date and continue to dominate other healers in the Arena. With high amounts of mobility, strong single target and spread healing and powerful defensives, they are unmatched. With all of these tools, they are also the hardest healer to master. It is not a healing spec that can be learned in a day.
1.1. Strengths of Restoration Druids
- Great control
- Decent mobility
- Very hard to kill
1.2. Weaknesses of Restoration Druids
- Hard to play for newer players
- Hard to heal against teams with strong spread damage
- Struggle against teams with a Purge ability
2. Stat Priority for Restoration Druids in PvP
The stat priority for Restoration 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 reduces the cast time on your spells. Mastery ( Mastery: Harmony) increases your healing for each Healing over Time (HoT) you have on the target. Mastery is very important to have on your gear.
3. Azerite Traits for Restoration Druids
Azerite traits are unlocked in you 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 Rings
Below are the best Outer Ring traits.
The most important trait you are going to want to get in all pieces of your gear is Grove Tending. This increases your on demand burst healing. It also helps you save Mana because you will have to use less spells to keep your teammate alive. You also have the option of getting 2 Grove Tending traits and one Waking Dream. With this trait, you will be passively healing your team.
3.2. Middle Ring
Below are the best Middle Ring traits.
The Middle and Inner rings are important for additional defensives. However, because you already have multiple defensive spells in the form of Bear Form and Barkskin, you want to get traits that will boost your overall healing output. Blessed Portents, Earthlink, and Concentrated Mending all help do this. Azerite Veins is a defensive trait and works great versus teams that might swap to you.
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, Restoration Druids want to get trinkets that line up well with Incarnation: Tree of Life. Because this ability has a 3 minute cooldown, and the fact that you do not use this ability in some matchups, 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 healing output.
Below, we list the items that have these traits.
- Hood of Pestilent Ichor;
- Sinister Gladiator's Leather Helm / Sinister Gladiator's Leather Helm;
- Hood of the Sinuous Devilsaur;
- Sinister Gladiator's Leather Hood / Sinister Gladiator's Leather Hood.
- Sinister Gladiator's Leather Spaulders / Sinister Gladiator's Leather Spaulders;
- Sinister Gladiator's Leather Shoulderguards / Sinister Gladiator's Leather Shoulderguards.
- Vestments of Indomitable Will;
- Sinister Gladiator's Leather Harness / Sinister Gladiator's Leather Harness;
- Sinister Gladiator's Leather Chestguard / Sinister Gladiator's Leather Chestguard;
- Sinister Gladiator's Leather Tunic / Sinister Gladiator's Leather Tunic;
- Jerkin of the Aberrant Chimera.
4.2. Recommended Items
Sinister Gladiator's Maledict is absolutely the best trinket you can have. The on-use damage and healing absorption is capable of forcing defensives by itself. This can be used by itself or while you are using your burst rotation to force multiple cooldowns out of enemy teams.
Sinister Gladiator's Safeguard is a mandatory trinket if you think the enemy team can swap to you and kill you. This provides and additional defensive for when you drop to low health. If you do not think a team will swap to you and kill you, you can use replace this one with any of the trinkets below.
Sinister Gladiator's Badge is strong for the Versatility and the on-use Intellect effect. The 2-minute cooldown lines up well with Incarnation: Tree of Life, and should be used every time you want to use your burst healing rotation.
Sinister 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 healing.
Sinister Gladiator's Emblem is great if you find yourself the target for the enemy team often. This instantly increases your total health and will help when you are low on health or if you can use it before you get stunned.
4.3. Weapon Enchant
Enchant Weapon - Coastal Surge is the best weapon enchants. This enchant provides proc gives your healing spells a chance to apply a HoT on your target. Because you have so many Healing-over-time spells, this enchant proc will be active on your teammates for a majority of the arena match.
5. Talent Choices for Restoration Druids
|15||✘ Abundance||✔ Prosperity||✔ Cenarion Ward|
|30||✘ Tiger Dash||✘ Renewal||✔ Wild Charge|
|45||✔ Balance Affinity||✘ Feral Affinity||✔ Guardian Affinity|
|60||✔ Mighty Bash||✘ Mass Entanglement||✘ Typhoon|
|75||✘ Soul of the Forest||✔ Cultivation||✔ Incarnation: Tree of Life|
|90||✘ Inner Peace||✔ Stonebark||✘ Spring Blossoms|
|100||✘ Photosynthesis||✔ Germination||✘ Flourish|
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 multiple Purge effects, Cenarion Ward is the best choice in this tier. This is an extra HoT and will increase your overall healing output. This is a good spell to use right before being put in crowd control. Against any other team, Prosperity is the best choice in this tier. This gives you strong on-demand healing without having to cast.
5.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents
Wild Charge is the best choice in this tier. This gives you many options to increase your mobility. You will primarily be using it while in Travel Form to kite incoming damage or in Cat Form to get crowd control on the enemy healer.
5.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents
If you think the enemy team will focus you at any point in the arena, Guardian Affinity is the best choice in this tier. Reducing overall damage dealt to you and having access to abilities like Frenzied Regeneration greatly increases your survivability.
If you do not think the enemy team will focus you at all, Balance Affinity is the best choice in this tier. The increases in range of your spells is handy for healing at maximum distance from the enemy team. You can also use Moonkin Form to prevent Mages from using Polymorph on you.
5.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents
Mighty Bash is the best choice in this tier. This is a versatile talent that can be used for getting an enemy off your teammates or setting up crowd control on a healer.
5.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents
Cultivation is the best choice in this tier. This talent works great with your Mastery ( Mastery: Harmony) and increases your overall healing output. However, if you are playing against a team with strong single-target damage or a Mage on it, Incarnation: Tree of Life is the best choice in this tier.
5.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents
5.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents
Germination is the best choice in this tier. This gives you an additional HoT on your target that will increase your overall healing output. It is also useful against teams that might have a Purge.
6. PvP Talents for Restoration 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 so you can use defensive cooldowns like Ironbark.
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.
Nourish is a mandatory PvP talent. This healing spell will heal a teammate and will automatically apply one of your HoT spells that is missing on that target. This makes Restoration Druids incredibly Mana efficient. This will be your primary way to heal your teammates and should be used in every matchup.
Revitalize makes it so that when you use Rejuvenation on a teammate, they will get 2 charges of Revitalize. These charges will instantly heal your teammate when they are struck by a melee attack and increase the duration of Rejuvenation. This greatly increases your team's survivability with 1 or more melee on it.
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.
Focused Growth makes it so that every time you use Lifebloom on a teammate, they will gain a stack of Focused Growth, up to 3 stacks. These stacks increase the healing of your Lifebloom. It is important to maintain your Lifebloom and Focused Growth stacks on the teammate that is the primary target for the enemy team. You can replace Revitalize with this PvP talent if the enemy team does not have any melee on it.
Thorns, when you place this on you or a teammate, any melee strikes against them will deal Nature damage to the attackers. This is not normally used in 3v3 arena, as the other talents are stronger, but you should use this in 2v2 versus a team with a melee on it. You can replace Revitalize with this PvP talent.
7. Racial Bonuses for Restoration Druids
Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.
The Troll racial bonus ( Berserking) is also a good racial. The bonus Haste is great for when need on-demand healing.
The Night Elf racial bonus ( Shadowmeld) is always a strong choice when playing a healer. This racial has a high skill cap, but using Shadowmeld to avoid crowd control can be very powerful. For example, if a Mage is casting Polymorph 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 Restoration Druids
The main role for a Restoration Druid, besides keeping your team alive, is to always have your HoTs on your teammates and control the enemy team.
Most of the healing for Restoration Druids are instant casts. This makes it easy for you to heal teammates without getting interrupted. Once you have all of your HoTs ticking on your party members, you will only have to leave a pillar to refresh them.
Use Cyclone and Entangling Roots to control the enemy team. Cyclone should be used on the enemy healer if your team is using offensive cooldowns and trying to get a kill. If you are not, use Cyclone on the DPS you are not focusing to stop damage. If you are playing against melee, Entangling Roots can stop them in their tracks. You also have access to Hibernate and Soothe. Hibernate can be used on Druids that are in animal form or Hunter pets to stop their damage. You can use Soothe to dispel Fury Warrior enrage effects.
8.1. Before Gates Open
Make sure your team has a strategy for crowd control because you have a large crowd control toolkit and it is important to take advantage of that.
8.2. The Opener
Healers do not really have an "opener" as such. As a Restoration Druid, you want to do a few things when the gate opens.
- Use Rejuvenation twice on a teammate that might be the focus for the enemy team.
- Use Prowl to gain Stealth and prevent the enemy team from getting crowd control or starting on you.
- Use Cyclone or Mighty Bash on the enemy healer if you are trying to kill a DPS.
The other team is going to try to force your trinket in the opener so they have an advantage later in the game. If you are playing against a Mage, any form you are in will negate their Polymorph. If you cannot avoid the incoming crowd control, try to use Ironbark on the teammate they are focusing.
A large majority of your healing spells are instant. This will prevent you from being interrupted, so take advantage of this. Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, Cenarion Ward, and Swiftmend. The only healing spell you will have to cast is Nourish. Use this when you are having trouble keeping a teammate at high health. You will normally use Regrowth when you use the Incarnation: Tree of Life, if you are using the talent.
8.3. Healing Techniques
8.3.1. Burst Healing
Use this if the enemy team uses their cooldowns to try to kill a teammate.
- If you are using Incarnation: Tree of Life:
- If Incarnation: Tree of Life is on cooldown or you are not using
- Use Ironbark. With a relatively short cooldown, this should be the first ability you use when the enemy team is bursting.
- Use Rejuvenation twice to gain Germination and to apply the Revitalize buff versus melee.
- Start casting Nourish to heal and apply any missing HoTs.
- Use Swiftmend.
- Use Lifebloom.
- Cast Nourish if you are still having trouble keeping your teammate alive.
- Place Efflorescence if your team is stacked, but it does cost quite a bit of Mana. Use this if you have the Mana for it and you will not be repositioning Efflorescence.
8.3.2. Sustained Damage Healing
Use this to heal sustained damage throughout the fight (damage done when the other team does not have burst cooldowns available).
- You never want your HoTs to expire.
- Use Rejuvenation to maintain the Cultivation and Revitalize buffs.
- Use Lifebloom. Do not wait for Lifebloom to expire on its own. If you refresh it with ~4-5 seconds remaining, you will get the bloom heal and refresh it.
- Use Swiftmend. This is great instant healing and gives you the Soul of the Forest buff.
- Cast Nourish if your teammate is starting to get low and you cannot stabilize their health with Swiftmend.
- Place Efflorescence if your team is stacked, but it does cost quite a bit of Mana. Use this if you have the Mana for it and you will not be repositioning Efflorescence.
- Use Cenarion Ward. It is important to remember that Cenarion Ward is a HoT and does not have an initial heal, so it is good to use on teammates at high health.
8.3.3. Spread Damage Healing
When there is spread damage (a single teammate is not being focused), do the following.
- Keep Rejuvenation on all teammates.
- Use Innervate if you are not using Incarnation: Tree of Life.
- Use Wild Growth, but be careful, it does cost a lot of Mana and should not be used on cooldown.
- Cast Nourish.
- Use Tranquility if needed.
8.4. Defensive Techniques
You have several defensive abilities you can use to help keep you and your team alive.
- Bear Form is going to be your main defensive ability. With talents like Guardian Affinity and Druid of the Claw to buff it, it becomes even more powerful. If an enemy team is focusing you, be sure to use Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, and Cenarion Ward and sit in Bear Form. Use the ability Frenzied Regeneration to get even more health back. It is important to remember that you only get Frenzied Regeneration if you use the Guardian Affinity talent. Without this talent, Bear Form is not as powerful.
- Cyclone is a good defensive if the enemy team does not have any interrupts remaining. This stops a player from doing anything, and is especially impactful when an enemy is trying to use their burst cooldowns. If the enemy does have interrupts available, try juking them first.
- Ursol's Vortex is great when trying to get away from melee DPS. It is also important to remember that it can be used when in other forms. If you are taking heavy damage in Bear Form, you can use Ursol's Vortex and Dash away.
- Use Druid mobility as a defensive. We mentioned earlier that Restoration Druids have great mobility. They have spells like Travel Form and Dash to break snares and get away from enemies. Remembering that shifting between forms also breaks roots.
9. Best Team Compositions for Restoration Druids
Now that you have the correct talents and understand your healing rotation, it is time to step into the arena with your team. With spells like Ironbark and Bear Form, Restoration Druids have a very defensive playstyle.
9.1. 2v2 Arena
In 2v2 Arena, you will primarily be playing with a melee DPS or Frost Mage. Every time your DPS is using their burst rotation, use Mighty Bash on the enemy healer. Follow it up with three Cyclones. The goal of this is to always have consistent crowd control while your DPS is bursting. The result is that the enemy healer will not be able to keep up with the damage and run out of Mana quickly. You can also use Entangling Roots to keep the healer away from their partner.
Here is a list of the best team compositions for 2v2:
- Restoration Druid + Havoc Demon Hunter;
- Restoration Druid + Arms Warrior;
- Restoration Druid + Subtlety Rogue;
- Restoration Druid + Frost/Arcane Mage.
9.2. 3v3 Arena
Your role in 3v3 is similar to 2v2 Arena. Your primary goal is to keep HoTs on all of your teammates and maintain Lifebloom stacks on whichever teammate is taking the most damage. If the enemy team has multiple stuns, there is a chance they can swap to you. Use Bear Form in between your healing spells so you do not get killed in a chain of stuns. It is important to note that your different forms can prevent a few crowd control abilities ( Polymorph and Repentance).
Here is a list of the best team compositions for 3v3:
- Turbo (Restoration Druid + Arms Warrior + Enhancement Shaman);
- KFC (Restoration Druid + Arms Warrior + Beast Mastery Hunter);
- Restoration Druid + Arms Warrior + Havoc Demon Hunter;
- Restoration Druid + Elemental Shaman + Affliction/Destruction Warlock;
- TSG (Restoration Druid + Arms Warrior + Frost Death Knight);
- Restoration Druid + Elemental Shaman + Outlaw Rogue.
10. Useful Macros for Restoration 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 Restoration 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. 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.
10.3. Nature's Cure Party Macro
- #showtooltip Nature's Cure
- /cast [target=party1] Nature's Cure
Using this macro will cast Nature's Cure on party player 1. This makes it easier to dispel a teammate while healing the rest of your team. If you want a macro to dispel the second party member, change the party1 to party2.
- 09 Feb. 2019: Updated Gear Recommendations section.
- 12 Jan. 2019: Updated Guide for Patch 8.1.
- Updated Stat Priority.
- Updated talent table.
- Updated Tiers 2 and 5 regular talents.
- Updated PvP talents.
- Updated Burst Healing section.
- Updated Sustained Damage Healing section.
- Updated Spread Healing section.
- Updated Defensives.
- Updated Best Team Compositions.
- 03 Dec. 2018: Added Gear Recommendations section.
- 08 Oct. 2018: Added talent table.
- 02 Oct. 2018: Removed PvP Gear and War Mode sections.
- 27 Sep. 2018: Added Azerite Traits section.
- 09 Sep. 2018: Updated guide for Patch 8.0.1.
- Updated Introduction and spec overview.
- Added Stat priority.
- Updated tier 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 regular talents.
- Added PvP (War Mode) talents and gear sections for the new BfA system.
- Updated Racial Bonuses section.
- Updated Burst Healing section.
- Updated Sustained Healing section.
- Updated Spread healing section.
- Updated Defensives 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.
- 30 Aug. 2017: Removed artifact trait description.
- 09 Aug. 2017: Updated recommended tier 1 and 5 regular talents. Updated recommended tier 5 honor talents. Updated burst and sustained healing rotation.
- 20 Apr. 2017: Guide added.
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