Balance Druid Playstyle and Rotation Guide

Patch 10.2.7 Last Updated: 7th May, 2024
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Playstyle & Rotation

General Rotation:

  1. Keep DoTs up on your priority target at all times (Moonfire & Sunfire), including Stellar Flare (if talented). Try to only refresh DoTs when in movement or when your DoTs have less than 30% of their duration left -- this is referred to as a “pandemic window”. If your target is about to die, you may not need to reapply Sunfire and Moonfire, as you will not receive the full effect of the damage over time application.
  2. Enter Celestial Alignment or Incarnation: Chosen of Elune as appropriate on the fight. Typically, you will want to ensure your cooldown is getting high value when it is pressed. This can be accomplished by pairing it with Bloodlust, your own trinkets, or during damage amp situations. Research every fight beforehand to determine when it is best to use your Incarnation, but in most scenarios, this will be on pull.
  3. Enter Solar Eclipse and cast Wrath as your filler on one or two targets, and enter Lunar Eclipse and cast Starfire as your filler on 3 or more targets. In an Incarnation: Chosen of Elune window, you will want to cast Wrath on up to 3 targets, and Starfire on 4 or more. If you are about to enter a Primordial Arcanic Pulsar (a good rule of thumb is if you are at 520 or 560 stacks), you may enter Lunar Eclipse instead. In this scenario, still cast wrath on single target even in Lunar Eclipse to build Astral Power. If you are outside of an eclipse but will cap on Astral Power, it is acceptable to spend a little bit of that Astral Power before entering an eclipse to prevent that overcap from happening.
  4. Spend Astral Power using Starsurge on Single Target and Starfall on 2+ targets in AoE/Spread Targets. If you are below 3 stacks of Starlord, prioritize spending your Astral Power to catch back up to 3 stacks. It may be appropriate to Starsurge on 2 targets if one target needs to die, however. If you play with Starweaver make sure to spend it first.
  5. Spend your New, Half, and Full Moons in your Celestial Alignment or Incarnation: Chosen of Elune. Make sure you do not overcap on Astral Power to do this. In Mythic+, you may consider spending New and Half Moon on priority targets outside of Incarnation: Chosen of Elune to ensure you’re using higher damaging AoE abilities in your cooldown window. If you are playing Fury of Elune instead, try to only use this ability the global before you enter an Incarnation: Chosen of Elune window (for example: press Fury of Elune then have your next spender proc your Primordial Arcanic Pulsar). If you are around 200 stacks towards your next pulsar but your Fury of Elune is available, you may consider using it.
  6. Use Warrior of Elune to help ease entering Solar Eclipse or as a movement filler ability in Incarnation: Chosen of Elune. This also can be used as “funnel” to rapidly build Astral Power off of multiple targets in an Incarnation: Chosen of Elune window.
  7. With the Fungal Growth part of Wild Mushrooms, you can use Wild Mushrooms to keep Waning Twilight uptime high in AoE situations. In single target, this should only be used as a movement filler ability.


  1. Wrath twice at 3-4 seconds left on the pull timer and from max range
  2. Starfire
  3. Apply Moonfire, Sunfire and Stellar Flare (if talented) to the target
  4. Spend your 4PC proc on Starsurge or Starfall (depending on situation)
  5. Use Incarnation: Chosen of Elune
  6. Use Starsurge as many times as you can
  7. Use your New Moon and Half Moon
  8. Use Starsurge
  9. Use Full Moon

After this, you will want to return to your standard rotation.

A small min-max you can do is to have a macro to cancel your Starlord buff and press it whenever you are above 70 astral power and you are about to spend it. However, this is an advanced technique, and can cause newer players to lose DPS for an incredibly minor gain.

Multi Target:

  1. Keep your Sunfire and Moonfire on all the targets in the pull (take note if the targets will live long enough to justify the DoT application).
  2. Use Starfire if there are 3 or more targets outside of Incarnation: Chosen of Elune, and on 4 or more targets in Incarnation: Chosen of Elune.
  3. Spend your Astral Power on Starfall on two or more targets and do not overcap on Astral Power.
  4. Spend your 2PC when you reach 3 stacks of it by utilizing the appropriate filler for your filler
  5. Spend your Moons or Fury of Elune in Incarnation: Chosen of Elune windows.
  6. Ensure uptime of Waning Twilight with Wild Mushroom (if talented).

How to use Moons

You want to use your New, Half and Full Moons when all of these are true:

  1. You are in Incarn or about to overcap on Moon stacks
  2. You will not overcap on Astral Power

As a general rule you should spend your astral power as soon as you enter Incarn and use your moons right afterwards.

Advanced Playstyle and Additional Notes


Baseline defensives on Balance Druid unfortunately are really poor and largely stem from the fact that Druid is based around having access to the admittedly powerful Bear Form. To compensate, Druid is one of the only classes that lacks any stamina gain in their Class Tree, so you will sometimes find that a 470 Beast Mastery hunter can have the same HP pool as a 487 Balance Druid. To work around this, you will have to ensure that you are using your defensives appropriately, which will often include needing to use Bear Form.

Barkskin is your main defensive that you’ll need to keybind to something that is easily pressable, because it is your first line of defense against incoming damage. It is a one minute cooldown button that gets a lot of value from Holy Priest’s Symbol of Hope to help get it back off cooldown, and will allow the Druid to take 20% less damage over the course of 12 seconds. You will always want to press this proactively before incoming damage, as pressing it after a damage event does largely nothing for you. This is NOT on the global cooldown, so there is little excuse for not using it!

Renewal is another defensive that is off the global cooldown, and can be used both proactively and reactively. It heals your character for 30% of their maximum health, which can be amplified by using Bear Form. The most common use of this button is to use it reactively after you’ve taken damage, but knowing when to use it before you take damage to top-off your health so you survive the incoming damage is key to help ensure you’re living throughout the fight.

Well-Honed Instincts is a free Frenzied Regeneration that gets applied to our character when we drop below 40% health. It will place a debuff on you for 120 seconds (or 90 if you’re playing two points into it) that prevents you from receiving this effect again. This is a very solid passive defensive, but it is important to note that when this is applied to your character, you will not retain the Frenzied Regeneration when you shapeshift AT ALL. If you see that this procs and shift into bear, you lose it entirely, causing it to be incredibly frustrating to work around. Furthermore, if it procs and you need to do something like break your root on Tindral Sageswift, it will disappear from the act of shapeshifting.

The last thing we have access to in our caster form is really just small and largely unimpactful offhealing through Regrowth. You’ll find that this doesn’t move your health bar too much, so it is really only used in times of complete desperation or downtime. In 95% of scenarios, you’d rather go Bear Form and cast Frenzied Regeneration to heal yourself.

Nature’s Vigil is a very solid but unreliable heal that you can never really count on to do effective healing to yourself in group content. You’ll want to press this with your major cooldown and then on CD afterwards.

Outside of caster form, our defensive toolkit expands with Bear Form, and the main ability that comes with it: Frenzied Regeneration. By itself, Bear Form allows you to increase your stamina by 25% and your armor by 220%, which is a great boon for when you need to survive large bursts of damage. In raid, however, the vast majority of damage that you as a ranged DPS will take is magical, and it is rare that you will use this armor increase, with the last relevant time being six tiers ago in Castle Nathria on Sludgefist. However, it is quite honestly one of the strongest defensives in the game by itself, but comes with significant tradeoffs to your baseline defensives and your overall damage -- pressing Bear Form means you stop doing 99% of your damage until you resume playing in Moonkin Form.

Frenzied Regeneration synergizes inherently with Bear Form, as it is just a 32% heal over the course of 3 seconds. Aside from Renewal (and Healthstone/Healthpot), this is your best way to help healers top your HP bar. Opting into Heart of the Wild allows for two charges of Frenzied Regeneration during the duration of Heart of the Wild, which can be incredibly useful for long-duration movement events that cause you to take a lot of damage, such as Broodkeeper Diurna’s staff channel if it is targeted on you.

You may find it worthwhile to review each player in your raid’s external defensive abilities and begin tracking them. It may be worthwhile to steal a Ret Paladin’s Blessing of Sacrifice to help you survive an encounter, for example. You can accomplish this through the use of Method Raid Tools.

Handling Movement and Prepositioning as a Balance Druid

As the baseline rotation for Balance Druid is fairly straightforward with a lot of room for small error, one of the best ways to improve is to minimize the amount of movement you do and maximize your cast time. To do this, Ranged DPS in general often will need to develop solid prepositioning skills, as it is always beneficial to be proactive with your movement rather than reactive.

The best thought process for handling movement is always: what is going to occur next, and where should I be to minimize the amount of movement if a) I get the mechanic or b) if I don’t get the mechanic? Furthermore, what toolkit does my class have that allows me to handle this movement without significant cost to my throughput?

For Balance Druid, the main thing you have (in Moonkin Form) is Wild Charge. Wild Charge leaps your character backwards, and is on a 15 second cooldown. Wild Charge is off the global cooldown, allowing you to combo it with an instant cast ability such as Starsurge, Starfall, or one of your DoT effects. You can further extend the distance this Wild Charge takes you by a) jumping and b) casting Flap. Flap is on the global cooldown, however, so it is important to only use it when you feel you need the additional movement.

Balance Druid is a fairly solid class at handling short bursts of movement as it has a lot of buttons that are able to be pressed while moving -- Starsurge and Starfall being the most notable. However, extended movement is typically rough to play as Balance Druid, since your builders must be hard casted. Planning ahead and breaking up long movement into short movement bursts changes that weakness into something that becomes a lot more manageable.

To accomplish this, you will use your spenders and your Sunfire/Moonfire reapplications to adjust your position in the fight. Furthermore, Balance Druid benefits from having increased access to their spenders in their cooldowns through the employment of Elune’s Guidance, so you get punished a lot less than other classes for needing to move in your cooldowns, since you will have ample Astral Power to spend Starsurges/Starfalls on when you need to move. Despite this, it is incredibly punishing to have to cancel your Full Moon casts in your Incarnation: Chosen of Elune, as you will want to line it up with your Balance of All Things windows at the start of your cooldowns.

You also have access to Stampeding Roar, an ability that increases the movement speed of you and all allies around you within 20 yards by 60%. This is often not able to be used as a personal movement cooldown, and is instead saved for the benefit of your guild. The other large movement cooldown you have access to is Dash, which will shapeshift you into Cat Form and increase your movement speed by 60% for 10 seconds. The large difference between Stampeding Roar and Dash is that the movement speed generated by Dash does not remain after you shapeshift back into Moonkin Form, whereas Stampeding Roar does. As a result, you ideally want to use Dash in emergency situations, as using it will lead to significant DPS loss.

Remember: Balance Druid is a specialization that benefits largely from its inherent positive feedback loops, and downtime incurred from shapeshifting and being in forms other than Moonkin Form is fairly punishing for Balance Druid.

Providing Utility as a Balance Druid

One thing that Druid excels at is providing utility for a group. Balance Druid has a lot of access to spells that benefit other players or ease mechanics from fights.

Here is a brief list of these utility spells and an example of when they can be used:

  • Mark of the Wild: A “raid buff” that increases the Versatility of all players by 3%. Incredibly effective raid buff as it benefits every specialization in the raid comp, and also reduces their damage taken by 1.5%.
  • Stampeding Roar: The strongest group movement ability in the game, increasing movement speed of all allies within 20 yards by 60%.
  • Innervate: An incredibly potent tool offered to Balance Druids that allow healers to cast spells for 8 seconds without incurring any mana loss. Incredibly effective for ramp-based healers that spend their mana in large bursts upfront rather than gradually.
  • Solar Beam: A solid AoE silence that acts as our interrupt. Incredibly potent for stopping casters in Mythic+ content, with great raid application on bosses like Raszageth, Sarkareth, and Fyrakk.
  • Incapacitating Roar: Our primary “stop”. This ability incapacitates all enemies within 15 yards, causing them to stop casted abilities, even if they’re not interruptible, as long as they are not immune to the CC.
  • Typhoon: Another “stop” that is a bit riskier to use as it causes a knockback and a slow effect. The knockback portion is useful in a lot of various raid scenarios, such as Anduin Wrynn and Fyrakk.
  • Ursol’s Vortex/Mass Entanglement: As this is a choice node, you are only able to play one or the other. Ursol’s will pull enemies into an area, allowing for a great way to get mobs clustered in one area. Mass Entanglement roots enemies in a wide area, which is incredibly useful for fights such as Larodar to prevent treants from moving into playspace in Phase Two.
  • Entangling Roots: A baseline version that is a single root. This is a solid tool for ensuring a mob doesn’t move, as it has no cooldown and can be spammed as much as necessary if it breaks.
  • Hibernate: A spammable “sleep” that works only on Dragonkin and Beasts. This is a great way to handle casts from these types of mobs that are not interruptible. A good example of this could be the frontal from the Fetid Maggot mob in Underrot -- if you were tracking the cooldown of the spell, you could cast Hibernate before/during its frontal cast, and make the mechanic trivial for your group.
  • Nature’s Vigil: A solid heal that converts a portion of the damage you do into “smart” healing for the group for 15 seconds. Only counts for single target damage, but counts for each target that single target damage is applied to, so if you’re DoTting up a lot of mobs, you’ll do an exceptional amount of healing for those 15 seconds.
  • Rebirth: The most potent battle rez in the game, often taking priority over all other types of battle rezzes because it doesn’t cost resource to use and is the shortest cast time out of all casted battle rezzes. (Note: Guardian Druid, Resto Druid, Prot Paladin, and Death Knight have access to instant cast battle rezzes, but often sacrifice resources to cast it). It is the expectation that the Balance Druid is responsible for casting battle rez on players who die in combat.
  • Remove Corruption: A dispel that removes both Poisons and Curses from a target. Great on fights such as Council of Dreams, where poison spears can threaten players and may require Balance Druids to assist healers with their removal.
  • Cyclone: Largely a PvP tool, but can see some niche play to do things such as build resource without damaging a target.

Cooldown Usage as a Balance Druid

As Balance Druid is one of the few specializations in the game with a 3-minute cooldown, it is incredibly important to ensure you’re utilizing your cooldowns properly. Making sure you’re getting max value out of them is key to getting everything out of the spec, so you should build a thought process that includes things such as:

  • Am I going to get full use of the cooldown?
  • Am I going to be contributing effective damage to the group with this cooldown?
  • Is there another point in the fight that might be better suited for these cooldowns? (Damage amps, priority add spawns, lust, trinket availability, etc.)
  • Will I lose a use by holding these cooldowns?
  • Could the objective be accomplished by an upcoming Primordial Arcanic Pulsar? (This occurs rarely)

Primordial Arcanic Pulsar is a powerful tool offered to Balance Druids that offer 12 seconds of Incarnation: Chosen of Elune. This is excellent for helping Balance Druids have mini-bursts of damage in-between their main Incarnation: Chosen of Elune uses. Timing this properly for damage events such as Tindral Sageswift’s shield is key to maximizing damage, as otherwise, you would land on the platform and expend 4-5 GCDs before you can effectively start doing damage. Having an Arcanic Pulsar on hand circumvents the necessity of going into an eclipse beforehand, saving you GCDs.

Another note on Pulsar: You will want to utilize this as effectively as possible. Before entering a Primordial Arcanic Pulsar, you want to ensure that you have pooled enough Astral Power to make it worth going into the Pulsar. With the Vault of the Incarnates tier coming back, if you pool before you go into a Pulsar, you will be able to immediately stack 3 charges of your Starlord from the empowered spender and the two subsequent spender uses. A typical Arcanic Pulsar sequence looks something like this:

Pre-casted Wrath to expend any built up 2PC procs and fish for Astral Smolder procs → Starsurge (proc pulsar) → Starsurge (4pc benefitted) → Starsurge → Wrath (benefitted from 2pc and to fish for Astral Smolders procs) → Moon Cast(s) → Continue spending starsurges → fish for Astral Smolder with empowered Wraths → exit eclipse after spending as much as possible before it ends.

Due to the amount of casts necessary in the above sequence, you should ideally be in a proper spot to use this cooldown. Having to move during casted time in that above sequence disrupts the flow entirely and causes your Pulsar to be suboptimal.