View Full Forums : Druid vs Priest PvP Strategies

02-22-2005, 04:41 PM
Although I've played both the Druid and the Priest classes quite a bit, this perspective is coming more from a Priest as that is the class with which I have the most experience. The strategy I'm going to discuss will be based on standard lvl 60 dueling 1v1, for now I'm not going to go into lower level dueling or group PvP.

First let me start by outlining what I believe are the most defining class abilities in this matchup:


Psychic Scream: First there is Psychic Scream, the unparalleled Priest PvP weapon. Some Priests will use this as an OH *$@! button, others will use it as a heal interrupt, and others will save it until you get low to try to deal the final blow. However they decide to use it, it will almost always be a good time. The one true chance they have to Mana Burn a Druid is while they are feared. During this time they will be able to get off approximately 3 for a total of 2400 mana and 1200 damage. Your goal, of course, is to not be in caster form when you get feared. More on this later.

Mind Flay: This spell constitutes the meat of the Priest offensive arsenal. It is both the most mana efficient and highest DPS DD spell a Priest can wield. Against most lvl 60's, you will be facing Priests without this spell as they will be talent specced differently, but the Shadow tree is widely considered the best 1v1 PvP option for Priests so you still need to be aware of it. Against a Druid they will only cast it while under the protection of PW:Shield or while you are at range or attempting to get there.

Mind Blast/Smite: These two DD spells are what will give you a first glimpse at the skill of your opponent. Smite is frankly too slow for any use in PvP. Mind Blast is effective, but if you see a Priest casting this early in a duel with a Druid, you should immediately throw up the warning flags. We all know healing is far more mana efficient than DD, and this spell shows you they are either too cocky, not patient, or unexperienced in this matchup.

SW:Pain: The Priest's standard DoT will probably be on you at all times. Depending on talent spec it will last between 18 and 24 seconds. This spell is the primary reason you will need to shift out of animal form to heal, as while they are meleeing, their spell and melee damage will be relatively low.

Greater Heal: While you are either feared or moving out of range, the Priest may choose to use Greater Heal to recover their health. In this situation, you can't do anything but watch their health bar cap out again, but don't expect to see this much in melee combat.

Flash Heal/Renew: These two spells will be the Priest's primary heal spells against you.

Devouring Plague(Undead Priest): I won't go into this much except that its a DoT which heals the caster. The mana cost on this spell is atrocious so you should jump for joy if you see this cast on you.

Divine Spirit: The spirit buff from the bottom of the Priest Discipline tree will immediately tip you off that the Priest is spec'd less towards damage and more towards manipulating their mana efficiency and mana pool size.


Starfire: Its not worth the time to try to channel this against a Priest. With Dispell, you're not really going to get range and time to cast this either, so its pretty much a waste in this matchup.

Moonfire: This spell is the meat of your burst dps against the Priest. From what I understand it will refresh in 1 seconds which gives you the ability to pump out about 200-250dps for a very short duration.

Entangling Roots: While you will hardly ever want to bother casting this spell against a Priest. There is a very good reason to use Nature's Grasp. More on that later.

Rejuvination/Regrowth: Again, these are pretty much moot against Dispell. However, use Regrowth as a flash heal if you need it. My suggestion is to not give up on dispellable things. You can't just concede the territory and assume they will always Dispell you within a second of your cast. People have different skills and reaction times, and there is value in making them play reactively.

Healing Touch: While I would avoid this spell if you notice they have Silence, you can channel it when needed through melee. Don't be afraid to cast it, mana efficiency is important. However, a good Priest will probably Fear you here and Mana Burn you either way. Clearly, this spell is best reserved for using with Nature's Swiftness.

Nature's Grasp: If they are meleeing you, use this talent and perhaps travel form to move out of range. It will take them a moment to Dispell it so you will be comfortable out of melee range and perhaps even Mind Flay range by the time they are freed. Of course, you need a reason to want to be running away...

Innervate: Don't bother unless you are out of range.

The animal forms, I do not know everything about, but I think I know enough to outline the major points. Hopefully someone can come behind me and fill in things I may have left out. One thing is for sure, you generally want to be in a form versus a Priest to protect your mana pool from getting Mana Burned.

Feral Charge: This counters Mind Flay when you are moving towards the Priest or allows you to go back into caster form and use a Healing Touch without worry. Can you use this talent at short range?

Bash: Once you pull the Priest down to 50% or so health, Bashing and going in the Moonfire spam mode can end the duel. If you have enough mana left, you can pretty much finish them off while they are defenseless. In the early stages of the duel, Bash can also be used effectively to counter Mind Blasts or heals.

CatForm: Fast attacks are a good way of making the Priest's spells with a cast-time very time inefficient, but my understanding is that you will want to use Bear in a long fight. We will have to reinspect this area when the changes in cat DPS and finishing moves are made. Keep in mind, however, that the DoTs used while in Cat Form cannot be dispelled to my knowledge.

So what are the strengths of each class in this matchup? The Priest will have some serious longevity if they play conservatively and use their PW:Shield as needed. Also, Mana Burn and Dispell can seriously hinder your caster-form ability. A Priest can keep up a steady stream of DPS with their SW:Pain and approprite use of their other damage spells.

For the Druid, you also have longevity as well as the ability to escape at will. With Moonfire spam, you can do the best burst DPS of the two. Nature's Swiftness lets you instantly heal-up without having to bother with channelling.

For talents I'm assuming for the time-being that Druids are based around a 31 restoration, 11 feral, 9 balance talent layout. I know it varies, probably by more that I know, from that build, but my experience prevents me from commenting past this build. Priests have three main builds: Holy/Disc, Disc/Holy, and Shadow/Disc. At 60, you will see Shadow/Disc the least. For PvP you can pretty much ignore the Holy tree. What will matter the most in this matchup will be the Discipline tree, and as you see, all three of these builds are already built around it. As such, you can expect the Priest to have a larger mana pool than a comparitively similar Druid as well as being at the peak of their mana efficiency. It is not uncommon for any of these builds to have enough invested in the Shadow tree to get Mind Flay, so don't make your judgement on their talent spec just from that spell. What you should look for is if their shadow spells add a focus to you called Shadow Weaving. Only then will you know that the Priest is truely Shadow specced. This observation should let you know that the Priest has less durability and is more capable of finishing you off, so you should tend to be more aggressive with going into Moonfire spam mode and more willing to pop into caster form and heal yourself earlier.

The combat itself is a totally different beast. As we all know, we can talk about how these things come to be in reality all we like, but the truth is that combat is a real-time, dynamic beast that we have to adapt to given our resources. The one thing I will say is that "the ball is in your court." This matchup is truely one where the Druid has to lose. The Priest doesn't decide if you die, you do. If things aren't working out, there is no shame in running away and regrouping. Take advantage of one of the Druid's strength! Don't let the Priest kite you, make them want to come to you. When they fear, they expect you to come back to them, surprise them once in a while and jet off to nullify whatever temporary advantage they've accumulated.

If people post stories of how their specific fights went, I will try to add my observations to the mix. There's always something you can do better and a different perspective is a good way to start. I hope this sparks a quality discussion so we will have a good resource to enrich our knowledge as a group.


edit: corrected moonspam dps from responses

02-23-2005, 04:58 AM
Couple of small things off the top of my head. If you see Devouring Plague on you, hope you have an item or something to cure disease with. The mana cost on the spell isn't that bad in PvP, because it also heals the caster for all the damage it's doing. And since druids don't have a way to cure disease innately, it's likely going to run it's full 24 second course along with Shadow Word Pain.

At level 60 you're looking at a combined base total of 1756 damage in 24 seconds (more actually, as Shadow Word Pain is a base duration of 18 seconds, 24 with talents). And them being healed for 904 damage over that time, more with Vampiric Embrace. Devouring Plague definently has a place in 1v1 PvP, it's bassicaly the only place it's fairly powerful and useful.

Another problem with facing a Shadow Priest is silence. You shift out of forms to heal, and if they're quick enough, they can silence you preventing your Swift Heal from going off, and proceed to burn you down, likely dispeling(if Swiftness buff is up) and then fearing to lay in the finishing Mind Blast/Flays.

Silence has a 45 second cooldown, so depending on how it goes when they use it, you could end up facing it multiple times during a fight. Devouring Plague on the other hand has a 3 minute cooldown, so you're not likely to face it more than once in any particular fight, if you can manage to do okay when you shift out, you'll not have to worry about it again really.

Another thing to be aware of when fighting a Human or Dwarven priest is that they have an instant cast mana free heal that tops out at around 1500 points. 30 minute cooldown, but don't be surprised if you get them sorta low and then poof, suddenly full life again.

02-23-2005, 08:06 AM
Your estimates on Moonfire are way off. I tested this on very low level mobs spamming moonfire until they were dead. The best you get is about ~150 dps without talents. You can prolly push this to near 200 with talents and gear, but definitely not anywhere near 500. I'd copy the posts from the Blizzard boards but they seem to be down currently.

02-23-2005, 08:32 AM
Yeah, it doesn't refresh in 0.5 seconds, it takes 1 second for it to refresh. The global cooldown.

02-24-2005, 05:02 PM
Well I play a priest and I'd be happy to share how to beat you and how I get beat, I guess you can work on the final strat. I am holy/disc spec'd.

First of all I normally DoT you with Shadow Word: Pain (magic) and then fear right off the bat. First a few dispells to rid you of buffs, I then go for mana burn until you're out of mana. I will use PW:S (absords damage) if needed until all your mana is drained. Use fear as it comes up (30 sec cool down) DoT nuke and melee you dead.

The secret to beating a priest is very simple. Get your shadow resist up as high as possible (100+). This should be above all, more then int, sta... all. Good shadow resist eliminates all our big guns (fear, mana burn, nukes).

If I was a druid, I would open up with cat form. Move away and go stealth as so as the fight starts, very much like a rogue. If you have any stuns avaliable use them as we are healing, rogue stuns break though PW:S, I am sure druid ones will too. If I am landing mana burn with any sucess, as a druid I would use up that mana while I still have it, big nukes and a HoT just before you go oom. Almost all priest spells require you to be facing the target. Stand very close to the priest and step behind them a couple seconds after they start casting, they might not be able to turn around fast enough.

Just some good things I've seen done while dueling druids.

02-24-2005, 06:20 PM
Manaburn isn't shadow, it's typeless. And getting your shadow resist that high without buffs would be a huge sacrifice in stats, though if you were trying to specifically kill a Priest and only a Priest, it might be worth it. Well, I suppose Warlocks too.

02-25-2005, 06:03 AM
Manaburn *IS* Shadow. It's in the discipline tree for priests; but it checks for shadow resist. For a long time in beta priests only had Holy/Shadow spells. But as the first couple of classes got talents they realized it would be beneficial to split all classes into 3 types of abilities and a talent tree for each type; thus "Discipline" was born for priests. To fill this out spells like "Holy Word: Fortitude" and "Holy Word: Discipline" were changed to "Power Word:". Manaburn was moved over to discipline; but its still a "shadow" spell.

When fighting priests stay in bear/catform as long as possible. The FIRST stun from bearform gives you enough time to regrowth before silence can land (assuming shadow priest).

Its VERY important to stay in forms until you have to heal because they cannot manaburn you. A smart priest will chain spells together, let regen set in, and melee/wand you to down - they can usually outlast if they have balanced gear. If they're all INT/STA just make sure to stay alive during their fear/silence back to back and you'll win by wearing them down. I think the new rage to health ability will be very nice vs priests. So will improved catform (keep them healing and they can't damage you).

02-25-2005, 06:29 AM
It's damage is not shadow though. It's typeless. It's classified as a shadow spell for the purposes of timers being tied when your kicked and such, but it doesn't do shadow damage. It still works on Shadow immune mobs, and it's not affected by any Shadow talents such as Shadow Weaving and Darkness.

02-25-2005, 06:32 AM
What shadow immune mobs have you successfully used Manaburn on?

Edit: And the reason +shadow damage items/talents do not affect it is because Manaburn doesn't do X damage (IE it doesn't have any number to multiply or add to). Manaburn drains X mana (an effect, not damage) and then does damage based on the amount of mana drained.

02-25-2005, 06:36 AM
Dunno offhand, it's been awhile, if I get bored I'll see if I can find one to test it on. Though, even so, try using it on the ghosts in Azshara, they have very high shadow resist, yet mana burn will land for full everytime.

And I meant more about it causing Shadow Weaving to show up rather than getting damage from it. And even though it doesn't do set damage it is a damage spell, though likely not classified as one and so therefore doesn't set off Shadow Weaving even if it does Shadow damage.

02-25-2005, 06:55 AM
Does Silence or Psychic Scream set off Shadow Vulnerability?

02-25-2005, 07:03 AM
No, it takes a damage spell. Which Manaburn is, logically. It just may not be marked as such in the database.

02-25-2005, 07:21 AM
logically; mana burn is not a damage spell ;p . Rank one description:

Mana Burn (Rank 1)
95 Mana 30 yd range
3 sec cast
Drains 191 to 203 mana from a target. For each mana drained in this way, the target takes 0.5 damage.

The description even describes the damage as passive "The target takes X damage." not "Manaburn gives(deals) X damage"; not active.

I think you'll find +shadow resist will help a lot vs manaburn. But at what cost? I know in +fire resist gear I give up upwards of 2k mana. If you do this to prevent manaburn you've just cast the first 3 manaburns for them; free of charge.

02-25-2005, 07:24 AM

02-25-2005, 09:35 AM
I need to experiment more, but I think the key to beating a priest is cat form.

If you can stay on him and keep swinging, you're interrupting his casting a lot and increasing the time where he is not doing damage.

Main problem with this is the cat's weak weak armor/hp and priests high quick damage with DoT's and mindblast. You might not get to stay in cat that long before needing to heal, and then my instinct is always bear form.

Anyone tried focusing on using cat vs priest? I use bears vs mage for feral charge, bc they'll ice you all the time. Versus a priest though he's just got scream, so cat might be viable (esp once we get our dps increase).

King Burgundy
02-25-2005, 02:55 PM

I'll try and do some testing vs someone with high shadow resist this week some time. Would be interesting to know one way or the other regardless.

02-25-2005, 03:14 PM
If any of you want to practice PvP on the Alleria server (not sure if anyone here is on this server), let me know. My priest, Isilme, is level 58 (2 bubbles from 59)...send me a whisper and we can arrange to meet and test things out.

02-26-2005, 09:17 AM
Manaburn isn't shadow, it's typeless. And getting your shadow resist that high without buffs would be a huge sacrifice in stats, though if you were trying to specifically kill a Priest and only a Priest, it might be worth it. Well, I suppose Warlocks too.

Erm. I got completly murdered by a paladin with really high shadow resist because I simply couldn't take his mana away. Resisted everytime, I think 5 cast. Maybe it was just a fluke, it was only 1 battle.Fear and Mind Blast were also never landed.

If you know you're going to be fighting a priest, I think it's definatly worth the loss of stats. It'd be like fighting a rogue and they can't use their weapons. If it's a pvp server and you're wondering about those random priest encounters, well... we can't stun you out of travel form. /shrug

02-26-2005, 02:31 PM
Most advice so far here has been, "duh." Like, "Get your resists to 100+ before fighting a priest." Of course thats going to help, but who really wants to switch out gear to favor Shadow Resist right before they engage in pvp with a priest. Telling people to get better gear to win a fight is the most trivial advice anyone can give. Of course better gear will help. Of course more resists against casting classes will help. The trick is doing it with your current gear and that is what requires the real skill, and in my opinion, the heart and soul of pvp. This was all useful information... that I could have found by looking up the Priest's spell list on almost any WoW site. The two most useful things Iv heard so far are:
Almost all priest spells require you to be facing the target.
Its VERY important to stay in forms until you have to heal because they cannot manaburn you.

With this knowledge I know that I am going to try to stay in form as long as possible and I'm going to keep moving around the priest. That would be my goal in the fight. There is not going to be any set way of winning a fight, but I know that if I can just try and do those two things, then the fight might go to me.

Don't think I'm leaving out the rest of the Druid's abilities because I will be using those to accomplish my main two goals of staying in forms and moving at all times.

-Glyss 60 Tauren Druid
Black Blood Battalion - Medivh

02-28-2005, 08:50 AM
Glyss has gotten straight to the point, and he is right. To add to his first quote...

Almost all priest spells require you to be facing the target.

This rule holds for all Priest's spells except for Mind Flay, Starshards, and SW:Pain. The first two channeling spells which will most likely be cast while you are at range or while they have shield up will trace you whereever you go. Mind Flay will actually keep the Priest turned towards you and Starshards has no frontal arc after its cast. SW:Pain has no casting arc at all and can be cast on you from any perspective. In fact, the only spell they will likely cast on you that can be interrupted by movement is Mind Blast and in a long fight you may not see much of it. You will know immediately if they are casting it, though, because you will see shadows coming from their hands in a non-instant timespan.

Staying in forms to protect yourself from Manaburn at ALL times is a bit misleading. The only real time a Priest has a chance to burn you is while you are at range from either running or Psychic Scream. It is to your advantage to stay in caster form in the middle of their Fear window because them attempting to burn you during this time is very advantageous to you. First, they will be trying to channel a long cast-time spell against you, which would be multiplied if you are using a dagger. Secondly, once you see them casting, you can shift into an animal form: they will continue to cast, use the mana, and then get the message "the target has no mana" or something to the effect.

For the preferred form, cat form is probably better imo since your main goal is to eat through their shield as fast as possible. If you notice that you are unable to break their shield in less than 15 seconds, save yourself some time and run.

I think its pretty obvious why using resist gear is a bad idea :P The only place I think this strategy is viable as of now is for MC and Onyxnia raids. The trade-offs thusfar in the game for resists and focii are simply unviable.

Also, for those who may be interested in details: detrimental effects are always calculated behind beneficial. The order doesn't matter from what I've seen and heard from others. If you dash in cat form and they Mind Flay, you're total dash speed will be cut to 50% after adding it in, not before. The same would go for Feral Charge I'd think, except that it may be more of an intercept type ability and not a true speed increase. Does anyone have more info on this stuff?

In other news my Priest just hit 40 last night! Anyone on Laughing Skull? :>


02-28-2005, 10:08 AM
I dueled my girlfriend's Preist (lvl 60 vs 60) a few times this weekend and worked out a strategy that eventually drove her nuts and got me consistant wins.

Running straight through her with moonfire works really well. I could get a couple shots off while she was channeling her spells. By the time she got the shot off I was directly behind her and she'd have to recast the spell. Also, OoC works very well. When she did get mana burn on me, I could still proc. with my dagger and get another shot in on her. While going at her with the dagger, I'd dance around her so she couldn't get a channeld spell on me. Also, with nature's reach my range is better so I could run out, heal, and run back.

I didn't change into resistance armor, but I equipped trinkets and off-hand items with some shadow resistance. My total was 55, and resisted about every 3rd spell she threw at me.

All in all, it's possible to beat a priest, it just takes some strategy. Just don't do it too often or you may end up sleeping on the couch ;-)