Symbiosis – A Druid Primer


There’s been many questions about the new druid ability, Symbiosis. I’ve written a quick primer below, which includes some notes, tables listing the current spells granted to each combo, and some recommendations for good combinations for PvE and PvP. Enjoy!


The druid’s level 87 ability, Symbiosis, grants both the casting druid and his/her friendly target one new ability. The ability received by the druid is based on the druid’s spec and the class of the target. The ability received by the target is based on the target’s spec and class.

  • Symbiosis is a 6 second cast and cannot be cast in combat. (This is slated to be reduced to 2 seconds in 5.1.)
  • Cannot be cast on other druids, for obvious reasons.
  • Symbiosis effects last 1 hour and persist through death, similar to a flask.
  • Symbiosis effects are canceled if the player and target are too far apart.
  • Once cast, the new ability appears in the spellbook of both characters, and may be dragged to an action bar and interacted with normally.

Spell Tables:

Simply read down the column for your chosen spec to see what you receive. Flip over to the last column to see what your target receives.

(Updated 14 Oct to reflect hotfixes; tanks are no longer special snowflakes who get cooldowns.)

 Target: Balance Gets: Feral Gets: Guardian Gets: Restoration Gets: Target Receives:
Blood Death Knight Anti-Magic Shell Death Coil Bone Shield Icebound Fortitude Might of Ursoc
Brewmaster Monk Grapple Weapon Clash Elusive Brew Fortifying Brew Survival Instincts
Protection Paladin Hammer of Justice Divine Shield Consecration Cleanse Barkskin
Protection Warrior Intervene Shattering Blow Spell Reflection Intimidating Roar Savage Defense
 Target: Balance Gets: Feral Gets: Guardian Gets: Restoration Gets: Target Receives:
Discipline/Holy Priest Mass Dispel Dispersion Fear Ward Leap of Faith Cyclone
Holy Paladin Hammer of Justice Divine Shield Consecration Cleanse Rebirth
Mistweaver Monk Grapple Weapon Clash Elusive Brew Fortifying Brew Entangling Roots
Restoration Shaman Purge Feral Spirit Lightning Shield Spiritwalker’s Grace Prowl
Melee DPS:
 Target: Balance Gets: Feral Gets: Guardian Gets: Restoration Gets: Target Receives:
Arms/Fury Warrior Intervene Shattering Blow Spell Reflection Intimidating Roar Stampeding Shout
Enhancement Shaman Purge Feral Spirit Lightning Shield Spiritwalker’s Grace Solar Beam
Frost/Unholy Death Knight Anti-Magic Shell Death Coil Bone Shield Icebound Fortitude Wild Mushroom: Plague
Retribution Paladin Hammer of Justice Divine Shield Consecration Cleanse Wrath
Rogue (all) Cloak of Shadows Redirect Feint Evasion Growl
Windwalker Monk Grapple Weapon Clash Elusive Brew Fortifying Brew Bear Hug
Ranged DPS:
 Target: Balance Gets: Feral Gets: Guardian Gets: Restoration Gets: Target Receives:
Elemental Shaman Purge Feral Spirit Lightning Shield Spiritwalker’s Grace Solar Beam
Hunter (all) Misdirection Play Dead Ice Trap Deterrence Dash
Mage (all) Mirror Image Frost Nova Mage Ward Ice Block Healing Touch
Shadow Priest Mass Dispel Dispersion Fear Ward Leap of Faith Tranquility
Warlock (all) Unending Resolve Soul Swap Life Tap Demonic Circle: Teleport Rejuvenation

Symbiosis Recommendations & Strategies (PvE):

There’s very few ability pairs that are awesome for both the druid and the target, so you’re going to have to optimize for one or the other. That decision is up to you; generally speaking, for things like 5-mans and LFR, you’ll want to prioritize your buff because the odds of finding someone who can effectively use the given ability are pretty low. For raids where you have good communication, pick whatever makes the most sense for the success of the raid as a whole (which may or may not be buffing yourself).

For the druid:

  • Balance: The only DPS-increasing ability here is Mirror Image (mages), and it’s a very slight increase. A more likely choice would be one of the survivability abilities (Unending Resolve (warlocks)/Anti-Magic Shell (DK’s) or Intervene (warriors) for movement. Other abilities are encounter-specific.
  • Feral: For a 25-man raid, Shattering Blow (warriors) is probably the best choice to increase overall raid DPS; not good for 10-man unless you run very melee-heavy. For add fights, Soul Swap (warlocks)/Redirect (rogues) are your friends, depending on the encounter profile. Feral has terrible target switching, but either of those two abilities will help significantly. Dispersion (priests) may also see some use. If nothing else, you can Symbiosis a shaman to get Feral Spirits, which does a tiny bit of damage.
  • Guardian: Bone Shield (DK’s) is an excellent option, as is Elusive Brew (monks) or Feint (rogues). Life Tap (warlocks) offers an interesting tactical choice. Other options are more situational.
  • Restoration: Some interesting options here (read: nothing really that great. :P)  Your best bet is something like Ice Block (mages), IBF (DK’s), Deterrence (hunters) or Fortifying Brew (monks) to avoid/reduce damage from an encounter mechanic. For more “interesting” uses, grab Leap of Faith (priests) to see how those silly clothies like being jerked around, or get Evasion (rogues) and learn how to be a treetank.

For the target:

(Any feedback on this section is welcome, geared towards PvE.)

  • Death Knight: DKs don’t really need another method of spreading diseases.
  • Hunter: Good hunters can use Dash to minimize AotF time, but most will turn their nose up at it. IF there’s a fight where a hunter needs to kite something, it’s a good place for Symbiosis.
  • Monk: Windwalkers get Bear Hug, Mistweavers get roots. There’s a few fights where you can only interrupt with stuns, so Bear Hug is helpful there; roots won’t help a mistweaver much.
  • Mage: Mages probably won’t bother to heal themselves, since that’s valuable DPS time.
  • Paladin: Holy gets Rebirth; this actually isn’t a bad idea if the druid is the only source of battle rez, since you can’t brez yourself if you die. :) Retribution gets Wrath, which has some use in a few fights.
  • Priest: Cyclone for holy/disc priests is pretty meh, but Tranquility is great for Shadow Priests. If you need an extra raid healing cooldown and have a Spriest, this is a great choice.
  • Rogue: Turns rogues into tanks! Might take some thought into how to use it, but could really change how you approach some fights.
  • Shaman: DPS shamans get Solar Beam (eh) but Restoration Shamans get Prowl. Yeah, by itself that’s not so hot, but now an all-stealth team doesn’t have to be just Rogues and Druids anymore. I’m guessing using stealth to skip some mechanics will be integral to Challenge Mode times.
  • Warlock: Like the mages, they probably won’t bother to heal themselves, though Rejuv is much less painful to use than HT.
  • Warrior:Sometimes it’s good to have a second Stampeding Roar out there for certain mechanics.

Symbiosis Recommendations & Strategies (PvP):

TBD. Well, okay, Feral-Disc is absolutely ridiculous.

 Posted by at 12:23 am

  739 Responses to “Symbiosis – A Druid Primer”

  1. […] but the topic’s grown enough to where it deserves another treatment. (My blog contains a full breakdown of what each class currently gets and receives from the ability, along with more in-depth […]

  2. […] but the topic’s grown enough to where it deserves another treatment. (My blog contains a full breakdown of what each class currently gets and receives from the ability, along with more in-depth […]

  3. Hey Alaron
    Can you explain why are Feral Spirits bad for a Feral please? I have been trying to wrap my head around it; I thought they might be worthwhile since they dont require energy, but maybe, their scaling is bad or they just do sucky damage? I understand SB is overall stronger for the raid, but I was wondering about the the absolute worth of the wolves, not just relative. Thank you very much for the reply!

  4. I have a question about Symbiosis with a Holy Paladin from a Resto point of view. If every dispel has now an eight seconds CD, does that mean that Symbiosis on a Holy Paladin allows restos to be able to dispel twice every 8 seconds? Or do Nature’s Cure and Cleanse share the same CD?

  5. “For add fights, Soul Swap, Redirect, or CONSECRATION are your friends, depending on the encounter profile. Dispersion may also see some use.”
    You want to remove “Consecration”.

  6. CaptainCub beat me to it, according to your chart, guardian druids get consecration, kitties get the lame Divine Shield CD from paladins. I would have been happier to have another way to bump AoE damage myself, but alas… the bears get the fun toys.

  7. Warrior: Making everyone move faster is good for wipe recovery? I guess?


    You think a 60% run speed buff for 10sec THAT REMOVES SLOWS is only used to recover from wipes? no wonder you haven’t killed anything but LFR

  8. You should update this list, they changed many things … tanks now receive tank thing from symbiosis and not rebirth or healing thing anymore.

  9. Just putting it out there that the Shadow priest version of tranquility doesnt do much healing and is pretty useless, symbiosis is best put elsewhere

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