Raid Stacking 101

Blizzard has announced its intention to change how raid buff stacking works in patch 3.0.2, making more buffs and debuffs affect the whole raid, but limiting how many things they can stack with.  I know this topic has been picked apart to death, and I know I already touched upon this in my post about changes to shadow priest utility in WotLK, but the information given is so large and unwieldy, it is difficult to visualize how different things will become.

If you have not read the official post on how raid stacking will change in patch 3.0.2, go do so now.

You will continue to try to stack your raids to ensure optimal raid buffs.  Especially in 10-mans, balancing classes and specs for the buffs/debuffs they bring will be quite tedious.  There are 38 different categories that raid buffs and debuffs fall into, and only the best buff/debuff in each category will affect the raid or target.  Some categories you will not find useful all the time (such as resistances, mob healing debuffs, etc.), but most you will.

A visual overview of the buff overlaps is as follows:

(Note: You MUST click on the image to be able to read it!)

Click for: Large Version || Medium Version
Or download an Excel version of this table (to tweak for yourself).

HUGE DISCLAIMER: Just because a spec could bring a certain buff to the raid, it doesn’t mean each and every person with talent points in that tree will have the desired buff. Ask the player, inspect them, or check their armory to be sure.  When making this table, I erred on the side of inclusion.

Here is a short reference of the buff/debuff names broken down by category, which player should have them, and how they are obtained (trainer, talent points, etc.).  Use the list below to know what to ask players for when building your raid group. The best buffs in each category are starred (). (Read on for the complete list…)

All Damage Buffs
These buffs increase the damage done by all types of damage

  • Percentage Haste Increase
    Increases the haste rating of all players in the raid

All Damage Debuffs
These debuffs on a mob will increase its damage taken from all sources

  • Crit Chance Taken
    Increases the chance a given target is hit with a critical strike

Physical Damage Buffs
Increases to melee and ranged physical attacks

  • Melee Haste
    Increases the haste of melee attacks only

  • Melee Crit
    Increases the crit chance of melee attacks

  • Flat AP Buff
    Adds a flat value of attack power

    • Battle Shout
      Warrior – level 1 ability
      Improved version: 15 points Fury
    • Blessing of Might
      Paladin – level 4 ability
      Improved version: 5 points Retribution
  • Bleed Damage Increase
    Increases the amount of damage done by bleed effects

    • Mangle
      Druid – Feral – 41 talent points
    • Trauma
      Warrior – Arms – 27 talent points

Physical Damage Debuffs
Debuffs placed on a target that increase the melee and ranged physical attack damage done to it

  • Major Armor Debuff
    Effectively decreases the armor rating of the target

  • Minor Armor Debuff
    Similar to the previous category.  You can have one major armor debuff and one minor.

  • Physical Vulnerability Debuff
    Causes the target to take additional damage from each physical attack

    • Blood Frenzy
      Warrior – Arms – 42 talent points
    • 2nd Talent Spec TBA

Spell Damage Buffs
Increases the amount of spell damage done by the raid

  • Spell Haste
    Increases the spell haste rating of raid members

  • Spell Crit (Buff)
    Increases the spell crit rating of raid members

Spell Damage Debuffs
Increases the amount of spell damage a target will take

  • Spell Crit (Debuff)
    Increases the chance of target being struck with a spell critical strike

  • Increased Spell Hit Taken
    Decreases the chance that spells miss the target

Mob Mitigation Debuffs
Situational debuffs limiting an aspect of a mob’s ability

  • Melee Attack Speed Slow
    Increases the time between melee strikes from the target

  • Melee Hit Chance Reduction
    Decreases the chance the target will hit in melee

  • Healing Debuff
    Decreases the amount of healing the target receives

  • Attack Power Debuff
    Decreases the targets physical attack power

Stat Increasing Raid Buffs
Increases one or more of the “core” stats (stamina, intellect, spirit, agility, or strength) of raid members

  • Stat Multiplier
    Increases all core stats by a fixed percentage

  • Stat Add
    Increases all core stats by a fixed value

  • Stamina
    Increase to stamina

Damage Mitigation, Healing, & Health
Buffs that make the healers’ lives easier

  • Damage Mitigation Percent Buff
    Decreases the amount of physical damage taken by raid members

  • Percent Healing Received Buff
    Increases the healing done to raid members

  • Health Increase
    Increases the max. health of raid members

  • Armor Increase Percent
    Increases a raid member’s armor

Regenerates the raid’s mana

  • Replenish
    Returns mana to the 10 raid members with the lowest remaining mana.
    * See note below!

Increases the spell resistance stats of raid members.

  • Arcane
    Increases arcane spell resistance

    • Mark of the Wild
      Druid – level 1 ability
      Improved version: 2 points Restoration


I included a category for mana-return spells/abilities that apply Replenishment buffs to your raid.  If there is only one person who can apply the “Replenish” buff to the raid, it will affect the ten players with the lowest mana values. If there are two players, it will affect the 20 people in your raid with the lowest mana values. At least that is was the way it was working as of a few days ago.  This may be a bug, or it may just be the way it is going to work.  I am not sure at this point in time.

Provided things do not change, you would only need one player who can provide Replenish in a 10-man raid.  In a 25-man, you could use two.


This list and table are obviously subject to change.  I just thought it would be a useful tool for those trying to optimize their 10-man Naxx runs in the beta.

Once this information is more set in stone, with a little luck someone might make a handy flash tool where you could plug in the classes/specs you already have, and easily see which classes to use to fill the empty raid slots, satisfying your missing buff/debuff categories  (I’m not going to bother to, as my webhost will not let me upload flash. However, I would be happy to help out anyone who wanted to make and/or host it.  I’ll try to keep this post updated in the meantime).

25 Responses

  1. [...] than write a guide to it myself, I’ll just direct you to Dwarf Priest’s excellent post, which even includes a handy-dandy visual guide to raid buffs and who provides them. [...]

  2. [...] September 10, 2008 by gnomeaggedon Yep, I have nothing to contribute on this topic myself, but I have been (and will be) spending a bit of time reading and rereading this excellent post by The Dwarf Priest on raid stacking. [...]

  3. Very nice overview and a great list. With the new raid stacking mechanics, it’ll be interesting to see how raid setups go in the next expansion.

    Also you forgot Improved Water Elemental for Frost Mages :) The return mana to the raid too.

  4. thanks for the wonderful post! I knew about this, but your way of explaining it all made it crystal clear even to me :P

    Thanks again and keep up the great work!

  5. I didn’t forget Water Elemental, Judgements of the Wise, Heroism/Bloodlust, other the other buffs absent from the list. Those all stack with other buffs. They will always affect the raid.

    The list I made is of buff categories where only the best buff will provide a benefit.

  6. I think you’re missing the Master Poisoner talent in the Rogue Assassination tree which is in the “Crit Chance Taken” debuff class. It might also be worth noting down details such as buff refresh rates and Aura radii in the detail below the chart. Apart from that I think you’ve got everything down concisely.

    Nice work :).

  7. Looking at your chart, you have red dots in Shaman’s Stat add when they should be in Strength & Agility.

    Excellent work!

  8. Someone should be paying you to do this stuff! Preferably, Blizzard, but why hasn’t WoW Insider come knocking yet?

    Sorry to be reading this so late in the day, but Siha & Gnomeageddon have adequately stated my views as well. :)

  9. @Kestrel – I cannot be bought! :)

    @Others – Thank you for the feedback. I updated the table with a few changes. I need to look into that rogue ability still…

  10. The 2nd Physical vulnerabilty debuff TBA is from Rogues, it’s a deep combat talent named Blood Poisoning. It is identical to the warrior Blood Frenzy Debuff in its benefit and uptime.

    Assassination Rogues ass an Increased Crits Taken debuff identical to the paladin/shaman one.

    The Paladin increased crits taken talent is in reach of Holy and Prot builds. Many, hell, even most Holy paladins will likely pick it up I’d wager.

    Hope that helps!

  11. [...] Que similar efforts at [WotLK] Listing of class synergies (talents and skills) and Raid Stacking 101 A Dwarf Priest [...]

  12. [...] Similar efforts at [WotLK] Listing of class synergies (talents and skills) and Raid Stacking 101 A Dwarf Priest [...]

  13. Hey, and thanks for a very nice recap.

    I find the table a bit hard to read though. Is the original spreadsheet available somewhere so I can tweak it a bit ?

    Or, could you repeat the classes (or classes color) in every fat black line, or maybe very slightly class-color the columns’ background ?

  14. [...] Originally Posted by alkis I think a table will be a much better representation. Rows are each of the buffs and columns each of the classes. Some cells will be empty but pretty much all you need to know is in a reasonably small table. This sounds like what you are describing, though it may be out of date: Raid Stacking 101 (A Dwarf Priest) [...]

  15. @stormyparis – Excel version, coming up!

  16. I believe all attack speed debuffs are now 20% (with talents), making them all pretty much equal.

  17. [...] and introduction of siege vehicles represent exciting new elements of game play, while the new raid buff stacking represents a major paradigm [...]

  18. [...] Raid Buffs 101, from the ever informative DwarfPriest [...]

  19. I noticed the graph doesn’t have hunters under cast speed reduction. The hunter pet Serpents have an ability that poisons the enemy similar to mind numbing poison which reduces casting speed by 50%. Also an effect from snakes in snake traps.

  20. It seems that you’ve left out 2 DK Frost talents as far as resistances:

    Frost Aura: All party or raid members within 45 yards of the Death Knight gain 1 spell resistance. (probably 1 per level)

    When you are hit by a spell, you have a 30% chance to boost your resistance to that type of magic for 18 sec. Stacks up to 3 times.(50 resistance, raid-wide, so up to 150 for fights spamming AE)

  21. Great post & image. There is also a dynamic version of a raid composition planner available at There you can select all your raid members (10/25/40), available buffs/debuffs are shown, and you can also find out (by mouseover on any of the missing buffs) what other classes/specs to bring.

  22. [...] I ain’t gonna lie, I keep talking about trying out the toys in the Discipline tree, but I’m a holy-healer through and through. All that being said, I’m going to recommend a 55/5/0 build as a solid lv 70 build for a raid environment. I know there’s a point missing, and that’s really intended to be something you can stick wherever you want depending on your group makeup. This isn’t intended to be a “leveling build” (I’ll get to that in a few minutes) but the build that will give you the most bang for your healing buck and emphasizing Disc’s shield shenannigans, without talents that will be overwritten by others in the group. (For an awesome and complete list of buffs, what they overwrite, and what overwrites them, check out Dwarf Priest’s Raid Stacking 101.) [...]

  23. Did some of these raid stacking restrictions change in the latest Patch?

    I’ve noticed, as of the latest patch before WotLK (3.03), that some of these raid stacking restrictions no longer apply.

    For example, in my last two ZA raids, as a Moonkin I’ve tried to keep up Earth and Moon, while a fellow Warlock tried to keep up Curse of Elements. In prior patches, we noticed that one would clear the other. But in the last patch here, both stay up all the time. Bug? Or maybe some of these stack now?!?

  24. Under “Strength & Agility” buffs, talented Shaman has better buff than non-talented or DK.

  25. I did a check on debuffs that slow melee attacks. Warrior’s Thunderclap, when talented (requires 3 points spending in prot tree), is equal with the feral’s Infected Wounds attack speed slowing part. Death Knight’s talented Icy Touch is the same thing too, 20%. Also, Judgement of Just has the same 20% melee attack speed reduction. Maybe WoWhead is outdated, but I wouldn’t count on it.

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