This isn’t the first guide out there but in honour of the first pet battle weekend in WoW I decided to finally get off my behind and put together my own one. I’ve been an avid pet battler from the start, as has my Pokemon loving fiancé Chris, and I hate seeing people avoiding this fun addition because it looks too complicated or overwhelming. With a whopping 752 pets overall currently in game it’s easy to see why people might find that, or not have enough time. So this guide is written in hopes of dragging a few more players into the fun that is pet battles 🙂
There are 10 pet families – a family is basically the term used to describe a type of pet. The 10 families are: aquatic, beast, critter, dragonkin, elemental, flying, humanoid, magic, mechanical and undead.
Knowing a pets family is an important starting point for pet battles as different families are stronger/weaker against each other. For example, a critter will take more damage from a beast, but will kick ass against an undead. Here’s the full list for you:
- Aquatic – Strong against: Elemental
- Beast – Strong against: Mechanical
- Critter – Strong against: Undead
- Dragonkin – Strong against: Magic
- Elemental – Strong against: Mechanical
- Flying – Strong against: Aquatic
- Humanoid – Strong against: Dragonkin
- Magic – Strong against: Flying
- Mechanical – Strong against: Beast
- Undead – Strong against: Humanoid
Just as a pet family is strong against another family, they can also be weak against them which means they do less damage against that particular family. In game you can find out these information by hovering your mouse over the pet family icon in your pet journal. As seen in the screencap below an Aquatic takes more damage from an Elemental (which is strong against Aquatics) but it will do less damage to an Undead.
This is probably already seeming a bit complicated, so when you’re starting out in pet battles my advice is to concentrate on using a pet that is strong against it. For example, if you want to battle a critter pet in Elwynn Forest you would be best using a beast. Weaknesses are not entirely unimportant but they are something you will learn to incorporate the more you play.
Each Pet Family has a passive ability, exactly like race passive abilities in game. They are:
- Aquatic – Harmful damage over time effects are reduced by 25% on Aquatic pets.
- Beast – Beasts deal 25% extra damage below half health.
- Critter – Critters break out of crowd control effects more quickly.
- Dragonkin – Dragons deal 50% additional damage on the next round after bringing a target’s health below 25%.
- Elemental – Elementals ignore all weather effects.
- Flying – Flying creatures gain 50% extra speed while above 50% health.
- Humanoid – Humanoids recover 4% of their maximum health if they dealt damage this round.
- Magic – Magic pets cannot be dealt more than 50% of their maximum health in one attack.
- Mechanical – Comes back to life once per battle, returning to 20% health
- Undead – Undead pets return to life immortal for one round when killed.
Taking note of these abilities is important because it gives you an edge in a battle, helps you survive and can also cost you a battle if you’re unaware of them. For example, even though an Undead pet will only be alive for one round after reviving that could be all it needs to kill your pet.
A pets abilities are not always the same as their family, but the good news is the same rules apply for families as they do abilities. You may have a Beast pet that has elemental abilities, which means it is strong against a Mechanical rather than Critter. Keep in mind though that the family rules still apply – so the Beast will still take heavy damage from a Mechanical, it just has more of a fighting chance against it. Here are a few examples of pets from one family who have abilities from a different one: Fel Pup (Beast with Elemental & Undead abilities), Moon Moon (Beast with Magic abilities) and Sunreaver Micro-Sentry (Mechanical with Flying & Elemental abilities).
Abilities have the same icons as pet families so when you’re battling a pet check its abilities first. Different abilities open out as your pet levels. At level 1 it will have one ability, the next at level 2, then level 4, level 10, level 15 and finally level 20. As your pet gains new abilities check what you have and swap their abilities as wanted/needed. To do this drag a pet to a pet battle slot (if a pet is already in that slot you will simply pop the new one in on top of it – don’t worry, you’re not deleting a pet 🙂 ) and then click on the small arrow below its ability and the other ability will pop down:
You can check what a pets ability does and what it is strong against by hovering your mouse over it, like so:
As you can see here the Blazing Firehawk pet has an ability called Fire Quills which is an Elemental ability and therefore strong against Mechanical and weak against critter. You can still use it against any other family but you will do more damage and thus give you a higher chance to succeed when using it against a mechanical.
This tends to be something people forget about when pet battling, especially in PvP battles. Rarity isn’t just a thing that makes your pets look prettier or more important, like gear in WoW rarity means your pets are better and stronger.
There are four different rarities (from highest to lowest):
- Rare (blue)
- Uncommon (green)
- Common (white)
- Poor (grey)
You cannot change a pets rarity by leveling it, the only way to change a pets rarity are through pet battle stones. You can now buy Pet Battle Stones to level a pet up to Rare, however, this is done with pet charms from your garrison’s Pet Menagerie and requires a selection of level 25 pets. Also your pet collection will grow to be quite large so I really do advise trying to farm for Rare pets.
Keep in mind that you wouldn’t go into a Raid with grey gear, so likewise, don’t go into a pvp or tamer battle with grey pets. A Rare pet up to 2-3 levels lower than a Grey pet will most likely win – even if it is weak against that pet.
Starting Pet Battles
Now that I’ve explained the basics you are ready to start pet battling! But where do you start? Well first of all you need a few pets. As I said there are over 700 pets and you need to be realistic; you are not going to necessarily be able to start off with the best pets. Many you need a high level (3 pets of 25) to be able to get them. However – at the end of this guide Chris and I have put together a list of pets that we personally rate above others. Most of the time pet guides and players list their top pets and they can be hard to find, especially when you’re just starting out. So when we put this list together we chose pets that can be caught, bought and then an honourable mention for other pets. We highly recommend checking out the ‘bought’ list for those of you starting out and have hardly any pets. All you need is some gold, sometimes some rep and bam you have a full level 1 team ready to go 🙂 Once you’ve gotten into them you can then use our ‘Catch’ list to build up your collection.
So with that in mind if you have absolutely 0 pets then go check out some vendors or the AH. You’ll find some pets on the AH are super expensive and if you’ve got the gold then it is your choice, but if not then don’t worry. A lower price in the AH does not mean the pet is rubbish, it means it is EASY to obtain. The highest priced pets are often ones from rares, raids and TCG cards. For vendors I recommend checking this list here on WoW Wiki.
You can have a maximum of 3 pets in a team and you must choose their abilities before you start a battle. In a battle you can swap between these 3 pets as many times as you wish, but you cannot add new pets or new abilities. As you get more experience you’ll find certain pets compliment one another and for higher level pet trainers, such as Garrison Menagerie and the Celestial Tournament, you will need to have a team that works well together. But for leveling and the easier pet trainers you can pick whatever pets work for you 🙂
Types of Battles
There are three types of battles available in World of Warcraft:
Wild Pet Battle – You can access these by clicking on a wild pet in a zone. Enable track pets on your mini-map and they will show up as little green paw prints. You can battle pets for experience to level your own pets or to catch a pet (see more below).
Pet Tamers/Legendary Pets – There are tamers (also referred to as trainers) all over the place, varying in levels. They have a set team of pets with a set choice of abilities. For most you will need to tailor your pets accordingly to beat the tamers team. Low level tamers can be beaten very easily by using higher level pets, so it can be easily to use a team of lower/same level pets and then one higher level pet to ensure pets get experience and you win the battle easily. In Pandaria and Draenor you will also find Legendary Pets which show up on your mini-map as a yellow paw print. Like pet tamers they have set abilities, however, you are fighting one boss pet rather than a team of three. Like pet tamers you will need a team that can combat the legendary pet.
There is one exception to pet tamers having the same pets and abilities every time and this is Eris, a wandering pet tamer who can visit your garrison. She has a selection of different pets, of different rarities and different abilities each time.
PvP Pet Battle – Before you run away at the mention of PvP take a moment to read what I have to say 😉 I’m not a big PvP fan but I LOVE PvP pet battles. First of all you can PvP with pets of any level, not just level 25 (the max level a pet can be). The higher level a pet is the increasingly harder a PvP battle will get because more abilities open up. So if you’re scared of some of the higher and more powerful abilities and thus getting your ass handed to you, I suggest playing with a low level team. Even a team of level 1s. You will be matched up with someone with pets in the same level bracket as you. Sadly, some people take advantage of this system and have 2 low level pets and 1 higher level pet. So sometimes you will get a bad match, if this is the case I would advise just quitting it. Unlike dungeon queues you don’t get a debuff for leaving a pet battle so you can just queue again.
Pet battles are also a lot slower than normal PvP because you have to take turns. This means you can plan your moves and the more you play and experiment with pets the easier PvP becomes. You’ll begin to recognise pets and their abilities and even anticipate what the other player will do. They’re also (almost) completely anonymous! You can’t see the players name, level or even faction in a battle. (You can see pet names though, so it is possible to “recognise” a player in that way).
Catching Wild Pets
There are various ways to collect pets in World of Warcraft; buy them from vendors, from faction reputation, professions, quests, completing achievements, promotions (i.e. TCG), drops from raid bosses and catching them in the wild. Pets also come in four different rarities (see above) and as mentioned, I strongly advise farming for a Rare quality of a pet. Some of these are easier to find than others and sometimes it is just about luck – to find out if you’re looking for a difficult pet check the comments on a pet on WarcraftPets.com. If you’re looking for a Rare pet get a friend to come with you and you can check twice as many wild pets.
You need to complete the achievement “Newbie” (raise a pet to level 3) to be unlock the ability to trap pets in pet battles (note: you can only trap pets in the wild, you cannot trap pets in tamer battles). To catch a pet you need to battle it in the wild and lower its health down to 35%, only then will it become catchable and your Trap ability will flash.
As you can see here my trap is a “Pristine Trap” and this is because I have unlocked it by completing additional achievements. The traps go from Trap —> Strong Trap —> Pristine and you can read more about them and the relevant achievements here.
Using weaker abilities
I feel that it is important to mention that there is a use for weaker abilities – catching pets in battles. It is very easy to kill a pet when you are trying to catch it. It is extremely frustrating so I recommend having at least one pet that is weak against it. A pet strong against the catchable pet can easily crit and kill a pet if it’s under 50% health.
There are a certain ability found on the Terrible Turnip pet called Weakening Blow which will not reduce a pets ability below 1 health point. This is very useful for catching wild pets as it prevents you from accidentally killing the pet.
There are multiple ways of leveling pets and you’ll find different people recommend different tactics for getting the most experience. To start with lets cover the basics; you can get experience from any battle (except a duel), this includes pet tamers and PvP battles (I find these excellent for low level pets, you can gain a level per battle when they’re low). There are various items you can use to increase the experience your pet gets; Safari Hat, Pet Treat and Lesser Pet Treat (all of which stack). Gaining experience only causes your pet to gain levels (and thus new abilities) and does not affect their rarity in any way.
Pet Tamer Tactics
After spending many hours grinding pet battles in MoP, Chris and I picked up a few tricks along the way. For example, you can use very low level pets on certain pet tamer battles. It all depends on what pet you want to level and the pets you are fighting. Lets take the pet tamer in The Jade Forest as our example; Dor the Wall (the Turtle) has two non-damage abilities which means you can swap a low level pet (also called a ‘carry’ pet) in for a round (make sure you hit the opposing team and/or take damage, you need to be active in the battle to get XP), hit Dor and then swap it back out again. For this battle you need to do it after Dor has used his damage ability otherwise your carry pet will simply die.
The perfect carry pets to level in battles like this are Mechanicals and Magic pets due to their family passive abilities. Mechanicals revive when they die and Magic pets can only be hit for 50% of their health.
Like all addons there are various available for pet battle related things and our top two are:
PetJournal Enhanced – I cannot live without this addon, it makes a pet battlers life so much easier by giving you tonnes more filter options.
Rematch – Following closely behind PetJournal Enhanced is this one; a way to save your teams. You can name them, put them in folders and also use the target feature which means the right team loads as soon as you click on the right npc/pet. Saves a lot of time when you do a lot of pet battles!
Collectionator – Shows you what pets (and mounts and toys) you are missing and where/how to get them. This little addon has shown me a few I’ve forgotten so it is always worth checking when you’re looking at a large collection!
Random Companion – A cute little addon that randomly changes your summoned companion – great if you have 100s of pets and want to a range of them 🙂
Our Pet Choices
Now to the fun part which took us about 45 mins of debating to decide 😛 Here is our list of the best pets available divided into three categories: Bought, Catchable, and Honourable Mention. We made this list based on our experience, the usefulness and versatility of the pets. We also made it with new pet collectors in mind which is why we divided the list into Bought and Catchable. Bought pets can easily be bought from vendors or the AH and while they may vary in price, they are all easy to obtain and give you a great team of level 1s to get you started. As you grow your collection you can add to it by grabbing some of the Catchable pets from the wild. And finally the Honourable Mentions are our favourite pets which aren’t so easy to get hold of but we seriously advise getting them especially for higher level teams such as the Garrisons and especially the Celestial Tournament.
[C] designates Chris’ choices and [H] designates Heather’s (aka me) choices.
|Pet Family||Bought||Catchable||Honourable Mention|
|Humanoid||[C] - Anubisath Idol|
[H] - Rotten Little Helper
|[C] - Flayer Youngling|
[H] - Kun-Lai Runt
(Nearly impossible to get but we love him!)
|Flying||[C] - Blazing Firehawk|
[H] - Azure Crane Chick
|[C] - Any Moth|
[H] - Skywisp Moth
|[H] - Chi-Chi, Hatchling of Chi-Ji
(Great abilities especially for PvP!)
|Dragon||[C] - Chrominius|
[H] - Crimson Whelpling
|[C] - Emerald Proto-Whelp (I strongly agree with this too!)|
[H] - Nexus Whelpling
|Sprite Darter Hatchling
(We both use this pet almost daily in battles, it is fantastic and so easy to get!)
|Undead||[C] - Stitched Pup|
[H] - Fossilized Hatchling (From Archaeology but can be bought on AH)
|[C] - Restless Shadeling|
[H] - Scourged Whelpling
(It may take a while to find one but it is the staple of many pet team combos)
|Critter||[C] - Gu'chi Swarmling|
[H] - Snowshoe Rabbit
|[C] - Any Rabbit/Hare|
[H] - Rapana Whelk
|Squirrels (Their nut barrage is fantastic)|
|Magic||[C] - Netherspace Abyssal|
[H] - Lunar Lantern
|[C] - Jade Oozeling|
[H] - Arcane Eye
|[H] - Gusting Grimoire
(Great in low level PvP battles)
|Elemental||Pandaren Water Spirit|
(Hands down one of the best pets out there for team combos)
|[C] - Fel Flame|
[H] - A Shale Hatchling
|[C] - Lil' Ragnaros
[H] - Blossoming Ancient
|Beast||[C] - Zandalari Anklerender|
[H] - Sunfur Panda
|[C] - Elder Python|
[H] - Alpine Foxling Kit
|[C] - Moon Moon
[H] - Darkmoon Monkey
|Aquatic||[C] - Magical Crawdad|
[H] - Pengu
|[C] - Emperor Crab|
[H] - Dancing Water Skimmer
|[H] - Any Water Strider!|
|Mechanical||[C] - Lil' Bling|
[H] - Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling
|[C] - Cogblade Raptor|
[H] - Fluxfire Feline
|This was the hardest family for us to decide on so we'll simply say most Mechanical pets are fantastic. There are some weak ones, but we suggest having a mechanical in your teams when leveling pets or starting out.|
And that is the end of the guide 🙂 I hope it was useful to you and if it got you pet battling, even better! If you have any questions please leave a comment and we’ll get back to you – please note that comments debating or arguing with our pet choices will be deleted. It’s not that we believe we’re right and you’re wrong, it is because this is a guide for starters not a debate for experts 🙂
Please share it if you enjoy!