Best AoE Classes for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

best wow aoe class
A frost mage looks to the beyond, pondering how to best crush his opponents.

When it comes to being a strong DPS class in World of Warcraft, sometimes single-target damage is not enough for an encounter. Sometimes an encounter requires a bit less finesse and a bit more chaos. In this article, I will break down the top five AoE DPS classes in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth.

5. Frost Mage

The Frost Mage excels in one area more so than any other DPS class does - kiting. Frost Mages can hinder their enemies’ movement and prevent many boss mechanics from unfolding, as they prevent adds from reaching the bosses to give them bonuses. 

What Makes the Frost Mage a Great AoE Class:

  • Frost Mages are renowned for their kiting and slowing enemy movement capabilities.
  • Their single-target spells can hit hard, more so when an enemy has been weakened.
  • Their DPS output, both single-target and AoE, is very reliable, so they will not suddenly do terrible DPS because they have gotten stuck on ability cooldowns.

What Skills Make the Frost Mage a Great AoE Specialization:

  • Condense Life Force, which gives your spells and abilities a high chance to impale your target with a spike of Azerite, causing 399 Fire damage. When an Azerite spike deals damage, all damage you deal against that target is increased by 5% for 6 sec.

    • This ability is very useful, as it allows you to do additional damage on top of the abilities you are using and allows you to build up a damage buff.
  • Icy Veins, which accelerates your spellcasting for 20 seconds, granting 30% haste and preventing damage from delaying your spellcasting.
    • This buff is key for both speeding up your spellcasting and preventing the delay for any of them.
  • Frozen Orb, which Launches an orb of swirling ice up to 40 yards forward which deals up to 325.4% of Spell Power as Frost damage to all enemies it passes through. Grants 1 charge of Fingers of Frost when it first damages an enemy. Enemies damaged by the Frozen Orb are slowed by 30% for 3 seconds.
    • In addition to a heavy hit against all enemies in front of you, this ability also applies Fingers of Frost to the first enemy and then slows down every affected enemy’s movement.
  • Blizzard, which creates ice shards that pelt the target area, dealing 102.4% of Spell Power as Frost damage over 8 seconds and reducing movement speed by 50% for 3 seconds. Each time Blizzard deals damage, the cooldown of Frozen Orb is reduced by 0.5 seconds.
    • Not only does this damage many enemies, it also hinders their movement speed and reduces the cooldown for Frozen Orb.
  • Cone of Cold, which makes targets in a cone in front of you take 37.5% of Spell Power as Frost damage and have their movement slowed by 70% for 5 seconds.
    • Again, the Frost Mage is all about hindering the movement speed of enemies and this skill continues to hinder them in addition to causing decent damage in a cone in front of you.

How To Build

4. Elemental Shaman 

While not very strong in the single-target aspect of DPS, the Elemental Shaman does excel at utilizing a variety of their abilities to tackle different encounter scenarios. They also have a strong potential for good AoE and Cleave damage output.

What Makes the Elemental Shaman a Great AoE Class:

  • Their ability to have strong AoE and Cleave DPS output is what gave them this place in the top five.
  • Talents for Elemental Shamans allow for them to have a wide variety of options in how they deal with each particular encounter.
  • Their varied Talents allow their rotations to be simpler than most.

What Skills Make the Elemental Shaman a Great AoE Specialization:

  • Totem Mastery, which summons four totems that increase your combat capabilities for 2 minutes. The Resonance Totem generates 1 Maelstrom every 1 second. The Storm Totem increases the chance for Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning to trigger Elemental Overload by 5%. The Ember Totem increases Flame Shock damage over time by 10%. The Tailwind Totem increases your Haste by 2%.

    • All of these four totems are key in buffing you for any encounter.
  • Stormkeeper, which allows you to charge yourself with lightning, causing your next 2 Lightning Bolts to deal 150% more damage, and also causes your next 2 Lightning Bolts or Chain Lightnings to be instant cast and trigger an Elemental Overload on every target.
    • This can be key in allowing you to instant cast Chain Lightning to damage multiple targets at once.
  • Liquid Magma Totem, which is summoned at the target location for 15 seconds and hurls liquid magma at a random nearby target every 1 second, dealing 14.7% of Spell Power as Fire damage to all enemies within 8 yards.
    • A key aspect of dealing strong AoE damage, as you can summon it and then focus on utilizing other abilities at the same time.
  • Flame Shock, which sears the target with fire, causing 35% of Spell Power as Fire damage and then an additional  210% of Spell Power as Fire damage over 24 seconds.
    • This is key in dealing a lot of damage to multiple targets at once and can be increasingly challenging to maintain when dealing with 4+ targets at once.
  • Earthquake, which causes the earth within 8 yards of the target location to tremble and break, dealing 169.1% of Nature Spell Power as Physical damage over 6 seconds and sometimes knocking down enemies.
    • Not only does this ability help in potentially disrupting enemy spellcasters, but also helps to maintain AoE damage without having to focus on this ability alone.

How To Build

3. Demonology Warlock 

The Demonology Warlock has some of the strongest AoE abilities out there. So long as the enemies are clumped neatly together, the Demonology Warlock can tear them down.

What Makes the Demonology Warlock a Great AoE Class:

  • The primary source of AoE and overall damage output of the Demonology Warlock comes from their summoning of demons to do their bidding.
  • As the rotation cycles through, Demonology Warlocks settle into a steady and fast damage output.
  • The Demonology Warlock will shine the brightest, or darkest, when an encounter requires little movement.

What Skills Make the Demonology Warlock a Great AoE Specialization:

  • Implosion, which allows demonic forces to suck all of your Wild Imps toward the target, and then cause them to violently explode, dealing 230% of Spell Power as Shadowflame damage to all enemies within 8 yards.

    • When using this ability, it is key to have at least 3 imps active before utilizing it to maximize the amount of damage dealt.

      • Doing so leads to gaining the buff Explosive Potential, which allows you to gain 224 Haste for 15 seconds.
  • Call Dreadstalkers, which summons 2 ferocious Dreadstalkers to attack the target for 12 seconds.
    • As it is with this spec of the Warlock class, you want to maintain having many demons summoned at once to help you deal damage.
  • Demonic Strength, which infuses your Felguard with demonic strength and commands it to charge your target and unleash a Felstorm that will deal 400% increased damage.
    • Buffing your demons just as important as buffing yourself.
  • Bilescourge Bombers, which tears open a portal to the nether above the target location, from which several Bilescourge will pour out and crash into the ground over 6 seconds, dealing 21% of Spell Power as Shadow damage to all enemies within 8 yards.
    • A classic AoE ability that is always handy to utilize so that you can move on to other abilities while still dealing damage.
  • Summon Vilefiend, which summons a Vilefiend to fight for you for the next 15 seconds.
    • Again, maintaining summoned demons to fight for you is key with this class and it is important to utilize the strongest summons.

How To Build

2. Unholy Death Knight

The Unholy Death Knight is exceptional at Cleave damage when facing multiple targets at once. Their strong Cleave damage is where their strong AoE damage comes from and so they rely heavily on facing multiple targets at one given time.

What Makes the Unholy Death Knight a Great AoE Class:

  • Cleave damage is one of the highest of all DPS classes.
  • In addition to taking on multiple targets at once, the Unholy Death Knight can also mitigate a lot of damage, allowing it to cause more damage over time.
  • Unholy Death Knights can also burst with their damage in addition to performing excellent Cleave and AoE damage overall.

What Skills Make the Unholy Death Knight a Great AoE Specialization:

  • Outbreak, which deals 10% of Attack Power as Shadow damage and surrounds the target in a miasma for 6 seconds that infects nearby enemies with Virulent Plague. Virulent Plague is a disease that deals 70% of Attack Power as Shadow damage over 21 seconds. It erupts when the infected target dies, dealing 20% of Attack Power as Shadow damage divided among nearby enemies, and has a 30% chance to erupt each time it deals damage.

    • Just like setting up many DoTs on multiple targets, this ability does this very effectively and the potential for an eruption of further damage increases the power of this ability.
  • Dark Transformation, which transforms your ghoul into a powerful undead monstrosity for 15 seconds. The ghoul's abilities are empowered and take on new functions while the transformation is active. Not only do these newfound functions include your ghoul being gassy, but it also includes a buff of damage dealt increased by 200% for your gassy ghoul.
    • A part of the Unholy spec of the Death Knight is properly utilizing your ghoul in a battle, which includes buffing it appropriately.
  • Death and Decay, which corrupts the targeted ground, causing 39.6% of Attack Power as Shadow damage over 10 seconds to targets within the area. While you remain within the area, your Scourge Strike will hit all enemies near the target.
    • Naturally, this AoE ability allows you to deal damage without having to maintain focus on the utilized ability. It also gives you a buff to use your Scourge Strike as much as possible while Death and Decay is active and you are standing in it.
  • Festering Wound, which applies a pustulent lesion that will burst on death or when damaged by Scourge Strike, dealing 23% of Attack Power as Shadow damage and generating 3 Runic Power. This can stack up to 6 times on any target.
    • It is vital to use this before to using your Scourge Strike below due to the benefit of Scourge Strike with Death and Decay. You can apply this ability to all of the targets before unleashing Scourge Strike and deal bonus damage to all of them.
  • Scourge Strike, which is an unholy strike that deals 34.5% of Attack Power as Physical damage and 19% of Attack Power as Shadow damage, and causes 1 Festering Wound to burst.
    • With the combination of Death and Decay and Festering Wounds active, this ability can deal high amounts of damage all at once.

How To Build

1. Fury Warrior 

The Fury Warrior excels at its AoE damage output thanks to the innate Haste capabilities of the class and specialization. It is one of the fastest rotations of all DPS classes, allowing it to put out more damage thanks to the use of Whirlwind.

What Makes the Fury Warrior a Great AoE Class:

  • Whirlwind not only allows the Fury Warrior to strike all enemies within eight yards of it, but it also gives a brief buff to the next two single-target attacks. This just allows the Fury Warrior to put out more damage while it continues through its rotation to Bladestorm.
  • Bladestorm allows the Fury Warrior to strike all enemies within eight yards of it for 500% of the Fury Warrior’s attack power for four seconds.
  • The smooth rotation between these two AoE abilities and then several buffs and single-target abilities allows the Fury Warrior to put out strong AoE damage and helps them to best manage a larger crowd of enemies.

What Skills Make the Fury Warrior a Great AoE Specialization:

  • Whirlwind, which unleashes a whirlwind of steel, striking all enemies within 8 yards for 43.5% of Attack Power as Physical damage. It also causes your next 2 single-target attacks to strike up to 4 additional targets for 50% damage.

    • Not only does it start as an AoE ability, it also buffs you to use single-target attacks as AoE attacks. Most single-target attacks will cause more damage overall than an AoE attack.
    • It also generates 3 Rage, plus an additional 1 per target hit with a maximum of 8 Rage.
  • Recklessness, which as a normal buff causes you to go berserk, increasing all Rage generation by 100% and granting your abilities a 20% increased critical strike chance for 10 seconds. If you have the Reckless Abandon talent then Recklessness generates 100 Rage and lasts 4 seconds longer.
    • This is a key buff to dealing the most damage possible with AoE abilities.
  • Siegebreaker, which breaks the enemy's defenses, dealing 85% of Attack Power as Physical damage, and increasing your damage done to the target by 15% for 10 seconds.
    • One of the more ideal buffs out there, as it first causes damage and then buffs you to deal more damage over time. 
    • It also generates 10 Rage.
  • Rampage, which Enrages you and unleashes a series of 4 brutal strikes for a total of 264% of Attack Power as Physical damage. Becoming Enraged increases your damage done by 11.2%, Haste by 25%, and movement speed by 10% for 4 seconds.
    • Another essential buff to keep your damage output high.
  • Bladestorm, which is a talent that causes you to become an unstoppable storm of destructive force, striking all targets within 8 yards with both weapons for 500% of Attack Power as Physical damage over 4 seconds. You are immune to movement impairing and loss of control effects, but can use defensive abilities and avoid attacks.
    • Talents are key with dealing proper AoE damage as a Fury Warrior and this one is imperative for the class and spec. Not only does it cause an intense amount of damage over a short period, but it also gives you an important buff depending on the encounter.

How To Build

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Born in the swamps of Georgia, I have had to be very resilient in my life and have adapted to many different genres of video games. My skill of writing with a keyboard is unparalleled.
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