If you’re new to pet battling or just new to WoW and want some help diving in you’ve come to the right place. The mechanics of pet battles are very straight forward: right click a pet with the green paw symbol over its head, your pets and the opposition then take turns to pummel each other. On your turn each round you have a choice of three abilities to use (for pets at 25, lower level pets won’t have unlocked all their abilities). Each (max level) pet has six abilities and you choose three, at the beginning of the battle each ability is locked and you cannot change them again until the battle is over.

Pets belong to one of ten families. One family will be particular good at damaging one other pet family and will be defensively strong against another. Equally that same family will hit weakly against another pet family and have a weak defence against a further one. When faced with opponents of a certain pet family countering them with pets from another specific family that they have a weak defence or strike against is a good plan. This table at the excellent Warcraft Pets is a valuable resource. To complicate things and mix it up pets can have abilities from multiple pet families. For example, a Dragon family pet can have a magical attacks. Selecting a pet then becomes about selecting a family with a strong defence against the family of attacks the opponent has, while doing attacks that are strong against the family of pets that the opponent is.

Warcraft Pets has more details on the basic mechanics of pet battles but this should get you started. Once you have collected a few basic pets, bought from vendors in major cities, you can begin battling and capturing “wild” pets., putting teams together and levelling your pets and capturing more. BfA pets are all level 25, so to capture and defeat them you are going to need your own level 25 pets. I’m going to make some suggestions of a small handful of easily obtainable pets you should level to 25 to really get going.

Starter Stable

  • Lil’ Smoky – this is a superb pet, even in green (common) iteration. Made by engineers, or bought from the Auction House, this is valuable mechanical addition to a starter stable. If you can obtain a Flawless Battle-Stone or Flawless Mechanical Battle-Stone a blue (rare) Lil’ Smoky is fantastic. Minefield is a key ability, with Launch Rocket, to set up a huge damage hit that can effectively neutralise any second opponent pet.
  • Emerald Proto-whelp – easy to farm in The Savage Thicket, Scholazar Basin, Northrend what makes this Dragon such a great starter team pet is that against most pet families it’s unkillable with Emerald Presence and Emerald Dream, or take Ancient Blessing if you need to soak damage for awhile until some (perhaps 15 round) debuff falls off (many of the Legendary pets in Tanaan Jungle had these effects).
  • Nexus Whelpling – not far from Sholazar, in Coldarra, Northrend, it shouldn’t take too long to capture a rare magical Dragon. The Arcane Storm | Mana Surge combo is devastating.
  • Unborn Val’kyr – these pets are dotted over Northrend in very specific locations and make this pet much more difficult to farm, but it is worth the effort, Curse of Doom and Haunt make this pet devastating in any armour damaging combo.
  • Ikky – alot of critters and flying pets have a Flock-like three round attack that shatters armour and makes pets vulnerable to attacks the following rounds. What makes Ikky valuable is Black Claw which adds an additional 136 damage to every attack over then next 3 rounds. A quest that is worth completing in Spires of Arakk, Draenor.
  • Anubisath Idol – rock hard, well he is made of stone. Worth farming the classic Ahn’Qiraj raid instance, in Silithus, just to get this pet. Deflection is always useful for avoiding the killer attack, and Standstorm and Stoneskin are viable choices as are both the reliable Crush and Demolish, but at 50% hit chance Demolish is very RNG dependent.

Pair these pets cleverly and you can destroy most teams of three. This is an invaluable requirement for pet farming and levelling. When farming for new rare, level 25 pets you should always be levelling your other pets and improving your stable. Many guides exist listing perfect groups of pets you should collect in rare quality, level to 25 and then use to strengthen your team. With the starter stable pets you’ll be able to get this process under way.

Always have your Starter Stable pairing healed and ready to go with one level 1 pet in slot three. Your approach should be to kill one pet and take at least half the health off the second opponent. When your first Starter Stable pet dies select your Level 1 pet. Do not Pass or attack with the level 1 pet. Your next move immediately after swapping it in is to Switch Pet and bring in the other level 25 Starter Stable pet. Just facing the opponent is enough for the levelling pet to get Experience (and level up). In BfA most wild pet battles, using this technique will take a level 1 pet to level 8 in one go. Unless you are grinding one pet up to 25 to fill a spot in your Stable swap in a new level 1 pet after every wild battle and go again, taking the level 1 to 8. If this sounds tricky rest assured, against most pet families, all the Starter Stable pets can often solo three wild pets and you will have to Pass several rounds to get them killed on the last pet so you can face them with the level 1.

What pets should I level for BfA?

All the Starter Stable pets are suitable for wild pet battling in BfA. However, each expansion, and continent, has Battle Pet Tamers or NPCs with battle pet teams that you should be facing for rewards. In BfA the main reward is the new Polished Pet Charm token that will allow you to buy the many pets available in this expansion. Defeating these Tamers is frequently a lot more difficult than battling wild pets. For these NPCs you are going to need not just families of pets but specific pets, worst still sometimes you will need specific breeds. Often you will need to follow a very tightly dictated rotation without which you will have no chance even with the right specific pet and breed.

This is a list of pets I have found invaluable in defeating the BfA Tamers. I always try to select the most accessible pets and the simplest strategies wherever possible. I have also been trying to use the same pets in as many fights as possible and if I can find a strategy for defeating them all with the Iron Starlette I will! I will complete this list and update it with pets that are simpler to find, capture and use as I stumble on them but at this point in the expansion these pets work (and the strategies to employ will follow).

BfA Pet Stable

Iron Starlette Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling
Clockwork Gnome Swamp Croaker
Teroclaw Hatchling Ikky
Nexus Whelpling Nether Faerie Dragon
Feline Familar Pandaren Water Spirit
Rapana Whelk (x2)