Battleground Basics for Beginners

It seems to me that as WoW subs change so much, it’s important to go over the basics. Everyone will have been in a random BG where someone wants to go off on their own and take the wrong graveyard. I thought I’d type up a bit of an overview about the different kinds in WoW, the types of strategies and a look at how both sides tend to play.

So if you are a new player, new to PvP, and whether leveling or max level doing random bgs, this is for you! While some of these things are simple or obvious, other suggestions below can depend on what strategy your team has chosen, so listen out for instructions if anyone gives them and be willing to change. There are different ways to win some BGs, or to delay the enemies win.

Also, I haven’t done as much Temple or Silvershard, but if you have suggestions for them or any of the BGs, just leave a comment and I’ll update it!



  • If in a battleground with siege weapons, always target them first.
  • In every battleground, focus healers. To identify them quickly, use an addon like Healers Have to Die. It can be difficult with a group, no one is psychic to who is casting what and if the enemies trinket or racials are ready – CC’s, traps will be broken frequently. Use silencers and stuns solely on healers if they are there.
  • With AV/IOC, save all the big (5+minutes) cooldowns for the end boss. Knowing when to use them in a battleground without a boss is quite tricky. Don’t waste cooldowns on a single player.
  • Use the map to your advantage. Learn the choke points and advantageous positions.
  • While it’s always good to have healers, you won’t necessarily win or lose based on how many healers the other team has. Silvershard Mines and Temple of Kotmogu, you’ll really feel the difference, but in the others there is usually enough space that you can out-strategise the other team.
  • Warning for engineers: Nitro boots use makes you drop the flag!
  • Always report incoming enemies (e.g INC 3 LM – 3 incoming enemies at Lumber Mill). Don’t be fooled by someone on their own – they could have stealthers nearby as support.
  • Don’t be a jerk and say “we’ll lose” before the battle starts. Also don’t be a jerk and say “Alliance/Horde always loses” because both sides claim they always lose ALL THE TIME. Super annoying ><

Warsong Gulch (similar to Twin Peaks, although WSG is a smaller map and different layout)

Basic strategy: Capture the enemies flag three times, or more times than your enemy before the time runs out

Common stuff-up: Fighting mid with no one defending/attacking the flag or the flag carrier (FC)

  • Druids are great for flag carriers (all the speed!), warriors and other tanks of course, but anyone else will do in a pinch. If there alone, just take it! If you have the opportunity, give the flag to someone better suited. Never drop the flag if there are enemies around or if the person you want to give it to hasn’t reached you. It takes less than a second for the enemy to take it back.
  • Use movement slowing spells/attacks on the FC and keep those debuffs up as much as possible
  • The best place for the FC is the top of your own base. It’s easy to fall to the centre of the base and capture it when your own flag is returned and obstacles can cause LOS (loss of sight) easily.
  • If you have only one healer, they should be with the FC at all times. Also have at least one other DPS defending.
  • After the flags have first been taken at the start of a game, people will disperse and there won’t be the full on attack by the whole enemy team (usually). You can keep a few stealthies protecting the flag.
  • If you have the flag, remember about Sprint/Dash etc. Use it as much as possible while traveling across the map.
  • Holding mid can be useful, but the whole team cannot be doing it. Someone (with some backup and especially some heals) must be going to take the flag.

Arathi Basin

Basic strategy: Take at least 3 bases to win resource points.

Common stuff-up: Splitting attack groups when both are heavily defended.

  • Alliance will almost always go Stables and Lumber Mill (and usually Mines)
  • Horde will always go Farm, Blacksmith and usually attempt a push at Lumber Mill too.
  • Lumber Mill has a distinct advantage, high sight over the whole map, and being able to slow fall/levitate/glider off the cliff to other bases. Few people look up when defending. But if you have LM, be careful. Thunderstorm and Typhoon will most likely kill you (damn stealthed druids). Don’t stand too close to the edge.
  • A good way to split their defense is send a rogue/s to a base to sap people. They’ll get more people to come. Then attack the other base.
  • Stealthies are also great cappers and defenders. Send stealth to scout enemy movements. Pretend one of your bases is weak with stealthed and lure in the enemy one by one.
  • If there is a force oncoming to a base, do NOT leave the flag. Stand your ground, AOE the flag with ring of frost, traps etc. Never, ever, ever leave to fight on the road. Ranged can keep them away, but stick to that flag.
  • Always have a minimum of three defending a base.

Alterac Valley

Basic strategy: Take enemy towers, defend your own, kill their boss

Common stuff-up: No re-cappers, no defense, people not the tank pulling the boss and dying (repeatedly)

  • Alliance will almost always send half of their force to kill Galv (the Horde halfway boss) and half to the end to cap the Frostwolf Relief Hut Graveyard
  • Horde: Almost always have all their group stop at Balinda (the Alliance halfway boss)
  • Horde: Do not take Snowfall Graveyard. Doing this will force Alliance to spawn at their base ahead of you, and defend. Alliance: Similar with Frostwolf Graveyard, don’t take it before you take the Relief Hut Graveyard.
  • Either send stealth to the end to cap the last graveyard and towers (usually on Alliance, pallys or DKS with the mounted speed buff head straight to Frostwolf), or keep them at your own base to recap towers
  • Always keep a minimum of 3 defending a tower.
  • You can slow the enemy by defending your side’s halfway boss. You will need at least 5-10 people, including healers. For some reason, Horde are less likely to do this. In particular, DKs will be useful here. Grip all the enemies!
  • One method which has been successful, but needs everyone to abide by, is the whole group staying at your own base and defending. This rarely happens, but both Frostwolf and Dun Baldar have good choke points to eliminate the enemy in droves.
  • Be very careful in the enemy boss room – do NOT pull the boss. Stay to the edges. Even an accidental pull can delay the win and turn it into a loss. Only the tank should be pulling the boss, and should be calling out before they pull.

Eye of the Storm

Basic Strategy: Hold bases and capture the flag to reach 1600 points.

Common stuff-up: Most people go flag, and by doing so, lose the bases. The flag is pointless with no bases to take it to!

  • The best strategy is either to hold 3 bases, or hold 2 and capture the flag. This will often depend on the other side and how smart they are. Of course, holding all 4 bases is a very quick win, but this so very rarely happens.
  • The best people to go mid will be those with knockbacks – ele shamans, or depending on glyphs and talents, hunters and druids. These guys also have a speed increase to race the flag to a base.
  • Again, stealthers can steal a base easily. You cannot takeover a base while in stealth, but they won’t see you coming until it’s too late (especially if there is no one defending)
  • If your side is fighting for control of a base while you hold the flag, don’t cap while only having one base – you get more points for capture the more bases you have, although it can be fine if very close to the end of game.
  • Hold the flag without capping also if your team does not have control of the flag spawn point. You’ll just be giving the next cap to the other side.
  • Don’t be drawn off a base. Hold position on it and let the enemy come to you, because they can and DO run through your team or come around the back to establish position. If there is a big fight, whoever has most on the base will be winning the base.

Strand of the Ancients

Basic strategy: Use demos and bombs to eliminate gates to get through to the end temple and touch the relic.

Common stuff-up: Someone attacking taking the middle graveyard, people not taking demos

  • Use ports often! If a gate goes down, immediately run up to the portal to get to the next gate. If red or purple is being attacked, send people up straight to yellow. I can’t count how many BGs have been lost due to people still fighting on the beach when the enemy is attacking the relic door.
  • Use cooldowns early. If there are way too many enemies around (e.g. they all rush one gate), save them till they are attacking the yellow gate
  • Focus demos first, healers second
  • Trap/CC other attackers/defenders
  • Use stealth smartly. Rogues/Druids are brilliant at stealth bombing, particularly at the final door to the relic. That said, if defending, always keep at least 3 at the back door when the yellow gate is broken to stop them. Use AoE!
  • Defend the lower graveyards – this stops access to more demos.
  • If attacking, never take the middle graveyard. This will force the enemy to resurrect ahead of you.
  • Ideally, try to stack demos when headed for the final door and facing resistance.

Isle of Conquest

Basic strategy:  Destroy the enemy’s holds gates and kill their end boss, or eliminate all their reinforcements

Common stuff-up: Not defending siege weapons or attacking the enemies siege weapons, not focusing on ONE GATE

  • Alliance: Always go Docks
  • Horde: Always go Workshop, and usually some to Hangar too.
  • For Horde, group up, stealth if can and particularly use the cloak of shadows, and focus down those glaives. Alliance depends on them completely. Don’t bother attacking anything or anyone else but those glaives.
  • For Alliance, you can slow down the Horde attack – the best way is by sending 10 or so people (including healers) to the Workshop. Put AOEs around the flag. You will all die, but it will give you an advantage since Horde barely ever head to Docks, and since the entire Alliance force is there, they’ll be down in seconds.
  • The hangar can go either way, but usually it goes to Horde. Rather than people sitting around and doing nothing at the enemy base, fill those cannons or have people dropping into the enemy base and use bombs. Bombing is hard since the enemy will be popping in and resurrecting there, so either do it as a force or only send in stealth.

Battle for Gilneas

Basic strategy: Collect the most resource points by capturing and holding at least two bases for the majority of the time

Common stuff-up: Not defending bases.

  • Alliance: Almost always go Lighthouse and Waterworks
  • Horde: Almost always go Mines and Waterworks
  • Always have at least 3 defending
  • This BG is so small that it can change in a second. Stealth is best used for scouting enemy bases if you only have one. Don’t only hit one – they will often send reinforcements to that area, but the other one may have less people, or they may defend one, then send the bulk to the other after your attack, so if you go Mines, Waterworks, Mines, Waterworks, they will see the pattern.
  • As with every BG, stealth is an advantage. Send a few in (resto druids prowling in cat = awesome) and surprise attack!
  • Shake it up – take the base closest to you, and then the base closest to the enemy base. You can keep them pinned down there, but be careful not to leave the flag/s alone!

Silvershard Mines

Basic strategy: Collect the most resource points by escorting mine carts to their capture points

Common stuff-up: Focusing the whole team on one cart and not escorting carts the full way

  • Defense at mid is important here, you want to have force in the middle where both Horde and Alliance spawn and where all three carts come from
  • Have at least 2-3 escorting carts the whole way
  • Stealthies can head to the end and take over an unescorted cart easily, or change the tracks to take a longer path.

Temple of Kotmogu

Basic strategy: Hold the orbs the longest amount of time to collect the most points.

Common stuff-up: Not establishing control in the mid.

  • It is so easy to lose this, particularly without healers or with less than the other side, and this is completely out of the control of random BG player.
  • You must control the mid – this is where your orb holders will get the most amount of points
  • The whole team must be in mid unless returning from a graveyard – pick up orbs if needed, then return to mid.

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