How to choose a Covenant in Shadowlands

Not sure which WoW Covenant to choose? World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is here, and the first decision you’ll make after hitting the maximum level of 60 is which Covenant to choose.

Each of the four main zones you level through will give you a taste of the Shadowlands Covenant (or faction) associated with it. You’ll have some opportunity to use the basic utility spell/ability each Covenant gives to all classes, and the damage or healing ability specific to your class and specification. You’ll also see the aesthetics of each zone and the armor styles there.

The choice you make will affect the abilities you use, the Soulbinds you’ll choose between for additional max-level talents, and when you will get to use Conduits (the items that plug into your Soulbind trees to add to your power). There are pets, mounts, hearthstone appearances and armor sets for transmogrification for each Covenant, and they can only be used by members of that faction. If you’re undecided, here’s how to choose the best WoW Covenant.

The special Shadowlands Covenant events

Each Covenant has a special event which you complete to advance your position and rewards earned within the faction. The events vary considerably and you’ll need to do them over and over again, so bear this in mind when you make your decision.

  • The Kyrian special event is the Path of Ascension, which comprises a series of one-on-one fighting challenges. Alongside being able to select buffs for the fights, you can use Covenant-specific crafting to create items and temporary boosts for each contest, both for yourself and your Soulbind character. It’s not far removed from a proper RPG battler.
  • The Necrolord event is the Abomination Factory, which allows you to craft a makeshift (and sometimes amusing-looking – think tiny top hat) undead buddy to perform a variety of tasks, including healing you, gathering for you, tanking for you, and even carrying you around at high speeds. It allows you to show off your creativity for a boost in utility.
  • The Night Fae special event is the Queen’s Conservatory, where you’ll care for a garden of souls preparing to be reborn. If you successfully optimize the conditions to complete their rebirth, they’ll gift you with a reward cache that can include resources, mounts, pets and cosmetic items.
  • The Venthyr special event is the Ember Court. You’ll recruit guests and collect items, performers and consumables that are sure to make them happy. Then you’ll care for them at a grand party that is surprisingly fun to play. Think of it as WoW’s version of The Sims: Vampire Party Edition.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

How to choose the best WoW Covenant (don’t stress, you change your mind)

If this all feels like a lot, that’s because it is. There has been a downpour of changes to Covenants, even over the weekend as Blizzard makes a final tuning pass. But keep this in mind: Covenants are designed so you can use most of them for almost anything, over time. If you’re not a progression raider or PvP player, you can safely pick whatever Covenant you like the look of without feeling hobbled.

Even if you’re more attached to your damage and healing simulation results, you’re probably safe choosing between the top couple of covenants in your sims. Tweaks and tuning are likely to still happen down the road, meaning that close calls now will probably be fine later no matter what you choose.

Swapping from one Covenant to another is easy. You’ll have to do some catchup with the new Covenant, but the same mechanisms that help alts pick up more Renown with Covenants more quickly will apply to you, too. The only hitch you’ll encounter is if you try to return to a Covenant you previously left. Based on interviews with the developers, that’ll require you to do some questing and grinding to get back in their good graces. After that, you can pick up where you left off.

The four WoW Covenants

Kyrian

(Image credit: Blizzard)
  • Zone: Bastion
  • Utility ability: Summon Steward, which calls an owl-friend to your side to aid you. This includes giving you a Phial which can boost your damage or cure your ills.
  • Aesthetic: Kyrian is the most angelic of WoW’s afterlife-themed expansion, so it’s all about blue, gold, halos and wings.
  • Mount aesthetics: Armored mecha-cats.
  • Bonus goodies: Halo and wing-themed cloaks.
  • Special event: The Path of Ascension, a fighting challenge with some crafting elements.  

Necrolord

(Image credit: Blizzard)
  • Zone: Maldraxxus
  • Utility ability: Fleshcraft, a channeled ability that gives you a moderate damage shield, boosted if you channel near the corpse of an enemy.
  • Aesthetic: The Necrolord Covenant has an undead vibe, with abominations, horrors, glowing green poison and lots of skeletons. No surprise that the armor is all bones and spikes, all the time.
  • Mount aesthetics: Skeletal long-tailed ram-things.
  • Bonus goodies: A shield-like back piece and skeletal bone wings.
  • Special event: The Abomination Factory, where you can build yourself some buddies. Who says you can’t make friends?

Night Fae

(Image credit: Blizzard)
  • Zone: Ardenweald
  • Utility ability: Soulshape, which turns you into a sparkly blue spectral fox, propels you forward and ups your movement speed.
  • Aesthetic: The Night Fae are all about moonlight, blues and purples, evident in the deer-themed and plant-themed armor.
  • Mount aesthetics: Swirly, sparkly deer.
  • Bonus goodies: A shiny pod-like backpack and curly, intricate deer-horn-themed backpiece.
  • Special event: The Queen’s Conservatory, a celestial gardening challenge for souls. 

Venthyr

(Image credit: Blizzard)
  • Zone: Revendreth
  • Utility ability: Door of Shadows, an ability that moves you to a targeted location in a swoosh of nifty-looking blood spray.
  • Aesthetic: Gothic Vampires. The real kind, not the sparkly kind.
  • Mount aesthetics: Angry bears with elf ears.
  • Bonus goodies: Old gold-and-red heavy mantle (complete with spray of blood-red blades from your shoulders).
  • Special event: The Ember Court, a surprisingly absorbing tea party where you collect event items and features and make recruited guests happy.
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