Dispel refers to the general game mechanic of removing buffs and debuffs. All of these effects belong to a particular dispel type. Most dispel abilities remove effects from a specific dispel type, but in some cases they remove depending on a specific mechanic (for example, removes bleed effects). Dispel mechanics can also be categorized into defensive and offensive dispels. Defensive dispel abilities remove debuffs from friendly units, whereas offensive dispel abilities remove buffs from enemy units. Dispelling specific abilities may cause an additional effect to occur in response, otherwise known as dispel protection or dispel backlash.
Dispel capabilities by class
Below is a table showing which classes can dispel which types of buffs and debuffs. Self-only dispels (such as and ) are not included. PvP Talent dispels are marked with a yellow asterisk (*) and only function in War Mode and instanced PvP content; they do not function in dungeons or raids.
Below is a list of abilities that can dispel effects based on class, then type (defensive or offensive). Each type of effect that can be dispelled is marked by an icon next to it. Self-only dispels are not listed.
- Demon Hunter
The following abilities have an additional effect if they are dispelled. These "protection" effects exist in order to deter an opponent from dispelling them. The effects caused by dispelling vary; some benefit the caster while others harm the victim or the dispeller. Certain abilities only gain protection effects via talents; these talents are listed instead.
- Death Knight
- Life and Death (PvP Talent)
In Classic, there are limited ways to resist both offensive and defensive dispel effects. When an offensive dispel is resisted, it does not remove any buffs. Likewise, when a debuff resists a defensive dispel, it is not removed.
For offensive dispels, both and are capable of being resisted so long as the target has sufficient resistance.
Defensive dispels are not hindered by the afflictor's magic resistance, but rather by select talents that grant dispel resistance. For example, the talent gives up to a 40% chance for the rogue's poisons to resist dispel effects.
Prior to the Cataclysm expansion, dispel abilities were distributed differently to classes. As no specializations existed, dispels were instead class based. Magic effects could only be removed by priests and paladins, rather than all healers. This originally left the Horde with only one defensive magic dispel class prior to The Burning Crusade.
Dispels would fail to cast on targets that had no effects to remove, and would display an error message stating such. No mana would be consumed nor would the global cooldown be triggered, making it impossible to "waste" a dispel. In addition to this benefit, there were "upgraded" dispel abilities that featured passive dispel effects, providing certain classes a significant advantage over others. and would dispel any further applied effects for 12 seconds. and would passively dispel any nearby ally for the entire duration of the totem, allowing a single shaman to dispel numerous effects with one press, thus saving them a lot of mana and gcds. Though these "upgraded" abilities didn't replace their original counterparts, they were nearly always used as they were undoubtedly superior. Blizzard considered dispels "trivial" due to these factors.
As a result, several changes were made for Cataclysm to better distribute dispels, increase their opportunity cost, and require more player input to use effectively.
- Patch 9.0.1 (2020-10-13): Tranquilizing Shot re-added, allowing all Hunters to again dispel enrage and magic effects. Spirit beasts no longer remove enrage effects.
- Patch 8.0.1 (2018-07-17): An enrage dispel ability has been made available to Druids, and to Beast Mastery Hunters via Spirit Beasts. re-added.
- Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): Players can no longer dispel enrage effects due to the removal of enrage dispel abilities. Mages can no longer remove curse effects with the removal of .
- Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28):
- All defensive dispels that had no cooldown now have an 8-second cooldown, but also now remove all effects (was 1 or 2 effects).
- , , and now remove magic effects baseline, but are now only available to healing specializations. Separate abilities that do not dispel magic have been added for non-healing specializations.
- has had its defensive dispel function split into the new ability , which also replaces .
- Patch 4.1.0 (2011-04-26): can now only be used on the casting priest or enemies baseline. has been added to allow Discipline and Holy priests to use Dispel Magic on allies. Additionally, Dispel Magic now only removes 1 effect from enemies (down from 2).
- Patch 4.0.6 (2011-02-08): now dispels a single effect instead of two.
- Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12):
- All healer specializations can now dispel magic effects off allies (with appropriate talents).
- Dispel abilities will no longer be prevented from casting when the target does not have a valid debuff to dispel. It will now consume the mana cost of the ability and global cooldown regardless of whether or not it dispels an effect.
- Dispel over time effects and totems (, , ) have been removed.
- Paladins can no longer dispel magic effects (without the Holy talent ).
- Shaman can no longer dispel poison or disease effects.
- The Felhunter's has had its defensive dispel function split into the new Imp ability .
- Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): added as a talent, allowing Shaman to dispel curse effects.
- Patch 2.0.1 (2006-12-05): added.