Silence effect

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For the priest ability, see [Silence].

Silence effect is a general term for abilities that prevent a target from casting spells for a short duration of time. This mainly affects casters, although some other abilities (such as warriors' shouts and [Thunder Clap]) are also considered spells and so are prevented by silence effects. In PvP, silence effects are usually subject to diminishing returns, while in PvE many bosses and specific mobs are immune to silence effects.


The following silence abilities are available to players. Note that many of these abilities are either talents or require additional passives to improve the basic ability to give it a silence effect.

Ability Class Duration
(PvP duration)
Cooldown Notes
[Strangulate] Death knight 5 120
[Faerie Fire] Druid 3 15 [Glyph of Fae Silence]
[Solar Beam] Druid 10 60 Balance only.
[Silencing Shot] Hunter 3 20 Talent
[Counterspell] Mage 4 24 With [Improved Counterspell] (level 70 passive)
[Frostjaw] Mage 8 (4) 20 Talent
[Ring of Peace] Monk 4/8 45 Talent
[Spear Hand Strike] Monk 4 15 Target must be facing you when cast to gain silence effect
[Avenger's Shield] Paladin 3 15 Multi-target silence that affects up to 3 targets. Protection only.
[Silence] Priest 5 45 Shadow only.
[Garrote] Rogue 3 none Must be stealthed and standing behind the target
[Unstable Affliction] Warlock 4 none Only if dispelled. Affliction only.
[Spell Lock]/
[Optical Blast]
Warlock 3 24 Felhunter/Observer ability
[Heroic Throw] Warrior 3 30 With [Glyph of Gag Order]
[Pummel] Warrior 3 15 With [Glyph of Gag Order]

Although not silence effects, it should be noted that interrupts and many forms of crowd control such as Fear effects, Horrify effects, Stuns, Incapacitate effects and [Polymorph]/ [Hex] can also be used to prevent a target from casting. Proper use of these abilities can be very effective for preventing spellcasting, but often have downsides or other uses that make silence effects preferable.

Interrupts are closely related to silence effects. They work to interrupt any current cast, and prevent the target from casting any spell in that school for a number of seconds. This can be considered a reduced form of silence, however while silence effects can be used pre-emptively, interrupts must be used during a cast in order to have an effect. This makes interrupts ineffective for preventing instant casts.

Some abilities incorporate both silence effects and interrupts. This allows for interrupt functionality against PvE targets such as bosses that are immune to silence effects.

Tips and tactics

  • Silence effects are excellent for interrupting spellcasts. See Interrupt for tips and tactics on interrupting enemy casts.
  • Silence effects can be used to their maximum effect by using them shortly before the target completes a cast, causing them to waste the time already spent casting.
  • Silence effects can be used pre-emptively to prevent instant casts. For example, when under attack, paladins will often wait until they are very low on health before using [Lay on Hands] or [Divine Shield]. By anticipating these spells, the player can use silence effects to prevent their use, often leading to the demise of the paladin.
  • Like interrupts, silence effects can be used in PvE to draw caster mobs into melee range, since casters that are unable to cast will run toward their current target.
  • As most silence effects have fairly long cooldowns, choosing the right time to use them can be critical. When dealing with healers, silence effects are often best saved for when an enemy target is low on health, preventing the healer from saving them. Used against damage-dealers, players may choose to save silence effects for strategic purposes, or simply use them as often as possible to reduce incoming damage. One strategic use is to save silence effects until the target uses some of their more powerful cooldowns, causing them to waste the effects. You can also silence opponents to allow time for bandaging - be careful though that your opponent doesn't do the same!
  • Silencing is not only useful for preventing damage and healing; many crowd control abilities can also be prevented by silence effects.
  • Although most useful against casters, most classes and specs have some vulnerability to silence effects. Most hybrid specs use some spells as part of their rotation, and even warriors cannot use shouts (such as [Intimidating Shout]) or [Thunder Clap] while silenced.

Patch changes

  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.6 (2011-02-08): PvP trinkets will now clear silence effects.