Let’s get this out of the way: No, Dave’s not here, and yes, Dark Side Of The Moon is the best ever. Hilarious.
“Which pet should I use my upgrade stone on?” is one of the most frequent questions I’ve seen asked on the forums, on twitter and on WoWInsider. Hell, I’ve asked it myself. I’m going to explain my rationale for burning upgrade stones in general terms, and discuss which pets I personally decided to upgrade.
You get these stones either in daily quest bags (NOT the pandaren spirit bags or the Darkmoon bags though), or very rarely by fighting battles in the world. There are uncommon stones not associated with a family, rare stones not associated with a family (these are tradeable outright), and rare stones with a family. There’s also a very sneaky stack of Spirits of Harmony in that particular screenshot.
In general, the very first pets I upgrade are ones which are tamed, have unique moves and are next to impossible to find in the world at all let alone farm for a rare. Examples of this are the Minfernal or Scourged Whelpling. Then comes the ones which are semi-difficult to tame but are good fighters with unique moves, like Spawn of Onyxia or Lofty Libram. Then the ones which aren’t available for trade, like the Creepy Crate or Perky Pug. Then, the difficult to tame but kinda meh or share moves, like the Crow. After that, I pick tradeables, mostly vendor pets which start off as Uncommon, first the pricey ones (Argent Tourney pets, Plump Turkey), then the ones with more unique moves on down to the dozen cats which are all identical. Freaking cats. These are toward the bottom because you can buy them from the AH upgraded, though you’ll have to pay a pretty penny. At the bottom of the heap are those which are easy to farm and also share moves, like roaches, rabbits or toads.
Not at all complicated, right?
Here are the choices I made in upgrading, and some other options and further opinions. Let me say right now, yeah I made some silly ones. In alphabetical order, because what’s up with them being not alphabetical in the Blizz UI?
Aquatic – I’ve held on to all of these stones, for now. The screenshot is just because I don’t like so much text with no pictures. I’m a weirdo, I know.
Jubling and Mr. Chilly are the only 2 aquatic pets which aren’t tradeable or tamed. They share moves with others of the same sort, though, so they’re kind of a wash for upgrading. You’ll likely want to save a stone for a Wanderer’s Festival Hatchling, which I personally have never been able to tame, as the time window for taming is *really* short, and there’s one, maybe two spawns a week. Speedy or a Sea Pony may be good choices too, since they seem to be quite pricy on the AH without any upgrade. Regardless, the better fighting Aquatic pets are easily tamed & farmed, and generally have several different pets sharing identical moves (eg, crabs, frogs, turtles).
Beast – I haven’t upgraded any of these yet, either. But look at that monkey! A good choice would be the Baby Blizzard Bear if you have one, or maybe the Dun Morogh Cub if not. I’m also hanging on to one to use on a Sumprush Rodent, just in case I don’t get a rare after farming 2000 freaking insignias. Because this is one of the most populated family classes, there are both a lot of rares out there up for grabs that replicate movesets, like the Darkmoon Monkey vs Baby Ape. There are a *lot* of rare, annoying tames up for grabs too, that sometimes you just don’t want to deal with later on down the line. Examples of this are the mentioned Baby Ape, Giraffe Calf or Larva.
Critter – The first one I upgraded was my Perky Pug. I use her frequently, and this is an achievement pet so you can’t buy one or get a better one unless you stone it, but you can get some of her utility from other random critters. Like Beasts, there are really annoying tames peppered in through the dozens and dozens of Critters so you may just want to save up until you’re ready to make the leap to all rares, and you just can’t even with this one pet. Not that I’ve been experiencing anything like that. Special mention to the Armadillo, which isn’t tradeable, and the Children’s Week and Argent Tourney pets, which are generally really expensive on the AH even without a stone. This really just depends on personal preference. There aren’t a ton of wrong answers.
Dragonkin – First I upgraded was the Spawn of Onyxia. Second was the Infinite Whelpling. There are very few dragons up for grabs and nearly all of them are both excellent fighters and spotty tames with the exception of the Nether Faerie Dragon. Nether Faerie is super useful, but has a very quick spawn rate so getting a rare is relatively easy, and it shares moves with Sprite Darter Hatchlings, which are tradeable and start off rare. Another exception are the Wild Cloud Serpent Hatchlings. In general, there are typically lots of these up at any given time, because people finish the grind, tame their dragons and leave forever. I wouldn’t stone anything you can buy from a vendor, just because there are so many dead useful rare tames.
Elemental – I got super lucky and got a rare Fel Flame my 2nd or 3rd tame, or that would’ve been my answer here. Spirit of Summer has the same moves, so you may want to go with that one instead. Tiny Twisters are a good choice because of their rarity. Withers will get a stone from me pretty soon here, because he’s not tradeable.
Flying – Gilnean Raven. I would’ve chosen a Crow, but the Crow I tamed has a cruddy breed, and I got the best possible breed with my Raven, so I’m trying again with the Crow next month. This was also slightly motivated by more superficial things… My worgen is a druid, so I clearly needed a baby me in flight form, and from Gilneas. Yeah, I know, this sounds so stupid when it’s in type, but just look at that screenshot. LOOK AT IT! The Raven has a really good moveset with a Blind ability and Nocturnal Strike, and it’s very pricey on the AH so it’s not a bad choice. Other good picks include Tiny Flamefly, either Mini Jouster, Miniwing (all untradeable), and the Wildhammer Gryphon Hatchling (rare tame).
Humanoid – The first I chose was Winter’s Little Helper. Before 5.2, Kun-Lai Runt‘s frost shock incorrectly didn’t apply a Chilled effect, so its Deep Freeze wouldn’t hit without a little help… er! See what I did there? Yes. Well. The combo of Little Helper with Blizzard and Runt with his stuns was devastating. It continues to be, too, just now it isn’t as required for the Runt to shine. This pet is identical to the Father Winter’s Helper, it’s just the one I chose is red & female and the other is green & male. Different strokes. Other good choices here are the Flayer Youngling, Peddlefeet and the forementioned Runt, though the latter are much less rare now so you may want to try your hand at taming one.
Magic – Minfernal. I mean come on, it’s a Minfernal! He’s kind of a cruddy battler though, so you may want to go with something more like the Enchanted Broom and yes I realize how ridiculous that sentence sounds, but I swear it’s a really good fighter. The Lofty Libram and Nordrassil Wisp are also good choices because their back row AOE makes them nice for pvp fights and they’re relatively rare to tame. So, a broom or a book. The magic family is super odd.
Mechanical – The first I upgraded was the Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling. This was very foolish of me, because at the time Fluxfire Feline was arguably the only pet, at all. The Dragonling is fairly decent, but the Fluxfire Felines… MY GOD. A lot of people also profess to love their Tranquil Mechanical Yeti well. With a few exceptions most of the tamed mechanical pets are fairly common, especially as seconds so it’s really based on your luck, tolerance, AH & preference.
Undead – My first was the Scourged Whelpling. Mega rare, check. Untradeable, check. Unique moves, check. Amazing fight utility, check. This is one of the most frequent pets I use to beat any tamer with a dragon, and this is probably the only family where there is a ‘right’ answer to the question. This is what you should use your undead stone on first if at all possible. Other good choices for subsequent stones are the Restless Shadeling (though I’m given to understand they’re less outrageously rare as of 5.2) or a Creepy Crate (untradeable).
This was such a long post I don’t have it in me to write a witty ending. You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here, unless you have something to add in the comments. And maybe if you have Funyuns.