8.30.16 - Legion Update - this guide has not been updated since MoP, and I have not kept up with the pet battle side of things in Warlords of Draenor. That said, this guide will still work, as it doesn't take advantage of Howl Bomb, but at the same time there may be more efficient methods to level pets in Draenor that I am unaware of.
Be sure to check out my latest guide for the super hardcore pet battler "1-25 in FOUR fights!" Not for the foolhardy, that guide requires the player use one Lesser Pet Treat and one Pet Treat for huge XP bonuses.
However! If you're not yet ready to tackle that guide, but you've been around the block, this one's for you. I have to assume a few things which I think are perfectly reasonable:
- you have at least one pet from every family at 25.
- you have access to the Pandaren Spirit Tamer dailies.
- I lean regularly on the Clockwork Gnome, Celestial Dragon, Pandaren Monk and Anubisath Idol. It should still theoretically be possible to follow this guide without any of these. If you're truly struggling on a fight with your given team, I recommend looking up your opponent on WoWHead.
The drawback here, of course, is that this path can be followed only ONCE per day since it utilized daily tamer battles to level. Know that it is also helpful to have a mage as it I will save you significant travel time. Once again, the Alliance run involves more traveling a greater distance. Sorry. Instead of breaking this up into Horde and Alliance, I've crudely lumped them together since fights 4-9 will be the same for both factions.
Let's do this
Note: start with your leveling pet each fight unless it says otherwise. Don't forget your Safari Hat!
Fight 1Opponent: Cassandra Kaboom
Zone: Southern Barrens (40,80) near the small cave between Razorfen Kraul and Desolation Hold
Notes: Easy fight; use a high-level elemental for an even quicker fight; Alliance visit Bill Buckler in the Cape of Stranglethorn. For quick passage, use the Blasted Lands portal found in IF or SW, then fly there. This fight can be tricky if Buckler's pet Eyegouge gets all Cyclone happy. If this is happening to you, I've left some tips in reply to a reader comment below.
Level reached: 7.0
Zone: Felwood (40,57) slightly northeast of the "R" in "Jadenar"
Notes: Easy fight; Alliance should visit Everessa at 77,42 in the Swamp of Sorrows. For quick passage, use the Blasted Lands portal found in IF or SW, then fly there.
Level reached: 10.0
Fight 3Opponent: Stone Cold Trixxy
Zone: Winterspring (66,65) east of where the road from Mazthoril joins the long N to S road
Notes: Easy fight with strong max-level pets; Alliance can fight Trixxy, though Lydia Accoste in Deadwind Pass is much closer.
Level reached: 12.5
Opponent: Nicki Tinytech
Zone: Hellfire Peninsula (64,50) where the roads leading from Thrallmar & Honor Hold join
Notes: Use an elemental pet to absolutely devastate this group.
Level reached: 14.7
Fight 5Opponent: Morulu the Elder
Zone: Shattrath City (59,69) in the southermost part of Lower City
Notes: Use a flying pet to absolutely devastate this group
Level reached: 16.9
Fight 6Opponent: Courageous Yon
Zone: Kun-Lai Summit (36,74) inside a small cave
Notes: Use a Magic pet and a strong Mechanical like the Clockwork Gnome if you don't have a Celestial Dragon. You want to lead with the Magic pet since Yon leads with his Flying pet, Piqua. Flying pets will do weak damage against a Dragonkin if you do have one. Couple that with the Celestial's healing ability, Ancient Blessing, and magic damage spells (strong against Flying), you should be able to get through Piqua with most of the Celestial's health in tact.
Courageous Yon should then send in his rabbit, a Critter pet. Use your opening pet til it does; switch your leveling pet in for one round or two; at this point your leveler should be able to take a couple of hits. Bring out your Mechanical pet and finish the Critter, if needed, and Yon's last pet, a ram from the Beast family.
Level reached: 20.1
Fight 7Opponent: Grand Master Aki
Zone: Vale of Eternal Blossoms (68,41) on the western side of the lake surrounding MV
Notes: This one may be tricky if you don't have access to an Anubisath Idol. If that's the case, I try to choose a pet with either a weather effect or multiple attacks to counter Stormlash's weather effect. Without the Idol I'll use the Clockwork Gnome and place turrets and heal so that I'm almost full health when the first pet, a Critter dies, and Stormlash comes out. Seriously though: Anubisath Idol can nearly solo Aki.
Level reached: 22.4
Opponent: Farmer Nishi
Zone: Valley of the Four Winds (46,44) just a bit west of Halfhill in the fields
Notes: Start a strong Aquatic pet with decent aquatic damage spells; she will send her Elementals in first and your Aquatic will destroy them. Bring your leveling pet in for a couple of rounds once your Aquatic dies. Then, finish off Nishi's last pet, a Beast, using a pet with Mechanical abilities (Clockwork Gnome works well).
Level reached: 24.2
Opponent: Whispering Pandaren Spirit
Zone: Jade Forest (29,36) on the peak nearly due north of Grookin Hill
Notes: Easy fight with the right pets, especially from the Dragonkin OR Humanoid family.
My thanks to @SpaceBard, @kristin, @liopleurodonic and those who commented for helping me improve this guide and ensure its accuracy.