Raar! We don’t have to share a talent tree with cats any more! Yep, that’s not getting old any time soon. With Mists of Pandaria and WoW Patch 5.3, the proud, the few, the hairy have a spec all of our own – Guardian Druid, rather than Feral Tank. So, if you want to get a’ mauling and a’mangling in the Throne of Thunder, here’s our quick guide to getting your bear set up in MoP with rotations, priorities, talents, glyphs, gems, reforging, stats, and all that good stuff.
Updated 28th November to WoW Patch 5.3
Guardian Druid changes in WoW Patch 5.3
No real changes from the previous patch.
Guardian/Bear Tanking “Rotation” and Priorities
Our new MoP tanking priority system is pretty damn simple – but it’s complicated by the fact that we now have to work for our invulnerability! Yep – we’re no longer a Big Bag of Armour. Instead, we have to use abilities – Active Mitigation – to make ourselves tougher in order to survive all the tanky beatings we take.
- Top Priority: Use Mangle if it’s off cooldown.
- Second Priority: Use Fairie Fire Feral if the debuff isn’t on the target. Use Thrash if the Thrash debuff has fallen off the target.
- Third Priority: Use Lacerate if available. If not, use Fairie Fire Feral.
- Top Priority: Use Thrash if it’s off cooldown.
- Second Priority: Use Mangle if it’s off cooldown.
- Third Priority: Use Swipe.
The other side of your New Tanking is that you have three abilities which use Rage to defend you – all of which are off the Global Cooldown. Use them whenever you have the Rage available:
- Use Frenzied Regeneration when you’re taking light damage. Note – this is a heal, so use it after you’ve taken damage.
- Use Savage Defence when (or ideally just before) you’re taking heavy damage. It only works on melee damage, so use Frenzied Regeneration if you’re taking spell damage.
- Use Maul any time you’re about to cap your Rage.
- Survival Instincts is your powerful defensive cooldown – use it when you know you’re about to take heavy damage.
- Use Might of Ursoc to avoid dying when you’re looking like you’re about to!
- Barkskin has a much shorter cooldown – use it to mitigate small damage spikes, or just on cooldown.
- Berserk will allow you to generate a lot more Rage than normal, as well as doing considerable AOE DPS. Useful to get higher uptime on your Active Mitigation temporarily.
- Rebirth is usable and instant in tank form if you have Nature’s Swiftness (Tier 2 talent). I’m sure I don’t have to explain how useful an instant combat rez will be…
Remember to cast Mark Of The Wild if no-one else has a similar buff. Cast Symbiosis on your fellow tank.
And remember – don’t laugh – to be in bear form! Seriously, I’ve seen people forget.
Guardian Druid Talent Choices
There are no cookie-cutter talents any more, and in any case, the theory on talents is at an early stage right now. We encourage you to experiment with the Druid talents and figure out which work best for you.
Having said that, if you just want a quick, easy-to-use talent build to get started, we recommend:
- Tier 1: Feline Swiftness
- Tier 2: Cenarion Ward
- Tier 3: Typhoon
- Tier 4: Incarnation
- Tier 5: Ursol’s Vortex
- Tier 6: Nature’s Vigil – powerful heal.
Stats, reforging and gemming for Guardian Druid
Reforging: Reforge to Dodge, then Mastery, then Hit and Expertise to the cap. Reforge out of Haste first, then Crit.
Gems: Use Fractured (Mastery) gems in Yellow slots, Puissant (Mastery / Stamina) in blue slots, and Keen (Expertise/Mastery) gems in red slots.
Meta Gem: Austere Meta Gem.
Getting one- or two-shot?: You need more Stamina. Replace some blue slot gems with Solid (Stamina) gems, and see if that improves the situation.
Bear Druid Glyphs
Major: There are NO critical choices here. Glyph of Rebirth, Glyph of Fae Silence, Glyph of Survival Instincts, and Glyph of Might of Ursoc are all worth considering.
Minor: Your own choice, although Glyph of Grace is rather good.
Guardian Druid enchants and item enhancements
You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant,
- Shoulders Greater Ox Horn Inscription
- Back Enchant Cloak – Greater Protection
- Chest Enchant Chest – Superior Stamina
- Wrist Enchant Bracer – Mastery
- Hands Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery
- Belt Living Steel Belt Buckle
- Legs Ironscale Leg Armor
- Feet Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
- Weapon Enchant Weapon – River’s Song if you can afford it. Colossus for a cheaper option.
There are a few good resources out there for Guardian druids:
- The Inconspicuous Bear has a detailed writeup of the 5.2 changes
- The Inconspicuous Bear has an excellent, pragmatic MoP Guardian guide
- The ubiquitous Icy Veins have a good Guardian guide available, although I’m not certain why they chose their stat priorities.
- Finally, as a WoW player, you should really check out the latest and greatest from the blogosphere on World of Warcraft, here at the Melting Pot.
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