Guardian Bear Druid Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, priorities and tanking strategies

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 [patchnumber], 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 through Garrosh’s hordes, 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 [guideupdated] to WoW Patch [patchnumber]

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.

Single-target Tanking

  • 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 you’re about to cap Rage, use Maul

AOE Tanking

  • Top Priority: Use Thrash if it’s off cooldown.
  • Second Priority: Use Mangle if it’s off cooldown.
  • Third Priority: Use Swipe.

Active Mitigation

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.

Cooldowns

  • 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…

Buffs

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: Dreams of Cenarius: offers instant-cast Healing Touches from time to time.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Guardian Druid

Reforging: Reforge to Hit and Expertise to the cap, then Crit, then Haste.

Gems: Use Smooth (crit) gems in Yellow slots, Jagged (Crit / Stamina) in blue slots, and Crafty (Expertise/Crit) 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 – Greater Agility
  • Hands Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery
  • Belt Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs Ironscale Leg Armor
  • Feet Enchant Boots – Blurred Speed
  • Weapon Enchant Weapon – Dancing Steel.

There are a few good resources out there for Guardian druids:

  • The Inconspicuous Bear has an excellent, pragmatic MoP Guardian guide
  • The ubiquitous Icy Veins have a good Guardian guide available.
  • 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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Patch 4.3 Feral Bear Tank Guide – Stats, talent spec, glyphs, reforging and gems, priorities and tanking strategies

Feral Tanks. The few, the proud, the people who can draw every hair on their bear’s ass from hours of staring at it. Whilst all the other tanks hide behind plate armor and big shields, we’re going in there, head to head – well, OK, head to crotch – with elementals, dragons, and unpronouncable things with too many apostrophes in their names, with only a thick layer of hair and a bad attitude for protection. Want to get Thrashing Deathwing’s tentacles as fast as possible (eew)? Then hold on, as we take a lightning trip through your talent spec, glyphs, gems, stats and reforging, and rotations and priorities in Patch 4.3.

Updated Dec 12th 2011

Bear tanking changes in Patch 4.3

Bears have been given a significant buff in Patch 4.3, with +10% stamina for all Bears, and a massive armour upgrade for Bear Tanks under level 40. However, this doesn’t change how we play or gear – it just makes us better!

The two-piece set bonus from Tier 13 makes Berzerk a mitigation cooldown too when you get it – woot!

Bear tanking “rotation”

We don’t have an actual “rotation” – instead, we have a couple of different priority lists. Use the highest ability on your priority list that is currently available.

Single-target tanking

  • Top Priority Keep Demoralising Roar up. Use Mangle and Thrash if they’re available.
  • Second Priority Lacerate up to three stacks or if it’s about to fall off.
  • Third Priority Pulverise if the buff has fallen off you and you have 3 stacks of Lacerate. Faerie Fire if it’s not at 3 stacks for some reason. Use excess rage on Maul and yet more Lacerates.

Once you have solid threat, if your DPS is not important (as on most fights), you can prioritise keeping the Pulverise buff up, giving you extra damage mitigation.

Multi-target tanking

  • Top Priority Use Demoralising Roar if it’s not up. Use Thrash if it’s available, and if not, Swipe if that is available.
  • Second Priority If the current target does not have Mangle and Lacerate up, use Mangle and/or Lacerate.
  • Third Priority If the current target has Mangle and Lacerate up, TAB to another target and use Mangle or Lacerate.

Given Swipe has a 3 second cooldown, you should be using it every other ability press. So, SWIPE – something – SWIPE – something and so on.

Buffs: Make sure you’re in Bear form! (Seriously, I’ve seen people fail at that). Use Mark of the Wild on the raid.

The Pull: Use Faerie Fire Feral to pull, then Mangle, Demoralising Roar, and go into your rotation.

Bear Tank Cooldowns: Use Berserk whenever it’s available, and glory in your ridiculous threat and DPS. You have three damage-reduction cooldowns: Barkskin has a 1 min cooldown, and should mostly be used off cooldown unless you know there’s a frequent heavy-damage phase in the fight (like Mangle on Magmaw). Frenzied Regeneration and Survival Instincts are both powerful damage-reduction / healing increase cooldowns – use them as your “Oh, crap” buttons. Note that glyphed Frenzied Regeneration actually increases healing – so it’s great if you’re being healed, not so good if your healer’s out of range or dead.

Feral Tank Interrupts: Skull Bash is your main interrupt.

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Bear Tank Talent Spec

Stats, reforging and gemming for Bear tanks

Stamina, Agility and Dodge are our three most important stats, with everything else being rather secondary. Agility, pound-for-pound, is our best stat in most circumstances. Haste is our worst stat. Strength is now nearly useless.

If you’re having threat problems, which is very unlikely, Expertise and then Hit to cap (aim for 8% hit and 26 Expertise) are our best threat stats.

Reforging: In general, reforge to Dodge. Reforge from Haste first.

Gems: Use Austere Shadowspirit Diamond, and use at least 2 Regal Dream Emeralds in yellow slots to activate it. After that, gem Delicate Inferno Rubies unless a socket bonus gives you significant Agility or Dodge, in which case match the socket.

Meta Gem: Use Austere Shadowspirit Diamond. You’ll need to use two Polished Ember Topaz to activate your meta gem – you can use these to activate socket bonuses if possible.

If you’re getting one-shot: If bosses are taking you out faster than the healers can heal you, replace some Agi with Stam until you’re confident you can survive a few more hits.

Druid tank enchants

If your profession provides you with item improving “enchants”, like Inscription or Tailoring, use your profession enchant instead of a general enchant if it provides useful stats and you have a choice- for example, Inscription of the Earth Prince on shoulders from Inscription.

Head Arcanum of the Earthen Ring – Arcanum of the Ramkahen is nearly as good.
Shoulders   Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal
Back Enchant Cloak – Protection
Chest Enchant Chest – Greater Stamina or Peerless Stats if you don’t need more HP.
Wrist Enchant Bracer – Agility
Hands Glove Reinforcements from Leatherworking. Yes, really.
Belt Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Legs Charscale Leg Armor
Feet Enchant Boots – Assassin’s Step
Weapon Enchant Weapon – Mighty Agility

Note: If you’re low on Stamina, use Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz on shoulders instead.

Glyphs

Prime: Berserk, Lacerate, Mangle

Major: Maul, Frenzied Regeneration, and Faerie Fire.

Minor: Unburdened Rebirth and one other of your choice.

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