Welcome to the Guardian druid guide! My name is Tactyks, and I’ve been playing bear on and off since Wrath of the Lich King. I currently raid with Spike Flail on Mal’Ganis NA, and have achieved multiple CEs and M+ titles in Shadowlands and Dragonflight on Guardian Druid and other tank specs. I’ve also competed in The Great Push as a tank player, and create Tank, M+, and Raid guide content on my YouTube and Twitch channels, so make sure to stop by and say hi!
- Good ST damage and general durability relative to other tanks specs
- Strong off-healing capabilities
- Provides useful general druid utility (Stampeding Roar, Innervate, Mark of the Wild, etc)
- Some druid utility and off-healing requires them to leave bear form which isn’t always feasible (cyclone, entangling roots, etc)
- Many “dead” talent points that are either never picked or you are forced to path through but never use in both the Class and Spec tree which can limit your flexibility
- Lack of unique raid utility
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What has changed
Note: Patch 10.2.5 didn't have any changes that impacted Guardian Druid.
Moving into patch 10.2 there hasn’t been many changes to Guardian druids, however one major factor is the loss of their Abberus tier set, considered one of the best bonuses among all tank specs, which is being replaced by a tierset that is currently looking to be one of the worst bonuses of the tanks. This combined with the nerfs Guardian has seen over the course of patch 10.1.5 leaves them in a worse position than they were at the end of Season 2, however I wouldn’t say the spec is too far behind other tanks and will remain a competitive option going into Season 3.
There are 2 significant talent changes coming in the patch, the first is an adjustment to Blood Frenzy which is now capped at 5 targets but grants 3 additional rage per target up from 2. This essentially works out to being a rage generation buff at 7 or less targets, and a nerf at 8 or more targets, which in my opinion is a fair trade off since rage generation on extremely high target counts could certainly get out of control, but the spec struggled when it came to 1-2 targets. Mangle also received a slight bump to the rage it generates, going up to 12 from 10.
The 2nd major talent change is actually an interaction between Galactic Guardian and Twin Moonfire, where the additional second moonfire casted by a Galactic Guardian proc will now also consume the previous proc, generating additional rage and doing extra damage. This means that when used together, these talents give a nice passive boost to both your output and resource generation which is quite powerful in AoE situations, though doesn’t do anything in single target.
That being said, rage generation in single target situations - particularly in raid when you aren’t talenting into Blood Frenzy - feels quite weak, even with the buff to Mangle. On top of this, the class tree remains lacking thanks to the number of “dead” talent points you are forced to path through but never use and the underwhelming Capstone selection. Personally I would love to see a lot of these rotational abilities for other specs either rolled into a single talent point or made baseline, as well as changes to Convoke similar to what happened with Divine Toll for paladins, where it was moved out of the various spec trees and into the class tree.
The spec tree also still has some unaddressed issues, such as the power level of Pulverize and Convoke, Berserk being split into 3 separate talents, and having to buy “rank 2” talents or utility talents that compete with throughput which feel like they should be either baseline or combined with other nodes.
In general, bear still plays very similarly to their 10.1 version, just with a weaker (and sometimes annoying) tier bonus. While I don’t think guardians are on top in any category, I think their output in terms of both damage and durability remains competitive, though one downside is the lack of unique utility they can bring to a raid team, as pretty much everything they do provide can be brought by any Druid spec.