For Guardian all the covenants have seen play in different parts of the game. The least useful one has proven to be the Necrolords but even Necrolord Druids have seen play after the recent Fleshcraft buffs! However, the Night Fae, Kyrian and Venthyr Druid abilities are all very good and useful in different situations. Convoke the Spirits from Night Fae is the most common as you can use it paired with the affinity of your choice as well as Heart of the Wild and then blast either healing or damage. Ravenous Frenzy from the Venthyr pairs very well with guardians Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc, especially in M+!
Summon Steward is an ability every Kyrian gets regardless of their class. This signature ability will give you a potion called Phial of Serenity which gives you an extra health pot that doesn’t share a cooldown with the normal health potions and healthstones. It also has the additional effects of removing debuffs such as bleeds and diseases on you which is very valuable in both dungeons and raids.
Druid Specific Covenant Ability: Kindred Spirits is an ability which has 4 different versions of itself depending on who you use it on. You can place it on other players and yourself and depending on if they’re a DPS/Healer/Tank or you choose yourself, you will gain extra effects whenever you empower the bond which has a 1 minute cooldown.
- If you bond with a Dps or Healer and empower the bond then 40% of the damage they take will instead be redirected to you effectively giving them a 40% damage reduction. Additionally:
- When bonded with a dps you gain 20% of their damage as either bonus damage, healing or an absorption shield for 10 seconds.
- When bonded with a healer 30% of the healing they do is replicated on us for 10 seconds.
- When bonded with a tank we can redirect 40% of the damage we take to them for 10 seconds.
- When bonded to ourself we take 10% less damage for 10 seconds.
If you run this covenant you will most likely always bond with a dps or healer as it provides the most benefit for both players.
Fleshcraft is the ability every Necrolord gets regardless of class. The ability itself provides a shield which strength is based on time channeled. Additionally you gain 20% DR while it is channeling. It is a unique channel so you are able to dodge, parry and block while channeling. This is an insanely good ability as you’re pretty much immortal while channeling.
Druid Specific Covenant Ability: Adaptive Swarm is a 12 seconds DoT with a 25 second cooldown. The ability has 3 stacks which bounces from DoT to HoT every time it expires. Additionally the DoT version of the spell increases the effectiveness of your other DoT effects by 35%, this includes Thrash, Moonfire and even Rip if you choose to catweave. The ability itself is a very simple to use ability that provides a significant single target DPS gain when used correctly. Make sure you refresh the DoT on the target before it expires as you ideally want it to be a DoT more than a HoT.
Door of Shadows is the ability every Venthyr gets regardless of class. This ability is less useful for druids as we naturally have a lot of mobility.
Druid Specific Covenant Ability: Ravenous Frenzy is an ability that does what it says on the tin. While it is active each ability you cast increases your damage healing by 2% and haste by 1%. If you stop casting abilities for 2 seconds you will lose 1% hp per stack and be stunned for 1 second. When used with Berserk / Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc you can do ludicrous amounts of burst AoE damage. Overall it is probably one of the weaker covenants even if the general draven soulbind is one of the strongest defensively for tanks.
Soulshape is the ability every Night Fae gets regardless of Class. Similar to the Venthyr ability, this one provides us with extra mobility in the form of a blink and a movement speed increase which is better than the venthyr one. Additionally, as guardian you have the same armor and health increase in soulshape form as you do in bear form.
Druid Specific Covenant Ability: Convoke the Spirits spams out 16 abilities over a 4 second channel. This is the most versatile ability we have, depending on what form the ability is used depends on what abilities are casted. It provides decent defensive gain when cast in bear form however its true power comes when you cast it in other forms. You are able to burst an absurd amount of damage when paired with Balance Affinity and Moonkin Form as you cast Starsurge and have a small chance to cast a Full Moon. Additionally it is very strong when used in cat form with Feral Affinity as well as it almost always grants you 5 combo points which you can use to refresh your Rip or use a 5 combo point Ferocious Bite.
I personally rate Night Fae as the strongest covenant to play as it provides the most versatile ability as well as the ability which can give the highest output offensively. Necrolord is probably the stronger choice if you have no intention of ever weaving, if you’re a true bear then you will gain more from Fleshcraft and Adaptive Swarm.
Soulbinds and Conduits
Note, you should swap between Layered Mane and Innate Resolve depending on fights, high magic damage fights Innate Resolve would outperform Layered Mane. Additionally you should run Tough as Bark for dps if you don’t feel the need for the extra defense provided by the others.
Depending on your path in this tree you can either go super defensive or super offensive but you will generally just stick to Bonesmith.
Defensive Focussed (Never leaving bear)
I will list all the conduits for guardian druids from best to worst.
- Conflux of Elements
- Evolved Swarm (If cat weaving)
- Endless Thirst
- Deep Allegiance
- Unchecked Aggression
- Savage Combatant
- Adaptive Armor Fragment
- Born of the Wilds
- Front of the Pack (depends on the raid setup if you have no boomkins this might be the better option for the raid)
- Born Anew
- Tireless Pursuit
You will rarely ever go more than 1 finesse conduit.
If you’re interested in min maxing damage you should run Tough as Bark over the others.
As mentioned earlier, Guardian Druid has some of the most powerful legendaries in the game.
- The Natural Order's Will is a super strong defensive legendary when paired with Survival of the Fittest
- Ursoc's Fury Remembered is insanely strong both defensively and offensively for multi-target fights and M+
- Legacy of the Sleeper is also a strong legendary, especially in PVP it makes you the strongest tank at defending bases as you’re immune to all CC for the duration of Incarnation.
- Draught of Deep Focus is the best legendary for pure single target. It provides no defensive benefits but even if you aren’t cat/owl weaving it is still the best legendary for single target due to Moonfire.
- Luffa-Infused Embrace is the best legendary for burst and sustained AoE damage. However, it provides no defensive benefit compared to Ursoc's Fury Remembered so unless you’re 100% going for damage it is probably better to run Ursoc's Fury Remembered.
Some really good trinkets to be mindful for are:
Blood-Spattered Scale: A really strong on demand shield which scales based on the number of targets around you.
Shard of Annhylde’s Aegis: an insanely powerful trinket for M+ and any situation where you’re being hit by multiple damage instances at once as this has no cap or internal cooldown on its absorb rate once used.
Reactive Defense Matrix: pretty strong trinket which deals a decent amount of damage as well as preventing.
Salvaged Fusion Amplifier: Our best DPS trinket from the raid as it just provides a flat damage bonus to our auto attacks.
Splintered Heart of Al'ar: A really good trinket to have when you’re learning fights as it grants you an extra cheat death which allows you to limit test easier. (This is still really good if you are struggling on fights)
Weave of Warped Fates: Similar to the Splitered Heart of Al’ar this is a cheat death trinket however this actually makes you die and gives you a small window to revive yourself meaning it can reset certain boss stacks.
Phial of Putrefaction: A very strong trinket in terms of DPS and completely passive, boring yes, but strong and if you’re looking at pushing damage this is the trinket you want to go for.
Tormented Rack Fragment: A strong primarily passive trinket which adds a small mini game of picking up souls when targets die with it on.
Pretty much every tank is looking at the Blood set as most tanks do not scale well with main stat, blood will give you a large bonus in both survivability and damage without even having to think about it.
For individual shards you should always run
- Shard of Dyz - Unholy
- Shard of Cor / Shard of Kyr - Frost (Depending on if you want damage or defense)