Lock In Talents: Swipe (core rotational ability), Ironfur (the main form of physical mitigation), Improved Barkskin (4s duration increase on Barkskin), Killer Instinct, Nurturing Instinct, Lycara’s Teachings, Thick Hide (unfortunately, most of these are 3 point nodes - the only class to have them in their tree still - but they give a substantial damage and mitigation increase so you’ll want to max these out in the vast majority of builds still).
Nice-to-Haves (talents you would be happy to have in most/all situations but may not be able to get due to pathing/point constraints): Astral Influence (5yd range increase on all abilities), Well-Honed Instincts (Free frenzied regen at low hp), Verdant Heart (healing increase during barkskin and frenzied regen, note this doesn’t increase your own healing just external healing), Improved Stampeding Roar (1 min CD Stampeding Roar)
Situational Talents: Skull Bash (only when interrupts are needed), Remove Corruption (only when dispel is required), Wild Charge (useful against knockbacks or as a gap closer that keeps you in bear form), Tiger Dash (useful mobility tool for when you don’t need to be in bear form such as Painsmith/Jailer), Typhoon (if a knockback is required), Hibernate (if a Dragonkin/Beast CC is required), Cyclone (if a damage immune CC is needed)
Talents to Avoid: Improved Rejuvenation (resto talent), Ursine Vigor (poorly designed for Guardian Druid), Protector of the Pack (hard to use without Dream of Cenarius talented in the Guardian tree, but currently you don’t take it due to bad pathing), Tireless Pursuit (extra mobility can be excellent but this talent is hard to get value out of due to needing to be out of bear form to gain the benefit), Maim (if catweaving you won’t want to use this as your finisher)
You still need 2 points to unlock the next row, so if you need access to a dispel, you can start down the resto line (rejuv + swiftmend); if you want to catweave you can start down the feral line (rake + rip), otherwise start down the balance line (Starfire + starsurge).
You need to fill out 8 more points to unlock capstones; pathing here will depend on what line you went down in the first tier (grabbing your dispel, grabbing Astral Influence, etc.) and what capstones you want to reach, which are dependent on the content you are running.
- Incap Roar and Typhoon are strong in M+
- Mass Entangle/Ursol’s Vortex are both niche in M+ and raiding
- Renewal, Improved Stampeding Roar, Heart of the Wild, Well-Honed Instincts, and Nature’s Vigil are strong in all forms of content
- Innervate is a niche in raids.
I’ve included the different Standard Raid/M+ options in the builds below.
This is the standard setup for raids that you’ll use for most boss fights, including Eranog, Terros, Sennarth, Kurog, Dathea, Broodkeeper (boss tank), and Raszageth. See below for potential minor talent variations for these bosses.
General tree - choice nodes of wild charge/tiger dash and mass entangle/ursols vortex; you can pick whatever is better on a specific fight. If you need a kick, typhoon, cyclone, incap roar, or mighty bash you can drop one of Matted Fur, Verdant Heart, or Improved Stampeding Roar (if you don’t need 1min roar) to obtain them.
Spec tree: Moving down the first tier of the spec tree, you don’t have too much flexibility. You need to grab Berserk and Gory Fur for pathing, and you likely want to grab Innate resolve as it gives you a 2nd charge of Frenzied Regen, which means a minimum of 9 points of investment here before you can go down into tier 2.
In tier 2, you want to get down to the middle and the right side for the capstone talents, all while ensuring you path through both Tooth and Claw for big damage mauls that cost no rage and After the Wildfire for big self and group healing through spending rage. After doing this, you have a couple of extra points so you can pick up extra mangle damage and rage gen from Soul of the Forest, mangle and maul damage from Vicious Cycle, and haste and maul rage reduction during Incarn from Berserk: Unchecked Aggression.
Then you have the capstone talents, where you want to fill out all 6 points that buff moonfire, as well as an additional defensive/offensive CD in Rage of the Sleeper, and since you have 3 berserk nodes already Incarnation to double its duration and make you a bit tankier. Ursoc’s guidance is only worthwhile if it lines up with incarnation up with a certain mechanic you need it for or if it gains you extra uses. If this is not the case, you can move this point to Improved Survival Instincts or Ursoc’s Endurance.
A more AoE-focused setup for the raid, similar to the M+ build, basically taking the general tree raid talents and the spec tree M+ talents, which works great for Primal Council and Broodkeeper (add tank).
General tree: Same as the previous section. However we have opted into Skull Bash, dropping Verdant Heart, as both boss fights you’d use this on have interrupts.
Spec tree: For tier 2 talents, instead of grabbing Soul of the Forest and Vicious Cycle, you opt to put 1 point in Flashing Claws, along with 1 point in the capstone talent Blood Frenzy. This helps both with damage and rage generation in AoE scenarios which is extremely useful for certain fights.
General tree - same as previous section
Spec tree - More defensive setup that includes Earthwarden. This is useful for boss fights where melee damage is a large portion of your damage intake and you feel that Tooth and Claw and Ironfur uptime isn’t enough to mitigate it smoothly. Similar pathing as the standard section; however, in tier 2, with your extra points, you grab Flashing Claws x2 to get to Earthwarden. This does mean you lose out on Soul of the Forest, Vicious Cycle, and Berserk: Unchecked Aggression, so this build is a decent damage loss over the standard build. Only do this if Earthwarden is 100% necessary. Similar to the standard section, if you don’t need Ursoc’s guidance, you can drop it for more damage from Vicious Cycle, or other defensive options in Improved Survival Instincts or Ursoc’s Endurance
This is the standard setup for M+ that you’ll use for most dungeons.
General tree - if you need mass entangle/ursols vortex for a dungeon, you can give up 2 of Wild Charge, 1 point in well-honed instincts, improved stampeding roar, or typhoon to get there. Currently, there are not many relevant curse/poison dispels in dungeons, so going down the resto path to grab Remove Corruption is usually not worthwhile.
Spec tree: Similar pathing as standard raid build; however, with your extra tier 2 talents you have a few choices. My recommendation is to grab Berserk: Unchecked Aggression along with one point in Flashing Claws, though you can opt to put this 2nd point into Soul of the Forest as well. Then with your extra capstone talent you can grab Blood Frenzy for great rage generation in AoE.
Alternatively, you can opt to go with 2 points in Flashing Claws, which also gives you the choice between Blood Frenzy and Earthwarden. Going with blood frenzy has a lot of synergy with After the Wildfire in AoE, letting you blast party heals in big pulls, and also gives you Incarnation CDR through Ursoc’s Guidance. On the other hand, earthwarden gives you an upfront melee damage mitigation which is very good for personal survivability. Both are usable; I lean towards the rage generation synergy of Blood Frenzy currently.