Guardian Druid Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.2
Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Guardian Druid. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.
This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:
- Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
- Druid Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Druids gain by joining each Covenant;
- How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
- General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
- Druid Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Druids.
Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits
As of Patch 9.1.5, you can now freely change Covenants and Conduits as much as you want. This allows Guardian Druids to take Venthyr for dungeons and then swap to Night Fae for raiding, for example. This is a fantastic change overall and allows us to have a lot more freedom to move around a try different things as all 4 of the Covenants for Guardian Druid are fairly close in power.
However, we advise this general purpose Niya (Night Fae) tree for Raiding and Mythic+ as Guardian Druid if you are only interested in playing one Covenant. For more in-depth information about Soulbinds and Covenants as a Guardian Druid, please continue to the Choosing the Right Covenant section below.
Best Conduits for Guardian Druid
Conduits are shared between all Covenants. There is one exception to this and these are the Potency Conduits that boost your specific Covenant class abilities. If the Conduit you are looking for is not mentioned here, then read below to find out why.
Best Potency Conduits for Guardian Druid
- Conflux of Elements (Any Covenant-specific Conduit)
- Unchecked Aggression
- Adaptive Armor Fragment
- Savage Combatant
Best Endurance Conduits for Guardian Druid
Best Finesse Conduits for Guardian Druid
Conduits for Guardian Druids
The Conduits mentioned under each sub-section are ranked from best to worst.
Guardian Druid Potency Conduits
Conflux of Elements, the Night Fae-specific Conduit, increases the damage we deal while casting Convoke the Spirits by a significant amount. It is quite a large damage boost for Night Fae players and a worthwhile Potency slot for all Soulbind trees.
Unchecked Aggression is an incredibly powerful shared Conduit which we seek to take in almost every Soulbind tree. It provides us with a huge amount of Haste inside of our biggest cooldown, allowing us to get even more powerful GCDs during that cooldown-buffed period.
Evolved Swarm, the Necrolord-specific Conduit, increases our damage over time effects by a little bit more when the target is affected by Adaptive Swarm. It is definitely worth taking for most types of content, as the majority of our damage breakdown comes from damage over time effects.
Deep Allegiance, the Kyrian-specific Conduit, great for reducing the cooldown of an already powerful defensive ability.
Adaptive Armor Fragment, provides a small amount of Agility with 50% uptime. A good passive choice for the 3rd Potency slot.
Savage Combatant provides us with some more damage on Maul after casting Mangle which adds up to quite a lot of damage if we can comfortably use Maul. If you are finding that you would rather spend majority of your rage on Ironfur then skip this Conduit.
Guardian Druid Endurance Conduits
Tough as Bark reduces the cooldown of Barkskin by a significant amount and works exceptionally well with one of our best Legendaries, The Natural Order's Will, which makes Barkskin an immensely powerful defensive cooldown and the tier set bonuses.
Layered Mane grants a chance to gain 2 stacks of Ironfur instead of 1. This provides a great amount of extra armor over the course of a fight or dungeon. It is excellent for high Physical damage encounters and Mythic+.
Innate Resolve causes Regrowth and Frenzied Regeneration to have increased healing on yourself. It is quite a nice little bonus healing, however generally weaker than the other Endurance Conduit options. It does see some value in 3 Endurance Soulbind setups.
Condensed Anima Sphere, causes you to heal for a small percentage of your health every 10 seconds if you are taking damage. This can add up quite quickly and is a good passive 3rd endurance slot.
Ursine Vigor increases your health and armor for 4 seconds after shifting into Bear Form. This can be a unique option for some raid encounters, especially in combination with the catweaving rotation, where you shift out and then back into Bear Form just before a hard hitting magical attack.
Guardian Druid Finesse Conduits
Born of the Wilds is a fantastic Conduit slot and our best Finesse by far, reducing the cooldown of Heart of the Wild by a huge amount and potentially leading to getting an extra use over the course of a fight.
Tireless Pursuit is a small movement speed increase when shifting out of Cat Form or Travel Form. Very minor value from this one, as mobility is generally good but having us shift out of bear to gain value is not ideal.
Choosing the Right Covenant
Before going more in-depth about Covenants, it is important to note that all 4 of the Covenants are great choices for us as Guardian Druids and each of them have their unique strengths and weaknesses in different types of content.
While all of the Covenants are definitely usable, there are some that shine slightly brighter than others. Night Fae, Kyrian, and Venthyr are the three that stand out the most for Guardian Druids, due to their powerful class abilities and Soulbinds.
- Night Fae is an amazing all round choice, a very flexible and fun Covenant that excels in all content and is the highest DPS Covenant for raiding.
- Kyrian is a great Raiding and Mythic+ choice, the Kyrian-specific Legendary Kindred Affinity is an extremely powerful buff for you and one of your raid members.
- Venthyr is an excellent option, excelling in AoE-heavy encounters and dungeons.
- Necrolord is a single-target-oriented Covenant, which is decent for raids, however generally loses to the other 3 in power and performance.
Night Fae Guardian Druid
Night Fae is an amazing option for Guardian Druids. Night Fae provides us with a powerful ability on a 2-minute cooldown that can give us both a strong offensive and defensive boost in scary situations.
Convoke the Spirits rapidly casts 16 random Druid spells over 4 seconds on a 2-minute cooldown. This is an immensely powerful and flexible spell, in Bear Form generally you will get a few stacks of Ironfur, both Rejuvenation and Regrowth, and a few casts of Thrash, so a nice mix of defense and offense. However in Moonkin Form you will get a massive amount of burst and AoE-damage damage with spells like Starsurge and Starfall. You can also shift out to human form and use Convoke the Spirits as a massive raid/group healing cooldown which can be incredibly handy.
Soulshape is the second ability Night Fae provides. This is a small teleport and mobility is generally a great thing.
Night Fae Soulbinds
Niya is a great choice starting with Grove Invigoration and ending with Bonded Hearts, which is a huge mastery/health buff for us with great uptime. The mastery increase alone is a huge defensive/offensive increase and is very noticable while playing.
Another great option would be to go for Korayn as Wild Hunt Tactics, Face Your Foes, or Hold the Line can be incredibly powerful in certain situations. First Strike is also great in Mythic+, as the extra crit should be active at the start of each pack, as long as you damage the enemies first, thereby allowing you to boost your initial threat generation. All of these, however, require quite high Renown level to come into their full strengths.
Kyrian Guardian Druid
Kyrian is one of the best options for Guardian Druids. It provides us with a powerful ability on an extremely short cooldown which helps us cycle through defensives and cooldowns with ease.
Kindred Spirits is quite a unique ability with 4 different uses depending who you choose to use it on, whether they are a DPS/Healer/Tank or just yourself. Firstly, you cast the bond on someone and then you can empower the bond every 1 minute to gain the following effects.
- If we bond with a Healer or a DPS, we grant them a 40% damage reduction buff and the damage they take is redirected to us.
- When bonding with a DPS, we also gain 20% of their damage as damage/healing/absorption for 10 seconds. The absorb is similar to Ignore Pain.
- When bonding with a Healer, we also receive 30% of their healing replicated onto us for 10 seconds.
- When bonding with a Tank, we redirect 40% of damage we take to them for 10 seconds.
- When we bond to ourselves, we take 10% less damage for 10 seconds.
This ability will have numerous uses and using it optimally will be unique to each situation and even unique to the specific players in your raid/group.
Summon Steward summons a servant to provide you with various services, but the strongest of them is the Phial of Serenity. This restores 20% of your health and most importantly removes all diseases, poisons, curses, and bleeds affecting you. Being able to remove some of these quite deadly abilities on-demand is incredibly powerful.
While Pelagos, Kleia, and Forgelite Prime Mikanikos all provide their own strengths, Mikanikos is a great choice in Patch 9.1 with buffs to Bron's Call to Action and the new capstone trait Effusive Anima Accelerator.
Venthyr Guardian Druid
Venthyr is a great option for Guardian Druids. Primarily a Mythic+ or AoE-heavy raid encounter option. It performs well in Torghast, due to the huge percentage-based increase in damage output we gain while Ravenous Frenzy is active. The main weakness of this ability is the long cooldown.
Ravenous Frenzy is an extremely powerful ability on a 3-minute cooldown, increasing our damage/healing and Haste while it is active, stacking with each spell we cast. This, in combination with Berserk/ Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc, along with any other on-use effects and our tier set bonuses, makes us an unstoppable fighting machine, greatly increasing both our offensive and defensive capabilities. This is best used for dangerous portions of raid encounters or very large pulls in Mythic+.
Door of Shadows is a targeted teleport with a short cast time. It is a very solid mobility tool that will have value in almost all content and, due to it having long range, it can potentially also be used to skip some packs in Mythic+.
All three of the Venthyr Soulbind trees are excellent and have varying strengths, depending on your current Renown level.
Nadjia the Mistblade provides us with Thrill Seeker and Exacting Preparation, which are both decently strong. With Patch 9.1 comes Sinful Preservation, which is a fantastic defensive trait, and finally her tree ends with Fatal Flaw which provides a great amount of stats.
General Draven, on the other hand, enables us to pick up both an early Endurance and Potency Conduit slot, while also providing Service In Stone and Hold Your Ground. These two choices make him an excellent all-round option for us as tanks. Draven gives us everything we could want in a Soulbind tree and has one of the best defensive trees for tanks out of all Covenant choices.
Theotar the Mad Duke is a solid middle ground between Nadija and Draven. Soothing Shade, plus early Endurance and Potency slots, make him a fantastic choice and potentially the highest DPS choice, however he is heavily hindered by movement due to Soothing Shade being a ground effect.
Necrolord Guardian Druid
Necrolord is a decent option for Guardian Druids, providing one of the best single-target Covenant abilities, and multiple great Soulbind trees.
Adaptive Swarm is a 12-second damage-over-time effect on a 25-second cooldown which bounces from foe to friend, meaning it can have around 70% uptime if used optimally, as the ability can pandemic itself and stack up to 5 times. Ideally, cast this as it is about to expire with 2 stacks left. Adaptive Swarm increases the effectiveness of our periodic effects, such as Thrash and Moonfire, on any target it is active on. This is one of our highest DPS Covenants, especially on low-target or single-target fights and when used in conjunction with our catweaving rotation.
Fleshcraft provides us with a shield every 2 minutes (reduced by 1 second for each corpse you walk over), which absorbs 40% of our maximum HP fully channelled and reduces damage taken by 30% while channeling. This provides a decent shield, but it generally gets absorbed quite quickly. Most of the value in this is the damage reduction while channeling.
Plague Deviser Marileth provides a strong early tree with Ooz's Frictionless Coating granting a large amount of absorption over time, as well as the early-attainable Endurance and Potency Conduit slots, which make him an excellent low Renown choice.
Bonesmith Heirmir opens up a rather high damage and unique triple Endurance Conduit Soulbind tree. The high damage comes from Serrated Spaulders, which can do upwards of 10% of our damage breakdown in all content, and Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone, which provides a large amount of critical strike chance which is great for threat.
Emeni's main value is in Lead by Example, which gives us a small amount of primary stat that helps scale our Ironfur. Gnashing Chompers can also be quite good in Mythic+. However, generally it has low value in a raiding environment. Patch 9.1 added a new capstone trait Pustule Eruption which makes this tree even more powerful and overall a great choice.
- 21 Feb. 2022: Page reviewed and approved for the launch of Patch 9.2.
- 01 Nov. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.5.
- 28 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Reorganized Conduit list, updated Soulbind paths, removed note on old Pelagos buff interaction, and updated Fleshcraft for 9.0.5.
- 31 Dec. 2020: Added Night Fae Niya tree and updated covenant rankings.
- 20 Nov. 2020: Updated for Night Fae buffs.
- 19 Nov. 2020: Page created.
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