Guardian Druid Tank Easy Mode — Shadowlands 9.1
On this page, we explain how to easily play Guardian Druid in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1, using the simplest rotation, talent tree, stat priority, gear setup, etc., without sacrificing performance.
This page is intended for players who are new to the game or class, have no intentions of raiding Mythic difficulty, or simply want a more straightforward way to play their specialization without being overwhelmed by the numerous subtleties and active abilities that need to be taken into consideration for optimal play.
The Basics of Guardian Druids
Guardian Druids reduce incoming damage through their active mitigation Ironfur. Ironfur has a negligible cooldown and can stack, making it very strong against incoming Physical damage and melee attacks. Their self heal, Frenzied Regeneration, while not as strong as some other tank classes, provides a decent boost to self-sustain. Their combination of both short and long cooldown defensive abilities helps them deal with Magic damage effectively.
In terms of utility, Guardians bring Stampeding Roar, a raid-wide movement speed boost which is very powerful for many encounters where group-wide movement is a necessity. Guardians can also resurrect allies in Combat with Rebirth.
The primary goal as a Guardian is to stay alive, using the tools at your disposal. This means generating and spending Rage on active mitigation and self-healing, and making effective use of your defensive cooldowns to survive dangerous incoming damage. A secondary goal is to deal good damage; this is important in order to maintain threat on your target and contribute to killing bosses faster. Luckily, this does not require much extra effort on your behalf — if you are performing your rotation well defensively, your damage will reflect that.
Talent Choice for Guardian Druids
The following build is designed to be easy to pick up and play while being reasonably effective. It is by no means optimal, but it is viable.
- Level 15: Blood Frenzy
- Level 25: Wild Charge
- Level 30: Restoration Affinity
- Level 35: Heart of the Wild
- Level 40: Galactic Guardian
- Level 45: Earthwarden
- Level 50: Rend and Tear
If you are looking for a more in-depth analysis of the best talents for each individual situation, check out our full talents page below.
You will want to prioritize item level over all else, as Armor, Stamina, and Agility are far more valuable than any secondary stats.
On jewelry and other slots with no primary stats, you will prefer secondary stats in the following order:
- Critical Strike.
Stat priority can vary based on how much of each stat you have and whether you want to focus on a more defensive or offensive set-up. To see the full explanation of the stat priorty, head to our dedicated stats page below.
Basic Damage Rotation for Guardian Druids
For a better understanding of how each spell contributes to the Guardian rotation and the benefits they provide, it is highly recommended to browse through the Spells Summary page linked below.
This rotation maximizes Rage generation while also maintaining a reasonable amount of damage. For extra damage, at 2 or more targets you can drop Moonfire and at 4 or more targets you can drop Mangle, since they will deal less damage than your AoE abilities Thrash and Swipe. You should continue to use Mangle if you need the Rage, however.
While the above is a fantastic starting point for a Guardian Druid, it is recommended to look at our full rotation guide to get a better grasp on how the abilities interact with each other and their other intricate synergies.
Active Mitigation Abilities for Guardian Druids
By executing your rotation you will generate Rage. You can spend Rage in one of three ways; on your active mitigation spell Ironfur, on your self-heal Frenzied Regeneration, or on a hard-hitting attack Maul.
Deciding how to spend Rage can be boiled down to a few simple situations. If you are taking Physical damage or melee attacks, use Ironfur. If you are at low health or expect to be brought to low health, use Frenzied Regeneration. If you are not in danger of either, use Maul.
Ironfur is unique in that multiple applications of the spell can overlap, meaning you can have two or more "stacks" of Ironfur at once. You can also pool Rage to spend on multiple stacks for dangerous moments in a fight. Keep in mind that every application has an independent duration, so adding a stack will not refresh the duration on other stacks.
Frenzied Regeneration heals you for a percentage of your maximum health over a short period of time. An important aspect of good Frenzied Regeneration use is not causing overhealing. This means you should be casting it when you are at low health, or when the risk of being healed to full by a healer before your Frenzied Regeneration can finish ticking is low. You may also use this spell proactively if you expect to take a large amount of damage soon, but keep in mind that a portion of the heal occurs instantly so don't let that go to waste.
Cooldown Usage for Guardian Druids
Guardians have three baseline cooldowns.
- Barkskin reduces all damage you take by 20% for 12 seconds, on a 60-second cooldown. Barkskin is usable while stunned, incapacitated, or asleep. This will be your first line of defense against dangerous spike damage, as well as your primary way of reducing magic damage, or simply as risk mitigation to smooth your damage intake for your healers. It has a short cooldown, so use it often.
- Survival Instincts reduces all damage you take by 50% for 6 seconds. Survival Instincts has 2 charges and a 3 minute recharge time. This is your major defensive reduction, to be used against lethal spike damage or "tankbuster" mechanics. Its short duration and long cooldown means it should be used sparingly.
- Berserk reduces the cooldown on Mangle, Thrash, Growl, and Frenzied Regeneration by 50%, also reduces the Rage cost of Ironfur by 50%. It is a huge boost to our defensive capabilities and an offensive power gain too, allowing us to cast our best spells more often.
Covenant Choice for Guardian Druids
While all of the Covenants are similar in strength and may even simply perform better on different encounters. Night Fae overall is the most flexible and consistently strong covenant for Guardian. Being able to use it as a DPS cooldown, raid healing cooldown, or a large personal defensive cooldown makes it great in every situation.
Night Fae for Guardian Druid
- Using it in Bear Form is a great personal defensive cooldown.
- Using it in Moonkin Form will be a massive burst DPS cooldown.
- Using it in no form will be a huge raid/group healing cooldown.
Recommended Night Fae Soulbind
Niya is your go to Soulbind with Korayn being a very competitive AoE encounter alternative. Grove Invigoration is a massive mastery and health increase that helps our survivability and damage enormously.
You can read more about all of the Covenants on the Covenant page.
Conduit Choice for Guardian Druid
Guardian Druids generally aim to pick 1-2 Potency slots, 1 Finesse slot and as many Endurance as we can get after that, however prioritizing some of the stronger generic nodes in a tree may be the better option as they can be extremely strong.
We have listed the strongest Conduits of each type below for you to be able to quickly reference when deciding what to pick.
Best Potency Conduits for Guardian Druid
As Guardian Druids, we are fortunate to have 2 very strong Potency Conduits. This general consists on 1 class potency and 1 covenant potency. We have highlighted the best ones below:
- Conflux of Elements, Deep Allegiance, Endless Thirst or Evolved Swarm (based on your Covenant);
- Unchecked Aggression.
Best Endurance Conduits for Guardian Druid
Our Endurance Conduits are very impactful and can often have varied strength depending on the situation and damage type/timing of the certain encounters, we have listed the important ones below:
Best Finesse Conduits for Guardian Druid
Guardian has 2 Finesse Conduits that can be very good, the others are rather niche or low value overall.
You can read more about all of the Conduits on the Covenant page.
Legendary Choice for Guardian Druid
Overall Ursoc's Fury Remembered is a single legendary that is amazing in almost all content, Mythic+/Raiding/PvP/Torghast, and is the best starter legendary you can make. Some legendaries can be better depending on the scenario and if you would like a more in-depth dive into the legendaries for Guardian Druid you can read our Legendaries page linked below.
- 28 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
- 31 Dec. 2020: Updated Barkskin/SI cooldowns.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for shadowlands release, added Berserk.
- 19 Oct. 2020: Updated lvl 35 talent Typhoon to Heart of the wild
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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