Guardian Druid Frequently Asked Questions — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1
On this page, we go over several of the most frequently asked questions regarding Guardian Druid in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1. This will be updated as more common repeated questions surface over the course of the expansion.
Should I Play Defensively or Offensively?
This is the main question most people will ask with tanking. The basic answer is that if you are doing progression or are on a character you do not feel comfortable playing offensively with, you should play defensively. As you start to get comfortable, you should start looking at DPS a bit more and play a more mixed style, where you start pushing DPS while slowly giving up survivability. Once you feel completely comfortable with the encounter and you will not hold your raid back, you can then go for DPS. This point is different for every person, as it depends on your group, your character, your gear, and your skill level.
Should I Catweave?
Similarly to "Should I play defensively or offensively", you should only catweave if you are extremely comfortable with both the spec and the encounter in question. Catweaving is extremely risky if done improperly or without considering the damage profile of a boss fight, and can very easily end up getting you or your co-tank killed. The DPS gain is not worth it if you introduce additional risk to the raid's success.
What Piece is Better, X or Y?
Generally speaking, if the item level difference between the new item and the old item is 5 item levels or less, you should use the stat priority to decide which piece to use. If the item level difference is 15 item levels or more, the new piece is practically always better.
Between these two thresholds, you will have to evaluate what stats you are giving up by replacing the old item. If the old item is very poorly itemized, and the new item very well itemized, you can replace them, but otherwise it is generally still not worth replacing.
Note that none of this applies to things like Azerite gear,Benthic gear, trinkets, or rings, for which you will compare the effects (or the stat priority for rings).
It is difficult to give an answer, because what is an upgrade for you may not be an upgrade for someone else. In other words, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all answer, even when talking about 2 completely identical comparisons from you to another person. Everything in your gear has an effect on everything else.
This applies to gear, set bonuses, trinkets, legendaries, and even talents in certain situations.
The only exception to this rule is when a specific fight dictates a certain set of optimal talents, for example. If you are curious about what kind of setup to go for a specific fight, WarcraftLogs.com's rankings and statistics are a good place to see what others are doing.
Is There a Haste cap for Guardian Druid?
For the most part, there is no set "amount" of Haste (or any secondary) that you should have. Nor are there stat goals or a particular distribution of stats that you want to go for. It is very common for people to overestimate the importance of having the "right" secondaries, when in reality, having a higher overall quantity of stats will almost always beat having "better" stats. Having 120 of your worst stat is often better than having 90 of your best stat, since the differences are not as big as many people think.
Which Race is Best for Guardian Druid?
There is no "correct" race for Guardians. Generally speaking, which race you choose will have a very minor impact on your ability to play Guardian effectively, and so it is recommended that you choose a race based on your personal preferences for shapeshift appearance, flavor, and transmog. That being said, some racial bonuses are better for tanking than others; Highmountain Tauren grants Versatility through Mountaineer and flat damage reduction through Rugged Tenacity, and Tauren increases your Stamina through Endurance and grants you the ability War Stomp On the Alliance side, we would say that Kul Tiran is better for Guardian due to their Brush It Off.
Can I Sim Myself?
Offensively, yes you can. SimulationCraft fully supports Guardian Druid DPS, and this is the recommended way to determine if an item, trait, or talent is an upgrade for your damage output.
Defensively, no. While there is sparse support for Guardian Druid survivability in SimulationCraft, the default configurations are not suitable for obtaining accurate information about your survivability. Additionally, simming tanks for defense is not advisable in general. There are simply too many factors and variables that go into accurately modelling a tanking situation, and there is no single metric that will tell you "this item or trait will make you more tanky." For example: something can reduce your overall damage taken, but not improve your ability to survive spike damage, two factors of tanking which will vary in importance depending on the encounter. You will be much better off following the recommendations of a guide with respect to defensive gearing than you will by following sims.
How Good is Guardian Druid in Shadowlands Pre-Patch?
Patch 9.0.1 introduced some much needed improvements to our toolkit (most notably, the addition of Berserk) and a boost to our survivability with the reduced cooldowns on Barkskin and Survival Instincts. We now perform solidly in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons. For more information, refer to our section on Guardian Druid Viability. Guardian Druid can compete with all the tanks and can complete current content with ease, it is a very strong contender heading into Shadowlands.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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