Guardian Druid Tank Guide — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated Yesterday at 05:40 by Faide 19 comments

Welcome to our Guardian Druid guide for World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. Here, you will learn how to tank as a Guardian Druid in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons. We cover everything from the basics all the way to min-maxing techniques to optimize your survivability.

1. Guardian Druid Overview

Guardian Druid is a sturdy tank that manages damage intake through having strong passive reductions, a large health pool, increased healing received from Mastery, and a stackable active mitigation. While Guardians may take more damage than other tanks, this is offset by their increased healing received. They bring good utility to raid groups and are an excellent raid tank.

Guardian Druids excel against encounters where a large majority of incoming damage is Physical or Melee damage.

This guide focuses specifically on Guardian Druid. As such, the more general aspects of tanking will not be covered here. If you'd like to learn more about tanking in general, we recommend you read our tanking guide.

2. Patch 8.1.0 Changes for Guardian Druid

2.1. Added/Removed Spells

2.2. Changed Spells

  • Stampeding Roar Icon Stampeding Roar's cooldown has been reduced from 2 minutes to 1 minute.
  • Wild Charge Icon Wild Charge is no longer on the global cooldown.
  • The damage of all Guardian abilities has been increased by ~12%.

3. Patch 8.0.1 Changes for Guardian Druid

3.1. Added/Removed Spells

  • Rage of the Sleeper has been removed.
  • All artifact traits associated with the artifact weapon have been removed.
  • Guttural Roars has been replaced with Tiger Dash Icon Tiger Dash.
  • Hibernate Icon Hibernate has been added.
  • Soothe Icon Soothe has been added.

3.2. Changed Spells

  • Frenzied Regeneration Icon Frenzied Regeneration has been changed to heal for a fixed amount rather than scaling with incoming damage, and has had its cooldown increased from 24 seconds to 36 seconds.
  • Ironfur Icon Ironfur now grants a portion of Agility, rather than base Armor, as Armor. Additionally, Ironfur's base duration has been increased to 7 seconds (up from 6 seconds).
  • Bear Form Icon Bear Form now grants 220% more Armor (up from 200%) and 45% more Stamina (down from 55%).
  • Galactic Guardian Icon Galactic Guardian has had its chance to proc reduced to 5% (down from 7%.)
  • Balance Affinity Icon Balance Affinity now increases spell range by 3 yards (down from 5 yards).
  • Stampeding Roar Icon Stampeding Roar has had its range increased to 15 yards (up from 10 yards).
  • Rebirth Icon Rebirth now costs 30 Rage (up from 10 Rage).
  • Bristling Fur Icon Bristling Fur, Dash Icon Dash, Wild Charge Icon Wild Charge, Frenzied Regeneration Icon Frenzied Regeneration, Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc Icon Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc, are now subject to the global cooldown.
  • Many abilities have had their underlying damage formula changed to scale with both Weapon Damage and Attack Power.

4. Guardian Druid's Strengths

  • Strong passive damage reductions
  • Stackable, no-cooldown active mitigation in Ironfur Icon Ironfur
  • Good raid utility in Rebirth Icon Rebirth and Stampeding Roar Icon Stampeding Roar
  • Able to perform flexible hybrid duties through the affinity talents

5. Guardian Druid's Weaknesses

  • Low damage and threat output, has to sacrifice significant amounts of survivability to be competitive
  • Weak self-sustain leads to a heavy reliance on healers
  • Lacking in small group/dungeon utility such as crowd control and stuns, compared to other tanks
  • Poor magic damage mitigation

6. Guardian Druid Viability in the Current Patch

Guardian Druid currently struggles to find a place among the other tanks in terms of filling a niche. They perform reasonably well in raid environments due to their ability to mitigate a large amount of Physical damage and to scale up their mitigation with damage intake through Bristling Fur Icon Bristling Fur, however they struggle significantly with magic damage intake outside of their defensive cooldowns. Stampeding Roar Icon Stampeding Roar continues to be a strong raid cooldown, however its value is strongly tied to how an encounter is designed; in the current tier, encounters do not demand a heavy movement cooldown and as such Stampeding Roar has reduced value.

In dungeons, the focus on self-reliance and utility puts Guardians near the bottom in terms of viability. Often, due to limited healer globals and attention, Guardians simply cannot sustain themselves enough to execute the large trash pulls that are required to do higher Mythic+ keys. The addition of Ursol's Vortex Icon Ursol's Vortex in patch 8.1 improves our crowd control and utility potential significantly, which will make Guardian a more attractive dungeon tank than in the previous patch.

7. Changelog

  • 11 Dec. 2018 (this page): Added Wild Charge global cooldown change.
  • 11 Dec. 2018 (simulations page): This page has been for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 11 Dec. 2018 (FAQ page): This page has been for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 11 Dec. 2018 (easy mode page): This page has been for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 11 Dec. 2018 (how to improve page): This page has been for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 11 Dec. 2018 (spells page): This page has been for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (stats page): This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (mythic+ page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (bosses page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (this page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 22 Nov. 2018 (this page): Added Strengths/Weaknesses and Viability sections.
  • 20 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated trait priorities and added a Gearing section.
  • 13 Sep. 2018 (bosses page): Updated all bosses with information after Heroic week.
  • 04 Sep. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Uldir raid release.
  • 04 Sep. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for Uldir raid release.
  • 04 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated several traits for raid release.
  • 04 Sep. 2018 (mythic+ page): Updated for Mythic+ release.
  • 19 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Wild Fleshrending hotfixes and added a few notable non-Guardian traits.
  • 17 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added Masterful Instincts.
  • 15 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Gory Regeneration nerfs.
  • 15 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Added section for catweaving in execute.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (stats page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 11 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Page added.
  • 11 Aug. 2018 (bosses page): Page added.
  • 11 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Page added.
  • 11 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Page added.
  • 11 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Page added.
  • 11 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Page added.
  • 09 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth.
  • 25 Jul. 2018 (spells page): Updated Hibernate description.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (gear page): Added Luffa Wrappings, and updated some numbers for the stat squish.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (how to improve page): Added "Not Casting Enough" and "Facing Away From Enemies" mistakes.
  • 18 Jul. 2018 (stats page): Updated offensive stat priority based on new simulations.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (this page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
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