Guardian Druid Tank Spec, Builds, and Talents — Shadowlands 9.0.5

Last updated on Mar 09, 2021 at 18:50 by Pumps 15 comments
General Information

On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Guardian Druid in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.5. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.

If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic Feral Tank Druid talents.

This page will cover all of the talents and passives available to Guardian Druids; each of them has a unique impact on how the spec is played. To see how these choices fit optimally into your playstyle, take a look at our Rotation section linked below.

1.

Talent Choices for Guardian Druid

Level Choices
15 Brambles Brambles Blood Frenzy ? Blood Frenzy Bristling Fur Bristling Fur
25 Tiger Dash ? Tiger Dash Renewal Renewal Wild Charge Wild Charge
30 Balance Affinity ? Balance Affinity Feral Affinity ? Feral Affinity Restoration Affinity Restoration Affinity
35 Mighty Bash ? Mighty Bash Mass Entanglement ? Mass Entanglement Heart of the Wild Heart of the Wild
40 Soul of the Forest Soul of the Forest Galactic Guardian Galactic Guardian Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc
45 Earthwarden Earthwarden Survival of the Fittest ? Survival of the Fittest Guardian of Elune Guardian of Elune
50 Rend and Tear Rend and Tear Tooth and Claw Tooth and Claw Pulverize Pulverize

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Still Mind Icon Tome of the Still Mind and Codex of the Still Mind Icon Codex of the Still Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2.

Talent Cheat Sheets for Guardian Druid

It is highly recommended to adjust your talents based on individual scenarios for optimal results, but the talent suggestions listed below will work fantastic for overall performance.

2.1.

Raid Encounters

This build is a great starting point for Raids, however, certain fights might require a different set-up to be completely optimal.

2.2.

Mythic+

We have a section dedicated specifically to Mythic+, with all the tips and tricks you will need, as well as the best talent and set-up choices, linked below.

3.

Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Guardian Druids

Brambles Brambles Blood Frenzy ? Blood Frenzy Bristling Fur Bristling Fur
  • Brambles Icon Brambles is a passive effect that causes all attacks made against you to have an amount of their damage absorbed and reflected back to the attacker. Moreover, if you choose Brambles, while Barkskin Icon Barkskin is active, you pulse a small amount of Nature damage to all nearby enemies every second.
  • Blood Frenzy Icon Blood Frenzy causes Thrash Icon Thrash to generate 2 Rage each time it ticks. Notably, the direct damage portion of Thrash does not generate Rage.
  • Bristling Fur Icon Bristling Fur allows you to generate Rage from damage you take. While it is active: for every 1% of your maximum health that you take in damage, you gain 1 rage.

For Rage generation, Bristling Fur Icon Bristling Fur is easily the strongest option, and should be the default choice for most encounters. It gives you a third defensive cooldown to complement the toolkit, and in some cases can be stronger than Barkskin Icon Barkskin given the right circumstances. The on-demand Rage generation gives you Rage when you need it most, and lets you effectively "pool" your Rage beyond the limited size of your Rage bar, and then rapidly stack up Ironfur Icon Ironfurs while Bristling Fur is active to deal with big Physical damage spikes.

Blood Frenzy Icon Blood Frenzy is a decent passive alternative, and works well on sustained cleave/AoE fights such as Mythic+. This talent relies on longer fight durations for most of its value, due to Thrash Icon Thrash's low tick frequency. Additionally it lacks the element of control that its alternative, Bristling Fur Icon Bristling Fur, gives. Blood Frenzy's value increases with Haste, as Haste increases the speed at which the Thrash bleed ticks.

Brambles Icon Brambles cannot really be considered a defensive option, as the absorb portion of the talent is very small compared to the Rage generation of the alternatives on this row. It is, however, the strongest talent in terms of damage output, and so is a viable option if survivability is not a concern.

4.

Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents for Guardian Druids

Tiger Dash ? Tiger Dash Renewal Renewal Wild Charge Wild Charge
  • Tiger Dash Icon Tiger Dash replaces Dash Icon Dash with a 45-second cooldown, 200% movement speed sprint that decays over 5 seconds when activated.
  • Renewal Icon Renewal instantly heals you for 30% of your maximum health.
  • Wild Charge Icon Wild Charge is a mobility spell that changes behavior based on which Form you use the spell in. In Bear Form Icon Bear Form, it charges you toward an enemy and roots them in place for 4 seconds.

You have two mobility options and a survivability choice on this row.

In general, Wild Charge Icon Wild Charge provides the most flexibility as a movement option, and should be your default choice. It adds a mobility spell into your toolkit without replacing an existing one, unlike Tiger Dash Icon Tiger Dash. However, Tiger Dash provides the most burst movement potential of the row, allowing you to cover a large distance in a very short amount of time, and with a reasonably low cooldown. This will boil down to what fits the needs of the encounter more.

As for Renewal Icon Renewal, it is a fantastic choice for situations where you do not require the mobility provided by Wild Charge Icon Wild Charge. The bonus heal can often be crucial to surviving and having an added cooldown to rotate in our toolkit is always good.

5.

Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents for Guardian Druids

Balance Affinity ? Balance Affinity Feral Affinity ? Feral Affinity Restoration Affinity Restoration Affinity

For most situations, Restoration Affinity Icon Restoration Affinity is the go-to talent. It provides excellent utility for keeping yourself and your group alive in dungeons, and allows you to perform off-role duties during downtime in raid encounters. A Swiftmend crit can be near your entire out of bear health

Feral Affinity Icon Feral Affinity is an obvious choice if you ever find yourself wanting a little bit more movement speed against a certain encounter. It also enables the ability to shift into Cat Form Icon Cat Form and deal additional damage through the Feral abilities, commonly referred to as "catweaving".

Balance Affinity Icon Balance Affinity Generally finds it use in spread AoE fights where taking this will allow you to hit more targets.

6.

Tier 4 (Level 35) Talents for Guardian Druids

Mighty Bash ? Mighty Bash Mass Entanglement ? Mass Entanglement Heart of the Wild Heart of the Wild
  • Mighty Bash Icon Mighty Bash is an active ability with a 60-second cooldown, which stuns the target for 4 seconds. It is usable in all shapeshift forms.
  • Mass Entanglement Icon Mass Entanglement is an active ability with a 30-second cooldown, which roots the target and all enemies within 15 yards of them in place for 30 seconds. Damage done to rooted targets may break the effect. Mass Entanglement is usable in all shapeshift forms.
  • Heart of the Wild Icon Heart of the Wild is an active ability with a 5-minute cooldown. It substantially increases your chosen Affinity's abilities.

The choice between these talents is very situational, as there are two crowd control abilities and 1 unique hybrid empowering ability.

In most situations, you will get the most use out of Heart of the Wild Icon Heart of the Wild, since it has a lot of use in Raids, where it can be used as a powerful off-healing tool, or a large DPS cooldown with Feral or Balance affinity.

Mass Entanglement Icon Mass Entanglement is a better version of Entangling Roots Icon Entangling Roots, as you can cast it while in Bear Form Icon Bear Form and it can snare several enemies. It breaks very easily on damage, but can be used to keep certain mobs from reaching you.

Finally, Mighty Bash Icon Mighty Bash can be used to lock down a single target for a short duration, or as an emergency interrupt.

7.

Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents for Guardian Druids

Soul of the Forest Soul of the Forest Galactic Guardian Galactic Guardian Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc
  • Soul of the Forest Icon Soul of the Forest increases Mangle Icon Mangle's Rage generation by an additional 5 and damage by 25%.
  • Galactic Guardian Icon Galactic Guardian gives your damaging abilities (including damage from trinkets, but excluding damage from Moonfire Icon Moonfire and Brambles Icon Brambles reflect) a 5% chance to automatically cast a free Moonfire on the target. When this happens, the next Moonfire you cast (within 15 seconds) generates 8 Rage and deals 300% increased damage.
  • Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc Icon Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc is an active ability with a 3-minute cooldown. While it is active, your maximum health is increased by 30%, the cooldown of Mangle Icon Mangle, Thrash Icon Thrash, Growl Icon Growl, and Frenzied Regeneration Icon Frenzied Regeneration is reduced by 50%, causes Mangle Icon Mangle to hit up to 3 targets, and reduces the Rage cost of Ironfur Icon Ironfur by 50%.

Against a single target, Soul of the Forest Icon Soul of the Forest provides good rage generation and damage without impacting playstyle at all.

Galactic Guardian Icon Galactic Guardian is generally the stronger sustained cleave/AoE talent, both in terms of Rage generation and damage output.

Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc Icon Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc is recommended for heavy burst AoE damage output. Defensively, this is now the best talent, as the huge 30% health increase and cooldown reduction of Frenzied Regeneration Icon Frenzied Regeneration greatly increases your survival capabilities.

8.

Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents for Guardian Druids

Earthwarden Earthwarden Survival of the Fittest ? Survival of the Fittest Guardian of Elune Guardian of Elune
  • Earthwarden Icon Earthwarden causes Thrash Icon Thrash to grant a stack of Earthwarden, which reduces the damage of the next melee attack by 30%. This can stack up to 3 times. Only the direct damage portion of Thrash can generate Earthwarden stacks, but stacks are generated for every target hit (if Thrash hits 3 targets, you gain 3 stacks of Earthwarden).
  • Guardian of Elune Icon Guardian of Elune causes Mangle Icon Mangle to increase the duration of your next Ironfur Icon Ironfur by 2 seconds, or the healing of your next Frenzied Regeneration Icon Frenzied Regeneration by 20%.
  • Survival of the Fittest Icon Survival of the Fittest reduces the cooldown of Barkskin Icon Barkskin and Survival Instincts Icon Survival Instincts by 33%. This gives Barkskin a 40 second cooldown, and Survival Instincts a 2 minute recharge time.

Earthwarden Icon Earthwarden should be the default choice. The share of damage that comes from melee attacks ranges from half to over 90% of all incoming damage, making Earthwarden very valuable on most fights. In situations where you are able to hit more targets with Thrash Icon Thrash than are actively hitting you (such as in a council style fight), Earthwarden is unmatched in value.

Survival of the Fittest Icon Survival of the Fittest is another strong option whenever you need additional uses of Barkskin Icon Barkskin or Survival Instincts Icon Survival Instincts throughout a fight, or when the damage profile of the encounter does not suit the other alternatives. This can be any time a boss has frequent spike damage that either does not allow you to stack Ironfur Icon Ironfur quickly enough, or is Magic damage and therefore is not mitigated by Ironfur Icon Ironfur or Earthwarden Icon Earthwarden.

Guardian of Elune Icon Guardian of Elune is not competitive with the other talents on this row.

9.

Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents for Guardian Druids

Rend and Tear Rend and Tear Tooth and Claw Tooth and Claw Pulverize Pulverize
  • Rend and Tear Icon Rend and Tear increases the damage you deal to targets affected by Thrash Icon Thrash, and reduces the damage you take from those targets, by 2% per stack of Thrash.
  • Tooth and Claw Icon Tooth and Claw makes your autoattacks have a 20% chance to empower your next Maul, stacking up to 2 times. Empowered Maul deals 40% increased damage and reduces the targets damage to you by 15% for 6 seconds.
  • Pulverize Icon Pulverize is an active ability that consumes 2 stacks of Thrash Icon Thrash on the target, reducing the damage they deal to you by 35% for 10 seconds.

For defensive purposes, Pulverize Icon Pulverize will often be the strongest option for single-target encounters.

Rend and Tear Icon Rend and Tear is always a solid talent choice on this row for most cases. While it is a smaller damage reduction than Pulverize Icon Pulverize, it is entirely passive and does not require any additional buttons to play optimally. Rend and Tear is also the recommended talent for damage output on sustained multi-target cleave.

Tooth and Claw Icon Tooth and Claw has limited use. While it may be a significant single-target DPS increase talent, the main benefit will be sustained single-target, damage taken, rather than more bursty damage taken profiles, which will better suit Pulverize Icon Pulverize.

10.

PvP Talents (War Mode)

Battle for Azeroth introduced a new system called "War Mode". Opting into War Mode makes you eligible for open world PvP, but also grants you the following benefits:

  • World Quests at maximum level have 10-30% increased rewards.
  • You gain 10-30% increased experience while leveling.
  • Allows you to earn Conquest Points towards weekly gear rewards.
  • Grants you the use of PvP talents in the open world.

With the benefits of enabling War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended that you enable the feature to maximize your leveling and rewards at maximum level. However, you will make yourself eligible for open world PvP, and the possibility to be "ganked" while leveling or doing World Quests exists.

10.1.

PvP Talents for Guardian Druids

Below, you will find the recommended PvP talents for leveling and doing PvE content. You will get a choice of 1 general PvP talent, and 3 spec specific talents.

10.1.1.

General PvP Talents

  1. Relentless Icon Relentless is also a passive ability but it does not automatically remove crowd control abilities but instead reduces the duration.
  2. Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is an on-use ability that removes all movement impairing effects and all loss of control effects.
  3. Adaptation Icon Adaptation is likely your most passive choice since it will automatically remove loss of control effects over 5 seconds. It is recommended while leveling to take this PvP talent.
10.1.2.

Guardian Druid PvP Talents

  1. Sharpened Claws Icon Sharpened Claws causes Maul Icon Maul to grant a buff that increases Thrash Icon Thrash and Swipe Icon Swipe damage for 6 seconds.
  2. Malorne's Swiftness Icon Malorne's Swiftness increases your Travel Form Icon Travel Form movement speed by 20% and prevents you from being slowed below 100% movement speed. This improves your mobility and will reduce travel time, which is important while leveling.
  3. Alpha Challenge Icon Alpha Challenge replaces Growl Icon Growl, an ability that historically has no function in solo content. In exchange, you (and your allies) deal increased damage to the target you taunt.
  4. Raging Frenzy Icon Raging Frenzy causes your Frenzied Regeneration Icon Frenzied Regeneration to generate 60 Rage over its duration. This is occasionally useful for pulling large groups of enemies and putting up several stacks of Ironfur Icon Ironfur.
  5. Master Shapeshifter Icon Master Shapeshifter empowers your chosen Affinity talent. This is particularly strong when paired with Feral Affinity Icon Feral Affinity as it can significantly improve the damage you deal.
  6. Overrun Icon Overrun is a powerful charge with a stun and the knockback it triggers provides a large mobility boost.

Of the remaining PvP talents, Demoralizing Roar Icon Demoralizing Roar, and Freedom of the Herd Icon Freedom of the Herd may have limited or niche applications in leveling or open world PvE content, but they do not provide the overall benefit of the recommended list above. The rest of the PvP talents do not contribute meaningfully to leveling or open world PvE.

While Guardian may have some fun open world PvP viability, if you are looking to do more serious PvP you may have better success with a non-tank spec.

11.

Changelog

  • 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 24 Nov. 2020: Removed Essence note.
  • 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for shadowlands, removed BFA notes.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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