Guardian Druid Tank Spell Summary — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1
On this page, we present you with all spells and procs that you need to understand as a Guardian Druid in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.
If you are new to Guardian, this is a great place to start to get an understanding of how the spec works. On this page we will discuss what abilities you have, what they are used for within the specialisation, how they interact with each other and also with important cooldowns. If you already have experience with Guardian and are comfortable with it in Legion, it is recommended you skip this section and move on to the rest of the guide.
2. Main Resource of Guardian Druids
Your primary resource is Rage. Rage is generated from several sources — passively from auto-attacking (4 Rage per melee) and from being auto-attacked (3 Rage per unavoided hit, can only occur once per second), from several talents (both active and passive), and from using your rotational abilities Mangle and Thrash. Rage does not decay in combat, but after leaving combat will begin to decay quickly back to 0. Entering Bear Form will grant 20 Rage, and will give you a few seconds grace period before your Rage starts decaying. Exiting Bear Form empties your Rage bar.
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. Rage management is a critical part of playing Guardian effectively.
3. Basic Abilities for Guardian Druids
These are your core skills that are available regardless of talents, and form the core gameplay of the specialization.
Growl is your taunt ability. This forces the target to attack you for 3 seconds and increases the threat you generate against that target for that duration. Making good use of the taunt "window" involves using your high damage abilities to take advantage of the increased threat.
Mangle deals damage to one target (increased against targets that have a bleed active), and generates 8 Rage on use. It is your primary damage dealing spell and Rage generator.
Maul costs 45 Rage and deals damage to one target. It is used as a Rage dump when you are not taking damage, in order to prevent capping on Rage. If you are struggling to manage Rage, it is better to neglect this ability in favor of Ironfur.
Thrash damages all enemies in an 8-yard radius, generates 5 Rage, and applies a 15-second bleed effect on them, which can stack up to 3 times.
Swipe deals damage to enemies in an 8-yard radius, does not cost or generate any Rage, and has no cooldown. This is your filler spell, which you should only use if more powerful spells are not available.
Moonfire deals Arcane damage over time. Keeping Moonfire ticking at all times is an important factor in dealing good damage and therefore generating good threat.
4. Important Procs for Guardian Druids
The primary proc mechanic for Guardians is Gore. Casting Thrash, Swipe, Moonfire, or Maul (your main rotational spells), have a chance to reset the cooldown on Mangle and make your next Mangle generate 4 additional Rage. Spending Gore procs as soon as you get them is important in order to not overwrite them and waste the additional Rage generation.
If you are talented into Galactic Guardian, there is a secondary proc mechanic. Most damage sources (except for Moonfire and the reflect from Brambles) have a chance to trigger a free Moonfire on the target of the damage event. Additionally, when this proc occurs, your next Moonfire will generate 8 Rage and deal 300% additional damage.
5. Active Mitigation for Guardian Druids
Guardians have one active mitigation ability, Ironfur. Ironfur costs 45 Rage and increases your Armor by 75% of your Agility for 7 seconds. Multiple applications of Ironfur can overlap, meaning that the armor increase will stack, but the duration will not. For example, if you use Ironfur, and then use it again 3 seconds later, you will have 2 applications of Ironfur for 4 seconds, granting you 150% of your Agility as Armor. After 3 seconds, the first application will have expired, leaving you with 75% of your Agility as Armor for 4 more seconds. Ironfur is the primary way to spend Rage, and keeping it up as often as possible will help reduce your damage intake.
Frenzied Regeneration heals you for 24% of your maximum health over 3 seconds. The heal occurs in 4 ticks with the first tick occurring instantly, and the remaining occurring once per second. Frenzied Regeneration has 2 charges and a 36 second cooldown, reduced by haste. Frenzied Regeneration healing is not subject to our Mastery's increased healing ( Mastery: Nature's Guardian), however it still scales with Mastery in that Mastery increases your maximum health and therefore the amount Frenzied Regeneration will heal for.
6. Cooldowns for Guardian Druids
As a Guardian Druid, you have two important baseline cooldowns.
- Barkskin reduces all damage you take by 20% for 12 seconds, on a 90 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 liberally!
- Survival Instincts reduces all damage you take by 50% for 6 seconds. Survival Instincts has 2 charges and a 4 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.
7. Additional Utility for Guardian Druids
- Stampeding Roar increases the movement speed of you and your allies within 15 yards by 60% for 8 seconds. This is a tremendously powerful raid cooldown, especially on encounters that require coordinated raid movement.
- Incapacitating Roar disorients enemies within 10 yards of you for 3 seconds. This can double as an area of effect interrupt in dungeons, against enemies who are not immune to disorients.
- Rebirth allows you to resurrect allies in combat. Note that it is quite expensive and risky to use combat resurrect as a tank, and it is generally recommended that a non-tank perform the resurrection if available.
- Dash is your personal movement speed cooldown, putting you into Cat Form and increasing your movement speed by 60% for 10 seconds.
- Skull Bash interrupts enemy spell casts. Note that if you are out of melee range of your target when you cast Skull Bash, you will charge into range regardless of if the target is casting or not. This means you can effectively use Skull Bash as a pseudo-charge, at the expense of putting your interrupt on cooldown.
- Soothe dispels all enrage effects on a target. In particular, this works on the Raging affix in Mythic+.
The following spells are usable by Guardians, but will cancel Bear Form and therefore should not be used in combat.
- Entangling Roots is a long-term crowd control that snares an enemy in place for 30 seconds. Damaging the target will break this effect.
- Hibernate is another long-term crowd control that puts the target to sleep for 40 seconds. Hibernate is similar in function to Entangling Roots, except that it incapacitates enemies entirely. For example, caster enemies that have Entangling Roots applied to them will continue to cast while in range, and enemies that melee attack will attempt to melee players in melee range. Enemies suffering from Hibernate will not attempt to attack anyone until Hibernate expires or is broken, although wandering into range of a Hibernated enemy will put them into combat with you. Hibernate only works on Beasts and Dragonkin.
- Remove Corruption is a single target dispel. It can remove Curse and Poison effects.
- 11 Dec. 2018: This page has been for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
- 25 Jul. 2018: Updated Hibernate description.
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