Mists of Pandaria - Guardian PvP Guide For Rated Battlegrounds Season 13 + ~
UPDATED FOR 5.3:
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR 5.3:
You will be in Feral DPS spec while tanking in this current patch. This is due to blizzard implementing changes which gives tank specs an extra 50% damage taken while holding a flag in flag carriying maps.
Due to this, some parts of the guide (mastery increasing armor, for example) will not count in feral spec. I will still keep these in the guide in case blizzard decides to revert this change.
2.Talents and Glyphs
Racials are a strong reason for choosing a race if you don't mind the aesthetics, especially in PvP. I will list all the Druid races for both factions and a summary of how their racials benefits us and I will list them in order (starting with most useful)
Worgen: Darkflight Probably one of the best Guardian races because of the extra speed which also stacks with the speed pickup. It is a relatively fair cooldown, because it has a decent amount of speed boost with a good duration and low CD. The ideal choice if you play Alliance.
Tauren: -War Stomp- -Endurance- War stomp is very useful for a tank. It is an aoe stun, although it is a short duration, it can be enough time to get that wild charge leap out of there or that cyclone cast. Those 2 seconds can prove to be vital when you are on low hp and can mean the difference between getting healed or dying. The extra base hp isn't much (around 5k hp increase) but it always helps to have more HP. For me this is the best horde race for playing Guardian in PvP.
Night Elf: -Shadowmeld- -Quickness- Unfortunately meld can't be used whilst carrying a flag, but it can be used when base defending to interrupt casts and get a restealth/reopen. The extra dodge will also help slightly with tanking, so overall they are not "bad" racials, but definitely the second choice when choosing an Alliance character.
Troll:-Berserking- -Regeneration- -Da Voodoo Shuffle- I listed Troll at the bottom because firstly, the reduction of movement impairing effects doesn't matter for Druids because we are able to powershift out of them. Secondly, the in-combat regeneration is barely noticable (about 400-500 each time it ticks) and Berserking is more of a DPS cooldown than a tanking cooldown.
Talents and Glyphs:
Now for FC PvP talents, there are some which provide a lot of utility and in my opinion Druids have the best talents for kiting out of all the tanking classes. I will say here which talent I chose and why, and why it is better than other options in the same tier.
Tier 1: Wild Charge- I chose this because it has many different uses and they all provide great mobility. Some ways of using it to get on top of your graveyard (if you are just turtling for the last 2 minutes of the game) kiting off the roof in your base (jumping down then jumping back up to someone on top after enemies jump down) and leaping to someone ahead of you for extra distance. The reason I chose this over the other 2 talents is because Feral Swiftness won't make a difference to speed anymore because speed is now capped at 200%, and at 4 stacks of flag debuff you are capped at 100%. Displacer beast cannot be used with the flag so there isn't really much point there.
Tier 2: Renewal- This is the most useful talent in the tier because when it used with Might of Ursoc and Battlemaster trinket, you get a heal of around 330-350k when you are fully geared. It DOES have a longer cooldown than natures swiftness, but it should be noted you shouldn't actually need to be in the situation where you are low hp every 2 minutes. Cenarion ward is no where near enough healing to survive as a tank. Nature's swiftness provides low a heal but it can be used to get off instant CC so it still can be useful, but I would say a 300k+ heal puts it above both other choices.
Tier 3: Typhoon- Typhoon is a great cooldown for tanking. You can use it on the roof of your base to knock enemies off and base-defending in Arathi Basin. Can be used to also slow enemies behind you because as well as having a knockback it also dazes them for a few seconds. I took this over Mass Entanglement because 2 minutes CD for a root seems a bit of a one-sided choice to me when typhoon has 30 seconds. Faerie Swarm is only single-target so I disregard that.
Tier 4:Force of Nature- I changed this one in 5.3 because force of nature in feral spec stuns your target. It has 3 charges, with a 20sec recharge. It is very useful for base defence and kiting as an EFC. I found it useful to peel rogues off me if they are waiting in the enemy flag room.
Tier 5: Ursol's Vortex This is a good ability because it has a short CD and is a good AOE slow. I chose this over Demoralizing Roar because it's only a very short disorient, compared to a large duration slow and it can be used a lot more effectively. And I took it over Mighty Bash because that's only single-target.
Tier 6: Heart of the Wild- This one is an obvious choice. It has a long duration and a slight passive stat increase. It increases self-healing massively, no mana cost, and increases your stats in bear form. This is useful since you are tanking in feral spec, and the self healing increase helps out when you can get rejuves off while kiting. It does have a long cooldown so just try to perserve it for higher stacks or if you are definitely in bad trouble. Dream of Cenarius isn't really useful for a tank due to the fact you don't get any Predatory Swiftness procs in bear form for the heals and you won't have enough time to make use of it even if you could.
1. Glyph of Might of Ursoc- This makes Might of Ursoc a much stronger cooldown and works well with Renewal (more health = more heal) it does increase the cooldown by 2 minutes, in which my opinion is worth it. You shouldn't need to activate a strong cooldown like this every 3 minutes so i think it's a small price to increase the cooldown by 2 minutes.
2. Glyph of Barkskin- A good glyph that makes you 25% less able to be crit while Barkskin is up. Defintiely a must have glyph. 25% is a big reduction and Barkskin is only on a 1 minute cooldown.
3. Glyph of Prowl- Useful glyph for flag carrying. With this you can stealth early to get past the enemy team and not lose any speed in case your team is going to attempt a speed cap.
These are mainly player preference because they are mainly cosmetic, but one I'd say that is worth taking is Glyph of Aquatic Form as it can be used in Twin Peaks if you take the water way that leads out of the horde base.
Stats for tanking as a Guardian in PvP will be important when optimising your surviability. Statting will all revolve around stats that boost your surviability. Crit for procs and other things that are statted in PvE are not useful when you are kiting. Your main stat will be Stamina. I will explain this later in the "Gemming" section. Resilience is no longer worth anything anymore. It scales a lot worse than it did previously and the gems were halfed. Having full resi gems and enchants gave me a worthless 1.7% increase in resilience. Thirdly, Mastery is going to be another stat of importance. This grants extra armor rating for Guardian Druids and is getting a buff in the upcoming patch.
In patch 5.3, there is an advantage to using some PvE items in PvP as a tank. Resilience has been removed from current PvP gear, so it doesn't provide much of a bonus to us. These are all below the 496 ilevel so they don't get scaled down in rated areas. Here are some items I have found that are good to use.
Eternal Blossom Shoulderguards - 483 ilvl, 491 upgraded.
Eternal Blossom Handguards - 483 ilvl, 491 upgraded.
With these two items above, go for the 2 set bonus. This reduces the cooldown on might of ursoc by 60 seconds. Being a defensive CD, this is a good set bonus to have. The shoulders also have a 90 stamina socket bonus.
Lao-Chin's Liquid Courage (Trinket) - Shado-Pan, Revered, 489 ilvl, 497 upgraded. Replace battlemaster trinket.
The most effective way to gem this season for FC'ing is to go all out on stamina gems.
As you probably know, in 5.3 resilience has been removed from gear as well halfing the gems. Having full resilience gems and enchants gave me a 1.7% increase in resilience, which is around 10% damage reduction. Stamina scales well with our abilities such as Might of Ursoc and Renewal so I'm taking stamina over resilience because of that this patch.
This is why stamina gems are the only other option to us. Dodge, parry etc are useless in PvP, being negated by being behind a target etc, so it's not worth gemming.
For the meta socket Effulgent Primal Diamond is the best option currently.
Enchants again are going to be focused on the stats I mentioned earlier.
Shoulder: Greater Ox Horn Inscription
Chest: Enchant Chest - Superior Stamina
Bracers: Enchant Bracer - Mastery
Gloves: Enchant Gloves - Superior Mastery
Legs: Ironscale Leg Armor
Boots: Enchant Boots - Pandaren's Step
Reforging in 5.3 will be a lot different this season. Mastery is no longer beneficial to a tank so it is going to be centered around reforging into dodge.
Dodge doesn't serve as a good defensive stat in PvP, but at the moment, it is our only option in terms of a reforge-able defensive stat.
Every item that has haste should be reforged into Dodge. I have not had time to practice how useful dodge is in PvP, but it is mitigated by people being behind you.
Mastery rating should also be reforged into Dodge.
Making full use of your abilities is key to surviving for as long as possible in a long match. Your rage priority is going to be used on Frenzied Regeneration. Savage Defense will be used if you are gaining a lot of rage when forced into melee but frenzied regeneration is going to be the best use of rage cost. Knowing abilities such as Nature's Grasp can be used to get that 1 annoying rogue of you or that 1 warrior which help A LOT against melee-orientated teams. Using Ursol's Vortex you chose in the talents earlier you can block access to yourself. For example the tunnels in Warsong Gulch can be blocked off with a vortex if you are running back to your base by placing the vortex in the entrance. Wild Charge can be implemented many ways which are situational and is very useful if used correctly, like jumping to your graveyard or up to your base's roof. Typhoon can also be used in a few ways, such as a knockback off your roof, knockback when defending Lumber Mill, knocking people out of rings in Silvershard Mines and slowing a mass of people behind you with the daze.
Using your survival cooldowns at the wrong time can be disastrous on the match. If you use them when you didn't really need them, you may find later if you didn't use them you could of otherwise survived a situation in which you died. Your main survival cooldowns include: Survival Instincts, Barkskin, Might of Ursoc, Heart of the Wild, Renewal, and both trinkets. Like mentioned earlier, Renewal used with Might of Ursoc and your Battlemaster trinket grants a huge heal (around 330-350k) and is extremely useful in dire situations, which is why we chose the Might of Ursoc glyph. Barkskin can be used quite frequently as it only has a 1 minute cooldown. The best way to use it is to use the advantage of it being able to be used while stunned / frozen etc. For example instead of trinketing a stun or deep freeze you don't need to, you can use Barkskin instead. Survival Instincts is also another cooldown to be saved.
Adding more later, For now I'll add:
Remove slows / roots:
/cast [stance:1] !Bear Form
/cast [stance:2] !Aquatic Form
/cast [stance:3] !Cat Form
/cast [stance:4] !Travel Form
/cast [stance:5] !Moonkin Form
There are a few addons that are useful for tanking and RBGs in general (adding more later):
Description: Shows all battleground enemies with class,roles and health. Targetable unit frame.
Description: Shows percentage of movement speed in a small movable frame.
Author: : lieandswell, orbenn
Description: A moveable bar that can track cooldowns, procs, uptimes, and other abilities.
Congratulations, this is the end of the guide. I hope this guide helped you as it took me a while to do while I was bored and if you notice anything wrong please post below along with any questions you have. Thank you for reading.