- Author: Oxykitten
- Date: July 19, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
Welcome to the home page of our Feral Druid Tank Guide for WoW: Wrath of the Lich King! This guide aims to take an in-depth look at everything to do with Feral Druid tanks; each facet of what it takes to play the class to its fullest will have its own guide and be described in detail.
This overview page will cover the role and viability of Feral Tanks in Wrath of the Lich King.
Feral Druid Tanks in Wrath of the Lich King
In Wrath of the Lich King, the key roles of a tank remain the same as always, but the importance of certain aspects (threat generation in particular) is diminished compared to in Classic and Burning Crusade. The top priorities for a tank are to generate enough threat to be the target of enemy attacks, and be tanky enough to reliably survive those attacks. While threat generation is trivial in Wrath, survivability is not. Tanks also deal a small amount of damage; while this is not their top priority, the damage dealt by a tank still brings value to a raid.
Feral Druids in Burning Crusade were the best single-target threat tank with the best survivability, and they dealt the most damage. Unfortunately, they do not shine quite as brightly in Wrath of the Lich King; their threat generation and contribution to raid DPS are on the weaker side. Still, their large health pools make them very tanky, and their threat generation is still sufficient to hold against damage dealers. Furthermore, their many shared talents with Feral DPS allow them to deal respectable damage when not needed to tank (without having to respec).
Ultimately, while Ferals may not be the best tank in WotLK, the classes are far better balanced than in previous expansions and they are therefore a completely viable option for any raid.
Feral Druid Tank Strengths & Weaknesses
- High health pool, strong survivability
Like in previous expansions, bears are naturally tanky and can handle a lot of incoming damage. This can be particularly helpful for progression on hard-hitting bosses.
- Strong defensive cooldowns
In Wrath, Druids finally gain some defensive cooldowns, allowing them to react to or anticipate dangerous damage spikes and help them survive. Barkskin can finally be used in bear form, and they gain Survival Instincts. Later on, the 4-piece Tier 10 bonus gives Enrage a damage reduction buff as well.
- Immune to critical strikes from talents alone
While other tanks need Defense and/or Resilience on gear to reach critical strike immunity, druids have this by default through the talent Survival of the Fittest. This ridiculously strong talent makes gearing simpler.
- Somewhat hybrid tank / DPS specialisation
While there is more separation between tank and DPS talents than in previous expansions, the specs are still very similar and a Druid tank can do respectable damage when not actively tanking without the need for a respec. This may not have as much value with the introduction of Dual Specialisation, as Blizzard has suggested they will not place any restrictions on where and when you can switch specs (outside of PvP). However, if you prefer to keep your second spec PvP-focused (or Resto/Balance), you can still fulfill tank and DPS roles with your Feral spec.
- High personal damage output
Feral tank gearing includes a lot of offensive stats, allowing them to deal a lot of single-target damage while actively tanking compared to other tanks.
- Great raid utility
Druid utility is so strong that many guilds would previously bring some of our other specs (Restoration in Classic, Balance in TBC) to a raid just for the utility alone. While we’re now much more powerful overall individually and thus don’t have to rely on our utility as much, we still do have superb utility — be it general Druid utility such as Gift of the Wild and Innervate, or Feral-exclusive stuff like Leader of the Pack and Mangle (Bear).
- Weak threat generation
Ferals generate considerably less threat than other tanks. That said, they still generate enough threat to hold aggro against DPS if played correctly, so this isn’t something to be too worried about.
- Low raid damage contribution
While Feral tanks deal more single-target personal damage than other tanks, they lack raid buffs and utility like Hysteria and therefore contribute less to the raid’s overall DPS. This is a crucial weakness that may make Ferals the less desirable tank in Wrath despite their strengths at fulfilling a tank role. Note that while Ferals do provide Leader of the Pack, this does not stack with the Leader of the Pack or Rampage of a Feral DPS or Fury Warrior in the raid, which most raids are likely to have already.
Feral Druid Tank Utility
Besides their tanking and damage, Feral Druids bring the following raid buffs & debuffs to a raid:
- Gift of the Wild
Completely unique utility that only Druids bring. You only need 1 Druid for it, but every raid will want at least 1 Druid just for this. Feral Druids will almost always take the Improved Mark of the Wild talent, so you may be the one buffing this, unlike previous expansions!
Also completely unique Druid utility. The more Innervates you have, the easier some of the more mana-demanding fights will be for your raid. Similarly to prior expansions, Feral Druids will have a tricky time leaving form in order to use Innervate while main tanking, but many fights have a few moments where you can quickly throw it out.
- Combat Resurrection – Rebirth
Druids are 1 of the 2 classes that possess the ability to resurrect someone in combat, which is always going to be a massive boon for your raid. Every expansion there are more and more methods of wipe prevention, but Rebirth will always be the best among them!
- 5% physical crit (does not stack) – Leader of the Pack
This Feral Druid staple is now raid-wide, though it is no longer unique, as Fury Warriors can bring it as well in the form of Rampage. Feral Druids will generally be the ones bringing this buff as it is a mandatory pick-up on the way to Mangle, with the Druid version also offering the unique Improved Leader of the Pack buff for some nifty raid healing, ultimately saving your Fury Warriors a talent point.
- 30% increased bleed damage (does not stack) – Mangle (Bear)
Every raid will want to bring this debuff, as bleeds are powerful in WotLK. Arms Warriors also bring it in the form of Trauma, but most raids will likely not include an Arms Warrior as they aren’t too powerful in WotLK, so it’s up to you.
- 5% armor reduction (does not stack) – Faerie Fire (Feral)
Every raid will want to bring this debuff. However, Balance Druids will typically be using it due to also having the Improved Faerie Fire talent. Warlocks can also offer it in the form of Curse of Weakness, but doing so can be a significant DPS loss for them, so it’s generally either you or a Balance Druid.
- Reduced attack power (does not stack) – Demoralizing Roar
This debuff is a must-have, reducing boss damage by a good amount. Similarly to previous expansions, Warriors can bring it with Demoralizing Shout & Warlocks bring it with Curse of Weakness. It is very likely that you will be the one applying it however, if you’re tanking, as our improvement talent (Feral Aggression) is slightly easier to grab than it is for Warriors. It’s also okay to forego the improved version usually.
- 20% attack speed slow (does not stack) – Infected Wounds
This debuff is a must-have, reducing boss damage significantly. However, multiple other classes can offer it, so depending on your raid setup you may not need to spend the 3 talent points on it.
I hope this guide provides you with all the information you need to make the best out of a Feral Druid. Please navigate to the other pages to get information on gear, rotation, talents, and more. Ferals may not be the top tanks in Wrath of the Lich King, but they are certainly still a strong option for any guild.
Thank you for taking the time to read our Feral Tank guide for Wrath of the Lich King. I hope it was helpful, and if you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to leave a comment below, or find me as Oxy on the Druid Classic Discord.