7. Guardian tank leveling

Guardian spec, Bear Tank leveling (v 7.0)

Guardian is primarily used for tanking in instances. Bear form has high armor and health. When the dungeon finder becomes available at level 15, you can tank groups as a bear.  At lower levels, you don’t have many abilities you can use, but things get better as you reach higher levels.

 Low level key tank abilities

  • 10: Mangle – Damage ability that generates rage (does more damage against bleeding targets)
  • 10: Maul – Damage ability that spends rage.
  • 10: Moonfire – Ranged DOT ability that can be used in bear form to pull things that are far away.
  • 13 : Growl – Taunt things, forcing them to hit you instead of the squishy DPS or healer.
  • 14: Thrash – Area of Effect (AOE) ability that makes multiple nearby targets bleed.
  • 18: Remove Corruption – Can remove curse or poison effects from yourself or others.
  • 28: Incapacitating roar – An AOE crowd control ability that generates a small amount of threat and confuses your enemies (for example, this will interrupt their spell casting).
  • 32: Swipe – Area of Effect ability that does damage.
  • 36: Barkskin – Take a little less damage (both physical or magic) for the next 12 seconds.
  • 40: Survival Instincts – Take a lot less damage (for both physical or magic) for the next 6 seconds.
  • 44: Ironfur – Spend rage, increasing your armor, so that you take less physical damage for the next 6 seconds.
  • 50: Frenzied Regen – Spend rage to heal yourself for 50% of the damage you have taken in the last 5 seconds.
  • 64: Skull Bash – Interrupt a spell being cast & silence them for 4 seconds (used often in groups and raids to stop spell casts that would do a ton of damage or wipe your raid/group).
  • 72: Mark of Ursol – Spend rage, reducing the magic damage you take for 6 seconds.


At lower levels, you are mostly limited to pulling with moonfire (or running in), then using mangle & maul when they come off cooldown . Taunt things when they hit your party members.

At higher levels, you have to make decisions about how to spend your rage (do you need more survivability or more damage output to generate threat?). Depending on how much damage you take, you will want to prioritize staying a live and using cooldowns on yourself appropriately to help keep yourself alive.

Talent Options: 

In most cases, I will suggest easier to use talents over talents that complicate ability use. For end-game builds and harder content, the more active abilities suggested in end-game guides may be better. Keep in mind that any talent has situational uses where it may end up being better than the general recommendations below.

  • Level 15 – Brambles absorbs and reflects damage back, which should be helpful early on when leveling. If you are having difficulties generating enough rage, blood frenzy is a nice passive boost to energy gain when you cast thrash.
  • Level 30 – Wild Charge allows you to charge to your enemy in bear form.
  • Level 45 – Restoration Affinity gives you a passive heal (restores health every 3 seconds), or feral affinity gives you a passive increase in your movement speed. You might also find feral affinity helpful for doing DPS when you solo, though it might be easier to just swap specs as you level.
  • Level 60 – Mighty Bash is likely the most useful of the crowd control options for tanks.
  • Level 75 – Soul of the Forest is a nice passive ability useful for leveling that increases mangle’s damage and rage gain.
  • Level 90 – Survival of the Fittest (reduces cooldown of barkskin & survival instincts) might be the most useful for leveling since fights tend to be short, allowing you to use these abilities more often. If you don’t find this is helpful, Earthwarden is another potentially nice passive ability.
  • Level 100- Rend and Tear is a decent passive talent that increases your damage dealt and reduces damage taken by 2% per application of Thrash on your target. The other two options are active abilities that involve dealing damage and either healing yourself as well (Lunar Beam) or reducing your damage taken (Pulverize) for a short time.

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