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Feral Druid Tank Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoW 4.3.4)

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In this article, we list your Feral Druid (WoW 4.3) core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation). We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that playing a Feral Druid will face you with. The other articles of our Feral Druid guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the left.

1. Basic Single Target Rotation↑top

The single target rotation for a Feral Druid Tank is based on this very simple priority system:

  1. Use Mangle Icon Mangle on cooldown.
  2. Keep up at least 1 stack of Lacerate Icon Lacerate.
  3. Use Thrash Icon Thrash on cooldown.
  4. Use Pulverize Icon Pulverize (roughly once every 18 seconds) to maintain 100% uptime on the self-buff it applies, ideally with 3 stacks of Lacerate.
  5. Keep up 3 stacks of Lacerate Icon Lacerate.
  6. Spam Lacerate Icon Lacerate as a filler.
  7. Use Maul Icon Maul to avoid reaching maximum rage.

2. Basic Multiple Target Rotation↑top

  1. Use Thrash Icon Thrash on cooldown.
  2. Use Swipe Icon Swipe on cooldown.
  3. Use Mangle Icon Mangle on cooldown.
  4. Apply Lacerate Icon Lacerate on as many enemies as possible.
  5. Use Maul Icon Maul.

For Mangle Icon Mangle and Maul Icon Maul, you will want to alternate using them on various enemies, preferring those on who your threat is lowest.

3. Debuffs to Maintain↑top

There are two debuffs that you should maintain on your target(s) at all times, if no one else is providing them:

  • Demoralizing Roar Icon Demoralizing Roar, which reduces the enemies' physical damage done by 10% for 30 seconds. Equivalents of this debuff are provided by all other tanking classes and Warlocks.
  • Faerie Fire Icon Faerie Fire, which reduces the target's armor by 12%. Equivalents of this debuff are provided by Warriors, Rogues and Hunters.

4. Taunting↑top

Growl Icon Growl is your main taunting ability. It only works on a single target and has an 8-second cooldown.

Challenging Roar Icon Challenging Roar is an AoE taunting ability. It forces every tauntable enemy within 10 yards of you to attack you for 6 seconds. It has a 3 minute cooldown (2 minutes and 30 seconds with Glyph of Challenging Roar). Note that this taunt has no effect on the aggro of these mobs, and when the 6 seconds wear off, they will simply return to their previous target (unless you have generated enough threat to keep aggro on them).

5. Cooldowns↑top

As a Feral Druid Tank, you have three important defensive cooldowns:

  • Survival Instincts Icon Survival Instincts, which reduces all damage taken by 50% for 12 seconds, with a 3 minute cooldown. It is best used pre-emptively, before you are about to take a large amount of damage.
  • Frenzied Regeneration Icon Frenzied Regeneration, which increases your maximum health by 30% for 20 seconds, with a 3 minute cooldown. Additionally, it puts you at 30% of your maximum health (if you are below that value when you cast it). Finally, if you are not using Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration, it also converts 10 rage per second into health, healing you for 0.3% of your maximum health for each point of rage.
  • Barkskin Icon Barkskin, which is a simple 20% damage reduction, lasting 12 seconds, with a 1 minute cooldown.

You also have one offensive cooldown, Berserk Icon Berserk. This has a 3 minute cooldown, and causes your Mangle Icon Mangle to hit 3 targets instead of 1 and to be free of cost for 15 seconds.

More details about how to best use your cooldowns can be found in our detailed cooldown section.

6. Optional Read: Mastering Your Feral Druid↑top

Tanking as a Feral Druid is very simple, and the information provided above should be more than sufficient to allow you to perform your role at an excellent level. There are, however, a few details you should also understand in order to fully master your character.

6.1. Rage Generation

Feral Druid tanks use a resource called Rage (Warriors are the only other class in the game to use it). For you to properly master your Druid, you must understand how Rage works.

The Rage bar has a maximum capacity of 100, and is empty by default. Rage decays at a rate of 1 per second when out of combat. In combat, Rage does not decay.

Rage is generated through three sources: taking damage (all sources, except for fall damage), dealing damage (only white attacks) and through the use of certain talents and abilities.

Taking damage generates rage, depending on the amount of health you have and the damage you receive. "Taking damage" includes every possible source of damage (including magic damage), except for fall damage. While the formula itself is not public, and not very relevant, all you need to know is that if you are taking a lot of damage from boss hits, then you will have ample rage. Otherwise, your rage generation will suffer.

This does not mean that you should ever increase the amount of damage you take (through unequipping gear, for example) to generate more rage.

Dealing damage generates rage, depending on your base weapon speed. Rage is only generated from white attacks, so not from special abilities (yellow attacks). The formula for this is simple: 6.5 * the base weapon speed.

The only factors which affect offensive rage generation, outside of base weapon speed, are attack speed and chance to hit (only up to the point where you are guaranteed to hit, so 8% chance to hit). This is because the more you attack, the more times you will generate rage. For more details on white (normal) and yellow (special) attacks, and how they are influenced by Hit and Expertise Rating, you can check our guide on the mechanics of melee attacks.

6.2. Vengeance

Vengeance Icon Vengeance is a passive ability which you receive for choosing the Feral specialisation. Essentially, it increases your attack power for 5% of the damage you receive, up to a maximum of 10% of your maximum health. It is an essential mechanic in allowing you to maintain aggro of mobs.

6.3. Mastery: Savage Defense

As a Feral Druid tank, you have two major means of reducing the damage that you take. The first is dodging attacks, which is based solely on your chance to dodge and happens entirely passively. The second is through your Mastery.

Your Mastery is Savage Defense Icon Savage Defense. Each time you score a critical strike while in Bear Form Icon Bear Form through a direct attack (meaning not through periodic damage), you have a 50% chance to gain a damage absorption shield equal to 35% of your attack power, for 10 seconds. Additional Mastery Rating increases the amount that the shield absorbs.

Therefore, the more you score critical strikes, and the higher your attack power is, the more damage you will be mitigating.

As you can tell, mitigating damage through Savage Defense is, much like dodging attacks, out of your control. There are a few things to know about the shields, however:

  • The shields do not stack at all. This means that if you get a proc of Savage Defense while you already have a shield active, the new absorption amount will not be added to the existing shield.
  • New procs of Savage Defense will overwrite the existing shield, if their absorption amount is higher than the remaining absorption amount of the existing shield.
  • The shields from Savage Defense absorb only physical damage.

As Savage Defense procs from critical strikes, it would appear that Critical Strike Rating is very valuable to you. This is not true, and several other statistics are more important, as they increase the benefit of Savage Defense more than Critical Strike Rating, or simply offer better benefits.

6.3.1. Pulverize

Pulverize Icon Pulverize consumes the stacks of Lacerate Icon Lacerate you have on the target, dealing some damage to the target and granting you a buff in return. The buff lasts 18 seconds and grants you 3% increased melee critical strike chance for each stack of Lacerate that was on the target.

Obviously, the increased critical strike chance translates into more procs of Savage Defense Icon Savage Defense and, therefore, higher survivability. As such, you should make sure to always keep this buff up with 3 stacks of Lacerate.

This is a rather simple task, since Lacerate is a spell that you are using very often and the buff from Pulverize lasts a long time.

6.4. Detailed Cooldown Usage

Playing a Feral Druid tank is a fairly passive experience. Aside from performing the rotation, you only have a handful of cooldowns to manage. In this section, we will explain how to best use each of them.

6.4.1. Survival Instincts

Survival Instincts Icon Survival Instincts is best used pre-emptively. This means that you should use Survival Instincts before taking a large amount of damage (generally due to a boss mechanic). Additionally, you can use it to prolong your survival if your healers are dead or incapacitated.

It is not advised to wait until you are low on health to use Survival Instincts, since you will probably die before it has had a chance to benefit you fully.

Generally, it is best to make use of this cooldown as many times as possible during the fight (it is better to have wasted it than to have died with it available). Keep in mind, though, that you may be required to use it a very specific time, so make sure you save it for that moment.

6.4.2. Frenzied Regeneration

Frenzied Regeneration Icon Frenzied Regeneration provides with you a small heal and an increase to your maximum health, as well as a more sizeable heal over time. If you are using Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration, the heal over time is removed, but all healing done to you is increased by 30%.

As you can tell, there are several situations where Frenzied Regeneration can be used:

  • when you are about to take damage from a particularly powerful boss ability, for which you require more than your normal maximum health to survive (best coupled with Survival Instincts Icon Survival Instincts or Barkskin Icon Barkskin);
  • when you have dropped dangerously low on health and you have to save yourself (best used unglyphed);
  • when you want to drastically increase the healing you receive from your healers for a period of time (best used glyphed).

6.4.3. Barkskin

Barkskin Icon Barkskin works like a weaker version of Survival Instincts Icon Survival Instincts, so the same usage guidelines apply. The only difference is that Barkskin's cooldown is much smaller, meaning that you can use it more freely.

6.4.4. Berserk

Berserk Icon Berserk is not a defensive cooldown. It it a powerful offensive, threat-generating and DPS-increasing cooldown. It removes the cooldown from your Mangle Icon Mangle and it causes Mangle to also hit two additional targets.

You should use this at the pull, in order to gain initial aggro. After that, you should use it whenever there are multiple targets up or simply on cooldown, in order to maximise your DPS.

6.5. Procs

There are two procs that you will encounter relatively often:

  • Procs from Omen of Clarity Icon Omen of Clarity, which causes your next spell to have no resource cost. These procs have a small chance of being triggered whenever you deal damage. You should do your best to use these procs on Maul Icon Maul, since it is your most costly ability.
  • Procs from Berserk Icon Berserk, which reset the cooldown of Mangle Icon Mangle and remove its resource cost. These procs have a 50% chance of being triggered each time your Lacerate Icon Lacerate deals periodic damage (this is why keeping at least one stack of Lacerate up is a high priority). You should try to use these resource-free Mangles as quickly as possible.

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