Ah! Bears! Cataclysm Tanking (v4.1)

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For a more in-depth version of this guide(5k Character limit sucks), visit my blog's forums at http://theincbear.com/forums

A special Thanks to both Arielle and Tangedyn for constantly providing me with the math needed to keep this guide accurate, for without them, my words would be nothing but lunacy. Instead, my words are lunacy with math. Which is better.... somehow.

Ah! Bears! Cataclysm Tanking

Latest Update: 5.02.11

It's that time again, folks. Time to completely relearn how to tank with the release of a new expansion, and hopefully, this guide will become your one-stop shop for all your Bear needs.

I am still researching every day. The information contained within is subject to change and subject to being utterly wrong at any time. If the latter is the case, inform me constructively(I will not respond to blatant trolling) and I will revise with all due haste. I strive to have one of the most accurate tanking guides available.


Things for the Future -
All caught up!

Change Log:
To keep this from getting too long, I will be erasing the change log history with each major patch update.

5.02.11 - Updated Gear List to include Normal and Heroic Raiding BiS.
Updated the Pre-Raid Gear List to include ZA/ZG gear.
Added the Advanced Bearing section for Hybrid Fun.

    4.26.11 - Updated various section to reflect 4.1.

***Disclaimer*** - You are reading an outdated version of this guide. The up-to-date version will always be found here: http://theincbear.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=5

Links to Bear resources such as blogs, spreadsheets, and general information.

My Blog - The Inconspicuous Bear(s)

Dialogue on Diminishing Returns

Low Level Tanking

Simple Mitigation Spreadsheet

How to use the Mitigation Spreadsheet

Fasc's Bear Spreadsheet

Team Waffle Podcast

Bear Threat Spreadsheet

Raiding BiS List

Combat Ratings at Level 85
Stats, Gearing, and Reforging


(number) value with Kings or Mark.
[number] value fully Raid Buffed


Provides AP, Crit, and Dodge. No longer provides Armor. Agility is the super-stat for Bears. It provides mitigation, avoidance and threat. No other tank has that balled up into one stat. Stacking Agility is typically the best course of action.

1 Agi = 2.5 AP (2.625 AP) [2.8875 AP]
1 Agi = 0.0030783% Crit (0.0032323%)
324.85 Agi = 1% Crit
1 Agi = 0.0041054% Dodge (0.0043106%)
243.58 Agi = 1% Dodge


Increases your total health and is also able to provide a small amount of Attack Power through Vengeance. Stamina isn't as important for us as it was in the previous expansion. Stacking it to the exclusion of all else is ill-advised, though there are situations where it is beneficial to have.

1 Sta = 17.14 Health (17.997)
1 Sta = 1.5304 AP (1.607 AP) [1.768 AP]


Decreases the amount of physical damage taken. While armor from leather gear upgrades is very good, bonus armor (being unaffected by multipliers) isn't quite as valuable. Bonus armor is considered armor from accessories, trinkets, and enchants.

1 Armor = 3.916 Armor (Bear Form + Thick Hide)
1 Armor = 3.99432 Armor (Bear Form + Thick Hide + Meta Gem)
Armor cap (75% DR) for Lvl88 Boss mobs = 97717.5 Armor


Increases chance to dodge. Dodge gets better the more you have of it. It also extends the uptime of Savage Defense and also allows more time for Savage Defense to proc.

1 Dodge Rating = 0.005687% Dodge
176.71899 Dodge Rating = 1% Dodge


Increases the amount absorbed by Savage Defense via Savage Defender. This makes our Bear-Block bigger. It is a very good stat to have and should be sought out on gear.

179.28 Mastery Rating = 1 Mastery

Expertise Rating

Decreases an enemy's chance to dodge and parry. Roughly equal to crit in value for mitigation until 26, at which point it is on par with Hit as a threat stat. You do not need to cap Expertise.

30.0272 Expertise Rating = 1 Expertise

Level 85 mob = 5.0% (Dodge) / 5.0% (Parry) = 601 (20) / 601 (20) Expertise Rating
Level 86 mob = 5.2% (Dodge) / 5.2% (Parry) = 631 (21) / 631 (21) Expertise Rating
Level 87 mob = 5.4% (Dodge) / 5.4% (Parry) = 661 (22) / 661 (22) Expertise Rating
Level 88 mob = 6.5% (Dodge) / 14% (Parry) = 781 (26) / 1682 (56) Expertise Rating

Critical Strike Rating

Increases chance to crit. Crit allows Savage Defense to proc more often, and has a small threat value. Roughly equal to expertise in value for mitigation.

1 Crit Rating = 0.0055779% Crit
179.28 Crit Rating = 1% Crit

Hit Rating

Increases chance to hit. Threat Stat.

120.109 Hit Rating = 1% Hit
1 Hit Rating = 0.0083256% Hit
8% Hit = 961 Hit Rating

Haste Rating

Increases attack speed. Haste is a very lackluster stat. Very minimal impact on threat, rage gen, and (as a stretch) mitigation. Should be avoided where possible.

128.05701 = 1% Haste


Provides attack power. With Agility providing AP and stamina on accessories normalized, there is almost no need for strength-based items.

1 Str = 2.5 AP (2.625 AP) [2.8875 AP]

Gearing and Reforging -

Because there is no "tanking leather" and getting dodge as secondary stat means suboptimal gearing, you should be filling your gear slots with x/Mastery gear. Beyond that, Expertise/Mastery and Crit/Mastery gear choices are the absolute best. However, because there are stats better than Mastery (Agility and Dodge), you should not be reforging or gemming towards it.

The accessories you should be picking up are agility accessories. There are very few exceptions to this rule, and generally involve having a higher item level with better stats. However, not even that can be true.Though Dodge Rating gives more Dodge than Agility does, Agility combined with a reforged secondary into Dodge Rating gives more benefit. An example of this is Cloak of Thredd vs. Wrap of the Great Turtle. Reforged properly, Cloak of Thredd pulls ahead slightly.

For reforging, the only course of action is reforging the least wanted stat into Dodge Rating. This is the best support for survivability, while simultaneously keeping our avoidance above the plate tanks. The Reforge priority is as follows, from least wanted to most wanted:

Hit / Expertise (if beyond soft cap)
Crit >= Expertise (if below soft cap)
Mastery (Only reforge away from Mastery if it is the only secondary available. Example: Tia's Grace. Else, do not touch Mastery.)
Talents, Bonuses, and Mastery

Talents -

Below is a list of talents what I consider mandatory and what I consider optional. Keep in mind that you will have to take some of the optional talents to get to the lower tiers, and that some will be better than others for this choice.

Mandatory Feral Talents

Tier 1

2/2 Feral Swiftness
3/3 Furor

Tier 2

2/2 Infected Wounds
3/3 Fury Swipes
2/2 Primal Fury
2/2 Feral Aggression

Tier 3

1/1 Feral Charge
3/3 Thick Hide

Tier 4

1/1 Leader of the Pack
2/2 Brutal Impact

Tier 5

1/1 Survival Instincts
2/2 Endless Carnage (The longer the buff is up, the less downtime on Lacerate you have, the more Berserk procs you can get.)
2/2 Natural Reaction

Tier 6

3/3 Rend and Tear
1/1 Pulverize

Tier 7

1/1 Berserk

Mandatory Resto Talents

Tier 1

3/3 Heart of the Wild
2/2 Natural Shapeshifter (To get into T2)

Tier 2

3/3 Perseverance (This Talent makes Bears the only tanks with additional Spell Damage Reduction.)
1/1 Master Shapeshifter (Yes, 3 points for a 4% damage increase. It is still worth it.)

Optional Feral Talents

Tier 3

3/3 King of the Jungle (For information regarding King of the Jungle and Hybrid specs/stylized play, please refer to my new section: Advanced Bearing. http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1126995943?page=1#9)
2/2 Stampede (This talent is a pretty large joke for Bears. It's not worth pursuing at this time.)

Best All-Around Build(Highly Recommended):


Decent 5-Man Build:


There is a fair bit of freedom one what you can take if you aren’t doing any kind of progression content (defined by your guild progress). If you don’t like interrupting, you can take points out of Brutal Impact. If you want more oomph to your threat, you can get King of the Jungle by dropping FA, Stampede, Brutal Impact, or Infected Wounds.

Bonuses -

Feral specialization will give you:

Mangle (Level 10; 15 Rage, Instant, 6 sec Cooldown) http://www.wowhead.com/spell=33878
Mangle the target for 235% normal damage plus (290 * 235 / 100) and causes the target to take 30% additional damage from bleed effects for 1 min.

Aggression http://www.wowhead.com/spell=84735
Increases your attack power by 25%

Feral Instinct http://www.wowhead.com/spell=87335
Reduces the chance enemies have to detect you while Prowling.

Vengeance http://www.wowhead.com/spell=84840
Each time you take damage while in Bear Form, you gain 5% of the damage taken as attack power, up to a maximum of 10% of your Base Health plus Stamina.

Despite what the tooltip says, Vengeance is calculated like this: Vengeance = Sta + 0.1 * Base Health, NOT V = 0.1 * Max Health.

Mastery -

Mastery: Savage Defender (Level 80) http://www.wowhead.com/spell=77494
Increases the damage absorbed by your Savage Defense ability by 32%. Each point of Mastery increases the absorb by an additional 4%.

Shield Size = AP * (0.35 * (1 +(0.04 * Mastery)))
Gems, Enchants, and Glyphs

Gems -

Gemming has a bit of an option now. It isn't just "zerg the heck out of stamina to live". Yes, Stam is still somewhat important, but not as much with gems. Good socket bonuses ought to be gemmed for now. What constitutes as a good bonus? Just about anything with an Agility or Mastery or Stam bonus. This means more hybrid gems.

The following gems are the best for survival:

Austere Shadowspirit Diamond
Delicate Inferno Ruby - For Reds
Polished Ember Topaz - For 2 Yellow sockets to meet the Meta Requirements
Shifting Demonseye - For Blue Sockets when the Bonus is good (20+ of either Agi or Mastery)

The not recommended, but usable, gems:
(Note that Stamina's importance changes depending on content)

Solid Ocean Sapphire
Regal Dream Emerald
Puissant Dream Emerald
Guardian's Demonseye
Accurate Demonseye
Adept Ember Topaz

Enchants -

Arcanum of the Earthen Ring

Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz
Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal

Enchant Chest - Greater Stamina
Enchant Chest - Peerless Stats

These two are so close in value that it doesn't matter much. 75 stam gives more health, 20 stats gives more threat and a slightly larger SD absorb. I recommend +20 stats.

Ebonsteel Belt Buckle

Charscale Leg Armor

Enchant Boots - Assassin's Step
Enchant Boots - Earthen Vitality
Enchant Boots - Lavawalker

Scroll of Enchant Bracer - Major Stamina
Enchant Bracer - Dodge

Glove Reinforcements
Enchant Gloves - Greater Mastery
(Reinforcements are superior... Still.)

Enchant Cloak - Protection

Enchant 2H Weapon - Mighty Agility
Enchant Weapon - Windwalk

Agi v Windwalk depends on the content you're tanking. For normal mode and heroic tanking, you want 130 Agi. For heroic raiding, Windwalk pulls ahead.

Glyphs -

Bear glyph options are fairly cut-and-dry.


Glyph of Berserk
Glyph of Mangle
Glyph of Lacerate


Glyph of Faerie Fire
Glyph of Feral Charge
Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration (A note on this: This glyph is very strong for Raiding content. It is situational for Heroics [is your healer constantly afk? if yes, unglyph. if no, glyph.] and not at all useful for soloing.)
Glyph of Maul
Glyph of Rebirth (This glyph is quite good for raiding as well. Players getting resurrected with full health is a big save on healer mana)


Glyph of Challenging Roar
Glyph of Dash
Glyph of Mark of the Wild
Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth
Threat Generation

Abilities -

Mangle - Our main attack. It is the highest TPS generating ability that we have and should be used every cooldown.

Maul - Secondary attack. Maul is off the GCD with a 3sec cooldown. Maul has a high rage cost and should be used with excess rage and as often as possible. In low rage situations, Maul is the first thing to get dropped.

Lacerate - All of Lacerate's TPS has been frontloaded because of Pulverize mechanics. Its DoT is fairly pathetic for that reason. But, it is good because of Berserk procs.

Pulverize - Pulverize isn't used for its damage(which is pretty small and scales very badly), but rather to maintain the 9% crit buff we get for knocking off 3 stacks of Lacerate. Leaving out Pulverize is not a good idea.

Faerie Fire (Feral) - FFF's threat and damage has been lowered somewhat. It should be used in low-rage situations regardless.

Demoralizing Roar - Typical 10% physical damage reduction debuff. Should be active as often as possible. Produces very little threat.

Thrash - Good, solid threat for both AoE and Single Target. Should be used on CD where allowed.

Swipe - Used for more AoE filler.

Berserk - Has two effects. One allows Lacerate to proc a buff (Berserk) from bleed ticks which resets the cooldown on Mangle and causes it to cost no rage. The other is the on-use ability that causes mangle to have no cooldown and able to hit 2 additional targets for its duration. The on-use Berserk is excellent for bursting down AoE packs, as well as initial snap threat for single target. The passive buff is pivotal for maintaining threat.

Single Target

Single Target threat has moved away from a static rotation. It has a random element added to it through Berserk procs, and also has timers to upkeep by way of Pulverize. Because of those additions, our threat has become a priority list. We will always hit the best threat abilities first, then move down the line depending on availability and conditions.

The priority is as follows:

Demoralizing Roar
Lacerate if no Lac on target
Lacerate if not to 3
Pulverize if 3 stacks of Lacerate and no Buff, or buff is about to expire
Faerie Fire (Feral)
Lacerate filler

Maul as often as possible without rage starving yourself.

Aside from the early Demo, that will net you the highest amount of TPS. The key is using Mangle and Thrash on cooldown. However, it will also net you a decrease in Pulverize uptime by its nature. Once threat becomes a non-issue at any time, you can deviate slightly and prioritize keeping Pulverize up as much as possible for the extra mitigation it provides.

If threat on the pull is off to a rocky start, or you have overzealous DPS, use Berserk early and power into it with Mangle spam. If you can afford it, throw up a Lacerate. That will help a small amount with rage consumption when it procs Berserk, as the beginning of a fight tends to be our weakest for rage generation.

AoE Threat

AoE threat requires some tab targeting and the occasional single-target attention (depending on what's getting nuked and what isn't). Keep Swipe and Thrash on CD. With the 3 second cooldown on Swipe, it should be pressed every other GCD. If Thrash is off CD and Swipe is off CD, then you should be hitting Thrash, as it's far more threat. When Thrash and Swipe are off CD, use Mangle on targets needing attention, then work on spreading around Lacerates. Maul as rage allows.

In the case of a cast sequence macro for Swipe and Thrash, I don't really recommend it for two reasons: One - If you ever need to stagger your AoE abilities, you're a bit SoL. Two - Thrash is important for single target. If you had a cast sequence, you'd still be putting a non-macro'd Thrash into your rotation; you may as well have two separate keybinds for Swipe and Thrash at that point.

Again, for extra power, use Berserk.

Macroing in Maul

Maul Macroing is still possible. However, due to the increased rage cost and the overall decrease in our rage generation, it can't be left unchecked. Some will tell you it's bad. Some will tell you it's fine if you moderate it. I'm with the latter. Using any kind of conditional that allows you to stop the use of Maul when doing your normal rotation is completely acceptable. But, you have to have a conditional. Otherwise you will hurt your threat in low rage situations, as Maul tends to always fire off first if there's sufficient rage.

Using conditionals like [nomod] , [mod:shift] , [mod:alt] , and [mod:ctrl] are recommended. [nomod] will use Maul all the time unless you're holding down any of the modifier keys. [mod:shift] etc. will only use maul if you're holding down that key.
Professions and Consumables



Mixology - Increases the effectiveness of Flasks and Elixirs. You need to know the recipe.

Flask of Enhancement - This is used as a way for Alchemists to always keep their profession bonuses when not raid flasked.
Flask of Steelskin - 120 Bonus Stamina
Flask of the Winds - 80 Bonus Agility
Flask of Battle - 120 Bonus Stamina OR 80 Bonus Agility
Elixir of Deep Earth - 120 Bonus Armor
Elixir of the Master - 40 Bonus Mastery
Prismatic Elixir - 15 Bonus Resist

Socket Bracer and Socket Gloves - 120 Bonus Stamina, or 80 Bonus Agility

Enchant Ring - Agility - 80 Bonus Agility
Enchant Ring - Greater Stamina - 120 Bonus Stamina


Agile Bio-Optic Killshades - This is an interesting turn for Engineering. It seems the epic crafted shades are roughly equal to tier 11, depending on stats.

Though, the fatal flaw with the engineering helms is, they seem to only last a tier, which is unfortunate.


Fractured Cogwheel
Precise Cogwheel
Smooth Cogwheel
Subtle Cogwheel

So long as Mastery is always used as a Cogwheel, you can pair it with any of your choosing. The best would be Dodge rating.


Quickflip Deflection Plates - 1500 Armor. 1 minute cooldown.

Synapse Springs - These find your highest attribute (Agility) and increase it by 480. Used on CD, it's roughly equal to the other 80 stat bonuses.

Lifeblood - On-use Haste rating with a small heal. Honestly, this is fairly useless for any kind of tank.

Inscription of the Earth Prince - 120 Bonus Stamina
Swiftsteel Inscription - 80 Bonus Agility

Chimera's Eyes once again provide the strongest bonuses for stats.

3x Solid Chimera's Eye - 123 Bonus Stamina
3x Delicate Chimera's Eye - 81 Bonus Agility

Draconic Embossment - Stamina - 195 Stam. 155 Bonus Stamina
Draconic Embossment - Agility - 130 Agility. 80 Bonus Agility

Toughness - 120 Bonus Stamina

Master of Anatomy - 80 Bonus Critical Strike Rating

Not really a tank profession. There's only one bonus, and that bonus is pretty "meh" for tanking, but if you have it, you have it.

Swordguard Embroidery - Only rank 2! Same deal, chance for 1000 AP on attacks.

Which Professions are "The Best"?

There's a quick tendency to say Jewelcrafting and Leatherworking, and I'd agree. Both of those professions have the strongest bonuses. As you can see, each profession has equal bonuses, so it just boils down to 1-2 stat min-maxing. The only ones I don't recommend are the gathering professions. Mining is fine if you never intend to DPS, but otherwise, crafting professions are great for raiding.


There are quite a few options for consumables. Which ones you end up using depends on the encounter, as it is with all tank gearing.

Food Buffs

Seafood Magnifique Feast - Eating this in Cat Form will give you 90 Agility. All other forms will give Dodge Rating. (Agi is preferred)
Skewered Eel - If feasts are unavailable, this is the number one choice.
Grilled Dragon - Use this if you need Hit for interrupting (valid until 4.1)
Crocolisk Au Gratin - Threat food. Not really necessary or recommended.

Flasks and Elixirs

Flask of Steelskin - User discretion. It's not better than Agility, but can be preferred if you need a Stamina boost for various encounters.
Flask of the Winds - The best flask option for damage mitigation. Default choice.
Flask of Battle - When used in Bear Form, provides Stamina. When used in any other, provides Agility.
Elixir of Deep Earth - The only Guardian Elixir that matters. Even paired with a Battle Elixir, it won't be as good as the Agi Flask.
Elixir of the Master - A workable option to be used as a Battle Elixir.
Prismatic Elixir - This Elixir is good for fights with a lot of magic damage flying around.


There's only two options for potions.

Potion of the Tol'vir
Earthen Potion - Not as good as the Tol'vir. I typically use them for instant gratification from melee damage.
Gear Lists - Pre-Raid, Raiding, Heroic Raiding

The items listed are from best > worst. Crafted and Valor Point items have been added.

Pre-Raid Gear

[JP] - JP Vendor
[VP] - VP Vendor
[H] - Heroic Dungeon
[H+] - Advanced Heroic Dungeon
[C] - Crafted
[R] - Rep
[BoE] - Bind on Equip
[PvP] - PvP item

[BoE] - Tsanga's Helm
[H+] The Savager's Mask
[H] Helm of Numberless Shadows
[JP] Mask of Vines

[H+] Amulet of the Watcher
[H] Pendant of the Lightless Grotto
[R] Acorn of the Daughter Tree

[H+] Tusked Shoulderpads
[JP] Embrace of the Night
[H] Caridean Epaulettes

[VP] Viewless Wings
[H] Cloak of Thredd
[R] Wrap of the Great Turtle

[BoE] Morrie's Waywalker Wrap
[C] Assassin's Chestplate
[H] Vest of Misshapen Hides
[H] Defias Brotherhood Vest

[H+] Amani'shi Bracers
[H] Double Dealing Bracers
[H] Poison Fang Bracers

[R] Stormbolt Gloves
[H] Gloves of Haze

[C] Belt of Nefarious Whispers
[JP] Sash of Musing

[VP] Stormrider's Legguards
[JP] Leggings of the Burrowing Mole

[H+] Fasc's Preserved Boots
[H] VanCleef's Boots
[H] Crafty's Gaiters

[R] Signet of the Elder Council
[C] Elementium Destroyer's Ring

[VP] Hornet-Sting Band
[C] Elementium Destroyer's Ring
[H] Skullcracker Ring

[H] Tia's Grace

Second trinket slot is mostly dependent upon what fight you’re doing. It is good to have options. The most common second trinket slot is:

[VP] Fluid Death

The other options are as follows and not listed by importance:

[H] Leaden Despair
[R] Mirror of Broken Images
[C] Figurine - Earthen Guardian
[C] Quicksilver Alchemist Stone
[C] Lifebound Alchemist Stone

[H+] Jin'do's Verdict
[H] Seliza's Spear
[C] Elementium Poleaxe
[H] Darkling Staff

[PvP] Vicious Gladiator's Relic of Triumph
[VP] Relic of Golganneth
[PvP] Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Relic of Triumph
[C] Silver Inlaid Leaf

Normal Raiding Best in Slot (Current Tier - Tier 11)

Tsanga's Helm
Necklace of Strife
Poison Protocol Pauldrons
Cloak of Biting Chill
Sark of the Unwatched
Parasitic Bands
Double Attack Handguards
Wind Stalker Belt of the Windstorm / Belt of Nefarious Whispers
Stormrider's Legguards
Storm Rider's Boots / Fasc's Preserved Boots
Mistral Circle of the Windstorm / Signet of the Elder Council
Hornet-Sting Band
Fluid Death
Tia's Grace
Vicious Gladiator's Relic of Triumph / Relic of Golganneth

Alternative Trinkets - Mirror of Broken Images / Vial of Stolen Memories

Heroic Raiding Best in Slot (Current Tier - Tier 11)

Stormrider's Headpiece
Necklace of Strife
Poison Protocol Pauldrons
Cloak of Biting Chill
Sark of the Unwatched
Parasitic Bands
Double Attack Handguards
Belt of the Fallen Brood / Wind Stalker Belt of the Windstorm / Dispersing Belt
Stormrider's Legguards
Storm Rider's Boots
Mistral Circle of the Windstorm
Lightning Conductor Band
Essence of the Cyclone
Fluid Death
Vicious Gladiator's Relic of Triumph / Relic of Golganneth

Alternative Trinkets - Mirror of Broken Images / Vial of Stolen Memories

For insight on 4T11 (which I will sometimes be wearing), go here: http://theincbear.com/psa-4t11/
Advanced Bearing

With the advent of 4.1 and the negative impact of Enrage being removed, a new parameter of tank specs has come forth. We can now safely spec into King of the Jungle for 15% extra damage while enrage is active. This talent also opens up the possibility of a hybrid play style for raiding, which I have grown to enjoy. Hybrid play is all about the damage while retaining your abilities to be a tank.


What talent points do I use to get King of the Jungle?

  • Which talent you choose to leave out depends on your regular raid composition. The most common would be the loss of Feral Aggression, and though it's a quality of life loss, it's the most practical. Infected Wounds is a bit of a gamble. You can't guarantee a source of attack speed reduction will always be on your target. Brutal Impact is the least likely to affect your play, however it does give you your 10s interrupt, and as we've seen so far there are a lot of "pass or fail" mechanics regarding interrupts in raids.

Why not Fury Swipes?

  • Though Fury Swipes is random, does not proc OoC and does not proc Savage Defense, it is still a source of threat and damage. Leaving out Fury Swipes can be a heavy loss in DPS, and by extension TPS, because it does hit harder than Mangle. Giving up 2 points elsewhere with the floater point is a much better trade off for the hybrid play-style.

Why not Endless Carnage?

  • As I prefaced, the hybrid play style is all about damage while keeping your tanking ability. Dropping Endless Carnage means the need to use Pulverize more frequently, causing you to lose out on Berserk procs,extra Thrashes and Mangles that would then be spent on getting Lacerates back up in time to refresh the buff. From a cat DPS stand point, you're losing the Rake extension, which ultimately ends up to less Shreds being used, which is a DPS loss.

Example of a 4.1 spec: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#0ZfMGcoubzrckMcu


For a very, extremely tiny(and I mean tiny) trade off in mitigation, you can pick up two glyphs that will make your Cat DPS that much better.

Prime -

Glyph of Mangle
Glyph of Shred
Glyph of Rip

Since Shred and Rip are the biggest DPS boosts for a normal cat spec, it makes sense to include it for hybrid DPS. Mangle is there for your Bear DPS, since Mangle is typically #1 on damage done. Your Major and Minor glyphs stay the same.

The Damage:

Single Target -

For Bear DPS, the single target stays the same as mentioned above. You keep your priorities straight. Always use Mangle and Thrash whenever available. Keep pulverize active. Keep Enrage on CD. Unless threat is shaky at the start, Berserk is best saved for cat. Any fight that's a tank swap fight has the potential to allow for cat DPS in the meantime.

Now, the Cat DPS rotation is a lot more forgiving than it once was. For the in-depth version, see Tangedyn's cat sticky( http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2089200852 ). Here's the quick and dirty: Keep Mangle on the target, keep rake on the target, keep a 5pt rip on the target, keep savage roar up, keep Tiger's Fury on CD. That's it. No biting. Even if you have 5 combo points, shred will be better.

If you can, get a fresh 5pt Rip and Rake on the target before taunting. The threat from those two ticking will transfer, making it easier. Enrage will be off CD by then. You can use it on the taunt or after you've let vengeance build up a little.

AoE -

There are few bosses that have enough adds to warrant a change in rotation should you be tanking them. You'll want 5 or more adds for this to be a benefit. Thrash and Swipe take precedence over your Single Target. Thrash will take precedence over Swipe. Keep your AoE abilities on CD and use filler as needed.


The gearing strategy can change a little or not at all depending on preference. 4T11 is definitely a good boost for cat, but its benefits will depend on how long you're DPSing for, because the ramp up time is so great. For single tank burn phases, it will be beneficial. For quick, short switches, offset would be better.

For Bear DPS stats, nothing comes close to Expertise until you reach 26. Putting a bit more emphasis on expertise for reforging over dodge will boost your DPS. You may or may not choose to get to that softcap(I don't recommend it this early in the xpac, personally). However, that kind of strategy isn't well advised for progression content.
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why did they nerf our HP so much?? It’s all we have!

A: It is not all we have and you’re being silly. We still have a slightly higher HP modifier than the other tanks, so we will eventually begin to outscale them again. However, it won’t be by the gross amount it was before the nerf (something like 20k HP difference, which is absurd).

Q: Lololol i herd baers r the worst tanks LOL

A: You are massively uninformed, but thank you for the memo. At 85, Bears are equal with the other tanks, and that was the goal. It took a few nerfs to our ego, but I haven’t seen tanks this balanced in a long time. Each tank still has its strengths, but when you’re comparing each class, you’re really comparing apples to oranges.

Q: Why should we listen to you?

A: To avoid egotistical responses… Because I love bears. I love tanking. It is the most satisfying part of this game to me, and as such, I strive to do it the best that I can. This involves lots of theorycrafting, lots of research, and lots of experience in game.

Q: Pulverize consuming Lacerate is stupid! There should be a glyph that stops this!

A: No, no it isn’t, and no there shouldn’t be. Building Lacerate gives us something to do during Mangle cooldowns. If Pulverize were to suddenly consume no stacks, what do you think would happen? Stack Lacerate to 3 and do nothing but spam Mangle and Pulverize while refreshing Lac before it falls. No thanks.

Q: What do I reforge to?

A: Dodge, dodge, and more dodge. There is not yet a point where reforging to Dodge becomes suboptimal. Haste gets reforged first, followed by hit, then expertise, then crit, then Mastery. Mastery should only be reforged if it is the only available secondary stat. (Mastery > Crit >= Exp to Softcap > Exp = Hit > Haste)

Q: What are the best gems?

A: This answer is going to change depending on your gear point, and even how capable your healers are. Right now, when everyone is grinding heroics and looking into entry level raids, Agility is the primary stat. Agility, Agility/dodge and Agility/Stam will provide the best amount of survivability early on. Whether or not Stamina will make a scene remains unknown.

    Q: Why does it depend on your healers?

    A: Gemming isn't as major as it was, though it's still important. As such, your healers will be the deciding factor on how you ultimately end up gemming. If your healers have no issue keeping you up, go for agility. If they can't keep up with the damage or are running oom, go for agility. If they can't keep you alive, but aren't running oom, go for more stamina. Always keep a dialogue open with them for as long as their mana matters.

Q: I'm going into Heroic Raiding. Does this mean I gem Stamina?

A: No. You will need to meet a higher Health threshold, but that does not mean gemming for Stamina. Trinkets and Flasks are the easiest and best way to go about getting the required amount of Stamina, and how much that is depends on the encounter and on your healers.

That said, gearing as a tank is anything but black and white. You need to figure out what works for your guild and raid and go from there. But always remember to keep this thread's guidelines in mind. Agility will always be better for damage mitigation, but there is a time and place for everything, including stamina. It's at your discretion as long as you understand why.

Q: Will Reforging to Mastery ever be better?

A: At this point in the expansion, no. Perhaps in later tiers it will be, but further research of the subject suggests that Dodge only gets better and Mastery only gets worse the harder the boss melees for.

    Q: Mastery gets worse? What does that mean?

    A: The more damage a boss melees for, the smaller percentage you will be mitigating via Savage Defense. That does not mean that Mastery becomes obsolete. It is still showing itself as being our best Secondary stat, so our gearing choices and priorities do not change.
Patch Notes and Hotfixes

Patch 4.1 - Currently live
(As always, you can view the full patch notes here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2657803)

For everything regarding 4.1, see here: http://theincbear.com/bear-survival-guide-to-patch-4-1/
I think...
One mooooore.....
Okay, if I need more reserved posts after this, I'm screwed. :)
Welcome back Reesi!
Why does the title say Cat if its about Bear?
To confused people.
Now we need to up-vote the guide again. :)
just don't try reporting it for sticky - they'll probably delete it again >.>
I downrated for the lack of waffles.

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