Happy Halloween Guardians!

Welcome to yet another installment of 25 Man WENSdays here at IncBear. This week we will be talking about our level 90 talents. For all intents and purposes I will be totally ignoring DoC, as it honestly has no practical benefit for us, and probably will not unless they allow it to affect Frenzied Regeneration heals. So when we cross out DoC, we are left with the difficult choice of HotW vs. NV.

General Information

HotW and NV are two very fundamentally different CDs and are optimal in very different situations. Heart of the Wild allows you to assume another combat role (healing, melee dpsing, or range dpsing) for 45 seconds out of every 6 minutes. It also gives you a passive 6% Stamina, Intellect, and Agility, as well as granting you the ability to cast Rejuvenation in any shapeshift form.. Nature’s Vigil, on the other hand, is a flat dps/healing bonus (20%) that also converts healing (but not FR healing) into damage and damage into healing at a rate of 20%. 30 second duration on a 3 minute CD.

Right away you should be able to tell that HotW is strongest when you can take advantage of the entire 45 second duration at least once (hopefully twice) throughout a fight. This is (almost always) true. HotW can be very powerful if you think of it as a small healing or dps CD in a time where otherwise you would just be attacking away with no vengeance.

Nature’s Vigil is very strong on farm fights, for the simple fact that you don’t need the extra stamina, and a dps CD is never a bad thing to make the fight go faster. NV also shines in encounter specific periods of high damage output/input.

Heart of the Wild Details/Subtleties/Tips

  • If you are using HotW as a healing CD, ALWAYS pair it with a Tranquility (and a Barkskin for no casting interruption).
  • In that same vein, when using as a healing CD (or range dps) always pair with a weapon swap to your best caster weapon.
  • If healing the raid, stay in bear form and use Rejuv on lower health targets. If healing the tank, then keep Rejuv on them and spam Healing Touch.
  • If using HotW as a dps CD, then cat dps tends to be a bit better than Wrath-spam, but only if you can pair it with Berserk (make sure to cast Berserk after you shift to cat form). If you cannot pair them, then go for a weapon swap and Wrath-spam.
  • For burst AOE dps, a weapon swap + Hurricane is obnoxiously powerful.
  • HotW can also be a semi-CD in the form of maintaining a Rejuv/spamming Rejuv on yourself while tanking. Not good in every situation, but very powerful in some.

Heart of the Wild Pros

  • 6% stamina and agility give a hefty chunk of EH and mitigation.
  • Powerful raid CD if used correctly in the encounter.
  • Much more flexibility in terms of application.

Heart of the WIld Cons

  • Requires a significant amount of tanking downtime to fully utilize (very encounter specific).
  • Requires a caster weapon to fully utilize.
  • Only a dps increase on certain fights.
  • Long CD and long duration makes for somewhat awkward usage.

Nature’s Vigil Details/Subtleties/Tips

  • Healing created by NV is smart healing, that means it rarely overheals and will usually be on yourself.
  • It cannot proc off of itself (the damage caused by healing done doesn’t proc more damage).
  • The 20% healing increase does affect FR, but it does not create extra damage.
  • Perfect time to use this is when you are both doing and taking a lot of damage at the same time. Fortunately, due to vengeance this happens a lot.
  • Pairing with a rage-gen CD like Berserk/Incarnation is very very powerful.

Nature’s Vigil Pros

  • Higher uptime with a shorter CD leads to more uses and more efficient usages over the course of a fight.
  • Much more reliable personal CD.
  • DPS increase if correctly timed with encounter mechanics/other abilities.
  • No need for a caster weapon.
  • No need for tanking downtime to fully utilize, in fact it works best WHILE tanking.

Nature’s Vigil Cons

  • Loss of EH/mitigation due to loss of passive 6% stats.
  • Your Tranquility is significantly weaker.
  • Less flexibility in terms of reacting to bad situations.

Fight Specifics – Which One Should You Use?

So now that we have all that information out of the way, we can talk about which one is optimal for which encounter. Remember, this is from a 25 man perspective, but some of it still applies to 10 man.

Mogu’shan Vaults

Stone Guard: NV all the way. Especially when tanking two of the Guardians, the combination of Berserk and NV is incredibly potent. Combine that with the fact that you will be using FR the entire fight and you have zero downtime, NV wins every time.

Feng the Accursed: HotW on progression. NV for farm kills. The extra passive stats are really beneficial when working on Feng, and you have lots of downtime during which you can utilize off spec roles. Once you outgear it a bit, go for NV and the extra dps output. If you are doing heroic mode, save NV for AOEing the shadow adds and watch your dps skyrocket. As a side bonus, NV also affects abilities granted by Shroud.

Gara’jal the Spritbinder: HotW wins every time. The name of the game is damage mitigation, so that extra agility is a godsend. Combine that with plenty of downtime and HotW is very strong on this fight. If you are struggling with the enrage on heroic, make sure you won’t be tanking during Bloodlust/Heroism and go nuts with Wrath for some pretty decent damage.

Sprit Kings: NV is best here. Since there is very little tank threatening damage, the extra stats aren’t that amazing. There is also zero tanking downtime, so use NV to help increase your dps and get through those bosses faster.

Elegon: Personally I am a big fan of HotW here, but NV is also super good. If your guild is struggling with Energy Charge damage, then go with NV and use that to help burn down some Charges. If not, then save HotW for AOEing down Cosmic Sparks (gogo Hurricane). No real wrong choice here.

Will of the Emperor: Another one where the choice is very close. NV has the added bonus of affecting Opportunistic Strikes, so it can dramatically increase your dps if timed correctly. However, if you notice that your health is spiking a lot, then HotW might be a better choice for you.

Heart of Fear

Imperial Vizier Zor’lok: I prefer HotW, as you can pair it with a Tranq to help counter a Force and Verve. That being said, NV could definitely be of use to help alleviate the spike damage of Exhale.

Blade Lord Ta’yak: Again I prefer HotW, because the extra stamina helps a bit with the Overwhelming Assaults. Also I found that popping it in the final tornado dodging phase helped because I could RJ the raid while moving and help the healers out a bit.

Garalon: Probably one of the best HotW fights there is. The stamina is great, but since you don’t deal much damage due to low vengeance, and you spend a lot of time out of range of the boss, the ability to spam RJ yourself and your co-tank/the raid is invaluable.

Wind Lord Mel’jarak: Actually one of the better NV fights. Use it once when tanking the big AOE pile at the beginning of the fight for massive dps and healing, and once again when Wind Lord is all buffed up at the end and taking/dealing more damage.

Amber Shaper Un’sok: Either ability is pretty strong here. NV is pretty nice for the final burn when he is taking a large amount of increased damage. But HotW is really nice for the extra passive stats. Another personal choice boss.

Grand Empress Shek’zeer: I haven’t actually seen this boss yet, so my gut instantly tells me that HotW is the better choice, and there is a tank swap you have time to utilize a quick HotW+Tranq to stabilize the raid, but NV could also have its uses to make the burn phase go faster and to burn down the P2 adds a little quicker. Probably another toss up fight.


  • Antema says:

    question regarding HotW:

    Some people asked me if it makes sense at bosses like Gara’Jal or Elegon, to stack Agi to get more damage out of HotW. In my oppinion I loose to much defence for HC. what would you suggest?


  • Wenselaas says:

    Not worth it. The damage gain would be almost negligible.

  • thesimplecat says:

    Plenty of tank downtime on spirit kings (hc), you can use the full duration of HOTW between transitions.

    CD on exhale totally does not line up with NV, rather pointless imho.

  • Jebediah Springfield says:

    Having done the encounter I would put HotW above NV for Shek’zeer. The thought that NV will help burn down adds faster doesn’t really work – the adds gain a stacking damage buff when they are near one another, to the point that trying to tank all of them for any extended period of time without a major cooldown (SI + Barkskin + ???) will get you your ass handed to you. My approach was to hit all the good CDs while gathering them after they spawned, hold out for a few solid GCDs worth of threat building, then typhoon them away, kite them around hunter trap, stamp roar, etc. while briefly catching a thrash or swipe on whatever is in range. NV isn’t beneficial to use here because you will have little direct face time on the adds aside from maintaining threat, and the heals would definitely not be enough to allow you to just straight up tank them all.

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