View Full Version : Just beginning to tank..

07-25-2009, 07:27 AM
And I would like advice from expert tanks on how to get better. I want to at least be good at heroics and work my way up to Naxx and maybe even Ulduar. I have my gear on and I am using a HW glyphed Frost spec but have thought of trying out blood. Any suggestions will be most appreciated. I also want to add I never really have much any tanking so it will be a new experience to me. Here is my armoy link: The World of Warcraft Armory (http://www.wowarmory.com/character-talents.xml?r=Anvilmar&n=Dravok)

I will probably switch out what I have as my tanking weapon for TSD.

07-25-2009, 07:48 AM
I don't play a DK, so i can't help you with your spec or rotation, however if you want to get better, the only way is to practice.

Obviously start out by reading the DK threads here to learn proper rotation/spec, but the only way to get good at tanking is to tank. Grab some people from your guild and explain to them you want to learn to tank. A well geared(and hopefully competent) healer can make this learning procese much easier as they should be able to save you from yourself at times.

If you're nervous, start out in a regular dungeon instead of a heroic. Offer to tank for some people that are leveling. That will atleast give you a feel for picking up mobs. Then once you get a bit of confidence start doing heroics. Learn your limits. Know how much you can pull, know how many mobs you can handle. Learn what mobs cast spells, and what mobs heal. That way they can be dealt with first. Knowledge is the cornerstone to good tanking. It takes a lot of trial and error, but the work will pay off.

Once you've done some guild runs, try a trade chat pug. Just grab the first people that offer to go when you ask. They won't listen, they will do everything wrong, and they will make the heroic WAY harder than it ever should be, BUT it will definately show you how things can go wrong, and what you should expect to go wrong. It will be painful, but it will help(any time that i get discouraged by my guilds progress or their abilities, i make myself join the very next "LF1M tank" that i see pop up in trade chat. It rapidly restores my faith in my guild).

Thats all i've got for now.

07-25-2009, 10:52 AM
I agree with the above post about practice, especially in pugs. PUGs can be hell, but I can't think of a better way to really test yourself and learn than by doing them then that.

As a new tank myself, I can also say it might be better to stay frost until you're really comfortable/relatively geared, just because it's simple. It's simple in it's rotation, and it's simple in that you really don't have to try too too hard to keep threat, even on targets you really arent focusing at all. Blood you have to switch more and stuff. I'm not saying don't go blood, personally I prefer it and want to be it, but I want to get a little more comfortable with myself before I do that. That could be just me though.

Also, again i dont know if this is just me, but ive found so far that i miss a WHOLE lot more as blood than i do as frost, which again is probably just the gear level, but if you're doing low low content stuff you might want to consider that too.

Edit: i dont know why some people do it, and i know some people say that Frost is the most "Runic power starved" tree, but personally i havent had any problems with that what so ever, and if anything find that frost striking is getting in the way almost of what im doing, minus a few 2-3 second long areas where i have nothing to do, so i put points into virulence instead of scent of blood.

07-25-2009, 11:27 AM
I also want to break the habit of looking down at my hotkeys to see what is not on cooldown. Is there an addon that will help me with that?

07-26-2009, 02:51 AM
Get a bar addon(I prefer Dominos, but Bartender is great too) and just hide your action bars. If you can't see them you can't look at them. If that isn't something you can manage, do that, but also get a CD tracker(can't think of the names of any off the top of my head), it will basicly show countdown timer bars for your ability CDs. You can then position the bars somewhere they can be easily seen and that should hopefully break the habit.

07-26-2009, 04:33 AM
First off, I'd like to point out that your gear is off the chain. Well done. I also noticed your def rating is 556, and you have a +8 def/12 stam rock on your belt. You could definitely get away with swapping that out for a full Stam stone, or maybe a strength stone since for us DK tanks, Str = parry. Your avoidance, not including the chance to be missed overall, is still pretty darn nice I'd say. 34% unbuffed. The easiest rotation I've ever used (And it holds aggro surprisingly well) is DnD, HB, BB first round, HB, BB, OB, BB for the second. By then your DnD should be back, or reasonably close so transition back to the first. It's not the most technical rotation ever, but since I switched to that, I don't lose aggro to anything but AotD.. or death. But you didn't hear that last part ;) Oh, and tanking for pugs is a brave, brave feat to embark upon, but it really will restore faith in your guildies.

07-27-2009, 12:15 PM
The above guys are most definitely on the right track when it comes to tanking in general.

Which spec you tank in is really comes down to personal preference. Until you start top tier raiding like Ulduar hard modes, you don't need to worry too much about the technical differences because your gear can blur or mitigate differences. I advise trying each spec out, though unholy tanking may become a pariah with the new change in UB in 3.2; time will tell.

Once you pass the 540 defense skill mark there's no need to gem for defense. If you have about 27-28% dodge and 17-18% parry just start gemming straight for stamina. If you get the gear (or gem for it) to put you at 565 defense skill, switch your rune to Swordshattering from Stoneskin. Since you've hit your def cap, now you need your expertise cap at 26 for duel-wielding (which you should be doing, at least until 3.2 comes out). This helps your threat. After that, work on your hit cap to reach 262.

Hades' rotation is great for multi-target; depending on how trigger happy your group is you could also switch HB and DnD for the burst of initial threat. What I do is have my first bar for single-target rotation then my second bar for multi-target situations and I switch with shift+mouse scroll. Quick and easy. For single targets, I usually go IT, PS, OB, BS, OB, Runic Dump (RP dump with FS; in general, don't use death coil as frost).

Howling Blast
Unbreakable Armor

Icebound Fortitude: works best for slow-attacking, hard-hitting bosses, but while the CD is still 1min it's still the best CD we have.
Unbreakable Armor: works best for mobs and faster, weaker attacks.
Anti-magic shield: I macro this to both IF and UA because the CD is so sexy and I get the 10% reduced physical dmg reduction from my gear. Works best against spell dmg, obviously, so use it accordingly.


Maneuver mobs so that they are not hitting you in the back because you can't dodge those attacks
Face enemies away from your group so that they dont take dmg from frontal cone attacks and melee rotations are eased because they dont have to worry about the enemy dodging their attacks
Your best friend is your healer. Know where he is and what is mana situation is.
Take constructive criticism. You're new, you're learning, and you're gonna mess up plenty.

07-27-2009, 12:20 PM
Once you pass the 540 defense skill mark there's no need to gem for defense. If you have about 27-28% dodge and 17-18% parry just start gemming straight for stamina. If you get the gear (or gem for it) to put you at 565 defense skill, switch your rune to Swordshattering from Stoneskin. Since you've hit your def cap, now you need your expertise cap at 26 for duel-wielding (which you should be doing, at least until 3.2 comes out). This helps your threat. After that, work on your hit cap to reach 262.

I have heard some debate on dual-wielding. If what I have heard is correct you need almost 750 HR to be hit capped if you dual wield which would make gemming for anything other than hit near impossible. Can anyone confirm that?

07-27-2009, 12:29 PM
Even single wielding, all you really care for is soft-capping your specials (8% or 263 hit rating). Capping your white swings isn't practical, and same philosophy applies for dual wielding. Also, the DW talent will have a baked in +hit modifier to ease things along.

For general tanking, If you don't want to stam stack, consider dodge/stamina or parry/stamina in EQUAL proportios. Only DKs can get away with some parry gemming, and even then its frowned upon, but don't go overboard with one or the other, due to diminshing returns. If you wish to learn tanking, one other advise I would add along with everybody else is to get a trustworthy healer. I can't recall too many dps races in heroics (H UP Skadi is the only one atm), so having a healer back you up when you slip is comforting. If you pug a healer, and end up with a less geared or inept one, well that's gonna ruin your day.

08-01-2009, 07:50 AM
Thx for all the help. Before I do begin, I have just a couple more things to ask. First, here's my rotation so I know I'm doing it right.

Single: HB-BS-BS-OB (runic dump)
OB-OB-OB (runic dump)

AoE: DnD-HB-BB-BT-BB (runic dump)
HB-BB-BB-OB (runic dump)
HB-BB-BB-OB (runic dump)

Second, I want to see if I am gemming correctly. Here's my armory link again The World of Warcraft Armory (http://www.wowarmory.com/character-talents.xml?r=Anvilmar&n=Dravok). Finally, what addons if any would you use for tanking?

08-01-2009, 11:55 PM
Rotation looks good.

Spec looks fine, theres a couple things I would change but its mostly personal preference. I think Scent of Blood is kind of a waste of talent points as I find myself maxed on RP after most rotations and ready to dump. A 15% chance to generate 15 RP over 8-10 seconds is not very much RP overall.


Replace the 2% spell power meta with the Austere Earthsiege Diamond (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=41380).

Replace the stam gem in your yellow belt socket with a Vivid Forest Emerald (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=40088)-- IF you want. You will wind up with only 6 less stam instead of 12 less due to the socket bonus, but 8 more hit, which you are lacking at the moment. Gemming is a lot of preference, gold, and laziness. I re-gem almost every new piece I get to make sure I am at my caps or as close to them as possible. Some people may disagree with me but I don't see any reason to waste free bonuses from socketing the right gems....it just means less things you have to worry about later.

You are well over defense capped as well...you may want to look into swapping out some defense enchants for 8 or 10 Stats(chest), 30 Stam (Shoulders), Haste or Agi (Cloak). This is up to you and your financial situation though because as you replace those blues you will undoubtedly find your defense much lower.

Drop the Mirror of Truth asap as that is essentially a useless tanking trinket--sure its got threat by way of AP but there are much better easy to get tanking trinkets. Go run Heroic Azjol Nerub for the Essence of Gossamer (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=37220).

Most of these suggestions are going to be only minor improvements but in the world of tanking, every little bit counts.


08-04-2009, 01:49 PM
Ok I'm gonna start running H AN for the trinket. Should I drop Deathchill for Hungering Cold? I'll also will rechant a few pieces since I am way over defense cap.

08-05-2009, 01:03 AM
After the new patch, I'd recommend an agi enchant on the cloak since it was nerfed like hell, or at least according to my stats lol. Also, i think there's a glitch in the matrix or something, but when I looked at your frost build, there was a bunch of inactive talents, so I won't pick on it too bad. What I did notice was the lack of 5/5 in Anticipation. As DK tanking is pure avoidance, why wouldn't you take the 5% dodge? As I said, it might just be glitched. Your glyphs look good though. I just wish you weren't saved in your DPS gear, because that makes it real tough to give advice. As far as dropping deathchill, personally, I'd advise against that. While hungering cold is an effective pause button, and a wonderful "OH SHIZ" preventor, but tanking is the fine art of getting your butt kicked and living through it. Deathchill makes everything you hit with Howling Blast wanna hit you that much more. While the utility of Hungering Cold or Improved Icy Talons is undeniable, they're just less "tanky" imo than Deathchill and with the latter example, you're missing out on a great deal to get it.