View Full Version : Tanking Tanking in Cataclysm

02-28-2011, 12:06 AM
Evening Folks.

Currently I'm having trouble tanking in Cataclysm. Also, as of 2/28/2011 i am looking for a solid 25m progression guild. I'm 9/12 bosses in nm, with non in HM.

I play a Prot warrior.

I decided to write out all my thinking, my current build, my current setup, and everything else in between to be analyses and criticized for errors. It'll also help out protection tankers who are starting to raid.

Specifically, I have huge trouble with multi target threat, but that's not going to affect the raid.
More importantly, I'm barely toping the threat meters, with dps at my 90%. I'm pretty sure they could pull agroo if they went full out.


Current Build as of Time of writing (aoe)


Build i respec into for Single Target Threat


Thinking behind tree. (Iíll writing my thinking behind each 5 skill jump)

Starting at base skills I had

0-5 skill level

3 Toughness: easy choice, more armor is more mitigation
2 Incite: Single Target Threat means Iíll be taking this over blood and thunder.

5-10 skill level

3 Shield mastery: Essentially 30 seconds off my shield blood, which is a must-have.
2 Hold The Line: Rage isn't a huge issue, so mitigation it is. This reason why Parry>dodge.

10-15 skill level

2 Bastion of defense: Again, more mitigation
1 Last Stand: My 'o shit skill'.
1 Concussion Blow: Not very important, but unlocks vigilance which is a must-have for some fights.
1 War bringer: Allows me to use charge, which is incredibly useful.

15-20 skill level

1 Devastate: Essentially an upgrade to sunder armor. No drawbacks except there are some glyphs that work only with sunder.
2 Revenge: +60% more damage from revenge = better STT (single target threat)

I actually really like impending victory. However, most high end tanks Iíve looked at don't take it so i passed it up.

I use to do:
If bosses is 20 %<
Spam devastate and then follow up with victory rush if it procs.

This comes out to 1 victory rush every 4.5 seconds, or 5% of my health every 4.5 seconds. If i glyph for it, that doubles to 10% of my health every 4.5seconds. It seems however, that the generally consensus online of this skill is that it healers very little for the 2 skill points, and people would rather put it elsewhere.

Because there are no more skills on the 4th level, we return to previous levels to see what we can do.

2 Shield Specialization for more rage.

20-25 skill level

1 Vigilance: Vigilance is a must have in some boss fights (TB, Halfus when he has slate). It also very useful when tanking ads, as i throw it up on the MT and it allows me to spam taunt (maloriak adds, tot4w green guy's adds)

2 Heavy Repercussions: Shield slam is my main threat skill, so essentially 1/3 of the time, my shield slam hits for x2 damage. This also translates to 33% damage increase for shield slam overall, if shield block has no up time.

Again, there are no more usable skills in the 5th level. (Thunderstruck improves cleave and thunder clap slightly, but other skills are better).

1 Shield specialization: more rage

1 Incite: more threat

25-30 skill level

3 Sword and board: Important skill as it allows me to spam shield spam more. Also devastate dps increase for more threat.

Safeguard is an interesting skill. It might be possible to have some points in it, and use it on the MT so his damage mitigation increases, 30% less damage for 6 seconds every 30 seconds. However, as a MT i would never use this as i draw me away from the boss. Intervene also decreases target threat by 10%, which might not be ideal (no idea how other tanks threats are going).

Because Iím not taking safeguard, i need to look at my other options. Blood and thunder is mainly an aoe skill, but it allows me to remove rend from my rotation and just use thunderclap. Gag order is meh; it mainly just interrupts trash, which is meh. Thunderstruck increases rend and thunderclap damage, but thatís not that important.[/i]

I went with 2 in blood and thunder, as it allows me to remove rend from my rotation.

30-31 skill level

Interesting enough, my ultimate skill is useless in STT. My remaining skills that i can use are impending victory, gag order, thunderstruck, or safeguard.

I choose +1 thunderstruck for slightly more threat.

31-36 skill level

2 Field dressing: Healers heal bigger, must have
3 War Academy: Makes my devastate hit bigger, but more importantly it's better than blitz, and it unlocks 5 skills into arms tree, which gives me deep wound.

36-41 skill level

3 deep wound. Another rend effect DoT which gives me threat.
2 Cruelty: More damage more threat.

Things i might change.
If threat was not an issue at all, and i was going for pure damage mitigation i would replace a lot of damage increasing skills and give +3 blood crazy, +2 impending victory, +2 safeguard, +2 second wind (prioritized in that order)

If i was mainly off tank, Iíll remove some STT threat skills like incite, and add to 1 shockwave, 2 thunderstruck, 2 safeguard. I also might remove some more STT threat skills and improve my mitigation skills above.

Prime - I can only use devastate, revenge, and shield slam, so easy 3/3
Major- for STT i use resonating power, heroic throw, and spell reflection. Very different for add tanking or general tanking however.
Minor- Berserker rage and demoralizing shout are the only ones that have any affect in combat. For my third i use Intimidating shout, as it makes the skill viable.

Final build (again)



My general regard toward stats depends on what instance you are tanking, and where you are right now.

To sum it up, for normal 25 mans, i feel 150k hp, 50% block, and 13-11 parry dodge is where you want to be. In other words, absolutely ignore adding stamina (except for enchant chest and puissant dream emeralds). Stack mastery as high as possible then go for parry/dodge. The magic number is 77.4% avoidance, as with a shield block you get 100% mitigation proc rating of 102.4.

I've speced stacking mastery, as not only does it not give you diminishing returns like parry/dodge, but it actually scales increasing returns the more you get. (Increase both block, and critical block. Critical block is the percentage of blocks that stop double damage (60%))

For heroics 25ms, however, you can't completely ignore stamina. The bosses do actually hit hard enough that health pools seem to be an issue, and hence you need some extra stamina to give healers a margin of error. Hence heroics i want to be around 180k health with 50-55% block, 15 parry and 13% dodge. Note: i haven't even reached anywhere near this point so this is pure speculation.

Important note for JC: Game design wise, the +stamina gems give about 50% more than other gems. For example, solid ocean sapphire gives 60 stamina while bold inferno, or fracture amber jewel give +40. This scale applies too for the 3 chimera eye gems that JC's can use. Because of that, when respecing for stamina, go for the solid chimera eyes first. Although logically, the 50% bonus is across the board, the real results are better. I would rather have 50% of something larger than 50% of something smaller. I would rather have 50% of the solids over the 50% of the fractured. One way to do this is to only use the 3 chimera eyes for health, and everything else into mitigation.

The exact parry:dodge ratio is given by this graph which is halfway down the page.


I've given up specing for expertise and hit for now, everywhere i look tanks are going for mitigation, mitigation, mitigation. Gear wise, I'm nearly at full 359 epics (357 ilvl) and i think it's not the gear, it's the person. Either something is wrong with my threat rotation, or Iím missing something. More on that later.


General idea is to max out mastery.

Blue is Puissant dream emerald (+20 mastery, +30 stamina)
Red is fine ember Topaz (parry and mastery)
Yellow is fractured amber jewel (mastery)
Meta is Austere, although this is up in the air. I like the magic damage mitigation one because warriors suck at magic mitigation. Increased shield block might also be an option if my mastery is really high.

As Iím a JC and a BS, i get 3 extra slots and 3 JC. I just use fractured chimera's eye (+67 mastery)


If it doesn't have mastery, add mastery
If it doesn't have parry or dodge, add either one depending on ratio (stacking parry is a big no no, use the damn graph above linked in stats)

Tanking openings Single target

Change to Battle stance
Use Berserker rage + shout for 25 rage
Use shattering throw
Change to defensive stance
Use Heroic throw + charge
Shield block + shield slam for your first attack.


Heroic strike should always be on Cd (it doesn't use GCD, but shares it with cleave) -- (unless pressed for rage)

Shield slam should always be on CD
Rend ONCE early on in the fight, then use thunderclap to refresh it
Revenge if it procs
Lastly, devastate is your "free GCD and nothing else to do' ability. It has no CD, so you can always use it. The exception to this rule is early on in the fight you want 3 stacks of devastate for threat.

Heroic throw,
Demoralizing shout.

Heroic throw costs no rage, doesnít' trigger GCD, and is free. Use it
Demoralizing shout is damage mitigation and threat. Use it, but don't rage starve yourself.

Heroic leap is also something you can use situational.

Things to maintain on boss.
Thunderclap, rend, 3 stacks of devastate, demoralizing shout.

Key bindings:

Easier if i just show it to you


Source http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/820354-The-Protection-Guide-Cataclysm-Edition

Green keys and MMB (Middle Mouse Button) is key bound to my main abilities, these keys are accessible to use while still keeping your hands on the "WASD" movement keys.

Red keys are modifiers; I use them in conjunction with the easy to reach Green keys for all my main abilities. The use of Red modifier keys allows you to key-bind 3 times more abilities than you would be able to with just using the green keys by themselves, and your able to do this while still keeping your hands over the "WASD" keys for quick character movements, and the other hand on the mouse for camera and character control.

Orange keys are other abilities that are not typically part of your rotation and have longer cool downs (i.e.: Battle/Commanding Shout, Potions, and other abilities you use primarily out of combat). Reaching for these keys usually means you have to take your hand off the "WASD" movement keys which is not ideal during battle.

Yellow key is what I use for Vent, communication is very important for tanks and I find that having my Push to Talk key where I can easily reach it is just as important as your main abilities.

The only differences is i include f5 and f6 for precombat abilities
I use CTRL for push to talk in vent
I include c and v as skill buttons.

F1-F6 are precombat abilities.
~ (the thing left of the number 1 button) is used for swapping between single target abilities and multi target abilities.
12345 are defensive mitigation skills
qefgcv are regular damage skills. qe is high priority, cv is second, fg is third (just a personal preference)

Gear + Enchants.

http://www.maxdps.com is the place to go. Theyíre not absolutely accurate; i disagree with some of their gem rankings. However, they have a mathematical system ranking everything, and it's always good to have one to look at (even if it's slightly flawed).


If you look at my 2 pictures above, you'll see all the add-ons i have.


I use Bartend for my bars
Deadly boss mods for not sucking
MikSCrollingbattle text for damage
Open Threat for threat meters
Omnicc for cooldowns (don't really need it as i can kinda judge from the animation)
Recount for seeing how much i suck
Satrina buff frames to move debuffs in the middle so i don't die from debuffs
Threat plates so that everyone i have agro is green and their name plates are small. If i don't have agro they're red and their name plates are huge.

Grid+gridmanabars - note, gride failed on me, so you can't see it in the picture above. Will repost an image when i have a chance.

General life
Auctioneer to lose money slower
autorepair to automate something
Bulk Mail inbox so i don't have carpel tunnel at 25.
Gearscore for pugs so i know who to kick.

Food and Elixirs

I use elixir of mastery + prismatic elixir.

I see a lot of tanks using flask of steel skin, but mitigation is king, not health pools. Prismatic is actually very good, gives 10-20% of magic mitigation. +225 mastery is obviously excellent.

For food, i use lava scale minestrone.

Sources and websites I use
http://www.maxdps.com to see what to hunt for/enchant/gem
http://www.wowprogress.com to see who the best players are
http://us.battle.net a quick scan of players and their progression

2-27 first rough draft

Things to do - cleanup for readability.

02-28-2011, 01:39 AM
Is this a threat where you ask about us helping you about your tanking issues or a guide, I dont get it?

02-28-2011, 01:47 AM
This is a guide to newer people, and an appeal to all experienced tankers on how i can improve.

02-28-2011, 02:14 AM
Well, reading trough everything only thing I can suggest is not implying so much on avoidance stats at the start, there are fights like chimaeron and nefarian on normal and heroic where effective health will help you alot more than haveing high ammount of dodge/parry.
Espeshaly on learning the encounters my basic itemisation was going compleatly for stamina+mastery.
The ammount of precasted big hits (with timers) in this raiding content is huge. Most of it is magic damage so avoidance doesnt help.
Sure its cool when you dodge/parry the 300k hits Chimaeron does on double attacks but thats luck based.
Also I would almost never use shield block for threat, rather than a small time mitigation CD when the raid takes loads of aoe dmg or when healers are haveing a hard time topping you off.
I dont think single target threat is an issue exept when you have bloodlust at the start of the encounter plus there are MD/Tricks/aggro dropping skills so I would not use deep wounds as a threat ability even in aoe tanking.
Maybe it would have helped a bit more on fights like Maloriak HC before the nerf where adds had too much HP but other than that its pritty much useless in my opinion.
As for aoe tanking its the same with every tanking class, if there arent enouth aggro rediretion skills at the start and your dps does nuke all the way from the start you`ll probably end up loosing aggro. At least the change to inner rage helps a bit with cleaving now so its slightly improved.

02-28-2011, 10:36 AM
I don't really like your approach about the rotation. Either you should describe it as a true priority system (which it actually is), or you should describe it as a 4 GCD-cycle that is reset by every SnB procc. I've found that the later approach - while less accurate - helps much more to "see" what we are doing. You can find many of such descriptions here in recent HALP-forum posts.

Another thing I don't agree with, is what you write about devastate. It's not high on our priority for it's own dmg. But it's quite important to use for SnB procs. So it's not something like a filler, but really usefull. It has a higher priority than anything but SS and Revenge, while it can proc an early SS. And you are writing that one should use 3 early Devastates "for threat". That's just not true. Sure Sunder Armor debuff ups our dmg, but that does fall behind against an SS. Especially if backed up with Heavy Repercussions. If you go for threat you have to go for high initial threat - because later on you get it more or less "free" because of Vengeance. So it's much better to wait with the low burst dmg/threat of Devastate if something better can be used.

Btw: If you are running caster heavy, you will not help them with Sunder. If you are running "melee heavy" you probably have others who can and will much more easily and early apply a 3 sunder stack. And if you glyph for Heroic Throw and open up with it as you describe you only need 2 Devastate to get the full stack, anyway.

More important: Demo shout is nothing to spam. It does not help dmg or threatwise in any way. It's "only" a major dmg reduction debuff. So you should ensure that it's up (at least for dmg heavy encounters). But if anybody else does apply the effect, it's best ignored by the warrior tank at all.

And about your "final spec": It is missing Shockwave...

Edit: Another random comment about your introductional lines (I just try to not read them as a "looking for guild"-post): If your dps are sitting at 90% threat you have a very nice cushion. They need to get to 110% threat to pull of you when they are in melee range or even 130% if they are further away. That's 20% or even 40% more than where they are. Btw: more or less everything is tauntable at the moment. If you have problems of people easily pulling off of you later into the encoutner you are doing something wrong...

Edit2: About the "magic number" of mastery stacking or however you call it. It's not "77.4% avoicance". It's 72.4% combined parry+ dodge+block. Or 77.4% combined parry + dodge + miss + block. Block is NOT avoidance, so don't mix that stuff up.

02-28-2011, 10:44 AM
and concussion blow has a 2xDmg threat modifyer before defensive stance, making it more threat than just about everything but an HR backed SS.

03-02-2011, 02:56 AM
Devastate is good, in the end term you`ll get more treat from simply spamming it due to free SS procs. Its not the best opener but once I get enouth threat at the start I just smash devastates and HS on +50rage, waiting for SS procs and revenge availability/cd.