Avoidance and You! Death of the Avoidance Set?
I was looking at the extra gear in my bag yesterday thinking about what I could trim to save some space. There were several items that I didn't want to get rid of because they were avoidance items. But when do I use these items? I started thinking about what fights were good for avoidance.
Now before I get started I wanted to define avoidance. When *I* say avoidance I mean dodge, parry, and miss. I know people like to count block as an avoidance stat but I don't. Also, I am aware that druids could give a crap about parry. However for the purposes of this discussion, identifying avoidance fights, we are going to run with dodge, parry, and miss.
Avoidance = Dodge, Parry, and Miss.
Now I want to identify what exactly avoidance does, in other words what is the effect of avoidance on the raid as a whole. Avoidance does a few things that come to mind.
First thing it does, and probably the biggest thing, is it reduces the amount of mana healers need to make it though the fight. Why? In most fights tanks take more damage than any other raid member and the less damage the tank takes the less stress on the healers.
Second thing avoidance does is it triggers abilities like Rune Strike or Revenge. I know that this is huge for DKs for threat generation as Rune Strike can be their #1 threat ability depending on their play style/spec.
Next avoidance controls how predictable the incoming damage on a tank is. This is the perception, from the healers point of view, of how "spiky" a tank is. If a tank is very spiky he become difficult to heal. For example if a tank stacks avoidance over everything else his HP pool will be smaller and he will not reduce each hit he takes by much. So he might have a 80% avoidance however if he only has 25k HP every hit he takes will reduce him to 5k HP or lower. Each hit he takes will be bigger, like 20k, but he will not be hit by most of the hits. He might be taking less overall damage, but he is very hard to heal because the hits he takes are a large percentage of his Health pool.
The opposite of this is if a tank stacks effective health of 50K HP and has no avoidance at all, he is going to take every hit and each hit will be reduced due to armor. Each hit he takes will be about 10k and he will take a ton more overall damage, but he is much easier to heal as the damage is predictable.
Last thing that avoidance does is affect rage generation for the warrior and Druid tanks. More avoidance equals less rage. As each hit they take generates rage.
Ok, to sum up what we have so far...
1) Avoidance = Dodge, Parry, and Miss.
2) Affects healer mana spent.
3) Affects threat via abilities like Rune Strike or Revenge.
4) Controls the predictability of incoming damage.
5) Controls rage generation.
Now I asked myself which of these things would be beneficial to the raid to warrant stacking avoidance. Really the only one that stands out is:
2) Affects healer mana spent.
So I started looking at all the fights we currently do and which ones do healers start to suffer on mana for any reason, not just because of tank damage. As we are looking at the big picture of how can we help out the raid to progress or whatever the case may be.
Flame Leviathan - N/A
Ignis - Not particularly a mana intensive fight.
Razorscale - Not particularly a mana intensive fight.
XT-002 - Can be difficult to heal due to spikes of damage but is not that mana intensive.
Kologarn - Not particularly a mana intensive fight.
Assembly of Iron - Not particularly a mana intensive fight.
Auriaya - Not particularly a mana intensive fight.
Hodir - This is a mana intensive fight for healers. However this is a heavy threat fight for tanks due to the buffs that the DPS get. On top of that the tanks often have to wear a piece of frost resist gear. Thus making it difficult to stack avoidance to save on healer mana.
Thorim - This is a unique fight due to Unbalancing Strike. This can miss the tank however it cannot be dodged or parried. However he does have a stacking buff that makes him harder and harder to tank however this part of the fight is about mitigating the damage not avoiding it. EH seems to win out here. Particularly on hard mode.
Freya - Not particularly a mana intensive fight. It can be on Hard mode if you have a lot of raid members taking too much of the AE damage. However avoidance isn't going to save your healers a ton of mana here as most of the damage is AE.
Mimiron - This is another case both in regular mode and hard mode where the bulk of the strain on the healers is going to come from raid damage. Tanks are not even tanking during phase 2 and during phase 3 tanks are only taking small amounts of damage from the adds.
General Vezax - This is the fight that avoidance really stands out. He is a slow hitting boss so damage can be unpredictable as it is already. On top of that the mana mechanic of this fight makes mana very tight for the healers. And if you are doing Hard Mode mana is very, very, hard to keep around. So reducing the overall damage taken is a very favorable thing to do here. Keep in mind that this is if you are tanking the boss. If you are off tanking the Saronite Animus on hard mode you are going to want to stack threat or balance threat and avoidance. This part of the hard mode is very threat intensive as you have to burn the Saronite Animus as fast as possible.
Yogg-Saron - Not particularly a mana intensive fight.
Algalon - Favors EH or a block set over Avoidance.
Trial of the Crusader
Northrend beasts - With one of the worms enraging in phase 2 and the threat of the possibility of Icehowl Enraging due to someone failing to move out of the way, EH wins for this fight.
Lord Jaraxxus - Not particularly a mana intensive fight.
Faction Champions - N/A cannot effectively tank these mobs.
Twin Val'kyr - Not particularly a mana intensive fight.
Anub'arak - In phase 3 this is a very mana intensive fight, however this is due to massive raid damage that he does not the tank damage.
So look back at the list I only see one fight that avoidance really stands out and that is General Vezax. This is only on man's opinion. If you disagree with something I said let me know what you think, as of right now I am not too impressed with stacking avoidance at all. Also if you have something to add post it! Tell me what you think. I am all about keeping multiple sets of tanking gear around for different fights.
Closing thoughts, with ToC here and Ulduar on its way out, there does not seem to be a need to keep an avoidance set around anymore.