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Thread: On Threat - A phased approach to threat priorties

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    On Threat - A phased approach to threat priorties

    Single target boss tanking rotations can no longer be simplified into a wash-rinse-repeat priority list or cycle. There are 'phases' of tanking a boss, and each phase will have different priorities. The phases are The Opening, Debuffing, and TPS/DPS.

    The reason I put this together is because everyone is trying to simply warrior threat into a 12-step program. Your priorities list will change depending on which phase you are in (and many other factors).

    Note: I'm not including abilities off the GCD.

    Phase one - The Opening
    This is where our blood starts to flow... the pull. The sole focus in the opening is to get initial snap aggro so that you can guarantee the boss will be focused on you for the next 10 seconds or so. You probably won't have revenge lit up initially.

    You'll use abilities like:
    • Bloodrage as your pulling
    • Beserker Rage as your pulling
    • Retaliation as your pulling
    • Shield Slam, Devastate, or Concussion Blow on initial contact based on rage permitting.

    You'll likely go into a 'mini-cycle' for two or three GCDs to build a solid threat foundation so the rest of the raid can do it's work. Hit revenge if it lights up. Hit Shield Slam. I REALLY like ConcB here for it's shorter GCD, in case I miss.

    Phase two - Debuffs
    This phase is like an investment. You're still trying to build threat but focused on abilities that don't do immediate DPS or survival but that pay dividends over time.

    As necessary, you'll stack buffs/debuffs like:
    • Thunderclap
    • Demoralizing shout
    • Sunder armor (via Devastate)
    • Commanding shout/Battleshout

    while using your two top threat abilities (Rev, SS) as necessary to overcome the onslaught of DPS, although I wouldn't worry about your threat lead at this point. You might even prioritize debuffing over a SnB or Revenge Proc unless you have very agressive, overgeared dpsers.

    This phase may last as long as 20 seconds. The critical path is typically 5xSA. Watch for misses on your debuffs.

    Phase three - TPS/DPS
    This is where the threat priority list everyone knows about comes into play. Follow the flow charts as such. Keep debuffs up as necessary.

    SnB SS > Rev > SS > Dev/ConcB/ShockW*

    A flowchart created by Karilyn for your phase three priorities can be found here:

    On Concussion Blow, Shockwave, and Devastate

    How do you prioritize ConcB, ShockW, and Devastate?

    Depending on different specs, weapons, and gear levels these abilities may get integrated into your p3 threat priorities. It's clear to the community that Revenge and SS are the top dogs, but what comes after these two?

    If you don't have 5xSA applied, prioritize Devastate. Your DPS will thank you!

    I believe ConcB triggers a 1-second GCD -- it might be .75 seconds but I can't confirm this right now. If it is 1-second then it would effectively be 150% of the TPS/DPS as Shockwave. (If ConcB triggers a .75 second GCD, then its 200% the TPS/DPS of Shockwave.) Additionally, the CD is longer, so you'd like to get that started as soon as possible. In a single target situation, always, always prioritize ConcB over Shockwave.

    With 5xSA up, ConcB is a clear choice over Devastate for TPS/DPS at most current gear levels, regardless of rage, because of the shorter GCD and higher damage.

    With 5xSA up, Shockwave is much closer in DPS to Devastate and Prioritizing Shockwave over Devastate in your threat rotation should be based on the following:
    • Attack power (both scale on attack power, but I'm not sure the relationship is linear. Need more information about damage of each at specific AP levels)
    • Current Rage level (more rage in the pipe favors Shockwave)
    • Weapon speed (Slower weapons favor Devastate)
    • Weapon DPS (Higher DPS weapons favor Devastate)
    • SBV - Higher SBV favors devastate for SnB procs. Talents that increase SBV or SS damage favor Devastate.
    • T6 set bonus, Glyph of Blocking favor Devastate
    • Current SS cooldown, as the SS cooldown decreases, so does the value of SnB procs.
    • Talents that synergize with crit favor Devastate due to Devastate having increased chance to crit via SnB. Points in talents like Impale and Deep wounds favor Devastate.
    • Availability of Shield Block, and to a lesser extent Recklessness, favors Devastate

    I'm curious if anyone has done a comparsion of Devastate and Shockwave based on these factors?

    To summarize:
    You have different priorities at the start of a single-target boss fight then you do in the middle/end of the fight.

    Phase 1. Establish aggro
    Phase 2. stack debuffs
    Phase 3. Optimize TPS/DPS

    If your killing trash that doesn't live long, you'll likely skip phase 2.
    Applying and keeping debuffs up is more important TPS/DPS unless your in danger of losing aggro.
    ConcB and Shockwave are not the same in single target siutations. Although they do identical damage, ConcB is significantly better for single target TPS due to the shorter GCD.
    Devastate is a much sexier key before the 5-stack of sunders has been applied. After 5xSA, the verdict is out on ShockW/ConcB/Devastate priorities based on a number of factors.
    Last edited by Myzery; 11-21-2008 at 04:28 PM. Reason: added shield block, and cleaned up intro, added flow chart, spelling!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Reserved to elaborate.

    I probably need to add some assumptions.

    I also need to do a lot more work on the Devastate/ConcB/Shockwave priorities. Any information on these is appreciated!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Everett, Wa
    The problem I see with this theory is that it does not use a large part of our TPS / DPS ability, which is Shield Slam.

    Sword and Board was specifically designed for us to have an instant BAM!, "there's agro", ability. If you're not using Devastate to it's fullest capabilities you are limiting how many Shield Slam's you are getting on your rotation.

    Let's take my Boss Tanking rotation for example. This is the spec I am using for now, I am running some extensive raid tests atm with it, I might change it later12/0/59

    I first use Bloodrage, wait until I have 18 or 19 rage and Charge as I have Imp Charge and Warbringer and start the fight with Shield Slam, to gain the highest amount of threat upon the start of the fight.

    I then proceed to use my Devastate / Heroic Strike macro. This is simply just
    /cast Devastate
    /cast Heroic Strike
    I use this macro as the first hit is almost always going to be a white hit, with a queued up HS and since the Devastate is independent of your swings you will start to alternate your attacks with HS / Dev with almost no normal white swings. The reason for this macro is to maximize Sword and Board. Every 1 in 4 attacks is going to result in Shield Slam being activated at zero rage. This is our bread and butter. It was made for this specific reason.

    Now factor in the last minute change in beta to S&B, which was Revenge also procing the S&B talent. Using the above rotation, as soon as Revenge is up, you always use it. Twist in TC / Shockwave as the cooldowns are up for added TPS / DPS.

    Essentially what you're doing is manipulating the use of your Shield Slam. If you are constantly using Devasate as a part of your rotation, you are going to have a free Shield Slam on every 4th or 5th hit, if you add the use of Revenge to the rotation, you're going to have a free Shield Slam every 2 to 3 hits.

    Now granted, I have keybindings set up on both sides of the keyboard, I'm an old FPSer and use my num keypad to use my abilities, and have my macro tied to button 0, while I rotate SS and Revenge using the F key and G key respectively.

    I have tested many rotations since Beta started and this one was the defacto best I could find. I can maintain upwards of 3500 TPS and have spiked as high as 6200 because I am always using Shield Slam.

    That's just my 2 cents, comments / flames are welcome.

    *Note, I am no math whiz, and that math is probably going to be a bit off but it's 4 am and I'm not even going to try to work the math on it.

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