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Thread: What Talents NOT to Get.

  1. #1
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    What Talents NOT to Get.

    Death Knight tanking builds vary throughout three different trees. Which is pretty awesome. Three trees offers a large range of places to spend your talent points.

    Thus people went around making Unholy builds, Frost builds, Blood builds. There are a ton of different builds for Death Knight tanking, most of them pretty decent.

    But with all of these builds out there, nobody knows exactly which one to use. So, instead of inventing new builds, we are here to decide what talents should never be used for tanking, what talents could be used for tanking, and what talents are pretty much given for tanking.

    The format will look like this:

    (Example)
    Unholy:
    N (Meaning Never spend points in this.) - Unholy Aura
    M (Maybe you could, it wouldn't be a total waste.) - Summon Gargoyle
    A (Pretty much always invest in these points.) - Anticipation

    This way, Death Knights can get an idea of how to build their build.

    Note: I would prefer "Never" posts much more than posts arguing about something being a "Maybe" or an "Always". If someone can find a legitimate use for something marked as "Never", then it will be bumped up to "Maybe".

    Also: This thread is made entirely by YOU guys. I won't sit here and say I know everything, and also, your posts don't have to be full of talents and where they should go, a post about one talent is much appreciated.

    Blood:
    N-


    M-


    A- Blade Barrier

    Frost:
    N- Frost Aura


    M-


    A- Toughness

    Unholy:
    N-


    M- Unholy Aura


    A- Anticipation
    Last edited by Nerlth; 01-04-2009 at 09:45 AM.

  2. #2
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    I'll just get us started.

    Unholy:

    In my opinion, Unholy Aura is completely pointless for tanking; yet, there are many tanks who continue to use it. It does absolutely nothing for you as a tank, nothing.

    Anticipation, is a talent thats pretty much given. You need Anticipation.

  3. #3
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    I'm going to have to disagree, the faster you can get to a mob the faster you can begin tanking it. I've always supported run speed increases for tanking and it's also a nice buff for boosting survivability of your raid. That said I would toss it under maybe rather than never since your raid can survive with out it with moderate intelligence and a run speed enchant to your boots can give you a similar buff although not as great. But if you have a few points laying around it wont hurt to spec into it.

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    You should be getting Unholy Aura for much the same reason prot warriors get Warbringer- the ability to close to targets fast is incredibly useful for a tank.

  5. #5
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    Considering we have deathgrip I have to disagree, and usually, its hard for me to have any left over points, but if you can find a use for it, I will bump it up.

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    I submit that Unholy Aura brings great benefit to the raid in its entirety - help those keyboard turners move out of the fire faster?

    <keyboard turner here>

  7. #7
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    Ok, ok, Unholy Aura is a "Maybe".

    Can we move onto other talents?

    (Although I still think that with the limited number of talent points available, they are better spent in other places.)

  8. #8
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    Well obviously there is 3 talent that fit in Always, and for any serious raid tank spec whatever is your spe:

    Bladed barrier, Anticipation and toughness.


    By raid tank spec, I mean someone who is speced to be able to MT or OT at least some boss; almost any spec can tank the trash, even a DPS spec if he got some tank stuff.

    As for Never I would put Frost aura, cause I never see a raid without any druid, paladin or shaman; and the 3 can put almost equivalent or better resist buff (and the fact that frost aura is buffing all res and not pal and shaman is pointless imo cause I didnt see any boss fight where you need more than one res at a time); but I guess some will disagree and put it in maybe.

    By the way that's the problem with this kind of post; whatever we say, there is certainly someone who will argue that it have some use, or that you could tank without it, so everything will finish in "maybe"
    Last edited by Feanorr; 01-03-2009 at 06:45 PM.

  9. #9
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    Feanorr has a good point, to save time 5/5/5 is must have and everything else is personal preference and would fall under maybe. With very few if any exceptions every talent has some use even if its only for a very narrow circumstance and or particular encounter.

  10. #10
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    N (Meaning Never spend points in this.) - Unholy Aura
    M (Maybe you could, it wouldn't be a total waste.) - Summon Gargoyle
    A (Pretty much always invest in these points.) - Anticipation

    Unholy:
    N-


    M- Unholy Aura

    A- Anticipation
    You list UA as N at first, and M later.
    Tanks: We like it rough.

  11. #11
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    Krash- First of all, that was an example, second of all Unholy aura should be a never. It provides absolutely no benefit to you as a tank. However, three people have vouched for Unholy Aura, their excuse, while I really don't see as ligament, I must accept because three people said it was useful.

    Feanorr- Because 1 person disagrees, doesn't change it. They need a LIGAMENT excuse. Again, I don't feel your need for Unholy Aura is ligament, it was backed by 3 people.

  12. #12
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    Ha, you may want absolutes, Nerlith, but there are none. The DK class more than any other is entirely a work of balance and shifting values.

    FYI, I had always dismissed On a Pale Horse and Unholy Aura as being pretty limited value for PvE tanking. I still don't bother with OaPH, but Unholy Aura I've found to be very useful in the current raids (that may change in the future). One major problem that the game can suffer from, and tanks are never an exception, is people who fail to think about anyone but themselves...

    Unholy Aura, in Naxx, for example:
    Faster runners in the Heigen dance helps save poor runners or new folks learning the fight, and for veteran dancers it gives them extra time to turn, cast, or do other things rather than just running end to end.

    On Grobb it allows the raid to run out when they're injected faster and back in faster improving your dps uptime, which is always the biggest challenge on the fight if you have an experienced group, especially if you're melee heavy.

    On Sapph/Faerlina/<insert any boss that drops blizzards, rain of fire, void zone, poison clouds> it allows your raid/party to move out of the danger zone faster, taking less damage, easing the healing, etc.

    The list goes on and on, the utility is significant. Can you go without it? Absolutely. Is it worthless? Not even remotely. It has it's value for your own run speed, but increasing the run speed of an entire raid is no small thing.

    Now, back to your original point. There are some talents I don't take, and there are reasons, there are also talents that I never leave off, so I'll share.

    Like Faenorr said, Blade Barrier, Toughness, Anticipation, if you aren't taking 5/5 in all three, you're silly. 5% passive dodge, 15% to armor (quick math, mine gives me ~3-4k armor), and 10%(!!!!) parry chance that can be near 100% uptime in capable hands, are all too good no matter what tree you prefer. Foolish to tank without them, for my money.

    For the sake of survival, there is no good reason to not take your tree's 8th tier talented spell: Vampiric Blood, Unbreakable Armor, Bone Shield. They are some of the finest tanking buffs you can get and not only should you take them, you should be using them often and smartly.

    I always take Bladed Armor, no matter what spec. I don't see it as a must, but I don't spec without it. With the huge armor values we get as a tank (that are about to get a big hike) this amounts to a LOT of AP and a lot of threat.

    There are few other musts, though there are things I'd argue are essential to the nature of each tree's tanking if you go into it.

    Blood:
    Fully improved Rune Tap, Mark of Blood, and Vet of the 3rd War are all too good to leave off, if you're deep blood you'd better take them, and if you're splitting trees, you'll need to have some smart reasons not to to convince me why you didn't. For threat purposes (and REALLY post 3.0.8), you should be taking Heart Strike if you're that far down the tree.

    For tanking, Vendetta and Dancing Rune Weapon are the only talents I wouldn't spend points on, though Might of Mograine is one I'll always short change for most anything else valuable. Vendetta won't proc during a pull unless it's an aoe pull, and even then, I don't want to be relying on that if it procs. Dancing Rune Weapon gives you no threat, so it's like summoning your ghoul. It'll boost raid dps a bit, but absolutely nothing else. If I can get anything that will improve my tanking with that point, I'll do it before DRW. Might of Mograine is nice, but it just doesn't give the same threat buffing I would like and could get from a lot of other talents. My tanking gear is pretty generous with crit value, but I'm still only sitting at 12% or so with raid buffs. They aren't a nevereverever take, but I will drop them in a moment when it comes to tanking.

    Frost:
    For survival, Frigid Dreadplate and Guile of Gorefiend (and of course UA) are silly not to take. Frost Aura and Acclimation are also very valuable but come with an asterisk of your raid group. If you have and intend to use resist totems/auras, then Frost Aura has reduced value, though I maintain that if you only have one or two shamans, or one or two pallies, then it's better to rely on Frost Aura and have them applying imp Dev Aura, imp Ret Aura, imp Conc Aura, etc. Additionally, Frost Aura is always on, which can be nice smoothing for trash, etc. Acclimation is a great buff. If you're taking periodic damage it is nice, if you're taking regular damage it's nicer, if you're taking constant damage, it's too good not to take. The gauge is if you're taking sporadic hits and only when you mess up, you may get little value out of the proc, if you're getting consistant but spaced out shots it'll give you some protection, but not the most. If you're taking continual damage like Sapphiron, this buff is massive, and you can laugh off that silly frost damage.

    For threat, deep frost tanking is best suited by relying on the multiplicative frost damage buffs, i.e. Imp Icy Touch, Glaciar Rot, Black Ice, Howling Blast, Frost Strike, and Tundra Stalker. Deathchill is GREAT for guaranteed burst threat when you need it. Rime and Chill of the Grave increase your capacity for bonus damage moves, and I generally view BotN in the same light. Icy Talons and Imp Icy Talons are nice single target threat buffs, but the value disappears if you run with 2 or more shamans (doesn't stack with Windfury so it drops from a 25% melee haste to a 5% melee haste). If you have one shaman, even if it's an enhancement shaman, it's still worth taking since the shaman can then drop Wrath of Air (or others) instead. All in a balance, and that's only possible if you usually run with the same people. Lichborne is good, though I don't see it as necessary, Oh sh*t is nice but it's a long CD, short duration, so I never rely on it for tanking.

    There are no talents that I think should "never" be taken, but there are talents I see as very limited value. Namely, Merciless Combat, Endless Winter, and Chillblains (really, actually, more because you have to take Endless Winter to get it, too expensive for the value). Merciless Combat falls into the category of "kill it faster when it enrages" which I'm happy to leave to the dps. If you need the threat boost at this point you have bigger problems, and there are plenty of other full-time tanking buffs that I'd take before helping kill stuff during the enrage. Not terrible, but nowhere near necessary. Endless Winter is nice when you need a quick/free interrupt or if you want to use Chains of Ice regularly, but it's a little too situational for my tastes. That's a personal choice, not a universal maxim. I would recommend not underestimating the value of 30% movement reduction thanks to Chillblains, but that you have to go 5 points deep to get it in already limited value talents, makes it a hard sell for me.

    Unholy:
    For survival, Magic Suppression and AMZ are beyond valuable to me. They are major values and can be used to great effect, though they are a lot less valuable if you don't use them smartly and often. This is one of many things that is entirely on the tank to make them earn their keep. Besides Bone Armor, these are the only survival talents Unholy has (you can count the Expertise from Rage of Rivendare as well, I know I do).

    For threat, which Unholy is chock full of, there are two general directions you can take, or you can try to wade in the balance. On one side you have powerful single target threat buffs from Necrosis, Scourge Strike, and Blood Caked Blades (BIG asterisk here), and this is well supported by Vicious Strikes and a bit by Outbreak. On the other side, if you talent for it and stack up Morbidity, Epidemic, Outbreak, Impurity, Desecration, Ebon Plaguebringer, Rage of Rivendare, and Unholy Blight, you can become a walking high threat zone. I tend to favor the aoe side of the picture, but Vicious Strikes+Outbreak with Imp Icy Touch from frost really boost your initial and foundation threat. I take Dirge, since I almost always want for more RP in my Unholy build (this will continue into 3.0.8 when UB is cheaper, but CE becomes an RP cost), and I lament that I don't take Reaping, though I don't want to take part of a full stack. If you can go 3/3 I see it as about half the value of BotN (though with the talent point cost that just about works out). Unholy Aura and Corpse Explosion I take and use, though I don't see either as necessary. They are merely buffs that can be used to good effect. Similarly, Virulence could have its place, but it tends to be one I'll pass over for other talents.

    Again, there are no worthless talents, but there are talents I just plain won't take. OaPH is half wasted in an instance (though if the flight speed increase applies to drakes, it could be decent in EoE), all it offers is a 20% knock off stun/fear duration. Currently in raids, I don't get feared or stunned while tanking, or at least not enough to notice. BcB had an asterisk, this is one in a careful balance. If you are well-geared it is a single target threat buff. If you are more lightly geared or a brave dual wielder, the extra swings are extra parry liability, so no matter how you cut it this is a trade off of losing some survival to gain some threat. There are talents that don't have this double edge so I'll favor them always. Night of the Dead is fun, and I had played with it thinking I might find more frequent cause to use Army of the Dead. I haven't. I leave this in the domain of a non-threat dps talent; not worthless, but I'll sooner take a buff to my tanking than this. Wandering Plague tends to end up weak for tanking. It is worth plenty of damage/threat, but only if you have healthy amounts of crit to make it worthwhile, and currently tanking gear just doesn't give much crit. Later on if we can secure more agility it may become increasingly valuable, but until then, I have to leave it to dps specs. Summon Gargoyle goes in the heap with DRW. It's dps only, no threat, and I don't go planning on climbing the dps charts. It's a nice boost to raid dps, but I'll always drop it for something that buffs my tanking. The one talent that is sadly ironic to be so far down the list of valuable talents is Unholy Command. Currently all this does is reduce the CD of Death Grip. This can be nice, but as a tank, if you're budgetting expecting to be taunting more frequently, you have bigger problems that need addressing. I won't say this is a never take, but it's certainly the low man on my totem pole.

    Are there any talents you should never ever take? I really don't think so. But there are plenty of talents that have significantly limited value for a tank, and still more talents that can be a waste of talent points if you don't use them well. Glyphs also make the game of matching talents a personally variable one. I know I use on combination that is not common, being, as an Unholy tank, I use Rune Tap with the eponymous glyph. I really like being able to do those little things to save lives, since I can pop it for myself, and/or for the other people I strategically place in my party (last night I was saving people from death on Kel'thuzzad since it is just enough that his Frost Tomb won't kill them). Is it necessary for everyone? Of course not. It can be very valuable if you use it smartly though.
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
    The New Testament on Death Knight Tanking
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
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  13. #13
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    If you want to maintain this as a useful resource, Nerlith, you may want to just accept that other people have found value in a talent that you have not, and likewise that the talent has value you just choose not to take it.
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
    The New Testament on Death Knight Tanking
    -----------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

  14. #14
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    I do accept that there is some use, which is why I put it as maybe. =)

    Anyways, very informative post. Thank you.

    About there being no absolutes= Of course there aren't. I've already accounted for that. I guess I should mention the rest of my plans for this. This thread is just for putting ultimately a baseline of information down, getting all the talents.

    Then, I will repost it with extra symbols on talents here and there representing different things. (I will try to make it as user-friendly as possible.)

    See, I never really got anything out of all of these 'This spec is good' posts. I would rather make my own, but I don't always know the best talents. That's why I am making this.

    Your post above, while I read it, is rather lengthy and I'm not going to even begin to tackle it until later.

    Again, thank you Satorri, you've been a great help for all DKs here. =)

    EDIT: Also, Unholy Aura is usually picked up by Unholy DPS DKs. Which there are a ton of out there. And, I don't remember it stacking.

  15. #15
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    No, Unholy Aura doesn't stack, nor does Frost (duh, right?). Blood Aura, by it's behavior, does.

    That's actually probably some good stuff to point out for public edification, what DK buffs and group buffs stack, and what do not.

    Frost Aura does not stack with the resistance buff from MotW, nor does it with Auras or Totems. But because they are not identical, they don't bump each other off. So you will still get the stat and armor bonus from MotW, but Frost Aura will give you the extra 5 resist on everything. Also if you go out of range of a totem or aura, and are still in range of Frost Aura, it will still keep that 80 resist (so, you could think of it as more coverage, depending on how much space the encounter uses and who is giving your buffs. Holy Pally with resist aura standing by the casters at long range? Prot Pally on the boss but out of range of healers/casters?).

    Horn of Winter is identical to Strength of Earth Totem dropped by shamans. It will not overwrite the totem, and the totem will bump the buff off you. If you're running with only one Shaman, have them drop Stoneskin for the tanks, or Earthbind for pull control, and keep HoW up. Either way, don't just stop using buffs because you think someone else can provide it, communicate with your group to get the most out.

    Improved Icy Talons is identical to Improved Windfury totem. Like HoW they don't stack and the totem will bump your buff. If your shaman is either not enhancement or did not spend the talent points to improve their windfury totem, Imp Icy Talons is better, and the shaman should be dropping another air totem (again if there's only one regardless of spec, have them switch to Wrath of Air). Likewise, if there is only one shaman and you, Imp Icy Talons is worth taking and have your shaman in the habit of dropping Wrath of Air.

    Not much you can do about it, but currently there is something important to know for Unholy Knights. Ebon Plague is the exact same buff as Improved Curse of Elements from Afflic locks, and Earth and Moon from Boomkin druids. As I understand it this will be fixed in the next patch, but currently that means that Locks can bump your disease (though druids don't seem to). Everyone gets the same buff, but as Unholy the loss of a disease is a distinct threat loss. Likewise multiple Unholy DK's will block the others from applying their third disease, so whoever goes first will get their disease in. I really look forward to this getting fixed, but in the mean time it's important to be aware, and let the locks know not to use Curse of Elements.

    Hopefully this helps DK's recognize their talents and group dynamics better. Sharing buffs with a shaman is not a bad thing, since their totems can be changed. Talk to your shamans and make sure you aren't trying to stack unstackable buffs, and for any other concern on buff stacking in a raid, if the buff is identical in effect, then it does not stack.

    EDIT: I almost forgot an important one. Acclimation is a unique buff and DOES stack with everything else resistance wise. It will stack on top of Frost Aura, MotW, and resistance totems/auras!
    Last edited by Satorri; 01-05-2009 at 08:27 AM.
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
    The New Testament on Death Knight Tanking
    -----------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

  16. #16
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    Satorri is correct, pick some of your talents based on your raid group. We rarely have a shaman or druid so I picked up Improved Icy Talons and Frost Aura. Heck I'm frost mostly because it helps the raid more than having another unholy DK.

  17. #17
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    Aye, and I'm Unholy because I'm usually tanking next to a warrior who's ridiculous single target threat, but doesn't have my aoe hurts or magic resilience.

    It's generally better to suit your team's needs, so long as you're flexible, and if you only want to do it your way, find a team who doesn't mind and/or doesn't need more buffs from you.
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
    The New Testament on Death Knight Tanking
    -----------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerlth View Post
    Krash- First of all, that was an example, second of all Unholy aura should be a never. It provides absolutely no benefit to you as a tank. However, three people have vouched for Unholy Aura, their excuse, while I really don't see as ligament, I must accept because three people said it was useful.

    Feanorr- Because 1 person disagrees, doesn't change it. They need a LIGAMENT excuse. Again, I don't feel your need for Unholy Aura is ligament, it was backed by 3 people.
    I'm sorry but its legitimate not ligament. Off the top of my head for reasons I can think that Unholy aura is useful I'd go with Heigan's Dance, Anub'rekhan's locust swarm (if you so choose to kite.) In a raid environment there are definetely times where having a 15% movement boost is helpful. I know in my dps spec 0/32/39 I pick up unholy aura just as a little raid buff for everyone.

  19. #19
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    the main problem I see with this is that each spec has its own talents that our good to take and not good to take. For instance, as an unholy DK, I would make UA, BS, UB, and SoD as basic talents all unholy DK should take. Theres also Ebon Plague, RoR that are also always talents. My suggestion would be to evaluate them base on spec or just individual talents.

    And if you are tanking as unholy and not taking UA you are gimping your raid group, hands down. The math has been done and this is a significant buff to your raid. This is because your going to be/should be the only unholy DK there.

    FA is crap if you carry just one druid, if you dont, then its a maybe, IMO find a druid. Along with Accimilation which is very very very situational. IE very few fights where this is useful. Killing Machine should be left out of pure tanking builds. Your crit as a tank is crap (mine is like 5% in my almost full T7) making this talent crap for tanking. hungering cold is for PVP. It has some uses in herorics, but is typically left out of any serious tanking build.

    For unholy, I personally love OaPH. Fear/stun durations shortened is a very nice utility talent for both raids and herorics. If you are undergeared, dont use BcB as it can be parried. Descration is useless for raiding or herorics. To many talent points for an ability you wont use often (SS glyph FTW). Wandering Plague is crap for tanking, see killing machine. Ravenous Dead is a nice talent, espically when you use the ghoul to tank with. The pet is meh. Take it or leave it IMO. However, Take the Garg Talent. It is our best RP dump hands down. I know it doesnt add threat, but it adds a good ammount of DPS. AMZ/AMS is a maybe. some people like it, some dont. I tend to use it as it brings some nice utility to the raid. Only take 1/2 of NotLD if you use the ghoul pet.

    For blood, its really to squishie at this point in time for it to really be viable. But if you do go that way, dont take Blood worms or Blood gorged. VoTW will give you a good chunk of exp.
    I cast the spells that make the people fall over.

  20. #20
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    I am really looking forward to 3.0.8, becouse i want to try out the new blood build, couse I tend to enjoy MT-ing and single target tanking(thats why I am rolling with Frost now). In the case of talents, when you roll with Blood threatwise, would you get Subversion, VS, Dark Convinction, Bloody Vengeance or you wouldnt rely on crits, however with blood u can have a nice crit chance? So are these maybe, always or never, if we can say any of them(I dont like generalization)? Considering that the purpose of the spec would be high threat generation and single target tanking.
    Last edited by Maci; 01-05-2009 at 01:12 PM.

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