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Thread: Pro DK tanking help

  1. #1
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    Pro DK tanking help

    The World of Warcraft Armory

    My DK that started out as my n'th alt turned out to be quite the charmer
    so much that if it wasnt for the 4 years i've devoted to my prot warrior, i might consider main switching.

    My question is not that i'm not doing well. In fact we got our first 10man Yogg kill while i was tanking/dps'ing on my dk. No, i'm doing fine. Fine as in not great. So i'd love some pointers. Most of the DK threads here have become too long & too complicated for me to sort through in my little forum time.

    What i feel i'm lacking:
    - Trash tanking. I'm not too bad. But then we have some great dps that can pull off real easy. And i've seen other dk tanks perform much better. Obviously i'm not doing optimal. My method: DnD, IT, PS, Pest, wait, HB, BB. If the dps is really twitchy, i go DnD and HB immediately and hope the HB crits. It works but our fury warrior still manages to outaggro now & then.

    - Unbreakable armor. Being an old warrior tank, i tend to spare my cooldowns for oh-shit situations. But UA looks like a major dps/threat boost on top, should i start using it asap as i've seen suggested many times.

    I'd like help on:

    a) Spec suggestions: I know i should take deathchill instead of hungering cold. Any other suggestions? Imp icy talons would be great yes but i feel i have to sacrifice too much. I'm inclining toward epidemic as i find the disease timers tight but i'm hesitant about what to sacrifice seeing how close i'm riding the dps threat

    b) Glyphs: Glyph of HB looks cool but instead of what? The RP from IT i find very very useful. As for choosing between FS and Ob, that's related to my next question

    c) RP management: I find KM proccing so much that i end up prioritizing FS over Obs and RS proccing far less that i expect. With FS atm doing more damage than my obs, i feel this is good but it leads me to RP starvation (why i dont want to sacrifice FS glyph). If i continue doing Obs as suggested in guides, i end up with max RP without enough RS to drain it.

    d) Sigil suggestion: I'm using the Awareness one as i seem to be most pressed on threat atm. Is the def proc one a better tanking one seeing it would help with IBF (yes i know i can survive but i'm usually using IBF on really big inc damage where every little bit helps)

    e) Blood spec: Every single good tank i saw is blood spec. Is it just for the EH? I was blood while learning to tank but i found the trash tanking extremely poor (and the spec very boring but that's beside the point) Is there some really big bonus except EH that i'm missing? Should i bite the bullet and relearn blood?

    Sorry for the wall of text & thanks for the replies

  2. #2
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    FYI, I'm a little rusty on Frost, so Satorri, correct me

    Quote Originally Posted by Fledern View Post
    I'd like help on:

    a) Spec suggestions: I know i should take deathchill instead of hungering cold. Any other suggestions? Imp icy talons would be great yes but i feel i have to sacrifice too much. I'm inclining toward epidemic as i find the disease timers tight but i'm hesitant about what to sacrifice seeing how close i'm riding the dps threat
    This depends heavily on your rotation. You're running IT/PS, when several frost tanks have shifted to purely IT based rotations. The DPS increase of PS is compensated for smoother rotations, more Obliterates & chances for Rime to proc for freebie HBs... which, glyphed, apply Frost Fever. Vicious little circle Most AoE dps is incidental and usually not high enough to pull threat unless they are on the wrong target in the first place.

    b) Glyphs: Glyph of HB looks cool but instead of what? The RP from IT i find very very useful. As for choosing between FS and Ob, that's related to my next question.
    Agreed, I used IT for a very long time in all my builds, but you use RP for Rune Strikes, Frost Strikes, AMS, IBF & Hungering Cold. The first two are vital, while the last three are situational (and HC, frankly, is more of a solo/interrupt/panic button). I feel that IT would be the best glyph to drop in favor of HB, as you will use IT less once HB is applying the debuff, which means the bonus RP won't be gained.

    c) RP management: I find KM proccing so much that i end up prioritizing FS over Obs and RS proccing far less that i expect. With FS atm doing more damage than my obs, i feel this is good but it leads me to RP starvation (why i dont want to sacrifice FS glyph). If i continue doing Obs as suggested in guides, i end up with max RP without enough RS to drain it.
    I have seen enough frost tanks asking 'why is my threat low?' then post a WWS log with FS outdamaging RS... but the threat benefits are reversed. Personally, I would rather lose a KM proc to avoid draining my RP. The benefit is you get more RS procs, but also have time in your rotation to do other things. IE, you are using FS, where I would Obliterate & keep the option of my next melee swing converting to RS. If the RS is allowed to go off, I wager I'm doing comparable threat via the RS alone... but I also got the Obliterate, a chance to proc Rime & more threat overall on a single target. In the other case of AoE, a KM'ed HB is invaluable, but that would replace the Obliterate. Note this is about threat, not damage output.

    d) Sigil suggestion: I'm using the Awareness one as i seem to be most pressed on threat atm. Is the def proc one a better tanking one seeing it would help with IBF (yes i know i can survive but i'm usually using IBF on really big inc damage where every little bit helps)
    The Sigil of the Unfaltering Knight is ~10.78% defense, 100% proc chance, 60 second (or was it 30?) uptime. Well worth employing for bosses, but I think Awareness is better in single target threat situations. I would review if boss survivability is a problem and go from there. I personally run SotUK as threat is rarely an issue for me.

    e) Blood spec: Every single good tank i saw is blood spec. Is it just for the EH? I was blood while learning to tank but i found the trash tanking extremely poor (and the spec very boring but that's beside the point) Is there some really big bonus except EH that i'm missing? Should i bite the bullet and relearn blood?
    I run Blood/Unholy, though blood is prefered by a lot of folks for the health and self healing. The healing provides a larger buffer on top of the larger health pool. On any fight where you can be two-shotted by the boss, getting a Death Strike or using Rune Tap after the first can prevent the second blow from killing you. Healers love this aspect, as they're not panic spamming fast, 'small' heals and can rely on more effective but slower heals.

    I run unholy, btw, for the anti-magic aspects. Frost can emulate a few, but neither spec has the 'omg hitpoints' that Blood has currently (note blood is losing 3% stamina talents in the 3.2, currently on PTR). Overall, I prefer blood. I moved away from Frost only as I wanted to specialize my tanking into physical (blood) and magic (unholy) styles.


    Coming full circle, I would look at getting Armsman (2% threat/10 parry rating) back onto your gloves, and getting a expertise trinket (replacing Defender's Code) to get over the 26 Skill soft cap. The threat increase would certainly help, since it's on top of other modifiers (DnD, Frost Presence & Rune Strike), while the expertise ensures Obliterate hits.

  3. #3
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    Esch speaks the truth on many points, let me see if I can offer some flavor.

    1.) (on gear I'd be reluctant to use the armor trinket. It's nice, don't get me wrong with good synergy for Frost and UA, but the value gained is a little weak next to what you can get with an avoidance or health trinket, once you can get one) Your spec looks pretty fine, standard, though I'd personally MUCH prefer Scent of Blood to Morbidity. Scent of Blood will give you plenty more RP to play into FS's and might leave you feeling a little less cramped there. Morbidity's sole value for Frost (since you shouldn't be DC'ing really and when you do, 15% damage is unnecessary) is in making it so you can use DnD almost on CD. As frost there is no good reason to use DnD more than once in a pull, let alone on CD.

    2.) Glyph of HB is great, but primarily only if you go with a single disease rotation, otherwise Disease might even be preferable (though I don't use it as Frost). If you use a single disease rotation and don't want to part with glyph of IT, OB will likely be smarter to drop since you're not playing up the OB damage as much. I favor this play style largely only because it feels smoother, both work just fine. My single rotation pretty much never hits IT either, so the IT glyph is a little wasted there.

    3.) You'll want to set an RP window in which it is ok to FS and when it is not. #1 priority is that you can always use RS when it comes up, that means you always want 20 RP on hand. Safe margin then is to say never FS if you have less than 60 RP, even if you have a KM proc, use it on HB instead if you have to use it or lose it. You can adjust that margin if you want to have more RP available for some other reasons (like IBF/Mind Freeze) though I don't do that either.

    4.) I've always just used the "tanking" sigils, the big reason is that they have a balance of both survival and threat. The +def proc (which lasts 30 sec Esch) is basically 100% uptime provided you use IT once every 30 sec, and is worth a total of just over 1% avoidance, about 0.67% of that is dodge+parry which also means more RS procs and more free threat. In general, I'd assume that unless your dps WAY outgears you, you should be able to out-threat them, and dps sigils are the solution otherwise, they're a crutch. You'll want to figure out where they're pulling and how you can threat to adjust that better. Sometimes it's a matter of rotation, but more often I'd expect it's just poor communication about what is ok to hit or randomly missing threat applications on secondary targets. May not be your problem at all. It's also been a little rocky since the apparent trend of public decision in Wrath is that now if a dps pulls off a tank, it's the tank's fault. DPS's sole responsibility is to kill stuff without pulling aggro.

    5.) I tank as Blood because when 3.1 dropped I got inspired to become a giant meatshield. =) Over time people have begun to figure out where Blood is most impressive, which was previously shunned (ignorantly) as being "not how tanks are supposed to work." That is the self-heals. To give you an idea, while as Blood I take upwards of 15% more damage than Frost on average, my heals make it appear as if I'm actually taking 20% less. It requires a lot more work and is the single most interactive survival situation of any of the current tank class/specs. The reason you see so many high-end blood tanks is primarily because the tree plays far and away the best with EH stacking which is the coolest/smartest way to gear according to most followers. I'd like to believe many of them also use it because if it is played very well, it has the potential to be the most apparently solid tank for survival.

    Contrary to the other popular belief that it is the best threat spec, I do better tps with my Frost spec. =)

    At the end of the day, every tree works just fine and the single largest factor with any DK tank is skill and experience. Changing specs means you have to redevelop all of your skills with another tree almost as if starting over. Figure out which spec feels most fun to you, and play play play until it's as natural as breathing, and you will be the best DK tank you can be for your group.
    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?!?

  4. #4
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    Darth to others

    I have 2 speccs for tanking on my DK. I rarely use blood as I am favoring Frost in almost every situation. THe issue I feel is the killer for me in initial threat on pulls like Emalon where the dps can rip threat off of me when I am waiting for a RS to pop up for threat. Another issue for me is being a keyboard turner and trying to keep up a smooth cycle of HB, PS, Pest, BB waiting for a RS to proc. I end up asking the dps to give me a few seconds to build threat tehn we are good. I am sick or tanking the adds in Emalon when I am paired with Warrior tanks. I ususally get wispers that they cannot do it etc... I just think its the knowledge of their class and skills at knowing their moves.

    I get critisim most likely justly deserved because I cannot initally hammer a lot of threat with the dps that is brought. I dislike using DnD/HB as a start because my frost runes are on cd and I dont have any build up RP to press UA to mitigate some damage. I have Dark command and DG to pull the boss back if I lose threat but it seems to be a poor starting mechanic to this fight. In other fights I scale threat nicely and can AOE tank nicely as my abilities have created some death runes to proc and the dps is not focus targeting on a single target. I have never had and issue with Patch but frankly the DPS is begining to get better and higher now that guild are finally doing ulduar. I am seeing 5-8K dps on boss fights and it is always a concern for me to scale threat with them.

    My other tank is a Pally and threat is never and issue for me but there is a bias against pallies that they just AOE tank in Vault or similiar fights. My guild has changed their opinion now which is wonderful but the warrior's I run with seem to think they are only MT capable.

    Hope I am not coming off as a winer.

  5. #5
    O.O another one without HB glyph.
    /nerdrage

  6. #6
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    Solid advice, thanks to all.
    I've decided to go with this: Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft
    I'll try single disease tanking. I tried a little today (with my old spec) to weave in some more RS, i think i'll need to spend some quality practice time :P looks better though, the RS threat difference was much bigger than i expected.

    I'll stick with frost. As this is an alt, i dont expect to tank any progression fights so EH should have less priority i hope.

    Unfortunately i dont have any better trinket than the armor one. I'm after alternatives if/when they drop.

    (As for warriors whining about add tanking in emalon, that's because it's harder than for other tank classes. I volunteer for adds on my dk, while on my much better geared & experienced prot warrior main, i try to find ways to chicken out of it :P)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Fledern View Post
    Solid advice, thanks to all.
    I've decided to go with this: Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft
    That's exactly my spec and I love it, except I'm currently using glyph of UA instead of glyph of FS (just preparing to compensate somewhat for the increased cd on IBF in 3.2). Even so, can get off plenty of FS's.

    One trick:

    1. Macro Deathchill so you can cast HB both with and without it:

    Code:
    #showtooltip
    /use [nomod] Deathchill
    /use [nomod] Blood Fury
    /use [mod:shift] Howling Blast;[nomod] Howling Blast
    AoE pull, First rotation = [mod:shift]+HB -> DnD -> BB
    AoE pull, Second rotation = [nomod]+HB -> Oblit -> BB -> BB
    Repeat second rotation till pull finished.

    First rotation puts up FF, second rotation hits w/ a guaranteed HB crit. The problem with using Deathchill+HB on the first rotation is that FF isn't up, so Glacier Rot and Tundra Stalker won't buff that HB crit. I prefer to wait for the second round when I can get the max dmg on that crit HB possible.

    That builds a pretty insurmountable AoE threat lead and maintains it through the fight.

    PS - I also prefer Glyph of Blood Tap to Glyph of Raise Dead. Once exalted w/ Ebon Blade, corpse dust only costs about 4s each, and Blood Tap is actually a useful ability worth glyphing to eliminated the self-dmg from it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NexsusTheFrostDeathKnight View Post
    O.O another one without HB glyph.
    /nerdrage
    o rly?

    I don't use the HB glyph in my tank spec. I might revisit it again at some point now that I use it to DPS, but I found the better disease uptime in low hit gear was of better benefit using a 2-disease rotation.
    Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. -Seneca
    Everyone marvels at a square egg, but only the chicken understands the PAIN.

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