OK so for some time now i have been using The Boreal guard gem with a 30 stam and a 10expertise/15 stam. just got the Forlorn barrier i loose stam but gain armor and strength, a trade off of parry for dodge and a trade off for block rating to block value. is the Forlorn Barrier the definite way to go ?
I think the Boreal Guard is better in all situations than the Forlorn Barrier it has more EH as much if not more avoidance with socket bonus and more threat stats with expertise. Only thing Forlorn Barrier has on it is block which is a bad stat for boss tanking.
What I would do though is gem and enchant the Boreal Guard for EH and use it in an EH and threat set and enchant the Forlorn barrier with 20 defense and put it into an avoidance set.
Theoretically, the forlorn barrier should be better against pure physical damage. The MAJOR stamina loss really concerns me tho, so I keep both on me. If I could only have 1 shield for progression tanking, it would have to be the boreal guard.
Btw, forlorn will win for threat. A single 10 expertise gem is not going to stand up to a massive block increase and 40ish strength.
.You need multiple shields to tank different bosses, in Wotlk there is really no such thing as one shield to rule them all unlike in TBC where you really only had 2 choices, the bulwark of azzinoth or the superior but rediculously ugly swordbreaker's bulwark from felmyst in SWP.
Personally if you are a warrior and want to go for TPS i would go with the Northern Barrier for the Hit and Expertise.
For a survival set for tanking very hard hitting bosses, like Thorim HM, Vezax HM i would use the Boreal Guard.
Forlorn Barrier is kinda meh in my opinion considering the ilvl of the shield, the only fight i would really use it on atm is Algalon since a Block Set seems to be the most effective way to tank Algalon since he does not hit super hard per hit but hits extremely fast making block a superior stat when tanking him.
Also because the Boreal guard is really in effect a Stamina Shield, you might be better off double gemming +30 stam on it and enchant +18 stam on it too.