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Thread: Frost Tank - Threat Issues - Spec, Rotation, Enhancements

  1. #1
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    Frost Tank - Threat Issues - Spec, Rotation, Enhancements

    I'll start off by saying that I'm sure this has been covered several times before but I was having a hard time tying everything together from all the different posts.

    So I decided to level my DK up to have another 80 that could tank or dps. I have run several heroics and some raids with my main toon which is a mage so I know about positioning and how to handle the mobs and bosses so I figured leveling the DK to be a tank for heroics and raids would be good.

    I had run several times with a DK pre-patch 3.1 and he was epic. So I copied his build, and asked him for his rotation. Though, when I tank I find myself having a hard time holding aggro. In larger trash pulls I usually have at least one runner if not 2. On bosses I find that party members doing over 3.5k dps are still pulling off of me. Therefore I know I am doing something if not multiple things incorrectly. I would ask him for advice but he hasn't been on im a few months.

    My issue is that I'm not sure if my spec, rotation, and item enhancements are where they need to be due to the changes in the recent patches and updates.

    I would like to have advice on correcting my spec if there is better, improving my rotation for single target and group pulls, and item enhancements for gems, enchants, etc.

    I have been trying to read as much as I can to figure how to make corrections before I spend the gold to test the changes. That being said, I don't want to buy top notch gems if my issues really lie in my spec and rotation. Once I know I have my spec and rotation cleaned up I'll spend the money for the best gems.

    I know that right now I still have a blue chest piece and I am saving up emblems to get a better piece. Will that one piece make a huge difference?

    Regarding enhancements, what should I be gemming for? I have been leaning towards hit gems as I have read that hit and expertise are most important for DK's in building threat.

    I have a defense gem still and some of my enchants are toward defense. As I stand, lacking the epic chest piece I have a def rating of 541, not including the buff of def rating when I use Icy Touch which comes from my Sigil of the Unfaltering Knight. With that buff I am somewhere around 553.

    My rotation is:

    Lay down D&D then IT-> PS-> HB-> BB-> Blood Tap->BB
    I go back through using these abilities as they come off cool downs (Mostly reusing HB and BB)
    I dump my runic power with Death Coil.

    Here is my character page:
    Çarneios

    So, to sum it up:

    How can I improve my spec?
    How can I improve my rotation?
    -For Single Target
    -For Group Fights
    What are the best stats to gem for on a DK tank (to increase threat)?
    What are the best enchants for a DK tank for each gear piece?

    On a side note, with the current patch, what is the best overall tanking spec for a DK? I'm not opposed to going blood or unholy if I'm just trying to critique a dead spec.

    I can currently tank any heroic with success. They aren't seamless runs and there generally is no wipes, but someone dies every couple pulls because of my lack of threat management.

    I want to be able to breeze through heroics and at least be a great off-tank if not a good main-tank.

    Keep in mind; this is my first tanking toon. I am used to being a ranged caster. Therefore, please take it easy on me...

  2. #2
    the one thing that i have tried in my rotation is to eliminate IT for the fact that if u spec HB it can cause the same effect as IT and there for not needed it also allows u to pull threat on a whole group instead of a single target. and i use Dark command for the ones that do get away... and for the instance that u do start to lose threat Hungering cold is a great way to gain threat back cause usually its an instant gain but its more used in an emergency situation as it has a 1 min CD. how u use it is kinda up to u since there is no one real exact way i use it more or a case by case senario

  3. #3
    Noticed that you went to take the IIT talents. That's good I guess for increasing threat and providing group buffs, though I'm not sure by how much it increases the amount of parries you take (since your swing speed is increased). In my case, I didn't take the IIT talents and went for Blade Armor instead (5 points) for increased attack power.

    For acclimation, it's quite situational since it only procs on direct damage spells so you might want to drop it and move those 3 points to Subversion (9% increased critical chance for your Obliterates), Icy Reach (increased reach for your Icy Touch and Howling Blast), Merciless Combat (+6% damage on targets that have < 35% HP), Virulence (more spell hit), Epidemic (longer disease up time) or Ravenous Dead (3% more strength). In my case, I took 1 pt Virulence + 2 pt Epidemic. The longer disease up time really helps in maximizing rune usage for heavy Obliterates, since you spend less runes for re-applying your diseases.

    Watch out for Rime (free howling blast) and Killing Machine (critical frost strike, icy touch and howling blast) procs and don't let them pass unused. Create macros for your Blood Strike, Plague Strike and Obliterate spells that cast Rune Strike in them, whenever it's up. That's one less thing to watch out for if you macro them in.

    You can glyph for threat as well. You can go for the following glyphs - Obliterate, Rune Strike and Frost Strike.

    Also, try to cover as much hit and expertise that you can without sacrificing your uncrittability (defense) and health pool. Do this with enchants and gems and getting the helpful reputation vendor items (argent crusade and sons of hodir).

    There's more to this than the things I've mentioned. Let's wait for other people to post

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Just from the responses so far, I created the macro's last night to include rune stike in each ability in my rotation.

    I ran H ToC, H VH, and H UP and threat management seemed to get much better and the run was smoother, but it isn't where it needs to be I don't think. I will look into doing a re-spec tonight with consideration of the talents referenced previously.

    I do have a question regarding the macros. Currently my macro's are setup as:

    /cast Howling Blast
    /cast Rune Strike

    Will this setup automatically use the highest rank of that base ability? Example, in the above macro setup would this cause me to use Howling Blast rank 1 or would it default to highest level and use rank 4?

    Also, is death coil a good runic power dump? I use it for the unholy blight effect that I have, but if there is a better dump let me know.

    I'm very appreciative of the few responses I've gotten so far. I know 2 other people that I know are leveling dk's for tanking and are watching this thread for good information so that they aren't as much in the dark as I have been.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by carneios View Post

    I want to be able to breeze through heroics and at least be a great off-tank if not a good main-tank.
    I was searching your post for this exact line, haha. Frost is the way to go for you, with the Glyph of Howling Blast. This will make your AoE pulls (a lot of these in heroics, and as an off-tank, you can ensure with HB + DnD that the mobs don't reach your healers/dps) very easy, simple, and above all else, effective. Blood is very good, and so is unholy, but they have their niches. Frost is the all-around good spec. especially since you want to cruise through heroics and be able to hold bosses in raids as well. You can even MT as Frost if you want (I have), but if you want to do ToGC (10 or 25, doesn't matter), then you will probably need to switch things up - but that's down the road and a possibility you can consider later.

    This is the basic spec from Elitist Jerks that I would recommend:
    http://talent.mmo-champion.com/?deat...y,YMae3-,10505

    I simply moved a point from Hungering Cold to Deathchill which will give you snap aggro should you lose it on a large AoE pull (Deathchill + HB = KM proc on demand).

    Glyph of HB infects your targets with Frost Fever which means you don't need to use IT -> PS -> Pestilence. You can save those runes for Obliterates, Blood boils, Blood strikes, etc. Scent of Blood in the Blood tree also ensures that you will have RP to use Frost Strike and Rune Strike, which are great for threat.

    Also, in addition to your concerns on attack ranks, that should not matter. It will use the highest rank. You can add #showtooltip "Attack" without the quotes so you can see the attack description when you hover over the button as opposed to the macro's name. Example:
    #showtooltip Obliterate
    /cast Obliterate
    /cast Rune Strike

    As for Death Coil, as Frost, you do not need it at all. I like to think of Howling Blast as my Death Coil, even though it doesn't use Runic Power. Death Coil and HB are your two ranged attacks, and Death Coil has travel time, whereas HB does not. Technically speaking though, your replacement for Death Coil is Frost Strike alone. Remove Death Coil from your bar, you do not need it. If there is something at range you need to attack, Death Grip/Dark Command if HB is on cooldown, or just HB it.
    Last edited by keebz; 10-09-2009 at 05:35 PM.
    Keebzz - Blood Tank | Frost DPS
    Something Wicked | US Malfurion

  6. #6
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    First, your RP dump as frost will be Frost Strike.

    Second, when you macro Rune Strike onto your abilities, always do like so:
    /cast !Rune Strike

    Adding the ! makes sure that if rs is already queued to go off, you don't cut the rs off. If you leave the ! out of the macro, it'll queue it up but the next ability you use with rs macro'd on will actually shut it off before you use the attack. I -think- that's how it works.. I activate my rune strikes manually for better control and timing, but that's just my micromanaging mindset. I've been told this is bad, but it's well within my mental and physical abilities to hit the zero key every 2-5 seconds.
    ...Thoughts of a philosophical Death Knight...
    If death is the inevitable end of life, is life the inevitable end of undeath?

  7. #7
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    Oct 2009
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    Just as an update I've respec'd and changed some of the glyphs around and did all of my abilities in my rotation as a macro with /casr !Rune Strike.

    I also got my chest piece I've been aiming for from the emblems.

    Since the changes, the heroics aren't a breeze yet but they are getting much smoother. I feel that with a little fine tuning of timing and off-rotation abilities my issues should be completely solved.

    My only complaint about the spec I use now is the lack of morbidity. The increased cooldown and decreased damage of my D&D is hard to adjust to as I used it for the inital AOE threat on every pull whether it be boss or trash. Now I'm burning through the mobs and waiting for the cd to finish while everyone tops off mana or just hitting the next group without laying D&D. It's really becoming obvious because my threat management has improved so the dps in the group can give their all, or at least more which takes the mobs down quicker.

    I know I don't have to have D&D on each pull because I should (and currently am) fine without it, but it was my bread and butter for so long that I miss having it on tap when I want it.

    Should I just continue to take breaks between pulls or go without.... or, is there an efficient way to take a few points out of something to put back into morbidity?

    I'm glad that its getting down to finer tuning of things now, thanks everyone for your responses so far.
    Last edited by carneios; 10-13-2009 at 04:12 PM.

  8. #8
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    When your DnD is on cool down (or if you just want to save yourself some rune down time) mark the first mob you want your DPS on that will give you enough time to Icy Touch > Plague Strike > Pestilence > Blood Tap and you should have all the aggro you need.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by carneios View Post
    Just as an update I've respec'd and changed some of the glyphs around and did all of my abilities in my rotation as a macro with /casr !Rune Strike.

    I also got my chest piece I've been aiming for from the emblems.

    Since the changes, the heroics aren't a breeze yet but they are getting much smoother. I feel that with a little fine tuning of timing and off-rotation abilities my issues should be completely solved.

    My only complaint about the spec I use now is the lack of morbidity. The increased cooldown and decreased damage of my D&D is hard to adjust to as I used it for the inital AOE threat on every pull whether it be boss or trash. Now I'm burning through the mobs and waiting for the cd to finish while everyone tops off mana or just hitting the next group without laying D&D. It's really becoming obvious because my threat management has improved so the dps in the group can give their all, or at least more which takes the mobs down quicker.

    I know I don't have to have D&D on each pull because I should (and currently am) fine without it, but it was my bread and butter for so long that I miss having it on tap when I want it.

    Should I just continue to take breaks between pulls or go without.... or, is there an efficient way to take a few points out of something to put back into morbidity?

    I'm glad that its getting down to finer tuning of things now, thanks everyone for your responses so far.
    I like DnD and use it on every pull (heck it's there, why not use it) what I did was pull the points from Scent of Blood and move them to Morbidity and leave the 2 points in Chill of the Grave. Since you're casting IT and HB all the time, I find I can generate runic power (not as much as Scent of Blood) but enough. I've also found adding BB early and often really helps with threat once the diseases are on all the targets. I view my job as gaining and holding aggro, dps is sauce for the goose. Also, I've gone to FS over DC as my runic dump.

  10. #10
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    There's also the case that DK threat takes a little time to set up. Though it's tougher on heroics, having runspeed enchant on your boots so you can actually start doing stuff before the dps gets there should also ease the threat problem.

    One other change i might suggest is unless you have KM up dont HB at the start. Getting another BB in first could turn out to be better (iirc it'll allow you to get your deathrunes faster). Since i tank as blood i cant say if it'll be better but it might be worth trying on a trash pack.

  11. #11
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    the build you've changed to looks pretty good... here are some of my comments based on my own playstyle as frost DK tank...

    I'd try to find a way to put 3pts into morbidity as I usually start my pull of grp mobs with it...

    my usual rotation for grp pulls are... DnD, HB, BB, OB > RS when possible and FS when I have >60 RP... then subsequently HB > BB > BB > OB > RS when possible and FS when I have excess RP... that usually holds the mobs to me... I don't have DeathChill in my spec so I don't really rely on that... I have 3 DPS buddies who usually open up the minute I hit HB, and they usually don't steal aggro from me unless they have a few crits in a row, which will only steal threat for a very short while...

    For single target mobs or bosses, my rotation is IT > PS > BS > BS > OB, RS when possible and FS for dump... followed by OB > OB > OB > rinse repeat...

    One thing to try would be to always make sure you have some RP so that when an RS procs, you have enough RP to activate it... this imho, is essential for threat...
    Last edited by !3M; 10-15-2009 at 12:23 AM. Reason: typo

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