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Thread: Dual Wield tanking

  1. #1
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    Dual Wield tanking

    I've read some of the threads on this and honestly it went in one ear and out the other.

    I have experience as a tank as a warrior and paladin and just recently decided to gear up my DK for some dual wield tanking. My gear will mainly consist of triumph and heroic no trophies. and maybe a frost badge piece eventually.

    Pretty much what i want is a simple break down of a rotation just so I can try out tanking. What I plan on doing is trying out said rotation and then as I get more experience change it to my likings. I hate asking this because I dont like being handed a rotation but I learn by doing and any help would be appreciated.

    If all ends well I'll add this to my list of tanks, if not I'll just do what I do best with it as of now which is DPS'ing.

  2. #2
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    This thread should be here: http://www.tankspot.com/forumdisplay...-I-need-advice

    Here is my work on the topic:
    http://www.tankspot.com/showthread.p...866#post337866

    Short Answer:
    Frost works rather like Warrior tanking in that you are using a priority structure with procs to look out for. Here are some simple guidelines to get you started, assuming you have a fairly straightforward spec.

    1.) Two slow weapons are ideal threat. Using tanking weapons in one or both hands will potentially give you more survival values but they'll do as much as 15-20% less threat overall compared to slow weapons of the same ilvl (though they'll be closer to match slow weapons that are a full tier or so below, i.e. ~19 ilvl difference).

    2.) RS should be used on every availability. It is the best use of RP for threat, bar none. To that end, try to avoid using Frost Strike unless you have more than 60 RP (52 if FS is glyphed).

    3.) Rune cost moves are always your first priority. FS as your RP burning ability should only be used when all your runes are on cooldown, with one exception: Killing Machine procs. On single targets you will want to use KM procs on FS, and on Howling Blast for AoE groups.

    4.) If you have Blood runes (not currently Death runes by Blood of the North), you'll want to BS for single target threat, Pest to spread diseases, or BB for AoE threat. Beware: BB will not generate Death runes.

    5.) Your default move for Frost/Unholy pairs or Death rune pairs is Obliterate on single targets and HB on AoE groups. Regardless, if HB is on CD you want to use OB as it can proc the Rime talent and refresh your HB and make it free to cast (think Sword and Board).

    6.) Diseases are your first and most important step. If they are not applied or are about to fall off, they need to be refreshed/applied. Frost Fever (via IT or HB if glyphed) is the most important. FF will buff every move except OB and Blood Strike to their maximum values. If you are dual wielding slow weapons it is still well worth your time to apply Blood Plague (via Plague Strike) as it will offer a solid bump to OB/BS threat.

    7.) Always use Rime procs (called Freezing Fog if you track it with an addon) before using OB again (like SnB), even on single targets.
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

  3. #3
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    If you are using Howling Blast glyph, it is also important to remember that Unbreakable Armor uses up a Frost Rune.
    A good way to not 'mess up' your rune pairs is couple that Frost Rune with a Plague Strike and use Howling Blast to keep up your Frost Fever. That way you will have used 2 Frost and 2 Unholy runes, applied your diseases, used a CD ability and did some decent damage on your target(s).

    It can take some time, but learning to choose which abilities to use on which Runes and planning a couple of seconds ahead for those Runes is the key to mastering the Death Knight class (atleast in my opinion). I advise you to go to heroics with above list in mind and learn where to use other abilities where needed. Especialy Blood -> Death Runes is an interesting mechanic to play with depending on the situation.
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  4. #4
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    Piggybacking on this thread because I wanted to run this by Satorri and other major TCers.

    I did some testing on Slow/Fast for MH/OH weapons and found that switching to a fast OH only made about a 3% difference in DPS. I still need to do some extensive testing on bosses to find out how that translates into TPS due to RS hitting softer. However, it seems like Slow DPS one hander / Fast tanking one hander would be a viable enough option without sacrificing too much threat.

    Due to your OH already doing considerably less damage (even with NoCS) the penalty for putting a fast weapon in that slot isn't as noticeable as if you were to put it in the MH. However, you still get the same stat gain as you would putting it in either slot.

    Also, a fast OH theoretically increases KM uptime, which slightly counteracts the threat loss.

    Another thing to note as it pertains to this thread, is that if you do use fast weapons, KM into HB may become priority over KM into FS even on a single target because your FS isn't hitting as hard. You'll probably want to test this though because it will vary at different levels of AP.

    I was wondering if there'd been some other, more concrete TC on the specific subject of using a fast OH. It's pretty clear that Slow MH is much more optimal, but most people don't address the OH specifically.

    DK threat is pretty awful overall and going DW frost is one way to counteract it. The loss of stats though and the reallocation of 4 or so talent points causes most end-game progression DK tanks to use 2H. I'm wondering though if DW slow/fast allows DKs to hit a sweet spot between the two. Gaining a bit of threat, and keeping near the same amount of stats (+ some extra tanking stats) while catering to the people who prefer the DW style of play.

  5. #5
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    To answer your question, yes, it is a fairly popular balancing method to use a slow dps main-hand and a fast tank off-hand (even better if you can get Quel'serrar) to balance threat and survival values. You don't trade as much threat with a fast off-hand, that is correct. It is still a trade, just a smaller one.

    And, yes, if you follow the link in my first reply I actually crunched some numbers. Generally, and you may want to confirm with your own gear/talent set, if you use two fast tanking weapons, HB may surpass OB and FS for damage and may become your first choice for FU pairs and KM procs, while OB will become primarily a means to refresh the cooldown, and FS a smaller but still valuable dump for RP as usual.


    I really don't know where you came up with the idea that DKs are somehow low on threat. I've seen some depressing specs, but the class has no problems whatsoever with threat when talented smartly and played well. Why do *you* think that DK threat is awful?
    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?!?

  6. #6
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    Short Answer: My other tank is a Paladin.

    In reality though, outside of DW slow/slow and blood spec, sustained threat for a DK is noticeably lower than other tanks (and it's pretty widely understood that 2H Frost is optimal for ICC). However, it's mostly the burst threat that's problematic. A paladin and warrior can easily put out more threat on a single shield slam than a DK can do in their first 3-4 GCDs.

    DKs also rely a bit more on threat stats (exp/hit) than other tanks do because their rotations aren't dependent on previous abilities landing. A DK who gets a miss then a parry or dodge on IT/PS is leagues behind a paladin who missed a judgement and a shield slam. Since IT/PS are already weak hitting abilities, but necessary for the other abilities to do their full potential, the DK has to go back and reapply them where as the paladin (warrior and feral as well to my knowledge) just continue with their rotation.

    On top of that, even if you have an obliterate miss or be dodged, you've only lost one global, but now your rotation has been pushed back in the disease cycle and your final abilities in the sequence have a chance to hit after your diseases have fallen off, therefore hitting weaker.

    In both situations DKs get punished doubly for miss/dodge/parry. When our burst threat is already low, this even further makes our opening round a crapshoot outside of good use of tricks/MD. So expertise soft cap and hit cap become slightly more necessary for DKs than other tanks.

    Granted saying 'awful' in regards to DK threat is a bit of an exaggeration because I did tank ToC25 this week wielding a Thunderfury in my offhand and didn't have any noticeable threat issues.


    That being said, if DK threat wasn't already a struggle, why isn't 30/36/5 (or something close) spec of choice? It provides both raid buffs, Vo3w, Frigid Dreadplate, IFP, UA. You gain 3% stam, 6% str, 1 expertise, in exchange for 6 seconds on IBF as far as compared to a standard frost build. The utility and survivability are pretty amazing, but I don't see anyone using it.


  7. #7
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    Anecdotal evidence is... anecdotal.

    I regularly out-threat my warriors and bears I've run with, though at best I only keep up with my protadin friends in ICC (friggin anti-undead hotness).

    Each tank class has unique threat aspects. Warriors can put out ludicrous burst threat especially when procs line up, Bears have very spammy threat abilities and a pretty much always in-use on-next-swing that hits like a truck, and Paladins have multiple hot threat aspects. DKs are usually the weakest of the 4 in terms of opening threat provided you're trying to build for sustainable threat, but over the course of the fight DKs are spot on with the rest for cruising threat.

    I can say all that but it has no more weight than what you have said. If you have some threat parses to back up what you're saying, maybe that will be more meaningful or helpful?

    And to answer your last question, the reason no one uses that spec is because it splits trees to get what you think are all the key passive survival buffs, but in the process you gimp your threat horribly because the spec is missing key tree-specific buffs and style elements. It would play somewhat awkwardly without a particular sense of purpose.

    You don't need threat to be a problem or on the verge of being one to make that spec an odd choice (though many have tried over the last year to use something to that effect).
    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?!?

  8. #8
    Best advice that anyone can give you here I think is to read Satorri's book on DK tanking. Since 3.3 I have been DW tanking the way described in the guide and its working beautiful, provided I do have a 245 Quel'Serrar in the MH though lol.

    Personal recommendation: Single Disease method is your friend.

  9. #9
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    Don't get me wrong, I really have no serious problems tanking on my DK because I understand the strengths and weaknesses of the class and how to capitalize on either. I also don't raid ultra-hardcore like I used to so these issues don't really get under my skin.

    That said, I brought this up merely for speculation because I hadn't seen much serious mention of it. I still think ultimately 2H frost is more optimal than DW any way you set it up and agree that 30/36/5 wouldn't be a great choice.

    As far as hybrid specs g,o though. I used 36/32/3 very heavily through ulduar progression with no problems because the threat was plenty good enough at the time. Mostly due to scaling, however, threat can be much more of an issue than it was early in the expansion when no tank had real threat troubles at all.

    The point of bringing up 30/36/5 however, is to point out that DK tanking builds are much more dependent on DPS talents than other tanks and it forces us to invest heavily into one specific tree to have viable (and in my experience, still behind other tanks) threat.

    The only tanking talents that are deep in the trees are WotN and GoG (and GoG is part DPS as well), so the only real reason we go that deep is for utility and threat. Whereas in Ulduar (and before) levels of gear and tuning this wasn't really required.

    If DK threat was fine in our standard spec, we could afford to take a spec like 30/36/5 and make it workable through tricks/MD to compensate for a lower threat output. However, our threat is right at the cusp and taking a lower threat spec like that is completely not viable because we already need help. Again this applies mostly to 2H frost because DW and blood are fairly well off. Remember though that those two specs aren't really the spec of choice for DK tanks in hardcore guilds.

    I mean, how many surviviability talents do warriors, ferals, or paladins feel are necessary to pass on to pick up threat talents so they can hold threat? I think there my be some utility they pass on, but none of their tanking survival talents.

    Granted, this problem stems from the theory that DKs would have 3 viable DPS and 3 viable tanking trees. So balance is really skewed across the trees and they've really never aimed for split tree specs to be viable, although it's happened in the past. So maybe I just want to have my cake and eat it too.

  10. #10
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    Satorri, you need to re-link your book. The link is broken now ;-)

    You might also check out Swam's guide on DK Frost Tanking. It has plenty of information on DW and our resident DK math-theory-everything guru, Satorri, has put his own insights there as well.

  11. #11
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    Yeah =( I need to fix the internal links, I probably won't go find other thread links to fix though.
    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?!?

  12. #12
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    Has anyone done any of the math stuff to see if there is a mix of DPS (threat) oriented gear and tanking gear with the suggested 36/32/3 spec that might perform better than some of the broadly accepted tanking specs? I'm just wondering if it is possible to mitigate some of the threat concerns that may be caused by taking so many tanking options and not some of the deeper tree dps related talents with gear and actually come out ahead as a tank.

    I'm a complete newb trying to learn about tanking with my DK, but this thread got me to thinking anyways.

  13. #13
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    The issue with the spec is that it is based on the assumption that what you get in Blood is worth taking the points out of the top of Frost, or vice versa.

    Here's the core of the issue: as tanks we want to balance threat and survival, yes. *But* we also usually want to combine elements to get the best net value.

    Could you take that half-concocted spec and try to off-set the threat with gear? Maybe, even more so, maybe the threat isn't a big deal in the grand equation vs your raid.

    In reality though, the issue with the spec is that it loses important *scaling* values. Aside from tree-specific mechanics that influence a given synergy inherent to each tree, it also gives up the pivotal base scaling values of Blood-gorged or Tundra Stalker, each of which provides a % bonus that can generally out-weigh any measure of gear that you could swap around.

    At best you would sacrifice at least as much survival value from your gear trying to make up for the threat loss by using non-tank gear.

    I could go bit by bit through the spec to point out the loose ends of sorts that leave it likely to perform poorly, but I don't think it's particularly needed.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Neat View Post
    Also, a fast OH theoretically increases KM uptime, which slightly counteracts the threat loss.
    While I agree with your assessment on using a tanking offhand to make a minor threat/survivability tradeoff (it's certainly more efficient than swapping the mainhand), I do believe this point is wrong. If I remember correctly, Killing Machine was changed several patches back to only trigger on mainhand swings, and to use a PPM system (and thus, speed is irrelevant either way). I'm not sure if it's been changed back since then, but I hadn't seen any patch notes indicating it had.

    -Splug

  15. #15
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    You remember right Splug, they specifically made KM proc on the main-hand only.
    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?!?

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