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Thread: DK Tank in training, Unholy vs Frost for AoE Off-Tank Build.

  1. #1
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    DK Tank in training, Unholy vs Frost for AoE Off-Tank Build.

    After returning to the game after a few months absence due to RL matters, I've started leveling my DK tank once more. At the time I had started, I had decided upon using an Unholy AoE tanking spec, with my aim being to create a good off-tank who could effectively manage the adds and whatnot that come along in many encounters.

    I can't find the build I was using anymore (nor, in fact, have I come across many Unholy Tank specs) and I'm reconsidering what might be the best spec for AoE tanking. Is Unholy still a viable choice for this? and how would it compare to a Frost AoE build?

    Feel free to post essays, I figure at this early stage 'hitting the books' on the theory is something I need to do anyway :P.

    EDIT: Armoury Link - Faubidan
    Last edited by Notavi; 02-01-2010 at 06:47 AM. Reason: Added an armoury link.

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    I don't have a very long time to go into a lot of detail but the basic jist of the two AoE tanking builds is this;

    Both builds do extremely well in AoE threat scenarios. realistically the key difference between the two is threat style and survivability. The Frost build has a lot of damage mitigation talents and relies on the heavy-hitting Obliterate, along with Rime/Killing Machine or Deathchill procs to lay down the hurt with Howling Blasts that hit like a truck. Glyph Howling Blast and every time you fire it you'll be keeping your disease spread, so your rotation will get tighter as you enter your second or third iteration. Frost DKs also have the option to dual-wield and, in my opinion, become more modular, with High Threat (Slow/Slow) Normal (Slow/Tank) and Max Survivability (Tank/Tank) weapon itemization.

    Unholy Tanks are a rare breed, they rely on magical damage and debuffs to hold threat, while at the same time providing utility to the raid with Ebon Plaguebearer. Key differences you'll find is the only AoE burst threat you have is Blood Boil, so you'll have to do more disease maintenance to keep your threat maxed, and, more importantly, a Unholy DK has fewer damage mitigation talents, you will rely a lot on Bone Shield to mask your squishiness. It will require intimate knowledge of fight mechanics to know when the best time is to pull up your Bone Shield and how best to time IBF and trinkets to keep your durability up when you're waiting for the BS CD to drop off you.

    It's the general consensus that Unholy DK Tanks are the most difficult to play and play well. But, what the hell fun are we having if there's not some sort of challenge to our playstyle? Facerolling seems to be a stigma that surrounds us DKs, even in the tank world, and I get tired of it, so if I can find something unique to do, I go ahead and do it. There is a sticky in the Class Mechanics forum that has several posts of very good and very accurate information concerning Death Knight tanking, including Unholy Tanking. Check it out and good hunting!
    Handing out God Mode like waffles to a fat kid.

  3. #3
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    I'm an unholy tank, but do not know where the squishiness opinion comes from. A well-played unholy tank is outstanding.

    My spec is slightly modified from the preferred EJ tanking spec, taking a couple points from IUP and amz and putting it in reaping.

  4. #4
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    This is my current Unholy tanking build: http://www.wowarmory.com/character-s...os&cn=Eventide

    Feel free to use it. Much of what I've done is a matter of opinion based upon maximizing the higher threat/damaging abilities.

    Personally I feel that Unholy tanking is superior to Frost having tried both. The main reason being is that a lot of Frost threat is dependent on Killing Machine procs and Free Howling Blasts. At times I would destroy at threat other I would be chain taunting mobs to keep them on me.

    Please feel free to take a look at this blog entry of mine.

    http://www.tankspot.com/entry.php?31...Unholy-Tanking

    It gets a little into play style and different abilities with my previously posted spec being the final result.

    Good Luck and let me know if you have any specific questions.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaeden View Post
    I'm an unholy tank, but do not know where the squishiness opinion comes from. A well-played unholy tank is outstanding.
    My understanding is that because we have Bone Armour instead of the passive damage reduction of Frost spec tanks, we have to make effective use of Bone Armor to maximize our survivability (whereas Frost can use their equivalent defenses without needing to think about it).

    And effective use of Bone Armor is a situational thing, you want it to be absorbing the bigger strikes, not the smaller ones. This means knowing the fight well enough to know when that big hit is coming.

    DwarvenTankard: You stress the value of Death and Decay for threat generation. Is this only for multi-target pulls or is it better for threat generation even on single targets?

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    Single target or Multi, Death and Decay is a great way to build threat. And on my build i did not put any points into bone shield and do quite well without it.

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    There's not a single talent point that beats Bone Shield...

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    20% damage reduction for the next 5 hits is certainly nothing to sneeze at. It's a bit hard to justify NOT taking advantage of that as a tank.

    I'd imagine with some content it's possible to out-gear it enough that bone shield is no longer all that important, though it does still mean you're under-performing compared to your character potential.

    Love, would you care to elaborate on what you'd consider a better use of that talent point?

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    As far as Death and Decay goes I even try and keep it up with single targets. Its just a solid threat builder all around. Every raid/heroic I run it does 30%-50% of my damage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Notavi View Post
    20% damage reduction for the next 5 hits is certainly nothing to sneeze at. It's a bit hard to justify NOT taking advantage of that as a tank.

    I'd imagine with some content it's possible to out-gear it enough that bone shield is no longer all that important, though it does still mean you're under-performing compared to your character potential.

    Love, would you care to elaborate on what you'd consider a better use of that talent point?
    Hell ALL Unholy DPS that I know of have Bone Shield in their builds.

  11. #11
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    Well, after running a few more dungeons, I've got a few questionss regarding gearing.

    At the moment, I've pretty much been just picking up tanking gear and selecting it based upon ilvl. This has resulted in me stacking defense quite nicely but has given me no DPS/Threat stats (I have a second DPS set that I'm also accumulating).

    For the most part, this really doesn't affect my ability to acquire and hold threat on targets. However, the lack of hit seems to be causing some of my abilities to miss, requiring me to pay closer attention to my rotation (as I can't simply fire it off and assume it'll work). Is this standard operating procedure? How important is hit/expertise to DK threat generation?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notavi View Post
    Well, after running a few more dungeons, I've got a few questionss regarding gearing.

    At the moment, I've pretty much been just picking up tanking gear and selecting it based upon ilvl. This has resulted in me stacking defense quite nicely but has given me no DPS/Threat stats (I have a second DPS set that I'm also accumulating).

    For the most part, this really doesn't affect my ability to acquire and hold threat on targets. However, the lack of hit seems to be causing some of my abilities to miss, requiring me to pay closer attention to my rotation (as I can't simply fire it off and assume it'll work). Is this standard operating procedure? How important is hit/expertise to DK threat generation?
    Depends on who you ask.
    IMHO it is extremely important.
    Use Yellow sockets for Hit/Stam, use Red sockets for Expertise/Stam. Try to get as close as possible to 263 Hit (no higher) and 26 Expertise (higher is okay but don't gem/enchant to get higher).

  13. #13
    Yeah I hear the bit about lacking hit. It's pretty frustrating to have two or three OB misses in a row when a hunter is not-so-slowly creeping up Omen. However, if you can't survive a boss then you won't even have a chance to hold aggro, so survivability has to be number one. Personally I haven't had any really serious issues with dps pulling threat off of me, I just hate seeing those misses, throws off my rotation. In the future I think I'm going to start collecting a few more socket bonuses by gemming for hit and stam rather then pure stam.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notavi View Post
    Well, after running a few more dungeons, I've got a few questionss regarding gearing.

    At the moment, I've pretty much been just picking up tanking gear and selecting it based upon ilvl. This has resulted in me stacking defense quite nicely but has given me no DPS/Threat stats (I have a second DPS set that I'm also accumulating).

    For the most part, this really doesn't affect my ability to acquire and hold threat on targets. However, the lack of hit seems to be causing some of my abilities to miss, requiring me to pay closer attention to my rotation (as I can't simply fire it off and assume it'll work). Is this standard operating procedure? How important is hit/expertise to DK threat generation?
    My advice is that if you're not having threat problems, don't worry about threat stats. As a tank you are always going to have abilities that fail to land because you'll probably never be at the expertise hard cap. DK tanks played optimally don't have rotations; they have priority lists. Part of the beauty of the rune system is that because our abilities aren't on hard cooldowns, even if they miss once there's a chance that we'll be able to re-use them without any penalty to our TPS.

  15. #15
    See my sig for AoE Frost tanking, relevant to both raids and 5mans. Can't comment on UH, haven't tanked w/ that in a year.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molecule View Post
    DK tanks played optimally don't have rotations; they have priority lists.
    That's quite an insightful comment, and it certainly rings true. Thanks for that, you've expanded my perspective.

    I'm not having threat issues at the moment (apart from the odd over-eager DPS, but I tend to be able to get threat back soon enough). However, I'm currently doing levelling content, and I really don't know how well my ability to generate and keep threat will translate into heroics once the time comes.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notavi View Post
    Well, after running a few more dungeons, I've got a few questionss regarding gearing.

    At the moment, I've pretty much been just picking up tanking gear and selecting it based upon ilvl. This has resulted in me stacking defense quite nicely but has given me no DPS/Threat stats (I have a second DPS set that I'm also accumulating).

    For the most part, this really doesn't affect my ability to acquire and hold threat on targets. However, the lack of hit seems to be causing some of my abilities to miss, requiring me to pay closer attention to my rotation (as I can't simply fire it off and assume it'll work). Is this standard operating procedure? How important is hit/expertise to DK threat generation?
    Protip; in the WoW tanking world, there is only one standard operating proceedure; stay alive and keep them pissed off at you. Anything after that is up to the individual tank.

    That being said, you will see tanks gem and enchant both ways. Some gem and enchant pure stam and swear it's the only way. Some of us can't quite get away with that.

    I was having that very same issue as a dual-wield frost tank. So I changed gears and completely regemmed. Now all of my socket bonuses are active, which actually does well to make for the loss from dropping full stam gems, and now I have a healthy amount of hit and expertise, those misses and parries dropped off the face of the earth. I personally highly recommend that tanks gem to trigger bonuses
    Handing out God Mode like waffles to a fat kid.

  18. #18
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    I dont think I've seen misses in a while, but that might be due to the fact that I have WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY over the hit rating. I used to be below so I had to gem it, and I just can't stand to see the gem bonuses not active, so I geared up on hit and never changed the gems on my old gear. Now that I have better gear, and noticed that icc10 tanking gear gives a ridiculous amount of hit, i'm just far over the cap. Also i'm broke so I can't really afford to regem all my gear so I've just left it as is haha. I'm a frost dw tank, and I just absolutely love it. Its unique, looks f***king cool, and works surprisingly well. I can't see why people think that its crap. As for back to the hit rating thing, I think I have like 408 hit and 33 expertise lol

  19. #19
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    Heh, content-free sarcasm...

    To be honest, I'm inclined to gear towards set bonuses going into heroics. Why? Because Survivability in that environment should be relatively easy to nail once I have some badge gear on - we're talking about a place that could be done in blues if geared correctly.

    And having some threat stats should help me keep the aggro off any "Omen, what's that?" DPS'ers I may come across.

    The counter-argument is that when dealing with 'But I've got a beer in my other hand' healers, my survivability may still be getting tested.

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