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Thread: Death Knight Hybrid Tanking

  1. #1
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    Death Knight Hybrid Tanking

    Recently I respeced my DK tank to a hybrid build (36/26/9). I found that often my raids lacked an enhancement shaman, and marksman hunter. In order to become the bearer of buffs, I made a very bizarre spec that gives +10% AP raidwide, +20% melee haste raidwide. It's also very healable... Threat is still a bit of an issue, but I think that's mostly my DK's gear. I've only tried it in ToC 10/25 so far, and it worked well there, not sure about ICC though. Anyway, check it out, leave some feedback, and pick it apart.

    ~Jalista~

    Note: version 3.3.3

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    Interesting spec, You have some decent stuff from all tree's but i am afraid that if it has worked ok in ToC then when you get to ICC it will be touch and go, not gonna say you can't, but i am gonna say your chances aren't good. Your not meant to be a bringer of buffs, your there to Tank and whatever buffs you bring with your proven full fledged tanking spec is a perk on its own. Wotn will save your but many times in ICC, you don't have it. SD is a waste in ICC like maybe sindragosa but other than that waste of points. IBP is a waste the 4% isnt worth much when bosses are hitting over 20k so if healers arent good to begin with its not gonna matter. So try it as you might im not holding my breath for ya, but hey its your $15 do whatever you want with it, just have fun ^.^

  3. #3
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    The reason you're missing threat is because you have no key abilities.
    You have no Heart strike or Howling Blast or even a Frosts Obliterate. You're basicly doing the same rotation as a Blood tank, but just with less oomph.
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  4. #4
    Hybrid spec analysis from Gravity's blog comes to mind. It is about a blood/frost spec with much more threat talents from frost and survivability ones from blood. However, it still has too little threat to offer. So going after two buffs really depletes your threat potential.

    Moreover, a lot of talents in your spec are just plain wrong: Improved Blood Presence is a waste, since you tank in Frost and 4% of tank’s attacks in heals is negligible, Spell Deflection is even more situational and underpowered than Acclimation, hence, it’s worthless for most purposes, Subversion is not particularly useful either for tanking or dps (at least Frost dps has much better options), additional damage and crit percentage from Dark Conviction and Bloody Vengeance has also a negligible impact on threat, and Morbidity is a no-no in most cases. Not to mention Endless Winter and Black Ice. Although, I know many people won’t agree with me on the last one.

    You can look up the analysis on Gravity blog (I think he calls the hybrid spec “dreadplate spec”), there’s also a lot of talent analysis, so you can make a pretty good pick for whichever spec you choose. I do not agree with everything said there, but all-in-all it provides reasonable opinion backed up with valid arguments and mathematical calculations.
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    Tanking with a hybrid spec is fine so long as you work with the rest of the raid to cover any weak points you spec may have.

    I would recommend making sure the rogues are aware of your threat deficiency and are using their tricks on you as often as possible within the first minute or two of any boss encounter.

    Your spec lacks the additional heavy dmg-reduction cooldowns of a deep tank tree, so communicating with healers who have similar cool-downs in advance will also be critical.

    I use a hybrid unholy/blood spec which uses death strike as my FU filler all in the name of getting ebon plague and keeping my 3%stamina boost from blood. Play well and you will be fine.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Khalous View Post
    I use a hybrid unholy/blood spec which uses death strike as my FU filler all in the name of getting ebon plague and keeping my 3%stamina boost from blood. Play well and you will be fine.
    Would you mind elaborating on your talent choices?

    I mean, I'm no fan of unholy tanking, but I haven't seen a build yet that bypasses Scourge Strike and Wandering Plague and goes for AMZ and Spell Deflection instead. Moreover, I'm pretty sure that untalanted Death Strike does make you loose a huge chunk of ST threat, while the healing it provides is pretty weak. Which, naturally, makes me wonder where the talents from this spec pay off.
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    It's all well and good to be mindful of buffing your raid, but you always need to keep it in perspective. Potentially you hurt your ability to tank by trying to reach for both buffs. I am assuming your raid (10-man, yes?) has at least a few melee/physical dps then? If you only have 1-2 plus the tanks then it is almost certainly not worth reaching for both the melee haste AND the 10% AP buff.

    And we've seen many specs like this before, I've played with many, that fancy the idea of bridging to get as many survival talents as they can. The 3 things I've found with playing a spec like this were:

    1.) You sacrifice a lot of threat dynamics and tree synergies to cherry pick the attractive tanking talents. In general, I've found it to be a not-equitable trade. The only reason I suspect you can even be sufficient with threat is because of the current state of Icy Touch (and you are still having threat challenges you mention).

    2.) In pulling points out of the bottoms of the tree to get into the middle of another you miss some of the most interesting and influential talents. Going half and half as you did in Blood and Frost you miss out on WotN, HS, MoM, B-G, Imp DS, as well as HB, Tundra Stalker, Acclimation, Imp Frost Pres, etc etc. What do you gain? The ability to offer another raid buff and a bit more chance to be miss.

    3.) The biggest thing for me? Play style. In cherry picking survival talents you've managed to dodge all the elements that make play interesting as Blood or Frost. I imagine you tank just hitting BS, IT, and PS? Maybe the occasional weak DS to get some value out of DRM? It's just awkward. No Imp DS, no Annihilation for OB, no BotN or much support from Blood to get decent BS hits, and even your ITs will hit limply in the scale of what is possible with the lack of Frost buffs. The feeling of playing it is disjointed and awkward on top of an already sabotaged potential.

    My opinion? Not remotely worth it to pick up those raid buffs like that. You're trading a sizeable amount of your own contribution just to buff the group slightly. It is no where near a fair trade (I think) even if you had 5 physical melee dps.

    As far as talent nitpicking goes from there?

    Never skip Bladed Armor, especially not for 2-hand Spec or Subversion (without HS, and half the BS buff, meh). There are a bunch of other points I would shift to optimize what you're trying to do, but I don't think there's much sense in sharing it since I don't think they would make this more of a smart build to use.
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  8. #8
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    If you really want to buff your raid with those two, I'm assuming a few things:

    1) You have a LOT of melee dps in your group. (5 or more)
    2) You are consistently running in the same group that does not include a shammy (meh on hunter)


    If you say yes to BOTH of the above, THEN you have a reason for going with the "raid buff spec".

    But if you can't, then you should really be running as a "traditional" tank spec and grabbing one of the raid buffs. Sacrificing your function as a tank just to grab an extra raid buff is not a good trade off. To me, it screams.... "my dps can't carry their weight!"

    BUT.... if you can answer both as YES, then you might have an idea with merit. My question then becomes, "what is the purpose of the tank?". Is a tank supposed to be the "buff machine"? Or are they supposed to hold threat and survive said threat? As a tank, your real job is ALWAYS the latter. If they're having you as the "buff machine/OT/dps" role, then the hybrid spec holds some merit. Particularly for 10 man. If it's a 25 man..... there is a real and deep fundamental problem with your raid group.

    As for your threat issues, are you talking AoE threat or boss threat? If the latter, may I suggest the following?

    Frost with Blood Buffs, Heavy Obliterate Build

    You get a fair chunk of the frost tree's survivability with Frigid Dreadplate, Improved Frost Presence, and Unbreakable Armor, and you get the goodness of single target threat from the Obliterate friendly build. You get +32% crit on Obliterate and +25% damage to it without it consuming diseases and with it granting death runes to boot. And then, once a boss drops below 35%, you get the "DK Execute" of Merciless Combat. You also get fair AoE threat with Glyph of DnD. The only real weak spot would be that you'll be sitting and waiting for DnD to pop back up. On the FLIP SIDE THOUGH.... you go have a CC with Hungering Cold. That last one is nice if dps can "control themselves".

    With that build, I'd be using the following rotation:

    BOSS/SINGLE TARGET:
    IT > PS > PEST > OB > BS > OB > OB > PEST > BS > OB > OB > PEST > BS > OB > OB ----- Throw in Rune Strike as needed

    MULTI TARGET

    DND > IT > PS > PEST > OB > BB > OB > PEST/BB > OB > OB > PEST/BB > ----- again, rune strikes as needed

    The only real change would be pacing Pestilence and Blood Boil. I'd DEFINITELY work in Blood Boil since you'd be waiting on DND, but rhythmically popping BB should keep a lot of threat on you, and since you have all the main/key survival tools of frost, you should be relatively stable for a healer to keep up.

    But again, all of this is dependent on the group you are running with. If you are regularly running with the same group, it makes sense. If you're pugging..... you're really hurting yourself as a tank to provide a benefit that the raider leader should be thinking about when assembling a group.
    Last edited by Leucifer; 04-26-2010 at 12:00 PM. Reason: Clarification
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    Don't get me wrong. Mad props for thinking out of the box. If you had a set raid team that wanted to consistently clear content but had this as a hurdle, it's smart.
    I'd just do a little play testing and see if it really hauled in some benefit.
    No one tanks in a void.........

  10. #10
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    Here's a link to my armory for the spec: http://www.wowarmory.com/character-t...he+Dark+Empire

    I am not a huge fan any of the styles of DK tank specs to be honest, all of them lack some critical cool-down or %buff that come in the single tanking tree of the other classes. I, for one, will be happy to see tanking united into the blood spec merely for the possibility of being a well rounded tank. As it is for me now.

    I am one of two tanks for a 100% consistent 10man group that clears LK and is working on hard modes as of last week.

    All raid dps gained an appreciable dps % boost from ebon plague, even the rogue('s) gained a significant amount of poison dmg.

    The LK and hard mode bosses hit like a truck, both physically and magically.

    The rogue knows how to trix to me when I am low on threat at the start of a fight, and then switch to others for a dps boost once threat has stabilized a minute in.

    Taking all of this into account, so long as I can maintain 9k tps solo I can hold any boss which is not being taunted back and forth regularly, and is taking sustained single target dps from the raid.
    Taking out scourge strike, and the talents that support it, lowered my average tps from 12-13k solo, to 9-10k solo. Potentially bad for our arcane mage who can push 18k threat within the first 30seconds but not enough to beat both myself and a tricksing rogue going all out. If I or the rogue mess up a rotation, then the mage goes invisible. Threat is not a problem.

    Survival of the tank (VotW) and raid dps (ebon plague) are more important for taking down the boss. It may not work for most people, but it certainly works in my situation.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satorri View Post
    It's all well and good to be mindful of buffing your raid, but you always need to keep it in perspective. Potentially you hurt your ability to tank by trying to reach for both buffs. I am assuming your raid (10-man, yes?) has at least a few melee/physical dps then? If you only have 1-2 plus the tanks then it is almost certainly not worth reaching for both the melee haste AND the 10% AP buff.

    And we've seen many specs like this before, I've played with many, that fancy the idea of bridging to get as many survival talents as they can. The 3 things I've found with playing a spec like this were:

    1.) You sacrifice a lot of threat dynamics and tree synergies to cherry pick the attractive tanking talents. In general, I've found it to be a not-equitable trade. The only reason I suspect you can even be sufficient with threat is because of the current state of Icy Touch (and you are still having threat challenges you mention).

    2.) In pulling points out of the bottoms of the tree to get into the middle of another you miss some of the most interesting and influential talents. Going half and half as you did in Blood and Frost you miss out on WotN, HS, MoM, B-G, Imp DS, as well as HB, Tundra Stalker, Acclimation, Imp Frost Pres, etc etc. What do you gain? The ability to offer another raid buff and a bit more chance to be miss.

    3.) The biggest thing for me? Play style. In cherry picking survival talents you've managed to dodge all the elements that make play interesting as Blood or Frost. I imagine you tank just hitting BS, IT, and PS? Maybe the occasional weak DS to get some value out of DRM? It's just awkward. No Imp DS, no Annihilation for OB, no BotN or much support from Blood to get decent BS hits, and even your ITs will hit limply in the scale of what is possible with the lack of Frost buffs. The feeling of playing it is disjointed and awkward on top of an already sabotaged potential.

    My opinion? Not remotely worth it to pick up those raid buffs like that. You're trading a sizeable amount of your own contribution just to buff the group slightly. It is no where near a fair trade (I think) even if you had 5 physical melee dps.

    As far as talent nitpicking goes from there?

    Never skip Bladed Armor, especially not for 2-hand Spec or Subversion (without HS, and half the BS buff, meh). There are a bunch of other points I would shift to optimize what you're trying to do, but I don't think there's much sense in sharing it since I don't think they would make this more of a smart build to use.
    Honestly, I really don't get this post, or others like it in this thread. Obviously, the only reason people are pushing these sort of specs is because the addition of the threat modifier to IT made it possible. And no matter how much groaning you hear, these sorts of builds are tps viable, with a little leaning on external threat amplifiers.

    Given that, I'm not sure what the point is in dissecting this build. The best advice to be given to this gentleman and scholar is: Yes, by performing the equivalent of a money shot on your talent tree, it is possible to squeeze out a remarkably marginal edge in utility and survivability at the cost of multi mob aggro, playstyle enjoyment, ability to perform other roles, and your sanity. The choice is yours.

    Best of luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Khalous View Post
    I am not a huge fan any of the styles of DK tank specs to be honest, all of them lack some critical cool-down or %buff that come in the single tanking tree of the other classes. I, for one, will be happy to see tanking united into the blood spec merely for the possibility of being a well rounded tank. As it is for me now.
    That is a sort of fallacy that is one small part of why Blizzard is dropping to a single tanking tree. Just because a different tree has a tanking talent does *not* mean you need to take it to be an effective tank. You can spec to be a strong Blood, Frost, or Unholy tank and still be strong and balanced as a tank.


    Quote Originally Posted by Khalous View Post
    Survival of the tank (VotW) and raid dps (ebon plague) are more important for taking down the boss. It may not work for most people, but it certainly works in my situation.
    That's good. If it works for you then nothing else particularly matters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by situation View Post
    Honestly, I really don't get this post, or others like it in this thread. Obviously, the only reason people are pushing these sort of specs is because the addition of the threat modifier to IT made it possible. And no matter how much groaning you hear, these sorts of builds are tps viable, with a little leaning on external threat amplifiers.
    People post here because they want feedback on their theory. That's the point.

    Otherwise this isn't a place for intelligent discussions...

    "That's nice, do your thing" is not constructive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by situation View Post
    Honestly, I really don't get this post, or others like it in this thread. Obviously, the only reason people are pushing these sort of specs is because the addition of the threat modifier to IT made it possible. And no matter how much groaning you hear, these sorts of builds are tps viable, with a little leaning on external threat amplifiers.
    Ok.... for starters.... no one here is "pushing these sorts of specs". The guy had a legitimate question about threat issues with a hybrid build. I understand what he's trying to accomplish, and I argue that it has more to do with poor group composition and that it really has nothing to do with IT threat modifier. In fact, the only place I'd say there the IT threat modifier has had any significant impact is with opening sequences, where the tank needs to build up threat. I've never had to use it on a boss to keep up my threat.

    As for it being tps viable.... tps is viable so long as the tank can survive the threat accumulated.
    Then, past that, threat is largely based off of the damage you do plus your base threat modifier for frost presence. Honestly, all the threat modifier really did was turn IT into a mild taunt. I think you're really overstating the situation. I think a build like this could work fine without the IT threat modifier. Go back and look at the example I provided for a build. In the frost tree, it's pretty easy to stack bonuses onto Obliterate to make it competitive. But I hardly think it all hinges around IT.

    Quote Originally Posted by situation View Post
    Given that, I'm not sure what the point is in dissecting this build. The best advice to be given to this gentleman and scholar is: Yes, by performing the equivalent of a money shot on your talent tree, it is possible to squeeze out a remarkably marginal edge in utility and survivability at the cost of multi mob aggro, playstyle enjoyment, ability to perform other roles, and your sanity. The choice is yours.

    Best of luck.
    I agree with the highlighted section completely.

    Again..... I go back to this......

    Quote Originally Posted by Leucifer View Post
    If you really want to buff your raid with those two, I'm assuming a few things:

    1) You have a LOT of melee dps in your group. (5 or more)
    2) You are consistently running in the same group that does not include a shammy (meh on hunter)


    If you say yes to BOTH of the above, THEN you have a reason for going with the "raid buff spec".

    But if you can't, then you should really be running as a "traditional" tank spec and grabbing one of the raid buffs. Sacrificing your function as a tank just to grab an extra raid buff is not a good trade off. To me, it screams.... "my dps can't carry their weight!"
    .........Purpose.........
    What are you really trying to accomplish? My job as a tank is to:
    1) Hold threat/aggro
    2) Survive the beating that is the consequence of that threat/aggro

    Everything beyond that is icing. You're trying to lump a LOT of icing on the cake by grabbing more than one raid buff.

    And to the original poster: Quick question for you. What do you do when you find yourself in a group WITH BOTH, a shammy AND a MM hunter? What's your value to that group now?

    I fall back on this ultimately:
    Quote Originally Posted by Leucifer View Post
    But again, all of this is dependent on the group you are running with. If you are regularly running with the same group, it makes sense. If you're pugging..... you're really hurting yourself as a tank to provide a benefit that the raider leader should be thinking about when assembling a group.
    No one tanks in a void.........

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satorri View Post
    People post here because they want feedback on their theory. That's the point.

    Otherwise this isn't a place for intelligent discussions...

    "That's nice, do your thing" is not constructive.
    I would have bought the intelligent and constructive angle if Frost with Blood Buffs, Heavy Obliterate Build wasn't a couple posts up.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by situation View Post
    I would have bought the intelligent and constructive angle if Frost with Blood Buffs, Heavy Obliterate Build wasn't a couple posts up.
    At least I OFFERED SOMETHING other than groundless criticism.... which is more than what you've contributed.

    I offered an alternative to his build with a specific functional goal in mind.

    Do you see how I built that spec with a particular goal in mind? My aim with it was to make up for poor single target threat by giving Obliterate as much oomf as I could, while stretching to get as many of the survival tools from the frost tree as I could. The ONE big weakness is the long cooldown between Death and Decays. IN MOST HEROICS, this isn't an issue. As long as you get the first one done right, and avoid pulling additional groups, you'll be fine. ONE instance where you WILL have problems comes to mind.... Halls of Stone. The Tribunal boss is one where you might have some issues. I currently run that in blood spec with two talent points on Morbidity. The 20 second timer is just enough to have it available with each wave so long as I drop it as soon as a wave appears. That's the ONLY place I've really had issues with it. (HoR being a possible second... but usually there.... it's well beyond 30 seconds where I might have to drop DnD again).

    However, in this build, I provided an alternative to DnD with Hungering Cold. The one big drawback here.... if all your dps is blazing away on different targets.... it'll be moot. If they're steadily burning down one target at a time.... it'll work like a charm.

    As for single targets.... this spec should be able to carry you through a LOT of encounters. With Obliterate stacked as it is.... you should be nailing with crits often and delivering heavy damage, especially if you're laying down two diseases on target. As for rune blackouts.... balance them out with Dark Command. If you pace it, between Rune Strike / Obliterate / Dark Command.... I don't forsee a ton of trouble. And yeah... you could probably throw in Icy Touch... but that WILL take away from your Obliterate rotation.

    One small side note... if you're able to keep up diseases well.... you could probably skip Epidemic altogether... and maybe drop the points in Rune Tap or Bloody Vengeance. Bloody Vengeance would be nice since, with the high crit rate you should be seeing with Obliterate.... you might be able to keep a full stack of BV going round the clock.

    Just some thoughts. Tons of possibilities. You just have to understand what you have built and have an idea in mind as to how to play it and make it work. It will require you to think.

    Yeah..... I know..... scary proposition.

    I mean.... hell.... if a rogue can tank Illidan.... lol

    Of course.... then again.... that would mean you'd have to get creative.... think outside the "Elitist Jerks Sandbox" of "this is how you have to do it".
    Last edited by Leucifer; 04-30-2010 at 11:52 AM.
    No one tanks in a void.........

  17. #17
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    I am suspect of this hybrid spec but implore you to make sure you have a true cookiecutter tank spec as offset to switch to while you mess around with somethiing new. Most important aspect of tanking is whole group is on your shoulders. Don't let the group suffer if what you trying doesn't seem to be working. Switch to the other safe tank spec at the first sign of trouble. Your members will thank you for it. Gratz for thinking outta the box tho. Keep thinkin.

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    Just so happens that I'm in a VERY similar situation and have, at least for now, converted to a similar hybrid build with some success.

    I don't pug, my 10-man raid team lacks a Shammy, and our hunter is survival spec. We don't have a huge melee dps imbalance, but several of our best damage dealers are melee, so the melee haste buff has considerable appeal.

    When our raid leader, who is also the MT (warrior), first suggested that I might be able to respec to bring the haste buff, I thought he was crazy. I figured it would ruin my threat or survivability or both. However, I decided to test out the idea to see if it was feasible.

    After tinkering around with the idea for a while and running some simple dps simulations, I was quite shocked to discover that it might work after all. After that, I couldn't stop thinking about it (bad habit, I know), so I had to give it a try.

    Anyway, the build I came up with is this Blood/Frost hybrid: (45/26/0)

    Basically, I started with a pretty standard Blood-tank spec, discarded a few of the top end Blood damage-dealing talents, and banked on the extra 45% haste (Icy Talons/IIT) to make up for these losses. It retains all of the major Blood survival talents and loses only 2% avoidance by trading 5% dodge (Anticipation) for 3% miss (Frigid Dreadplate).

    So far, it seems to be working surprisingly well. The limited simulations I did suggested that I might lose a little bit of dps/threat, but not enough to make much difference, so I tested it out first in FoS and PoS, then on ICC10 trash and Marrowgar. So far, the dps loss seems negligible and I didn't have any threat issues. I can't say for sure if it will work out in the long run -- we may get a shammy, we might rely less on on melee dps, I might discover problems with weak AoE threat, etc.

    One substantial benefit is that if I'm ever facing loss of threat in a single-target situation, I can quickly regain the lead by using Deathchill to force an Icy Touch crit. I also really like having Lichborne available in a pinch. ;-)

    One possible caveat is that it might not work quite as well if your weapon dps is low (i.e., the switch to reliance on haste might have a greater negative impact on your threat generation), but I'm not positive about this. In my case, my weapon is one of the best pieces of gear I have, so this may be a big part of why it works for me.

    So, yeah, it's a bit crazy, but it seems to still get the job done just fine so far, and I'm having fun with it. Ultimately, that's what it's all about anyway, at least for me.
    Last edited by Urythmic; 05-18-2010 at 02:57 PM. Reason: typos
    Quote Originally Posted by Satorri View Post
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  19. #19
    I can see the OP's point in bringing more buffs into the raid. After all it's no longer the vanilla times when we can fight a boss forever with a proper healer chain. Raid dps is one of the key points to defeat a boss.
    I myself is progressing 11/12 in HM ICC 10. We do lack the 20% haste buff now, and I'm considering bringing it to the raid as we currently lack the dps to defeat HM LK. It's no small issue as it increases more than 1k dps for every melee dpser. However you do need to maximize your survivability at the same time. For me, I would consider such a spec as http://www.wowhead.com/talent#j0EMqI...soZhxLxV0hzZ0o

    Compared with a pure blood spec, you only lose 1% avoidance, which is no big issue. At the same time, you could synchronize all your KM procs with IT to compensate for the tps loss. If even this is not enough, which I highly doubt, you could use all your death runes to IT, which should be enough tps.

    In fact I would take this spec over a traditional frost tanking spec, as WotN, VB and self-healing really shines in LK encounter.

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