On Bloodworms vs Abom's might: Bloodworms.
Abom's might is covered by a few other classes and having this will not make the fight 10% faster. Not all fights are based on how hard the boss can be hit and that goes for many of them in Cata.
Albeit the heals from Bloodworms is somewhat tiny at the lower gear levels (i.e. starter heroics gear) but at the later gear levels (pre-raid with some rep epics) they actually do a littl ebit more healing. This has been explained in Satorri's guide already but a quick recap.
Bloodworms spawn with about 20% of your HP and will heal you AND your allies (not sure about whole raid but i know it heals the group you are in) for a percentage of their health when they explode. This percentage is random but its based on how many stacks of Blood Gorged the worms get. I could not find this on wowhead or thottbot so I've included the descriptions here.
According to the worm's buff: **Blood Gorged: Engorged with blood. May burst. Healing nearby allies for 10% of its maximum health** This stacks each time the worm attacks adding 10% each time.
According to the Combat log: **Blood Gorged: Instant. the Bloodworm grows engorged with the blood it leeched from its enemies giving it an increasing chance to burst, healing all nearby allies**
If you are going for a threat build, then take Abom's might, but Bloodworms is undeniably a great survival tool imho.
On Lichborne: I don't get it, this may seem like a great utility but its very situational. Granted my DK has the spec that includes Lichborne atm but it was for the 0 cost Mind Freeze, which brings me to the main reason why Lichborne is nearly useless: Not too many tanks store RP higher than 60 for DRW on purpose. Not to mention that by that time, you will have been able to do 1-2 DS that could heal you and shield you for much more than the 10k or so heal from Lichborne/DC. Maybe in very high level gear or when your Vengeance is VERY high will DC pack enough of a punch to take the time to go through 3 GCDs for its heal (assuming you hoarde enough RP for 3 DCs and Lichborne does not have a GCD... as i just found out.)
On Bloodshield: Get Blood Shield Tracker add on (curse.com should have it) This will let you know how much your shield is absorbing and time left on it. There isn't much i can say about it since my math skill are.... poor. I know this... on Chimaeron, I had some Blood Shields that absorbed over 900k. Maybe my recount is broken... Unfortunate that it only absorbs physical but it matches the other tank's masteries (Druid: Savage Defense*physical damage*, Warrior: Critical Block*physical damage*, and Paladin: Divine Bulwark*physical damage*)
Not to mention the added utility of being able to break a fear on your own.
Even if you never consciously pool RP for it, just being able to use it two or three times over ten seconds as an oh shit button can save your bacon. It's all upside.
Lichborne is a very popular spec right now.
The common choice categories (popularly speaking, take that for what you will):
1.) Lichborne vs Unholy sub-spec
2.) Mastery vs Avoidance
None are the clear superior, but they are generally improved by picking one and focusing on it.
If you want to rock Lichborne, drop Glyph of DS for Glyph of DC, play it up and make the most of it.
If you want to make the most of Mastery focus on heavy DS usage, and find ways to support that. Gem to favor Mastery, though I recommend still hitting socket bonuses, they are very respectable values, enough that they *do* represent an opportunity cost. Parry/Mastery, pure Mastery, and Mastery/Stam can hit every socket bonus.
The general consensus with tanks I've spoken with (and I have been expecting as much) is that if you are wearing all tank gear you really don't need to worry about obsessively stacking stamina. There are few or no burst damage risks that will test your health pool, only your healers. Reducing damage taken will go farther in supporting the tank/healer dynamic now. *That includes using your tanking debuffs. There is really no reason not to.*
Will love to see it when finished
Lichborne is going to be a weaker heal, come the minor glyph will change:
- Glyph of Death's Embrace no longer refunds Runic Power when self-healing via Lichborne. (Source: PTR 4.0.6 notes)
As anything past two DC-heals will usually and most likely be overheal I don't suspect this change to be too significant although it'll require one to save more RP to get maximum benefit.
A couple things:
1) Mastery and Stam - Just remember when you're selecting gems or reforging that your mastery is dependent on your stam/health for it's effect to some degree. Deathstrike heals for a minimum (unsure exact as unable to pull up info at this time) of 7% of your base health. At 100k, this is a refund of 7k. At 125k it'll be worth 8750.
2) Stamina vs Mastery and the value of deathstrike - Also remember, deathstrike isn't going to do you any good if you don't survive a hit. It is NOT a shield block, which is an automatic damage reduction. Don't go in thinking, "Oh man! My mastery is so high! I'll be impossible to bring down!," and then get slammed down to zero health and wondering why you died.
Example: DK tank is down to 20k health and hits a deathstrike prior to a big hit. Based off let's say, 50k damage in the previous 5 sec, the deathstrike heals you for 12500 and gives you a shield of 7250 (assuming base ability stats). That puts you at an effective health of 39,750. If the next hit exceeds that..... you're done. Welcome to tank death.
For the people that think blood shield can absorb an insane amount of damage, recheck the basic math on the ability. It doesn't make you invincible. It is, in effect, an on-demand block tied in with an offensive strike. Think of it as analogous to the warrior's shield block ability.
All that said.... do not neglect your basic tanking stats (stam and avoidance) for the sake of mastery alone.
3) Lichborne heals - Can be worth more than 15k. Depending on the number of DC used. The anti-fear ability also is worth quite a bit as, when feared, your avoidance goes to zero and your ability to affect other cooldowns are negated. Gimmicky? Maybe. Value? There is. Plus, think of this: do you REALLY want to give up a trinket spot to a cc breaker? I don't. Lichborne is almost like an extra trinket. Additionally, it's NOT tied to your runes being active. With the change to rune mechanics, to assume that you'll have a DS sitting and waiting to be used is asking for trouble. Sure, it taps into rune power which is drawn on for rune strike. What else uses rune power? IBF? AMS? Don't look at Lichborne heals as a part of a regular rotation for damage reduction. It's not a Blade Barrier, or Bone Shield, or Scarlet Fever effect. Look at it as another cooldown to use when things get ugly, and cooldowns by their nature, are situational.
4) Bloodworms - Could be useful. Bottom end, they'll be worth about 2000-3000 health in free heals to all party members. Top end, assuming they survive long enough to get a big fat stack, could be a nice fat 20k+. That's a considerable amount of healing. A couple other issues with it are:
1- It's not on demand. You only have a 10% chance of it popping out and doing its thing. The timing could be atrocious. It could be a blessed miracle for the group. Roll the dice.
2- Bloodworm can pull aggro. Yes. I have seen this happen. It targets a random mob and lo' and behold, it's got a new buddy attacking it. Or, in a bad case, it aggros a cc'ed mob and breaks the cc.
Now, in theory, the health benefit of this over a full fight could be worthwhile. If you had 2 spawn per minute and manage to hit a 50% stack, for a 130k DK, that could be worth 130k worth of free heals to the group per minute of the fight. That DOES reduce the load on the healer. It'd be something I'd love to see proven through quantification and or example where it made a game-changing difference, even if minor.
Right now, DK is the most active tank. What do I mean by this? We have more to do than any of the other tanks in order to tank effectively. Our base damage reduction is lower than the paladins and warriors. In order to compete, we have to maintain Scarlet Fever, Diseases, Blade Barrier, and Bone Shield (assuming you have all of these). DK's have a LOT going on just to ensure survivability. Throw in that we still do not have shield block, which serves as another automated damage reduction tool, and we have to time our runes and deathstrikes to enable us to compensate as damage is rolling in. DK's have the most to keep aware of at the moment. We have some fantastic tools, don't get me wrong, but we have our work cut out for us.
No one tanks in a void.........
I guess the makeup of your raid team says a lot about whether you should spec Abomination's Might. On my team I am the one providing this buff and it is always active. Doing without it would cost us the 10% attack power, which is significant. If all the classes capable of providing this buff spec out of it because they assume someone else will provide it, where will that leave you?
As I mentioned earlier, I did go back and find a way to spec Bloodworms too. The heals we are getting run in the 8k range, which is akin to having extra glyphed rune taps which happen at random times. I was skeptical pre-cata because the heals were mostly wasted. Post-Cata there never seems to be a time when heals are wasted
Which tanking trinkets are you using?
At Item-level 355 now, I have most of the tanking trinkets available without raiding. I find myself using the Darkmoon Earthquake (crafted) and Broken Mirrors (Tol Barad faction item) for fights with mostly magical damage, then switching to a couple of the 346 avoidance trinkets (1400-1500 dodge or parry) for fights with mostly physical damage.
What are the rest of you using?
Just a heads up, in an effort to clear up the theory forum a bit, I'll be moving this into the Critical Guides forum in the near future with a short term redirect, please reset your bookmarks when this happens.
This will be a definite nerf though, and with good reason.
I wouldn't connect Stamina to the high-functioning value of DS/Mastery.
The mana sponge aspect of Stamina is back, and while it is less distinct because of the healing/damage to health ratio differences, every little bit helps.
2.) Don't think of Blood Shield like Shield Block, it isn't the same thing, at all. Just because the heal from DS used to be 30% (matching the 30% blocks reduce) does not make it the same. Consider, when you use DS it heals you for ~35% of the damage taken in the last 5 sec, and if you have sufficient Mastery, you get a bubble equal to or more than that. If we say it is equal, you functionally heal or reduce your healing required by 70% of the damage taken in the last 5 sec, regardless of damage type. That is nothing small, and nothing like Shield Block.
That said, you can get a superior net value by not abandoning the costs of opportunity (read: socket bonuses).
Healer mana is not unlimited, and healing scale is not through the roof (you will not be topped off from any health short of a single spell: Lay on Hands, which is at most a once per fight ability). The Bloodworms will not handle healing on their own, but it is very rewarding as a healer to see the splash of red and see everyone's health jump up a little bit. That represents that much less healing I have to do, and often times it represents another moment to get my heals off.
And for your numbers, I've seen Bloodworm heals in 5-mans that vary between 10k and 20k. Not uncommon, and very useful. So don't expect them to be pushing your healing off the charts, but they are a definite value to your *team*.
We rely on our abilities to be our most effective as tanks, but the *design* allows for the class to be played without 100% effectiveness and be balanced. You can screw up occasionally and still match the performance of other tanks. What that means is, if you play it as well as you possibly can, you can surpass other tanks, you can be rewarded for playing the class really well. This won't be something big and obvious for most players, but it can be a meaningful margin.
And on the flip-side, if you do not use your abilities well, you can be a drag, and under-perform compared to comparably geared tanks. Learn to play your class well, and be a tank that healers want around.
At 359, I am in love with Mirror of Broken Images. On any fight that has any magic damage (unless it is purely holy), especially if the damage is at all bursty (Nezir!), it represents some 50% mitigation against that damage for 10 sec on a 1 min CD, that is fantastic availability.
I'm actually quite partial also to Impatience of Youth as it offers a substantial benefit to Blood Shield, and the on-use can double purpose as a smaller avoidance prop and/or as a threat/damage boost if I feel like adding some. [/url=http://www.wowhead.com/item=62463]Unsolvable Riddle[/url] is a strong second to that for the same reasons, though I favor the AP/Parry to the Crit/Dodge usually, since we traded in our feedback mechanic with crits.
I've been steering away from Stamina trinkets, but of course I still collect them avidly along with avoidance and armor trinkets when I find them, since they may find their ideal times for use. Better to have them and try them than ignore them and never be able to.
Of course, on Ozruk, the fight isn't about the tank being durable. It's all about positioning and movement. THe whole idea with that fight is to keep from getting the big hits at all. Of course, if you happen to get clipped..... being able to survive that and roll on with the encounter can be the difference between success and a wipe. But, that is only one example and not a reflection of the majority of fights (currently). There's some stuff a tank just CAN'T survive right now. Period.
And yes, stamina is a huge mana sponge. Completely. But, THAT is where the DK shines.... self-heals of significance!
Again though, you have to be aware and make that choice to use it. The upside to that? Hey! It's on-demand! The downside? You might not have the resources available to use it post-strike where the ability really shines.
But, I think we can agree, that prior to an incoming big hit, the mastery may not be as effective as it would be post-hit, unless the situation prior to that hit gave you enough incoming damage to equal a 30% damage reduction.
Track with what I'm saying?
But yes, We are what we are. Doesn't make the DK less of a tank. Just different.
No one tanks in a void.........
Army of the Dead (FTW!) vs. Army of the Fail
In WotLK, about the only time I used Army was for a dps boost (or maybe for distractions during WG).
Since the Cataclysm, I am finding Army of the Dead to be an amazing tanking tool!
Reasons not to use "Army of the Fail":
1) crazy ghouls can pull extra mobs
2) ghouls reduce a tank's ability to control which way a dungeon boss faces, possibly exposing party members to extra damage
3) ghouls do not provide a huge dps boost, and dps is not the tank's job anyway.
4) summoning Army requires tank to stand still for several seconds, which could be bad if fire, etc., appears under tank.
So when is Army of the Dead "For the Win"? Post-Cataclysm heroics put tremendous strains on tank health and healer mana. When your CD's are on CD, your healer is screaming OOM, and your health bar is less than robust, Army of the Dead can give you AND your healer a much-needed respite. Raid bosses can ignore your ghouls, but dungeon bosses go for them every time. Depending on the fight, you can expect around 10-15 seconds of taking little or no damage: essentially, the ghouls are now tanking while you dps! This gives your healer time to replenish mana and you time to self-heal (I like to spam Death Strikes on these occasions).
Reasons to use Army of the Dead (FTW!):
1) gives the tank a break
2) gives the healer a break
3) boss takes damage while party recovers
Factors that make the difference:
1) Location: have to make sure your army will not find additional mobs to taunt (boss fights are usually good for this, as trash is typically cleared before pulling boss)
2) Timing: have to know fight mechanics - can I stand still long enough to cast without dying? or being interrupted?
3) Control: Does this boss cleave or direct a cone AoE that tanks normally control and turn away from the party?
If so, Army of the Dead becomes a truly-desperate gambit.
4) Descretion: Army has a 10 minute CD, so probably won't be available for every fight.
Cataclysm has greatly changed the way I think about Army of the Dead. I can count at least six boss fights already (post-Cata) where a well-timed army has turned a wipe into a win. This, combined with my DK ability to survive long after the rest of the party wipes, has led to guildies joking about me being a one-man show at times - exaggeration, of course, but fun and satisfying nonetheless
Last edited by DarklingThrush; 01-12-2011 at 11:36 PM. Reason: punctuation, spelling
Great guide Satorri. Any ETA on when you'll finish it? Rather bored at work and want to read up more on DK tanking.
PS. I miss frost tanking.
Scarlet Fever will no longer be applied by Blood Boil, instead it is applied with (or as part of) Blood Fever. Ok, this makes using both diseases and spreading them worth while additionally, Crimson Scourge will no longer proc a free Blood Boil when re-applying Blood Fever with Plague Strike while the target already has Blood Fever. Instead it has a chance to proc the free Blood Boil on any attack. Sounds good to me, rune free AoE.
Virulence spell hit moved to Runic Focus which all DKs have. I like this, I didn't take Virulence because it only affected a few abilities, ones I didn't think would be necessary to have the extra hit on, but free hit is a win. Instead, Virulence increases disease damage by 10/20/30%. This is epic for Unholy, and being in tier 1 makes it a win for Blood and Frost as well. Now we really have no reason not to spread diseases around and will pick this talent up.
I didn't see it in the latest PTR notes, but I know it has been buffed, Rune Strike weapon damage went up from 100% to 125% iirc. Heart Strike gets a boost from 120% to 175% weapon damage plus 15% up from 10% per disease. Can we get more reasons for all targets to have disease please, lol. And last but certainly not least, the ability I love to spam as often as I can...Death Strike. Improved Death Strike now grants 30/60/90% bonus damage. Wow (no pun intended).
I haven't had the time to push into raiding since rejoining the WoW community, but I didn't feel like there was any problems with blood tanking except the awkwardness of Crimson Scourge and the lesser reasons to apply both diseases and spread them and these seemed rather minor to me. I am happy for more damage, don't get me wrong, but was such a buff to our two most spammed attacks necessary and how will all of these changes affect the way you play your DK?
I know for me I will definitely be using both diseases from now on instead of just applying frost fever and I likely won't use blood boil unless Crimson Scourge procs it for free except maybe on the initial pull where I want to build up some better area threat. Thoughts?
Also to add on to the post above, Blood Shield absorb will now rollover when using Death Strike. As long as the 9 sec duration does not run or your Blood Shield is not used up, it will stack as long as you can keep it up.
The PTR proposed change to the blood shield will be great! I'm expecting QQ from the other tank classes though.....
No one tanks in a void.........