Posts Tagged ‘tank’


Once a Tank Always a Tank!!!

December 23, 2008

My Paladin is my main miner/blacksmith and probably should have been my main starting tank.  I tanked all of the Burning Crusade normal 5 man Instances with her, doing more tanking in BC as a paladin than as a warrior (I tanked more as a Warrior in the Classic dungeons so he has the Mallet and the Scepter!!!). 

I ended up playing my shaman more in Burning Crusade because of how crap gear itemisation was pre-raiding for Paladin tanks, and I didn’t want to sacrifice +def for +HP, but groups never saw it that way and I didn’t get a shot at tanking heroics.  Besides, my ELE/RESTO Draenei Shaman got a head start by being levelled first, so ended up my Heroic and Raiding Character. 

Anyway, I’ve decided that the Alliance Raiding guild on Dragonblight are already too far away from me in terms of getting my 73 Human DK into a comfortable 5 man/raiding cycle because they have already been clearing Naxx and most hit 80 in 2-3 weeks (we were all in NAXX pre BC as well so it is no surprise).  They also limit you to one Raid Main, which misses the WotLK vibe of making raiding a hobby.  My Real Life friends from home are not really playing so much due to children, life etc.  So I’m going all out Horde for the foreseable future and leaving my fully Purple Shaman, my pre BC raiding Hunter and my 73 DK. 

Another interesting factor is my stepson is also on Earthen Ring EU, as an Alliance character, and I hope to see him on the PVP fields for some banter in the house!!!!  

My Paladin ‘Narielle’ made the cobalt tanking set for both my Death Knight and my Protection warrior, but she has been unfairly side lined in WOTLK so far, but no more.  What with Death Knights, and the awesome changes to Protection Warriors, she went down in the play order!!!  She would probably make an excellent main, if I wasn’t an Altoholic!! 

As my Blood Knight had not yet benefited from her Blacksmith skill, and tanks with Blacksmithing have a distinct advantage, she should be played for what she was made for.  I was also getting a bit bored trying to level my Orcs DK’s BS skills (I’ll come back to it at 80 I think!!).  So instead of mining for my Death Knight last night, I made her the Cobalt Tank set as well.  It is way better than all of the Burning Crusade blue tanking items (although I’ll miss the righteous dungeon set bonuses!!) and will help getting The Nexus quest tanking gear.

Once I had made the Cobalt set for her, I added the Scryers Shoulder enchant + 13 defence, and the Keepers of Time helm enchant + 16 defence + 9 dodge and with a blue tanking cape, blue rings and two nice blue tanking trinkets got her to a very respectable 541 +defence in primarily green tanking gear!!!  With the Burning Crusade blues, I hovered around 485-495 +defence. 

Fair enough she only has just under 11k health points unbuffed, (it was 9.5k with Blue Paladin Dungeon Set) but she is more than viable at 70 and should take hardly any damage!!!  It is a bit of deja vue though, despite the fact she’ll be potentially uncrittable I’m sure most groups wont see past the Health, but I think the Journey to 80’s tanking will be kinder.

Tonight I’ll try to add some Blacksmith Sockets and try to raise her HP by 1k with them and cook up some + STAM food.
So I’ve blown my plan of tanking as a Death Knight main, and having a DPS warrior (specced back to Prot) and a Paladin Healer (also specced back to Prot)….  I am tempted to try to compare all three characters at 80, and make that a focus for this blog.  Once a tank always a tank!!!

My new personal end game will be making 3 plate tanks, and looking for a friendly Horde guild on Earthen Ring EU.  If you know any nice small friendly Horde guiilds on that realm that want a multi purpose tanking player? 

oh noes…….. I’m now considering levelling my 21 Tauren Druid!!!   If I find enough time I will, and who knows… maybe in the future I’ll complete a tanking characters set!!!!!!


mydeathknight’s Guide to Unholy Tanking

December 8, 2008

Well I’m only a month into playing my death knight, and this is my first attempt at a tanking guide.

  I’m not at 80 yet, and on my second Death Knight (re-rolled Orc from Human for awesome unholy racials!!).   So this is a work ‘in process’.


I will discuss my view on talents, a few tactics, and what I have on my castbar. I’ve left out what gear to aim for from this guide because are a lot of better resources available out there already.


A simple rule of thumb I’ve picked up, based on reading many of these guides is:


Def > Dodge > Parry > STAM > Strength.


If you have just hit 70, get or make the Cobalt Tanking set!! Shame making a healer isn’t as easy!!!


On this point, a big /cheer out to anyone supporting the community with Unholy DK articles. This post is a synthesis of many of them, with a few of my own ideas thrown in for good measure. Feel free to use this guide, or points from it anywhere you like 😉 Death to chargeable guides!!!!!!!!


My first tip is obvious really, use Frost Presence every time you intend to take aggro. It ticks three boxes, Increased Armor/Health/Threat. If you are off tanking you may switch blood/unholy without the same penalties Warriors have with loss of rage, but for tanking you’ll always use Frost Presence.


Turning to talents, an Unholy tank will likely be spending at least 51 points in Unholy, but I’m going to start by looking at the other two trees from an Unholy perspective!!!


Blizzard have spread some key tanking abilities throughout all of the trees. The more important tanking abilities are low enough down the talent trees to be available for all flavour of tanks. One of the most invaluable talents is in Blood:


Blade Barrier: Whenever your Blood Runes are on cooldown, your Parry chance increases by 10% for the next 10 sec


This is a 5 pointer straight away and one of my favourite damage mitigation talents!! You can get your blood runes on cooldown really quickly, and you can pretty much keep this up throughout the fight, it’ll refresh before the 10 seconds are up. 10% parry addition is a nice start. I’ve read a few guides out there that recommend you spend 18 points in Blood, but I would only spend 5 for Blade Barrier.


I’ve preferred to spend some points in Frost because there are some nice things there for an unholy tank at 80. I’ve spent 11 on:


5 in Toughness: Increases your armor value from items by 15% and reduces the duration of all movement slowing effects by 30%


5 in Black Ice: Increases your Frost damage by 30%.


1 in Lichborne: Draw upon unholy energy to become undead for 15 sec. While undead, you are immune to Charm, Fear and Sleep effects, and your horrifying visage causes melee attacks to have an additional 25% chance to miss you.


Instant, 3 min cooldown.


More armor/frost damage and a great utility spell. Despite its 3 minute cooldown, Lichborne is a must have for this Unholy Tank, mainly because I am playing as an Orc, and I don’t have the ‘Will of the Forsaken’ or ‘Every man for himself’ racials for fear protection. On top of this, Lichborne has damage mitigation in the form of increased melee chance to miss you, you do not need to only use it for eating a fear, it can be used every three minutes as extra damage mitigation as well. I think any easy to reach mitigation is a must have!!


Next we get into the Unholy Talent goodness!! I am only including ones I like, but I’d recommend you get Unholy Blight, Bone shield and Scourge strike. Also consider improving/increasing your diseases, that is the mainstay of Unholy AOE!!


Get Glyph of Bone shield, as one additional charge of 40% damage reduction is more than worth the outlay!! Despite Unholy Blight’s 60 runic power points cost, having a mobile AOE makes this talent really worth going deep into Unholy. I’ll mention a tip I have for getting to 60 runic power quickly (or not using any till you get there!) involving your ghoul, and you have 20 seconds to build up more Runic Power before needing to re-cast it. You’ll always want more Runic power, and you need to manage how you use it!!


Scourge Strike is nice to have for maintaining single target aggro alongside Rune Strike, the latter is your main tanking strike, but uses Runic Power.


Here are a selection of Unholy talents in my build:


Anticipation: Increases your Dodge chance by 5%.


Vicious Strikes: Increases the critical strike chance by 6% and critical strike damage bonus by 30% of your Plague Strike, Death Strike and Scourge Strike.


Epidemic: Increases the duration of Blood Plague and Frost Fever by 6 sec


Necrosis: Your auto attacks deal an additional 10% Shadow damage.


Outbreak: Increases the damage of Plague Strike, Pestilence and Blood Boil by 30%.


Impurity: Your spells receive an additional 25% benefit from your attack power.


Reaping: Whenever you hit with Blood Strike or Blood Boil there is a 100% chance that the Blood Rune becomes a Death Rune when it activates.


Bone Shield: The Death Knight is surrounded by 4 whirling bones. While at least 1 bone remains, he or she takes 40% less damage from all sources and deals 2% more damage with all attacks, spells and abilities. Each damaging attack that lands consumes 1 bone. Lasts 5 min.

1 Unholy, Instant, 1 min cooldown


Scourge Strike: An unholy strike that deals 60% of weapon damage as Shadow damage plus 190.5, and an additional 95.25 bonus damage per disease.

1 Unholy 1 Frost, 5 yd range, Instant


Wandering Plague: When your diseases damage an enemy, there is a chance equal to your melee critical strike chance that they will cause 100% additional damage to the target and all enemies within 8 yards. Ignores any target under the effect of a spell that is cancelled by taking damage.


Rage of Rivendare: Your spells and abilities deal 10% more damage to targets infected with Blood Plague. Also increases your expertise by 5.


Unholy Blight: A vile swarm of unholy insects surrounds the Death Knight for a 10 yard radius. Enemies caught in the area take 48 Shadow damage per sec. Lasts 20 sec.

60 Runic Power, Instant




This does not complete the 53 points you have left, but I think these ones are all worthy of a mention. I’ve pondered having desecration for extra damage and control, and the only reason I’ve ditched it is because it causes graphic lag on my machine and I’ve a fairly nice graphics card!! I have Blood Caked Strikes instead, which is almost like a auto attack ‘windfury like’ proc for 25% weapon damage + 13% per disease, this has a 30% chance and a long fight will see a few Blood Caked Strikes.

This is my Build:


As well as lots of AOE goodness and Scourge Strike, Unholy tanks can bring a utility pet to the group, the Ghoul. The next part assumes you know how to manually control your ghoul, because my tip for perma ghoul tanking is to turn off the autocast option for all of your Ghoul’s abilities. Leap can be incredibly annoying when pulling, and claw will dump your pets focus really quickly. You need the pet to be passive, so you can control who it is targeting. Be aware that your Ghoul will fry in any AOE, so set him using ‘stay’  anywhere you know this will happen, and don’t forget to pick him up when you move on!! 50 Silver for Corpse Dust……pah!!!!!


Your Ghoul is needed for Gnaw, its 3 second stun, and this is not an autocast option. This really useful ability can be cast every 20 seconds, and is affectively 15% damage mitigation against a single target over 20 seconds (unless they are resistant to stun), as well as a rune/runic power free cast interrupt. This is useful at the start of a pull when you are needing to build up runic power for Unholy Blight, and/or reduce your initial damage while building aggro.


If you are not already using Gnaw manually like this, try Death Gripping a few caster mobs and using Gnaw as an interrupt. I’ve hot keyed it onto my mouse (I also have Mind Freeze and Strangulation on my mouse!), but you can click it, or use the petbar shortcuts if you prefer. Fortunately the petbar global cooldown is not the same as the cooldown on your death knight combat bar. Once you have got your confidence up, you’ll also be able to throw in a few claws as well, making sure you always have enough pet focus for your stuns.


On good rule for Ghoul management is NEVER miss the opportunity of combat rezzing someone because of it.  Well if they are a total nublet then maybe….. 


ALWAYS CAST BONE SHIELD AFTER A FIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Important enough to shout. You don’t want a unholy rune on cooldown because of something you can cast out of combat and bone shield is a 1 minute cooldown, it’s nice to be able to recast it during a fight!!!


Take two 2 hand weapons with you to an instance, with:

Rune of Spellshattering: Affixes your two-handed rune weapon with a rune that deflects 4% of all spell damage and reduces the duration of Silence effects by 50%.  

Rune of  Swordshattering:  Affixes your two-handed rune weapon with a rune that increases Parry chance by 4% and reduces the duration of Disarm effects by 50%.


For my last part, I thought I’d share what I have on my toolbars. I use Blizzard’s toolbar, not a mod, and use Shift & mouse wheel to shift bars as and when I need them. I also have my bars mapped on my G15 G keys.


I use two tool bars, one for single target bar with the following:


1. Death Grip. Brings in your disease target (best used on a caster…gotcha!!).


2. Plague Strike Macro. I have bound plague strike and Blood rage with the following macro:


#showtooltip Plague Strike

/cast Plague Strike

/Cast Blood Rage


This gives a nice boost to AP for the start of the pull for us Orcs, which boosts disease damage as well “Impurity” and is a good opener with “Rage of Rivendare” giving an extra 10% to all your abilities when a target has Blood Plague.


You could bind an AP trinket as well if you don’t mind losing a defence trinket here, if you are not an orc, or add one if you are an Orc but like even more AP!!!


3. Icy Touch. Damage boosted by Black Ice Frost talent.


4. Blood Strike macro:


#showtooltip Blood Strike

/cast Blood Strike

/cast Charm of Alacrity


If you hit Blood strike twice with my talent suggestion you’ll proc Blade barrier, and the charm will give you avoidance, a nice dodge boost!! Any dodge/parry trinket will do here, but Charm of Alacrity is really easy to get!!!


5. Icebound Fortitude. When you hit this you will hopefully still have bone shield active, for 40% damage mitigation, the 50% you get for Icebound Fortitude, and blade shield/avoidance will help to deal with the last 10%. This will make your healers life a lot easier at the most dangerous stage of a pull, the first few seconds!!! You won’t take much damage for 15-20 seconds.


6. Scourge Strike/Rune Strike Macro: This is the DPS portion


#showtooltip Scourge Strike

/cast Rune Strike

/cast Scourge strike


7. Death Strike


8. Chains of Ice, in case you lose the target


9. Blood tap for a free death rune every minute.


0. Death Coil


-. Bone Shield


+. Dark Command


For my second tool bar I have a multi target set up. I’ve tried to put pretty much the same spells in the same place, swapping


4. Blood strike for 4. Pestilence, using a similar macro:


#showtooltip Pestilence

/cast Pestilence

/cast Charm of Alacrity


This will usually be cast just as the other mobs reach you after your first death Gripped target, meaning you’ll be at a high level of damage mitigation for the group pull for the scary few seconds after a pull (the time it can all go wrong!!).


I swap:


5. Scourge Strike/Rune Strike for 5. Blood Boil


for grabbing the group interest and proccing Blade barrier.


I also swap my runic power ability


0. Death Coil, with 0. Unholy Blight


And finally


-. Bone Shield for -. Death and Decay.


For multi targets I try to pull the caster first with Death Grip onto a Death and Decay area, and get my ghoul on the first target I’ve marked to kill, using stun as an interrupt or stunning anyway if they are not a caster for damage mitigation. When the diseases are up (after I cast Blood Boil), I switch to my single target bar so 18 second disease are useful with DnD. I prefer leaving the first target when they are 75% down switching back to my multi target bar and starting my disease cycle again on a mob with the highest health and letting the group/ghoul finish them off. Rinse and repeat!!!


I have a utility bar too, it’ll have Empower Rune Blade/Army of the Dead/My mount pots etc…


Anyway I hope I have given you some food for thought. I am playing Unholy because I have a holy paladin, and I like the idea of Ying and Yang!!! So I not comparing Unholy with any other tanking tree. So far I’ve found Unholy to deal lots of damage as well as mitigate damage as well as any tanking class I’ve played, and the Ghoul pet makes it a much more fun class to play. Try my tips and you’ll see why!!!




Pondering Ghostcrawlers recent Death Knight Tanking Blue post

December 5, 2008

Points from Ghostcrawlers Blue post and my (opinionated!) view:!!

Ghostcrawler says:

1) Death knights seem to tank well when they have cooldowns available and take too much damage otherwise. The change here seems obvious – boost Frost presence’s mitigation while reducing the mitigation of some other abilities, especially Icebound Fortitude and Bone Shield.

2) One idea we have for Icebound Fortitude is to scale the mitigation based on defense skill. This lets the ability be less of a paladin bubble in PvP for dps knights, while still letting it act more like Shield Wall for tanks. It also has the side effect of making defense slightly more attractive to death knights. (Let me add before it’s asked that yes we understand Ferals have this problem too and we are working on it.)

3) Unholy is a very popular tanking spec, largely on the strength of Bone Shield. Expect to see some buffs to tanking talents in the Blood tree especially.

4) Rune Strike was intended to be a reactive tanking tool, not a rogue killer. We will probably chill its weapon damage and increase its threat.

5) We don’t like the behavior where DKs feel like they are supposed to drop Death and Decay to generate runic power before a pull. It just looks goofy. We will probably lower the runic power costs of Unholy Blight and Horn of Winter, which seem to be the primary reasons to generate RP. Horn of Winter will probably be something like no cost, 30 sec cooldown, generates 10 rp.

EDIT: I am refering to using DnD outside of combat just for the runic power (kind of like Bloodrage for warriors). It’s totally legit and intended to use it to start a fight to gain threat and hurt the bad guys.

6) There are some odd situations caused by Shadow of Death that we would like to fix. The talent isn’t designed to let you escape durability damage or rez by zoning into an instance.

7) There are some annoying parts of the non-pet ghoul. We want to lower the aggro range (for less accidental pulls) and spawn the ghoul in quicker when dismounting. The ghoul, at least Unholy’s version, could also use some AE avoidance like other pets.

My View..

I find a few days pondering a ‘blue post’ usually cuts out any initial gut reaction like ‘oh noes, they are nerfing us’!!!

Rather surprisingly the usual forum chatter after this one were a lot more positive than I expected. Many agreeing with the proposed direction Blizz ‘may’ be taking with DK’s (or lots of Rogues rolled DK!). Once again, it looks like PVP QQ’s lead to Blizzard class design questions. Although Ghostcrawler seems to have emphasised our tanking role here, and this is a good thing. As long as they don’t ruin DK tanking I’ll be happy, as PVP is way down my list of priorities.

From point 1, boosting Frost presence’s mitigation at the expense of Icebound Fortitude and Bone Shield potentially could increase our overall mitigation in longer fights, as both these abilities are for a limited duration. So this sounds positive. It’ll be hard to swallow if we don’t get something that will help against hard hitting bosses, but scaling Icebound Fortitude with +def from point 2 sounds like it may do that.

I hope they don’t break my Bone Shield as there is nothing more about this spell in this proposal. I like it as it is, if anything I’d like a lower cooldown, or more charges!! But I am realistic enough to appreciate that this won’t happen!! I’d actually like to see Bone Shield become a Death Knight spell rather than a feature of the Unholy talent build, with perhaps some extra charges/increase mitigation for Unholy DK’s due to their AOE role.

I’d guess point 3 is there because there are so many Blood specs running about… I’m unholy and I’d never moan about a talent boost to another tree where it is needed!! What I’d really like to see is Blizzard keeping their promise of dual talent specs because Blood could be an awesome single target tanking spec (and maybe already is… I’ve not played it yet). How cool would it be if we could have two specs one for AOE and one for single target tanking and they could be switched about as and when they were needed?

The proposed changes to ‘Rune Strike’ worry me a bit, they are 100% PVP driven. Rune strike is all you can do if you are AOE tanking with DnD and keeping up your diseases. I suppose increasing threat and decreasing weapon damage may allow this strike to scale… well I hope it does anyway.

I realised after reading this why I got so many ’spits’ from rogue players on my first walk to Ogrimmar after completing the DK start areas with my second DK, well one Rogue player did…. (and I know your name!!). In the light of this it probably wasn’t Role Play motivated!!

For Ghostcrawlers next point, I’ve not had too many issues with runic power myself, it favours a good rotation and actively using your abilities. However reducing cost of Unholy Blight will definitely make things easier! So this proposal got this DK smiling, I just hope they don’t reduce the time it is active for.

For point 6, I’ve enjoyed minimal repair bills so far, so I’d better get my Epic mount skills before they do this!! I (naively) thought that this was done purposely to help with the usual nightmare of paying tanking repair damage bills. It is perverse that a good tank keeps other players repair bills down by increasing their own…. Please think about this Ghostcrawler if you ever venture to this part of the bloggosphere!! I’d guess other tanks would find this hard to stomach but Plate armor upkeep is expensive…..

For point 7, perhaps they can look at making it easier to shift from a passive to a defensive pet… the pull behaviour is ‘unfortunate’ at best (despite my slightly Ironic post about it!!). That’s my main issue with Ghouls, well if I be honest pet classes should be actively using their pet bars and shouldn’t moan about behaviours that can be beneficial if used in the right context. Some AOE avoidance would definitely be a bonus for Unholy perma-pets.

All in all, it’s good of Blizz to keep us in the loop…. we’ll see what comes out of these proposals