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Suno

Suno's Fireside Chat - DK Endgame Tanking

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Congratulations Death Knight tanks! Your tanking guide is now being handled by the very capable GravityDK. Grav will be taking over this role in the coming expansion and I assure you, we're all getting an upgrade in tank guide content. A big thanks to you for putting together the following revised OP, we all look forward to your contributions to the community in the exciting new expansion!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

This post is a brief compendium of the currently widely accepted information about PvE raiding as a Death Knight tank in WoW 3.3.5.

This thread will be updated as necessary to provide only proven, tested information or, at worst, the community's collective best guess about relevant mechanics to Death Knight endgame tanking. It is a dynamic thread to provide and foster intelligent discussion.

Note on Cataclysm: at an appropriate time Gravity will start a new thread for Cataclysm. For now, it should be discussed in the assigned thread.

Given the maturity of theorycrafting at this late stage of WoW 3.x, this post will not go into much detail on gear and talents. The future Cataclysm post will eventually include more detail than this one.

Scope of this post: This post will not cover basics such as defence stat, armour or spell functioning. Much of that is in the FAQ or in the other sites listed below.

Talents and glyphs

For raid tanking, Blood and Frost are the recommended trees. Unholy has its niche, such as Valithria Dreamwalker, but has weaker damage reduction in most situations.

== Blood==

Has the most user-choice, with many raid buffs and different ways to spec.

This in fact makes blood fun in a way; you can personalise it more than the other trees. You can spec into raid buffs, or single-target threat, or survivability.

Damage handling: it has powerful tanking cooldowns (Vampiric Blood, Rune Tap and Will of the Necropolis). Death Strike for self-healing.

Buffs: Hysteria is excellent. Use it on a feral druid, warrior or rogue, in that order. optionally 1 of 2 Abomination’s Might will give you about 75%+ uptime on a single-target fight due to probability.

Bad talents: Bloodworms and Improved Blood Presence should not be taken by a tank.

Specs:

  • Balanced spec, able to AOE, includes Rune Tap. Presumes another player is bringing the 10% AP buff; does not have Abomination's Might.
  • Balanced spec, able to AOE, excludes Rune Tap, includes Abomination's Might.
  • Single-target oriented. For fights where you do not need to provide any AOE control.
  • 5-man spec. Strong AOE. Not a raid spec. Provided for contrast or newer tanks in Heroic 5-mans.

Glyphs:

The best general-purpose glyphs are:

  • vampiric blood (mandatory as a tank),
  • death strike (for threat, does not effect self-healing) and
  • rune strike.

For advanced tanks:

  • Glyph of Rune Tap can be helpful if used intelligently
  • Glyph of Disease, might give you a more comfortable rotation. It's a playstyle choice but has slightly weaker threat than alternatives.

=== Playstyle ===

Blood’s rotation needs to be more flexible because Death Strike and Rune Tap will heal you, and should both be used regularly, but use runes you’d otherwise spend on damaging the boss. You need to use heart strike initially to get your threat lead against dps, then once you’re comfortably ahead you can start to self-heal.

Blood is easier to play with 26+ expertise skill, because you can reliably use more heart strikes.

Single target, opening rotation

IT – PS – HS – HS – DS

DS – HS – HS – HS – HS

Ongoing rotation

IT – PS – HS – HS – DS

lots of DS or HS or Rune tap

AOE rotation

DnD – IT – PS – Pest

DS – BB – BB – DS

Priority

Bear in mind, rune tap and death strike’s priority goes up higher if you’re low on health. The below presumes you're not about to die. Also it's a given that the 5% damage reduction from blade barrier is more important than threat moves.

  1. frost fever
  2. blood plague
  3. heart strike
  4. death strike
  5. death coil

== Frost ==

A very balanced tree. Has the best snap-agro for AOE, excellent single-target threat and a mix of damage reduction talents. Formidable in Heroics and can MT raids too with the same spec, so deserves to be a very popular tree. You can tank with either dual-wield or a two-handed weapon and both are viable. You can use a short disease playstyle, with no epidemic, or longer-diseases; the former is well suited to the howling blast glyph.

Heavy tree means you have little flexiblity in talent choices.

Damage handling: Tank cooldown (Unbreakable Armour) was fixed in 3.22 to become useful. An average tank will take 13% less damage with UA up. Glyphed, they take 15% less. UA at 20s has a longer duration than Blood’s 15. Extra 3% miss-chance is valuable. Also has flat 2% less damage and 6 second longer duration on IBF.

Specs:

Balanced, 2H, short-disease

Balanced, dual-wield, short-disease.

Glyphs

In order of priority:

  1. obliterate
  2. rune strike or frost strike
  3. frost strike, rune strike, unbreakable armour or howling blast.

Glyph of Disease is useless in this spec. Zero tps increase because blood strike and icy touch hit hard.

Glyph of UA: the new glyph is OK, not great (effectively it adds 5% of your armour, making UA a +30% armour talent), but nor is it a waste.

=== Playtstyle ===

All frost specs use the same system, even dual-wield. Frost gets the most threat if you watch for rime (confusingly its proc is called ‘freezing fog’) and killing machine procs. You need an addon or unitframe to put the proc in your face. Combine the two procs if possible by waiting, but at least don’t waste KM on an icy touch.

Priority

  1. Frost Fever
  2. Blood Plague
  3. Killing Machine + Rime
  4. Obliterate
  5. Blood Strike
  6. Frost Strike

Rotation

For a boss: you want two diseases even if you have short diseases.

Single target, two diseases, with epidemic

IT PS BS BS OB (FS)

OB OB OB (FS) {you will have some time waiting for runes to recharge}

without epidemic

IT PS BS BS OB (FS)

IT PS OB OB (FS) {shorter diseases)

AOE

You get a bit more variety in AOE rotations, depending on how many targets, if there’s a melee mob who will come to you, etc. For trash, frost fever is enough, so adjust your rotation.

Rotation for trash:

DnD – HB – BB

IT – PS – Pest – HB – BS

Howling blast glyph (and single disease):

You must think in terms of priority to get the most out of this glyph.

On a boss, you should use two diseases for threat even if you have no epidemic (short diseases).

Single-target rotation:

HB – BS – BS – OB (FS) {always watch for Rime procs and use HB}

OB – OB – OB (FS) {you will have some time waiting for runes to recharge}

This glyph doubles as an AOE booster, making the HB hit targets buffed by the fever it also applies.

AOE rotation:

DnD – HB – BB

OB – OB – BB – BB

== Unholy ==

Unholy has recently been improved.

Unholy Strengths

  • Damage reduction - Bone Shield + High avoidance
  • Raid Buffs - Ebon Plaguebringer is fantastic, and unholy Death Knights apply this debuff to (unlimited) nearby targets very easily.

Unholy Weaknesses

  • Low(er) single-target threat.
  • Cooldown duration: Bone Shield can call off in as little as 8 seconds.

Unholy Builds

Standard

Single Target Rotation - IT-PS-BS-BS-SS IT-PS-SS-SS RPDUMP = RS/UnholyBlight/Deathcoil

Multi Target Rotation - DnD-IT-PS-Pest then TAB-SS/Pest/BloodBoil RPDUMP = RS/Deathcoil

== Gear and stats ==

Threat: Our threat stats are similar to that of a DPS. Expertise and hit have a high threat weighting.

Survival: Gem for stamina in all slots, unless you get a +9 stamina socket bonus per hybrid slot, in which case you could choose to use a hybrid such as hit/expertise with 15 stamina or regal dreadstone. The majority of tank theorycrafters recommend 30 stamina in all cases. Bear in mind with the 30% ICC raid buff, you can safely gem for threat.

3.3 Gear - Final (thanks Fn)

This table is being developed for a "Best in Slot" analysis for tanking. Due to the changing nature of boss fights and incoming damage type/size, it's nearly impossible (and barely useful) to create separate tables for each type of fight. Clearly the sets listed here will be less/more ideal depending on the encounter.

Notes: Due to the recent changes to T10, using 4/5 T10 is strongly recommended.

[TABLE]Slot | Effective Health | Avoidance | Expertise | Hit

Helm| [item]51306[/item] |[item]51306[/item] ||[item]50640[/item]

Amulet|[item]50682[/item] |[item]50627[/item]/[item]51934[/item] ||[item]50195[/item]

Pauldrons|[item]51309[/item]/[item]50660[/item]|[item]51309[/item] ||[item]51847[/item]

Cloak|[item]Sentinel's Winter Cloak[/item]|[item]Cairne's Endurance[/item]/[item]51888[/item] | [item]47436[/item] |[item]50718[/item]

Breastplate|[item]51305[/item]/[item]50968[/item] |[item]51305[/item]|[item]Cataclysmic Chestguard[/item]|[item]50681[/item]

Bracers|[item]51901[/item] |[item]50611[/item] |[item]47459[/item]

Gloves|[item]51307[/item]/[item]50978[/item] |[item]50716[/item] |[item]51835[/item]|[item]51307[/item]

Belt|[item]Verdigris Chain Belt[/item]|[item]50691[/item] | |[item]51831[/item]

Legplates|[item]Pillars of Might[/item]|[item]51308[/item] |[item]51308[/item]/[item]51895[/item]|[item]50612[/item]

Boots|[iTEM]50625[/iTEM] |[item]50625[/item] |[item]50625[/item]|[item]51816[/item]/[item]49907[/item]

Ring|[item]50622[/item] |[item]47476[/item] || [item]50404[/item]

Ring|[item]48027[/item]/[item]50642[/item]|[item]50642[/item] || [item]51913[/item]/[item]50447[/item]

Trinket|[item]50344[/item]/[item]47451[/item]|[item]50349[/item] |

Trinket|[item]50364[/item] |[item]49487[/item] |

Weapon|[item]50730[/item]/[item]50735[/item] |[item]50735[/item]/[item]50727[/item] |[item]50730[/item]/[item]51905[/item]/[item]51833[/item] |[item]50603[/item]/[item]51936[/item]

[/TABLE]

== Other resources ==

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Excellent post, Buck. Thank you for taking the time to put all of this together.

One quick question. The last time I was up-to-date in reading about Frost Tanking rotations, it was implied that a PS-Free rotation worked out to be better threat. Did that end up getting scrapped?

Single Target Frost Rotation

Blood Tap (If no Death Rune):

IT -> BS -> OB -> OB -> Dump

::Repeat::

EDIT:

OP Updated. Please delete this post.

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I would like to add some discussion on effective health;

Here are some ways I have calculated my effective health. What I like about how I did my calculations is they can be done from work, by using wow armory.

My goal is to show people how to work out their effective health so they know how their gems and enchants effect there over all tanking ability. I am aware that I am leaving out threat, which I agree, is a very large part of tanking. I am only focusing on Effective Health.

How I arrived at my Effective Health;

I recorded the following stats from wow armory:

Health

Armor

Dodge

Parry

Add in frost presence

Health 10%

Armor 80%

Also add in Blade Barrier and Frigid Dreadplate if you have the talent (to the best of my knowledge Frigid dreadplate is not reflected on our paper doll)

Parry 10%

Avoidance 3%

The next step in calculating your effective health (as a Death Knight) is to add in your Frost Presence;

(Health as recorded on wow armory * .1) + Health as recorded on wow armory

Armor in Frost Presence;

(Armor as recorded on wow armory * .8) + Armor as recorded on wow armory

Parry with Blade Barrier active;

Parry % as recorded on wow armory + 10%

Then calculate your avoidance;

Dodge + Parry + avoidance (from Frigid Dreadplate if you have the talents)

Then calculate your chance to be hit;

100% - Your total avoidance

Next go to World Of Warcraft Armor Damage Reduction Calculator and input level 83 for mob level and your armor in frost presence. Record your % Mitigation

Calculate your % of damage taken;

100% - Your Mitigation

Now its time to get our Effective Health before mitigation;

Health in frost presence / chance to be hit %

Effective Health after Mitigation;

Effective Health before mitigation / % of damage taken

Let’s use my wow armory for example:

The World of Warcraft Armory

as of 1/30/2009

Health 31157

Armor 16119

Dodge 22.16%

Parry 17.72%

Add in Frost presence;

Health (31157 * .1) + 31157 = 34272.7

Armor (16119 * .8) + 16119 = 29014.2

Add in Blade Barrier

Parry 17.72% + 10% = 27.72 %

Totals in Frost presence and in combat with Blade Barrier up;

Health 34272.7

Armor 29014.2

Dodge 22.16%

Parry 27.72%

Avoidance;

.2216 + .2772 + .03 = .5288 or 52.88% avoidance

Chance to be hit

1 - .5288 = .4712 or 47.12% chance for a mob to hit

Effective Health based off of my avoidance;

34272.7 / .4712 = 72734.932 Effective Health

Mitigation (taken from World Of Warcraft Armor Damage Reduction Calculator, with mob level of 83 and my armor in frost presence of 29014.2)

Mitigation = 63.56%

% of damage taken;

1 - .6356 = .3644 or 36.44% of Health taken after avoidance

Effective Health after mitigation is added in;

72734.93209 / .3644 = 199596.4219 Effective Health

My Effective Health is 199,596.42

For fun I did a few other people that post here just to see where I stood. I hope you all don’t mind.

Hellstrum as armored on 1/30/2009

Stats in frost presence with blade barrier up;

Health 30031

Armor 15925

Dodge 26.13%

Parry 28.48%

Avoidance 54.61%

Chance to be hit 45.39%

Effective Health before mitigation 72778.36528

Mitigation 63.28%

% of damage taken 36.72%

Effective Health after Mitigation 198187.368

Griefknight as armored on 1/30/2009

Stats in frost presence with blade barrier up and Frigid Dreadplate;

Health 26831

Armor 15816

Dodge 26.12%

Parry 28.86%

Avoidance 57.98%

Chance to be hit 42.02%

Effective Health before mitigation 70238.2199

Mitigation 63.12%

% of damage taken 36.88%

Effective Health after Mitigation 190440.3771

Asari as armored on 1/30/2009

Stats in frost presence with blade barrier up;

Health 27731

Armor 16111

Dodge 26.45%

Parry 31.69%

Avoidance 58.14%

Chance to be hit 41.86%

Effective Health before mitigation 72871.71524

Mitigation 63.55%

% of damage taken 36.45%

Effective Health after Mitigation 199905.948

I hope this helps some people out there figure out how effective they are at taking damage. For avoidance tanks I think its very important for us to speak in terms of Effective Health. Avoidance is great, so are hit points. What is the most important is how much damage has to be thrown your way before you die.

If you can keep near the same effective health by gemming and enchanting for avoidance or max hit points then it boils down to your preference. I hope this helps people make a choice on how they want to gear / gem / enchant.

Once again I want to point out this is only half of tanking. If you don’t have agro, you won’t have healers for long. So no matter how much effective health you have, it won’t save you or your raid. Like most things in life moderation is important. But if you don’t have threat issues and you want to find your sweet spot for tanking. My suggestion is to calculate it in terms of Effective Health.

* if anything in this post is inaccurate please send me a PM on these forums and ill fix it. I don’t want to clutter this thread like the other tanking thread has been.

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I'm pretty sure you're abusing the term effective health there.

Effective health is your hp when Murphy crits you. That is you don't avoid anything. It's a lot easier to figure out your effective health than what you have outlined. You just do the step for frost presence and check your mitigation from armor. Here is a link to the description of the EH theory.

What you're figuring is "Tank points". That takes avoidance into account and it gives a measure of how much damage a tank will take over a long period of time. That alone is really not that useful I don't think.

Another interesting measure besides the (real) effective health calculation was the odds that you would get enough consecutive hits to kill you. It takes avoidance into account and minor increases in health are unlikely to matter, but adding enough hp to survive a third hit when you could only survive 2 before will almost always outweigh any increase in avoidance.

I don't think it takes a lot of theory crafting right now since nothing except 3 drake sarth has a danger of gibbing even a moderately geared tank.

Also in defense of blood spec for tanking. Vampiric Blood is amazing, it's up half the time with the glyph. That means you can rotate IBF and VB for 45 seconds out of every minute. If you're a JC with the crab you can dodge for another 10 seconds every minute, meaning you have a cooldown of some kind up 55 of 60 seconds.

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Great post, Buck!

I agree that the DK Tanking Thread is in dire need of an active, updated OP.

I'd love to see 2 things in this post:

1) Suggested Tank Glyphs

2) DK Tank Stat Prioritization

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A few points to consider:

1. One clear distinction to make is that Unholy has the best magical mitigation cooldowns of the three deep-tree tanking builds; whereas Frost mitigation cooldowns are primarily physical.

2. Weaknesses of Deep Frost include that it has the least HP of the three trees and it relies on Frost damage for TPS (which is likely to be a downside when tanking future bosses similar to Sapphiron)

3. Advantages of Frost include that it has the greatest ability to generate threat from range (DnD, HB, IT, BB, DC), it has the best controlled burst threat (through using Deathchill and saving Killing Machine procs), and that Acclimation has the potential (pending on future encounters) to be the best spell mitigation talent in game.

4. It should be noted that a Deathknight can reach the highest passive spell mitigation of any tank using Frost Presence (-15%), Rune of Spellshattering (-4%), Magic Suppression (-5%) in addition to non-deathknight mitigation tools such as Effulgent Skyflare Diamond (-2%) and Vigilance (-3%).

5. The spell mitigation and avoidance advantages of a Deathknight make it the best tank for elemental melee strikes (Lava Blaze, Ragnaros). Anti-magic Shell also works against these elemental strikes.

6. Death and Decay is the highest threat per rune (DMGx1.9xFrost Presence) of any Deathknight ability and should generally be prioritized for both single and multi target rotations.

7. In practice I've found Howling Blast to be a significantly better rune dump than Obliterate for Frost single target TPS.

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I don't think you should be using OB like that in the standard disease blood rotation, with no points in Annihilation. Thank you for a great post, though.

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words

This didn't seem to take into account base miss of 4.4% on +3, or miss granted by defense, with possible +2 if you're night elf. only mentioned the frigid deathplate.

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1) Suggested Tank Glyphs

2) DK Tank Stat Prioritization

1- He included them just click on the build link and you will see the glyphs at the right of the screen.

2- There's a link "basic DK info" at the very beginning of his post, read it.

Enjoy

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ery;1081706']

6. Death and Decay is the highest threat per rune (DMGx1.9xFrost Presence) of any Deathknight ability and should generally be prioritized for both single and multi target rotations.

7. In practice I've found Howling Blast to be a significantly better rune dump than Obliterate for Frost single target TPS.

I agree, except for these two. It's more appropriate to say that D&D has the highest threat modifer of any of our abilities, but whether it should be prioritized over other specials is going to vary depending on gear, spec, glyphs, and raid composition. Same goes for howling blast, the relative value of it compared to obliterate is going to shift pretty dramatically depending on your gear and raid composition.

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For unholy, DnD should easily beat out every other option for single target threat.

I'm calculating threat for DnD and Scourge Strike as follows:

Scourge Strike:

(weaponmin + weaponmax) /2 : base weapon damage

AP * 3.3 / 14 : normalized damage from AP

*0.6 : scourge strike hits for 60% weapon damage

+317 : baked-in bonus damage, with Sigil of Awareness

+158*3 : bonus damage from diseases, with Sigil of Awareness

* (1.00 + (meleecrit+0.06) * 1.30) : crits, assuming Vicious Strikes

*1.13 : Ebon Plague

+120 : bonus threat

*2.0735 : frost presence

Death and Decay:

62 : base damage

+ AP * 0.0475 *1.25 : damage from AP, with 5/5 Impurity

* (1.00 + spellcrit * 0.5) : bonus damage from crits - DnD deals only 150% damage on crit

*1.13 : Ebon Plague

*1.2 : DnD glyph

*1.9 : DnD's bonus threat multiplier

*10 : we want total damage, not damage per tick

*2.0735 : frost presence

Assume you're an unholy tank with 3k AP, 20% melee and spell crit, and a Betrayer of Humanity. If these numbers look a little funny they should; the AP is too low, the crit is probably too high, and the weapon is the highest-dps weapon available because I'm trying to set up a scenario that heavily favors scourge strike. I'm ignoring parries for the same reason.

Anyway, with these stats...

Scourge Strike average threat: 5484

Death and Decay threat over 10 ticks: 14111

Death and Decay is more threat than two Scourge Strikes, at a cheaper rune cost. At levels of AP closer to what we actually have with raid buffs, the difference should be even more dramatic.

EDIT: redid the math after urotas found a couple errors.

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1- He included them just click on the build link and you will see the glyphs at the right of the screen.

2- There's a link "basic DK info" at the very beginning of his post, read it.

Enjoy

1) The suggested glyphs are listed, but not the rationale behind using them or possible alternatives.

2) It wouldn't take up much space to list for example: Avoidance: Dodge > Defense > Parry

I know this information myself. I was more suggesting that the information is important (and succinct) enough to be included in the post for others. I suppose it all depends on the purpose of this thread. I merely meant to suggest information that would be pertinent to a one-stop DK tanking thread.

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I agree, except for these two. It's more appropriate to say that D&D has the highest threat modifer of any of our abilities, but whether it should be prioritized over other specials is going to vary depending on gear, spec, glyphs, and raid composition. Same goes for howling blast, the relative value of it compared to obliterate is going to shift pretty dramatically depending on your gear and raid composition.

I don't see any conceivable use of 1B1U1F that could outthreat DnD as any spec. I'm currently frost and unglyphed DnD in a 25man raid with all available buffs ticks for 384 or a value of 7296 threat (before frost presence). In order for HB+BS or OB+BS to even match that the 1U1F would have to crit.

Obliterate needs alot of support (Glyph, Sigil, Annihilation) to match up with Howling Blast and i can't see it being any sort of competition for HB otherwise.

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I'm not quite sure if this is the right place to ask, but why that particular blood build you chose? From my experience the most common blood tanking build appears to be 47/14/10 ( at least as far as disease running rotations are concerned ) , given that blood gorged provides unnecessary extra expertise, and lichborne and annihilation are both good tanking /threat tools respectively

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Scourge Strike average threat: 6658

Death and Decay threat over 10 ticks: 13691

Death and Decay is more threat than two Scourge Strikes, at a cheaper rune cost. At levels of AP closer to what we actually have with raid buffs, the difference should be even more dramatic.

I only calculated SS threat as 5484 with your values for some reason. I'm not sure where the difference is coming from.

(( 1670 * 1.338 * 1.13 ) + 120 ) * 2.0735 = 5484

You are also assuming using the Scourge Strike Sigil, which is a good idea since the intention was to show a SS favorable situation. Also DnD is slightly higher since Impurity adds 25% of ap and not 20%.

Out of curiousity I calculated what kind of threat values you'd be getting at a situation more favorable to DnD, so 5000 ap, 20% crit, and no Scourge Strike sigil. The sigil adds the damage directly to the tooltips base damage and disease bonus damage. I also included Rage of Rivendare.

SS

758 (Base BoH damage)

+ 5000 * 3.3 / 14 (Bonus damage from ap)

* 0.6

+ 190.5 (Bonus damage without Sigil)

+ 95.25 * 3 (1638 total with 3 diseases)

* 1.13 (Ebon Plague)

* 1.1 (Rage of Rivendare)

* 1.338 (with 20% melee crit rate, or 26% for SS)

+ 120

* 2.0735 (frost presence)

5897 threat from Scourge Strike

DnD

62

+ 5000 * 0.0475 *1.25 (bonus damage from ap with 5/5 impurity)

* 1.1 (with 20% spell crit rate)

* 1.13 (Ebon Plague)

* 1.2 (Glyph)

* 1.1 (Rage of Rivendare)

* 1.9 (Bonus threat multiplier)

* 10 (total damage)

* 2.0735 (Frost presence)

23197 threat from DnD

So with 5000 ap, 20% crit and no SS Sigil DnD generates as much threat as 3.9 Scourge Strikes. The difference is huge, and not including DnD in any Unholy rotation is sure to generate much less threat. Even if you include the SS Sigil, DnD is still well over 3 Scourge Strikes in average threat generation.

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Another unholy spec i see used alot is this:

Unholy with Lichborne.

It's quite useful in a raid environment where threat isn't an issue (So not entirely endgame - but at least for raiding. I use it myself.

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ery;1081959']I don't see any conceivable use of 1B1U1F that could outthreat DnD as any spec. I'm currently frost and unglyphed DnD in a 25man raid with all available buffs ticks for 384 or a value of 7296 threat (before frost presence). In order for HB+BS or OB+BS to even match that the 1U1F would have to crit.

Obliterate needs alot of support (Glyph, Sigil, Annihilation) to match up with Howling Blast and i can't see it being any sort of competition for HB otherwise.

From the perspective of a deep frost tank, D&D does do marginally more threat than BS + Ob. With the glyph of Obliterate, glyph of FS, 15 more RP from BS + Ob, GoG, etc the difference between the two isn't massive. Also, maybe I'm just slow this morning, but I'm not having any luck putting together a sustainable rotation with D&D for a frost build. But you're right that D&D seems to be better threat. The difference would be much more significant with the D&D glyph, although I'm loathe to drop one of my current ones.

I'm still trying to figure out how you prioritize HB over OB though. Since neither has a threat modifier, it would seem to me that whichever provides a higher DPS rotation would logically also provide a higher TPS rotation, and the DPS rotations for 2h use Ob. My quick math also supports this (~3500 AP raid buffed, using [item]Death's Bite[/item], factoring in 18% more crit from Annihilation + Rime). The only mitigating factor I can think of is that maybe using a D&D rotation means leftover KM procs due to the lower RP generation/fewer FS, which you'd spend on HB.

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I'm still trying to figure out how you prioritize HB over OB though. Since neither has a threat modifier, it would seem to me that whichever provides a higher DPS rotation would logically also provide a higher TPS rotation, and the DPS rotations for 2h use Ob. My quick math also supports this (~3500 AP raid buffed, using [item]Death's Bite[/item], factoring in 18% more crit from Annihilation + Rime). The only mitigating factor I can think of is that maybe using a D&D rotation means leftover KM procs due to the lower RP generation/fewer FS, which you'd spend on HB.

Maybe it's just that my gear is terrible, but my HB hits and crits for significantly more than OB on single targets. My weapon's a [item]Titansteel Destroyer[/item], so it's got room for improvement, but HB is well ahead of my OBs for single-target DPS, and thus, threat. It's about 150% of my OB damage, roughly. And it's AoE, to boot.

I still squeeze in OBs if I have the runes and my HB is on cooldown, but it doesn't happen that often. And I don't see how an ilvl 213 two-hander is going to make up THAT big a DPS difference between the two, unless I glyph and possibly re-talent (into something like Subversion) just to improve Obliterate. My spec includes most of the generic Frost Obliterate talents; I took Annihalation so I COULD use Oblit when I had a Rime proc without reapplying diseases, Rime itself more for the HB boost than the Obliterate crit bonus, etc, so it's not that I'm deliberately avoiding Obliterate, it just is a secondary choice. It seems like a lot of effort to reglyph and respec to make Obliterate slightly better than HB, when I could make better use of the glyph and talents on other factors. I seem to recall some napkin math that supported this staying true even through endgame gear, but I can't be sure.

I do know it's definitely worse DPS, and thus threat, for me right now. And I can't see reglyphing everything to try and get it to catch up, when I could just use HB instead.

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So with 5000 ap, 20% crit and no SS Sigil DnD generates as much threat as 3.9 Scourge Strikes. The difference is huge, and not including DnD in any Unholy rotation is sure to generate much less threat. Even if you include the SS Sigil, DnD is still well over 3 Scourge Strikes in average threat generation.

I think that SS works better though, because those 3 strikes will take effect faster then a DnD and I don't know what type of rotation you would do with DnD. You also can't use DnD effectively on multiple raid bosses which makes SS superior.

I already told Buck what spec to edit in for the blood spec part so no need to worry about that.

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I'm still trying to figure out how you prioritize HB over OB though. Since neither has a threat modifier, it would seem to me that whichever provides a higher DPS rotation would logically also provide a higher TPS rotation, and the DPS rotations for 2h use Ob. My quick math also supports this (~3500 AP raid buffed, using [item]Death's Bite[/item], factoring in 18% more crit from Annihilation + Rime). The only mitigating factor I can think of is that maybe using a D&D rotation means leftover KM procs due to the lower RP generation/fewer FS, which you'd spend on HB.

DPS rotations assume DPS gear, and even then it calls to question whether those rotations are right or simply done to make things easier. I've also found my tanking dps comes out higher using HB. Furthermore, you can't take into account just Annihilation and Rime when comparing them holistically. You need to factor in the opportunity costs of talents, glyph, sigil, as well as the differences in scaling from raid buffs (for instance, raid buffs increase spell critical% by +15% but melee critical% by only +5%) and the fact that Obliterate can be parried (-7.5%) at soft capped expertise. Add to that that Howling Blast uses KM procs.

I think that SS works better though, because those 3 strikes will take effect faster then a DnD and I don't know what type of rotation you would do with DnD. You also can't use DnD effectively on multiple raid bosses which makes SS superior.

Your logic makes no sense. 3 Scourge Strikes cost twice as many runes (and do not use cheap blood runes), 3 times as many global cooldowns, and do less threat. Just because damage is frontloaded does not make it a higher TPS rotation. Furthermore, the fact that some of those encounters exist does not mean you resort to a lower TPS rotation for every other encounter.

In terms of rotation, you generally prioritize RP dumping if at max RP, then DnD, then refreshing diseases, then HB/BS or Oblit if HB is on cooldown.

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Thats my main problem with using HB over OB, Howling Blast using KM procs. With the new PPM system it almost always procs for Frost strike. Which i perfer to use my KM procs on. If you were to use Howling blast you would still be using an OB atleast once every cycle.

Blood Tap - IT-BS-HB-OB - Runic Dump (repeat)

Anyone know if using KM procs on FS over HB yields more threat. My FS seems to hit harder.

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Anyone know if using KM procs on FS over HB yields more threat. My FS seems to hit harder.

Presumably it relies a lot upon the weapon being used - for me, a crit HB is more damage (and thus threat) than a FS crit.

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This is my first time peak at this thread and I like how it's turned out so far. But I must say I'm extremely disappointed in the weakness of the talent builds suggested by the OP. Now maybe it is just because my mentality as a tank is that your primary job is to survive at all costs and worry about threat after, but I believe the builds posted are much too focused on threat generation.

Before I get into the specific builds I would like people to note that in whichever tanking spec I use, I have Rune Strike bound(macro'd) to almost all of my main abilities to ensure that it is used every possible chance.

Please consider the following:

Blood Tanking (<-- link)

This is my favorite tanking build because it has very powerful cooldowns, excellent single target threat gen and brings great buffs for the raid. With this spec I have easily maintained 6-8k TPS on a boss before MD/TotT. If the cooldowns are rotated effectively and with a little help from the RNG you can survive incredible amounts of time without heals, almost 2 min in current raid content. But this is also the build I use to solo Doomwalker which takes 25 minutes, so that should also say something about the built in survival.

The only real filler or replaceable talents in this build are Subversion and Mark of Blood. I chose these over Blood Aura and Might of Mograine because the Aura is still trivial in most encounters and MoM is just too small of a threat increase even if it is only 3 points. Mark of Blood on its own is rather weak but when used in combo with Vampiric Blood and abilities like Prayer of Mending, Sacred Shield or Living Seed the boss/mob is unwillingly healing you for a great amount.

I think the Glyph choices are pretty straight forward although you can swap Glyph of IBF for Rune Strike. I personally don't like the Glyph of Rune Strike because this ability produces an incredible amount of threat on it's own. Admittedly, more than 50% of my white attacks are turned into RS so it is something I'm experimenting with right now but RS does eat a ton of your RP and you will very rarely use DC. Which isn't even a bad thing because our spells have a much lower chance to hit/crit anyways.

Also I do use Glyph of IT over DnD because AoE threat is not a requirement for boss encounters but these two are pretty interchangeable.

The typical rotation is: OB-IT-PS-HS-HS... and so on, very basic for single target.

For AoE start with DnD-Diseases-Pest and then just try to get nice HS cleaves to spread threat around.

Unholy Tanking (<-- link)

With this build I haven't noticed a major difference when it comes to single target threat other than UB providing a less spiky TPS, meaning it doesn't sink as low when you reapply diseases and such. As for AoE threat I've peaked out at 11-12k TPS because of DnD crits while spamming Rune Strike on individual targets. Bone Shield is excellent for minimizing damage spikes and although not as powerful pre-3.0.8, it should still be kept up as much as possible.

Glyph of IBF and IT plus Dirge are required to help you keep UB up 100% because, just like with Blood, Rune Strike will eat a ton of your RP.

The main reason I stray away from this build when tanking is the lack of cooldowns. I know big cooldowns shouldn't be needed/used in optimal situations but DKs are avoidance tanks which puts us at the mercy of the RNG.

Alt Unholy Tank (<-- link)

This is something I've been meaning to experiment with and is meant for higher gear level tanks. I never get Necrosis because I'm close to 70% avoidance with buffs which means I have very few white attacks causing threat. Corpse Explosion is not important but if a melee dps dies you can pop their corpse for threat and then raise ally. The perma-ghoul combined with NotD gives you a powerful 2min cooldown in Death Pact.

I know a lot of people will frown on the fact I don't get Wandering Plague but as Unholy you certainly will never need help with AoE threat and it's not going to make a big difference in single target.

Unholy Rotation for ST is the same as originally posted: IT-PS-BS-BS-SS... etc.

For AoE: DnD-Diseases-Pest-UB-AFK

In closing those are my thoughts and suggestions based on a very successful tanking career so far. I've received many compliments from healers in the form of "Lylo you're very boring to heal" and my blood tanking spec very much helped me become one of the first with Glory of the Hero on my server.

Interested to see your thoughts.

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Unholy Builds (includes recommended glyphs)

Standard

Single Target Rotation - IT-PS-BS-BS-SS SS-SS-SS RPDUMP = RS/UnholyBlight/Deathcoil

Multi Target Rotation - DnD-IT-PS-Pest-UnholyBlight then TAB-OB/Pest/BloodBoil RPDUMP = RS/Deathcoil

I don't understand why you have Obliterate in the Multi-target rotation for Unholy. If I'm not mistaken, Scourge Strike is always better for a deep Unholy build, especially since Obliterate removes diseases, which would make the following Pestilence a waste, at least without tabbing again to get to a diseased mob.

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