See Carebare's post.
This thread is about tanking in Cataclysm
Don't discuss levelling specs, DPS specs, 5-man tanking or other off-topic issues.
As OP, my job is to keep the EJ OP updated with the widely-accepted facts about DK tanking.
Thus I cannot be the primary researcher, writer or theorycrafter. I will rely on the community to mull over and analyse the game, and I'll reflect our common understanding here.
Note that on the complex theory issues, there has not been enough discusion and consensus yet. For example: do we gem for mastery or stamina; will blood parasite be useful at L85; is it worth a tank being sure he has depleted FU or B runes before using an RS to ensure a useful rune procs; will desecration be useful for tanks or will Lichborne self-heal via DC be more useful; and is reforging for Haste more worthwhile for threat than strength?
The target information architecture for this post is outlined and can be discussed in another thread. Please look there to understand what content is slated for the future for this post. It would be helpful if any contributions used that structure (ie. use a heading I had provided).
How to help update this OP
If you'd like to contribute specific snippets of knowledge to this OP, find a section heading I outlined, and write your piece in a PM or reply (just beware EJ rules).
The best spec for L85 endgame raid tanking, which has a survival bias is 33/6/2.
The discussion of it, including the use of Lichborne as a tanking cooldown (with self-targetted death coils) is over a few pages.
Two points in Abomination's Might could be used there, or move to BCB or Crimson Scourge. Most endgame raid tanks think Crimson Scourge is a waste of points.
Essentially, Lichborne is a survival talent. After you have picked up the mandatory 31-pts for Blood tree, there aren't many discretionary points that remain, and the only additional talent to assist progression is Lichborne. A tank's first job is to survive, second to have threat, and the third factor is utility.
The alternative use of points are to go into Unholy for utility.
Utility: In 10-man raids, there is a chance that Desolation in Unholy could have more utility than the gain from an additional Lichborne, but only your raid comp and level of progression will allow that decision to be made fruitfully. There are some arguments that having a 100% spell hit on mind freeze (via Virulence) has merit too, if raid encounters require the tank to be interrupting.
Glyphs: In the Lichborne spec, the recommended glyphs are linked. Primes: DC, RS and HS are ideal. Majors: you can be flexible, but DRW and VB are the best two. Third slot up to you. Minors: Death's Embrace is only mandatory. Other two slots are flavour.
Glyph of Rune Strike has more threat than DS or HS. Analysis here.
At L85, with Outbreak, you will use diseases since there is no trade-off with DS. Use Outbreak. (At L80, diseaseless blood was tanking without using IT or PS for diseases.) DS does not scale with diseases. HS does, for threat. You can swap the IT/PS for an extra DS, which is a good trade-off. Diseaseless also means that you should not spec into epidemic, blood caked blade or crimson scourge.
Key issue with diseaseless is someone else must reliably put melee attack speed debuff (normally from frost fever) onto the boss. Realistically, the tank will be applying that in a number of situations because DPS will be moving around.
Discussion started here.
Key point: 'diseaseless' is more a statement about blood fever (from PS) being a lower priority, thus allowing you to skip the crimson scourge talent, and that frost fever is important for its debuff, not for its threat
The talent is about the buff. You should take Abom Might if you're not sure your raid composition will provide the buff. Whilst the 2% strength will provide less single-threat than BCB (although the strength does scale AOE attacks), the buff is crucial for the raid.
To decide who in your group should offer the buff, consider:
* Hunters get nothing extra from talenting for the buff, though it only costs 1 pt.
* Enhancement Shamans like that talent as it gives a lot of Expertise, even though it takes 2 pts.
* All Paladins get Might (which now also gives mana regen) for free, no talent spending. However that doesn't replace the stamina buff from Blessing of Kings or Gift of the Wild, which tanks would prefer. If you have two in total of both/either, you can cover Might at no cost. (source)
Death Strike and Blood Barrier
Physical damage absorption barrier only (not magical).
DS is not multiplied by Vampiric Blood.
Blood Shield scales w/ a direct 1:1 ratio from your Mastery % of the DS heal to Shield (ie a 15k DS heal = 15k Blood Shield at 100% mastery). Yes, you can increase this above 100% also, as seen in the results below.
Blood Shield does not stack.* (Clarified in his post)
Blood Shield absorbs only Physical Dmg.
Blood Shield is affected by Imp DS talent (the wording on this may need to be edited, but what I'm saying is that picking up 3/3 Imp DS will yield a larger heal and equivalent shield).
Blood Shield is NOT affected by Vampiric Blood, Death Strike is.
Formula for DS and Shield are here.
It is no longer icy slam. It does not have a big threat multiplier.
Scent of Blood
Two points is the minimum, three has benefits but 2/3 should be fine. Source.
Dual-wield tanking is FAIL
Dual wield tanking is no longer viable. Any minor benefits are outweighed by the immense threat loss from all your strikes only taking into account the damage from your main hand weapon.
Any further posts suggesting Dual Wield tanking may be viable would need to provide solid evidence of a significant benefit to outweigh the threat loss. See post here for trade-off calculation.
Discussion has started on this post. Please contribute. It appears the usual suspects remain the best choices, so you do not need to change professions, plus at L85 they will not be as large a relative gain over your base health as they are at L80 (since gear is scaling up more than professions).
Question is whether BS/JC become superior because they allow Mastery stats, which no other profession offers.
There is no rotation, except a few opening moves you can reliably chain together. Rotations are irrelevant and impossible now due to Runic Empowerment.
Priority is what matters. Use DS with 5s gap so you maximise the self-heal and barrier. Use RS for threat. Use HS for threat, with diseases from Outbreak.
Tanking in 4.x is more fluid, you will make more decisions, by looking at your current rune state, health, and threat, in order to choose whether to DS, HS or even apply diseases with IT/PS.
Factors to consider (source):
- keeping one of each rune refreshing to keep runes cycling
- setting up RE procs by having runes waiting to refresh
- timing DS to follow big damage effects, giving a bigger heal and bigger blood shield
- timing DS to not clip previous blood shields where appropriate
- keeping blade barrier up
- Blood Tap: with the extra rune refreshment on Imp BP, and RE procs, you can expect to re-use the Death rune multiple times.
Parry and dodge have the same rating and diminish at the same pace. They're equal now.
Reforge for Mastery, unless you need to reforge for hit/expertise (threat).
Taunt is now on melee hit table, so 8% hit will mean you never miss a taunt. The taunt glyph is gone.
I will update this weekly if there is new content to add.
(a) if you're an experienced endgame tank and bias decisions to survival talents, you actually can't go wrong. Also read first two replies below.
( you can have discussion on specific topics at pwnwear.
© over time EJ will work out what the optimal decisions and trade-offs are, and this OP will get updated
(d) I'll try to cross-link to the post in EJ or pwnwear which discussed the issue I have included in the OP.