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Pisshands

• Guide Author
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About Pisshands

  • Rank
    A.K.A. Mr. Classy
  • Birthday 06/12/87

Profile Information

  • Gender Male
  • Occupation Video Editor/Technical Writer/Professional Failure

WoW Profile

  • Character Name Llarold
  • Gender Male
  • Race Pandaren
  • Class Monk
  • Realm Mug'thol
  • Realm Location United States
  • Guild Nightmare Asylum
  • Guild URL http://nightmareasylum.net/
  • Alternate Characters Prot Paladin, Prot Warrior, Blood DK, & Bear Druid
  1. [Brewmaster] 6.2 - Stemming The Iron Tide

    Since it's just reduced EB generation, nope. It's all bad.
  2. [Brewmaster] 6.2 - Stemming The Iron Tide

    Although the exact value of Haste is still TBD, it definitely rose in value slightly with t18 -- slightly. The problem with assigning and adhering to numerical weights (which are very useful, just not gospel) is that Haste accomplishes such a different job from every other stat. It is particularly different from Versatility and Stamina, the stats against which it competes for the not-coveted 3rd place slot. Mastery and Crit are each still undeniably superior stats for either major BrM build, Stamina only competes on trinket slots (where falls far short of BA and Mastery), and Versatility is a more consistent offensive and defensive stat.    Haste's primary value is to provide healing via Energy generation. It performs the particular task of consistently increasing self-healing better than any other stat, but it's not particularly amazing at it. 10% Haste (900 rating) is worth 1 Energy/sec (1.15 if using Ascension, which isn't great in progression). That's another sub-35% Glyphed Expel Harm every 35 (29.8) seconds, and one every 40 (34.8) seconds otherwise. For the same expense of 900 rating you can achieve 8.2% Crit, 5.1% Stagger value, or 6.9% damage and 3.4% damage reduction from Versatility.   Ultimately, Haste may be better than Versatility in some sense, but it's more "different" than "better" or "worse." It's okay.   As for BiS lists, damage output is a significant part of prog, and it's something most tank guides completely overlook. Defenses are not the end-all, be-all, especially in a BiS list. Bite is definitely more defensive than Xu'tenash, but it's a weapon, and that difference in dps matters - a lot.   The concept of the BiS list is actually not super useful for progression. During prog, you get the pieces that drop and that's it. Knowing stat priorities is important, but a BiS list is primarily useful for farm and gearing up for the next tier of content. In that context, a 10 item level difference between two weapons is all that matters. More damage, please!
  3. [Brewmaster] 6.2 - Stemming The Iron Tide

    Upon further investigation, this actually appears to be a bug related to Timewalking. Glyphing and unglyphing Glyph of Jab purportedly fixes the issue.   Edit: Tested and confirmed.
  4. [Brewmaster] 6.2 - Stemming The Iron Tide

    Interesting. This is definitely an undocumented change, but some brief testing does seem to corroborate it. I'll need to perform further testing to be sure, but this does seem to indicate that weapon types are normalized for EB generation, which pretty much balances everything out (re: dual-wielding vs. 2h).   Edit: Just a bug with Timewalking. See below post.
  5. [Brewmaster] 6.2 - Stemming The Iron Tide

    As I said in the gear section: item level difference. The itemization on http://www.wowhead.com/item=124379/bite-of-the-bleeding-hollow&bonus=567">Bite is better than that of Xu'tenash, but the item level is lower.
  6. [Brewmaster] 6.2 - Stemming The Iron Tide

    On the contrary, you should be using EH in place of Jab whenever available and useful. It's not explicitly a part of the rotation because the cooldown is not fixed due to Desperate Measures. That doesn't mean you don't use EH a ton - quite the opposite! The T18 2pc makes EH much more available than it is already, and the 4pc increases Guard uptime significantly as a result. 
  7. [Brewmaster] 6.2 - Stemming The Iron Tide

    You should use EH in place of Jab whenever it will provide effective healing, and you should always be ready to hit it in emergency situations. It's not exactly a part of the rotation, but it's important and gets a lot of use during normal content.
  8. [Blood] 6.2 - Unliving. Undying.

    Fair criticisms all, but I would argue the offensive stat value point somewhat. At all levels of play, the ideal gearing paradigm is "defensive enough to survive, then all else into offense." Now, how defensive that is changes based upon how many weeks of gear you have, the encounter specifics, and so on. Accordingly, while I certainly undervalued offensive stat weights, they're not always the only thing a high-end tank should consider during prog.   Also, I hadn't mentioned Glyph of Icy Runes for BoS, but that will cease to exist in a week.
  9. Greetings, I am Llarold. I have been tanking in WoW for nine years. I want this guide to serve as a long-term resource for Death Knights of all experience and skill ranges, and for the assumptions and assertions made with regards to gearing and skill priorities to be well-supported, thus I welcome all criticism, suggestions and support.   What's new in 6.2? Anti-Magic Shell now absorbs 100% of all magical damage (up from 75%). However, damage absorbed no longer causes Resolve. Mastery: Blood Shield's Physical damage absorption shield from Death Strike now also counts as having an active mitigation effect active. Breath of Sindragosa now costs 20 Runic Power per second for Blood Death Knights. Glyph of Icy Runes has been removed. The changes to AMS and Mastery are slight improvements that should not have a majorly noticeable effect. The changes to Breath of Sindragosa and Glyph of Icy Runes make maintaining Breath of Sindragosa indefinitely much more difficult - effectively impossible. This cuts Breath of Sindragosa's value relative to Defile down quite a bit, but its application remains the same: it trades defenses for damage output, and it is very effective.   Blood Death Knight Basics Death Knights have one of the most self-sufficient toolkits in the tanking game, with abilities designed around controlling the intake of damage, providing incredible amounts of self-healing, a massive health pool and powerful tools to survive burst damage, and the unique ability to quickly move mobs via Death Grip and Gorefiend's Grasp.   Death Strike Death Strike is the bread-and-butter ability of DK. It's what makes the class work, and although the 5-second window no longer exists since the release of WoD, it still has to be timed well in order to have the maximum benefit. Resolve increases tanks' self-healing by a percentage of the damage they have taken (and parried/dodged) in the last 10 seconds, and is weighted more heavily towards events that occurred within the past few seconds than damage events from nearly 10 seconds ago. As such, Death Knights, along with all tanks, still have a pseudo-5-second window, only it now lasts 10 seconds and is smoother and more forgiving. Since the heal is based upon DK's AP value rather than damage intake, procs from trinkets, the Legendary ring, and Rune of the Fallen Crusader all have a noticeable postive impact on the healing value of Death Strike. Through Blood DK's Mastery, which has been considerably reduced in percentage value with WoD, Death Strike also provides a sizable physical absorb shield worth a percentage of the Death Strike's heal.   Rune Tap Rune Tap's function is very simple, but its applications are broad, and its value is substantial. Essentially, it is a 3-second Shield Wall on a 30-second cooldown. As such, you can use it to mitigate any sort of predictable, large boss hit. For example, consider Gruul's Inferno Slice and Blackhand's Shattering Smash. Rune Tap is still useful against bosses who feature no massive predictable burst damage, and can be used to reduce damage during vulnerable tank spots, such as tanking AoE, or when moving a boss.   Blood Boil Blood Boil is a short-range AoE skill that deals damage and spreads your existing diseases on targets hit to any nearby targets. It also refreshes the duration of your diseases to 30 seconds. Blood Boil is useful in single target, and is generally how a Blood DK should use their Blood Runes unless they need to spend them on Rune Tap. You can spend Unholy/Frost Runes that have been converted into Death Runes on Blood Boil instead of on Death Strike. While this is not generally recommended against difficult content or in single-target situations, it is undeniably effective when you need to sacrifice tankiness for AoE damage. Use as needed. On occasion, you will gain free Blood Boil casts via Crimson Scourge. These are generally best used on Blood Boil. Additionally, each cast of Blood Boil increases the healing value of your next Death Strike by 20%, up to a total of a 100% increase. This should have no real effects on your decision-making, only making the decision to sacrifice a DS here and there in order to gain a couple of extra BB's to not be quite as much of a defensive loss.   Soul Reaper Soul Reaper is a small single-target hit, followed 5 seconds later by a substantial burst of damage if the target is below 35% health. It is the DK execute, and it should be used in place of Blood Boil once an enemy is within execute range. As long as the execute portion triggers, Soul Reaper deals more damage than a 7-target Blood Boil. As such, you should try to substitute Soul Reaper for all Blood Boils unless diseases will fall off or you are tanking 8+ adds and don't need to focus one out of the fight quickly.   Outbreak Outbreak puts your diseases onto the target. If glyphed, Outbreak has no cooldown and instead has a 30 RP cost. It is worth glyphing in virtually all scenarios. If unglyphed, you might end up having to cast Icy Touch and Plague Strike manually, which is a substantial damage and tankiness loss. Glyph Outbreak and use it whenever your target does not have diseases active. Throwing a couple of Death Strikes or Blood Boils into a non-diseased target in order to produce the necessary RP to cast Outbreak is totally fine. You should always try to maintain disease uptime on all targets, as they are a strong, inexpensive source of damage and threat.   Death and Decay Death and Decay is a decently-effective damage tool, dealing about 2.5 times the damage of Blood Boil over 10 seconds, but its primary value is in the ability to throw it down and generate threat on constantly-spawning adds. As such, it's sometimes not worth casting over Blood Boil. Unlike Blood Boil, Death and Decay does not provide a 20% increase to Death Strike healing, comes with the unfortunate inconvenience of having to be clicked onto the ground, does not refresh or spread diseases, and will not generate RP when made free via Crimson Scourge. The situations in which a free Death and Decay should be prioritized over a free Blood Boil are when tanking targets that will live for ten seconds and do not need to be moved, or when you want to pick multiple adds from a distance.   Death Coil Death Coil is the primary method of expending Runic Power. It's fairly ineffectual in terms of damage output, but it also increases maximum health by 3%, stacking repeatedly based upon time remaining. Depending upon RP generation, a DK can very reasonably reach an additional 30% health in combat via Enhanced Death Coil. Death Coil converts Runic Power back into runes via Blood Tap or Runic Corruption. Runic Power's defensive value is pretty low, but there are no more efficient alternatives for regular RP expenditure.   Ability Priority Death Knights have a very atypical ability priority due to the Rune system, in that they barely have a real priority. Primarily, the goal of the DK system is to minimize resource waste and make the timeliest use of your Runes as possible.   Offensive skills When below 100% health and both F/U pairs are off cooldown, Death Strike. When both Blood Runes are off cooldown and you are going to take a burst of damage within the next three seconds, Rune Tap. When both Blood Runes are off cooldown and you will not take significant damage within the next eight seconds, use Blood Boil in AoE, or in single-target above 35% health - use Soul Reaper in single target when the target is below 35% health. Use Crimson Scourge procs on Defile/Death and Decay if conditions are suitable (unmoving targets), otherwise use Crimson Scourge on Blood Boil. Use Outbreak to apply diseases when you have no active diseases on any target. Use Plague Leech when you have two fully depleted runes. As previously stated, the DK skill priority is very atypical, and the primary goal should be to keep a free Unholy/Frost rune pair available to Death Strike in case of a sudden burst of damage. Specifically, hitting an ability on cooldown, such as Keg Smash or Shield Slam, just isn't a priority for a DK. Instead, the goal for DK's is to be ready to hit Death Strike the instant their health spikes down, to have Rune Tap ready for predictable bursts of damage, and to use Blood Boil and Death Coil to fill the interim without wasting Runic Power or Rune recharge time. Letting a pair of Runes sit unspent is wasteful, and you should typically try to keep one set of your Unholy/Frost runes charging at all times. By contrast, having both of your U/F runes recharging is a dangerous spot, and you should be careful whenever in that situation.   How to use Death Strike Only use Death Strike when it will provide meaningful healing. This means you should not use Death Strike when at or very near full health. You should use it immediately after taking a large burst of damage, whether from autoattacks or a predictable boss spike damage ability, as it will heal and shield for considerably more due to a higher Resolve modifier. Finally, use Death Strike whenever you have both Unholy/Frost Rune pairs fully recharged, regardless of health and everything else. A 100% overheal Death Strike is still worth more than doing nothing with your Runes.   Defensive Cooldowns Rune Tap While previously mentioned, Rune Tap is so strong and important that it deserves repeating: It is your primary life-line against predictable burst damage. Despite their competition for Blood Runes, the damage gained from a Blood Boil or Soul Reaper rarely outweighs the value of being able to Rune Tap a big boss strike like Gruul's Inferno Slice.   Vampiric Blood Like a smaller Last Stand that also increases healing received, Vampiric Blood is a very effective defensive cooldown that synergizes incredibly well with the Death Knight toolkit. It provides no actual damage reduction, instead simply increasing the DK's ability to survive and heal through damage. It's useful in all scenarios in which a normal defensive cooldown would be valuable, and moreover, it interacts beautifully with more normative defensive cooldowns such as Icebound Fortitude or Pain Suppression by not creating diminishing returns. Bottom line, use it when you are taking a lot of damage and need to survive. Whether you're tanking AoE or single target, it's valuable.   Bone Shield Bone Shield behaves in a fairly easy-to-understand manner. It provides 20% damage reduction from all sources while active, and it loses charges whenever its caster takes damage. It can be slightly protected by Blood Shield, and it can only lose one charge per second, but in WoD it is simply not a buff you can realistically keep active until its cooldown resets. As such, you should treat it like a 20% damage reduction cooldown with a variable duration, generally around 10-20 seconds.   Dancing Rune Weapon Dancing Rune Weapon is a very modest increase to avoidance, 12% for 8 seconds, and is as much an offensive cooldown as it is a defensive cooldown. It is purely a damage reduction tool against autoattack damage, and as such is understandably worth considerably more defensively in AoE than in single target. It is a modest offensive tool as well, only worth about a 1/3 increase in damage during its duration. It should be paired with procs (trinkets, Fallen Crusader, legendary ring) as possible, but should be not be held unused for long.   Anti-Magic Shell Anti-Magic Shell is one of the strongest defensive cooldowns for magic damage in the game. It absorbs 75% of all incoming magical damage, up to 40% of the Death Knight's maximum health, and provides a modest amount of RP based upon the total amount absorbed. While AMS is active, it can also prevent the application of some magical debuffs. As such, AMS can both reduce and even prevent magic damage from occurring depending upon when it is used. AMS should be your first line of defense against magic damage. It's simple, but incredibly effective.   Icebound Fortitude At 50% damage reduction for 8 seconds, Icebound Fortitude is the strongest defensive cooldown in a Death Knight's toolkit. It should be used when nothing else is available, or when no alternative will be strong enough to prevent incoming damage from being fatal. IBF is the DK's last line of defense. IBF also makes the DK immune to stuns, and can be cast while stunned. Using it to break stuns is very rarely worth doing in a raid unless the stun coincides with massive damage intake.   Utility Strangulate Strangulate costs a Blood Rune, has a 60-second cooldown, and silences the target. It works as an interrupt against targets immune to silence effects, and it is off the global cooldown. It is an effective tool for countering casters at range, as infrequently as that is needed.   Dark Simulacrum Dark Simulacrum works pretty simply. When cast, it puts a debuff on the target that allows the DK to copy the next mana-spending ability the target uses. This can be useful in raids in a few situations: whenever a player is MC'ed, or on the rare occasion it actually works against a boss ability. Dark Simulacrum has quite a lot of value in 5-mans and Challenge Modes, but its raid applications are fairly limited. Nonetheless, always keep an eye out for abilities to Dark Sim.   Army of the Dead Army of the Dead is no longer channeled, and no longer provides any sort of damage reduction. The summoned undead taunt any non-boss mobs around unless glyphed, and they do minimal damage. Since Army costs 3 runes, it generates 30 RP, and is best used about 8 seconds prior to the pull. It can have some value mid-pull if used during the final seconds of a downtime phase, but it is otherwise universally a damage and defensive loss to cast during standard raid combat.   Empower Rune Weapon Empower Rune Weapon is a very potent defensive and offensive cooldown, in that it resets all of your runes and provides 25 Runic Power. As you would expect, it should be used when all 6 Runes are on cooldown, and preferably when none of the 25 RP will be wasted. The former is considerably more important than the latter. While burning up all 6 Runes and using ERW on cooldown is best for dps results (due to ERW's long cooldown, the best dps results are actually a bit more complex than just using it on cooldown), this is understandably not ideal for survivability. Defensively, ERW is best-utilized in a few scenarios: to preemptively cast multiple Death Strikes and cover them with a Rune Tap in order to survive a burst of damage, or to quickly get off a Death Strike when all of your U/F Runes are on cooldown and you're moments from death.   Mobility Ha ha! Death Knights are immobile! Death Grip While it certainly won't help you move any faster, Death Grip is undeniably the most effective tool in the game for bringing enemies to the melee clump faster, and you should use it whenever possible to quickly bring in adds and improve your melee dps' uptime on the target. Death Grip is not on the global cooldown, and unless glyphed (and it really shouldn't be as Blood), it Taunts the target. Having a second Taunt is powerful, and unique to Death Knights.   Talents The DK talent tree consists largely of one-option tiers. There are a few situationally viable talents, but the decisions are largely decisions between one always-strong talent, a situational talent, and a talent that is pure garbo.   Level 15 – Disease Management Plague Leech recharges two Runes every 25 seconds. Plaguebearer extends the duration of diseases that never fall off even if the rotation is played horrendously. Unholy Blight helps apply diseases in AoE, essentially combining Outbreak and Blood Boil into one GCD. Use Plague Leech.   Plaguebearer – Even if using Necrotic Plague, this talent never competes offensively or defensively with Plague Leech. When using standard diseases, it offers nothing. A worthless, worthless talent, for which the class designers should ask forgiveness from their various gods and apologize to the DK community. Plague Leech – Beyond any arguments, the strongest talent in the tier. It provides 120 RP worth of Rune regeneration for ostensibly one GCD (two if reapplying diseases in single target). It cannot be cast if the target is not affected by your diseases, or if you do not have at least one fully-depleted Rune. If you only have one fully-depleted Rune, it will still cast and refresh only the one Rune. Be certain that you have two fully-depleted Runes before casting PL. Additionally, if all six Runes are on cooldown and a pair of fully-depleted Runes (e.g., U/F) have less than 2 seconds remaining on their cooldown, latency issues can sometimes cause PL to only reset the single Rune on a longer cooldown. Essentially, use PL when it will reset two runes with longer than 2 seconds on cooldown. Unholy Blight – While not quite as worthless as Necrotic Plague, it is undeniably less valuable than Plague Leech, particularly when PL provides the only interaction with diseases that Blood DK's possess despite their modest damage output.   Level 30 – Defensive Options Purgatory is far and away the best option for personal defense, but at times Anti-Magic Zone is preferable for the benefit of the raid.   Lichborne – This talent just sucks. It turns you Undead, which makes you immune to a Charm, Fear and Sleep but capable of being Shackled by Priests and Turned by Paladins, and provides a slim amount of self-healing via 10% Leech and the ability to cast Death Coil at yourself. When compared to a Get-Out-of-Death-Free Card, this talent deserves a hard pass. Anti-Magic Zone – AMZ very briefly reduces incoming magic damage in a small area. It is only particularly useful against predictable AoE spell damage. Unfortunately, there is quite a lot of that in raiding, and AMZ is useful in those scenarios. Purgatory – When you take fatal damage, the world turns grey, and you have three seconds to heal back above 0 health before you fall down, dead. With the bevy of self-healing abilities at your disposal as a DK, this is often fairly easy to accomplish, and Purgatory serves as yet another potent safety net against unexpected burst damage. Is it more useful than Purgatory? Generally, that's a matter of the magnitude of threat posed to the tank vs. that of the raid. Purgatory is generally the safer choice unless it's going to have very little chance of being procced.   Level 45 – Mobility and CC This tier actually has valuable options. Death's Advance is decidedly the go-to choice in most scenarios, but Chilblains can be good when slowing a mob is far more powerful than moving faster. Asphyxiate is good when you need a stun, or simply want a shorter CD on Strangulate.   Death's Advance – It works as simply as it seems. Death's Advance is a slight movement speed increase at all times, with a modest activated speed increase on a short CD. It also slightly counteracts movement speed slows, for as often as that is useful in raiding (not that often). Chilblains – When using Chilblains, a DK is an unstoppable slowing machine. Despite their lack of mobility skills, a DK using Chilblains can kite effectively against mobs for which a 50% slow is enough to outrun. More importantly, a DK can quickly and consistently apply AoE slows via Blood Boil against mobs that need to be slowed down for some reason other than kiting, such as Elementals traveling toward Ragnaros' Hammer, or turtles spinning into room on Tortos. Asphyxiate – Unlike the ability it replaces, Asphyxiate has no resource cost and, since it is a stun, is on the global cooldown. Otherwise, it functions precisely like Strangulate against stun-immune mobs. A decent option when you need another single-target stun or a shorter cooldown on Strangulate.   Level 60 – Rune Regeneration To use a simple analogy: if these three talents were cars, Blood Tap would be a Lamborghini. It's powerful, but dangerous when mishandled. Runic Corruption would be a Honda Civic. It lacks the control of Blood Tap, but it's easier and safer to handle and does generate more runes over time, particularly if you're inexperienced. Runic Empowerment is a horse. It's dumb, it's not powerful, and it tends to poop all over the place.   Blood Tap – When you cast Death Coil or glyphed Outbreak, you gain 2 Blood Charges. You can consume 5 Blood Charges to instantly recharge 1 fully-depleted Rune, and you can store 12 Blood Charges at a time. Being able to instantly reset 2 Runes and Death Strike on command is incredibly important to Death Knight survival against trying content. Blood Tap is effective at preventing split rune pair situations from occurring if you cast Death and Decay or Defile without a Crimson Scourge proc. Blood Tap is by far the best of the three options for serious Death Knight play. It requires an additional keybind and is more to manage when learning the class, but it is far more powerful when played well and more resilient against bad luck than Runic Corruption. Runic Empowerment – RE provides less runes than Runic Corruption and does so less smoothly. More importantly, it lacks the reliability of Blood Tap. You will wind up with many split Rune pairs, and there is nothing you can do to stop that. RE stinks. Runic Corruption – Very simply, every Death Coil has a 45% chance to cause all of your Runes to regenerate 100% faster for 3 seconds. Even with bad luck, this talent will result in more Death Strikes than Blood Tap. Why, then, is it not recommended over Blood Tap? Quantity of Death Strikes is not as important as timing of Death Strikes, and Blood Tap allows for more precision over Death Strike timing and more reliability in converting RP into Runes. Sometimes when using RC, you will cast 5 Death Coils in a row and get no RC proc. It's rare, but it can happen. A streak of bad luck like that can be a serious danger, and when compared against the reliability and precision of Blood Tap, Runic Corruption just isn't as appealing. It's okay, if you're just learning or feeling lazy.   Level 75 – Healing Options This tier consists of one real option and two theoretically useful options. Just take Death Pact.   Death Pact - It heals for 50% of the DK's health and applies a heal-absorbing debuff worth 25% of the DK's health. It's not quite as amazing as it looks, but it's undeniably strong, and provides a valuable burst heal that has no resource cost and is not on the GCD. It synergizes incredibly well with Purgatory and Vampiric Blood. Take it. Death Siphon – Theoretically, Death Siphon can be a substantial self-healing increase over Death Strike if used against an enemy during an increased damage taken phase. However, it does not apply Blood Shield and its damage output is very ineffectual. As such, it conflicts heavily with current gearing and encounter paradigms, and simply has no place for Blood DK's at present. Not useful. Conversion – Another theoretically-useful talent. It is on the GCD, and consumes 30 RP every second, restoring 2% health. It quickly burns through RP, which given its limited offensive value through Death Coil, is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be fairly unwieldy to toggle on and off regularly throughout combat, and it is worth a very small amount healing at any given moment. Although it can add up throughout a fight, it is a noticeable damage loss that really provides the least-useful kind of healing, occasional HoT's. Burst healing is far more valuable, and as such this talent just isn't very effective when considered amongst the rest of the DK toolkit. Stick with Death Pact.   Level 90 – Grab Bag Gorefiend's Grasp is useful for bringing adds together, and Remorseless Winter is good for slowing and stunning adds that have already been brought together. Descrated Ground doesn't always work in raids, but when it does, it is an instant CC break. Not too useful, generally.   Gorefiend's Grasp – Gorefiend's is an AoE grip. Whether it's cast on a friendly player or an enemy, it grips all enemies with 20 yards directly onto that target. It's the most useful option in the tier simply because it brings a completely unique utility. Unlike Death Grip, it's on the GCD, and it does not Taunt any affected mobs. Remorseless Winter – Unlike Gorefiend's, Remorseless Winter provides a very common form of utility: AoE CC. It's a strong CC if you need it, but Remorseless Winter is easily replaced by Leg Sweep, Binding Shot, Shockwave, and the like. It does progressively slow targets, which provides an additional layer of CC value that is not present in all AoE stuns. Desecrated Ground – It provides a CC break on a reasonably long cooldown. If you face an encounter in which you have no use for Gorefiend's Grasp or Remorseless Winter and you are in some way CC'ed, Desecrated Ground is worth taking. Let me know when you find that fight.   Level 100 – Grab Bag 2: Electric Boogaloo Necrotic Plague is a weak option both offensively and defensively. Defile is safe and effective, and useful in all scenarios. Breath of Sindragosa is a potentially strong offensive tool that requires a defensive sacrifice to use optimally.   Necrotic Plague – Despite its apparent value as an RP generation tool, Necrotic Plague just isn't a good talent. The conversion of RP into damage output and Runes is highly inefficient, and Necrotic Plague's damage just isn't good. As a dps choice, Necrotic Plague is not very good. It doesn't begin outdpsing Blood Plague and Frost Fever until it reaches 10 stacks. At its maximum of 15 stacks, it is a 52% dps increase over standard diseases. Consider that diseases are much stronger in AoE encounters than in single target encounters (diseases contribute as much as 20% of overall damage on AoE, whereas they are around 5-8% of total damage in single target). Once you add in the globals spent reapplying Necrotic Plague, the lost damage really begins to add up, and NP just stinks. Defile – Defile is the simplest and safest option of the choices in this tier. It increases the damage of Death and Decay by ~310%, and causes enemies afflicted by it to deal 10% less damage to you. The damage reduction is slight but has decent value. While Defile is understandably more useful in AoE, its damage output and reduction components are strong enough to warrant using it roughly on cooldown even in single target. Overall, a modest offensive and defensive gain that is safe and simple to use, with no drawbacks of any kind. Breath of Sindragosa – Breath can be an incredibly effective damaging tool. It does not scale well with multiple targets, however, as it splits its damage against secondary targets in a fairly unfavorable way. Simply, it deals X damage per tick to the primary target, and X/Y damage to secondary targets, where Y is the number of targets hit by the Breath. So, for two targets it will deal X damage to the main target and X/2 damage to the main target. For three targets it will deal X damage to the main target and X/3 damage to each of the secondary targets, and so on. Unfortunately, Breath of Sindragosa is dependent upon good RP generation from procs and spending your Runes quickly, which tends to run counter to the careful nature of DK play. With luck, you can maintain Breaths for a really long time, sometimes well in excess of a minute. This can do some serious damage.  Breath of Sindragosa is a gamble. You can lessen that by timing your usage correctly, and only popping it when you have a near-full RP bar and Runes ready to use, but this will only delay the inevitably brief duration if you fail to get procs. If it goes well, Breath is a massive damage increase, and by far the best offensive option in the tier. If all does not go well, it's a moderate source of damage. In either case, it is a modest defensive sacrifice for offensive gain. If you can afford to sacrifice the defenses, by all means do.   Important Glyphs Outbreak is essentially mandatory, and other glyphs are at the user's discretion. Blood Boil is fairly useful all the time and Regenerative Magic can be pretty valuable for encounters in which you take regular bursts of magic damage, such as Imperator Mar'gok, Gruul, or Oregorger. Raise Ally can be useful.   Glyph of Outbreak – In WoD, any expenditure of RP counts toward generating Blood Charges or proccing Runic Empowerment. Consequently, glyphing Outbreak has effectively no drawback. Glyphed or unglyphed, Outbreak is not worth using on a pull, since it generates zero threat on its own and merely applies diseases that are a small percentage of overall damage. Waiting to apply diseases until a few seconds into combat is normal, and the ability to comfortably use Plague Leech twice per minute to buy a DS and quickly reapply diseases seconds thereafter is far more valuable than the Death Coils lost by Outbreak expending 30 RP. When running Breath of Sindragosa, Glyph of Outbreak is not worth using since it consumes RP that could and should be spent Breathing. Glyph of Blood Boil – Increases the range of Blood Boil from 10 to 15 yards. Useful whenever you have to move around a bit or when picking up moving mobs. A nice general bonus, but never mandatory. Glyph of Regenerative Magic – This glyph is, understandably, only useful for encounters in which you need to use AMS regularly. When it can be used, though, it's pretty amazing. It's particularly strong when you need to use AMS to soak a large single hit of spell damage, rather than soaking a bunch of little hits, as the latter have a tendency to eat up the entire AMS and weaken the glyph's effectiveness.   Situational Glyphs Glyph of Absorb Magic – The RP generation aspect of Anti-Magic Shell is fairly minimal in WoD, so the negative aspect of this glyph is only a minor drawback. The more problematic aspect of Absorb Magic is that it precludes you from using Regenerative Magic, which means you should only use this glyph if you need to prevent substantially more magic damage than base AMS, but don't need to do so particularly often. Glyph of Icebound Fortitude – With the addition of Rune Tap to the DK arsenal in WoD, the value of this already-niche glyph has plummeted. It has some value, in that it offers a 2-second Stun immunity every 90 seconds, but it otherwise obliterates your strongest defensive cooldown and should typically not be used in normal raid encounters. Glyph of Dark Simulacrum – Dark Simulacrum rarely has value in raids. When it does, though, it can be a huge source of damage or utility. Typically, it is used to copy a boss' major raid damaging ability, and being able to copy that twice as often can be pretty amazing. Bottom line, usually worthless, occasionally amazing. Always keep an eye out for abilities to Dark Sim. Glyph of Raise Ally – This is only going to have value for encounters in which rezzing a dps where you are standing is safe. Tanks are typically the worst players to battle rez due to the dangers of frontal cleave and the melee clump in general, but if you need to rez, this glyph will allow you to cast immediately as needed, without having to spend any globals generating RP. Glyph of Runic Power – Encounters that feature regular application of slowing effects that will properly trigger this glyph are very rare, and the RP generation provided by it is not particularly strong (10 RP over 5 seconds), but this glyph can offer some situational value if the alternatives provide nothing. Glyph of Death and Decay – The applications of this glyph are rather slim, and there are better, more lasting ways to apply slows. Nonetheless, this can offer a method of slowing adds if other glyph options bring nothing of value to a particular encounter.   Trap Glyphs Glyph of Rune Tap – Rune Tap's value is as a large, potent daamge reduction, and cutting that value to achieve slightly higher uptime is a very poor trade. If you need damage reduction every 20 seconds, stagger your other defensive options such as Bone Shield, Dancing Rune Weapon, and externals rather than halving the defensive value of Rune Tap. Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon – In the past, damage done by Dancing Rune Weapon has contributed considerably to threat, and glyphing this was actually a loss in total threat. Whether or not that remains true, Death Knights have two taunts and no threat problems whatsoever, so don't waste a glyph reducing the damage output of an offensive cooldown. Glyph of Vampiric Blood – The primary value of Vampiric Blood is in its max HP increase. Throwing that away to gain a slight increase to healing intake is just foolish. Don't do it.   Offensive Stat Priority Strength > Bonus Armor >>> Multistrike > Crit > Haste = Versatility > Mastery   Defensive Stat Priority Strength = Bonus Armor >>> Mastery > Multistrike > Haste > Versatility > Crit   Strength and Bonus Armor don't really compete except on trinkets, where Strength is weighted much more expensively. Point-for-point, they are reasonably competitive, but since Bonus Armor costs far less, using BA trinkets is preferable to Strength trinkets nearly all of the time. Strength does scale better for Blood DK's than any other tank due to Rune of the Fallen Crusader, but this is still not enough to make Strength trinkets generally preferable, but they will usually be worth more damage than a BA trinket. Regarding Mastery vs. Multistrike, Mastery is far superior as a defensive stat. Multistrike provides a substantial and noticeable increase to RP generation, but RP simply doesn't convert into Runes and defenses very effectively. When using Breath of Sindragosa, RP can at least be converted into damage efficiently, and as such Multistrike is hands-down the best stat for damage output. The decision between Mastery and Multistrike is purely a matter of how difficult the content you are tanking is for the quality of your gear. If you need to be tankier, favor Mastery. If you need damage more than tankiness, favor Multistrike. Haste and Versatility are modestly-effective offensive and defensive stats that really pale in comparison to Mastery or Multistrike, and Crit is really only useful for increasing damage output. Crit does provide Parry, but it has no effect on the healing component of Death Strike and does very little to actively improve the defensive capabilities of a Blood DK.   Tier Bonuses Demongaze Armor is the Death Knight T18 set. The 2 Piece bonus is solid and unobtrusive. It increases Scent of Blood generation, which directly increases self-healing. Moreover, it does not result in Scent of Blood waste. Good bonus! The 4 Piece bonus is similarly unobtrusive, and interacts passively with the 2pc bonus to great effect.   Overall, Tier 18's bonuses provide a moderate increase to Death Strike healing, and more healing is always good.   BiS List During progression, you take whatever gear the game (and loot council) provides, and when it comes to tier, getting 4-piece is more important than having the best off piece possible. Additionally, with T18's unique item level scaling throughout the instance, best in slot and best itemized are not necessarily the same items. A 735 weapon is going to be better than a 725 weapon no matter the itemization. That said, this list details the pieces Blood DK's should hope to acquire over time. Head – Demongaze Helm (Kormrok) Neck – World Ender's Gorget (Archimonde) Shoulders – Doomcrier's Shoulderplates (Archimonde) Cloak – Void Lord's Wizened Cloak (Xhul'horac) Chest – Demongaze Chestplate (Mannoroth) Wrists – Breach-Scarred Wristplates (Xhul'horac) Gloves – Demongaze Gauntlets (Socrethar the Eternal) Belt – Ravenous Girdle (Gorefiend) Pants – Demongaze Legplates (Gorefiend) Boots – Treads of the Defiler (Archimonde) Ring 1 – Zakuun's Signet of Command (Fel Lord Zakuun) Ring 2 – Sanctus, Sigil of the Unbroken (Legendary Ring) Trinket 1 – Anzu's Cursed Plume (Shadow-Lord Iskar) Trinket 2 – Tyrant's Decree (Tyrant Velhari)  Weapon – Calamity's Edge (Archimonde) Races The difference between races is small, but the Elf races are slightly superior.   Alliance Night Elves gain 1% Haste during the night and 1% Crit during the day. Neither of these bonuses are particularly wonderful on their own, but Night Elves' passive +2% Dodge is a far superior defensive gain than any bonus any other race offers, and as such the race is a winner, hands-down. Worgen's 1% Crit is not particularly amazing, but their sprint is very strong for otherwise low-mobility DK's. Overall, they are a not-close second to Night Elves. Night Elf – Best Race by far Worgen – Second place by a good margin, but Darkflight is very effective Draenei Human Dwarf Gnome Horde Tauren's extra 197 Stamina is appealing, and it benefits from Plate Specialization (+5% Stamina), Blood Presence (+20% Stamina), Vampiric Blood (+15% Health), and Enhanced Death Coil (+20-30% Health). As such, Tauren are slightly better than Blood Elves from a defensive perspective at low gear levels, but Blood Elves' +1% Crit makes them a superior choice offensively. With a good amount of gear, Blood Elves are decidedly the superior race due to their offensive superiority and the interrupting power of Arcane Torrent. Blood Elf – Best Race Tauren Orc Goblin Troll Undead WeakAuras WeakAuras2 is the most important addon in the universe, and I could not play this game without it. It is useful for tracking buffs (such as Bone Shield, Blood Shield, Vampiric Blood), debuff durations (such as diseases), ability cooldowns (Soul Reaper), raid debuffs, and much, much more.   Thanks Thanks to Blizzard for making a game that remains engaging and new after nearly a decade. Thanks to my friends within the theorycraft world for being great people with whom to discuss this little game we like so much. Thanks to all my co-tanks throughout the years. All of you have taught me something.   Changelog 6/19/2015: Updated gear section. Updated to 6.2. 6/18/2015: Added "What's new in 6.2?" section. 6/17/2015: Fixing errors. 3/23/2015: First published.     Click here to view the guide
  10. [Blood] 6.2 - Unliving. Undying.

    Greetings, I am Llarold. I have been tanking in WoW for nine years. I want this guide to serve as a long-term resource for Death Knights of all experience and skill ranges, and for the assumptions and assertions made with regards to gearing and skill priorities to be well-supported, thus I welcome all criticism, suggestions and support. What's new in 6.2? Anti-Magic Shell now absorbs 100% of all magical damage (up from 75%). However, damage absorbed no longer causes Resolve. Mastery: Blood Shield's Physical damage absorption shield from Death Strike now also counts as having an active mitigation effect active. Breath of Sindragosa now costs 20 Runic Power per second for Blood Death Knights. Glyph of Icy Runes has been removed. The changes to AMS and Mastery are slight improvements that should not have a majorly noticeable effect. The changes to Breath of Sindragosa and Glyph of Icy Runes make maintaining Breath of Sindragosa indefinitely much more difficult - effectively impossible. This cuts Breath of Sindragosa's value relative to Defile down quite a bit, but its application remains the same: it trades defenses for damage output, and it is very effective. Blood Death Knight Basics Death Knights have one of the most self-sufficient toolkits in the tanking game, with abilities designed around controlling the intake of damage, providing incredible amounts of self-healing, a massive health pool and powerful tools to survive burst damage, and the unique ability to quickly move mobs via Death Grip and Gorefiend's Grasp. Death Strike Death Strike is the bread-and-butter ability of DK. It's what makes the class work, and although the 5-second window no longer exists since the release of WoD, it still has to be timed well in order to have the maximum benefit. Resolve increases tanks' self-healing by a percentage of the damage they have taken (and parried/dodged) in the last 10 seconds, and is weighted more heavily towards events that occurred within the past few seconds than damage events from nearly 10 seconds ago. As such, Death Knights, along with all tanks, still have a pseudo-5-second window, only it now lasts 10 seconds and is smoother and more forgiving. Since the heal is based upon DK's AP value rather than damage intake, procs from trinkets, the Legendary ring, and Rune of the Fallen Crusader all have a noticeable postive impact on the healing value of Death Strike. Through Blood DK's Mastery, which has been considerably reduced in percentage value with WoD, Death Strike also provides a sizable physical absorb shield worth a percentage of the Death Strike's heal. Rune Tap Rune Tap's function is very simple, but its applications are broad, and its value is substantial. Essentially, it is a 3-second Shield Wall on a 30-second cooldown. As such, you can use it to mitigate any sort of predictable, large boss hit. For example, consider Gruul's Inferno Slice and Blackhand's Shattering Smash. Rune Tap is still useful against bosses who feature no massive predictable burst damage, and can be used to reduce damage during vulnerable tank spots, such as tanking AoE, or when moving a boss. Blood Boil Blood Boil is a short-range AoE skill that deals damage and spreads your existing diseases on targets hit to any nearby targets. It also refreshes the duration of your diseases to 30 seconds. Blood Boil is useful in single target, and is generally how a Blood DK should use their Blood Runes unless they need to spend them on Rune Tap. You can spend Unholy/Frost Runes that have been converted into Death Runes on Blood Boil instead of on Death Strike. While this is not generally recommended against difficult content or in single-target situations, it is undeniably effective when you need to sacrifice tankiness for AoE damage. Use as needed. On occasion, you will gain free Blood Boil casts via Crimson Scourge. These are generally best used on Blood Boil. Additionally, each cast of Blood Boil increases the healing value of your next Death Strike by 20%, up to a total of a 100% increase. This should have no real effects on your decision-making, only making the decision to sacrifice a DS here and there in order to gain a couple of extra BB's to not be quite as much of a defensive loss. Soul Reaper Soul Reaper is a small single-target hit, followed 5 seconds later by a substantial burst of damage if the target is below 35% health. It is the DK execute, and it should be used in place of Blood Boil once an enemy is within execute range. As long as the execute portion triggers, Soul Reaper deals more damage than a 7-target Blood Boil. As such, you should try to substitute Soul Reaper for all Blood Boils unless diseases will fall off or you are tanking 8+ adds and don't need to focus one out of the fight quickly. Outbreak Outbreak puts your diseases onto the target. If glyphed, Outbreak has no cooldown and instead has a 30 RP cost. It is worth glyphing in virtually all scenarios. If unglyphed, you might end up having to cast Icy Touch and Plague Strike manually, which is a substantial damage and tankiness loss. Glyph Outbreak and use it whenever your target does not have diseases active. Throwing a couple of Death Strikes or Blood Boils into a non-diseased target in order to produce the necessary RP to cast Outbreak is totally fine. You should always try to maintain disease uptime on all targets, as they are a strong, inexpensive source of damage and threat. Death and Decay Death and Decay is a decently-effective damage tool, dealing about 2.5 times the damage of Blood Boil over 10 seconds, but its primary value is in the ability to throw it down and generate threat on constantly-spawning adds. As such, it's sometimes not worth casting over Blood Boil. Unlike Blood Boil, Death and Decay does not provide a 20% increase to Death Strike healing, comes with the unfortunate inconvenience of having to be clicked onto the ground, does not refresh or spread diseases, and will not generate RP when made free via Crimson Scourge. The situations in which a free Death and Decay should be prioritized over a free Blood Boil are when tanking targets that will live for ten seconds and do not need to be moved, or when you want to pick multiple adds from a distance. Death Coil Death Coil is the primary method of expending Runic Power. It's fairly ineffectual in terms of damage output, but it also increases maximum health by 3%, stacking repeatedly based upon time remaining. Depending upon RP generation, a DK can very reasonably reach an additional 30% health in combat via Enhanced Death Coil. Death Coil converts Runic Power back into runes via Blood Tap or Runic Corruption. Runic Power's defensive value is pretty low, but there are no more efficient alternatives for regular RP expenditure. Ability Priority Death Knights have a very atypical ability priority due to the Rune system, in that they barely have a real priority. Primarily, the goal of the DK system is to minimize resource waste and make the timeliest use of your Runes as possible. Offensive skills When below 100% health and both F/U pairs are off cooldown, Death Strike. When both Blood Runes are off cooldown and you are going to take a burst of damage within the next three seconds, Rune Tap. When both Blood Runes are off cooldown and you will not take significant damage within the next eight seconds, use Blood Boil in AoE, or in single-target above 35% health - use Soul Reaper in single target when the target is below 35% health. Use Crimson Scourge procs on Defile/Death and Decay if conditions are suitable (unmoving targets), otherwise use Crimson Scourge on Blood Boil. Use Outbreak to apply diseases when you have no active diseases on any target. Use Plague Leech when you have two fully depleted runes. As previously stated, the DK skill priority is very atypical, and the primary goal should be to keep a free Unholy/Frost rune pair available to Death Strike in case of a sudden burst of damage. Specifically, hitting an ability on cooldown, such as Keg Smash or Shield Slam, just isn't a priority for a DK. Instead, the goal for DK's is to be ready to hit Death Strike the instant their health spikes down, to have Rune Tap ready for predictable bursts of damage, and to use Blood Boil and Death Coil to fill the interim without wasting Runic Power or Rune recharge time. Letting a pair of Runes sit unspent is wasteful, and you should typically try to keep one set of your Unholy/Frost runes charging at all times. By contrast, having both of your U/F runes recharging is a dangerous spot, and you should be careful whenever in that situation. How to use Death Strike Only use Death Strike when it will provide meaningful healing. This means you should not use Death Strike when at or very near full health. You should use it immediately after taking a large burst of damage, whether from autoattacks or a predictable boss spike damage ability, as it will heal and shield for considerably more due to a higher Resolve modifier. Finally, use Death Strike whenever you have both Unholy/Frost Rune pairs fully recharged, regardless of health and everything else. A 100% overheal Death Strike is still worth more than doing nothing with your Runes. Defensive Cooldowns Rune Tap While previously mentioned, Rune Tap is so strong and important that it deserves repeating: It is your primary life-line against predictable burst damage. Despite their competition for Blood Runes, the damage gained from a Blood Boil or Soul Reaper rarely outweighs the value of being able to Rune Tap a big boss strike like Gruul's Inferno Slice. Vampiric Blood Like a smaller Last Stand that also increases healing received, Vampiric Blood is a very effective defensive cooldown that synergizes incredibly well with the Death Knight toolkit. It provides no actual damage reduction, instead simply increasing the DK's ability to survive and heal through damage. It's useful in all scenarios in which a normal defensive cooldown would be valuable, and moreover, it interacts beautifully with more normative defensive cooldowns such as Icebound Fortitude or Pain Suppression by not creating diminishing returns. Bottom line, use it when you are taking a lot of damage and need to survive. Whether you're tanking AoE or single target, it's valuable. Bone Shield Bone Shield behaves in a fairly easy-to-understand manner. It provides 20% damage reduction from all sources while active, and it loses charges whenever its caster takes damage. It can be slightly protected by Blood Shield, and it can only lose one charge per second, but in WoD it is simply not a buff you can realistically keep active until its cooldown resets. As such, you should treat it like a 20% damage reduction cooldown with a variable duration, generally around 10-20 seconds. Dancing Rune Weapon Dancing Rune Weapon is a very modest increase to avoidance, 12% for 8 seconds, and is as much an offensive cooldown as it is a defensive cooldown. It is purely a damage reduction tool against autoattack damage, and as such is understandably worth considerably more defensively in AoE than in single target. It is a modest offensive tool as well, only worth about a 1/3 increase in damage during its duration. It should be paired with procs (trinkets, Fallen Crusader, legendary ring) as possible, but should be not be held unused for long. Anti-Magic Shell Anti-Magic Shell is one of the strongest defensive cooldowns for magic damage in the game. It absorbs 75% of all incoming magical damage, up to 40% of the Death Knight's maximum health, and provides a modest amount of RP based upon the total amount absorbed. While AMS is active, it can also prevent the application of some magical debuffs. As such, AMS can both reduce and even prevent magic damage from occurring depending upon when it is used. AMS should be your first line of defense against magic damage. It's simple, but incredibly effective. Icebound Fortitude At 50% damage reduction for 8 seconds, Icebound Fortitude is the strongest defensive cooldown in a Death Knight's toolkit. It should be used when nothing else is available, or when no alternative will be strong enough to prevent incoming damage from being fatal. IBF is the DK's last line of defense. IBF also makes the DK immune to stuns, and can be cast while stunned. Using it to break stuns is very rarely worth doing in a raid unless the stun coincides with massive damage intake. Utility Strangulate Strangulate costs a Blood Rune, has a 60-second cooldown, and silences the target. It works as an interrupt against targets immune to silence effects, and it is off the global cooldown. It is an effective tool for countering casters at range, as infrequently as that is needed. Dark Simulacrum Dark Simulacrum works pretty simply. When cast, it puts a debuff on the target that allows the DK to copy the next mana-spending ability the target uses. This can be useful in raids in a few situations: whenever a player is MC'ed, or on the rare occasion it actually works against a boss ability. Dark Simulacrum has quite a lot of value in 5-mans and Challenge Modes, but its raid applications are fairly limited. Nonetheless, always keep an eye out for abilities to Dark Sim. Army of the Dead Army of the Dead is no longer channeled, and no longer provides any sort of damage reduction. The summoned undead taunt any non-boss mobs around unless glyphed, and they do minimal damage. Since Army costs 3 runes, it generates 30 RP, and is best used about 8 seconds prior to the pull. It can have some value mid-pull if used during the final seconds of a downtime phase, but it is otherwise universally a damage and defensive loss to cast during standard raid combat. Empower Rune Weapon Empower Rune Weapon is a very potent defensive and offensive cooldown, in that it resets all of your runes and provides 25 Runic Power. As you would expect, it should be used when all 6 Runes are on cooldown, and preferably when none of the 25 RP will be wasted. The former is considerably more important than the latter. While burning up all 6 Runes and using ERW on cooldown is best for dps results (due to ERW's long cooldown, the best dps results are actually a bit more complex than just using it on cooldown), this is understandably not ideal for survivability. Defensively, ERW is best-utilized in a few scenarios: to preemptively cast multiple Death Strikes and cover them with a Rune Tap in order to survive a burst of damage, or to quickly get off a Death Strike when all of your U/F Runes are on cooldown and you're moments from death. Mobility Ha ha! Death Knights are immobile! Death Grip While it certainly won't help you move any faster, Death Grip is undeniably the most effective tool in the game for bringing enemies to the melee clump faster, and you should use it whenever possible to quickly bring in adds and improve your melee dps' uptime on the target. Death Grip is not on the global cooldown, and unless glyphed (and it really shouldn't be as Blood), it Taunts the target. Having a second Taunt is powerful, and unique to Death Knights. Talents The DK talent tree consists largely of one-option tiers. There are a few situationally viable talents, but the decisions are largely decisions between one always-strong talent, a situational talent, and a talent that is pure garbo. Level 15 – Disease Management Plague Leech recharges two Runes every 25 seconds. Plaguebearer extends the duration of diseases that never fall off even if the rotation is played horrendously. Unholy Blight helps apply diseases in AoE, essentially combining Outbreak and Blood Boil into one GCD. Use Plague Leech. Plaguebearer – Even if using Necrotic Plague, this talent never competes offensively or defensively with Plague Leech. When using standard diseases, it offers nothing. A worthless, worthless talent, for which the class designers should ask forgiveness from their various gods and apologize to the DK community. Plague Leech – Beyond any arguments, the strongest talent in the tier. It provides 120 RP worth of Rune regeneration for ostensibly one GCD (two if reapplying diseases in single target). It cannot be cast if the target is not affected by your diseases, or if you do not have at least one fully-depleted Rune. If you only have one fully-depleted Rune, it will still cast and refresh only the one Rune. Be certain that you have two fully-depleted Runes before casting PL. Additionally, if all six Runes are on cooldown and a pair of fully-depleted Runes (e.g., U/F) have less than 2 seconds remaining on their cooldown, latency issues can sometimes cause PL to only reset the single Rune on a longer cooldown. Essentially, use PL when it will reset two runes with longer than 2 seconds on cooldown. Unholy Blight – While not quite as worthless as Necrotic Plague, it is undeniably less valuable than Plague Leech, particularly when PL provides the only interaction with diseases that Blood DK's possess despite their modest damage output. Level 30 – Defensive Options Purgatory is far and away the best option for personal defense, but at times Anti-Magic Zone is preferable for the benefit of the raid. Lichborne – This talent just sucks. It turns you Undead, which makes you immune to a Charm, Fear and Sleep but capable of being Shackled by Priests and Turned by Paladins, and provides a slim amount of self-healing via 10% Leech and the ability to cast Death Coil at yourself. When compared to a Get-Out-of-Death-Free Card, this talent deserves a hard pass. Anti-Magic Zone – AMZ very briefly reduces incoming magic damage in a small area. It is only particularly useful against predictable AoE spell damage. Unfortunately, there is quite a lot of that in raiding, and AMZ is useful in those scenarios. Purgatory – When you take fatal damage, the world turns grey, and you have three seconds to heal back above 0 health before you fall down, dead. With the bevy of self-healing abilities at your disposal as a DK, this is often fairly easy to accomplish, and Purgatory serves as yet another potent safety net against unexpected burst damage. Is it more useful than Purgatory? Generally, that's a matter of the magnitude of threat posed to the tank vs. that of the raid. Purgatory is generally the safer choice unless it's going to have very little chance of being procced. Level 45 – Mobility and CC This tier actually has valuable options. Death's Advance is decidedly the go-to choice in most scenarios, but Chilblains can be good when slowing a mob is far more powerful than moving faster. Asphyxiate is good when you need a stun, or simply want a shorter CD on Strangulate. Death's Advance – It works as simply as it seems. Death's Advance is a slight movement speed increase at all times, with a modest activated speed increase on a short CD. It also slightly counteracts movement speed slows, for as often as that is useful in raiding (not that often). Chilblains – When using Chilblains, a DK is an unstoppable slowing machine. Despite their lack of mobility skills, a DK using Chilblains can kite effectively against mobs for which a 50% slow is enough to outrun. More importantly, a DK can quickly and consistently apply AoE slows via Blood Boil against mobs that need to be slowed down for some reason other than kiting, such as Elementals traveling toward Ragnaros' Hammer, or turtles spinning into room on Tortos. Asphyxiate – Unlike the ability it replaces, Asphyxiate has no resource cost and, since it is a stun, is on the global cooldown. Otherwise, it functions precisely like Strangulate against stun-immune mobs. A decent option when you need another single-target stun or a shorter cooldown on Strangulate. Level 60 – Rune Regeneration To use a simple analogy: if these three talents were cars, Blood Tap would be a Lamborghini. It's powerful, but dangerous when mishandled. Runic Corruption would be a Honda Civic. It lacks the control of Blood Tap, but it's easier and safer to handle and does generate more runes over time, particularly if you're inexperienced (so, gas mileage?). Runic Empowerment is a horse. It's dumb, it's not powerful, and it tends to poop all over the place. Blood Tap – When you cast Death Coil or glyphed Outbreak, you gain 2 Blood Charges. You can consume 5 Blood Charges to instantly recharge 1 fully-depleted Rune, and you can store 12 Blood Charges at a time. Being able to instantly reset 2 Runes and Death Strike on command is incredibly important to Death Knight survival against trying content. Blood Tap is effective at preventing split rune pair situations from occurring if you cast Death and Decay or Defile without a Crimson Scourge proc. Blood Tap is by far the best of the three options for serious Death Knight play. It requires an additional keybind and is more to manage when learning the class, but it is far more powerful when played well and more resilient against bad luck than Runic Corruption. Runic Empowerment – RE provides less runes than Runic Corruption and does so less smoothly. More importantly, it lacks the reliability of Blood Tap. You will wind up with many split Rune pairs, and there is nothing you can do to stop that. RE stinks. Runic Corruption – Very simply, every Death Coil has a 45% chance to cause all of your Runes to regenerate 100% faster for 3 seconds. Even with bad luck, this talent will result in more Death Strikes than Blood Tap. Why, then, is it not recommended over Blood Tap? Quantity of Death Strikes is not as important as timing of Death Strikes, and Blood Tap allows for more precision over Death Strike timing and more reliability in converting RP into Runes. Sometimes when using RC, you will cast 5 Death Coils in a row and get no RC proc. It's rare, but it can happen. A streak of bad luck like that can be a serious danger, and when compared against the reliability and precision of Blood Tap, Runic Corruption just isn't as appealing. It's okay, if you're just learning or feeling lazy. Level 75 – Healing Options This tier consists of one real option and two theoretically useful options. Just take Death Pact. Death Pact - It heals for 50% of the DK's health and applies a heal-absorbing debuff worth 25% of the DK's health. It's not quite as amazing as it looks, but it's undeniably strong, and provides a valuable burst heal that has no resource cost and is not on the GCD. It synergizes incredibly well with Purgatory and Vampiric Blood. Take it. Death Siphon – Theoretically, Death Siphon can be a substantial self-healing increase over Death Strike if used against an enemy during an increased damage taken phase. However, it does not apply Blood Shield and its damage output is very ineffectual. As such, it conflicts heavily with current gearing and encounter paradigms, and simply has no place for Blood DK's at present. Not useful. Conversion – Another theoretically-useful talent. It is on the GCD, and consumes 30 RP every second, restoring 2% health. It quickly burns through RP, which given its limited offensive value through Death Coil, is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be fairly unwieldy to toggle on and off regularly throughout combat, and it is worth a very small amount healing at any given moment. Although it can add up throughout a fight, it is a noticeable damage loss that really provides the least-useful kind of healing, occasional HoT's. Burst healing is far more valuable, and as such this talent just isn't very effective when considered amongst the rest of the DK toolkit. Stick with Death Pact. Level 90 – Grab Bag Gorefiend's Grasp is useful for bringing adds together, and Remorseless Winter is good for slowing and stunning adds that have already been brought together. Descrated Ground doesn't always work in raids, but when it does, it is an instant CC break. Not too useful, generally. Gorefiend's Grasp – Gorefiend's is an AoE grip. Whether it's cast on a friendly player or an enemy, it grips all enemies with 20 yards directly onto that target. It's the most useful option in the tier simply because it brings a completely unique utility. Unlike Death Grip, it's on the GCD, and it does not Taunt any affected mobs. Remorseless Winter – Unlike Gorefiend's, Remorseless Winter provides a very common form of utility: AoE CC. It's a strong CC if you need it, but Remorseless Winter is easily replaced by Leg Sweep, Binding Shot, Shockwave, and the like. It does progressively slow targets, which provides an additional layer of CC value that is not present in all AoE stuns. Desecrated Ground – It provides a CC break on a reasonably long cooldown. If you face an encounter in which you have no use for Gorefiend's Grasp or Remorseless Winter and you are in some way CC'ed, Desecrated Ground is worth taking. Let me know when you find that fight. Level 100 – Grab Bag 2: Electric Boogaloo Necrotic Plague is a weak option both offensively and defensively. Defile is safe and effective, and useful in all scenarios. Breath of Sindragosa is a potentially strong offensive tool that requires a defensive sacrifice to use optimally. Necrotic Plague – Despite its apparent value as an RP generation tool, Necrotic Plague just isn't a good talent. The conversion of RP into damage output and Runes is highly inefficient, and Necrotic Plague's damage just isn't good. As a dps choice, Necrotic Plague is not very good. It doesn't begin outdpsing Blood Plague and Frost Fever until it reaches 10 stacks. At its maximum of 15 stacks, it is a 52% dps increase over standard diseases. Consider that diseases are much stronger in AoE encounters than in single target encounters (diseases contribute as much as 20% of overall damage on AoE, whereas they are around 5-8% of total damage in single target). Once you add in the globals spent reapplying Necrotic Plague, the lost damage really begins to add up, and NP just stinks. Defile – Defile is the simplest and safest option of the choices in this tier. It increases the damage of Death and Decay by ~310%, and causes enemies afflicted by it to deal 10% less damage to you. The damage reduction is slight but has decent value. While Defile is understandably more useful in AoE, its damage output and reduction components are strong enough to warrant using it roughly on cooldown even in single target. Overall, a modest offensive and defensive gain that is safe and simple to use, with no drawbacks of any kind. Breath of Sindragosa – Breath can be an incredibly effective damaging tool. It does not scale well with multiple targets, however, as it splits its damage against secondary targets in a fairly unfavorable way. Simply, it deals X damage per tick to the primary target, and X/Y damage to secondary targets, where Y is the number of targets hit by the Breath. So, for two targets it will deal X damage to the main target and X/2 damage to the main target. For three targets it will deal X damage to the main target and X/3 damage to each of the secondary targets, and so on. Unfortunately, Breath of Sindragosa is dependent upon good RP generation from procs and spending your Runes quickly, which tends to run counter to the careful nature of DK play. With luck, you can maintain Breaths for a really long time, sometimes well in excess of a minute. This can do some serious damage. Unfortunately, this has another negative consequence. By not spending RP on Death Coil, you lose out on Enhanced Death Coil's maximum health increase. Breath of Sindragosa is a gamble. You can lessen that by timing your usage correctly, and only popping it when you have a near-full RP bar and Runes ready to use, but this will only delay the inevitable briefly duration if you fail to get procs. If it goes well, Breath is a massive damage increase, and by far the best offensive option in the tier. If all does not go well, it's a moderate source of damage. In either case, it is a modest defensive sacrifice for offensive gain. If you can afford to sacrifice the defenses, by all means do. Glyphs Important Glyphs Outbreak is mandatory when running Defile (optional with BoS), and other glyphs are at the user's discretion. Blood Boil is fairly useful all the time and Regenerative Magic can be pretty valuable for encounters in which you take regular bursts of magic damage, such as Imperator Mar'gok, Gruul, or Oregorger. Raise Ally can be useful as a fallback glyph at times. Glyph of Outbreak – In WoD, any expenditure of RP counts toward generating Blood Charges or proccing Runic Empowerment. Consequently, glyphing Outbreak has effectively no drawback. Glyphed or unglyphed, Outbreak is not worth using on a pull, since it generates zero threat on its own and merely applies diseases that are a small percentage of overall damage. Waiting to apply diseases until a few seconds into combat is normal, and the ability to comfortably use Plague Leech twice per minute to buy a DS and quickly reapply diseases seconds thereafter is far more valuable than the Death Coils lost by Outbreak expending 30 RP. While actively casting Breath of Sindragosa, Glyphed Outbreak is not worth using since it consumes RP that could and should be spent Breathing. Glyphed Outbreak is still okay outside of Breathing periods, but the Glyph slot can comfortably be used on something else. Glyph of Blood Boil – Increases the range of Blood Boil from 10 to 15 yards. Useful whenever you have to move around a bit or when picking up moving mobs. A nice general bonus, but never mandatory. Glyph of Regenerative Magic – This glyph is, understandably, only useful for encounters in which you need to use AMS regularly. When it can be used, though, it's pretty amazing. It's particularly strong when you need to use AMS to soak a large single hit of spell damage, rather than soaking a bunch of little hits, as the latter have a tendency to eat up the entire AMS and weaken the glyph's effectiveness. Situational Glyphs Glyph of Absorb Magic – The RP generation aspect of Anti-Magic Shell is fairly minimal in WoD, so the negative aspect of this glyph is only a minor drawback. The more problematic aspect of Absorb Magic is that it precludes you from using Regenerative Magic, which means you should only use this glyph if you need to prevent substantially more magic damage than base AMS, but don't need to do so particularly often. Glyph of Icebound Fortitude – With the addition of Rune Tap to the DK arsenal in WoD, the value of this already-niche glyph has plummeted. It has some value, in that it offers a 2-second Stun immunity every 90 seconds, but it otherwise obliterates your strongest defensive cooldown and should typically not be used in normal raid encounters. Glyph of Dark Simulacrum – Dark Simulacrum rarely has value in raids. When it does, though, it can be a huge source of damage or utility. Typically, it is used to copy a boss' major raid damaging ability, and being able to copy that twice as often can be pretty amazing. Bottom line, usually worthless, occasionally amazing. Always keep an eye out for abilities to Dark Sim. Glyph of Raise Ally – This is only going to have value for encounters in which rezzing a dps where you are standing is safe. Tanks are typically the worst players to battle rez due to the dangers of frontal cleave and the melee clump in general, but if you need to rez, this glyph will allow you to cast immediately as needed, without having to spend any globals generating RP. Glyph of Runic Power – Encounters that feature regular application of slowing effects that will properly trigger this glyph are very rare, and the RP generation provided by it is not particularly strong (10 RP over 5 seconds), but this glyph can offer some situational value if the alternatives provide nothing. Glyph of Death and Decay – The applications of this glyph are rather slim, and there are better, more lasting ways to apply slows. Nonetheless, this can offer a method of slowing adds if other glyph options bring nothing of value to a particular encounter. Trap Glyphs Glyph of Rune Tap – Rune Tap's value is as a large, potent daamge reduction, and cutting that value to achieve slightly higher uptime is a very poor trade. If you need damage reduction every 20 seconds, stagger your other defensive options such as Bone Shield, Dancing Rune Weapon, and externals rather than halving the defensive value of Rune Tap. Glyph of Dancing Rune Weapon – In the past, damage done by Dancing Rune Weapon has contributed considerably to threat, and glyphing this was actually a loss in total threat. Whether or not that remains true, Death Knights have two taunts and no threat problems whatsoever, so don't waste a glyph reducing the damage output of an offensive cooldown. Glyph of Vampiric Blood – The primary value of Vampiric Blood is in its max HP increase. Throwing that away to gain a slight increase to healing intake is just foolish. Don't do it. Stats Offense Strength > Bonus Armor >>> Multistrike > Crit > Haste = Versatility > Mastery Defense Strength = Bonus Armor >>> Mastery > Multistrike > Haste > Versatility > Crit Strength and Bonus Armor don't really compete except on trinkets, where Strength is weighted much more expensively. Point-for-point, they are reasonably competitive, but since Bonus Armor costs far less, using BA trinkets is preferable to Strength trinkets nearly all of the time. Strength does scale better for Blood DK's than any other tank due to Rune of the Fallen Crusader, but this is still not enough to make Strength trinkets generally preferable, but they will usually be worth more damage than a BA trinket. Regarding Mastery vs. Multistrike, Mastery is far superior as a defensive stat. Multistrike provides a substantial and noticeable increase to RP generation, but RP simply doesn't convert into Runes and defenses very effectively. When using Breath of Sindragosa, RP can at least be converted into damage efficiently, and as such Multistrike is hands-down the best stat for damage output. The decision between Mastery and Multistrike is purely a matter of how difficult the content you are tanking is for the quality of your gear. If you need to be tankier, favor Mastery. If you need damage more than tankiness, favor Multistrike. Haste and Versatility are modestly-effective offensive and defensive stats that really pale in comparison to Mastery or Multistrike, and Crit is really only useful for increasing damage output. Crit does provide Parry, but it has no effect on the healing component of Death Strike and does very little to actively improve the defensive capabilities of a Blood DK. Tier Bonuses Demongaze Armor is the Death Knight T18 set. The 2 Piece bonus is solid and unobtrusive. It increases Scent of Blood generation, which directly increases self-healing. Moreover, it does not result in Scent of Blood waste. Good bonus! The 4 Piece bonus is similarly unobtrusive, and interacts passively with the 2pc bonus to great effect.   Overall, Tier 18's bonuses provide a moderate increase to Death Strike healing, and more healing is always good.   BiS List During progression, you take whatever gear the game (and loot council) provides, and when it comes to tier, getting 4-piece is more important than having the best off piece possible. Additionally, with T18's unique item level scaling throughout the instance, best in slot and best itemized are not necessarily the same items. A 735 weapon is going to be better than a 725 weapon no matter the itemization. That said, this list details the pieces Blood DK's should hope to acquire over time. Head – Demongaze Helm (Kormrok) Neck – World Ender's Gorget (Archimonde) Shoulders – Doomcrier's Shoulderplates (Archimonde) Cloak – Void Lord's Wizened Cloak (Xhul'horac) Chest – Demongaze Chestplate (Mannoroth) Wrists – Breach-Scarred Wristplates (Xhul'horac) Gloves – Demongaze Gauntlets (Socrethar the Eternal) Belt – Ravenous Girdle (Gorefiend) Pants – Demongaze Legplates (Gorefiend) Boots – Treads of the Defiler (Archimonde) Ring 1 – Zakuun's Signet of Command (Fel Lord Zakuun) Ring 2 – Sanctus, Sigil of the Unbroken (Legendary Ring) Trinket 1 – Anzu's Cursed Plume (Shadow-Lord Iskar) Trinket 2 – Tyrant's Decree (Tyrant Velhari)  Weapon – Calamity's Edge (Archimonde) Races The difference between races is small, but the Elf races are slightly superior. Alliance Night Elves gain 1% Haste during the night and 1% Crit during the day. Neither of these bonuses are particularly wonderful on their own, but Night Elves' passive +2% Dodge is a far superior defensive gain than any bonus any other race offers, and as such the race is a winner, hands-down. Worgen's 1% Crit is not particularly amazing, but their sprint is very strong for otherwise low-mobility DK's. Overall, they are a not-close second to Night Elves. Night Elf – Best Race by far Worgen – Second place by a good margin, but Darkflight is very effective Draenei Human Dwarf Gnome Horde Tauren's extra 197 Stamina is appealing, and it benefits from Plate Specialization (+5% Stamina), Blood Presence (+20% Stamina), Vampiric Blood (+15% Health), and Enhanced Death Coil (+20-30% Health). As such, Tauren are slightly better than Blood Elves from a defensive perspective at low gear levels, but Blood Elves' +1% Crit makes them a superior choice offensively. With a good amount of gear, Blood Elves are decidedly the superior race due to their offensive superiority and the interrupting power of Arcane Torrent. Blood Elf – Best Race Tauren Orc Goblin Troll Undead WeakAuras WeakAuras2 is the most important addon in the universe, and I could not play this game without it. It is useful for tracking buffs (such as Bone Shield, Blood Shield, Vampiric Blood), debuff durations (such as diseases), ability cooldowns (Soul Reaper), raid debuffs, and much, much more. Thanks Thanks to Blizzard for making a game that remains engaging and new after nearly a decade. Thanks to my friends within the theorycraft world for being great people with whom to discuss this little game we like so much. Thanks to all my co-tanks throughout the years. All of you have taught me something. Changelog 6/19/2015: Updated gear section. Updated to 6.2 6/18/2015: Added "What's new in 6.2?" section. 6/17/2015: Fixing errors. 3/23/2015: First published.
  11. [Brewmaster] 6.2 - Stemming The Iron Tide

    It's a function of mythic tanking. Resolve is a percentage increase to self-healing based upon damage intake. You simply won't take large enough hits outside of mythic raids to get Resolve percentages that high, and subsequently Guard values of that size. Also, since it's a function AP scalars, having higher AP values via mythic gear will achieve that, as well.
  12. Brewmaster (Tank) Basic Discussion

    I like Black Ox Statue just as it is. It's a useful threat-pulsing tool, and it works against everything in range. I prefer that consistency rather than a different set of rules for bosses and non-boss mobs.
  13. Greetings, I am Llarold. I have been tanking in WoW for nearly ten years. I want this guide to serve as a long-term resource for Paladins of all experience and skill ranges, and for the assumptions and assertions made with regards to gearing and skill priorities to be supported mathematically, thus I welcome all criticism, suggestions, and support.   7/20 Hotfix Notes Avenger’s Shield damage increased by 30%. Bastion of Glory now increases the healing received from Word of Glory by 8% per stack (up from 6%). Additionally, Mastery: Divine Bulwark now adds 8% to Bastion of Glory (up from 6%). Tier-18 2-piece set bonus for Protection Paladins now grants an absorb effect equal to 5% of maximum health (up from 1.5%). Tier-18 4-piece set bonus for Protection Paladins now triggers Grand Crusader. This set of hotfixes represents a significant buff to Paladin offenses, defenses, and tier bonuses. Currently the class has been lagging a bit offensively, and this should hopefully bring them in line and make their tier more appealing than non-tier options.   What Changed in 6.2? Not a thing. Protection Paladins received not one single change going into 6.2, because they were already designed correctly!   Protection Paladin Basics Protection Paladins have a highly versatile toolkit, with a bevy of defensive and self-healing abilities designed to allow the class to excel in nearly every situation. In addition to their defensive prowess, Paladins are capable of managing their offensive assault to fit a variety of scenarios as well.   Crusader Strike Crusader Strike (CS) is the simplest skill in the Paladin's toolkit – and one of the most important. Crusader Strike deals a small amount of damage and generates 1 Holy Power. Holy Power is the backbone of Protection Paladin defenses, and the skill priority is designed around generating as many Holy Power as possible.   Hammer of the Righteous Hammer of the Righteous (HotR) is the sister skill to Crusader Strike. It is on the same cooldown as CS, and it also deals minimal damage to generate 1 Holy Power and deals minimal damage, but it deals damage to all nearby enemies, while CS is single target. HotR is a modest damage increase over CS when tanking five targets, and it is increasingly superior as the number of targets grows. As such, HotR is typically only useful on trash.   Judgment Judgment is similar to Crusader Strike in that it generates 1 Holy Power and deals minimal damage, but it has a longer cooldown, is usable from 30 yards, and is lower in the skill priority than Crusader Strike.   Avenger's Shield Avenger's Shield (AS) is a ranged skill that deals decent damage, interrupts and silences its primary target, and attempts to hit up to 4 additional nearby targets. AS does not inherently generate Holy Power, and as such it is not by default a defensive skill. However, due to Divine Purpose, you will occasionally encounter receive repeated procs to the point that you reach 5 Holy Power and still have free SotR's. If this happens, deviate from the standard rotation and use your highest-damage skills instead of Holy Power generators until you reach the end of the Divine Purpose proc chain. It won't last long enough. They never do.   Dealing With AoE When trying to maximize AoE damage, a Paladin should try to maintain as close as 100% active time on Consecration as possible. At times, this may require delaying a CS or Judgment. In that case, the Paladin has to use their best judgment to choose between damage output and damage reduction in the moment. Erring on the side of safety is generally preferable, but being King (or Queen) Damage is good, too.   Defensive Cooldowns Divine Protection Divine Protection (DP) is the first choice amongst Paladin's defensive cooldowns. By default it offers 40% damage reduction against spell damage, but provides 20% total damage reduction using the glyph, which you typically will.   Guardian of Ancient Kings The primary Paladin defensive cooldown. Guardian of Ancient Kings provides a massive amount of damage reduction for a short 8-second window. Use it right before you are about to take a lot of damage. Planning when to use Guardian of Ancient Kings in conjunction with your other cooldowns is a major part of becoming a better tank, and you want to be sure that you use it effectively. Overlapping defensive cooldowns is generally a mistake, as their returns diminish considerably.   Ardent Defender Ardent Defender is another powerful defensive cooldown. It provides a small amount of damage reduction and will prevent you from dying. It is especially effective at preventing death by burst damage, such as from Gruul's Inferno Slice. Always be ready to heal yourself back up if it procs, as you will only be at 12% health (which is typically one autoattack from death).   Divine Shield The classic Paladin skill. Confers complete damage immunity for 8 seconds, breaks all CC's when used and is often usable while CC'ed (but not always). Upon using it will immediately break threat on all mobs, but they can be taunted back. This will regain aggro for the duration of the taunt (3 seconds). Once that ends, they will again drop threat. Divine Shield causes Forbearance, which now lasts for 30 seconds, and prevents the player from being a target of Divine Shield, Hand of Protection, or Lay on Hands. Divine Shield is seldom useful in tanking, but it can have uses in very sketchy moments. For example, Divine Shield-Taunting an enraged boss can provide several more seconds of dps time before it kills the raid (e.g., this strategy was useful on numerous The Butcher kills). Divine Shield is also capable of removing some raid debuffs. These are few and far between, but can be incredibly powerful.   Hand of Protection Like Divine Shield, Hand of Protection confers immunity to physical attacks for 10 seconds, and immediately breaks threat. The same Taunt trick can be used with Hand of Protection, and will function more or less identically. Moreover, Hand of Protection can be used similarly to remove occasional raid debuffs, and is substantially more useful in that regard than Divine Shield since it is castable on any friendly target. Like Divine Shield, it puts a 30 second Forbearance debuff on the target. I highly recommend using the following macro: /cancelaura Divine Shield /cancelaura Hand of Protection   Hand of Sacrifice This is an extremely powerful defensive cooldown for your co-tank, and you should be prepared to use it as necessary. Beware that unless using Bastion of Glory, (BoG) which increases the potency of self-targeted WoG's each time you cast SotR, stacking up to 5 times. BoG scales very quickly with Mastery, and WoGs used with 4-5 stacks of BoG are usually very large heal.   Sacred Shield Sacred Shield is simple but powerful. It is a level 45 talent and the only option worth using in that tier. It is a 30-second buff that provides a 6-second duration shield, refreshing every 6 seconds. It scales very well with Attack Power and Resolve, and is a major source of self-healing at the expense of only two GCD's per minute. Care should be made to ensure it never falls off, but that is pretty easy.   Seal of Insight Seal of Insight is the standard Seal of choice while tanking. It causes every autoattack to provide a decent amount of self-healing, which adds up considerably over the course of a fight.   Lay on Hands Lay on Hands is the pinnacle of healing cooldowns. It instantly heals your target for 100% of your maximum health. It is off-GCD, costs no mana, and affects the target with Forbearance. It's a lifesaver!   Utility Hand of Freedom Hand of Freedom, very simply, makes the target immune to slows and roots for 10 seconds. It's rarely used in raids, but it can be useful on occasion.   Hand of Salvation Like Hand of Freedom, Hand of Salvation's uses are few and far between. It sets the target's threat to 0 for the duration, and it has a few more uses than Hand of Freedom. In particular, in a phase when adds spawn wildly, putting Hand of Salvation on a healer can be a lifesaver for them and the raid (e.g., Mythic Tectus phase 3). Additionally, you can use Hand of Salvation to remove another Hand. For example, casting Hand of Protection on a player to remove a debuff, then quickly removing Hand of Protection via Hand of Salvation. Finally, and most importantly, you can use it to mess with your co-tank. Might as well.   Talents Paladins have a handful of situational choices amidst some one-option tiers in their talent tree.   Level 15 – Mobility Long Arm of the Law has overtaken Speed of Light as the preferred mobility talent for Paladins. The uptime on Long Arm is quite high, and reapplying the buff from range is a snap as well.   Speed of Light – A simple, effective sprint. It's off-GCD and is a good source of long-duration mobility. It only supercedes Long Arm when you really need to move a long distance and are not in range of an enemy to cast Judgment. Long Arm of the Law – An extremely high-uptime, modest mobility increase that helps Paladins move around tanking areas more effectively than the alternatives in the tier. The ability to gain a boost of speed from 30 yards away via Judgment cannot be underestimated. Pursuit of Justice – Not as effective a movement speed increase as Long Arm of the Law. While not bad, Pursuit is easily eclipsed by Long Arm.   Level 30 – Crowd Control Fist of Justice is typically the best option, but none of the choices rarely come into play in a raid environment.   Fist of Justice – Very simply, it replaces Hand of Justice by reducing the cooldown to 30 seconds and increasing the range to 20 yards. It's the same 6-second stun as ever, but the added range and the reduced cooldown make it a little easier to use and more effective. More often than not, you won't have much use for any kind of CC in a raid. When you do, a moderate-ranged stun is good to have. Repentance – Repentance is very rarely useful, but it works just like any other long-duration CC such as Polymorph or Hex. If you absolutely need another long-duration CC, it's there if you need it. Blinding Light – Blinding Light has a long cooldown for a very short-duration CC that breaks on damage. It has some uses, but AoE stuns like Leg Sweep and Shockwave are much more effective at locking down groups of enemies.   Level 45 – Healing Sacred Shield is amazing. Eternal Flame is okay. Selfless Healer? More like Worthless Healer!   Selfless Healer – Garbage! In WoD, tanks do not have the breathing room to spend GCD's throwing out heals to random raid members – or even themselves when they have considerably more effective options available. Eternal Flame – Adds a modest HoT to Word of Glory, which heals for a small amount every 2 seconds. The HoT is worth slightly less healing per tick than Seal of Insight per proc. Sacred Shield – Far and away the best option of the three, Sacred Shield lasts for 30 seconds, providing an absorb shield that refreshes every 6 seconds. Unlike Eternal Flame, Sacred Shield has no cost aside from a GCD. It's easy to maintain 100% uptime, just a couple GCD's a minute. Make it so!   Level 60 – Defensive Cooldowns Unbreakable Spirit is the superior choice in the majority of scenarios, but Clemency and Hand of Purity have niche appeal.   Hand of Purity – Hand of Purity is on-GCD, castable on friendly targets, and for 6 seconds it massively cuts DoT damage. Outside of DoT damage, it provides a modest defensive gain, like a slightly less-effective Divine Protection. Hand of Purity would be superior to Unbreakable Spirit if it weren't on the global cooldown, but unfortunately that hampers its value severely. Unbreakable Spirit – A 30-second cooldown on Divine Protection is exceptional, and generally the way the class is played. Divine Protection is your go-to first line of defensive cooldowns, and cutting the cooldown by 50% is a significant defensive gain. The shortened cooldowns on Divine Shield and Lay on Hands are just icing on the cake. Clemency – Although it has very limited uses, Clemency can be incredibly useful in some situations. Being able to put out two Hands of Sacrifice/Protection in a short span can be crucial to a strategy, particularly when you lack a Holy or Ret Paladin. If you have other Pallies in the raid, this talent's value plummets further.   Level 75 – Holy Power Generation Divine Purpose is the best defensive option, and will provide more uses of SotR than the alternatives. Holy Avenger is the best offensive option, allowing Paladins to line up procs, potions, Seraphim, etc., with massive Holy Power generation and SotR use in order to maximize damage for the duration.   Holy Avenger – Holy Avenger is an extremely effective offensive tool, and allows the Paladin to generate a substantial SotR buffer in a short period. For a fight that features tank swapping, it can be more effective than Divine Purpose, but it is generally less defensive power overall for a major offensive gain. It also increases the damage of Grand Crusader-procced Avenger's Shields by 30%! Sanctified Wrath – Overwhelmingly the inferior option of the three. It turns Final Wrath-glyphed Holy Wrath into a powerful execute, but it is nonetheless worth less Shield of the Righteous uptime and less damage than the alternatives. Divine Purpose – Gives your Holy Power spenders a 25% chance to let you freely cast a 3-Holy Power spender. Divine Purpose procs can proc Divine Purpose, and at times this can chain repeatedly. These times are good! Divine Purpose can also experience lengthy droughts, and although it is less controllable than Holy Avenger, it is worth a good deal of general damage reduction and you can base defensive cooldown usage around Divine Purpose procs as needed.   Level 90 – Damage and Healing Tools Execution Sentence is the best option for pure single target damage, and Light's Hammer is the best tool for AoE damage. Holy Prism provides the most frequent heals and damage, and is useful in scenarios with constantly spawning adds.   Holy Prism – Holy Prism can be used as a single target heal/multi-target damage skill or a single target damage skill/multi-target heal. It is useful as both! If used on cooldown as a single target damage tool, it is worth roughly as much damage as Execution Sentence and considerably more healing, but it will consume 3 GCD's per minute instead of only 1. Used as a self-heal and multi-target damage tool, it is very effective at picking up spawning adds, both through damage and healing threat. Light's Hammer – Decidedly the best option for AoE, and typically the best choice of the three talents for the majority of encounters. It unfortunately has to be clicked down on the ground, but it is otherwise strong for picking up newly-spawned adds and doling out AoE damage and healing. As with Execution Sentence, it functions like a DoT, and as such can best be aligned with procs/buffs/Seraphim for maximum damage. Execution Sentence – In pure single target encounters, Execution Sentence is the best damage choice by a good margin. It is only worth slightly more damage per minute than Holy Prism, but it is worth at least three times the damage per cast, and when lined up with procs it is a very high-damage global.   Level 100 – Situational Grab Bag! All three options are useful in their own right. Empowered Seals makes reaching the Haste cap very easy, and is a good all-around talent. Seraphim can be used on cooldown for maximum dps, or for an encounter with frequent tank switching and tank downtime, it can be held until a switch is made in order to maximize defensive gains. Holy Shield is best when constantly tanking, or when taking continuous damage throughout a fight.   Empowered Seals – Using Empowered Seals is a bit involved, but quite rewarding in the post-6.1 environment. Ideally, you want to maintain as close to 100% uptime on the Liadrin's Righteousness and Uther's Insight buffs while remaining within Seal of Insight as much as possible, all while without altering the standard rotation. This can be a bit tricky, but it is worth the effort as it allows a raid-buffed Paladin to reach the 50% Haste cap at an easily-attained 1715 Haste Rating on the character sheet (1319 Haste Rating on gear, before including +30% from Sacred Duty). The constant HoT is also strong. Seraphim – Seraphim is the best offensive option of the three, and potentially the most unwieldy (although that is quite debatable when compared to ES). In order to reap the maximum offensive benefit, Seraphim needs to be used on cooldown and aligned with skills like Light's Hammer or Execution Sentence. While it eats into SotR uptime quite a bit, it is an extremely strong defensive cooldown, and should hardly ever be left cooling down long while actively tanking. As such, you must pool Holy Power in the seconds preceding its cooldown, which can leave you somewhat vulnerable. Using Divine Protection or another cooldown can cover that gap well, as can holding a Divine Purpose proc briefly. For fights in which you need to maximize damage output (e.g., The Butcher), Seraphim and Holy Avenger work extremely well together. Holy Shield – The passive option of the three talents, Holy Shield is solid for encounters when you are constantly tanking, and particularly for when you are tanking numerous enemies at once. The ability to block spells cannot be underrated, and shows up in logs and meters as healing. As examples, Holy Shield is particularly useful on Blast Furnace and Imperator Mar'gok, as both fights feature numerous adds and regular unavoidable spell damage (Furnace's Blasts and Mar'gok's Force Novas)   Important Glyphs Glyph of the Consecrator effectively turns Consecration into Rushing Holy Wind, and it's basically always worth taking.   Glyph of the Consecrator – New to WoD, and excellent. Instead of consecrating the ground beneath you for 9 seconds, you fart out holy damage novas every second. It will burn the eyes after several hours, but is otherwise undeniably excellent.   Glyph of Divine Protection – Converts Divine Protection from a powerful spell damage-only defensive cooldown into a moderately-powered all-purpose cooldown. This is nearly always a useful defensive gain, because although a spike magic damage spell appears dangerous, removing 20% damage from the surrounding autoattacks is typically a more effective lifesaving solution than taking 40% out of the spell damage hit itself. There are infrequent occasions where this is not true, and thorough examination of logs is important in determining when Glyph of Divine Protection is a poor choice. Those situations are rare.   Glyph of Focused Shield – A great single-target damage increase. Avenger's Shield is one of the highest-damage skills a Paladin has, and this increases it by 30% at expense of its jump damage. If there are no targets into which Avenger's Shield can chain, Glyph of Focused Shield only makes sense. However, if there are two targets, it is a decided damage loss.   Glyph of Final Wrath – In normal, multi-mob fights, Final Wrath is your best third choice as a damage glyph. It provides a significant damage increase below 20% health to Holy Wrath, which is a very small component of your overall damage. As such, it's a really modest gain, but it's better than the alternatives in standard situations.   Glyph of Focused Wrath – A very simple minor glyph that has meaningful combat value. This glyph causes Holy Wrath to only hit your primary target, which means that when using Glyph of Final Wrath, the ability becomes a useful single-target execute when tanking a pack of mobs. This can be very helpful in quickly removing important enemies from a fight, such as Bellows Operators on Blast Furnace, or Cinder Wolves on Flamebender Ka'graz.   Situational Glyphs Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice – Transforms Hand of Sacrifice from a damage redirect into a pure damage reduction. Unless no one else in the raid takes damage at all, Hand of Sacrifice is never useless, and glyphing it makes using it no danger to yourself whatsoever. That said, unglyphed Hand of Sacrifice is usually only dangerous if you and your target are both taking serious damage, so it's not a highly necessary choice on a tank swap fight. For encounters in which tank damage taken is high and you are constantly tanking, such as Iron Maidens or The Butcher, it's pretty great.   Glyph of Ardent Defender – Changes the value of Ardent Defender quite a bit. It no longer reduces damage, which is a significant defensive loss, but if AD does not proc, the cooldown resets to 60 seconds. This glyph is really only useful in burst damage situations in which you're not entirely certain how much damage you will take. Consider the following scenario as an example: When tanking Cinder Wolves on Flamebender Ka'graz, depending upon dps the second Cinder Wolf will often die before it has the chance to cast a third Charring Breath. If it does manage a third breath, the damage absolutely requires a cooldown, and AD is typically the best choice, but it might simply die without casting. Additionally, the ability has no cast bar, so it's a matter of cooldown timers and best judgment. As such, judiciously casting a glyphed AD a few seconds after the second Charring Breath is a pretty safe move at the loss of only a little damage from Glyph of Final Wrath. Best cast scenario: the Cinder Wolf dies and AD will be back off cooldown long before the next set of Cinder Wolves are active. Worst case scenario: the Cinder Wolf casts Charring Breath and procs AD, you quickly heal up and kill it off, and plan to use a different cooldown for the following Cinder Wolf set.   Offensive Stats Offense is not usually a primary concern for tank gearing, but having an idea of how each stat affects the class offensively is important to bear in mind. Strength > Bonus Armor >>> Haste > Crit > Multistrike > Versatility > Mastery   Defensive Stats Protection Paladin defensive stat preferences change somewhat based upon level 100 talent choices. Specifically, Empowered Seals increases the value of Mastery considerably relative to Haste due to increased SotR uptime whereas Seraphim has exactly the opposite effect and diminishes the value of Mastery substantially. Like Empowered Seals, Holy Shield improves the value of Mastery, but does so more as a result of Mastery's inherent block chance. In all cases, Multistrike and Crit are not terrifically effective stats.   Empowered Seals Strength > Bonus Armor >>> Mastery > Haste (to 50% - 1715 on-sheet) > Versatility > Crit ~= Multistrike > Haste (over 50%)   Seraphim Strength > Bonus Armor >>> Haste > Versatility > Crit ~= Multistrike ~= Mastery   Holy Shield Strength > Bonus Armor >>> Haste ~= Mastery > Versatility > Multistrike >= Crit   Bonus Armor is undeniably the best defensive stat for Protection Paladins. It is on all tank jewelry and should be generally be the go-to stat on trinkets.   Defensively, Haste improves Holy Power generation and just generally makes playing the class easier and more enjoyable. As such, Haste is typically the go-to stat amongst non-Bonus Armor options. Mastery is at times superior, but they are competitive and Haste is very effective – just be certain you are not over the 50% Haste cap.   Tier Bonuses Watch of the Ceaseless Vigil is the Paladin T18 set. The 2 piece bonus is solid, easy to acquire, improves the defensive value of Avenger's Shield, and offers a lot of value at practically no expense. The 4 piece bonus confers a substantial offensive and defensive improvement. Unlike the 2 piece bonus, it creates a significant playstyle change, allowing for considerably higher use of Avenger's Shield.   BiS List During progression, you take whatever gear the game (and loot council) provides. Additionally, with T18's unique item level scaling throughout the instance, best in slot and best itemized are not necessarily the same items. A 735 weapon is going to be better than a 725 weapon no matter the itemization. That said, this list details the pieces Prot Pallies should hope to acquire over time. Head – Helm of the Ceaseless Vigil (Kormrok) Neck – World Ender's Gorget (Archimonde) Shoulders – Doomcrier's Shoulderplates (Archimonde) Cloak – Void Lord's Wizened Cloak (Xhul'horac) Chest – Cuirass of the Ceaseless Vigil (Mannoroth) Wrists – Breach-Scarred Wristplates (Xhul'horac) Gloves – Gauntlets of the Ceaseless Vigil (Socrethar the Eternal) Belt – Annihilan's Waistplate (Mannoroth) Pants – Greaves of the Ceaseless Vigil (Gorefiend) Boots – Treads of the Defiler (Archimonde) Ring 1 – Mannoroth's Calcified Eye (Mannoroth) Ring 2 – Sanctus, Sigil of the Unbroken (Legendary Ring) Trinket 1 – Anzu's Cursed Plume (Shadow-Lord Iskar) Trinket 2 – Libram of Vindication (Archimonde)  Weapon – Fiendsbreath Warmace (Xhul'horac) Shield – Fallen Defender of Argus (Tyrant Velhari) Races The difference between races is small, but Tauren and Human are slight favorites.   Alliance Human Versatility is the best passive option of the three races, but it's competitive with the Draenei Strength bonus and the Dwarven 2% Crit damage and healing. Gift of the Naaru is a slight heal on a long cooldown, and Stoneform is still useful. Every Man for Himself is rarely useful in PvE, but pretty exceptional when it is. All three are close contenders, with the nod going to the prettiest race. Human – Prettiest! Draenei – Also pretty! Dwarf – Nope! Horde Tauren's extra 197 Stamina is very appealing, and it benefits from Plate Specialization (+5% Stamina). Tauren are slightly better than Blood Elves in burst-heavy situations, and their 2% increase to Crit damage and healing is nearly equivalent to Blood Elves' +1% Crit. Arcane Torrent is exceptional in interrupt-based encounters, and the two races are highly competitive. Tauren – Tankiest! Blood Elf – Prettiest! WeakAuras WeakAuras2 is the most important addon in the universe, and I could not play this game without it. It is useful for tracking buffs (such as SotR and Sacred Shield), defensive cooldown durations, ability cooldowns (Avenger's Shield, CS and Judgment), raid debuffs, and much, much more.   Thanks Thanks to Blizzard for making a game that remains engaging and new after nearly a decade. Thanks to my friends within the theorycraft world for being great people with whom to discuss this little game we like so much. Thanks to all my co-tanks throughout the years. All of you have taught me something.   Changelog 7/20/2015: Updated for 7/20 hotfixes. Go figure. 6/19/2015: Updated gear list for 6.2. Updated to 6.2. 3/17/2015: First published.   Click here to view the guide
  14. Greetings, I am Llarold. I have been tanking in WoW for nearly ten years. I want this guide to serve as a long-term resource for Paladins of all experience and skill ranges, and for the assumptions and assertions made with regards to gearing and skill priorities to be supported mathematically, thus I welcome all criticism, suggestions and support. What's New in 6.2? Not a thing. Protection Paladins received not one single change going into 6.2, because they were already designed correctly! Protection Paladin Basics Protection Paladins have a highly versatile toolkit, with a bevy of defensive and self-healing abilities designed to allow the class to excel in nearly every situation. In addition to their defensive prowess, Paladins are capable of managing their offensive assault to fit a variety of scenarios as well. Crusader Strike Crusader Strike (CS) is the simplest skill in the Paladin's toolkit – and one of the most important. Crusader Strike deals a small amount of damage and generates 1 Holy Power. Holy Power is the backbone of Protection Paladin defenses, and the skill priority is designed around generating as many Holy Power as possible. Hammer of the Righteous Hammer of the Righteous (HotR) is the sister skill to Crusader Strike. It is on the same cooldown as CS, and it also deals minimal damage to generate 1 Holy Power and deals minimal damage, but it deals damage to all nearby enemies, while CS is single target. HotR is a modest damage increase over CS when tanking five targets, and it is increasingly superior as the number of targets grows. As such, HotR is typically only useful on trash. Judgment Judgment is similar to Crusader Strike in that it generates 1 Holy Power and deals minimal damage, but it has a longer cooldown, is usable from 30 yards, and is lower in the skill priority than Crusader Strike. Avenger's Shield Avenger's Shield (AS) is a ranged skill that deals decent damage, interrupts and silences its primary target, and attempts to hit up to 4 additional nearby targets. AS does not inherently generate Holy Power, and as such it is not by default a defensive skill. However, due to Grand Crusader, casting CS/HotR or avoiding an attack has a 30% chance to refresh its cooldown and make it generate 1 Holy Power. As such, AS' priority changes depending upon whether Grand Crusader has procced. If so, it is the highest-priority skill. Otherwise it is beneath CS and Judgment. Shield of the Righteous Shield of the Righteous (abbreviated as SotR) is the Protection Paladin's primary active mitigation skill and the primary use for Holy Power. Making effective use of SotR is one of the key principles of playing the class at a high level. A self-buffed Paladin's SotR reduces all incoming physical damage by a minimum of 31% for 3 seconds. SotR scales dramatically with Mastery, and a Haste-capped (50%) Paladin can maintain nearly 90% uptime on SotR with good play and good luck. Consecration Consecration is the Paladin's primary tool for generating AoE threat and dealing AoE damage. While it offers no defensive benefits and as such is fairly low priority in single target, its damage value when AoE tanking is significant. A situational, but very important skill. Holy Wrath Like Consecration, Holy Wrath is an offensive skill that confers no inherent defensive benefit. Holy Wrath is effectively a single-target damage skill, as its damage is divided across enemies rather than hitting each for a set amount, and as a fairly low-damage skill, it is very low on the overall skill priority. Hammer of Wrath Hammer of Wrath is the Paladin Execute. Like the Warrior Execute, it offers no defensive benefit. Unlike Warrior's Execute, its damage is very underwhelming, and it is typically the lowest priority skill in a Paladin's arsenal, meaning that with a fair amount of Haste it will hardly ever be cast. When to use Shield of the Righteous? Shield of the Righteous should be used preemptively when you know you are about to take a significant burst of physical damage, or as needed to prevent capping on Holy Power. Since SotR is a fairly short duration (3 seconds), you need to be careful when using it before predictable burst damage that you don't use it too early and have it fade before the burst damage actually lands. This is one of the easier mistakes to make when learning the class. Ability Priority When Tanking Single Target Avenger's Shield (with Grand Crusader) Crusader Strike Judgment Level 90 Talent Avenger's Shield Consecration Holy Wrath Hammer of Wrath (if target health The basic tanking priority is as listed above, but this can change considerably based upon talent choices. Specifically, if Sacred Shield is taken (it always should be), refreshing a Sacred Shield that has less than 6 seconds remaining takes priority over a non-GC Avenger's Shield. Additionally, if using Empowered Seals, changing seals in order to refresh your buffs is higher priority than a non-GC Avenger's Shield as well, but lower than refreshing a Sacred Shield with less than 6 seconds remaining. If using Divine Purpose, you will occasionally encounter receive repeated procs to the point that you reach 5 Holy Power and still have free SotR's. If this happens, deviate from the standard rotation and use your highest-damage skills instead of Holy Power generators until you reach the end of the Divine Purpose proc chain. It won't last long enough. They never do. Dealing With AoE When trying to maximize AoE damage, a Paladin should try to keep Consecration up as close to 100% uptime as possible. At times, this may require delaying a CS or Judgment. In that case, the Paladin has to use their best judgment to choose between damage output and damage reduction in the moment. Erring on the side of safety is generally preferable. Defensive Cooldowns Divine Protection Divine Protection (DP) is the first choice amongst Paladin's defensive cooldowns. By default it offers 40% damage reduction against spell damage, but when using the glyph, it provides 20% damage reduction against all sources. As such, DP is usually worth glyphing, as even when using DP to counter burst spell damage, the additional damage mitigation against the surrounding autoattacks is typically superior overall damage reduction. More importantly, the ability serves as a solid damage reduction cooldown when you start to take more damage than your healers can handle, and the uptime on it is very good if using Unbreakable Spirit, which you typically will. Guardian of Ancient Kings The primary Paladin defensive cooldown. Guardian of Ancient Kings provides a massive amount of damage reduction for a short 8-second window. Use it right before you are about to take a lot of damage. Planning when to use your Guardian of Ancient Kings in conjunction with your other cooldowns is a major part of becoming a better tank, and you want to be sure that it is used effectively. Overlapping defensive cooldowns is generally a mistake, as their returns diminish considerably. Ardent Defender Ardent Defender is another powerful defensive cooldown. It provides a small amount of damage reduction and will prevent you from dying. It is especially effective at preventing death by burst damage, such as from Gruul's Inferno Slice. Always be ready to heal yourself back up if it procs, as you will only be at 12% health (which is typically one autoattack from death). Divine Shield The classic Paladin skill. Confers complete damage immunity for 8 seconds, breaks all CC's when used and is often usable while CC'ed (but not always). Upon using it will immediately break threat on all mobs, but they can be taunted back. This will regain aggro for the duration of the taunt (3 seconds). Once that ends, they will again drop threat. Divine Shield causes Forbearance, which now lasts for 30 seconds, and prevents the player from being a target of Divine Shield, Hand of Protection, or Lay on Hands. Divine Shield is seldom useful in tanking, but it can have uses in very sketchy moments. For example, Divine Shield-Taunting an enraged boss can provide several more seconds of dps time before it kills the raid (e.g., this strategy was useful on numerous The Butcher kills). Divine Shield is also capable of removing some raid debuffs. These are few and far between, but can be incredibly powerful. Hand of Protection Like Divine Shield, Hand of Protection confers immunity to physical attacks for 10 seconds, and immediately breaks threat. The same Taunt trick can be used with Hand of Protection, and will function more or less identically. Moreover, Hand of Protection can be used similarly to remove occasional raid debuffs, and is substantially more useful in that regard than Divine Shield since it is castable on any friendly target. Like Divine Shield, it puts a 30 second Forbearance debuff on the target. I highly recommend using the following macro: /cancelaura Divine Shield /cancelaura Hand of Protection Hand of Sacrifice This is an extremely powerful defensive cooldown for your co-tank, and you should be prepared to use it as necessary. Beware that unless using the glyph it will transfer 30% of the target's damage intake to you. On fights in which you know you will need to use it, glyphing is highly recommended. I use the following macro for Hand of Sacrifice: #showtooltip /cast [@“Co-Tank Name”] Hand of Sacrifice Healing Word of Glory Word of Glory (WoG) is the Paladin self-heal, and the secondary use of Holy Power. It is used infrequently, namely when you require a heal in order to not die. WoG is affected by Bastion of Glory, (BoG) which increases the potency of self-targeted WoG's each time you cast SotR, stacking up to 5 times. BoG scales very quickly with Mastery, and WoGs used with 4-5 stacks of BoG are usually very large heal. Sacred Shield Sacred Shield is simple but powerful. It is a level 45 talent and the only option worth using in that tier. It is a 30-second buff that provides a 6-second duration shield, refreshing every 6 seconds. It scales very well with Attack Power and Resolve, and is a major source of self-healing at the expense of only two GCD's per minute. Care should be made to ensure it never falls off, but that is pretty easy. Seal of Insight Seal of Insight is the standard Seal of choice while tanking. It causes every autoattack to provide a decent amount of self-healing, which adds up considerably over the course of a fight. Lay on Hands Lay on Hands is the pinnacle of healing cooldowns. It instantly heals your target for 100% of your maximum health. It is off-GCD, costs no mana, and affects the target with Forbearance. It's a lifesaver! Utility Hand of Freedom Hand of Freedom, very simply, makes the target immune to slows and roots for 10 seconds. It's rarely used in raids, but it can be useful on occasion. Hand of Salvation Like Hand of Freedom, Hand of Salvation's uses are few and far between. It sets the target's threat to 0 for the duration, and it has a few more uses than Hand of Freedom. In particular, in a phase when adds spawn wildly, putting Hand of Salvation on a healer can be a lifesaver for them and the raid (e.g., Mythic Tectus phase 3). Additionally, you can use Hand of Salvation to remove another Hand. For example, casting Hand of Protection on a player to remove a debuff, then quickly removing Hand of Protection via Hand of Salvation. Finally, and most importantly, you can use it to mess with your co-tank. Might as well. Talents Paladins have a handful of situational choices amidst some one-option tiers in their talent tree. Level 15 – Mobility Long Arm of the Law has overtaken Speed of Light as the preferred mobility talent for Paladins. The uptime on Long Arm is quite high, and reapplying the buff from range is a snap as well. Speed of Light – A simple, effective sprint. It's off-GCD and is a good source of long-duration mobility. It only supercedes Long Arm when you really need to move a long distance and are not in range of an enemy to cast Judgment. Long Arm of the Law – An extremely high-uptime, modest mobility increase that helps Paladins move around tanking areas more effectively than the alternatives in the tier. The ability to gain a boost of speed from 30 yards away via Judgment cannot be underestimated. Pursuit of Justice – Not as effective a movement speed increase as Long Arm of the Law. While not bad, Pursuit is easily eclipsed by Long Arm. Level 30 – Crowd Control Fist of Justice is typically the best option, but none of the choices rarely come into play in a raid environment. Fist of Justice – Very simply, it replaces Hand of Justice by reducing the cooldown to 30 seconds and increasing the range to 20 yards. It's the same 6-second stun as ever, but the added range and the reduced cooldown make it a little easier to use and more effective. More often than not, you won't have much use for any kind of CC in a raid. When you do, a moderate-ranged stun is good to have. Repentance – Repentance is very rarely useful, but it works just like any other long-duration CC such as Polymorph or Hex. If you absolutely need another long-duration CC, it's there if you need it. Blinding Light – Blinding Light has a long cooldown for a very short-duration CC that breaks on damage. It has some uses, but AoE stuns like Leg Sweep and Shockwave are much more effective at locking down groups of enemies. Level 45 – Healing Sacred Shield is amazing. Eternal Flame is okay. Selfless Healer? More like Worthless Healer! Selfless Healer – Garbage! In WoD, tanks do not have the breathing room to spend GCD's throwing out heals to random raid members – or even themselves when they have considerably more effective options available. Eternal Flame – Adds a modest HoT to Word of Glory, which heals for a small amount every 2 seconds. The HoT is worth slightly less healing per tick than Seal of Insight per proc. Sacred Shield – Far and away the best option of the three, Sacred Shield lasts for 30 seconds, providing an absorb shield that refreshes every 6 seconds. Unlike Eternal Flame, Sacred Shield has no cost aside from a GCD. It's easy to maintain 100% uptime, just a couple GCD's a minute. Make it so! Level 60 – Defensive Cooldowns Unbreakable Spirit is the superior choice in the majority of scenarios, but Clemency and Hand of Purity have niche appeal. Hand of Purity – Hand of Purity is on-GCD, castable on friendly targets, and for 6 seconds it massively cuts DoT damage. Outside of DoT damage, it provides a modest defensive gain, like a slightly less-effective Divine Protection. Hand of Purity would be superior to Unbreakable Spirit if it weren't on the global cooldown, but unfortunately that hampers its value severely. Unbreakable Spirit – A 30-second cooldown on Divine Protection is exceptional, and generally the way the class is played. Divine Protection is your go-to first line of defensive cooldowns, and cutting the cooldown by 50% is a significant defensive gain. The shortened cooldowns on Divine Shield and Lay on Hands are just icing on the cake. Clemency – Although it has very limited uses, Clemency can be incredibly useful in some situations. Being able to put out two Hands of Sacrifice/Protection in a short span can be crucial to a strategy, particularly when you lack a Holy or Ret Paladin. If you have other Pallies in the raid, this talent's value plummets further. Level 75 – Holy Power Generation Divine Purpose is the best defensive option, and will provide more uses of SotR than the alternatives. Holy Avenger is the best offensive option, allowing Paladins to line up procs, potions, Seraphim, etc., with massive Holy Power generation and SotR use in order to maximize damage for the duration. Holy Avenger – Holy Avenger is an extremely effective offensive tool, and allows the Paladin to generate a substantial SotR buffer in a short period. For a fight that features tank swapping, it can be more effective than Divine Purpose, but it is generally less defensive power overall for a major offensive gain. It also increases the damage of Grand Crusader-procced Avenger's Shields by 30%! Sanctified Wrath – Overwhelmingly the inferior option of the three. It turns Final Wrath-glyphed Holy Wrath into a powerful execute, but it is nonetheless worth less Shield of the Righteous uptime and less damage than the alternatives. Divine Purpose – Gives your Holy Power spenders a 25% chance to let you freely cast a 3-Holy Power spender. Divine Purpose procs can proc Divine Purpose, and at times this can chain repeatedly. These times are good! Divine Purpose can also experience lengthy droughts, and although it is less controllable than Holy Avenger, it is worth a good deal of general damage reduction and you can base defensive cooldown usage around Divine Purpose procs as needed. Level 90 – Damage and Healing Tools Execution Sentence is the best option for pure single target damage, and Light's Hammer is the best tool for AoE damage. Holy Prism provides the most frequent heals and damage, and is useful in scenarios with constantly spawning adds. Holy Prism – Holy Prism can be used as a single target heal/multi-target damage skill or a single target damage skill/multi-target heal. It is useful as both! If used on cooldown as a single target damage tool, it is worth roughly as much damage as Execution Sentence and considerably more healing, but it will consume 3 GCD's per minute instead of only 1. Used as a self-heal and multi-target damage tool, it is very effective at picking up spawning adds, both through damage and healing threat. Light's Hammer – Decidedly the best option for AoE, and typically the best choice of the three talents for the majority of encounters. It unfortunately has to be clicked down on the ground, but it is otherwise strong for picking up newly-spawned adds and doling out AoE damage and healing. As with Execution Sentence, it functions like a DoT, and as such can best be aligned with procs/buffs/Seraphim for maximum damage. Execution Sentence – In pure single target encounters, Execution Sentence is the best damage choice by a good margin. It is only worth slightly more damage per minute than Holy Prism, but it is worth at least three times the damage per cast, and when lined up with procs it is a very high-damage global. Level 100 – Situational Grab Bag! All three options are useful in their own right. Empowered Seals makes reaching the Haste cap very easy, and is a good all-around talent. Seraphim can be used on cooldown for maximum dps, or for an encounter with frequent tank switching and tank downtime, it can be held until a switch is made in order to maximize defensive gains. Holy Shield is best when constantly tanking, or when taking continuous damage throughout a fight.. Empowered Seals – Using Empowered Seals is a bit involved, but quite rewarding in the post-6.1 environment. Ideally, you want to maintain as close to 100% uptime on the Liadrin's Righteousness and Uther's Insight buffs while remaining within Seal of Insight as much as possible, all while without altering the standard rotation. This can be a bit tricky, but it is worth the effort as it allows a raid-buffed Paladin to reach the 50% Haste cap at an easily-attained 1715 Haste Rating on the character sheet (1319 Haste Rating on gear, before including +30% from Sacred Duty). The constant HoT is also strong. Seraphim – Seraphim is the best offensive option of the three, and potentially the most unwieldy (although that is quite debatable when compared to ES). In order to reap the maximum offensive benefit, Seraphim needs to be used on cooldown and aligned with skills like Light's Hammer or Execution Sentence. While it eats into SotR uptime quite a bit, it is an extremely strong defensive cooldown, and should hardly ever be left cooling down long while actively tanking. As such, you must pool Holy Power in the seconds preceding its cooldown, which can leave you somewhat vulnerable. Using Divine Protection or another cooldown can cover that gap well, as can holding a Divine Purpose proc briefly. For fights in which you need to maximize damage output (e.g., The Butcher), Seraphim and Holy Avenger work extremely well together. Holy Shield – The passive option of the three talents, Holy Shield is solid for encounters when you are constantly tanking, and particularly for when you are tanking numerous enemies at once. The ability to block spells cannot be underrated, and shows up in logs and meters as healing. As examples, Holy Shield is particularly useful on Blast Furnace and Imperator Mar'gok, as both fights feature numerous adds and regular unavoidable spell damage (Furnace's Blasts and Mar'gok's Force Novas) Glyphs Important Glyphs Glyph of the Consecrator effectively turns Consecration into Rushing Holy Wind, and that's excellent. Glyph of the Consecrator – New to WoD, and excellent. Instead of consecrating the ground beneath you for 9 seconds, you fart out holy damage novas every second. It will burn the eyes after several hours, but is otherwise undeniably excellent. Glyph of Divine Protection – Converts Divine Protection from a powerful spell damage-only defensive cooldown into a moderately-powered all-purpose cooldown. This is nearly always a useful defensive gain, because although a spike magic damage spell appears dangerous, removing 20% damage from the surrounding autoattacks is typically a more effective lifesaving solution than taking 40% out of the spell damage hit itself. There are infrequent occasions where this is not true, and thorough examination of logs is important in determining when Glyph of Divine Protection is a poor choice. Those situations are rare. Glyph of Focused Shield – A great single-target damage increase. Avenger's Shield is one of the highest-damage skills a Paladin has, and this increases it by 30% at expense of its jump damage. If there are no targets into which Avenger's Shield can chain, Glyph of Focused Shield only makes sense. However, if there are two targets, it is a decided damage loss. Glyph of Final Wrath – In normal, multi-mob fights, Final Wrath is your best third choice as a damage glyph. It provides a significant damage increase below 20% health to Holy Wrath, which is a very small component of your overall damage. As such, it's a really modest gain, but it's better than the alternatives in standard situations. Glyph of Focused Wrath – A very simple minor glyph that has meaningful combat value. This glyph causes Holy Wrath to only hit your primary target, which means that when using Glyph of Final Wrath, the ability becomes a useful single-target execute when tanking a pack of mobs. This can be very helpful in quickly removing important enemies from a fight, such as Bellows Operators on Blast Furnace, or Cinder Wolves on Flamebender Ka'graz. Situational Glyphs Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice – Transforms Hand of Sacrifice from a damage redirect into a pure damage reduction. Unless no one else in the raid takes damage at all, Hand of Sacrifice is never useless, and glyphing it makes using it no danger to yourself whatsoever. That said, unglyphed Hand of Sacrifice is usually only dangerous if you and your target are both taking serious damage, so it's not a highly necessary choice on a tank swap fight. For encounters in which tank damage taken is high and you are constantly tanking, such as Iron Maidens or The Butcher, it's pretty great. Glyph of Ardent Defender – Changes the value of Ardent Defender quite a bit. It no longer reduces damage, which is a significant defensive loss, but if AD does not proc, the cooldown resets to 60 seconds. This glyph is really only useful in burst damage situations in which you're not entirely certain how much damage you will take. Consider the following scenario as an example: When tanking Cinder Wolves on Flamebender Ka'graz, depending upon dps the second Cinder Wolf will often die before it has the chance to cast a third Charring Breath. If it does manage a third breath, the damage absolutely requires a cooldown, and AD is typically the best choice, but it might simply die without casting. Additionally, the ability has no cast bar, so it's a matter of cooldown timers and best judgment. As such, judiciously casting a glyphed AD a few seconds after the second Charring Breath is a pretty safe move at the loss of only a little damage from Glyph of Final Wrath. Best cast scenario: the Cinder Wolf dies and AD will be back off cooldown long before the next set of Cinder Wolves are active. Worst case scenario: the Cinder Wolf casts Charring Breath and procs AD, you quickly heal up and kill it off, and plan to use a different cooldown for the following Cinder Wolf set. Stats Offense Offense is not usually a primary concern for tank gearing, but having an idea of how each stat affects the class offensively is important to bear in mind. Strength > Bonus Armor >>> Haste > Crit > Multistrike > Versatility > Mastery Defense Protection Paladin defensive stat preferences change somewhat based upon level 100 talent choices. Specifically, Empowered Seals increases the value of Mastery considerably relative to Haste due to increased SotR uptime whereas Seraphim has exactly the opposite effect and diminishes the value of Mastery substantially. Like Empowered Seals, Holy Shield improves the value of Mastery, but does so more as a result of Mastery's inherent block chance. In all cases, Multistrike and Crit are not terrifically effective stats. Empowered Seals Strength > Bonus Armor >>> Mastery > Haste (to 50% - 1715 on-sheet) > Versatility > Crit ~=Multistrike > Haste (over 50%) Seraphim Strength > Bonus Armor >>> Haste > Versatility > Crit ~= Multistrike ~= Mastery Holy Shield Strength > Bonus Armor >>> Haste ~= Mastery > Versatility > Multistrike >= Crit Bonus Armor is undeniably the best defensive stat for Protection Paladins. It is on all tank jewelry and should be generally be the go-to stat on trinkets. Defensively, Haste improves Holy Power generation and just generally makes playing the class easier and more enjoyable. As such, Haste is typically the go-to stat amongst non-Bonus Armor options. Mastery is at times superior, but they are competitive and Haste is very effective – just be certain you are not over the 50% Haste cap. Tier Bonuses Watch of the Ceaseless Vigil is the Paladin T18 set. The 2 piece bonus is solid, easy to acquire, improves the defensive value of Avenger's Shield, and offers value at practically no expense. The 4 piece bonus confers a moderate offensive and defensive improvement. Unlike the 2 piece bonus, it creates a significant playstyle change, allowing for considerably higher use of Avenger's Shield.   BiS List During progression, you take whatever gear the game (and loot council) provides. Additionally, with T18's unique item level scaling throughout the instance, best in slot and best itemized are not necessarily the same items. A 735 weapon is going to be better than a 725 weapon no matter the itemization. That said, this list details the pieces Prot Pallies should hope to acquire over time. Head – Helm of the Ceaseless Vigil (Kormrok) Neck – World Ender's Gorget (Archimonde) Shoulders – Doomcrier's Shoulderplates (Archimonde) Cloak – Void Lord's Wizened Cloak (Xhul'horac) Chest – Cuirass of the Ceaseless Vigil (Mannoroth) Wrists – Breach-Scarred Wristplates (Xhul'horac) Gloves – Gauntlets of the Ceaseless Vigil (Socrethar the Eternal) Belt – Annihilan's Waistplate (Mannoroth) Pants – Greaves of the Ceaseless Vigil (Gorefiend) Boots – Treads of the Defiler (Archimonde) Ring 1 – Mannoroth's Calcified Eye (Mannoroth) Ring 2 – Sanctus, Sigil of the Unbroken (Legendary Ring) Trinket 1 – Anzu's Cursed Plume (Shadow-Lord Iskar) Trinket 2 – Libram of Vindication (Archimonde)  Weapon – Fiendsbreath Warmace (Xhul'horac) Shield – Fallen Defender of Argus (Tyrant Velhari) Races The difference between races is small, but Tauren and Human are slight favorites. Alliance Human Versatility is the best passive option of the three races, but it's competitive with the Draenei Strength bonus and the Dwarven 2% Crit damage and healing. Gift of the Naaru is a slight heal on a long cooldown, and Stoneform is still useful. Every Man for Himself is rarely useful in PvE, but pretty exceptional when it is. All three are close contenders, with the nod going to the prettiest race. Human – Prettiest! Draenei – Also pretty! Dwarf – Nope! Horde Tauren's extra 197 Stamina is very appealing, and it benefits from Plate Specialization (+5% Stamina). Tauren are slightly better than Blood Elves in burst-heavy situations, and their 2% increase to Crit damage and healing is nearly equivalent to Blood Elves' +1% Crit. Arcane Torrent is exceptional in interrupt-based encounters, and the two races are highly competitive. Tauren – Tankiest! Blood Elf – Prettiest! WeakAuras WeakAuras2 is the most important addon in the universe, and I could not play this game without it. It is useful for tracking buffs (such as SotR and Sacred Shield), defensive cooldown durations, ability cooldowns (Avenger's Shield, CS and Judgment), raid debuffs, and much, much more. Thanks Thanks to Blizzard for making a game that remains engaging and new after nearly a decade. Thanks to my friends within the theorycraft world for being great people with whom to discuss this little game we like so much. Thanks to all my co-tanks throughout the years. All of you have taught me something. Changelog 6/19/2015: Updated gear list for 6.2. Updated to 6.2. 3/17/2015: First published.
  15. [Brewmaster] 6.2 - Stemming The Iron Tide

    Evergaze Arcane Eidolon is an excellent trinket for the Mastery build. A Mythic Evergaze Arcane Eidolon is certainly the best Mastery build trinket prior to Mythic Blackrock, but I think the upcoming item level increase to BrF gear will bring its value down relative to Blast Furnace Door and T3. The Heroic version is still very well-itemized, and should be reasonably competitive.   As for the synergy between RJW and CE, I think they harmonize incredibly well with one another. Where I see the problem is that taking CE over Serenity is an intentional defensive sacrifice for offensive benefit. Now, there is nothing wrong with that. There are times where that needs to be done in order to progress, and times where it's simply worth doing because the content poses no threat. My issue is that taking Power Strikes over Ascension when using CE is an offensive sacrifice (in the form of losing RJW uptime) for a defensive benefit (in the form of better Shuffle uptime while chain-casting 4-Chi CE's). The two decisions are intrinsically counterintuitive.   As for CE's dps contribution in single target, that's a result of a combination of gear and encounter-specific factors I can't really estimate in any way, and the only way to gain a decent semblance of an idea is just to use Simcraft to estimate the dps between otherwise unchanged gear and talent setups and compare switching from Serenity to CE. I personally don't consider CE a particularly useful single target progression option. It's a substantial defensive sacrifice for a nominal offensive gain in single target, and it's very unforgiving to errors defensively.   Choosing between Diffuse and Dampen is straightforward. I take Diffuse in spell damage scenarios in which Dampen will not proc, or the defensive benefit of Diffuse will be superior to that of Dampen. Dampen will work on spell damage, provided it is large enough to proc it.   Pulling is dependent upon the fight, but in a single target encounter I typically just Provoke the boss and Keg Smash into Blackout Kick while the debuff is active. Although it is not listed in the tooltip, Provoke, like all taunts, causes the caster to deal 200% increased threat to the debuffed target for 3 seconds. As such, a Provoke-KS-BK on the pull can generate as much threat as ~12 seconds worth of standard tanking activity.   For multi-target pulls (such as Blast Furnace), I usually begin by throwing down a statue between my targets, then casting Dizzying Haze at them as they close on the statue, Chi Bursting and Keg Smashing them, then Blackout Kicking and proceeding to the normal rotation.