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#1 GravityDK

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 06:40 AM

Discussion here should be on DK endgame raid tanking, both 10 and 25-man, biased to progression tanking (as opposed to taking a more casual attitude to your tanking role).

October 5th, 2011: correct for 4.3

READ THE SITE RULES AND EJ ANNOUNCEMENT!
Key rule: don't just ask dumb questions or about things which have been covered already.

This thread is about raid tanking in Cataclysm.
Don't discuss levelling specs, DPS specs, 5-man tanking or other off-topic issues.

EJ requires a new maintainer for this thread, as I've retired. See closing notes.

As OP, my job is to keep this post updated with the widely-accepted facts about DK tanking.
Therefore I cannot be the primary researcher, writer or theorycrafter. I will rely on the community to mull over and analyse the game, and I'll reflect our common understanding here.

Recommended L85 survival-oriented raid tank spec


There are two types of spec, both take Lichborne.
4.3 of WoW did not change the DK spec. Death Strike does not miss any longer. You might bias threat stats more than before to gain DPS, and consider to-hit to make Outbreak is less likely to miss. Blade Barrier being passive is a nice quality of life change.

Spec


First spec, suited to 10-man raiding where the tank needs to interrupt is http://static.wowhea...n.ico this spec . A key variation is to swap the Parasites for Hand of Doom, to further focus on interrupt-duty.

Second spec, for 25-man or if interrupt doesn't matter, then http://static.wowhead.com/favicon.icothis spec with one point spare, which I'd probably put into 3/3 Epidemic.

Options


The 31 points in Blood are fairly straight forward; you pick anything that adds survivability. You can optimise RP gain though, discussed below, by varying the above specs.

Scent of Blood
Two points is the minimum, three has minor marginal gain, so 2/3 should be ideal. Source.
However, +1 SoB is better than 1 pt in Bladed Armour (since RP gives RS, which procs RE, which is valuable for DS).

Bladed Armour is not as important as in WotLK because of Vengeance's attack power, so you can drop down to 2/3 Bladed Armour to get 3/3 Scent of Blood for more RP (for RS, to get runic empowerment). The self-heal value from Lichborne from 1 pt in Bladed Armour is about ~4K. Butchery is a smart alternative, due to more RP generation.

Butchery vs bladed armour is discussion too, whereas the extra RP leads to another more-valuable DS in the same period.

Crimson Scourge talent is very good for AOE, not for single-target.
If you want a one-size-fits-all talent build, then it's worth putting points into it for the buff to blood boil.
For runic power generation (from free blood boil procs), maths shows that Scent of Blood is better per point.

Lichborne is a survival talent, so you should take it. After you have picked up the mandatory 31-pts for Blood tree, there aren't many discretionary points that remain, and the only additional talent to assist progression is Lichborne. A tank's first job is to survive, second to have threat, and the third factor is utility.

The discussion on the use of Lichborne as a tanking cooldown (with self-targetted death coils) is over a few pages.

Mind Freeze
Now that spell-hit is rolled into base DK abilities (Virulence talent having changed), you can spec for interrupt without wasting points on t-hit.
Endless Winter is a better for RP for interrupts than going from 2/3 to 3/3 Scent of Blood.

Desecration
the alternative use of points in 10-man raids, where there is a chance that Desecration in Unholy could have more utility than the gain from an additional Lichborne, but only your raid comp and level of progression will allow that decision to be made fruitfully. The same runes used here though could have been used for a death strike.

Abomination's Might
The talent is about the buff. You should take Abom Might if you're not sure your raid composition will provide the buff. Whilst the 2% strength will provide less single-threat than BCB (although the strength does scale AOE attacks), the buff is crucial for the raid.

To decide who in your group should offer the buff, consider:
* Hunters get nothing extra from talenting for the buff, though it only costs 1 pt.
* Enhancement Shamans like that talent as it gives a lot of Expertise, even though it takes 2 pts.
* All Paladins get Might (which now also gives mana regen) for free, no talent spending. However that doesn't replace the stamina buff from Blessing of Kings or Gift of the Wild, which tanks would prefer. If you have two in total of both/either, you can cover Might at no cost. (source)


Glyphs


In the Lichborne spec, the recommended glyphs are linked.

Primes: DC, RS and HS are ideal.

Higher threat from Glyphed RS may not be required in favour of Glyphing DS for higher tank DPS, especially with a few fights benefitting from higher tank DPS (looking at Alysrazor and H Baleroc).

Glyph of Rune Strike has more threat than DS or HS. Analysis here.

Majors: DRW is good but threat is not really an issue due to Vengeance (yet this glyph can help with picking up new mobs), and Glyph of VB is a good option because mostly healers need help rather than tank's needing larger EH. Third slot up to you. I like bone shield for the run-speed when opening a fight, plus it prevents you accidentally staying in unholy presence between fights.

VB glyph: it offers a 40% increase in healing received, which is like a ~29% decrease in healing needed, compared with a ~13% decrease in healing needed for unglyphed. The extra health unglyphed only really makes a difference if it means you can live through an attack which would otherwise kill you. Source.

Glyph of AMS: the glyph does not increase the cap on damage that can be absorbed by AMS. So, the main benefit of AMS is in extending the period of time to allow more leeway in timing it to coincide with a particular magic-damage or debuff-applying ability.

Glyph of Rune Tap: a good option for some fights, where there's a big aoe effect. It's particularly useful on Chimeron where WotN procs regularly.

Minors: There's no clear winner; even blood tap doesn't hurt much relative to our current HP so its glyph isn't mandatory as it was in WotLK.


Macros and addons


Macro for Lichborne
Replace Lichborne on the action bar with this and spam the button to trigger LB and the self heal at once. Generally Lichborne will be the most potent for the first 2-3 Death Coils because you can pretty much ensure that those 2-3 DCs will not be overheals if you use it right after a big boss burst. While the subsequent DCs are not completely useless, anything past 2-3 DCs has a higher chance to be partial to full overheal. That obviously means you will want to save 60-80 RP for the Lichborne combo before using it. Anything else over that is just the icing on the cake.

#showtooltip Lichborne
/cast Lichborne;
/cast [@player] Death Coil

Addons
Recommended:
Blood Shield Tracker
Doc Debug Runes

Notes on skills and talents


Diseaseless: not sensible


Prior to 4.0.6, there was some merit to ignoring blood fever (from plague strike).
In 4.0.6, you should keep blood fever on your target because it provides a -10% damage debuff. Similarly, frost fever provides a melee speed debuff; whilst that debuff can be applied by other classes, it's more reliable and safer to maintain it yourself.

Thus, you should tank with both diseases on your boss target.

For trash, make a judgement based on their damage output and HP.

Death Strike and Blood Barrier


  • Blood Shield scales w/ a direct 1:1 ratio from your Mastery % of the DS heal to Shield (ie a 15k DS heal = 15k Blood Shield at 100% mastery). Yes, you can increase this above 100% with high Mastery.
  • Blood Shields stack
  • Blood Shield absorbs only Physical Damage, not Magical.
  • Blood Shield is affected by the Improved DS talent; 3/3 Improved DS will yield a larger heal and equivalent shield.
  • Blood Shield is not affected by Vampiric Blood, but the Death Strike heal is.
  • Blood Shield is not reduced by effects which decrease heals, such as Mortal Strike, but the DS heal itself is affected by them.
  • Formula for DS and Shield are here.

Others


Icy Touch
It is no longer icy slam like it was in 3.x. It does not have a big threat multiplier.

Taunt does not miss anymore at all, regardless of hit. The taunt glyph is gone. (As at 4.0.3a).
Death Grip's taunt also cannot miss, but mobs can be immune to the grip part of the spell.

Outbreak
Can miss. Uses spell hit table.

Dual-wield tanking is FAIL


Dual wield tanking is no longer viable. Any minor benefits are outweighed by the immense threat loss from all your strikes only taking into account the damage from your main hand weapon.
Any further posts suggesting Dual Wield tanking may be viable would need to provide solid evidence of a significant benefit to outweigh the threat loss. See post here for trade-off calculation.

Professions


It appears JC / BS / LW / Enchanting remain the best choices for Stamina with little divergence between them, so you do not need to change professions.
Engineering has promise too. Note it's quirky Nitro boots and belt gadgets have backfires that'll stop you using them as a raid MT, thus leaving its armour for gloves and and belt absorb as its solid offers.

Note at L85 their 120 stam or so will not be as large a relative gain over your base health as they are at L80 (since gear is scaling up more than professions).

An open question is whether BS/JC become superior because they allow Mastery stats, which no other profession offers.
Discussion here and this post.

Priority (formerly known as rotation)


There is no rotation, except a few opening moves you can reliably chain together. Rotations are irrelevant and impossible now due to Runic Empowerment ("RE").

Some detailed discussion, towards an improvement of this section, began over here.

Priority is what matters. Use Death Strike as much as possible. Use Rune Strike for threat and to proc RE, often. Use HS for threat.
Tanking in 4.x is more fluid, you will make more decisions, by looking at your current rune state, health, and threat, in order to choose whether to DS, HS or even apply diseases with IT/PS.
Discussion here.

Factors to consider (source):
* keeping one of each rune refreshing to keep runes cycling
* keep up both diseases (they provide damage reduction)
* setting up RE procs by having runes waiting to refresh
* Blood Tap: with the extra rune refreshment on Imp BP, and RE procs, you can expect to re-use the Death rune multiple times.

For the rotation you can generally force UF and/or Death Runes to proc if you keep one Blood Rune on CD permanently and only use the 2nd just before the former nearly cooled down. Further elaboration here.

Gear


Stats and gems


Parry and dodge have the same rating and diminish at the same pace. They're equal now.
Reforge for Mastery, unless you need to reforge for hit/expertise (threat).

How to gem is not yet conclusive, however there is a strong argument developing that you should bias avoidance and mastery rather than stamina.

Runeforge: swordshattering rather than gargoyle. In hard-mode progression raiding, Gargoyle could be better, but in levels of effort below than, use swordshattering.

There is no consensus yet on how to measure effective health, and most importantly, at what point EH ceases to be relevant. Mastery as a stat does not increase your classic EH, but increases your survival, as does avoidance which will be a more interesting stat choice in Cat than it was in WotLK. There is a long discussion here including maths, tables and formula if you'd like to contribute.

Closing notes


I have stopped maintaining this thread, as I'm playing and blogging SW:TOR at this site. Maybe see you there.

Nov 24, 2011: advised EJ of my resignation as maintainer. Thanks to those few people who offered improvements to its material over time, and thanks to everyone who contributed to DK tank theory over the years. I played WoW for six years, since it's launch, and loved every day of it. I stopped playing in April but kept this thread updated until now. I am keeping pwnwear alive and well for those passionate DK Tanks who want a community.

If you want to start a new OP, contact EJ.

#2 riggins

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 08:21 AM

***Updated 110829***
***The 4.2/T12 write up is BELOW this one, scroll down***


-Blood DK in Tanking Cataclysm, T11 and T12-



Ok, well I guess it's time to address this thread. I've put off making this post until the progression race was over, but I haven't gotten around to it until now. It seems quite a lot of debate is already taking place and involves quite a lot of people who have no idea what they're tossing in for input. Also, just a heads up - It's going to be lengthy.

I'm going to do my best to address most all areas of the current state of DK tanking. This goes from itemization questions, spec/glyph questions, profs, gearing questions and even some boss encounter input. As most of you know, I'm not some super mathlete, but what I am going to tell you is based on 100% practical experience and implementation. And lastly before we get started, I want everyone to understand one thing:

This is based only on 25m Heroic mode content. I don't care what works in a 5man or your Argaloth group.


How do I gear my Death Knight:

chardev 8 - Cataclysm Beta (If someone can make a cute little table w/ that listed I could add it in here, I would appreciate it.)

That is a char dev profile that I put together for what I would consider BiS for this teir of DK tanking. The helm is debatable between that and the Daybreaker helm, but that is covered below in the itemization breakdown. I do think that 4pc is amazing and should be used. There are fights where it shines more than others (Chim is the most optimal, but Nef / Cho'gall / Sinestra / and any other heavy tank dmg fight are nearly just as good), but in every situation the bonus helps quite a lot. Six seconds is a lifetime when dealing with tanking cds. If anything you're only gaining a slight amount of other stats and losing such a huge benefit if you chose to break 4pc.

*you will probably also note that the Sinestra caster cloak is listed on the chardev profile. That isn't a mistake. It has more mastery, a gem socket, more stm, more armor, and only comes at the loss of about .5% avoidance once you reforge the haste into dodge. This is mainly due to them not even adding a 372 tanking cloak and the BiS is supposed to be the Hyjal rep one. Who knows if this will stick or not, but I personally would take the mastery/stm gain over .5% avoidance.

Threat - Threat only matters within the first 30-45 seconds of a fight or when a new mob is picked up. For these situation DRW Glyph fixes most any issues you should encounter. If you're good with threat gen and are able to swing it - MD's should be used on the pull and that's it. Tricks should be optimized and used on other DPS as often as possible. If you're finding yourself unable to have legit threat gen, then have your rogues assist with tricks as well. With all that being said, reforge/regem out of your threat stats and turn them into avoidance or mastery choices.

Keep in mind you do still need SOME hit/exp, but it's not necessary to get capped in either. The actual 'cap' is a dynamic number that will change from person to person. Sure, you're going to have strings of dodge/miss/parry as some point if you aren't capped, but I've been sub 2% hit and around 12-18 expertise this entire teir and haven't had it turn into a serious issue at ANY point. For those ppl who argue about interrupts and being hit capped, I don't consider that into this statement because in 25 mans, interrupts are covered by other people than the tank. You can assist with them, but shouldn't be involved in any rotation due to the fact you shouldn't be hit capped or you're gimping your survival.

Mitigation vs Avoidance (aka Mastery/Armor vs Dodge/Parry) - I get asked this question more than any other. Tbh, it probably can be answered on a sheet of paper after doing a ton of math, but in the end there isn't going to be a huge difference in the overall outcome. What I mean by that is they're going to be within a comparable % of each other with each having a slight advantage in certain situations.

It comes down to what would you rather have: The rng of Avoidance or the consistency of Mastery? Whichever answer you pick, that gives you the direction you need to gear/itemize/reforge.

I've gemmed / reforged / geared towards both avoidance and mastery and tried them out for extended periods of time. However for the majority of our progression I chose Mastery due to the consistency of it compared to Avoidance.

Yes, avoidance will sometimes look better on paper and provide less dmg taken overall, but it forces you to be taking much heavier bursts of dmg. I see a lot of people referring to healer mana also. While, yes, it is more of an issue than it was in WotLK, it's still not something that is a game breaker. Healers aren't reactively healing to the point of cancel casting constantly or waiting to see if you take multiple hits THEN casting a reactive heal. If anything, they will choose to use a larger inefficient heal vs a lower more efficient one. In the end, tank healer mana isn't a huge issue. Even if it was, with the way dmg intake is atm, I don't see them being able to really change much in how they approach tank healing.

Stamina - Stamina is not what it once was. Gone are the days of it being the number one stat no matter what, and welcome to the day where it basically has a 'soft cap'. What I mean by that is you're never really in a situation where you're taking so much dmg in such a short time frame that it's going to kill you unless you have a certain amount of hp. There are some fights where that DOES still happen, but almost every situation can be compensated for with cooldowns and thus allowing you to focus more on non stm stats such as mitigation and avoidance. Don't get me wrong, stm is still a very important stat (and scales with most DK abilities), but it's not THE most important stat. It has nicely fallen into a balance area with the rest of tanking itemization (which I enjoy).

Trinket choices- This is a main area since it has such a large impact on your cd's and mitigation / stm / avoidance stats. On ANY type of fight with predictable magic dmg (ie Nef / Omnitron / Maloriak / Twilight Council / Cho'gall / Sinestra / Conclave / Alakir) the is a MUST. I like using that combined with or since they give you either a passive or on use cd combined with a significant amount of health.

With those quick overviews of each tanking stat / area I hope it clears up quite a bit for people that are questioning them. I am sure questions will arise, so just post if you have any on the above information.

How do I spec/glyph my Death Knight:

Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft

The above spec is what I have been using post 4.0.6 w/ the new Scarlet Fever changes. It is a single target spec and doesn't have any focus on AE whatsoever. It's also assuming you have 10% AP covered elsewhere (which you should in 25s).

To address anyone still talking about Lichborne post 4.0.6 - Yes, it is still an amzing talent choice. It still does the same thing it did before w/ just slightly lower healing output and fewer Death Coils able to be used. It will still save you in a pinch and is very helpful on any progression encounter where keeping yourself alive is the most important factor out there.

I like having the additional 4 seconds on diseases (3/3 epidemic) and put the lone floater point into SoB for more RP (which assists w/ more RE procs from RS). The glyphs are also based on what I think is most optimal for single target tanking.

Glyphs Prime
Death Coil- Mandated if you're using the Lichbonre spec (which you should be).
Rune Strike- Dmg amp glyph.
Heart Strike- Dmg amp glyph.
Death Strike- Some people like using the Prime DS glyph, but I find it less optimal mainly because I don't sit at high levels of RP at any point other than pooling for LB/DRW/DP.

Glyphs Major
Vamp Blood- I love this glyph and see a lot of people that don't use it. This glyph is amazing because it will gain you more through the additional healing you are getting from all sources than it will from the temporary hp gain you will get w/o it being glyphed.
Dancing Rune Wpn- Used on every pull or pickup of new mob for additional threat.
Bone Shield- Situational, but usable on some fights (ie Cho'gall / Sinestra)
Rune Tap- A very good choice since most encounters have a ton of raid dmg involved. I swap between BS and RT often.
AMS- Don't see the point of glyphing this outside of PvP. If you are doing it right, you don't need an extra 2 secs to assist your timing of the cd.

-If you find yourself in an AE tanking situation, obv spec into Imp BB and glyph Pest / BB.

I personally like the changes with SF and it doesn't interfere a ton with the rotation (lose one DS once a minute). I was never really a fan of having anyone keep up debuffs on the boss (attack slow and demo) for me since it wasn't always guaranteed to happen in every situation. Having SF tied into PS fits well since I was already keeping up FF.

If anything were to change I would say have Crimson Scoruge give a % change for your bloodboil to extend the duration of diseases by a few seconds or something like that. It would actually make it worth picking up outside of added BB dmg. In the end though, the DK tree is pretty solid for the most part without any wasted talents imo.

Which Professions should my Death Knight use:

This has already been covered (http://elitistjerks....11/#post1797713), but just to add it into the summary here, it's basically even across the board with slight variants of what you gain. I personally think LW is a must not only for the stm gain on the bracers, but for the drums of speed benefit as well. That is something that isn't able to be weighted, but is a nice raid utility xfactor and helps kill bosses. As far as the other profession you get your pick between BS / JC / Ench / Eng / Inscrp. All of them come out to around the same benefit for the most part other than Eng.

I picked Eng due to the 1500 armor gain since it gives me stats when I need them (I macro'd it into my VB) - stats that outweigh the passive from other profs during its uptime. That along w/ the 18k belt absorb or cardboard assassin (which still taunts non boss adds) give it quite a bit of an edge imo.


Overview:

The DK tank is a unique animal. It isn't like that of a Paladin, Warrior, or a Druid (btw I have one of each and tank on them all, this isn't just me speculating). I'm not saying any one class is 'ezmode' or any of that jazz. Anyone playing any tanking class at a high level is obviously on a different skill level. I'm just saying a DK isn't something you're going to pick up and be able to do easily. It is very unforgiving and advanced class and almost completely 'maunual-ized', so keep that in mind. You are going to see a ton of people confuse parses from people that don't know what they're doing with people saying things are 'broken', 'overnerfed', 'undertuned', etc. I highly implore anyone who has those questions about this class to directly ask someone who knows what they are doing and not fall victim to much of this fluff that clutters quite a bit of this thread.

Below are some links to a DK PoV on some of the harder 25mHeroic bosses (i'll have some more updated later on):

YouTube - Blood Legion vs Sinestra 25hm
YouTube - Blood Legion vs Cho'gall 25hm

The fact is - A Death Knight tank who has the ability to manage the numerous cooldowns properly, time death strikes optimally, and use their self healing at the correct times - you will find yourself able to do many things other classes cannot. Sure, you are going to be 'spikey' at times, but that is somewhat the premise of the class itself. A Death Knight excels at single target tanking, and that is it's niche in the current tanking scheme (which I am a fan of greatly). You are going to take more dmg, but you are also going to heal yourself for a ton more and be able to save a lot of situations where other tanks wouldn't.

No other tank class can pull this off (That is actual Healing, not DPS):

Posted Image

****************

With the gear/spec/glyph/itemization summary, I wanted to go over a quick overview for each boss. I know there is a huge range of guild progression out there so I will go over a few things from each boss that would be relevant for a DK tank to know and implement.

Keep in mind, any of this information could vary depending on how your guild does the fight and your role involved. Also, this isn't a complete 'how to' strategy session, but rather a quick outline of cds for a DK tank looking to step into these encounters and help out their guild. If you don't see a cd listed, that's not because its not being used, just use it as you see fit.

-Blackwing Descent-

Tronbots:
This fight is both feast and famine for a DK tank. The way most of the dmg bursts come in the fight ensures you have some form of a cd active for each of them. However, the periods of time where you are unable to attack the boss suck quite a bit since you are unable to DS - so try and have VB or BS up during those times. IBF if you are ever forced to be outside the group for Shadow Conductor. AMS and TB trinket the AE fire done by Magmatron.

Magmaw:
Pre fight change, it was a pretty fun fight since a DK could kite adds with the Bone shield glyph (as seen here: YouTube - Blood Legion vs Heroic: Magmaw - Kiting POV ). However, w/ the recent changes to the fight, the kiting is no longer needed. I would recommend using double stm trinkets on this fight due to how much physical dmg you are taking and how it comes in much more dangerous bursts than the magic dmg on the fight.

Maloriak:
It's best suited for a DK to be tanking the boss. During the Dark Phase, ensure you refresh Bone shield and move out of melee range until he starts casting again. This will keep 20% dmg reduc up the entire phase. Also, AMS the first breath and it will be up again near the end of the phase, and the same goes for the TB resist trinket. Save IBF for the Green phases. Use your other cds how you see fit throughout the rest of the fight.

Atramedes:
Not a hard fight to tank, just ensure AMS for Searing flames. That is the main cd you need to make sure happens. Bone shield glyph is awesome in this fight as well (during air phase), but you can also get away with running around in UH pres during that time so it's not really a must unless you specifically want to have full RP going into the following ground phase.

Chimeraon:
Death Knights make an amazing double attack soaker. Blood Shield helps a ton in making sure you're above 10k after the first of 2 hits from the dbl attack. During the feud's, depending whichs ones you are assigned to tank, ensure you have up IBF (4pc here is phenomenal). AMS the slime volleys during this phase to minimize dmg intake. Try and have as many cds up as possible for when tanking sub 20%, and LB heal yourself to full right before the phase change. Also, this is one of few fights I would put an emphasis on avoidance over mastery. If this fight is a serious roadblock for your guild or you're just having issues staying alive - you need to regear/reforge/regem/rerune/etc out of mastery and into avoidance.

Nefarian:
Nef is one of my favorite fights to tank this teir. While its clearly better for a warr/pally to deal w/ the adds, the DK excels at tanking on Nef. Your management of cds is paramount and knowing when to use each of them can mean the difference between consistent wipes and consistent kills. Between your AMS and your TB trinket, you will have a magic mit cooldown active for each of the 10% Lightning Nukes. Outside of this, I would highly recommend weaving in cds to keep as much uptime as possible w/o having any overlap. Below is an example from this week's Nef kill (it's not perfect, but it gives a good visual of what exactly I'm referring to):

Posted Image

As you can see, there is a viable cd active for quite a bit of the final phase (from 22:58 in the timeline). Also, you probably want to have a power aura active for Insp/AF and ensure you have as much uptime as possible. This is easily done without much (if any) additional focus from the healers. Just make sure you have a Shaman riptide rolling on you or a Priest paying attention to you in the last phase. In the end, while there isn't much movement for the Nef tank, it is super important for you to ensure your cds are as consistent as possible and on time w/ the Lightning nukes while using your major self healing cds (DP/LB/RuneTap) during any points of potential cd downtime during large dmg intake. Remember also, you can channel Army for a decent amount of reduc (~25-30%) and sac those ghouls if you need to DP before the 3min cd on Raise dead is active.

-Bastion of Twilight-

Halfus:
Another pretty straight forward fight with not a lot going on for the tanks. DK's are better used on Drakes due to the MS debuff applied from Halfus (although it doesn't effect the Blood Shield, it does effect your self healing). If you do find yourself on Halfus, it would probably be a good idea to focus on avoidance for this fight. Outside of that, there is nothing too strict here other than to make sure to have your IBF up for the AE stun that happens at 50% and then VB/BS the following. If its not dead by then, prob make sure you have a PS/GS going into a 3rd.

Double Dragons:
Another pretty fun and unique fight to tank. Tank dmg intake isnt' exactly trivial either. It's not insane enough to require a ton of focus from healers, but it's also not trivial enough to ignore. A few things to note here - DRW upon picking up a mob w/ fresh threat (ie on the pull or the 2nd dragon coming down for the first time). IBF during the heavy movement of the breath strafing. Usually I try and use VB and such as a 'buffer' and have it active BEFORE I'm sitting at 15% hp and about to die and it works out pretty well, and this fight is no exception. Assist your healers as much as you can and don't sit on your cds until its too late. You have plenty at your disposal and they are on short cds. Use them.

Twilight Council:
DK is optimally used on the Ignacious (Fire guy) in p1 and Arion (Lightning guy) is in p2. While in p1, Try and have a cd up for each of the flame breaths from Ignacious (ie AMS/TB trinket/BoneShield/LB) and a Major cd active after each shield is broken (IBF after first, PS/GS on 2nd). Once in p2, make sure you AMS or TB trinket each of the nukes if they aren't able to be interrupted. If you're tanking the boss in p3, ensure to DRW on the pickup and AMS every other Lava Seed just incase and try and save IBF for a bit later in the phase when healing is rough. Outside of those, use cds as seen fit.

Cho'gall:
There are quite a few different ways to tank this fight and that all depends on how your guild handles their strat. If you find yourself on Cho'gall, you should line up your cds to assist with the Flame and Shadow debuffs. The flame one is obviously the most critical and should be prioritized when figuring out your cd mapping. If you find yourself tanking the large adds, it fits pretty well. DRW for each set pickup (90sec cd, 90sec spawn rate :) ). Reapply BS prior to picking them up so it will be active off the start of each set pickup. IBF every odd wave, and VB+avoidance trinket on the even ones. Once in the last phase, do your best to chain cds as much as possible when it is your turn on the boss. Keep in mind you can also AMS the magical portion of the Fury spell (not a game breaker, but can help in certain situations).

Sinestra:
TBD. I'll post more on this once its more of a common interest. However, here is another link to a vid if anyone is interested: YouTube - Blood Legion vs Sinestra 25hm

-Throne of the Four Winds-

Conclave:
Conclave is another fun encounter for this teir. Flying thru jet streams and changing platforms is always fun to do as a tank. As far as DK's and their cds go on this fight - It is important to have a cd up for the breaths on Nezir (frost dude). Rotating between AMS / TB trinket / BS+VB / LB you should be able to cover all of them. You need to save IBF for the high dmg output on Anshal (nature dude) coming out of his Ulti (again, 4pc owns for this). Outside of those, weave in the other cds as seen fit.

Al'akir:
Alakir is another fight where DK tanks can be a huge xfactor. Aside from being able to mitigate a ton of the Magic dmg, you are also able to Death Grip every other one of the adds in p2, which cuts down on a ton of raid dmg and/or movement on the raid. Ensure you are spell hit capped to land your DG's every time. AMS'ing off the acid rain stacks is a huge benefit as well.


-Summary-

I highly recommend getting used to browsing logs/parses and looking at how you're actually able to fit your cds in. FRAPS is a good tool also to see how you are performing. It's not really any diff than an NFL player watching film on games - same principle. If you're serious about raiding and your role as a tank, you need to get used to taking the extra steps to ensure your job is done as efficient as possible. Taking a few mins/hours a week during progression to set up timelines, cd maps, look at dmg intake breakdown, etc will make a world of difference and you will be happy w/ the results.

Just to reiterate, these aren't any 'strats' or guides on how to kill the bosses. They are just a quick summary for each encounter from a DK tank's perspective on how to best use cds. Also, understand these aren't mandatory or the ONLY way to do these fights. There are a ton of different options and ways to get the job done. These are just from my own experiences and proven to work. If someone disputes or has questions on any of this, please post. Hopefully this helps out anyone who is stepping into the fights for the first time or is having issues with fights they are currently on.

Thanks for reading.



------------------------------------------------


Blood DK tanking in 4.2

So the time has come. Now that Rag is finally dead, progression is over, and our small break was enjoyed I guessed it was time to sit down and give my input on this entire shitstorm that has become DK tanking. If this post doesn't cover some parts you are curious about, check my previous post following t11 content:
http://elitistjerks...._x/#post1809325

I am going to do my best to try and outline the current state of Blood tanking from the high end raiding perspective. To do so I am going to break down this post with everything from glyph/specs to itemization to professions to rune/cd management and finally give a quick rundown of each boss from a Blood DK POV.

Spec(s):

Here is the current spec that I am using and have been using for several weeks now:
Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft

The Blood spec is pretty baseline with only small variants of that being needed. Below are a list of optional places where you can/should spend talent points and a quick overview on 'why' for each of them:

Lichborne - The following links explain WHY you pick up this talent:
http://elitistjerks....14/#post1806084
http://elitistjerks....20/#post1902861

Blood Caked Blade - I started running BCB a few weeks back when it was getting to the point dmg being a premium and not really running into a problem with Runic. It is anywhere from a 3-6% dmg gain depending on the fight and rng.

Crimson Scourge - I don't really ever find myself specing into this, but could see it being useful if you were add tanking.

Scent of Blood - 1/3 is a minimum requirement for this talent, and anymore than that is on a person by person basis. Add the points as you see fit.

Epidemic - If you are or are not in charge of keeping up tanking debuffs, keeping 2 or 3 points into this is a must. 3 points gives you a bit more overlap since your outbreak is up once per min, but 2 is enough to pay the bills. There are just too many times where the other tank will be doing something else (ie on a diff mob, resetting a debuff, range issues, etc) and you cannot reliably expect them to have 100% uptime on debuffs YOU can control. You don't want to be wasting runes early to avoid a gap in a 10% dmg reduc being on the boss, thus the 2/3 minimum.



Glyphs:

Prime
Heart Strike - Dmg/Threat gain.

Rune Strike - Dmg/Threat gain.

Death Coil - Surv gain. I tend to use this one quite often and switch it with the DS glyph when I do. If threat/dmg is not needed, then this is a mandatory choice.

Death Strike - Dmg/Threat gain. Least effective out of the 3 dmg/threat amp glyphs imo, mainly due to not sitting at much more than 30 rp at any given point (eg outside of pooling for LB / DRW / DP).

Major
Dancing Rune Weapon - A staple glyph as long as you are in a guild with dps even somewhat competent. Threat only matters during the first ~20 seconds in the encounter, during which this glyph is very very useful. The threat change will probably negate the need for this so hopefully the remodel the glyph.

Rune Tap - A common theme in most heroic encounters - crazy raid dmg. This is more or less a utility glyph that provides a decent gain on healing within your group. A lot of times during progression, any and all healing helps. In the hands of someone who is Rune Tapping on cd - or better yet, knowing they are going to dip into WotN range and getting a double Rune tap by using it just before you take that hit and right again when you do giving back to back 5% hp gains to your party. Trust me, it adds up.

Vamp Blood - The most amazing glyph in our arsenal. HP is to the point of being at a softcap. Anytime that you die, it is because of several seconds of shit that leads up to it (5-8 secs) and not really something that is going to 'global' you. Yes, a DK is at more of a risk than most tanks of dying very very quickly and I will address that later in the post, but I can promise you that if you're finding yourself in the position of needing more hp, you're doing something wrong or have messed up what your thought process with other cds/runes that have caused you to get to that point. Getting 40% increased healing instead of 25% and a 15% hp gain isn't even a contest. A tank with 220k hp will gain 33k hp from VB. The 33k hp during that time will not outweigh the amount of healing you will get from both yourself and healers in a 10 sec timeframe. It just synergies with our class too well to not glyph it. Everything from Death Pact, Lichborne, Rune Tap, Death Strike, to the Scales of Life trinket all benefit from this on top of the healers pumping heals into you. I'm not saying it will NEVER need to be unglyphed, but unless you're at risk of getting globaled, then you should be glyphing it.

Anti-Magic Shell - The amount of people I see that say this glyph is a necessity makes me wonder if they're playing the same game that I am. If you need 2 more seconds of time on your AMS, you're doing it wrong. AMS has a 5sec window and you should be able to use your cd to the point of it not needing to be longer. 9 times out of 10 the dmg you take from the breath / burst AE / magic attack / etc will consume your AMS to begin with. The only time you can justify having this over another Major Glyph is in a fight where you would NOT take the capped amount on your AMS from 1 event and would still somehow need it to be active for up to 7 seconds.

Bone Shield - I've been a fan of this glyph for quite some time, but it hasn't really been that useful this tier. Even when it would be, the way BS is weaved into our tanking 'rotation' keep you from having it up when you would need the speed boost most of the time anyway. Rest in peace.

Pest/Blood Boil - AE tanking only.



Gear/Itemization:

Profiler - Wowhead

Above is basically what a BiS DK tank should be. The 4pc is not a gamebreaker, but is worth picking up for the simple reason it is bonus survability gain at no loss. A DK should weigh stats as follows: Mastery > Dodge > Parry > Exp > Hit > Haste > Crit. I put dodge at a higher rating than parry since you will inherently gain more parry through str upgrades on gear and raid buffs (eg Horn of Winter / Mark of the Wild). I will elaborate a bit more on this a bit further down in the post.

Sure, you could go with offset pieces and gain some more dodge here or some more mastery there, but every defensive stat is needed (dodge/parry/mastery) and the only tier item that isn't defense loaded is the helm, and you can give me Expertise as a stat any day of the week if I can gain 15% parry for 12secs after using DRW. Like I said, it's not a gamebreaking 'must have' by any means, but there is just no point in not picking it up.

To highlight a bit more on several non tier items I wanted to go into the following:

Trinkets - The trinket slot is one that will change quite a bit from fight to fight. As a whole though you will find yourself using the same trinkets that are linked in my profile above more times than not. The only exception to that being a fight where avoidance takes precedence (eg Baelroc).:

- This trinket I already commented on and you can read a bit more indepth about it here: http://elitistjerks.com/f72/t110102-blood_dk_endgame_tanking_4_x/p32/#post1976234
Basically a TLDR: Best used on a Blood DK due to it's synergy with VB (more so if glyphed!). Also, it can crit heal.
Posted Image

- This trinket is the best option for a DK by leaps and bounds. A 20k absorb on a 1min cd that you don't have to manage is not even comparable to any other option. Not to mention it is loaded with 433 mastery. This trinket is basically giving you 20k hp when you need it the most (when you're dropping below 35%). This greatly helps out with anyone experiencing 'spike dmg' deaths that I see referred to a lot in this thread.

- This trinket still has its place on any fight that has a lot of magic dmg. Fights that have significant magic dmg coming at a faster rate than your AMS is off cd, it is a must. I found great use from this trinket on Baelroc, Domo (orb soaking), and Rag (only -needed- during p4).

The value of Hit and Exp- I see this debate quite often as well. The bottom line is that you need to pick up only what is defaulted to the gear already. Do not reforge into it or gem/ench for it. No matter what you're not going to exp cap nor hit cap, and if you do, then you're wasting tons and TONS of viable mitigation and avoidance stats in the process. I have been < 2% hit and anywhere from 8-14 expertise since the start of this xpac and I can assure you that the amount of times we've either wiped or had things go wrong because my DS didn't land I can probably count on 1 hand. The odds of your DS getting parried/missed/dodged with enough times in a row for it to cause you to die is very slim, even with low threat stats (hit / exp). You are better suited putting all available points into survivability stats.

Weapon/Runeforge- Weapons are't too complicated in knowing what to go for. High wpn dmg and try and get Mastery and Haste if at all possible, but one of the two will suffice if the other stats outweigh the alternative (ie Rag 2h vs Skullstealer Greataxe). The wpn dmg and stm gain along w/ the 2 sockets make the Rag hammer the obvious BiS choice for Blood Tanking. As far as Runeforge, I personally choose to go with SSG for the consistency it provides due to the AC (armor) and HP being there for every single hit you take and helping buff all % hp based abilities (DS, DP, RT, and VB if you don't glyph it). If you can afford to, pick up a 2nd weapon and toss on Rune of the Fallen Crusader, keybind a weapon switch macro and swap back to your SSG wpn once threat is well established. With that being said I wanted to get into the meat of an important topic that I still get asked more than any other question (even though this was addressed last tier and hasn't really changed).

******MASTERY VS AVOIDANCE - ROUND 2 + DK TANK VIABILITY DEBATE*******



While at the end of the day, yes it comes down to personal preference on what you want to go for because BOTH are viable paths to pursue and both WILL work, I strongly believe that mastery is the better choice for a Blood tank in most every situation.

-Mastery gains value without DR being a factor and avoidance does not.
-Mastery is something you can rely on being there, avoidance is not.
-Mastery is something you can manipulate and control, avoidance is not (read: timing with dmg intake on your DS is huge).

If you're into end game raiding and are trying to press content at bleeding edge, one thing you want to provide is consistency. That is the main component in being able to kill bosses at a top level. Last tier and this one as well, mastery has been able to provide that variable more so than avoidance. I am sure that there is a point where one will over take the other, but with the dynamic that surrounds tanking as a whole in this game and how situational everything is (ie fights with tank swaps, debuffs, boss swing timers, phys dmg vs magic dmg intake, etc) I find it hard to believe that anyone will ever be able to put a definitive value on a 'magic number' as an absolute answer for every situation.

The only exception to this that I have found is Baelroc when trying to solo tank the Heroic version on week 1. Any faster hitting mob (read: Dual wield) will put avoidance at a higher weight than mastery due to the in ability to keep up with the dmg intake via Blood Shield. You find yourself taking too many un mitigated hits since they are coming in such quick succession. Yes, you could argue that the dmg intake should be equal on a grand scale, but it doesn't quite work that simple. A slower hitting boss allows for you to have more control over the situation as a Death Knight due to many variables (mainly rune regen and the way our class is balanced to combat dmg intake). This is the same reason a DK isn't as viable on adds in most fights. The fact that Paladins can 'block cap' and never take an non-avoided/unmitigated hit puts it as the obvious choice for someone rapid succession strings of hits. That choice is less obvious when the boss dmg is coming at a normal/reasonable pace (ie non dual wield / 1.2sec swing timer / etc).

To address some of the issues I see with people that talk about DK's being 'paper tanks' or that you keep finding yourselves in situations where you're taking so much spike dmg that you're unable to do anything about it, 90% of the time that does not have to be the case. A Death Knight is almost a completely 'manual-ized' class as far as tanking goes. I have one of each tank class and tank on them regularly and keep them all somewhat up to par (some more than others) and can tell you from experience tanking on all four that you're going to have to work a lot harder to achieve the same results on a Death Knight as compared to any of the other three classes, but if you are able to do so, a lot of times you are going to come out ahead in the end. That is the case because the other classes basically hit a cap with what they are able to do. List out the 'defensive' cds and compare them (may have forgot a few abilities, but just post and I will add them - main point I'm trying to illustrate is a DK has many more options):

DK
Anti-Magic Shell - 45sec
Will of the Necropolis - 45sec
Vamp Blood - 1min
Bone Shield - 1min
Rune Tap - 30sec
Dancing Rune Weapon - 90sec
Lichborne - 2min
Pet Sac - 2min (3min raise dead, but you can sac an army ghoul)
Icebound Fortitude - 3min
Empowered Rune Weapon - 5min
Army of the Dead - 10min

Warr
Shield Block - 30sec cd
Shield Wall - 2min
Enraged Regen -3min cd
Last Stand - 3min

Druid
Barkskin - 1 min cd
Surv Instincts - 3min cd
Frenzy Regen - 3min cd


Paladin
Word of Glory - 30sec cd
Holy Shield - 30sec cd
Divine Protection - 1min cd
Ardent Defender - 3min cd
Guardian of Ancient Kings - 3min cd
Lay on Hands - 7min cd (glyphed)

The problem with the 'spike dmg' that DK's have an issue with is mainly due to poor management of either your runes, cds, or both. Blizz is reluctant to change or modify how Death Knights work because they are able to see both ends of the spectrum. They can see DK's in top guilds being able to do things that allow them to both keep up and in some cases surpass the other three tank classes (fight dependent). If they make changes that buff our class just because people are playing it at a level that is far under what it is capable of then it becomes a hands down favorite and an 'overpowered' choice for top end guilds since they will have a significant advantage. The DK tank is an 'advanced' tank class and anyone that is playing it needs to understand that. You aren't going to be able to step into it and see results without being very intimate with the class and how everything about it works. No, I am not saying the class is perfect and some changes do not need to be made, but more so just stating that it is far from a huge crisis that people insist it has become.

With that being said I will try and explain a bit on what I'm talking about when I say the 'spike dmg' comes from mis management of runes or cds. If you are just standing there face tanking bosses with shit class management, sure, you're going to be getting wrecked whereas on any block tank class (warr / pally) you will still have your mitigation working for you because of how blocking works. Even on a druid, getting SD to proc off of crits is something you don't really have to time, but rather just allow to happen since it is based on RNG (crit) while doing dmg to the boss. These things just aren't the case with a Death Knight because of how much gain and penalty is put on the timing of your DS and usage of your arsenal of cds. I enjoy and relish that fact every time I log on it to raid. It provides a challenge and a great sense of accomplishment when you're able to just chain things together to make healers lives easier.

One of the hardest things about being a Blood tank is learning how to deal with the dmg intake and minimize the amount of times it occurs without you being able to react. This is accomplished by filling the gaps in your blood shield with your many options from other cds. You know if/when your blood shield is going to be active to be able to make decisions for when its not - such as getting up bone shield, getting your pet out well before you need it (ie knowing you don't really have a mitigating cooldown available and are about to take burst dmg) and have the runic pooled to sac it on demand, using ERW in a pinch, etc. Another pro tip that I mentioned before is knowing that you're about to dip low enough to proc WotN and using your Rune Tap before taking the dmg and then again right as the proc occurs.

Learning each boss fight and how the dmg intake will come is key to making this happen. You need to be very fluent in looking at parses and tracking your cd management. Use World of Logs to track things like this and make graphs like the one below to see where you can change things around and buy more uptime. Keep in mind that each fight is different and will yield different results. The below graph is from our Heroic Rag progression kill. You can attribute some of the downtime on buffs due to tank switching and such on the fight, but you can still get the overall picture of what I am trying to explain:

Posted Image



Professions:

While it used to be slightly more open to debate, right now I would say it is almost set in stone that Eng/LW are the best two options for tanking atm mainly due to their 'on demand' and utility benefits.

Eng- Every tank has a 'small' cd that they can pop once per min and being able to macro the gloves into that ability provides a substantial gain by boosting the effectiveness of the cd. Given that you will only be using a cd when you NEED mitigation, it outweighs the constant stats of ~80 mastery/stm/etc. Not to mention the effectiveness of the belt tinker. Rocket boosts, Cardboard Assassin, and the 20k absorb shield give you the ability to tailor your character to the fight.

Leatherworking- The lack of options for tanking bracer enchs inflates the value for LW, but it's true value lies within the utility of the profession. Being able to provide movement speed increases to you and your party via Drums of Speed is priceless on a lot of fights making any profession that is equal in stat gain sub-optimal when compared in its utility.

Blacksmithing/Alch/Inscp/Mining/JC- Static stat gain.



Fight Quick Tips section:

I know I have read about some people saying my initial post was more of a "How to tank Heroic Rag on a DK" and "Rag is a gimmick fight because its the only 'true' tank swap in Firelands, that's the only reason he can say a DK is fine." etc. The point is:

Each and every fight has a specific class that will excel at it moreso than others (ie Pally excelling at Bael / DK on Rag and Sinestra / Warrior on Alys, Riplimb, and Nef add tanking). This is solid design in order to keep things from being stagnant and fresh and a lot of the time forcing people to think outside the box to make adjustments that normally would not be made (thus leading to a smarter and well developed player). As long as Blizz allows each tank to stay within the same realm of possibility on each other, I personally enjoy it and hope it stays. My main concern would be if a tank is basically UNABLE to complete the job on the encounter (ie prenerf Heroic Domo and AD). With that said, for the most part Blizz has done a pretty decent job imo and hopefully continues to do so.

Now, I am going to give a quick overveiw of each fight and how a DK tank should approach it. Some fights are a bit more detailed than others, but each covers enough to address most issues. There will be a summary at the bottom if there are any questions.



-Shannox-

This fight it is all about which role you will be filling (Shannox or Riplimb tank). Overall this fight is not that difficult and does not really require alot of theorycrafting for either role. Another important note - Make sure you have a solid understanding of the max distance you can put the mobs apart from either other and communicate with the other tank if you're moving and adjustments need to be made.

Quick notes for tanking Riplimb:

- Can take care of applying the slow on Riplimb by yourself.
- Needs to have a priest healer for Lifegrip and Body and Soul
- Leatherworking drums of speed shine really well for this role, as do the Eng Rocket boots. Also bring keep a stack of swiftness potions around just incase you end up tanking Riplimp.



-Beth'tilac-

Identify which role you will be taking, Top or Bottom tanking. If you find yourself on the bottom tanking drones, you really do not need more than probably a druid keeping hots on you. Between AMS, VB, Bone Shield, and all the other short cds, you can keep up with the amount of dmg intake for the most part and allow healers to pay more attention to other aspects of the raid. Save AMS for the magma spew breaths if you're not topped going into them. DRW will be up for every other Drone, as will Lichborne. If you are tanking Beth upstairs, just ensure that you have a good feel for the dmg intake and map out your cd usage accordingly.

As far as tanking goes, the fight really doesn't start until the burn phase (~4:30 into the fight). During this burn phase the boss hits very, very hard. It is best for you to pick the boss up second just so you can stack your Blood Shield while the other tank has it, but it is still doable with a DK going first. Basically understand that the debuff goes out about every 30 seconds and map your cds accordingly.


[20:06:46.562] Beth'tilac casts The Widow's Kiss on Absalom
[20:07:18.274] Beth'tilac casts The Widow's Kiss on Riggnaros
[20:07:50.078] Beth'tilac casts The Widow's Kiss on Absalom
[20:08:21.822] Beth'tilac casts The Widow's Kiss on Riggnaros

When you are able to manage cds correctly, the fight favors a DK immesely. Check the graph of the dmg intake below (Pally has boss for 3/5 and DK for 2/5):

Posted Image

As you can see in that pull in paticular, I didn't even maximize my cd usage. I didn't drop below 35% at any point, but even still I probably should have used VB during the first pickup I had on the boss. Each and every pull will be a bit diff, and you will have to adjust, but being able to know how many times you will have the boss on you during the last phase and how to fix your cds in there accordingly is a must.



-Lord Ryolith-

This fight is also broken down into two tanking roles: The Fragments tank and the Spark tank. A DK excels at either of these so its mainly on your guild and how they choose to use you. If you find yourself on Fragments, DnD is very good for that role and I would also recommend spec'ing into Crimson Scourge for higher BB dmg. As a whole, tanking fragments is not very demanding and requires little worry about your survival.

However, sparks on the other hand are a different story. To min/max your raid dps, it is best to leave them up until they get a certain number of stacks (varies on the guild - we switch to the around 6-7 stacks), but this leaves you at the point of getting wrecked since it increases their dmg done as well. You should be going through 4 sparks total and the 4th one should be despawning during the 25% boss transition. There are many ways to handle sparks, but I choose to use 1min cds on each one (VB/BS) and rotate major cds (>1min cds) between the 4 sparks (Spark 1=DRW+IBF / Spark 2=PS+LB / Spark 3=Army+PetSac+DRW+Pally Sac / Spark 4=IBF+LB). You can also tank swap and utitlize the other tanks major cds in the event you are short on priest cds (GS or PS).

Once in the last phase, it is an all out full burn. You want the tank that was on fragments the whole time tanking the boss since every cd they have should be active for the burn. If you were tanking sparks, you are basically there as a backup incase the tank picking the boss up either dies or needs you to taunt for some reason.



-Alysrazor-

One of the more unique tanking fights in the game. It is all about killing your mob before it kills you. This fight is very annoying early on if your gear isn't quite up to par. Doing this fight pre DS buff was extremely hard and annoying, but since the DS buff it has become more more fun and consistent.

First off, you want to gear more towards dmg. Have two weapons (one with a defensive rune and one with FC rune) macro'd onto a hotkey and swap them back and forth depending on if you're tanking a hatchling or the boss during her vuln stage. Basically you want to find a balance between not dying and being able to do enough dmg to your hatchling to kill it before having to worry about tanking it through a tantrum. If you've managed to pick up a decent weapon and toss on a bit of dps gear (trinkets/rings/wpn) you shouldn't have much trouble with killing your hatchling before the fire AE takes place. Having FC on your weapon will make a huge huge difference in the amount of dmg you are able to output for your hatchling. Also, I would reccomend picking up and using the 1min cd revered str trinket from the Firelands rep vendor. That will be active for each hatchling that you pick up and offers both mastery to help in dmg reduction and a nice punch to your dmg.

Quick notes for Alys:

The way I handle the hatchling/worms is to basically eat a worm the instant my hatchling becomes able to enrage. I have seen pretty much every class tank get nearly globaled by trying to react to the enrage instead of eating a worm prior to it enraging. With the amount of dmg you can output with the semi dps gear setup, you -should- be able to trim abotu 25% of the hatchling's hp before needing to eat the first worm, then another 25% before the second and that puts your mob ~25% for the last bit that it can enrage. If you are unable to kill your mob before it enrages, IBF or get a PS immediately upon seeing the debuff go active on the hatchling. You can die quicker than it takes a healer to swap to you if needed. Another helpful tidbit - Save your AMS in the event you have to run through a fire to have your mob eat the worm.




-Baelroc-

Fun fun fun. This fight is a very very demanding fight for both healers and tank cd management. You can fill one of two roles on this fight: Baelroc tank or the Decimation Blade tank. If you are a DK and find yourself on the boss fulltime, I would highly advise using a maximum avoidance build such as 4pt12 along with full dodge/parry gems and 'on use' avoidance trinket (Vial of Stolen Memories). Using AMS and the TB trinket for the Inferno Blade mitigation is a must as well.

While it is definately doable to have a DK tank the boss, but it definately not optimal. The reason being for this is thatother tanks are able to ensrue they do not take a single unmitigated / unavoided melee hit. With how fast the boss swings and such, a DK cannot keep up with the dmg intake without having moments of severe spike dmg. Even though the way Blood Shield scales with the % hp gain the boss applies to the tank, it ends up being more inconsistant than most healers would like to deal with.

However, again, it IS doable with a DK tank, check the graph below from our kill this past Tuesday:

Posted Image

I did spike quite often (as noted by the 6 WotN procs) and did die closer to the end of the fight this week as you can see from the spike dmg on the dmg taken graph however, the death was after taking 6 out of 8 hits consecutively half of which had DRW up :( (see below). With that said, anyone that has tanked this fight understands the massive amount of tank dmg intake regardless of which class is tanking. There have been times where our both me and our paladin tank have died 3 times on the same pull to tanking the boss. All it takes is a shitty enough string of RNG without avoiding any hits. There isn't really an 'iwin' situation by putting a prot warrior or paladin on the boss, but it does provide more consistency for healers and thus makes life easier with a non DK tank for this fight in specific.

[21:53:14.789] Cj Beacon of Light Riggnaros +0 (O: 9215)
[21:53:14.789] Lawliepop Greater Heal Riggnaros +205030
[21:53:14.929] Affinity Regrowth Riggnaros +*13120*
-[21:53:15.076] Baleroc hits Riggnaros 290094
[21:53:15.190] Affinity Rejuvenation Riggnaros +20549
[21:53:15.190] Acrol Efflorescence Riggnaros +694
[21:53:15.288] Acrol Rejuvenation Riggnaros +11908
[21:53:15.288] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13954
[21:53:15.616] Affinity Swiftmend Riggnaros +*234550*
[21:53:16.000] Cj Beacon of Light Riggnaros +12852
[21:53:16.000] Acrol Efflorescence Riggnaros +694
[21:53:16.166] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13954
[21:53:16.508] Affinity Regrowth Riggnaros +*13121*
-[21:53:16.849] Baleroc hits Riggnaros 637230
[21:53:16.849] Acrol Efflorescence Riggnaros +694
[21:53:16.930] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13954
[21:53:17.219] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:17.368] Riggnaros Death Strike Riggnaros +348635
[21:53:17.368] Affinity Rejuvenation Riggnaros +31450
-[21:53:17.483] Baleroc hits Riggnaros 17472 (A: 340327)
[21:53:17.653] Acrol Efflorescence Riggnaros +694
[21:53:17.653] Cj Divine Light Riggnaros +130736
[21:53:17.726] Acrol Rejuvenation Riggnaros +11908
[21:53:17.847] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13954
[21:53:18.062] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:18.175] Affinity Regrowth Riggnaros +6560
[21:53:18.563] Riggnaros summons Rune Weapon with Dancing Rune Weapon
[21:53:18.670] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13954
[21:53:18.845] Cj Beacon of Light Riggnaros +9259
[21:53:18.845] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +13392 (O: 28631)
[21:53:18.990] Affinity Nourish Riggnaros +0 (O: 70048)
[21:53:18.990] Cj Holy Shock Riggnaros +0 (O: 39276)
-[21:53:19.314] Baleroc hits Riggnaros 636871 (A: 17210)
[21:53:19.426] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +0 (O: 13954)
[21:53:19.698] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:19.811] Affinity Rejuvenation Riggnaros +31451
[21:53:19.811] Affinity Regrowth Riggnaros +*13120*
-[21:53:19.874] Baleroc hits Riggnaros Parry
[21:53:20.078] Cj Beacon of Light Riggnaros +9518
[21:53:20.199] Acrol Rejuvenation Riggnaros +11908
[21:53:20.299] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +*27908*
[21:53:20.478] Nodzz Beacon of Light Riggnaros +4586
[21:53:20.478] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:20.603] Riggnaros Rune Tap Riggnaros +109027
[21:53:20.915] Nodzz Beacon of Light Riggnaros +1357
[21:53:20.915] Affinity Nourish Riggnaros +64053
[21:53:21.017] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +*27069*
[21:53:21.283] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:21.689] Nodzz Beacon of Light Riggnaros +10523
-[21:53:21.721] Baleroc hits Riggnaros 849610
[21:53:21.917] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +*27069*
[21:53:22.121] Nodzz Beacon of Light Riggnaros +1303
[21:53:22.121] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:22.121] Cj Divine Light Riggnaros +134378
[21:53:22.121] Cj Word of Glory Riggnaros +109214
[21:53:22.262] Affinity Rejuvenation Riggnaros +31451
-[21:53:22.283] Baleroc hits Riggnaros Parry
[21:53:22.736] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13534
[21:53:22.919] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
[21:53:22.919] Affinity Nourish Riggnaros +*131851*
[21:53:23.325] Cj Beacon of Light Riggnaros +9002
[21:53:23.325] Cj Beacon of Light Riggnaros +9763
[21:53:23.577] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +*27069*
[21:53:23.881] Affinity Efflorescence Riggnaros +42023
-[21:53:24.174] Baleroc hits Riggnaros 700273 (O: 142685, A: 14376)
[21:53:24.426] Affinity Lifebloom Riggnaros +13534
[21:53:24.931] Riggnaros dies


Quick notes for Bael:

-Lichborne is only really effective at the beginning of the fight before your HP gets amplified.
-If you are the Decimation tank, combine DRW and your 'on use' avoidance trinkets during Deci Blade along w/ Glyphed VB to maximize your chance to avoide the 90% hit and assist healers in getting you topped asap if you do take a hit.

-Remember the Deci blade CAN be absorbed, just not mitigated! (ie shields).



-Majordomo-

I cannot really offer any insight on this fight as a DK tank since all of our first 5 kills on this boss I was playing my Paladin, Riggalon, due to AD and DSac being mandatory for the encounter at the time. However, I would assume it falls into the same category as Baelroc due to his fast attack speed and thus favoring a tank who can CTC cap. However, the way we do Domo is a 2 tank strat so its never really a huge issue since we use the OT to soak orbs and tank cats and thus perfectly fine for a DK to do one job or the other.



-Ragnaros-
Blood Legion vs. Heroic Ragnaros 25 - Resto Druid POV - YouTube


Cd usage from this past week's kill:
Posted Image

Fav fight this xpac thus far, and definitely in the top overall for the game in general imo. This fight covers everything from tanking 101 to testing your advanced level of cd rotations, dmg output, and movement min/max. While I have heard/read a lot of people critisizing the effectiveness of a DK on this fight, I can promise you that if played optimally on this encounter a DK is hands down -the best tank for this fight-. While alot of this fight and what I am about to explain depends on your strat, I assume most guilds use some use a similar strat and if not, you can stil get a good understanding of how things work and modify for your own needs. With that being said I will go into a bit more detail in regards to HOW it actually works out that way:

P1
P1 is more or less your mundane 'avoid bad things and turret dps for several minutes just to get to the fun part of the encounter. For a DK tank on this fight just get a good feel for how often your tank swaps are occuring and map your cds accordingly. We try and swap every 3 stacks on each tank and it plays out pretty well.

-As always, ensure you have BS up prior to the pull so it is basically off cd when you engage the boss. It doesn't matter if you're starting or taunting the boss off the other tank. Your Bone Shield should be active throughout the entire time you are tanking thr u the first 3 stacks. If it does drop, toss up VB if you're unable to keep a Blood Shield active. Once the other tank taunts, get your Bone Shield back active asap to get it back on cd asap, thus giving you another 4 charges for when you pick up the tank again.

-AMS every trap explosion. While TB trinket isn't mandatory for this encounter, it does help. It's mainly used in p4, but can come in handy during p2 also (seeds exploding and traps).

-Basically you will have either BS or VB active for each and every time you have the boss in this fight throughout phases 1-3. Sometimes shit goes a bit sideways and you need to adjust, inwhich case you just need to make judgement calls on when to have out your pet and pool RP for LB and such. But again, between well timed Blood Shields, Bone Shield, Vamp Blood, and DRW you shouldn't have much of an issue staying more than comfortable and helping healers save mana.

P2 (this explaination is assuming you are popping 2-3 traps during this phase)
P2 is where it starts to get a bit trickier. Your cd rotation becomes very rigid and defined w/ little flexibility. You are going to be cycling cds while moving and keeping track of several other things on top of having exact moments where you need to pop exact cds. Detailed explanation below:

-You need to have the other tank pick the boss up going into this phase.

-Bone Shield the instant he comes out of the lava to begin p2. Do not do it earlier or the fire AE will eat your charges. You want to get Bone Shield active at that very instant to allow it to be up each time you pick the boss up after each set of seeds.

-During the first set of seed explosions, have up VB and AMS the AE from the seeds. Your DRW should also be up at this time as well. Keep your Death Strikes well timed to allow for maximum Blood Shield uptime and avoid stacking in this phase. With VB and DRW active, you should be fine and not even remotely be in danger at any point. Again, your pet sac is more or less a wild card cd to use at any point you feel like things may get a bit rough. Understand that, pull it out BEFORE you need it, and start pooling RP. The other tank will be taunting off of you during the dance portion following the seeds AE.

-TB trinket (or call for a priest shield if you don't have a TB trinket) during the trap explosion at this point to avoid taking a large amount of dmg since you're about to re-taunt the boss. Re apply Bone Shield, ensure you're topped, and then taunt the boss.

-During the second set of seed explosions, you need to be using IBF just before they explode so you don't have to waste AMS (which will be saved for the next trap pop) and your TB trinket is down. This also allows for IBF to be back active when you need it in p4. The other tank will be picking the boss back up very soon after your IBF falls.

-Upon picking the boss back up when the other tank gets 3 stacks, VB immediately since your Bone Shield will be down. A trap should be popped soon WHILE you are tanking at this point. AMS should be up and thus negate the dmg intake almost entirely. Bone Shield when it is active again just before the seeds explode. The other tank will be tanking during the seeds explosion. Remember to be putting a DnD down for each of the seeds if you're strapped for dmg, but if you're not stable, dont waste the UH rune.

-If you have another seeds phase, TB trinket the explosion and use DRW during your time on the boss. Pet Sac and LB are still open as well.

-As long as you can limit your P2 to 3 sets of seeds, you should be going into the 2nd intermission with DRW avaliable, LB, possibly your pet sac, and BS/VB should be coming off cd before p3. Obv, this is optimal and should be what you're shooting for.

2nd intermission
Decide which Scion you are going to pick up and make your way as close to that side as possbile while still attacking Rag. If you do it correctly, you can keep your Blood Shield stack from Rag active while you pick up the Scion. This is huge for dmg mitigation and helping out healers since they are going to be strapped healing the flame AE as it is. The last thing they need to do is try and heal two tanks getting rocket by Scions.

P3
This phase is much less intensive than p2 as far as cds go and falls back to your basic p1 cd strat. The only exception is to ensure you have AMS for anytime you are caught in a shitty position with the dance. Taking additional dmg from the dance is not a smart idea when taking up to 90k melee hits from Rag.

-Glyph DG and spam it on meteors near your side to allow for maximum dps/healing. You should be able to do this while tanking/dancing without much of an issue as long as your guild isn't bathing in engulfing flames and causing healers to pay more attention to them than the tank.

P4-Money Phase
This is basically the hardest part of the fight without being the hardest part of the fight :P. That is the case mainly because it takes 12 or so mins of near perfection to get here each and every pull, thus making the quality pulls in this phase quite limited. As a tank in this phase you need to be doing everything from min/max'ing cds to preplanning your movement, to quarterbacking threat management on Omen (lol threat cap ftL).

-Let the other tank pick the boss up going into the phase. Build your Blood Shield as much as possible to have a fat stack for the first melee upon picking up the boss.

-The instant the first Breadth of Frost spawns, run through it and reset your superheated stack then taunt the boss with IBF active. This allows you to use it again near the end of the fight and gives healers a much needed cushion trying to stabilze the transition into the breadth. This is the point and time where it is going to be the worst for you since the raid is taking the most dmg and there are 2 meteors active. You need to empty the gas tank here to ensure you do not die. When IBF falls, VB and DRW, during the VB and DRW start pooling RP for a pet sac. AMS when your superheated stacks get high, pet sac if you dip, TB trinket if needed, armor pot, ERW and Army if needed, also LB can save a death in a pinch. Do. Not. Die. Here. If you are able to stabalize here, things will ease up and your success for a kill increased dramatically.

-Another thing to note is to make sure you're close enough to a warrior/pally/priest if they're using Rallying Cry/DSac/Barrier.

-After this first trasition of the phase just use cds as you did in p1 and p3 with the only exception being AMS/TB trinket. Also, since you probably went balls out on the first pickup, alot of your cds are going to be down for a bit. In which case, remember you have healer cds that you can use if needed as well (GS/PS/Barrier/etc - utitilize anything you can that your raid comp allows).

-If you have to run far away to get to roots, this is where the TB trinket is very beneficial. Save it for when your stacks get resonably high and then pop it and go into an AMS if needed. Coordinate a Life Grip with your priests to get you back into the breadth asap if you've taken too many stacks.

-Once even one of the meteors are dead, things are much much easier on healers, thus allowing you more of a cushion. Pay attention to the Empowered Sufuras cast and ensure you have a path preplanned at any point it is possible (ie locate dreadflame, know which what you're moving out and back in to the breadth, etc). Ensure that no dps is close enough to the threat cap to mess up your taunts. There is nothing worse than having a kill in your sights and having a taunt fail because of threat cap and the entire raid being 1 shot as result :(

-Remember, Superheated removes Bone Shield stacks, but you can still milk out 1-2 mitigated melee's from it if you're in a pinch outside of a breadth. If possible, use Bone Shield while tanking inside of a breadth for maximum uptime.

-IBF will be back up for the near end of the fight. Be ready to use it pretty much the instant its active again. You healers can do one of two things when its up: Regen the much needed mana or help nuke the boss during the final few %.



Main concerns for DK tanks

As a whole, like I've said before, we're in a pretty good shape imo. While they have already stated some tweaks are coming and such, I really hope they do not change the class much and push it away from what it has become. While a bit more of passive mitigation would be understandable (ie BPres armor % buff) to combat the 'spike dmg' most people have issues with, lets hope they leave the DK mastery and cd usage intact. A change to keep other classes from reaching a CTC cap would basically even the field across the board. That would have those tanks also being able to take an unmitigated hit and relying on a reactive skill/ability to minimize it from taking place, thus putting them in the same boat as we are.

Another really annoying thing that comes into play with a DK tank over a Warrior or Paladin, and in some cases Druid is our lack of raid utility. Warriors having Rallying Cry, Paladins with DSac, and in some cases even the Druid tank popping Tranq all outweigh a DK tank's raid utility. Even our Bres is gimp mode and unable to be used on many fights due to the person coming up at such low % hp.

I know that Blizz can't accomodate every request that is put on forums and they're constantly bombarded by randoms who just want their class to have something addtional without really understand the impacts and ramifications of the request. However, when playing the game for several years at a top raiding level and seeing things like balance and raid utility being a very huge differnce in kill placement within the endgame raiding community, I can assure you that what I am saying holds water. Blood DK's need more raid utility.

If you're on a progression fight and things are more or less even across the board on tanking for the fight (ie any class tank is able to do the encounter effectively) you are 110% gimping yourself by not having an additonal raid cd (Rallying Cry / DSac). I don't need to beat a dead horse and I am sure anyone with enough knowledge of the game can agree to that fact. Hopefully it doesn't continue to be ignored and has some changes come down.

My suggestion and what I feel would be the most resonable change would be to move AMZ (or some variant of it) into Blood or leave it in Unholy but allow us the point to get it. They can even modify the ability to absorb 20% of magic dmg to everyone inside for 6 seconds so its basically like DSac but slightly worse and gives us some raid utility. If not that, then come up with something, please. It needs to happen.



Fight Overview Summary

I am going to do what I can do make a vid of Rag and some of the other Heroic modes and be able to put some visual aid to go along with this writeup. However, I need to upgrade my RAM and some other parts to my computer first :( Anyways, I hope this provided some insight or help to anyone who is looking to learn these fights or even refine what they are already doing. Please, if I left anything out, feel free to post and I can add it in. Also, if you disagree or have questions about any of this, feel free to PM me or post.



Vids:

I need to add a couple of upgrades to my computer and then I plan on releasing some tutorial vids on the heroic fights for this tier. Once I do I will make sure to edit this post and toss them in here. Below is a listing of random older DK pov vids from both PTR and such for this tier:

BloodLegionIllidan's Channel - YouTube
Blood Legion vs Baleroc - Firelands PTR - Tank POV - YouTube
Blood Legion vs Alysrazor Firelands PTR - YouTube
Blood Legion vs Beth'tilac Firelands PTR - YouTube
Blood Legion vs. Heroic Beth'tilac World First - YouTube


-Overall Summary-



The DK tank is a unique animal. It isn't like that of a Paladin, Warrior, or a Druid (btw I have one of each and tank on them all, this isn't just me speculating). I'm not saying any one class is 'ezmode' or any of that jazz. Anyone playing any tanking class at a high level is obviously on a different skill level. I'm just saying a DK isn't something you're going to pick up and be able to do easily. It is very unforgiving and advanced class and almost completely 'maunual-ized', so keep that in mind. You are going to see a ton of people confuse parses from people that don't know what they're doing with people saying things are 'broken', 'overnerfed', 'undertuned', etc. I highly implore anyone who has those questions about this class to directly ask someone who knows what they are doing and not fall victim to much of this fluff that clutters quite a bit of this thread.

The fact is - A Death Knight tank who has the ability to manage the numerous cooldowns properly, time death strikes optimally, and use their self healing at the correct times - you will find yourself able to do many things other classes cannot. Sure, you are going to be 'spikey' at times, but that is somewhat the premise of the class itself. A Death Knight excels at single target tanking, and that is it's niche in the current tanking scheme (which I am a fan of greatly). You are going to take more dmg, but you are also going to heal yourself for a ton more and be able to save a lot of situations where other tanks wouldn't.


I plan on editing this post quite a bit when time permits, but I think the goal to give an accurate rundown of DK tanking in its current form within an 'endgame' raiding environment was accomplished. I am sure there are grammar errors and formatting overlooks, but hopefully it makes enough sense to help out anyone who is looking for a proven and accurate reasoning behind their questions. If anyone disagrees or has any questions about anything posted above, feel free to post or PM me and I will do what I can to assist.

Death Knight tanking is it's own little niche atm and it does have its pros and cons, but personally I love almost every facet of it. Just remember that the most important thing the factor in is the player, not the class (with some exceptions lol).

Thanks

-Riggs

#3 Carebare

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 02:41 PM

This thread is for RAID/END-GAME discussion/theorycraft ONLY. If you have a question regarding 5 mans, gear choices, or how much of a particular stat you need - USE THE SIMPLE QUESTIONS THREAD.
i miss raiding with carebare :< she makes me feel like i am not the only person that hates everyone
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[R] [85:Neux:2]: i hear if you die on Good Friday they are going to make it where you can't get rezzed until easter sunday
Khazal: Yeah, I don't know about Magic Rainbow Unicorn Land, but here in Reality, Rhyolith is the worst encounter Blizzard has ever designed.

#4 swift_

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 08:34 PM

To understand the strength of avoidance builds, we have to look at paladins and their beloved CTC. The point of going for full combat table coverage is not only to take less damage overall, but to take the damage in the most consistent way possible. As we know, Death Knights can't block and as such it is impossible for us to achieve full combat table coverage.

What we do have, is Parry, Dodge and a Death Strike that heals and shields a decent amount of damage. If the boss hits once every 1.8 seconds and we Death Strike just 8 times per minute, we can Death Strike approximately once for every four boss swing. This provides us with something akin to 25% block. The basic premise is that once you have enough mastery to survive while you have runes available to Death Strike, any more mastery is not going to help your overall ability to survive the spikes that always happen when you can't death strike.

Blood shields can get really big and a single Death Strike can cause shields big enough to absorb damage from 2 consecutive hits. The question is, if a 90k shield reduces two unavoided 70k hits to only 50k damage, aren't you getting that extra shield at a time when healers could keep you alive just as easily if you had a somewhat smaller shield? Wouldn't it be better to spend some more points towards things that help you survive while runes are recharging? Isn't that the time we always die?

#5 Tyvi

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 05:22 PM

In the vein that our discussion on the now locked thread ended at: Protection Paladins: The Death Knight Redux | Sacred Duty

It is rather Paladin centric but the points made in there are spot on. Give it a read and see for yourself where DKs stand in relation to Paladin tanks.

#6 burghy

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 05:10 AM

That guy would be shocked if he actually did the math on druid mitigation. Druids atm are in the same EH category with block tanks only DKs left in the dust.

#7 Sherardp

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 01:25 PM

I am trying to decide when to get rid of my 4 piece tier 11 compared to my tier 12 pieces. Currently, I have my 2 piece tanking set of tier 12 which will require me to loose my 4 piece Tier 11 bonus. I was curious if the Tier 12 acted as if Scarlet Fever was on a Target. I ask this cause in the description it says it put a debuff on the target acting as if both dots where on there. Where as as a blood DK when you put Blood Fever on a start Scarlet Fever is automatically applied. I am was wondering about this because in my opinion it just doesn't seem like it would be worth it to upgrade to tier 12 until I have at least 3 pieces?

#8 rocketj

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 02:36 PM

I am trying to decide when to get rid of my 4 piece tier 11 compared to my tier 12 pieces. Currently, I have my 2 piece tanking set of tier 12 which will require me to loose my 4 piece Tier 11 bonus. I was curious if the Tier 12 acted as if Scarlet Fever was on a Target. I ask this cause in the description it says it put a debuff on the target acting as if both dots where on there. Where as as a blood DK when you put Blood Fever on a start Scarlet Fever is automatically applied. I am was wondering about this because in my opinion it just doesn't seem like it would be worth it to upgrade to tier 12 until I have at least 3 pieces?

It does not. The 2 piece just acts like 2 diseases are on the target. It does not act like those diseases are frost fever, blood plague, or scarlet fever. From a 10 man perspective I feel that it is worth it. On Rag and Baelroc if you 2 tank him, you dont lose your hs damage if you let the other tank apply diseases. Even though its not much extra damage, every bit of damage you can get on Alysrazor's hatchling is nice.

If you find yourself tanking Beth uptop or Majordomo, you might want to stick with the old 4 piece.

#9 Yrale

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 03:50 PM

I am trying to decide when to get rid of my 4 piece tier 11 compared to my tier 12 pieces. Currently, I have my 2 piece tanking set of tier 12 which will require me to loose my 4 piece Tier 11 bonus. I was curious if the Tier 12 acted as if Scarlet Fever was on a Target. I ask this cause in the description it says it put a debuff on the target acting as if both dots where on there. Where as as a blood DK when you put Blood Fever on a start Scarlet Fever is automatically applied. I am was wondering about this because in my opinion it just doesn't seem like it would be worth it to upgrade to tier 12 until I have at least 3 pieces?


The two piece does absolutely nothing for survivability, no tank debuffs, about 400-800 DPS from the burn effect. It's hilarious in the context of Blizzard thinking that we can afford to keep diseases up while sacrificing blocking where other tanks do not, and then they give us something that keeps our diseases up for them, and then it's only the DPS portion.

Honestly, I'd keep the four set as long as possible, considering how often in this tier you're having to chains CDs. An extra six seconds of Icebound Fortitude can be a life-saver in places like Shannox with both dogs dead or Beth'tilac second phase with high Frenzy stacks, Rhyo'lith second phase, et cetera.

#10 Nevinyrral

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 05:31 AM

The two piece does absolutely nothing for survivability, no tank debuffs, about 400-800 DPS from the burn effect. It's hilarious in the context of Blizzard thinking that we can afford to keep diseases up while sacrificing blocking where other tanks do not, and then they give us something that keeps our diseases up for them, and then it's only the DPS portion.

Honestly, I'd keep the four set as long as possible, considering how often in this tier you're having to chains CDs. An extra six seconds of Icebound Fortitude can be a life-saver in places like Shannox with both dogs dead or Beth'tilac second phase with high Frenzy stacks, Rhyo'lith second phase, et cetera.


I 100% disagree with you here. I can think of no fight where you need a major CD for that long if you are doing the fight correctly. The only time maybe is phase 2 of Heroic lord Rhyolith and even then I'd have to do the math to see if you could get it to last for 2 stomps. Baelroc pisses all over that 4 piece and that craps on it for good measure. Shannox with both dogs dead on normal might be an oh crap phase but if you include trinkets and all the other cds we have it's easy to get 54 seconds in which a cooldown is always on. As soon as transition hits you can wait for a little dip and use vampblood with Scales of Life for a 24k heal and increase healing taken. During this time save for DRW followed by a dodge trink and then finish the IBF for when you healers Might be oom. Pool a little RP and if need be pop Empower Rune Weapon into Lichborne/Deathcoil. We have so many cool downs and self healing that if you need a major CD for that long you are doing something wrong any of our other smaller CDs more that make this part of the fight easier. Not to mention with all dogs dead there is only the tank to heal outside of Spear Slam.

I switched to 2 pieces asap and haven't looked back. I keep it in case there is a situation where it might be useful but to be honest there is no HOLY CRAP hit in which this will help you survive for the duration it gives. Coordinate with your other tank and your dps and see what they are putting up for debuffs. Not using your runes to apply debuffs allows for more deathstriking! I run with a warrior that always has up demo shout and tclap so I only apply with outbreak. Outside of that I will put it up when I am not currently tanking or if I am solo tanking and no one else is applying the debuff. It's very much a feel for the incoming damage feeling. Even in this tier I have my doubts about using the 4 piece outside of baleroc and running with only glove and hands and using the chest from beth, rag shoulders and the helm of blazing glory.

Also are you replacing 359s or 372s? there is a lot more to consider here vs a piece bonus that is very situational to steady avoidance/mitigation up over the course of the fight. Like people said it just makes it so if you decide not to do disease you don't lose out on threat which is a minor issue because you can outbreak on the pull assuming it doesn't miss it'll carry you past the initial dps pre-pot burst.

edit: as for the Majordomo tanking AMS, Mirror should be able to eat 4 cleaves towards the end of your stacking if you time them well. I can see the "easy" mode of just popping one longer CD Depending on how you do this fight but to be honest if you are tanking this and you need much more than that and your self healing to keep yourself alive with typical tank heals odds are your raid isn't stacking correctly and everyone else is being one shot. You also have cat form to think of where you spend half of the fight where more DS will cause better survivability than the longer cooldown.

#11 Yrale

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 02:59 PM

I 100% disagree with you here. I can think of no fight where you need a major CD for that long if you are doing the fight correctly. The only time maybe is phase 2 of Heroic lord Rhyolith and even then I'd have to do the math to see if you could get it to last for 2 stomps. Baelroc pisses all over that 4 piece and that craps on it for good measure. Shannox with both dogs dead on normal might be an oh crap phase but if you include trinkets and all the other cds we have it's easy to get 54 seconds in which a cooldown is always on. As soon as transition hits you can wait for a little dip and use vampblood with Scales of Life for a 24k heal and increase healing taken. During this time save for DRW followed by a dodge trink and then finish the IBF for when you healers Might be oom. Pool a little RP and if need be pop Empower Rune Weapon into Lichborne/Deathcoil. We have so many cool downs and self healing that if you need a major CD for that long you are doing something wrong any of our other smaller CDs more that make this part of the fight easier. Not to mention with all dogs dead there is only the tank to heal outside of Spear Slam.


Obviously it's not going to make or break your raid every time, though it very well could. The problem with abilities like Lichborne is that they can't effectively be made part of a CD chain, because it's reactive rather than proactive healing, not to mention the many GCDs it requires can mean getting gibbed before you can pump out as many Death Coils as you need. Instead what I like to do is pool RP in advance for when I'd need it, and saving Empower Rune Weapon as a CD of it's own in that you can pump out two easy Death Strikes as well as a Bone Shield if you had Blood Tap up, and even a Rune Tap if you need it. When it comes down to it, you really don't want to be relying on trinkets in a CC chain, as they're not nearly as effective as actual class-based cooldowns (Vial of Stolen Memories normal gives like 8% dodge, heroic like 9%). The only one I'd consider particularly useful for a CD chain would be Stay of Execution, and even that has the drawback of giving you an extra little 5k hit which you might not really want.


I switched to 2 pieces asap and haven't looked back. I keep it in case there is a situation where it might be useful but to be honest there is no HOLY CRAP hit in which this will help you survive for the duration it gives. Coordinate with your other tank and your dps and see what they are putting up for debuffs. Not using your runes to apply debuffs allows for more deathstriking! I run with a warrior that always has up demo shout and tclap so I only apply with outbreak. Outside of that I will put it up when I am not currently tanking or if I am solo tanking and no one else is applying the debuff. It's very much a feel for the incoming damage feeling. Even in this tier I have my doubts about using the 4 piece outside of baleroc and running with only glove and hands and using the chest from beth, rag shoulders and the helm of blazing glory.


You realize that the two-piece doesn't apply debuffs right? The only bonus it gives is to Heart Strike's Damage, it doesn't even increase Blood Boil's damage. If you can coordinate debuffs so well, there's no point to having the debuffs OR the diseases. And the point of the 4-piece is not to mitigate an extra huge special attack, but to get maximum uptime of your most powerful cooldown in a situation where every melee hits like a truck and sometimes just as fast. Beth'tilac with high Frenzy stacks is probably the best example.

#12 Ramalama

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 04:16 PM

In my mind the T12 2-piece is most useful for trash and add tanking, and it is quite useful once you get used to the playstyle change. It removes the need to worry about the whether or not to disease and Pestilence and the tradeoff in short term threat versus long term threat. Instead you can basically just tab Heart Strike and Death Strike, with Heart Strike cleave proc'ing your 2-piece bonus and ensuring that subsequent strikes will get the disease bonus.

You can argue that in most cases you shouldn't be worrying about using Pestilence on low-medium health trash even without the 2-piece, but then in that light you can view the 2-piece as a very significant bonus to threat in diseaseless AE situations.

Notable situations where it is very helpful are on Rhyolith's fragments and Beth'tilac drones and spinners.

#13 Ramalama

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 05:05 PM

Here's a topic of discussion for everyone. Traditionally at the start of the expansion most Blood players valued mastery as the strongest secondary stat point for point. However, a fixed amount of mastery automatically scales with damage taken. With the unique effect of our mastery it is difficult to quantify its value relative to other simpler stats like avoidance and stamina (which, in turn, are much more difficulty to quantify than DPS stats). We all know that the job of a tank isn't simply to mitigate as much damage over time as possible, it is to survive, which is far less straightforward.

If we think in anecdotal terms, then, does there come a point where mastery level is "high enough" in that any deaths that occur wouldn't have been helped much or at all by having more mastery? The simplest example is when burst damage comes when runes are down. Or when the boss is capable of so much burst that you can die from a comfortable level of health without a chance to recover afterward with a Death Strike because you're dead. That is the fundamental difference between Blood mastery and that of the other tank specs. You can compare the amounts mitigated, but since the Blood Shield helps recover from a bit hit, not mitigate it, it doesn't apply to the hit that kills you.

This line of reasoning got me thinking that at some point we should focus on making sure we can Death Strike when we need to, not simply making our Blood Shields bigger. This requires two things: ensuring that we live through those big spikes that would otherwise kill us and making sure that our Death Strikes can be there on demand. While we can't do much about gaps in rune availability (short of gearing toward haste - the survival returns there are obviously low), we can make sure our Death Strikes hit more reliably by gearing hit and expertise.

Hit and expertise have always been maligned by the general tanking community, usually with reference to warrior, paladin and druid tanks not needing the extra threat. For death knights post Cataclysm, though, hit and expertise are also survival stats.

Through Tier 11 content I was very much a traditional mastery stacker. But midway through this tier I started experimenting with gemming stamina (to live through spikes) and soft capping hit and expertise (to reliably time Death Strikes). So far I've liked the change a lot. At the beginning of the tier you could make a case for not being a high stamina healing sponge, but healer mana is much better this tier. Previously all my deaths seemed to come from brief damage spikes or dodge/parry/miss on Death Strikes when I need them, never from lack of healing throughput or mana conservation.

I know this is very nontraditional and I'm not completely sold myself, but I definitely think it is worth reconsidering a lot of the assumptions that were made at the beginning of the expansion about mastery stacking and the low value of stamina and "threat stats" (which are more than that for our unique tanking spec).

#14 obsidia

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 05:32 PM

Ramalama your setup is attractive and worth a shot. Right now death knight tanks simply don't have the mitigation to live without a blood shield up... so having higher blood shield up-time should help. With 2-piece tier 12 and using our death runes on death strike we can probably keep a shield up for every hit.

I haven't done the math (nor am I sure it's possible) but it seems intuitive that smaller blood shields that are up on demand will be worth more than bigger shields on fewer hits. At least they will be more useful in reducing spike damage.

Although to be honest ... I'm at a loss for how to best gear up and play a dk tank anymore. I have tried almost every setup and at the end of the day there is no empirical evidence to sway my opinion... it's all about "how I feel". And as an empiricist I hate going with just a gut feeling. It's either that our blood shield mechanic is way too complicated or the death knight community (including myself) lacks the expertise.

#15 Nevinyrral

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 05:45 PM

Obviously it's not going to make or break your raid every time, though it very well could. The problem with abilities like Lichborne is that they can't effectively be made part of a CD chain, because it's reactive rather than proactive healing, not to mention the many GCDs it requires can mean getting gibbed before you can pump out as many Death Coils as you need. Instead what I like to do is pool RP in advance for when I'd need it, and saving Empower Rune Weapon as a CD of it's own in that you can pump out two easy Death Strikes as well as a Bone Shield if you had Blood Tap up, and even a Rune Tap if you need it. When it comes down to it, you really don't want to be relying on trinkets in a CC chain, as they're not nearly as effective as actual class-based cooldowns (Vial of Stolen Memories normal gives like 8% dodge, heroic like 9%). The only one I'd consider particularly useful for a CD chain would be Stay of Execution, and even that has the drawback of giving you an extra little 5k hit which you might not really want.




You realize that the two-piece doesn't apply debuffs right? The only bonus it gives is to Heart Strike's Damage, it doesn't even increase Blood Boil's damage. If you can coordinate debuffs so well, there's no point to having the debuffs OR the diseases. And the point of the 4-piece is not to mitigate an extra huge special attack, but to get maximum uptime of your most powerful cooldown in a situation where every melee hits like a truck and sometimes just as fast. Beth'tilac with high Frenzy stacks is probably the best example.


I am aware that it doesn't apply the debuffs. Hence saying you should coordinate with your other raiders to see if it is needed. As I said I run with a warrior tank that keeps up demo shout and uses tclap as part of his normal rotation which put up the same debuffs so the only reason for me to apply my diseases is for more dps not as a means to reduce damage taken as some fights have a pretty tight dps check. As for the Lichborne thing I only presented it as a possible use for the ability if need be. I find it far from reactive because the amount of RP it takes to make it 100% effective is high enough that I rarely find myself sitting on that amount unless I'm planning on it.

I've honestly had no issues what so ever with not having enough CDs and generally take less overall damage than our warrior tank over the course of a fight but really it's going to come down to play style and how good your healers are. I run 10s and the 3 healers we have, have used the same toons for over 2 years so there is a bit of trust in there. I know for the beth encounter the Kiss goes out about once a minute so you should be able to have VP and Boneshield up when you pick up the boss and roll out other abilities as needed. Not to mention frenzy aoe damage may be unhealable more so than keeping the tanks alive but this fight on heroic is a massive dps check on ten heroic, maybe not as much as gatekeeper but it's still there. But again play with what feels good for you and pay attention to how much damage you are taking over the course of a fight, how your healers are doing with mana and the such. I wouldn't base my whole gear around one 3 minute cooldown without wondering how all these other factors play in.

#16 Tyvi

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 05:59 PM

Through Tier 11 content I was very much a traditional mastery stacker. But midway through this tier I started experimenting with gemming stamina (to live through spikes) and soft capping hit and expertise (to reliably time Death Strikes). So far I've liked the change a lot. At the beginning of the tier you could make a case for not being a high stamina healing sponge, but healer mana is much better this tier. Previously all my deaths seemed to come from brief damage spikes or dodge/parry/miss on Death Strikes when I need them, never from lack of healing throughput or mana conservation.


While I have been soft capping Expertise and Hit since T11 for the aforementioned reasons, gemming Stamina sounds reasonable for this tier. The fact that being able to get 3 consecutive hits instead of 2 before you have to Death Strike would surely compensate for the lower Mastery value. As a bonus, you'd get more out of abilities that scale from max health such as Rune Tap, Death Pact and Lichborne (increased AP from Vengeance), too.

It's worth looking into at the very least and might help bandaid the fact that our EH is insufficient this tier without being able to land those DSes.

#17 Nevinyrral

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 06:19 PM

Honestly I haven't thought much into this outside of maintaining ~1% hit and whatever expertise is on my gear because firelands gear is swimming in expertise and though not landing can be crap I find it very rarely that I end up with a significant string that lands me dead. I use and LOVE the Scales of Life trinket as with glyphed VampBlood you get a 24k heal so I save that for times when I can't DS and my health is lower to help heal myself up and get better healing. I also put Runetap in there for that little extra as well since dipping low enough takes it off CD and makes it free and with the amount of health I'm running it tends to be a 20k+ heal so in 2 gcds I healed 44k.

I've recently changed over from Swordshattering to Stoneskin gargoyle for the extra 3k health and the amount of armor I gain (about 2k). I've toyed around with using a flask for more fights instead of my Mastery Armor/Magic Resist elixirs. This will also make your Runetap bigger for heals outside of GCD locked dying for the same reason I stated above.

edit: I do remember posts in the past thinking of Bloodshield as health for physical damage so maintaining a bloodshield can and will always increase your survivability to if it were possible to maintain a bloodshield throughout the course of the fight that would be your mastery cap. I'm recently trying to set up my powerauras to show when I have a blood shield up and trying to not DS on cd like I've tend to do in the past and try to maximize it's benefit as this will greatly alter the effectiveness of my mastery. This would run similar to the idea of when to refresh blade barrier (try to keep some in reserve and use to maintain the buff instead of tossing all your abilities asap)

#18 Ramalama

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 06:51 PM

I am confused about your comparison for blood shield to blocking. It is my understanding that they are in fact on in the same, however to maximize "dk blocking" you have to first take a big hit which equals big damage over the past 5 seconds leading to a bigger heal from DS and which will turn into X amount of bloodshield which is modified by mastery. Maybe a bit of a disconnect there.


The comparison is this. Blocking can be thought of as putting up an absorption shield concurrent with a hit and spending that shield on that same hit. Blood Shield is similar except you get the absorption shield after taking damage, to be applied to the next hit. The fundamental difference is that if that first hit kills you, you never get to see the benefit from your mastery. (You can think of the heal in the same way, as a partial refund in health after the hit. Again, you never get the health back if the hit kills you.)

The other major difference is that Blood Shield is applied in full to the next hit until totally exhausted, and then the following hit will deal full damage. By contrast, blocking is a percentage reduction off of each blocked hit. Instead of full blocking an entire hit and then taking full damage from the next, you can partially mitigate both. Imagine a model where, when you Death Strike, your Blood Shield is divided evenly across the next 3 hits. Or where Death Strike adds to a Blood Shield "bank" and you put X% of your remaining Blood Shield toward each hit. I'm not suggesting either model be implemented, just that they would be more similar to the way blocking works.

It's easy to try to compare simple numbers like amount mitigated through paladin blocking versus amount healed/absorbed by Death Strike/Blood Shield. As long as the mechanics are so disparate (especially in the case of a potentially killing blow) you cannot do such simple comparisons. That's where the current imbalance problem lies.

As for my gear, I'm ilvl 385, balanced gemming for stamina and reforged to hit/exp soft caps, then to mastery, with avoidance lowest priority. I generally use Stoneskin but switch to Swordshattering for H25 Baleroc and Fallen Crusader for H25 Alysrazor. I'm focused exclusively on 25H Firelands content.

#19 Nevinyrral

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 07:21 PM

I was more confused about your comment of BS helping to recover from a hit as opposed to "mitigating" the next hit. The bloodshield = block is a gross over simplification as bloodshield is more of an effective physical damage health pool while block is actual mitigation however both contribute to effective health.

Taking no damage

Current Health = 220k (about what i run raid buffed and flasked)
DS heal = 15.4k
Blood shield with 140% conversion = 21.56k
Final effective health for next hit = 241.56k

Now that is without taking damage prior to the death strike. It might not be overall the same EH as block but it's still a bigger physical damage hit. If there was a boss that does huge magic damage hits and we didn't have mirror/AMS for it then I'd be a little more worried but as physical damage goes we seem to be spot on. The biggest issue here I think is the fact that we need to spread out our DS to make sure we have a blood shield for each individual hit instead of assuming that the shield will stack and then being without a DS between two successive attacks.

I don't think Stamina will replace Mastery just yet as stamina = health that HAS to be healed up for the next hit where as DS with no damage taken is 21.56k more health per hit that does NOT have to be healed through. This value will significantly go up and become less burst if you maintain a constant DS per hit taken priority vs use it on CD and eat the full eat when you are locked out. There really just shouldn't be a time in which you take a hit without a blood shield up.

edit: World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis
as a comparison here is an attempt on Rag where both the warrior tank and I have Rag for about the same percentage of the fight, or just about. I think during this attempt he died once and I picked up rag at the start of phase 3 so I sometimes takes more overall magic damage but this is using DS on CD. I've gotten a bit lazy on Rag in recent weeks and don't pop ams/mirror for every trap like I did at first but that would probably bring things more in line with the warrior.

#20 Asphyxialol

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 08:06 PM

You're talking about things from a 10 man perspective. The difference between 10m and 25m is not small, and definitely impacts how you gear and think and how to approach encounters.

World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis <-- You're 10m H Shannox from this week.
World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis <-- Random 25h Parse roughly the same length

Your average hit is 38k, in 25m its 72-73k. Your arching slash is 47k where 25m is 93k. In 25m I could *barely* eat a single Arching Slash, ~5-6 stack of Jagged Tear, and a melee all at once (roughly 195-200k) without a blood shield up. The comparison in 10m would be going a solid 2 rounds before I even thought about the damage incoming. Yes, the 25m guy *did* get an immo trap which very slightly skews the numbers a bit, but overall not enough to matter considering it's a fairly long parse for the fight.

This gets even more exaggerated on fights like Beth'tilac. It's been said time and time again that *if* the DK has no risk of immediate death from a spike they are able to recuperate and overall take less damage than the other tanks (for this reason I've even seen DKs as the preferred tank in 10m - On our normal 10m rag kills when we run over on time I take *less* damage than our warrior while having more up time on rag and solo tanking both scions and rag - that isn't even factoring in that I heal myself for nearly 60% of my personal healing).

The #1 issue we face in the current tier is that we can easily be spiked to death in 1-2 hits where we *need* that buffer that extra stamina provides in some circumstances. Beth'tilac, as an example, can hit over 270k unmitigated hits in the ~30 range. Obviously you shouldn't be that far in without cooldowns, but it should go without saying that it's a 1 shot if we do. Block tanks can mitigate that to *190k* when they typically run health pools of ~200-210k in ~380 ilvl gear.

In short the main reason DKs are slipping here is because we are falling behind on being able to keep a steady stream of incoming damage and not spiking. We need a smoother damage flow for our mastery to effectively work. One of the primary ways we can do this is by increasing the buffer we have to be hit for in order to die (ie stam stacking). The other option is to run a heavy avoidance setup and pray to the gods of RNG that you don't get that unlucky 2-3 string of hits to kill you. The final way is to time your DSes flawlessly to keep a shield up to smooth out the damage flow. The downside of our mastery and consequently our shield is that all of our shield is absorbed in 1 hit and we are fucked because our rune cooldowns and GCDs do not allow us to effeciently use our DS after each attack.

I kind of like the idea of taking our BS and spreading its total % over the next 3 attacks, but that just turns it in to block. The other options are to reduce rune regen even lower than they currently are, and likely reducing our GCD from a 1.5 to a 1.0-1.2. This impacts PVP pretty bad however.

The other options are increasing our passive reduction (considering we are *way* behind on passive reduction this is the most likely result IMO). We can go back to the 60% armor we had back in WotLK, which would provide another ~10k armor and put is just slightly over where our block friends are (We'd be around 43k unbuffed where they are running around with ~39-40k unbuffed and net us about 6% more reduction). They *could* further increase the passive damage reduction from blood presence, but that would impact magic abilities and we are already strong enough at handling those. They could buff Bone Shield to be a solid passive damage reduction, but this removes a semi-powerful cooldown from us that all other tanks have and just puts us up to par passively with other tanks, so it's a near nerf.




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