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DW Tanking Builds 3.3 - updated 12/01/10


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#1 Torn

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 01:14 PM

== Introduction==
This is the thread for discussing DW Tanking in 3.3 and beyond. If you think that something crucial is missing from the OP, please post in the thread or PM me about it.

With the introduction of the DW talent in the frost tree, DW tanking became finally viable threat-wise. Typical talent specs and rotations can be easily derived from the DW DPS talent builds. You will find these talent specs in this thread along with some answers to typical other tanking questions: glyphs, rotations, weapons,...

Please check the FAQ before posting, otherwise you might receive an infraction.

== Frequently Asked Questions==
Q: My best friend says I will get parry-gibbed if I DW tank! What can I do?
A: Parry-haste is not enabled in any boss encounter where it would make a difference. There's no Illidari Council 2.0.

== Talent Specs & Glyphs==
12/52/7 (please notice the link to the wowhead talent calculator)
A classic deep frost talent spec with two points in SoB for additional RP generation.

10/54/7 (please notice the link to the wowhead talent calculator)
Another classic deep frost talent spec with two points in CotG for additional RP generation.

10/51/10 (please notice the link to the wowhead talent calculator)
The 2pt10 tanking bonus gives rise to the possibility of general-purpose DnD tanks. Here's a DW frost version of it.

== Rotations==
=== Classic Deep Frost Tanking===
Single Target

IT-PS-OB-BS-BS-RPDUMP -- OB-OB-OB-RPDUMP

Use as many FS as you like (or can) in the RPDUMP section. In many encounters, it can be useful not to use all your RP in the RPDUMP section so you can still use your interrupt spell (20 RP). Keep in mind that RS should be macro'd to every ability (see below).

If you don't like fix rotations, you should basically just burn your runes to keep the diseases and Blade Barrier up. Death Runes should be used for OB whenever available. Consuming the Rime procs together with a KM proc is a good idea. However, a KM proc used for FS is fine as well. Consuming your KM proc for IT is the worst choice.

Multi Target

DnD-IT-PS-PEST -- TAB --- HB

Afterwards, use this modified single target rotation on altering targets:

IT-PS-HB-PEST-BB-RPDUMP-OB -- TAB


=== DnD Frost Tanking===
Please refer to this excellent post of Grigori.

== Weapons==
Slow/Slow produces the highest amount of threat. However, new slow tanking weapons are yet to be discovered. So you can either use slow DPS weapons or mix a slow DPS main hand with a fast tanking off hand. Don't use two fast tanking weapons and then complain about low threat in this thread.

== Rune Enchants==
Starting with 3.3, Rune of the Nerubian Carapace will probably be the best rune enchant. Depending on the encounter, it might be useful to have another weapon with Rune of Swordbreaking on it.


== Macros==
Use a RS macro for every ability, for example here's a macro for IT:

[TABLE]#showtooltip
/cast Icy Touch
/cast !Rune Strike[/TABLE]

The '!' modifier on the Rune Strike makes sure that it won't toggle off RS.

#2 Eucharion

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 01:27 PM

Typically, advice for 2H tanking builds is to skip Blood Caked Blade, as it introduces further potential for parries, and I'd think that this would be more true for DW. Necrosis is still a tidy choice for additional threat, especially if white damage is a significant % of DW tanking output.

The Icy Talons line choice boils down an awful lot to what else is in your typical raid; if you have an enhancement shaman with good attendance, and another class that can supply the slowing effect, you can probably skip it for other talents. You may still value the personal haste and redundancy highly though.

#3 Barden

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 02:20 PM

I will probably try this build 10/54/7 tonight as my first DW tanking build.

While I prefer Unholy as the sub tree when I dps I don't think it offers much when tanking. Necrosis doesn't account for more than ~3%dps for me and BCB is a liability which can be exchanged for dps talents in frost which have no cons, such as TS. BA (counting 13k armor*207%[frost presence+toughness+meta gem]*5/180=747ap] will most certainly benefit me more either way.

The pets are great for dps but as mentioned above they don't produce threat for you and the gargoyle, while doing good dps, also subtracts threat from you as you won't be able to RP dump during.

I reckon DnD won't be used in any kind of rotation as Frost AoE threat is insane so I am really only interested in the 7 pts I chose from the Unholy tree. At first I had trouble leaving Reaping but BotN is much better since it affects Pestilence which will be used every AoE pull.

The build has got all the usual defensive talents as well as +6sec IB which the more Unholy based builds don't.

My only issue with dw tanking atm is the usual; parrygibbing and defense being hard to get. Granted its easier atm to get defense with dw but that will change in 3.0.8. I only have one real tanking 1h in Sword of Courage and I thought I would use Titansteel Destroyer as MH to start off, as it will give me some heavy FS's and also has high STA.

#4 Harion

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 02:22 PM

from what I'v seen, the DW tanking specs lacks of abilities to do, I think we'll have to wait until the next patch to come that will decrease the HB cooldown to zero.

I'm actually using this rotation: PS-IT-BS-BS-HB which is
10+10+10+10+15 = 55 rp without talents which is 65 rp with the IT glyph, 70 with CotG

And then? what do you use?

#5 Barden

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 02:29 PM

PS-IT-HB-BS-BS=10+25+20+10+10=75 counting CotG and IT glyph, both of which are given IMO. You will get only have RP for one RP dump during the first part of the rotation, but it leaves room for a Rime proc. In 3.0.8 FS will be 32RP with glyph and that will change the rotation.

The left is a single-target rotation and the right one for AoE.

[TABLE]sec|Ability|RP after using ability|sec|Ability|RP after using ability
0|PS|10|0|IT|25
1.5|IT|35|1,5|PS|35
3|HB|55|3|Pestilence|45
4.5|BS|65|4,5|HB|65
6|BS|75|6|BS|75
7.5|FS|35|7,5|FS|35
9-11.5sec|pause/Rime proc||9-11,5sec|pause/Rime proc
11,5|HB|55|11,5 HB|55
13|IT|80|13|IT|80
14,5|FS|40|14,5|FS|40
16|IT|65|16|IT|65
17,5|HB|85|17,5|HB|85
19|FS|45|19|FS|45
20,5|FS|5|20,5|FS|5[/TABLE]

I have heard people talking about 8sec refresh time on runes but I haven't understood how it works tbh.

#6 dukes

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 02:41 PM

In 3.0.8 FS will be 32RP with glyph and that will cover that problem.


That brings up the discussion of which glyphs to use, however. Once 3.0.8 hits, for a "deep frost" build there will be 4 good major glyphs for tanking:
- Icy Touch
- Unbreakable Armour
- Frost Strike
- Icebound Fortitude

The least "useful" of these I would guess to be Icebound Fortitude in comparing their worth over a 1 minute period, but having to make sure you have 20RP to be able to use IBF can be pretty annoying, especially in particular circumstances when you really want to use it. I really have no idea if I'll drop any of the ones I'm using (IT / IBF / UA) for the Frost Strike glyph.

#7 Barden

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 03:16 PM

While the UA glyph is great for survivability I would go with the other three since they make your rotation work/IBF not interupt it.

#8 Enyalius

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 03:18 PM

Typically I find that I like DW tanking more than 2H tanking the parry gibbing is not a big deal, I have seen the numbers but basically as frost bc most of our attacks are spells we have about the same chance to be parried as a sword and board warrior. I also have not really had an issue with threat unless someone is not targeting what I target in big aoe pulls, but that is hit or miss. As to the runic power generation, the first couple rotations at most may be runic power starved but it will get much better as you progress into a long boss encounter.

#9 Eonan

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 04:26 PM

I spent the last few days dinking around with several DW tanking build and always found that crit was my major problem with threat. I decided to try out 15/20/36 and I have enjoyed it. Parry hasting hasn't been an issue (if I use expertise food / expertise pot) and definitely won't be once I get the boots from Thaddius. I figure once I can pull more crit out of my gear that I can remove the 5 points in Dark Conviction. I would say that as with a DPS DW spec Killing Machine is our bread and butter.

#10 urotas

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 05:08 PM

That brings up the discussion of which glyphs to use, however. Once 3.0.8 hits, for a "deep frost" build there will be 4 good major glyphs for tanking:
- Icy Touch
- Unbreakable Armour
- Frost Strike
- Icebound Fortitude

The least "useful" of these I would guess to be Icebound Fortitude in comparing their worth over a 1 minute period, but having to make sure you have 20RP to be able to use IBF can be pretty annoying, especially in particular circumstances when you really want to use it. I really have no idea if I'll drop any of the ones I'm using (IT / IBF / UA) for the Frost Strike glyph.


What about the Glyph of Rune Strike? Next patch it'll just be a 10% crit increase to Rune Strike with no down sides. With the threat buff to Rune Strike, it'll be even more important to our threat generation. It also increases the amount of killing machine procs if you have the talent.

I'm personally not a very big fan of IBF glyph. I tend to use IBF either every cooldown, or for specific predictable situations like enrages. Either way it's not a big deal to make sure I have 20 runic power when I need it. It only gives 20 RP/minute on average, which is not that amazing.

#11 dukes

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 05:26 PM

Hmm, I hadn't even considered the RS glyph, which just makes the choice more annoying. I'll probably drop the IBF glyph for the RS glyph, keeping IT/UA. In terms of pure threat RS/IT/FS are probably the ones to go for, while for pure mitigation I guess it's UA swapped in for FS.

#12 Soulsbane

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 07:10 PM

The difficulties I'm finding in attempting to assemble a DW tanking build:

1. I can't convince myself that Killing Machine isn't crappy.
- In tanking gear, I'm usually sporting a whopping 7.37% crit chance. Raid buffs don't boost this very much and the measured boss crit suppression nullify most of these, leaving me ~9% crit rate on bosses. With a 2.6 MH and 1.6 OH with 25% haste giving a total of 25.25 attacks every 20 seconds, for 2.73 white crits every 20 seconds (6.82 crits per minute) which increase HB crit rate by 50% each, amounting to an increase of 3.41 HB crits per minute. However, the last thing I want is to put more eggs into a roulette basket. With a need for Defense, Dodge, Stamina, Hit, and Expertise, I don't think I can find space to go out of my way to fit crit rating onto my gear. Regardless, the value of these crits is going to be somewhat variable based on talents... which brings me to my next point.
2. Talent exclusivity is a bitch.
- Impurity, Black Ice, Glacier Rot, Desecration, Tundra Stalker and Bladed Armor will all increase the value of Howling Blast, but naturally it isn't possible to reach all of them. Since Howling Blast is close to a given for DW tanking, Glacier Rot and Black Ice are close to assumed. At 25k armor, Impurity out-scales Bladed Armor relatively quickly on Howling Blast, but doesn't stop Bladed Armor from still providing a significant bonus. In addition, both Impurity and Bladed Armor increase damage across a wide scale. However, getting both talents requires difficult sacrifices.
3. Talent Opportunity Cost
- With Dual Wielding, there isn't much question that HB > BSx2, but reaching Reaping means not reaching Unbreakable Armor and reaching Guile of the Gorefiend means losing points in Impurity or Bladed Armor (Blade Barrier is non-negotiable). It's possible to reach HB and Bone Shield, but maxing Blade Barrier at four ranks, which is somewhat questionable if that 20% mitigation with variable uptime is worth 2% parry with 100% manageable uptime.

HERE is the skeleton to which I always get drawn back. Points constantly bounce around between Reaping, Dark Conviction, BCB, Chill of the Grave, and Rime. My guild almost never has an enhancement shaman, and without the HB cooldown being removed just yet, it doesn't feel fair to my guild to spend a Naxx run trying to "test" something in which I have little confidence for aggro production to get more solid numbers for the white damage percentage and crit rate. Even my Attack Power bounces around on raids enough to make it a non-stable number for theorycrafting (3500-4600).

#13 Baconslicer

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 07:55 PM

1. I can't convince myself that Killing Machine isn't crappy.
- In tanking gear, I'm usually sporting a whopping 7.37% crit chance. Raid buffs don't boost this very much and the measured boss crit suppression nullify most of these, leaving me ~9% crit rate on bosses. With a 2.6 MH and 1.6 OH with 25% haste giving a total of 25.25 attacks every 20 seconds, for 2.73 white crits every 20 seconds (6.82 crits per minute) which increase HB crit rate by 50% each, amounting to an increase of 3.41 HB crits per minute. However, the last thing I want is to put more eggs into a roulette basket. With a need for Defense, Dodge, Stamina, Hit, and Expertise, I don't think I can find space to go out of my way to fit crit rating onto my gear. Regardless, the value of these crits is going to be somewhat variable based on talents... which brings me to my next point.


The thing about KM is the synergy with Glyph of Rune Strike. Despite the tooltip for KM, RS crits do cause KM procs in my testing on live. I haven't heard of any changes to this in 3.0.8 (though that doesn't mean there aren't any, of course).

Assuming you've got the RP to hit RS every time it's up (certainly true for 2h, though less so for DW), the glyph means you're looking at 10% more crit on all your mainhand swings. It's a decent glyph choice even without KM, but there's enough synergy that you shouldn't necessarily consider one without the other.

Math to come later if I get the time.

#14 Torn

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 08:26 PM

3. Talent Opportunity Cost
- With Dual Wielding, there isn't much question that HB > BSx2, but reaching Reaping means not reaching Unbreakable Armor and reaching Guile of the Gorefiend means losing points in Impurity or Bladed Armor (Blade Barrier is non-negotiable).


Great summary, I'd just like to add that it is possible to reach both Unbreakable Armor and Reaping/Impurity. (5/36/30)
You will, however, lose Bladed Armor. So your point is still valid of course (talent opportunity cost).

#15 Teme

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 08:54 PM

With upcoming changes to frost presence bladed armor would be a bit more attractive.

It's either bladed armor or impurity, having both in a build wouldn't be much of a tanking build.

Personally I would take bladed armor since UA would also boost armor and str and works like a mini pally wings for that bit of extra threat in the beginning of a fight.

Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft looks interesting, losing tundra stalker isn't so bad since I have 23 expertise with it untalented.

With 2 def swords you can have 1 or 2 slots open to use DPS gear to up crit and ap, having Seal of the Pantheon really helps.

So with dark conviction talented I would have around 14-15% crit unbuffed which would help with KM procs.

EDIT: Just noticed the trinket also increases armor! so bladed armor gets another boost!

so thats 20s from UA and 20s from the trinket, these would really help keep threat up in a geared raid.

#16 Soulsbane

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 09:22 PM

It's either bladed armor or impurity, having both in a build wouldn't be much of a tanking build.


I disagree. My concern is with aggro. Toughness, Frigid Dreadplate, Lichborne, and Blade Barrier still form a solid backbone of tanking talents and is still the majority of the survivability talents we even have. However, with the loss of the larger 2-handed instant melee specials, my thoughts are regarding whether or not Howling Blast can be made "big" enough to make up for the loss along with the difference in white damage. Losing 40+ percent crit chance Obliterates and having BS/PS shrink a noteworthy amount is a rather big deal with regards to aggro.

#17 dukes

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 09:26 PM

The AP from Bladed Armour only updates every so often (15-20 seconds or so, as far as I can tell), which means that you'll only gain a partial benefit from the increased armour from UA and trinket uses. Switch to Frost presence and back while you have Bladed Armour and watch your AP - it will take some time to update to the new value unless you get very lucky.

#18 Teme

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 09:45 PM

As a 3pt talent GoG is a solid increase in damage/threat for HB while also providing you with 6 more seconds of IBF and points in dark conviction would increase KM procs, all helping towards threat.

In the end we put 5pts into KM, crit is what KM requires, 25% from your ap to boost non critting HB/IT is a waste of 5 points.

Also where is your extra ap coming from? Without bladed armor your ap is very low.

All our abilities scale with AP don't it? Wouldn't bladed armor be the better choice since there are boosts coming from many sources (UA, +armor trinkets, frost presence, protection aura?)

As for the ap bonus from bladed armor not updating fast enough that sounds a bug or maybe your ap is increased but just takes longer to show up.

#19 Soulsbane

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 10:35 PM

As a 3pt talent GoG is a solid increase in damage/threat for HB while also providing you with 6 more seconds of IBF and points in dark conviction would increase KM procs, all helping towards threat.


The issue with GoG is that it means 43 points have been put into Frost, leaving an insufficient number for the other talents mentioned.

In the end we put 5pts into KM, crit is what KM requires, 25% from your ap to boost non critting HB/IT is a waste of 5 points.


That is your opinion. Without math to back it up, don't expect it to sway me. Impurity is strong for HB because of the multiple stacking percentage buffs. We're already taking an ability that does 280 base damage and managing to make it reach 4-6k and higher. A difference of 10% versus 12.5% is a big deal when it happens before another 10%, 10%, 30%, 200% and possibly 245% after that.

Also where is your extra ap coming from? Without bladed armor your ap is very low.


Tanks don't exist in a vaccuum. The AP listed on my armory is without a presence, so it is already short a few hundred. Then boosted with Blessing of Might, Blessing of Kings, Mark of the Wild, Horn of Winter, etc. As I stated earlier in the thread, aggro is something I am concerned about with switching to dual-wield, so when I post, expect that to be a focus.

All our abilities scale with AP don't it? Wouldn't bladed armor be the better choice since there are boosts coming from many sources (UA, +armor trinkets, frost presence, protection aura?)

As for the ap bonus from bladed armor not updating fast enough that sounds a bug or maybe your ap is increased but just takes longer to show up.


It has a delay. You can test it. Stay in Frost Presence. Test your spells. Then shift to Blood Presence. For 15-20s, you will have the damage from the bonus attack power from Frost Presence's armor plus Blood Presence's multiplier.

#20 Teme

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 12:02 AM

Just done a H UK run to test my spec out.

I had zero aggro issues thanks to KM procing alot, compared to another spec I tried before with impurity HB does pretty much the same if not more damage.

I also get boosts from all the buffs you listed. Looking at your armory I have around the same AP as you when I'm in unholy aura, and your still using 2H. Your crit is very low which would make taking KM useless, I'm not saying you must take dark conviction but such low crit just doesn't make sense putting 5 points in KM.

To sacrifice UA and GoG means you lower your survivability. If Blizzard fixed/changed the AP delay it makes bladed armor even more valuable.

Again, the delay from changing a presence sounds like something not intended.




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