Tag Archives: Firelands

Thoughts on tanking in Firelands

18 Jul

So, my guild has gone 2 for 7 in the Firelands now. First week, we killed Shannox, and this past raid week we killed Baleroc. I’ve gotta give Blizz some real credit, cause it seems to me they’re trying out a lot of new mechanics for the FL raid bosses. They make things interesting, that’s for sure. First there’s Shannox and his goddamn dogs. Ugh. Although he’s relatively easy to tank, you really have to keep your eyes open. Stepping on an Immo trap as a tank is gonna cause you to take a SHIT ton of damage, and possibly even die. Stepping on a crystal trap is pretty much instant-wipe. If you’ve taken a look at our kill video for Shannox (in my youtube channel) then may noticed that I strafe along the outside of the cleared area to avoid stepping in the traps. It also helps keep the traps in a predictable area so my melee DPS avoid stepping on them as well. The downside is that placement of crystal traps aren’t always in the best of spots for catching Riplimb when your tanks need to drop their stacks of Jagged Tear. In my video (it was our guild’s first kill, so it was VERY messy), you may notice that both the Riplimb tank and myself reached pretty high stack counts a couple times during the fight.

 

Baleroc is a fight that makes me happy in the pants. Since, as a tank, I can’t measure my epeen the same way DPS do, THAT fight continues to increase my health pool the longer it goes on. I saw myself pop over 2 million when I hit Frenzied Regeneration, and there’s absolutely no chance at all that I was cackling like a mad scientist. Nope… Not at all. >.>

Anyway… In spite of the mind-boggling health pool, this fight is absurdly stressful. The healers, the DPS, and the tank (we decided to one-tank it, because we’re cool like that) all have a LOT of communication to make with each other. Decimation Blades is one of those abilities, that just… every time I see it pop up it makes me cringe a bit. Luckily, as a bear, i’ve got an insanely high dodge chance, so only 3 out of the 9 Decimating Strikes actually hit me. Looking back through the combat log, I actually dodged over 50% of ALL of his attacks, so in the grand scheme of things, I could have taken *WAY* more damage, but i’m not sure I could’ve survived it. There were a couple times where I was so close to dying, i’m pretty sure I flailed at my keys looking for a cooldown to hit (and luckily, I always had at least one up, except near the very end).

Now, i’m not going to go into full on strategies or anything, but Baleroc is an intense encounter. If you’re not careful, there can be a LOT of confusion going on. We actually had to take the healer team and myself into another vent channel so the DPS could coordinate their crystal rotation without interfering with the healer’s stack/proc rotation (which was, admittedly, less rotation and more “Okay, my buff is ending.”, “Okay, i’ll take it”). The only reason I went into the healer channel as well was to call out the Decimation Blade, so they weren’t caught offguard with “OMFG HE’S GONNA DIE” health. I also definitely didn’t laugh quite a bit when I dodged an entire round of Decimating Strikes. >.>

Either way it goes, i’m pretty proud of my raiders overall. We had to come back and say “okay maybe later” to Alysrazor and Rhyolith, because there’s just something that’s not clicking for us just yet… who knows, we may find it by the time we kill Beth’tilac. By and large though, i’m pretty pleased with this raid tier. Yeah, some guilds are blowing through it at breakneck pace, but that’s not us, and it probably won’t ever be us.. Honestly, we don’t want that. Too much stress, for me personally.

The Firelands Shuffle

2 Jul

I didn’t actually MEAN to go a full week without posting, but for some reason it just sort of happened. I blame the patch… anyway.

 

So… the Firelands huh? What’s THAT all about? I’ll give a few thoughts on it.

TOO MUCH TRASH, EXECUTUS.

We went in for the first time, as a guild, the day after the patch dropped (so, Wed the 29th, for those of you playing at home) and had an absolute blast. We played with the trash, we got some people their friendly cloaks, we played with the trash some more, and hey we even got a few attempts on the first boss we planned on, Shannox. Didn’t kill him the first night, but by the time we cleared enough trash for him to come down and start patroling, it was like.. half our raid time was over. On top of that, there was a nasty 2 hour trash respawn timer. Luckily Blizz had fixed that the next day (extending the timer to 4 hours). But still… MAN is there a shit ton of trash to clear before Shannox will start coming down to look for you. The next day when we went back in, even without having to explain the trash to everyone it still took almost an hour to clear enough trash for that fool to come at us. It took us another several tries of working out minor details (and people learning to not stand on traps so much), but eventually we DID end up killing the fucker. So now, SiB is 1/7 in the firelands. \o/

 

Shannox isn’t an overly complicated fight, but it does require quite a bit of precision from everybody. Also, the untauntableness can be pretty damn annoying when there’s not a trap near enough to the Riplimb tank for him to drop the damn dog in. I got up to 13 or 14 stacks, and the Riplimb tank got 18 stacks of that stupidass debuff before we cleared it off once… Ah well, such is life. We still got the kill (ugly as it was), and there’s a video for it on my youtube channel.

 

So, next week we’re going in to fight Alysrazor. I’ve been scanning wowprogress, and I came across an amusing thing. Among guilds on my server, the only guilds that have killed Alysrazor are the ones who have got at least 4 boss kills. (And one of the two guilds at 4/7 even skipped her, which I didn’t realize you could do). So… my guild is different. Or we’re just difficult. Hell, truth be told, probably a bit of both. One thing I do find kind of funny though… I think Blizz underestimated just how quickly some guilds would blow through 7/7 normal mode. Now granted, these people are all insane, but one guild even decided to get a jump on the system and faction transfer, resetting their raid ID, and start working on the heroic modes. Blizzard promptly said “Ha ha, NO” and promptly locked out all heroic modes until next week’s reset. Now, I am not calling “Stars” cheaters, but I think what they did is cheap as hell. I also think that if Blizz didn’t profit off of their “ingenuity”, they’d probably have that kill stricken from the records and recieve a 72 hour ban. Hell, Ensidia (i think?) had their world first LK kill removed, and were banned for 72 hours because some people were using Saronite Bombs in their rotation, and the siege damage caused the platform to rebuild, effectively neutralizing a MAJOR mechanic of that fight. And THAT was a bug on Blizzard’s part. It wasn’t even someone intentionally trying to game the system like the people at Stars were… so make of that what you will.

 

I also want to take a brief moment to complain about some of the crafting stuff…. again. There are patterns for craftable items that drop in the raid. These craftable items are ilvl 378, just like other raid drops. There are also craftable items that you have to purchase from the Molten Front vendors, after many days worth of dailies. These crafteables are ilvl 365… LOWER than what drops in the Firelands. What is the point in this? To use an example, we’ll go with the Witch-Hunter’s Harvester. Not a bad little agility polearm, that my druid would LOVE to have, but it won’t even be available for AT LEAST another week or so. By then, there’s moderate chance that my guild may fish up a Ranseur of Hatred, which is a BoE zone drop, and an even BETTER than the blacksmithed item. BLIZZARD! Y U NO MAEK SENCE!

Firelands’ Bling – Bear Version

6 Jun

I’m rather surprised to see that there’s actually less agility items than there are strength items. But I guess it kinda makes sense, cause they have to differentiate strength items into tanking and non-tanking items, whereas agility is just… agility. It kinda makes things a bit more competetive if there’s any kitties, rogues, hunters, or enhancement shammies in your raid.

Necklaces:

(Heroic) Necklace of Strife – The *only* necklace in heroic t11. /shrug. Not spectacularly itemized (With the haste), but if you’re doing heroics, you probably already have it. I’m annoyed that in 13 bosses, there’s only one necklace in the whole tier worth using.

Flamesign Necklace – The *only* necklace in t12 content. Yet again, not amazingly itemized (hit and crit), but if it’s the only one… yeah, you’ll probably end up picking it up.

Ring: There’s actually a few more choices here than there are for the other tanks.

Band of Ghoulish Glee – Pretty sure this is going to drop from the Headless Horseman, so it’ll only be available for a limited time. That said, it’s not a half bad ring, for how easily you’d be able to pick it up.

Band of Glittering Lights – Not a very good ring, bearwise. Crit and haste are among our lowest priorities, so this one is probably better off left on the shelf.

Matoclaw’s Band – Another hit/crit ring, but without the downside of only being available for a couple weeks.  Nearly identical to the Horseman’s ring, if you’re coming from 359 rings, this one may not be a bad upgrade until you can pick up one of the raid-drops.

(Heroic) Lightning Conductor’s Band – If you picked this one up Heroic Omnotron, then you’ll probably hang on to it for a while. Hit and Crit rear their respective puzzled heads again, making this one of the only rings you might ever see from heroic t11 content. Conclave’s loot table is WAY too random for me to even think about listing them here, so I won’t (also, because I don’t know all of the enchantments available with them).

Splintered Brimstone Seal – The first of two t12 level rings, this one actually has mastery on it… something severely lacking from everything of a lower item level.  This one is probably BiS for 378’s, as it has slightly more crit, that can be reforged off into dodge, but still a good amount of mastery for those delicious savage defense shields.

Widow’s Kiss – Still a solid choice for bear rings, the haste on this one makes it a little less desirable than the Splintered Brimstone Seal. Also, it has less mastery than it’s counterpart. Not necessarily something you should pass up, per se, but the other one is just better for us.

 

Trinkets, for druids, are still an object of contention. All signs still point to bears wanting to prioritize agility over stamina, so it may work to your benefit to have an agility trinket, as well as a standard “tanking” trinket. The full listing of tank oriented trinkets, you can find here, so I won’t list all of them again… I’ll just put the agility trinkets here specifically for bears.

Aella’s Bottle (has the EXACT same stats/proc/use ability as Ricket’s Magnetic Fireball)- Obviously, the proc makes it look more DPS oriented (and it probably is), but this isn’t a bad trinket for bears by any means. If your bear is an alchemist, however, you can probably hang on to the Quicksilver Alchemist’s Stone over this one, as the agility comes REALLY close to equaling out, if you throw a socket-matching gem in there. Also, the bonus healing from potions can be quite nice, and really a lifesaver in some situations i’m sure. The on-use ability for this trinket could be modestly decent to help force a savage defense proc, but that’s about it. Kind of a tossup, depending on your current trinket situation.

(Heroic) Essence of the Cyclone – Circumstantially, one of the best trinkets from t11 content. High baseline agility, and a (somewhat useful) high proc for crit make this a good trinket to keep around for rotating in and out. I have a feeling tanks are going to be keeping several trinkets stashed in their bags.

(Heroic) Prestor’s Talisman of Machination – Not quite as good as the Essence of the Cyclone, based solely on the proc (haste instead of crit), but the baseline agility still make it a decent grab, if you haven’t picked up the other one, for some reason.

The Hungerer – The only i378 agility trinket available, this one is better off going to your rogues and hunters first. The agility base is high, of course, but the special effect, unique as it is, is completely worthless to us.  You can probably, safely, go without this for a while.

What trinket setup I would go with would be pretty dependant on the fight, obviously… but I would most likely keep (Heroic) Essence of the Cyclone, Moonwell Phial, Brawler’s Trophy, and Mirror of Broken Images in my bags at all times. Of course, your mileage may vary, and what you have access to actually picking up is going to differ with your guild’s progression as well. Hope these gear lists are helpful to you. Again, i’m hardly the be-all, end-all on this stuff. These are just my opinions, and are things to look forward to picking up once 4.2 drops.

 

Firelands’ Bling – DK version

3 Jun

Okay, so ignore the *terrible* post title, it is actually kind of fitting. When I made my DK and bear gear lists over the last few days, I intentionally ignored the relics, necklaces, rings, and trinkets, because I didn’t have enough info. Sadly, it still doesn’t look like there are a *lot* of choices in some of these, but I also realized that there’s more of them at different item levels. I’ll probably just go ahead and include heroic t11 versions as well, for the sake of completion.

Keep in mind, if I list an item that I say is more oriented towards DPS than tanking, then that means you SHOULD let your DPS have it, even if it’s not terribly itemized for you. The differences between them are usually small like socket bonuses, or a silly green stat (haste or crit for DKs, for example). It’s also worth noting that DKs, Pallys, and Warriors no longer get *ANY* sort of benefit from agility on their gear. Not that you should have had much anyways from the first tier, but if there’s any left after 4.2, you may as well have an empty slot now.

Necklaces:

Fireheart Necklace – From what I can tell, this will be made for sale after doing some of the new dailies around the Firelands area. It doesn’t seem like it has any rep requirements (so far), so it’ll probably be available rather quickly. That said, it’s still a 365 ilvl, so it’ll be a good upgrade over 359 gear (or, if you’ve had CRAP LUCK like me, a 346 still.. sigh). Anyway, stat-wise, expertise and mastery make this perfectly fine to upgrade from your non-heroic drops.

(Heroic) Rage of Ages – Dropping from Heroic Nef, this is hardly an “easy” piece to come by, but hit and mastery make it a pretty good piece to hold on to if you’ve got one. Sadly, there weren’t a lot of choices as far as necks go in t11 content.

(Heroic) Ironstar Amulet – Probably, technically, BiS for current content, but also completely interchangeable with H-RoA. If you have either of those necklaces, you’re probably set for a while. If you’re lucky enough to have both, then you can probably keep them both and flip-flop them depending on the encounter.

Firebound Gorget – Sadly… this looks like the *only* 378 neck suitable for tanking with. But with expertise being so prevalent on the other tanking gear i’ve seen thus far, you could probably almost leave this for one of the heroic t11, depending on your other gear. Seems like they’re trying to give us a bit more threat stats (hit and expertise) this tier. I can’t complain about that.

Rings:

Lylagar Horn Ring – One of two 365 rings that we can go after, this one is the better of the two with Parry and Expertise. From what I can gather, it looks like this one is also coming from some sort of vendor accessable through Firelands’ dailies. Notice that, for now, it needs a tooltip change to make it require level 85 instead of 80. That’ll be coming soon.

Nemesis Shell Band – The other 365 tank-flavored ring, it’s still a pretty solid upgrade over the 359s, and probably won’t be difficult to come by either.

(Heroic) Bile-O-Tron Nut – A solid tanky ring, that’s a direct upgrade over the Nemesis Shell Band. Exact same stats and everything. Pretty much a no-brainer to hang on to, if you’re at this point in your raiding.

I’m also pretty sure there’s heroic versions of Conclave’s rings, but there’s so many different combos, that i’m not even gonna try listing them all.

Deflecting Brimstone Band – One of two i378 rings, that are actually pretty definitive upgrades over everything else.

Stalwart Ember Seal – The other i378 tanking ring. No brainer really. These are some of the most clear-cut upgrades in t12 content.

Relics: One thing Blizz it seems like Blizz  rethought a little bit, is only offering one relic for all of t11 level content, bought at the VP vendor. This time around, there are at least 2 we can pick up, but they’re still different item levels, so there still really isn’t much choice.

Relic of Tortolla – An ilvl 365 upgrade to the Relic of Khaz’goroth most of us probably picked up forever ago. I’m not entirely sure if this is what will be sold by the VP vendor in 4.2, or if it’ll come from Firelands dailies (but my guess is the dailies), so sadly… this probably won’t last very long.

Deathclutch Figurine – The only tanking 378 relic, most likely purchased from the valor vendor, will of course be your main choice. Funny thing is, you’ll probably end up waiting to pick this up for at least a few more slots first, because relics offer so little to our overall stats.

Trinkets have become more of an odd slot to gear for with tanks in Cataclysm. Back in Wrath you could just slap something with a bunch of stam in there, and be good, but with t11 content, pure stam stacking has gone pretty south until the very end of heroic content (cho’gall, sinestra, etc), in favor of mitigation. Downside is, some trinkets were situational (Mirror of Broken Images), some were just pretty bad (Bedrock Talisman), and some given REALLY crappy procs or on-use effects (i’m looking at you DMC: Earthquake). That said, I would still keep Mirror of Broken Images in my bags for heavy spell-damage fights.

Bitterer Balebrew Charm – Brewfest trinket. Good for lots of stam, and not much else. Low priority, really. Same goes for Bubblier Balebrew Charm.

Brawler’s Trophy – A better version of the DMC: Earthquake, with a MUCH better on-use ability. This one could definitely be worth picking up while it’s available.

Moonwell Phial – I don’t see the stats from this making it live. As it is right now, 765 stam is more than i391 trinkets (heroic firelands), and the on-use ability is nothing short of AMAZING. (If my VERY rough, brain dead math is correct, 1700 dodge rating equals out to just under 10% dodge, give or take). If it goes live as is, with these stats, it’s going to most likely be one of the best trinkets we can pick up.  I fully expect the stam to get nerfed, but it’ll still be worth picking up.

(Heroic) Symbiotic Worm – The good amount of stam, and the bonus mastery when you need it most make this a trinket that’s worth hanging on to, for and swapping out on occasion.

(Heroic) Vial of Stolen Memories – Probably a bit above the Heroic Symbiotic Worm, because the avoidance gained by this trinket is something you can plan for, instead of just having it proc when you get low on health. Also worth keeping in your bags.

Gift of the Greatfather – A large amount of base mastery make this worth looking at, but the associated proc with this strike me as very underwhelming. They may adjust the absorption upwards later, but 17k isn’t even enough to brush off one melee swing from any boss in t11 content, and the fact that it can only occur once a minute… yeah. Just not sure this is going to be worth it in the grand scheme of things.

Scales of Life – The additional stam is decent and the side effect is… Interesting. I have to give it to Blizz for trying new ideas. I know i’ve said it before, but I like the fact that they’re making the trinkets (and tier set bonuses and such) more interesting than the standard fare. That said, I think this trinket’s extra ability falls short of being worthwhile. A 17k heal is little more than a non-crit weak-heal from your average healer in 346 gear. If they make the absorb/heal scale a bit higher (maybe double that amount?) than it would be a much better trinket, but as it is now… I might bypass it for the time being.

Stay of Execution – I’m not sure if the absorption number on this is correct (up to 171k? wow…)… Actually, looking at the heroic version, i’m positive it’s just a typo, but if it’s supposed to be 17k, like the Scales of Life and Gift of the Greatfather numbers are, then, yet again, it is just underwhelming. If they were to double that amount, this could be a really worthwhile trinket (and would put it at about half of the heroic version’s absorbption as well, which seems reasonable to me). As it is, it’s probably decent to pick up for the big baseline dodge rating, but it could be way better if they tweak those health-related numbers just a bit.

 

Overall, i’m pretty unimpressed with the trinkets. It almost seems like the 359/372 trinkets are worth hanging on to over the new firelands ones… Except maybe for that dodge trinket from Brewfest,

Bear-Flavored Firelands Gear

31 May

Well, I did say I would put a bear’s list up comparable to my DK list for t12 content, and here it is. As far as I can tell so far, the stats are pretty much the same priority-wise as they were in t11. Agility and Dodge are still gonna be king. After that it looks to be Mastery > Expertise >= Hit > Crit > Haste. Obviously, Dodge doesn’t come standard on any leather gear, so that will be just about the only thing you reforge into. Gem-wise, you’ll be using Agility, Agility/Stam or Dodge/Stam.

Chest:

Demon’s Lord Wings – Haste is always crappy for us. I think Blizz is trying to find some use for it for bears, but yeah. I can’t see them doing much of anything that’ll make it any decent for us, other than getting an extra swing over the course of 10 seconds.

Obsidian Arborweave Raiment – Aside from the fact that both our 2p and 4p bonuses are hot this time around (get it? hot? har har?) this is just better itemized than the offset piece. Crit, being the higher value, is what you’d want to reforge towards dodge.

Feet:

Sandals of the Flaming Scorpion – Crit and mastery, plus the gem socket make this pair of boots the preferable pair. Also, the higher individual stat means you have more to reforge away from this than the others.

Treads of the Craft – Haste again. Blugh. Also, no gem socket…  Even though there’s more base agility (and thus, dodge) on these, the Flaming Scorpions end up with a higher amount of dodge if you throw an agi/stam gem in them, and reforge the higher stat into dodge. The bonus these boots have is that they’re crafted, so they’ll be easier to obtain for a while… but probably quite expensive for a while.

Hands:

Aviana’s Grips – These are lower ilvl than the raid drops, but will probably be easy to obtain, but they’re not very well itemized for us.

Clutches of Evil – Crafted and the same ilvl as the raid drops, but again not quite well itemized. Also, no gem socket. I would generally try to skip anything with haste on it, if I had my choice of things… admittedly, it doesn’t always work that way.

Gloves of Dissolving Smoke – These would probably be the item of choice. They aren’t your tier gloves, but these are a bit better itemized, set-bonuses not withstanding.

Obsidian Arborweave Grips – These aren’t the best itemized for tier pieces, but… it’s still a tier piece. (Here’s a little hint… I haven’t looked at all the tier pieces yet, so I don’t know which one is the piece to skip yet. I am looking these up as I go along. *gasp*)

Head:

Obsidian Arborweave Headpiece – A tier piece with hit rating on it? What is this I don’t even. Do *not* bypass this one if you get a chance to grab it up.

Vision of the Flaming Skull – This one has haste rating, so it’s instantly worse than the tier piece. Plus… y’know… tier lol.

 

Legs:

Cinderweb Leggings – I think you’re getting the idea by now. Haste? Pass it up, especially for a tier slot.

Obsidian Arborweave Legguards – ANOTHER leather piece with hit? YOU’LL TAKE THAT HIT RATING AND YOU’LL LIKE IT. (Seriously, i’m confused). Besides, we’ve already talked about the tier bonuses, right?

 

Shoulders:

Obsidian Arborweave Spaulders – I’m pretty sure the choice is clear by now. Although the choice between the tier shoulders and the off-tier shoulders isn’t nearly as difficult (as neither of them have haste :P), but these still come out on top by way of mastery and crit rating.

Shoulderpads of the Forgotten Gale – If you’re shooting to get more hit rating, then these are a solid choice, but, of course, the tier is better overall because man those set bonuses are nice. And mastery is still pretty good for us as far as survival goes, but dodge is still better in the long run.

 

Belt:

Flamebinding Girdle – With this belt coming from rep with the new Avengers of Hyjal faction, these will probably be easy to come across relatively quickly, but these are “technically” worse than the raid dropped belt… (y’know, that pesky haste rating and everything).

Riplamb’s Lost Collar – Stastitcally better, but probably harder to come across than the other belt. Also, it has expertise, which seems a bit more difficult to come across as well.

 

Bracers:

Flamebinder Bracers – Wow.. the curse of the leather bracers continues. I remember going absolutely berserk while gearing up on my druid, looking for bracers. And then there was only 1 set of 359 bracers, which means there’s only one set of heroic t11 bracers. This is a fucking terrible trend, and really needs to stop.

Now, lets look briefly at the tier pieces, so you can see which 4 pieces to take for your 4p bonus, and which one to leave out.

Hands – Crit/Haste (10 agi socket bonus)

Head – Hit/Crit (30 agi socket bonus)

Legs – Hit/Mastery (20 agi socket bonus)

Chest – Crit/Exp (20 agi socket bonus)

Shoulders – Crit/Mastery (10 agi socket bonus)

Just at a quick glance, I would easily drop the hands for one of the other choices. Fortunatly, the gloves are one slot that have multiple options, so it shouldn’t be hard to find something different to use, and get your 4pt12 in other slots. That being said, I don’t know what bosses are dropping tier tokens (or tier pieces, however they’re doing it this go-round), so if… say Ragnaros holds on to the head slot (which I could very well see happening), and you have 3 other slots, feel free to pick up the gloves and get your 4p bonus. I would rather have that set bonus than sit without it for the sake of a little bit of better itemization.

Weapons: I’m doing these the same way I did the DK weapons, and including heroic t11 versions, just because of the small number of choices.

Witch Hunter’s Harvester – This is the new crafted weapon available for bears to paw at for a little while. Sadly, it’s a lower ilvl than Firelands weapons… and even lower than heroic t11 weapons, but if you’re still using a 359, it may not be a terrible choice. Crit and mastery make it pretty well itemized for us at any rate.

(Heroic) Malevolence – As the heroic version of the *only* 2handed agility weapon from t11 content, you’re probably very familiar with this weapon. You’ve probably also fought with every hunter and kitty in your guild over it as well. Such is life. At least it’s well itemized for us, also with Crit and Mastery, but only having 1 usable item in an entire tier of content, out of 13 bosses? That’s fuckin lame.

Ranseur of Hatred – First of the 378 drops, this is definitely the “worse” between them. If you have to pick between this and Heroic Malevolence, it’s pretty much a tossup between them. As we know, haste is worthless for us, but there’s a good amount of it to reforge off into dodge, and it also has more baseline agility and stam.

Fandral’s Flaming Spire – No doubt the best item available before heroic raiding for the bear types. Crit and mastery are the tasty combo of weapon stats for bears, it seems (on 3 of the 4 items i’m listing here), which works out just fine for us. Sad to see that there’s no sockets on any of these weapons though, like there is for Sulfuras.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firelands gear for Blood DKs

29 May

I’ll do another list in a few days for Bears, because I know a lot of people appreciated my prior bear lists… but seeing as my druid is on the shelf right now, i’ll have to do a bit more research into their stat priorities to make sure nothing’s changed (which, i’m pretty sure it hasn’t).

So… i’ve been spending the last hour trying to make wowhead tooltips work on this site, and apparently I can’t do that without paying wordpress for something, so just… straight out to hell with that. Normal links it is… sorry folks. Anyway, with the 379 gear coming out in droves, I figure it’s time to look into what is coming, and see what DK tanks will want that’s all shiny come 4.2. Keep in mind that this is based off of the PTR database wowhead currently has listed. While they’re usually good about keeping it up to date, there’s no guarantee that it’s not incomplete, and I will update this page when the finalized list pre-patch is published.

I also want to clarify that even though i’ve listed a few mainly-DPS items in this set list, I am by no fucking means advocating that you take a DPS piece over a DPSer in your raid. The ones I list are only there because they have a good amount of mastery, which makes them acceptable substitutes for tank pieces, if you have shitty luck with drops. But the DPS should have first grab at them, not you.

More additions: A bunch of 365 ilvl items were datamined recently, so I decided to add them in for the slots i’ve already got here.

Chest -
Elementium Deathplate Chestguard – Good ol’ tier 12. Although, i’m a bit disappointed by the lack of mastery here, the avoidance is very good. The Red/yellow socket combination is also a bit strange, but a Parry/stam (purple), and Mastery/stam (green) will take care of it just like everything else.

Flamescarred Carapace – Dodge with mastery, and 2 blue sockets? Yummy. You can throw mastery/stam gems in, or parry/stam gems, and come out with that nice socket bonus.

Carapace of Shifting Visions – Obviously a DPS piece, with the +20 Str socket bonus, but this has more mastery than the offset tanking chest, and haste, while crummy for tanks, can be reforged off for a good bit of avoidance. As far as non-tank pieces go, you could definitely do worse than this one.

Feet -

Cracked Obsidian Stompers – A pretty solid choice. Expertise seems to be all over plate gear, and DKs need that less than hit, almost, since Rune Strike can’t be dodged, blocked, or parried. Even still, a solid amount of avoidance, and a respectable socket bonus from one blue gem slot. Can plug in a mastery/stam gem, or a parry/stam gem, depending on your specific tanking style.

Mirrored Boots – I’m not entirely sure these numbers won’t be tweaked at some point… but these have a LOT more strength (which translates into more parry), to make up for the lack of socket. Also, it has a large amount of mastery already on them… more than the other boots, even if you put 2 +40 mastery gems, and reforged dodge into mastery. Downside here, is that they are crafted boots, and will probably be expensive for quite some time come patch day.

The DPS boots really aren’t that viable as options. They have terrible green-stats for tanking, that even reforging would only slightly fix. Focus on the two I listed.

Pyrelord Greaves – These have lower stats than the raid drops, but they’re still a pretty solid set of tanking boots if you’re looking to upgrade from a 359. The socket bonus is kinda crappy though (10 parry? blugh)

Hands -

Elementium Deathplate Handguards – This tier piece is *damn* tasty. Really couldn’t have asked for better itemization, glove-wise. And the 4p bonus is just so damn nice, this is definitely one of the ones you’ll want to include in the set.

Eternal Elementium Handguards – Crafted gloves, that are also damn nicely itemized. Parry instead of dodge, depending on how the rest of your gear makes the numbers fall. No socket makes it fall JUST barely short of the tier ones (as they made up the difference in strength instead of stam), but if you’re having bad luck with drops, these are a perfectly acceptable alternative.

Flickering Handguards – Itemization is good, but the socket bonus of only 10 mastery just underwhelms me. Not *bad* gloves, by any means, but not as good as the first two I listed.

Fireskin Gauntlests – Technically DPS gloves, but these aren’t half bad for tanks either. They have mastery, which is a plus, and a bit of hit rating, which is SEVERELY lacking on our gear in t11. Granted we don’t want to prioritize hit very highly, but my tank currently has 1% hit, and THAT only comes from the draenei passive. Take these only as a kind of last resort, and if no ret pallies/warriors/dps dks want them.

Head -

Elementium Deathplate Faceguard – Our tier slot. Not a half bad one, but again the lack of mastery disappoints me. A surprisingly large amount of parry make these a worthwhile investment anyway.

Helm of Blazing Glory – Parry and Mastery, a winning combination as always. The yellow socket is… curious, but it’s a great place for you JCs to throw a mastery Chimera’s eye into, for the fat 45 socket bonus.

Nestheart Greathelm – The crit is garbage, as this is obviously a DPS helm, but the ENORMOUS heap of mastery make up for it. Sadly, the socket bonus is also pretty crappy for us. Not a bad alternative, simply because OMNOMMASTERY, but not a great one either. Try to focus on the first two.

Legs -

Elementium Deathplate Legguards – Parry and Mastery seem to be the big guns for this tier so far. Mastery is good, but if your parry rating gets too high, you’ll probably start pushing the envelope on diminishing returns. That said, these are still probably one you’d want to include in your 4-piece.

Legplates of Frenzied Devotion – The lack of mastery make these a bit less desirable than the legs, but with Parry being seen on almost every piece thus far, they’re a good candidate to reforge off into mastery. I’d pick still go with the tier legs, if I had my choice, but these are just fine.

Flightflame Legplates – Again, mastery makes these a passable substitute for tanking pants, but they’re still geared more for DPS. Let those dps warriors, dps dks, and retadins roll on them first.

Shoulders -

Elementium Deathplate Shoulderguards – Hit and mastery are kind of an odd combination on a tanking tier piece, but these may be worth adding to your 4p list, simply for the fact that NOTHING ELSE HAS HIT FOR US. /flail

Spaulders of Recurring Flame – Dodge/Parry combo strikes again. This is really a tossup, and more determined by your tanking style. Are you more of a mitigation tank (mastery), or more avoidance-based (dodge/parry)?

Belt -

Girdle of the Indomitable Flame – Non-set pieces (boots, belts, bracers) are generally not looked at as carefully as the “big 5″ are, but that hardly makes them less important. The dodge/parry combo strikes again, and in a surprising amount for an off-set piece. Plus, these are earned by rep with the new Avengers of Hyjal faction. Should be modestly easy to pick up.

Uncrushable Belt of Fury – Debatable as a “dps belt”, but the socket bonus (15 stam) gives it away as more of a tanking item imo. Huge amount of mastery on this make it damn near equal to the rep belt.

Bracers -

Bracers of Regal Force – Dodge and Parry again. Do you see a recurring theme here? I wonder if our stat priorities won’t shift any come 4.2. The base-yellow socket is another good place for JC’s to throw a big mastery chimera eye in.

Bracers of the Firey Path – I have a feeling that, with this set of gear, we’re going to be doing a LOT of reforging parry off of items into either dodge or mastery. Again, between these two belts, your choice is made by the other gear choices you’ve been making.

Gigantiform Bracers – Strangely enough, these don’t come with a socket. Hit and Mastery can really make them viable for either DPSing or tanking. Use your judgement though, and again, don’t steal shit from DPS’ers. You should probably let them have this over the other two I listed.

Ricket’s Gun Show – Okay, corny name aside, these bracers aren’t half bad. 365 ilvl puts them statistically below the raid drops above, and they don’t have any base gem slot, but they’re definitely tank-itemized. A good midway point between t11 and t12 content drops.

Trinkets -

Gift of the Greatfather – The passive mastery is pretty nice, but the absorption amount is pretty underwhelming, even if it’s on a relatively short (1 minute) cooldown.

Scales of Life – The stamina is the main selling point for this trinket. The on-use ability, again, is a bit underwhelming. (17k is about the amount of a small, non-crit heal. Better than nothing, I suppose, but doesn’t seem like it’ll scale very well as our gear gets better)

Stay of Execution – Much like the Gift of the Greatfather, this trinket’s passive avoidance is really nice, but the on-use ability is bizarre. Also, i’m assuming the tooltip is incorrect (up to 170950 damage seems like an AWFUL lot to absorb). Also, you end up taking that damage anyway, just more slowly (ever 2s over 20s), but add that into the other damage you’d be taking at that point, i’m unsure if this trinket is really worth it. I guess it could have it’s situational uses.

As of right now, there’s literally only one cloak, relic, and two rings that are good for tanking, so i’m gonna bypass those for the time being. If they add more in future PTR patches, i’ll add these categories to this post. Let me reiterate that some of the items I put up there ARE dps specific items. You should really let them go to the main spec,  DPSers before rolling on them for your tank set.  I do plan to update this post as the gear becomes more finalized (because some of the stat numbers look REALLY wrong), and final lists become available.

Here’s what I can gather as far as the t12 goes. To me, the 4p bonus is worth getting, but generally the rule is to get 4 pieces, and have the 5th set slot go to an offset piece, so let’s look at them:

Chest – Dodge/Parry (30 stam socket bonus)

Hands – Dodge/Mastery (15 stam socket bonus)

Helm – Parry/Expertise (45 stam socket bonus)

Legs – Parry/Mastery (30 stam socket bonus)

Shoulders – Hit/Mastery (15 stam socket bonus).

If we go with the generally “preferred” way of DK tanking, you’d want to take all 3 pieces with mastery, so that gives you Hands, Legs, and Shoulders. Between the chest and helmet for the 4th piece, you would *probably* want to take the chestpiece. Almost all of the other gear choices are loaded down with parry, so you’ll want to take the dodge where you find it. Of course, this is also dependant on what the gear gives you at the time. The general rule is to keep the dodge rating and parry rating (RATINGS… not percentages) close to the same number, to minimize your diminishing returns penalty. Of course, come patch 4.2, our stat priorities might start changing as we get into t12 gear and above, so of course any of this is just early speculation and subject to change.

I haven’t rambled on this much in a post for quite some time, but this miniature theorycrafting is kinda fun. I don’t really have the brainpower to deal with the deep math-intensive shit like Elitist Jerks or anything like that. Hope this is helpful to some of you out there.

Edit after the fact: Snack, in the comments, made me realize I didn’t even think to put weapons in for this tier, so let’s go over that now. I’m going to include heroic t11 weapons as well, because some of them may be better statistically than the t12 weapons, but your guild may or may not have heroic cho’gall or heroic nef on farm, so take it as you will. You’ll notice that i’m NOT including any gladiator weapons, because resilience is absolute garbage, and can’t even be reforged away.. Stay away from the pvp weapons.

Masterwork Elementium Deathblade – At an ilvl 365, this crafted sword will probably end up better than any of the 359 weapons, but not as good as anything you can get from t12 (or heroic t11). This is an acceptable upgrade, even though haste is a crap stat for us, there’s a lot of it so you can get a good amount of avoidance when you reforge it.

(Heroic) Akirus – Statistically, this is probably the best of the heroic t11 weapons we can get our hands on. Plus, it doesn’t require you going to the end of the world and back to get it (as I would assume heroic Magmaw is WAY easier than heroic Cho’gall or heroic Nef). Expertise seems to be all over our gear, so reforge it off for avoidance. A decent upgrade over the Elementium Deathblade, too.

(Heroic) Reclaimed Ashkandi – While the hit rating on this is nice, it requires a heroic Nefarian kill to even have a chance of getting. If you’re a heavily progressed through t11 heroics, than you might have this, but Akirus is technically better for us, with it’s big mastery number.

(Heroic) Shalug’doom – This should really go to all the 2h dps’ers in your raid before you even consider taking it. While still technically an upgrade over 359s, and the crafted 365, the green stats are just kinda crappy for us. Crit and Expertise? Meh. Keep farming for Akirus, if you’re already to this point.

Skullstealer Greataxe – The first of the t12 raid drops, it’s not half bad for us tanky DKs. A (slightly) bigger amount of mastery sets it (slightly) above Heroic Akirus, but the haste kinda makes in place of expertise makes it a little less desirable. If you have heroic Akirus, you could probably let this go to a DPS’er instead. It’s really a coin-flip between the two.

Sulfuras, The Extinguished Hand – Making only 2 weapons we can use in t12 content seems a bit mean. Making one of them ONLY drop off of the last boss is even meaner. That said, Sulfuras is definitely a weapon you’ll want to fight for. Even though it has less base mastery than the Skullstealer Greataxe, it has two sockets that you can use to make up the difference, and a LOT of crit rating to be reforged into avoidance. The socket bonus (20 str) points to it being more dps oriented, so you might have to fight with your loot council (or whatever you use) over your rights to roll on it. If you already have the Skullstealer or Heroic Akirus, you could probably afford to let a DPS grab it on the first drop. If you’re still running with a 359, or the crafted 365, it’d be worth your DKP.

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