Tank like a girl
Jan 11 2011

The revised top 10

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One of my more popular posts is 10 things all prot warriors should know about. Basically a quick cheat sheet of stuff you should know about this class, aiming at fresh warrior tanks. This is the version updated for 4.0.3. Enjoy! Experienced warriors, if you have a tip to add to this list, please comment!

  1. Build threat based on priorities – Do not make the mistake of using a set rotation. For ideal TPS, choose your next ability based on its priority: Shield Slam > Revenge > Shockwave > Concussion Blow > Rend > Devastate for single-target situations, Rend > Thunderclap > Shockwave > Revenge > Shield Slam > Devastate for AoE. On single targets and with no other warrior or feral druid in the group, try to get your 3 Sunders in asap. Pay attention to Sword&Board procs.
  2. Use your selfheal – In tricky situations when your health dips low, use your selfheal. What heal? Enraged Regeneration. Before you use it, make sure that you also use all health increasing effects first: Commanding Shout, trinkets like any of the Battlemaster ones, e.g. Heart of Thunder, Last Stand. The higher your max-health, the more health will be returned. If you need numbers, Last Stand and Enraged Regeneration will restore 39% of your health in 10 seconds. Here’s the macro that I use:

    /cast Berserker Rage
    /cast Last Stand
    /cast Enraged Regeneration
  3. Stamina is still our best stat – It’s not the end all be all that it was in WotLK, but it’s still pretty darn useful.
  4. Dodge is our weakest avoidance stat – It will become more important as we get into higher tiers of content, but at the moment both Mastery and Parry provide better avoidance. However, you want to keep your avoidance stats balanced, so keep Dodge fairly close to your Parry.
  5. Mastery is our best avoidance stat – The magic avoidance number to head seems to be 75% Parry-Dodge-Block, and Mastery is the big stat of the day at the moment. Having large amounts of mastery will smoothen the damage you take and will make it easier to heal us as well.
  6. Intervene for fun and profit – With the advent of Warbringer, there are many fun options for this overlooked ability. There are multiple encounters where you can ensure your survivability by using Intervene on a ranged party member. As example, Asaad in Vortex Pinnacle and Erudax in Grim Batol is an encounter where you are supposed to stand in a safe zone. You can continue building threat on Asaad as he casts and Intervene on your party members before the cast lands.
  7. Devastate is for support – The role of Devastate fluctuates a lot and moves up and down our priority list a lot. While it is going to receive a little boost in an upcoming patch, right now it is the ability to use when you have nothing else to use, to proc Sword&Board. Also, do remember to debuff bosses with 3 stacks of Sunder Armor at the start of the fight, to support physical DPS.
  8. The slower the weapon, the better – In a complete overturn of the WotLK world of tanks, slower weapons are now much better. As Heroic Strike now has a cooldown, you will now prefer a slow, 2.6 speed weapon. It will pack a lot more punch to all your abilities based on weapon damage. Don’t try tanking with a fast weapon anymore!
  9. The pull matters – Be smart about pulling. You don’t need to blindly charge or leap into every group, even if you can. Use Heroic Throw to pull casters. Use of line of sight is still appropriate. Cluster your groups. Bring all ranged mobs into your melee range using your various abilities. Do not Shockwave until you have a cluster all nicely lined up. Don’t be shy with Crowd Control. It will make your healer’s life a lot easier if you do not try to take on all six mobs of a pull. Assign crowd control, mark mobs consistently (Simple Raid Target Icons works awesome for quick marking) and learn how to tank without breaking controlled mobs nearby.
  10. Do not leave the house without glyphs – Apply glyphs based on what content you run. Heroics are trash-heavy, so you would use other glyphs than a raider does. Learn all glyphs that a protection warrior has any use for, find a scribe to make you some Dust of Disappearance or buy it for 10 gold each, and be prepared to swap major glyphs based on the encounter. Our prime glyphs are pretty self-explanatory, but we have a lot of room with our majors.
Filed under : basics, warriors | 37 Comments »

37 Responses to “The revised top 10”

  1. Jason says:

    Hey Kadomi, I play a Prot Pally and I just got my Warrior to 20 (he’s still a toddler) and it’s interesting checking out the Warrior information.

    Some things definitely seem similar but it’s nice seeing some of the priorities for threat and whatnot. I’m looking forward to trying out some Warrior tanking when I get him leveled up a bit more.
    Jason´s last blog post ..Wowphiles Podcast Show 53

    Reply

    Kadomi Reply:

    I hope you will find it refreshingly different from prot paladins. I have a level 57 paladin who is also prot, and it’s fun trying your more static rotation. Coming from paladin to warrior, as soon as you get Warbringer, enjoy our mobility. I think it’s our biggest difference and strong point. :)

    Reply

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  3. Emerassi says:

    Your first point about single target threat completely contradicts your post about how much threat attacks actually do that you put up a month or two ago. It is currently (as you posted): Shield Slam, Revenge, Shockwave (2x threat multiplier), Concussion Blow (2x threat multiplier), Rend, Devastate (only if you ignore S and B procs, its above rend if you factor those in).

    Additionally, if you have any other warriors or feral druids of any kind, your sunder stacks benefit only you by increasing damage done by devastate, so if you have these classes in your group, do not spam devastate at the start of a fight. All other warriors should have their colossus smash adding sunders and ferals have instant cast at range 3 stacks of faerie fire that last 5 minutes instead of a mere 30 seconds on sunder.

    Reply

    Kadomi Reply:

    All the expertise talk yesterday must have confused me, that I forgot Shockwave and CB when I wrote the draft yesterday. Fixed and made your additions about other warriors and feral druids. I don’t run with either in raids or in-guild. Oversight!

    Reply

    Everblue Reply:

    Emerassi – Bit aggressive in tone there. My view of it is:

    1) It’s pointless to say that we should ignore S&B procs because, well, they exist! Imagining a rotation without S&B is like imagining a rotation where shield slam damage is half the current value – it’s of no practical benefit.

    2) I think Colossus Smash refreshes sunder duration (and then only if glyphed), it doesn’t add the debuff if it isn’t there already does it? Dps warriors will still expect you to devastate.

    Finally, I’m not terribly interested in threat modifiers. I’m far enough ahead on threat to ignore them. DPS is more interesting to me, and I’m not sure whether or not the increased complexity and loss of S&B procs you suffer by including SW and CB in your rotation are worth the increased dps.

    In any event, your rotation does not include heroic strike. I believe that heroic striking on cooldown and having a couple of free GCDs provides higher damage, although that’s only my impression. Post the HS nerfs I will probably devastate instead, since damage will be 15% higher on that attack.
    Everblue´s last blog post ..Warrior nerfs in patch 406

    Reply

    Kadomi Reply:

    And here I thought it is ‘Beat on Kadomi week’ when I actually try to post. ;) I, for one, am taking every S&B proc I can get, and until 4.0.6 I will only use Devastate as filler to get those precious S&B procs.

    Reply

    Asverze Reply:

    Isn’t that the purpose of the tank, getting beaten. :))

    Reply

    Boobah Reply:

    Re: Glyph of Colossus Smash

    If there’s at least one stack of sunder on the target, the glyph applies another stack of sunder when you use Colossus Smash. It may not be what the designers intended, but that’s how it was implemented.

    It won’t, however, start a sunder stack.

    Reply

    Devious Reply:

    Glyph of Heroic Throw.
    http://www.wowhead.com/item=43418

    Usually being the only warrior in my 10 man raids on say, Magmaw, I’m usually asked to dps since I pull higher numbers than our other tank. I use this Glyph combined with Glyph of Colossus Smash.

    My sunder stacks never drop on Magmaw until he goes into his 2nd phase, but by then Heroic Throw is already off CD and ready to start a new stack of Sunder for the head beat down.

    Reply

  4. Ladina says:

    So Rend/TC works now? I know it used to be a useless thing. I moved to a Paladin to avoid raiding with 2 warrior tanks, 3 overall, but I intend to get my warrior going again.

    Reply

    Kadomi Reply:

    Yeah, I totally changed my mind after using Blood and Thunder at 85. If you have any AoE pulls, getting Rend/TC off usually ensures that mobs stick to you like glue. It really is one of those talents that only came to shine at 85.

    Reply

    Riyoku Reply:

    I’ve been leveling my warrior from 40 since cata started and this talent has been key while tanking. Still only at 76, but I’ve been using this non-stop. The only real failure I have is if the rend misses, then I’m screwed if the rogue or mage is off attacking some other mob and pulls aggro. So I’d tell everyone to use this on trash, unless I’m reading you wrong.
    Oh not to mention that it’s a nice portion of my dps, which at low levels is nice, since a lot of people suck at dps lol.

    Reply

  5. Zellviren says:

    Even the priority list posted, as opposed to a rotation, is over simplified; though pretty close to being right.

    After a Shield Slam, your priority shifts to:

    Revenge > Devastate

    This is because Sword and Board procs are at their best as soon after the original Shield Slam as possible.

    You may think this is nit-picking, but the difference is pretty significant.

    Nice post, Kad. :D

    Reply

    Kadomi Reply:

    Thanks! :)

    Reply

  6. Saithir says:

    Fear interrupts spellcasting. And with the shout glyphed (there aren’t any other interesting glyphs for the minors anyway) the mobs don’t run around like headless chickens anymore. I actually sometimes forget about that and don’t use my Intimidating Shout enough.

    Also, spell reflect is awesome AND gives rage. Keep it on cooldown if there is any casting going on.
    Saithir´s last blog post ..406 – patch of the Less Annoying Bosses

    Reply

  7. Shadowdasher09 says:

    I’m new to warrior tanking (currently at lvl 74), but not new to the tanking game (feral tank used to be my main). I was just wondering about cleave, should I be using it in my rotation for aoe pulls? I have been using that in conjuction with blood and thunder and revenge for air pulls. Is cleave a waste of a global? Just noticed it’s absence from your ape rotation.

    Reply

    Kadomi Reply:

    I haven’t mentioned it as part of any rotation, because Cleave, just like Heroic Strike, is our rage dump. Cleave is basically the AoE version of HS. I personally run heroics with glyphed Cleave for an extra Cleave mob, and use it as much as I can. Just be careful not to rage starve yourself. Use Cleave when you have 50+ rage. When you have the rage to play with it, it’s great damage and threat.

    Reply

  8. Jey says:

    I could be wrong but isnt weapon damage normalized according to speed? I play feral and the damage that maul (heroic strike) does is based on our weapon dps and not the range of the damage. If the same thing is true for warriors then the speed of your weapon wont matter, but i dont play a warrior so i could be wrong.

    a reply either way would be nice so that i dont go around thinking the wrong thing.

    Reply

    Kadomi Reply:

    I did some searching around, and found that attacks like Cleave and Heroic Strike (and Maul) are now independent of weapon speed. But a lot of other key warrior abilities are based on the max damage of a weapon, which is always higher for slower weapons. Abilities like Devastate, Rend, etc.

    So this is why warriors definitely want slower weapons now. However, it’s not even much of a choice anymore, as just about all 1H weapons with strength and stamina are slow. I only listed it in the top 10, because it’s a big difference to WotLK where fast weapons were always better for threat.

    Reply

  9. Alf says:

    Ive been tanking a lot of heroics and some raids (prot warrior) and this is what i got:
    Threat: I dont have to worry about, even not being hit capp
    Dodge: Inferior to parry and mastery, but still u dont want it 4-5% less than other avoidance stats.
    Multitarget: Thunderclap, Cleave, all u need to keep mobs focus on u.
    Gems: Most of my sockets r tuned to get the bonus (hybrid gems), just use pure stam for prismatic, i have 149k unbuffed with only 2 359lvl items
    Wipe: …it’s always the hunter

    Reply

  10. Travis says:

    On point 6, while I agree with Asaad, I suggest moving/intervening/leaping to the circle on Erudax asap (not staying out and gaining threat). He moves while creating the zone, but stands in place after it’s up, so ideally you’ll want to try and bring him close so as not to waste several seconds of melee dps.

    I loved my first few runs on VP though, especially when you hear people screaming on vent for you to get in the lightning! “Tank! Get in here NOW!”

    Reply

    Kadomi Reply:

    In retrospect, totally agreed. I will be the first to admit that I had not done Erudax yet before writing this post, at least not on heroic. Learned my lesson. Will fix.

    But isn’t it fun on Asaad? Sure is! :)

    Reply

    Travis Reply:

    Yeah it’s crazy fun. WTB glyph to reduce Heroic Leap cooldown!

    Reply

  11. Exacus says:

    Hi. I’d first like to express my sheer respect for tanks. I’ve raided as ranged dps, melee dps, and healing in the past and have never found any as complex as tanking. I’m new to tanking and though I am not 85 yet I’ve begun to look for info on tanking so I can be the best I can be at 85, as I always try to be no matter my roll. Now, the big question I find myself thinking about is Stamina VS Avoidance. Many people still say stamina is a huge stat but I fail to see why and can’t seem to find a straight answer as of why. Would it not be smarter to stack as much avoidance as possible. Being that tanks now have immense health pools and do not die in 2 hits avoidance would relieve healing the healer has to do and save the healer mana(which is vital in cata) where stam would just apply more health that may only be useful when you healer is out of mana to provide for a few extra seconds of life(this is not taking into account % of health effects which i find to be more prominent in the occasional trinket or a few tank abilities such as the tank OH SHIT button(Last Stand[30%]) and not nearly as prominent in the majority of healing spells.) I do not take into account % effects because as said Last Stand is normally a OH SHIT button and most other % of health effects are more bonuses rather than vital bits of healing. This all being said avoidance serves a more active roll in reducing the amount of healing a healer would need to do and allowing more time to heal party/raid members. I have read that stamina comes into play in magic user fights where avoidance becomes useless but the idea still stands where the damage is going to be done regardless your health pool and the healer is still going to have to heal you. Don’t call me a heretic for saying this but the idea of resistance has even fluttered across my mind. I don’t know how available resistance gear or gems is but i wonder all the same is this possibly coming back as viable tanking stat. I’m not saying a lot of it but just a little to lessen work loads on those magic fights. I realize i failed to mention throughout that a larger health pool can increase likelihood of survivability in those sudden dips of health do to silences or freezes of healers, but would avoidance not decrease the likelihood of these dips all together(this excluding being stunned where avoidance becomes next to useless when a boss is poking your brain with his sword, an argument can be made on that situation). I seek an answer to this lingering question if there is an answer. Any opinions for or against what i have stated here would be extremely helpful. Sorry for the long rambling post, I just wanted to get it all out there. Thank you.

    Reply

    Exacus Reply:

    Just did some research on resistance, didn’t realize how impossible blizzard made it to get in viable amount. Guess you can throw that bit out the window unless someone can provide reason otherwise. Also if anyone knows any other way to reduce magic damage that would be immensely helpful.

    Reply

    Kadomi Reply:

    The discussion ‘stamina vs avoidance’ has existed since TBC or maybe even before that. In WotLK there was no doubt that stamina translating into effective health equaled higher survivability, and all tanks stacked it, with no regard to just about everything else. You tried to be at the expertise soft cap for threat, and then just dumped stamina gems into everything else.

    In Cataclysm, it has become important to find the right balance between stamina and avoidance. All the arguments you bring forward for avoidance are very true. Once you have a sufficient amount of health, you’d do much better to gear for mastery, parry and dodge. There’s a lot of discussion about this over at pwnwear.com, so check out this post as example.

    One thing is safe to say: stamina does not rule us anymore, not in the way it did in WotLK. We can actually use different gem colors now and the socket bonuses in general seem far more interesting.

    Reply

    Exacus Reply:

    Thanks a lot. That link really helped and I think I’m starting to understand it all. Actually seems like more fun knowing I’m not going to but held down to just stamina. Now if its not asking to much being new to tanking and all I’ve been trying to find all kinds of useful addons to use as a tank. I got the basic HUD addons(ie. Bartender) and I have picked up taunt master which tells when someone in my party has a target attacking them and allows taunting if they are targeting the thing that is attacking them. But I’m looking for any suggestions as far as cata tanking addons. Looked it up elsewhere and it appears to provoke a level of hostility(which is strange) and people calling people noobs at tanking(which I am, so excuse me if it makes you feel the same way). I know not if it exists but a addon that gives threat leads on each target I am in battle with in frames similar to healbot or raid fames and allows targeting through clicking of those frames would be hugely useful in applying that extra direct target threat to the most critical locations in group pulls. (Again I have no idea is such a addon exists, its just an idea i had that i was wondering if it might already exist.) Any links to useful threads or personal input would be greatly helpful on my way to becoming a tank. Sorry for all the questions.

    Reply

    Kadomi Reply:

    A UI post is on my to-do list for next week, so stay tuned. :-)

    Reply

    Bashel Reply:

    One addon I have used sense wotlk is tidy plates. This addon replaces the default name plates with customizable ones. One setting that makes group threat easier is you can set the bar to get bigger and change color as you lose threat, so it almost yells at you “hit me!”

    Reply

  12. Sxe says:

    Hi Kadomi! Although I consider my main to be my prot Pally, I have 9 lvl 85 characters and 3 of them are tanks. I love tanking! I like each one for different reasons, so I can’t really choose a favorite. My pally is the only one currently geared enough for heroics but I decided that since my lvling is now over for a while, I would have to start gearing up my Warrior and DK as well. Which led me here… I thought, “Wow! Another girl who loves tanking?” I can’t seem to get my female friends to roll a melee character at all let alone try tanking. I am also the GM of my guild and although I love the idea of an “All girl guild” I simply don’t see how that is possible to acheive (for me). I wanted to thank you for all the the warrior info and I will definately be back here often when I need to find more info.

    Reply

  13. PeeWee says:

    Remember that CLEAVE and HEROIC STRIKE do not trigger a GCD, so you can macro them into other abilities. I have mine into two Revenge Macros.

    /cast Revenge
    /cast [nomod:ctrl] Cleave

    Makes me cast both, but if I’m rage-starved, I can hold in CTRL and Cleave will be skipped.

    I also made an extra action bar that only shows up in a party or when in combat (and when I hold down CTRL), and I simply placed the actions in the priority order from left to right. When I tank now, I just have to look from left to right on that bar directly in my view, and select the first available action. (I do have the same abilities on my actionbar bound to keys on my N52 so I don’t click ^^)

    In Dominos, I’ve set up the bar thusly:
    Columns: (the number of actions you want on it, I have 5)
    Scale: 65
    Faded Opacity: 55
    Opacity: 100
    Under the “Show states”-dropdown, I’ve set it to: [combat,stance:2][mod:ctrl]show;hide

    My abilities on that bar are simply: Shield Slam, Revenge, Shockwave, Concussion, Rend and Thunderclap

    My Revenge-macro lies on my mousewheel, I hold shift and scroll up for single-target (Heroic Strike) and scroll down for multi-target (Cleave).

    Reply

    Travis Reply:

    In Wrath I had HS/C macro’d (into Devastate and TC respectively) — but I feel the rage normalization really changed when and how much I use these abilities anymore–especially in single-target situations. I’m sure I’ll stray even more away in 4.0.6. For me to keep up optimum threat gen, I really have to be conscientious about when I use these rage dumps.

    Also, with your setup, it seems like you would be holding ctrl down the vast majority of the time you’re using Revenge, unless you want to constantly rage starve yourself. Also, since you’re on the mousewheel, if you want to just use revenge, does that mean you have to hold Shift and Control and scroll at the same time? What if you’re talking on vent too? Or moving around? Seems like a pretty inconvenient setup… :-/ Whatever works for ya!

    I do kinda like the actionbar idea — I’ve been considering pursuing an addon for this, feel my face is WAY too buried in my actionbars in cata.

    Reply

    PeeWee Reply:

    http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/4711/nostromon5213tv.jpg

    With the N52, I can hold CTRL+SHIFT with one finger (my left pinky), and I move with my left thumb only (using D-pad on the N52, coupled with the right mouse-key for strafing). Speaking on Vent I do with one of the thumb keys on my Razer Naga.

    So holding modifiers, casting abilities, moving and speaking on Vent can be done simultaneously, and it goes automatically with muscle reflexes. Sounds daunting when described like this, but once you get the feeling for it… just don’t ask me to play Guitar Hero, there’s a daunting task for ya ^^

    For teh macro I admit, I haven’t done much tanking on my warrior in Cata, but switching the rage dump to the other way around only requires you to remove two letters in the macro, change [nomod:ctrl] to [mod:ctrl] and you’ll only HS/C when you do hold down the key.

    Reply

    Travis Reply:

    I love my n52te… Naga is on the wish list! Yeah, still the way you describe the hotkeys is a little crazy, but as I said before, whatever works for ya!

    I’ve tried my best to keep as many core abilities on my left as possible to keep at least one hand semi-untethered. Currently the only thing I can’t really do without my right hand is look/turn.

    I will say that shifting movement from wasd to the dpad took a lot of getting used to, but it singlehandedly improved my mobility and fluidity as a tank far more than anything else I’ve ever done. I can’t recommend a gamepad with thumbstick highly enough for tanks and melee dps. I feel like it was a bit of a wash for ranged dps and healing though. /shrug

    In any case, thanks for sharing and explaining PW.

    Reply

  14. Zom says:

    As a girl who’s also a protection Warrior I found this site to be very insightful and informative. :P

    That said, I read this post a week ago, it’s certainly a nice list you have here. I almost forgot about about Intervene until reading this post. I know, sad, I’m a kinda of a noob. I’d also like to add that I used Intervene on Chimaeron during Feud, he’s definitely one of the bosses you HAVE to use Intervene. It helps so much.
    Zom´s last blog post ..What does casual mean

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