Friday, 27 March 2009

3.1 tanking part 1: survival talents

I'm going to have a look at tanking talents in the new patch over a series of blog posts. This one is a look at which DK talents reduce the amount of damage a tank will take from a raid boss or offer self-heals or increase stamina or simply make you live longer in some other way.

I've included expertise although this is only a mitigation talent if you would not be at the parry cap without it. However to quote the DK thread at Elitist Jerks: Bosses have a lot of parry if they can parry at all, so it’s just not worth gimping everything else to avoid it. But just for reference, boss parry is around 15%.


Blade Barrier 5/5 Whenever your Blood runes are on cooldown, you gain the Blade Barrier effect, which decreases damage taken by 5% for the next 10 seconds.
Still a core tanking talent

Improved Rune Tap 1/1 + 3/3 Converts one Blood Rune into 20% of your maximum health. 30 sec cooldown.
About 6K on a raid buffed and geared tank at our progression level. Our healers are outputting about 1800 hps on boss fights so this is equivalent to just over 3 secs of healer time and of course will usually be timed for a critical moment.

Spell Deflection 3/3 You have a chance equal to your Parry chance of taking 45% less damage from a direct damage spell.
Quite situational. Many boss attacks are not spells or if they are spells are not direct damage but are area effect. This wouldn't cover Sartharion's Flame Breath for instance. However where it does work it's a solid ability. My raid buffed parry is just under 20% so this averages out to a 9% reduction. Very useful if the boss has a dd spell.

Veteran of the Third War 3/3 Increases your Strength and Stamina by 6% and your Expertise by 6.
Strength gives additional Parry chance, Stamina is just plain priceless and Expertise in addition to being a great threat stat is one of the strongest mitigation stats because it reduces the chance of parry hasted attacks from the boss. (Sped up attacks caused by the boss getting a parry on one of your attacks). This is an exceptionally good talent.

Mark of Blood 1/1 Place a mark of blood on an enemy. Whenever a marked enemy deals damage to a target, that target is healed for 4% of its maximum health. Lasts for 20 secs or 20 hits.
4% of a tank's life is about 1,200 health at our stage. It's basically a mix of hot and cooldown in raid tanking situations. Typical boss attack speed is 2.5 so this can be viewed as 480 hps which is about a quarter of a healer. It gets better if boss attacks are faster, including parry haste. I don't know whether it works with damage reflection and that would be interesting to test. A solid investment for the survival-minded tank.

Abomination's Might 2/2 Raid AP buff that also increases Strength by 2%.
More strength is more parry.

Improved Blood Presence 2/2 While in Frost Presence you retain 4% healing from Blood Presence.
Another HoT effect. Tank dps is about 1500 for us so this is 60 hps.

Bloodworms 3/3 Your weapon hits have a 9% chance to cause the target to spawn 2-4 bloodworms. Bloodworms attack your enemies, healing you as they do damage for 20 secs or until killed.
A small HoT effect but in addition these things occasionally get targetted. If a worm soaks a 10K boss hit that would otherwise have been aimed at me that's extremely useful. A very random but powerful tank survival talent.

Improved Death Strike 2/2 Death Strike damage +30% and crit +6%.
For survival fights Death Strike is a good choice of attack over Obliterate and the other options. Sure those other attacks do more threat but are you going to beat the boss because the tank lives or because the tank achieves a high threat cap? It will vary from boss to boss. With my current Frost spec it heals for about 1700. Healing is based on the damage done and the diseases on the target. Bigger Death Strikes mean bigger heals in situations where you are going for the maximum self-healing.

Vampiric Blood 1/1 Temporarily grants the Death Knight 15% of maximum health and increases the amount of health generated through spells and effects by 35% for 20 secs. 2 min cooldown.
Combination of last stand, a buff to self heals and I think, will have to test to be sure, that it increases other people's heals on you too. All told pretty strong.

Will of the Necropolis 3/3 Damage that would take you below 35% health is reduced by 15%. Cannot occur more than once every 15 secs.
Very strong

Might of Mograine 3/3 Increases the critical strike damage bonus of Death Strike (and others) by 45%
Bigger Death Strikes mean bigger self-heals.

Dancing Rune Weapon 1/1 A minion that does the same attacks you do.
What I don't know is if the Death Strikes it does heal you for a double whammy. Needs testing.


Toughness 5/5 +15% armour.
Standard on all DK tanks.

Runic Power Mastery 2/2 +30 max Runic Power.
Lets you do 3 Death Coil self heals when you activate Lichborne. With 130 Runic Power and the minor glyph of Death's Embrace you can do 5 Death Coil self heals. Testing unbuffed in tank gear my Death Coil self heals do 1492.

Improved Icy Touch 3/3 your Frost Fever reduces melee and ranged attack speed by an additional 6%
The other tanks can do similar debuffs, notably Thunderclap. With the 14% from the base skill this is a 20% slow.

Lichborne 1/1 Undead for 15 seconds. Immune to sleep, charm and fear and can self-heal with Death Coils. 3 min cooldown.
Nerfed but still very useful for a tank. If they ever introduce a raid boss that can use Exorcism or Turn Evil you'll have to take care though!

Frigid Dreadplate 3/3 Reduces the chance that melee attacks will hit you by 3%.
I believe that what this actually does is add 3% miss at the top of the attack table. Let's say a boss has 10% chance to miss, 20% to be parried, 20% to be dodged and 50% to hit you. This talent would make that 13/20/20/47 in other words his chance to hit would go from 50% to 47% meaning you get hit 6% less. I need to double check that theorycraft.

Improved Frost Presence 2/2 2% damage reduction.

Unbreakable Armour 1/1 Reinforces your armour with a thick coat of ice, reducing damage from all attacks by 0.05 and increasing your Strength by 25% for 20 secs. The amount of damage reduced increases as your armour increases. 2 min cooldown.
This has always been a very strong cooldown and the changes in 3.1 extend it to magic damage and make it scale with armour.

Acclimation 3/3 When you are hit by a spell, you have a 30% chance to boost your resistance to that type of magic for 18 secs. Stacks up to 3 times.
The boost is +50 so total of +150 when stacked.

Guile of Gorefiend 3/3 Increases damage and also increases Icebound Fortitude duration by 6 secs.
In the 3.1 environment when we have less cooldowns uptime this talent will be correspondingly more useful. Still good but not as exceptional as it is now.

Tundra stalker 5/5 +5 expertise.


Anticipation 5/5 +5% dodge.
Core talent.

Ravenous Dead 3/3 +3% Strength
More Parry.

Night of the Dead 2/2 Reduces cooldown on ghoul
More Death Pact self-heals.

Magic Supression 3/3 6% less magic damage, in addition your anti-magic shell absorbs 25% more damage.

Anti-magic zone 1/1 Places a large, stationary Anti-Magic Zone that reduces spell damage done to party or raid members inside it by 75%. The Anti-Magic Zone lasts for 10 secs or until it absorbs [200% of AP + 10 000] spell damage. 2 min cooldown.

Improved Unholy Presence 2/2 +15% movement in Frost Presence
The importance of mobility can't be underestimated as many boss fights require re-positioning.

Bone Shield 1/1 20% less damage while the bones last. 4 bones. Each damaging attack consumes one bone. 2 min cooldown.
This can be pre-cast, scales with avoidance and the glyph adds 2 extra bones. On the other hand a fast-attacking boss like Patchwerk can strip this off very quickly.

Rage of Rivendare 5/5 +5 expertise.

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