by Pulveriser @mmo-champion
Welcome to Pulveriser’s Guide to Warrior tanking, this is my third installment and the tips and strategies within are updated as of patch 4.0.3a. In this guide we will be going over the proper talent specialization for a Warrior Tank, useful Glyphs for that spec, important stats for your class, and how to properly tank AOE and Single Target fights.
First off we will go over a few must have talents for tanking in Cataclysm, to start off you must choose Protection as your specialization, this will unlock Sentinel, Vengeance, and Critical Block abilities, and allow you to begin putting talent points in the Protection Tree.
There are a few must have talents and few more you can take depending on your role in a raid. First I will be going over the ones you must have.
Toughness is great for extra armor.
Shield Mastery gives you shorter defensive cooldowns.
Last Stand is a no brainer, a great one point defensive cooldown.
Concussion Blow is a very good stun and can sometimes be used to interupt, well worth one talent point.
Bastion of Defense makes you un-crittable to MOST PVE creatures (as a side note creatures can still crit you if the enemy is buffed by a Mind Controlled target such as a Feral Druid, but it’s rare. This talent is definitely necessary.)
Warbringer is very useful and is a one of the reasons Warriors are the most mobile tanks in the game.
Improved Revenge is very useful and well worth 2 points.
Shockwave is a great AOE tanking tool but it also a stun, so grab this, it’s a good one.
Field Dressing in the Arms tree is also a must have, you’re a tank, you’re going to be healed (hopefully), you might as well help the healers out with a extra 6% healing on yourself. Also increases the healing done by your Enraged Regeneration, and Victory Rush.
Those are necessary talents for tanking, you will have several points left over to fill in where you see fit, based on your play style. That being said, lets go over some Talents that I have found very useful to spend those extra Talents Points on.
Blood and Thunder is a good one to have unless you are only going to be tanking single targets, I find myself taking this talent in every build.
Gag Order is nice for silencing casters on a pull, and the reduced cooldown on Heroic Throw is pretty sweet. This isn’t a must have talent however.
Impending Victory is situational at best, it has a chance to proc on Devastate but only heals you for 5% of your HP if the mob is below 20%, could be good if the boss has a nasty enrage the last 20% of his life, but the benefit seems marginal at best.
Thunderstruck is nice for AOE tanking because it buffs your main AOE abilities.
Vigilance is a mediocre talent, if you drop a point in here, throw the ability on the second tank in the raid, it will buff your personal DPS slightly when not taking damage yourself, and the taunt refresh is good in certain situations.
Heavy Repercussions is nice for threat, and who doesn’t like to see huge Shield Slam crits, take this one if you have two talent points to spare.
Piercing Howl in the Fury tree also has its uses for kiting, but this is another situational talent.
Major Glyphs have a few more options depending on your role, good all around glyphs are Resonating Power so Thunder Clap costs less rage, Glyph of Thunder Clap so your Thunderclap’s radius is larger, and unless your only doing single target tanking, Cleave is a good glyph to have. Long Charge, Rapid Charge, Spell Reflection, Sunder Armor, and Intervene are also other good choices if it suits the fight.
Now that you have your talents and glyphs set up let’s review some of the Warrior Tanks most useful stats.
For survival you will be prioritizing Stamina, Mastery, Parry and Dodge in that order.
Stamina is your best stat and will help you survive big hits and massive spell damage which are present in some of Cataclysm raids and dungeons; however unlike Wrath of the Lich King, tanks are rarely in danger of being two shot.
Since healer mana is such a big concern now Mastery will help you smooth out incoming damage by either blocking for 30% or if it’s a critical block, you will block for 60% reduced physical damage.
Armor is still a useful stat but at the moment it’s not present on much gear in excess, the majority of all pieces of the same iLevel share the same amount of armor.
For threat you will be prioritizing Expertise and Hit.
Expertise will be your best threat stat up to 26 Expertise, try and reach this number without sacrificing too many defensive stats, but don’t worry if you go over, it’s still good even after the soft cap of 26.
Hit is not as good for threat as Expertise, but if you’re required to interrupt a bosses ability, you will need 8% Hit to reach the cap, after the cap however, Hit is useless.
Reforging is a great tool Blizzard added in Cataclysm, it allows you to take one of the stats on a piece of gear and reforge some of it into another stat. Just keep in mind what stats are most useful and you should be set. Stamina cannot be reforged but you can for example reforge Dodge into Mastery, or excess Hit into Expertise.
Now that we got our gear set, let’s charge shield first into some tanking!
The most common type of pull in the game is an AOE pull, despite Blizzard trying to make AOE pulls less frequent, they are still a very big part of the game. Warriors have very good control over groups of multiple mobs if executed properly. The following AOE strategy is going to assume you have Blood and Thunder talent in the first tier of the Protection tree.
To start out an AOE pull, Charge into the group and immediately hit Rend, followed by Thunder Clap (this will effect all targets with Rend, producing a steady stream of damage and threat.) The next ability you will use is Shockwave, this is a great AOE threat move and will also stun all the mobs in front of you producing some upfront damage and avoidance. At this point it will become an ability priority system for tanking. The priority for AOE pulls is Thunder Clap > Shockwave > Revenge > Shield Slam. Cleave is now usable every three seconds, does not trigger the Global Cooldown, and hits up to three targets like a truck (if glyphed). Use this whenever your rage allows, but make sure you leave yourself with enough rage to hit your normal abilities.
Don’t neglect your other abilities on AOE pulls, Shield Block will help in between Shockwave stuns to reduce damage. Spell Reflect has a short 7 second cooldown, spam this whenever you’re fighting spell casters. Use Shield Bash to interrupt, and Concussion Blow to stun, Disarm to remove your targets main hand weapon and don’t be afraid to use defensive cooldowns like Shield Wall, Last Stand, or Enraged Regeneration if things get dicey.
Single Target Tanking:
So you’re through some AOE packs, and it’s time to tank a boss. Before you start the pull though, you want to make sure your group is ready. This includes making sure your group members are present, available buffs are up, and your healers mana is topped off.
We will go over the process for starting the pull in a second, but before we do that I want to go over what is expected of you during a boss encounter. When you pull you will want to move the boss into position as quickly as possible so your raid can get to their positions, at this point you’re in control over the boss, you have to react quickly to changes during the course of the fight. This includes but is not limited to moving the boss out of the bad stuff, into the good stuff, and leaving your raids DPS and Healers enough room to do their thing. During movement fights keep track of your healers and make sure you don’t go out of their range. Communication is also very important, Vent is recommended for any serious tank.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s start a pull!
Begin with your Battle Shout or Commanding Shout for upfront rage, and Heroic Throw the boss. When the boss is moving towards you, close the distance with Charge and immediately open up with a Shield Slam. From here it’s another priority system, the list is Shield Slam > Revenge > Rend > Devastate. Rend only has priority over Devastate if all three Sunders are applied and you don’t currently have a Rend on the target. Heroic Strike is like Cleave in the fact that you can use it every three seconds off the Global Cooldown, but it hits one target very hard, use Heroic Strike whenever you can to burn off excess rage. You can also rotate your longer cooldown abilities like Shockwave if Shield Slam and Revenge are on cooldown. As early in the fight as you can muster without risking loosing aggro to greedy DPS, put up your Thunder Clap and Demoralizing Shout debuffs, and keep them up throughout the fight.
Another very useful new ability that Warriors have acquired with Cataclsym is Inner Rage, if you find yourself frequently over 75 rage, you can trigger this abilitiy for an increased 15% damage, be careful though because this increases the rage of ALL your abilities by 50%, and it lasts 15 seconds. So either make sure you will continue to generate a lot of rage over that time, or have a /cancelaura Inner Rage macro handy.
The last thing I want to go over in this guide is mobility. Warriors have many tools that are unique to the class such as Intervene, and Heroic Leap. We also have Charge and Intercept, with all these abilities we can get from place to place very quickly, helping us get out of bad stuff with speed, or quickly picking up loose adds. Familiarize yourself with these abilities and look for unique ways to use them during encounters, it adds a lot of depth to the class and it’s a lot of fun!
So there you have it, we’re at the end of the guide. We’ve gone over the basics that every Warrior Tank needs to know, but the best way to improve your tanking is going out there and playing the game. As time goes on new trends will emerge and you will have to learn to adapt to those changes, if you’re interested in keeping up with the latest news on Warriors you can always visit your favorite World of Warcraft fan site such as MMO-Champion, Tankspot or Elitist Jerks and browse the Warrior forums there. Good luck, and happy tanking!
Addons seen in video:
The bolded addons are the ones I recommend for tanking, others are just personal flavor.
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Tags: addons, aoe, aoe-tanking, Cataclysm, cataclysm-guide, glyphs, patch-4.0.3a, reforging, stats, strategies, talents, tanking, VIDEO GUIDE, warrior, world-of-warcraft, wow, WoW Warrior Guide, wow-cataclysm, wow-guide