Tanking for Dummies


Arms for the Prot Warrior
August 12, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Gear, Strategy, Talents | Tags: , , , ,

Let us be honest here.  There are just some fights where there is only room for the one tank.  Vezax and Saphiron come mostly to mind.  Heck, in a 25-man raid, if a fight requires only two tanks that means most of the time someone has to DPS.

Lately, that has been me a lot.  My Fury DPS was a joke when I had the opportunity to try it, and so I’ve been doing double protection and doing my best to DPS with my shield on.  Just Breaking 2k DPS with full raid buffs was, shall we say, about all I could handle.

Then, along came the Trial of the Champion with it’s massive amounts of Armor Penetration and its sweet two-hander.  It was just begging for an Arms build and for me to try my hand at secondary spec DPS again.

As a secondary spec, arms is a pretty good choice now, and not just because it is easier to gear up for thanks to the Trial of the Champion.  It’s also easier to gear for because, what with the importance of weapons, the getting a good weapon for your Titan’s Grip off-hand is just not kind to the DPS of your raid.  Also, with the lack of competition for gear with Armor Penetration on it, your plate wearing DPS will be thanking you.

Other things I’ve found people appreciate about my Arms styling:

  • Trauma and Blood Frenzy
  • Ensuring an armor debuff is on the mob if the tank is not a warrior.
  • Shattering Throw + Bloodlust = more win
  • More than doubling my lolprot DPS

The best part, overall, is that I’m still tanking the same amount I was before – just that my non-tanking fights aren’t quite so shame inducing.

But let’s review a few things about the way I think Arms DPS works before I keep going off on how good it is to contribute to your raid:

  • You still want 296 hit rating (9%), no more.
  • You ideally want to aim for 26 expertise (6.5 %)
  • Armor Penetration is a good stat for Arms, and you want 460 or so.  This is deceptive number though because you get 10% more from Battle Stance.  And you want to be in Battle Stance because…
  • You want to watch for Overpower procs.  They proc off Rend if you have Taste for Blood, so essentially every 6 seconds, because you’re keeping up Rend all the time.
  • You want to watch out for Execute procs, which are from Sudden Death.
  • If you’ve got room to build hate, dump rage using Heroic Strike.  If you don’t, use Slam.  Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to weave it into your rotation.
  • Don’t forget to hit Mortal Strike… remember that?

I won’t exactly claim this is an “expert” opinion, just some general guidelines I managed to pick up so I wouldn’t totally suck, and I’m pretty pleased with the results.  So if you’re looking at that secondary DPS spec, give some thoughts to Arms as the go-to option for a tank in need of DPSing.

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11 Comments so far
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Small note : it is 264 hit rating you need (8%)
7% if you have a blueberry in your group.

that 1% was changed when they removed the ghost hit in wotlk.

This will free up some more stats to be put elsewhere.

Comment by Sheldreyn

Noted. I’m a lot closer to hit cap than I thought then.

Comment by Tarsus

Yep, the hit cap is incredibly easy to get with raid-entry level gear. Honestly there is no reason to not be capped and expertise capped if you are arms. Ho and fear not using leather as Arms, we still haven’t been nerfed like Fury was (imp. zerker).

Comment by sheldreyn

I’m getting there. Most of it is a matter of updating gems and enchantments.

No leather yet though. The other arms warrior in my guild (whose talent build I all but copied) has plenty.

Comment by Tarsus

My offspec is 54/17/0 Arms, and you just hit all the high points. It’s fairly simple, but it’s almost totally reactive–you have to watch for Overpower or Execute to light up, while making sure you always always always keep Rend on the target, and hit Mortal Strike every 6 seconds. The priority list as I understand it is Overpower (if it’s up), Execute (if it’s up), Mortal Strike, Slam or HS if nothing else is up.

Lin is well over hit cap (I think at 300 but can’t ditch any hit gear just yet) but nowhere close to expertise capped. Fortunately I use the spec on, literally, one fight a week right now, and that’s 25-man Hodir. I broke 4k on Hodir one time, but 3000ish is more usual; that’s laughably near the bottom of our DPS pile, but more than I’d be doing if I was prot, and it frees our feral druid(s) up from having to keep Mangle on the target since with a buffed crit of 46%, I can keep Trauma up most of the time. Besides, seeing a 32k Execute (I LOVE YOU STORM CLOUD) makes it all worth it.

Comment by Linedan

Storm clouds are seriously made of love and win. Mmmm, ridiculohuge death coils and scourge strikes . . .

Comment by Yuki

other small note :-P
You have to refresh rend on the following GCD where it faded. reason being that there is a tick that happens the moment it fades. If you refresh it before it faded, you loose that tick, if you wait more than 1 GCD to refresh it after it faded, this is another dps loss

Comment by Sheldreyn

That is… really wierd, but I’ll keep that in mind.

Comment by Tarsus

I respeced Arms just to prevent the spear from Vezax getting sharded after our first kill. I mean, the *first kill*. You don’t shard that stuff. So I went from fury to arms just to use that polearm.

As it turns out I’m enjoying the heck out of it. Much less “wait for these two button to finish their cooldowns” and more watching and reacting.

Comment by Karl Gallagher

@Karl – Given my experience with actually getting a 2 handed weapon that was otherwise unwanted (In this case, the axe from Heroic TOC) I can sympathize.

Comment by Tarsus

On my side I’ve been pretty unlucky with drops.. I’m still stucked using Demise…

Well, I plan on running that new H-5mans a couple of times in order to get that nice Axe or polearm, that will e do an efty upgrade for me.

Comment by Sheldreyn




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