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The Protection Guide (Burning Crusade) - Elitist Jerks

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This guide will be a compendium of knowledge concerning Protection warriors. Much of this guide is designed for the purpose of the Main Tank role. This guide is designed for PvE and raiding purposes.

I have done my best to collect as much information on all of the important topics that relate to Protection warriors. There is however, a large amount of information on this subject. Furthermore, this post will be a work-in-progress. This compendium will be continually updated as patches and hotfixes alter the class. There are a few sections in this guide that I know need refinement, but I want to simply release it now.

This guide is broken up into several sections. Some of the information will overlap between sections as there is no way to concisely define each key topic. The best way to use this guide is to look through the Contents at the beginning of the post, and find the section or subtopic that best relates to the information that you are looking for.

Itemization is a hugely important issue for the Protection Warrior. However, as Protection Warriors, you will sometimes need to maximize your threat, and other times maximize your mitigation – two styles which are not often at parity. Therefore, there are entire sections dedicated to talents and itemization related to a defensive minded maximum-mitigation warrior, and another section for the aggressive threat-heavy warrior.

In a number of places in this compendium there will be math involved. Many of these equations are the result of hard work of other individuals. This guide would not exist if it were not for the hard work of so many other individuals who gathered the raw data used to create the equations contained herein.

As Dukes mentioned in his feral-cat guide, I’d like to also preface this article by saying that there will be some opinions made below. I will try to be as objective as possible, but sometimes math must give way to practicality and reality, and sometimes opinion. Just be aware of this, and I will try to limit my own prejudices within each topic. As Edgewalker said to me when I was making this guide, “there is a lot of opinion when it comes to tanking.” It is possible that your opinion may not agree with mine, therefore feel free to post anything that you think might contribute to this guide, as I will include any piece of useful information.

Frequently asked questions

First of all, do not PM me asking questions regarding Protection Warrior gear/advice/etc unless you have thoroughly read through this article, making sure your question is not already contained within.

  1. What is the best talent spec for a Protection Warrior?
    The answer to this question is: it depends. If you run a melee heavy group, you may want to use Curse of Recklessness, this means an improved form of attack power reduction would be prudent. Either through a warlock, druid, main tank warrior, or offtank warrior, someone should have this ability. Therefore, your spec depends on that of your team. This issue is addressed in each of the talent spec questions of the various styles of warrior: Max Mitigation and Aggressive.
  2. How do I increase my TPS?
    Read sections VII, VIII, and X.
  3. I die too often, what advice might you have to stop this?
    Check out the Boss specific guides – and look at section V, VI, and IX. If you are dying, you may need to sacrifice some potential threat through gear and talents, for overall mitigation.

An introduction to the Protection warrior class

This chapter will be almost entirely opinion – so you can skip past it if you don’t want to hear that.

The Main Tank (MT) of any guild is arguably the most important character in a raid. There is no other position or class that is as frequently in the situation where just one simple mistake can cause an entire raid to wipe, potentially ruining an entire guild’s week. Your gear is arguably the most important, your decisions are critical, and having a breadth of knowledge is incredibly valuable to the raid. I have seen guilds improve from average guilds to stellar guilds simply through a change of their main tank. This is not merely my exaggeration. A good tank, a good offtank (OT), good players, and so on is critical to your guild’s success. It has been this way from Everquest, through Four Horsemen, to today with tanking each phase of Illidan.

To this end, as a Protection warrior or main tank, it is your responsibility to be prepared. These are some suggestions to min/max your time as a Protection warrior.

Lastly, remember that you are one of the first individuals to die in most situations. In Everquest the warrior would usually hold on to the mobs while the rest of the group made an escape, losing experience for the sake of others. Don’t get angry when this happens. A Protection warrior’s death is often the benchmark of where and when mistakes happen during progression. It is usually the accumulation of larger issues such as placement of players, healer mana, lack of focus/confusion, or inadequate gear. Make sure that you understand why you died, and make sure as a Protection warrior that you have a working combat log that is readable and filtered in order to assist the raid leader as much as possible with what was happening on your end.

Basic stats

(assumed level 70)

Strength (Str)

Agility (Agi)

Stamina (Sta)

Intelligence (Int)

Spirit (Spi)

All ratings will display as many significant figures after the decimal as I am certain of (for instance 2 significant figures: 0.12). When known, all significant digits are shown.

Hit rating

Critical strike rating

Haste rating

Expertise rating

Defensive rating

See section VI for more information on defense.

Dodge rating

See section VI.b. for a derivation of your base dodge rate.

Parry rating

Shield block rating

Shield block value

Resilience rating

Resilience is mostly a PvP stat, so it will not be discussed on its own in this guide.

Armor penetration

Much of the discussion of this stat will be outside of the realm of this compendium as most tanking warriors will not use armor penetration.

A post by Kalgan states that 1000 armor penetration for a DPS warrior will net roughly a 6.04% DPS increase. This means roughly 150 armor penetration will net a 1% increase in DPS. This correlates to approximately 0.82% more threat.

Armor penetration is relatively stronger on lower armor targets.


Armor is a non-linear tool for mitigation

The equation to determine damage reduction from armor is:

{$$ \textit{Damage Reduction %} = \frac{Armor}{Armor + 400 + 85 * \left(5.5 * Level - 265.5\right)} $$}

Read more about armor in section X.


Armor is your first line of defense against physical attacks. Armor does nothing for magic based attacks (unless they are considered a physical spell, such as hateful strike).

Armor discussions sparked the first major theorycrafting discussion that I am aware of for the game World of Warcraft. There is an important thread on this topic, started by the leader of Conquest: Itzlegend, found here.

The title of this topic was: Warriors, there is no armor cap. This topic was written for level 60 warriors, when there was no way to hit the actual armor cap.

The point of the article was that even though it appears as if you are obtaining diminishing returns on your damage reduction per point of armor, you actually do not lose a significant amount of efficiency by adding more armor due to exponential returns. Itzlegend told warriors to achieve a level of stamina that would allow them to survive a worst-case-scenario, and then stack on the armor.

Here is how it works:

{$$ \textit{Damage Reduction %} = \frac{Armor}{Armor + 400 + 85 * \left(5.5 * Level - 265.5\right)} $$}

At level 70, against a level 70 this can be simplified to read:

{$$ \textit{Damage Reduction %} = \frac{Armor}{Armor + 10557.5} $$}

At level 70 against a level 73 (boss) NPC, this equation becomes:

{$$ \textit{Damage Reduction %} = \frac{Armor}{Armor + 11960} $$}

The maximum amount of physical damage mitigation is 75% through armor. Solving for the armor against a boss NPC with DR% = 75%, gives us an armor value of 35880, which is the true armor cap. Anything beyond this value will be wasted unless the character has an armor reducing ability, such as sunder, applied (which is almost never).

The following graph shows what appears to be diminishing returns on DR% versus armor.

Indeed it takes less than 1000 armor to achieve the first 5% of damage reduction, and nearly 8000 armor to achieve the last 5% of damage reduction. When Itzlegend claims there is no armor “cap”, he is actually saying there are no “diminishing returns” (or at least they are smaller than expected). Why does Itzlegend make the bold claim to not stop stacking armor at the cost of other stats (namely avoidance and STA back in MC)?

The answer is due to the fact that each point of damage reduction becomes exponentially more important than the point before it.

Now, increase both situations by 1%.

In both cases, you have reduced your damage by 10 points. However, in the latter case you improved your relative damage reduction by 2% by increasing your damage reduction by 1%.

This may not seem to matter, but you cannot look at hits from the raw baseline amount and compare them. You don’t worry about raw 30,000 point Archimonde hits, because you’re going to be wearing enough armor that you will likely only be hit for a maximum of 9,000. It is the improvement of that baseline, or where you were prior, that is your true improvement due to armor.

Relative damage reduction

There are two ways to look at relative damage reduction. One is as a function of mitigation percentage, the second is as a function of armor. The second is much more complicated, and will be addressed second.

Damage reduction as a function of mitigation percent

The equation for relative damage reduction as a function of mitigation percentage is:

{$$ \textit{relative DR} = \frac{1}{1 - \textit{DR %}} $$}

Plotting this:

What this graph is saying is that 1% mitigation near the 75% DR cap is roughly 4 times as valuable as it is when you have 0% mitigation.

Another way to think about that is that at 75% reduction, you are reducing your damage by 4.

Improve both by 1% DR:

Take this to the extreme. At 90% DR, 1% more DR would decrease your relative damage taken by 10%. That 100 point hit would be reduced from 10 down to 9.

At 100% DR, you take 0 damage. You are invincible. The exponential has reached infinity for the value of relative damage reduction (RDR).

The last few points of DR are incredibly important.

Another way to look at this issue of relative damage reduction is to consider your healers.

Say you are in a situation where you have 50% DR from armor, you are taking only physical attacks, and your healers are healing you for 1000 hp/s.

If you increase your DR by 1%, you now have 51% DR. You healers will now only heal you for 980 hp/s, a 2% improvement. The healers burden is changed in a manner directly proportional to your relative damage reduction! NOT your damage reduction. Hopefully this drives home the key point. In practical use, armor is king.

A 1% damage reduction increase at 66% DR, means roughly a 3% lower burden of healing on in an all-physical situation.

Note that defensive stance multipliers do not change this – as multiplication is associative.

Furthermore, armor-based damage reduction is absolute. Unlike avoidance, it can always be relied upon.

If you are tanking a mob that hits for 100,000 damage:

However, the boss will always get lucky, and do its worse case scenario. Armor is the only certain way to guarantee basic (non-crushing) attacks are reduced in damage. This is not to say avoidance is worthless – but that you should not devalue armor haphazardly.

It should be noted here that resist rates follow the same exponential returns as relative damage reduction. One huge advantage to resist gear is that there are no diminishing returns for the baseline mitigation percentage as there is with armor. This will be discussed in a later section.

Damage reduction as a function of armor

Here is how one calculates their relative damage reduction as a function of armor:

(This section will involve some calculus, part of the following is contributed by Emrus)

The formula for damage reduction against a lvl 73 boss is:

{$$ \textit{Damage Reduction %} = \frac{Armor}{Armor + 11960} $$}

This formula for the relative reduction is:

{$$ \textit{Relative DR %} = 100\% - \frac{100\% - \textit{New DR %}}{100\% - \textit{Old DR %}} $$}

{$$ = \frac{\textit{New DR %} - \textit{Old DR %}}{100\% - \textit{Old DR %}} $$}

{$$ = \frac{\Delta \textit{DR %}}{100\% - \textit{DR %}} $$}

However we don’t get the same ΔDR% per armor as our armor increases. In order to figure out the relative DR as a function of our armor, we need to take the derivative of the armor equation. What is the change in our armor equation, as a function of armor? We want to look at even the infinitesimal changes in armor. The equation of a derivative is as follows:

{$$ f^\prime(x) = \lim_{\Delta x\to0}\frac{f(x + \Delta x) - f(x)}{\Delta x} $$}

And this is the change that what we are looking for for any particular value of armor, where armor equals X.

On to the calculus:

{$$ \Delta \textit{DR %} = \frac{d}{d(Armor)}(\textit{DR %}) = \frac{d}{d(Armor)} \left(\frac{Armor}{Armor + 11960}\right) $$}

Where armor = x for d/dx:

{$$ \frac{d}{dx}\left(\frac{x}{x + 11960}\right) = \frac{\left(x + 11960 - x\times\frac{d}{dx}(x + 11960)\right)}{\left(x + 11960\right)^2} $$}

{$$ =\frac{\left(x + 11960\right) - x\times1}{\left(x + 11960\right)^2} $$}

{$$ =\frac{11,960}{\left(x + 11960\right)^2} $$}

{$$ \Delta \textit{DR %} = \frac{11960}{\left(Armor + 11960\right)^2} $$}

Insert the result into the appropriate formula and get:

{$$ \textit{Relative DR %} = \frac{\Delta \textit{DR %}}{100\% - \textit{DR %}} $$}

{$$ =\frac{\left(\frac{11960}{\left(Armor + 11960\right)^2}\right)}{\left(100\% - \frac{Armor}{Armor + 11960}\right)} $$}

{$$ =\frac{100\%}{Armor + 11960}\times\Delta Armor $$}

Here is a graph that shows the relative damage reduction as a function of armor. Note the diminishing returns, albeit not extreme. This graph assumes a delta X of 100 armor. The units for “relative DR” are completely arbitrary. I have normalized the equation to make the graph look nicer. (scalar = 119.6, corollary)

Including these infinitesimal points due to calculus actually makes the math for calculating relative DR worse by about a square factor. This means that it takes roughly 16 times as much armor to gain a point of DR at 75% armor as opposed to 0% armor—whereas you might expect only 4 times as much armor, since the gains in mitigation are about 4 fold.

At 50% it should be 4 times as much armor needed for a point of gain versus 0% armor, but each point of gain is only double that of 0%.

The graph above shows this quite well. In a way, this graph is a combination of the graph of Damage Reduction vs Armor, and Relative Damage Reduction vs Mitigation (or Damage Reduction).

It just turns out that the requirement for additional armor per point of mitigation beats out the relative gains.

One should note that this graph says that the first points of armor are relatively more valuable to caster classes and those in this range. For a Protection warrior, you’ll mostly live within the relative gains section between 15000 and 35880 armor, so your diminishing returns act “nearly linear.”

For instance:

Your gains are still relative to your armor location though, so simply zooming in like this can be misleading, just be aware of that.

Therefore, Itzlegend had it right with his original comment:

Originally Posted by Itzlegend:

That said, there is SOME diminishing returns to armor. It his however, extremly small and basically negligible.

Defense and avoidance

Defensive stance

Warriors in defensive stance mitigate an additional 10% of all incoming damage. Warriors with the Improved Defensive Stance talent mitigate an additional 6% of spell damage.

This reduction is multiplicative: 100*0.90*0.94=84.6 or 15.4% spell damage reduction

The law of associative multiplication says that it does not matter if you apply these percentage damage reductions before armor and other mitigations, or after.

Warriors in defensive stance generate 30% additional aggro. This stacks multiplicatively with Defiance, which offers a 15% increase in threat in defensive stance.

130% × 115% = 150% threat

Avoiding the crit

One of the firsts tasks for a Protection warrior is to become “uncrittable.”

Here are the facts:

1 defense skill changes the following by 0.04%:

You need to achieve 490 defense.

That is 140 extra defense (this may include the anticipation talent), or 336 defense rating at level 70 over your natural base of 350 defense. You may mix defense and resilience to achieve the same goal. Bear in mind that 39.4 resilience rating is equal to a 1% crit reduction, and may be substituted for 60 defense rating, or 25 defense. However, because defense also contributes in other areas detailed above, defense will always be superior point-for-point in item budget over resilience in a PvE situation.

Bear in mind that decimals on the character sheet are rounded up. So if you have 489.1 defense it will be reported as 490 defense. Make absolutely certain that you are crit immune by having either 336 defense rating, or having 491 or greater defense.

Your base dodge rate

{$$ \textit{Dodge %} = \textit{Base dodge}+\frac{AGI}{30}+\frac{\textit{Dodge Rating}}{18.930} + {\textit{Talent and Race contributions}} + {(\textit{Defense skill} - \textit{Attacker’s attack skill})} * 0.04) $$}

Base dodge for a warrior = 0.75%

Dodge rating = 0.0

Defense skill − Attacker’s attack skill (for even level) = 350 − 350 = 0

Talent contributions: 0

Race contributions: 1% for night elf, 0% for everyone else.

AGI contribution = AGI / 30

So for example, for my Tauren warrior against an even level NPC:

{$$ \textit{Dodge %} = \textit{Base dodge} + \frac{AGI}{30} + \frac{\textit{Dodge Rating}}{18.930} + {\textit{Talent and Race contributions}} + {(\textit{Defense skill} - \textit{Attacker’s attack skill})} * 0.04) $$}

{$$ \textit{Dodge %} = 0.75 + \frac{91}{30} + \frac{0.0}{18.930} + {0.0} + (350 - 350) * 0.04) = 3.78333 $$}

The character sheet ROUNDS UP all numerical values, so it will report as 3.79% dodge.

So your base dodge, naked, is really just 0.75% plus your AGI/30. Your base AGI at level 70 is dependant on your race.

NPC attack tables

A warrior with no bonuses to defense or avoidance will be hit with the following result (ASSUME TAUREN):

Even-level NPC Versus a Player

Now, bosses are level 73. They gain 3 level of weapon skill. This increases their chance to hit, neglect dodge, neglect parry, neglect block, crit you by 0.2% per level (or 0.6% total).

Bosses also gain 15% chance to crush when they are effectively 3 levels above you. The new table becomes:

Boss Versus Player

Obviously this is a much more dire situation for the player, but this also explains why a warrior needs 140 defense, and not 125 defense to become crit immune. You need to reduce your chance to be crit by 5.6%, not 5%.

{$$ 5.6\% * \frac{\text{1 defense}}{0.04%} = \text{140 defense} $$}

Our level 70 tank, with 140 defense against a boss now looks like this:

Boss Versus a Player

You’ve just become a much better tank.

One final point, defense rating is one of the best avoidance stats, point-for-point:

While dodge provides better raw avoidance, you also improve your block rating, and provide a buffer of gear selection by selecting defense when possible.

Understanding the combat mechanics of WoW

For the purposes of this chapter’s discussion we will only be talking about what happens when an NPC decides to attack a player. The rules change for players attacking a boss.

When an NPC attacks a player, a “1 dice roll” system is implemented. That means everything happens in a single random number generation, and all possible outcomes combine to form the many sides of this one dice.

We call this dice the hit table. The hit table has a maximum range of 100%. Anything that occurs beyond 100% is pushed “off the table.”

The order for pushing something off the hit table is:

Miss → Dodge → Parry → Block → Crushing Blow → Critical Strikes → Hit

Hit is the only variable on the dice. It will expand to fill any empty sides of the die so that there is always a 100% chance of something happening on each roll. The rest of these events have a fixed value based on stats, skills, or talents.

Remember that a sufficient amount of defense will remove critical strikes from the table.

The implications of this 1 dice roll means that if you had 50% dodge, and 50% parry you would not avoid 75% of the attacks in a serial or multiplicative manner, but rather you will avoid 100% of all attacks in an additive manner.

This also means that when you have 25% dodge, you will dodge 25% of your attacks. This does not mean that you will dodge 25% of some attacks. Because the dice is 1 roll, 1 throw, 25 sides of the 100 sided dice will be shaded as “dodge” (in reality the die is probably 10,000 sides allowing for 2 points after the decimal in precision).

Crushing blows

Crushing blows are the first thing after critical strikes to be removed from the hit table if your avoidance is high enough. In particular, if the entire hit table is filled with parry, dodge, block, and miss, you cannot be crushed.

Protection warriors may take advantage of this fact by using their ability: Shield Block.

Shield Block increases a warrior’s chance to block by 75%. Therefore, the remaining 25% of the hit table must then be filled by other sources of avoidance. However, remember that bosses are 3 levels higher than you, or what your character sheet shows. They negate 0.6% of your dodge, parry, miss, and block (0.2% of each per level difference). This requires a warrior to have 27.4% avoidance from other sources in order to become uncrushable.

This 27.4% is actually achieved by a naked Protection warrior who puts 5 points into Shield Specialization (5% to shield block), 5 points in deflection (5% to parry) and 5 talent points into anticipation (20 defense).

The hit table breaks down to – versus a boss for a naked Protection warrior:

Total = 30.19% (Shield Block = 75%)

Another look at the same setup:

Your character information sheet will read as follows (vs even level):

Total = 32.59% (Shield Block = 75%, taking the rest of the hit table up) – total avoidance of 107.59% (only 102.4% needed)

It follows that if you can increase your base gear level to a high enough level, you can become crush-immune without ever having to hit Shield Block. This has been done on live servers, and is readily achievable, but often one must sacrifice aggro and mitigation.

You simply need your miss, dodge, parry, and block to reach 102.4% in order to become uncrushable. I do not recommend this strategy to tanks with the current set of gear, unless it is just to be as a gimmick. In terms of crushable avoidance, shield block rating is by far and away the cheapest point to spend on your item budget to achieve crush immunity – this is because it only allows for blocked attacks, and not total avoidance.

The exponential returns of avoidance

Avoidance gains net exponential returns as your avoidance improves. A 1% improvement in avoidance at 50% avoidance will net you a relative mitigation of 2%.

Taken to an extreme, a 1% increase in avoidance at 99% will yield a relative mitigation improvement of infinity, as you will become invulnerable.

This happens because avoidance rolls are performed on one dice, and are not multiplicative.

The equation which dictates this pace is the same as that for armor’s relative damage reduction. The difference here is that unlike armor, additional percentages of avoidance do not take an ever-increasing number of points of dodge rating, parry rating, or defense to obtain. Do not let this fool you into thinking avoidance is a substitute for armor. You must assume that boss will always get lucky and perform its worst-case-scenario.

The equation is as follows:

{$$ X = \frac{1}{100 - avoidance} $$}

X is the relative worth of a point of avoidance.

Within the final 5% more avoidance, the Y value will reach infinity.

Hitting the boss

Weapon expertise

Weapon expertise was a feature added in version 2.3 of the live game. It is one of the best stats that a warrior can get for both mitigation and aggro.

{$$ Expertise = \frac{\textit{Expertise rating}}{3.95} $$}

Each point of Expertise will reduce the target’s chance to dodge and parry your attacks by 0.25%.

This stat is especially valuable for a tanking warrior since they attack mobs from the front.

Unlike players, NPCs can dodge from any direction, including behind. You can also miss an NPC from any direction.

However, when it comes to parry, you will only trigger a parry by attacking the NPC from the frontal 180 degree cone from which it is currently facing. There are situations where non tanks can cause parries from behind, and this usually occurs when a boss instantly turns to cast a random-secondary-target ability on the raid.

Therefore, due to weapon expertise, tanking warriors get the full effect of both parry and dodge reduction, gaining a 0.5% chance to hit the boss, which will stack with any hit rating they already have. Hit rating reduces your chance to miss, and therefore a capped hit rating will not be impaired by expertise rating which reduces your chance to be dodged or parried. Expertise applies to all abilities a warrior uses that can be dodged or parried (Devastate, Shield Slam, white attacks, etc).

Please see section VII c., for a continuation on the weapon expertise discussion.

Hit rating and spell interruption

15.8 hit rating = 1% hit.

You need ~9% hit to become hit capped. Therefore 142 hit rating will cap your main hand tanking weapon, and you should not miss.

This also applies to Shield Bashing. When you are trying to interrupt a cast spell, you will need 9% hit in order to not miss your Shield Bash. Shield Bash, Pummel, Kick, and various other interrupts cannot be dodged or parried when performed on a mob that is casting or channeling a spell. These abilities can miss.

Parry mechanics

When a boss parries your attack, it reduces the default swing timer of the bosses next main hand attack. There are one of three possible outcomes of a boss parrying your attack:

For example, with a 2.0 speed weapon, if a boss’s next attack would normally occur .3 seconds after the parry, it will still happen at that time. If it would normally occur anywhere between .4 and 1.2 seconds after the parry, it instead happens .4 seconds later. And if it were to normally happen 1.5 seconds after the parry, this would be reduced by .8 seconds causing it to happen .7 seconds later.

This can be reproduced by plotting the time between attacks after parrying against the expected time remaining on your swing as seen in this thread.

Because parried attacks by a boss decrease the boss’s swing timer, parried attacks increase the boss’s DPS on the tank. Reducing these parries will not only reduce the total amount of damage you take, but it will do so by reducing burst damage. Parried repercussions occur quickly, and often appear as multiple attacks landing in the same second to the tank. Indeed if enough parries occur in a given period of time, many bosses can yield “unhealable damage” to even the most well equipped tanks.

This is one of the reasons why weapon expertise is so valuable to the tanking warrior. With a base of 5.6% chance to be dodged against a boss, once a player achieves 22.4 weapon expertise they should no longer be able to be dodged. However, expertise is rounded down, partial amounts of expertise do nothing. Therefore, you need 23 expertise or 91 expertise rating to no longer be dodged. Based on personal experience, expertise is huge in reducing damage taken, and increasing threat. It is highly recommended you heavily stack expertise rating.

Parry rate is not as certain. The current estimate for boss parry rate is: higher than 15%, but no greater than 16.25%.

If the boss parry rate is 16%, you will need 64 weapon expertise, or 252.3 rounded to 253 expertise rating to become parry-immune.

One final issue with parry mechanics is that anyone’s parry will trigger a boss main hand weapon speed reduction. This can be from other NPCs (pets, friendly NPC’s, enemy NPC’s that are attacking your target), or other players. For instance, the following is a log by Sebudai of what happens when Az’galor is attacked from the front by multiple NPC tauren warriors in Mount Hyjal:

24:03.6 Methos's Heroic Strike was parried by Azgalor.
24:03.7 Azgalor hits Methos for 7874 (867 blocked)
24:04.9 Methos's Devastate was dodged by Azgalor.
24:05.2 Methos's Heroic Strike missed Azgalor.
24:06.1 Azgalor hits Methos for 6740 (997 blocked) (1742 absorbed)
24:06.6 Methos's Devastate was parried by Azgalor.
24:07.2 Azgalor attacks. Methos parries.
24:09.5 Azgalor attacks. Methos parries.
24:11.1 Tauren Warrior attacks. Azgalor parries.
24:12.0 Azgalor attacks. Methos parries.
24:12.9 Methos crits Azgalor for 421
24:14.2 Azgalor hits Methos for 7176 (691 blocked)
24:15.0 Tauren Warrior attacks. Azgalor parries.
24:15.3 Tauren Warrior attacks. Azgalor parries.
24:15.7 Azgalor hits Methos for 10247 (561 blocked)
24:15.9 Horde Grunt's Strike was parried by Azgalor.
24:16.2 Horde Peon attacks. Azgalor parries.
24:16.2 Azgalor hits Methos for 9973
24:17.1 Methos dies.


Parry mechanics also imply that any warrior that is not parry immune will actually increase their damage taken if they use Windfury totem. This is indeed the case. Combined with the effects of increased armor and dodge avoidance from Grace of Air (GoA) totem, GoA makes for a much better mitigation totem. However, the reality is that Windfury totem is often significantly superior in many situations due to other party members, and aggro. But keep this in mind when you need to decrease incoming damage.

Boss avoidance

Boss avoidance rates can change if the developers decide to tweak any particular stat for a particular boss. Some bosses may block, others may have aberrantly high or low avoidance rates. Some bosses have high armor and/or defense, some have low armor and/or defense.

A normal default boss should avoid the attacks of a naked warrior as follows:

Player vs. Boss

A glancing blow is a reduced damage attack. It was lowered in patch 2.1 to a default rate of 25% for white damage attacks (autoattacks) versus a boss mob.

Yellow attacks such as Heroic Strike and Shield Slam cannot glance, therefore they have a 0% glancing blow chance.

Players attacking an NPC also have a hit table, just as NPCs do when attacking a player. But this time it is a bit different. As it was before, the hit table for outgoing damage against a boss is performed on a single dice. Everything is done in a one roll situation. That means if you have a 50% crit rating, you will crit 50% of the time, you will NOT crit 50% of the times that you actually hit. It does not roll for hit, then roll for crit. The game takes a 100 sided dice, and shades 50 sides with crit (again it is almost certainly a 10,000 sided dice in reality due to higher precision).

The range of the hit table is always 100% -- anything that would be “after” 100% is pushed off the table entirely. The order of priority is:

Miss → Dodge → Parry → Glancing Blow → Critical Hit → Hit

Hit is the only variable term, and will adjust to fill in the rest of the table as the other entities are fixed based on stats, gear, level, and NPC settings.

Players have a 0% chance to glance their white attacks against NPCs of equal or lower level.

An attack may be blocked by an NPC regardless of if it is a critical or regular hit. Block checks occur only for NPCs that can block, and are performed on a second dice. This is radically different than how your incoming damage behaves.

It is possible for a player to have a high enough critical chance to remove all normal attacks from the hit table. This is sometimes referred to as the “crit cap”. You are a tanking warrior, stop dreaming about crit caps.

Here is an example for a tanking warrior with 5% to hit, and 20 expertise (5% reduction of parry and dodge):

Player vs. Boss

It should be noted that some special attacks use a two roll system. Notably rogue special attacks. I have not seen evidence or data to indicate whether or not warriors use a two roll system. This is not hugely important as our critical strike values are typically very low, and will not be radically diminished by a 2 roll multiplicative system.

Taunt and focus mechanics

Taunt does the following things:

Increasing your hit rating increases your chance for Taunt and Challenging Shout to land on a target. It is currently believed that 1% hit (15.8 hit rating) raises your success rate with Taunt by 1%.

With 0% hit rating, the Taunt resist rate will be 17%. By adding hit rating, you lower the chance for a Taunt to resist. You cannot lower your chance to resist a Taunt below 1%, making the effective “Taunt hit cap” 16% hit, much like spells.

Some bosses appear to have a check that lowers Taunt resists. For instance, Brutallus Taunt resists may occur, but are extremely rare.

Challenging Shout and Mocking Blow have a similar forced attack debuff as Taunt (but their debuff lasts 6 seconds). However, these two abilities do not give the warrior the threat of the NPC’s previous target. They are temporary.


A mob will change focus to another target (or change aggro) if the following conditions apply:

A melee player needs to reach 110% of the threat of the current tank (or target of the NPC) to gain aggro. This 110% rule exists so that a mob does not rapidly ping-pong back and forth between players with similar aggro.

A player outside of melee range needs 130% of the current tank’s threat to gain aggro.

The 110% rule is based on proximity to the mob, and not the abilities a player is using.

Threat does not decay over time.

Maximizing your threat – rotations and decision making

Threat from your abilities

The following are the raw values of threat before modifiers such as defiance or defensive stance (originally from WoWWiki):

Battle Shout
+69 (rank 8); divided amongst targets
+130 (rank 6); divided amongst targets
Commanding Shout
+68; divided amongst targets
Demoralizing Shout
+56 (rank 7); divided amongst targets
+106 + [14 * Sunder Count]; also applies Sunder Armor threat when increasing the debuff stack
+181 (rank 4)
Heroic Strike
+196 (rank 10)
+201 (rank 8)
Improved Revenge (Stun)
Shield Bash
+230 (rank 4)
Improved Shield Bash
Shield Slam
+307 (rank 6)
Sunder Armor
+301 (rank 6)
Sets threat equal to NPC’s primary target (Section VII e.)
Thunder Clap
Base threat is 1.75× damage done

Rage generation

Yellow attacks do not generate rage for a warrior.

Yellow attacks are not eligible to generate extra strikes from the effect of the Windfury Totem

An exception is all on-next-attack abilities may proc Windfury. This includes Heroic Strike, cleave, and any other on-next-attack abilities not listed here.

Outgoing white attacks (autoattacks and Windfury procced attacks generate rage).

The equation for rage generation from outgoing damage is:

{$$ R = \frac{3.75d}{c} + \frac{fs}{2} $$}

{$$ c = 0.0091107836 * Level * Level + (3.225598133 * Level) + 4.2652911 $$}

For a level 70,

(offhand values are half that of main hand values for f)

For a warrior wielding a 1.6 delay weapon, a 200 point hit will yield ~5.5 rage.

For a warrior wielding a 1.6 delay weapon, a 400 point crit will yield ~11.0 rage.

Basically the damage you deal doesn’t contribute a lot to your overall rage generation on harder bosses. Still, Windfury totem is your best bet for generating additional rage, and therefore threat. The Windfury totem procs will count as rage-generating swings.

Rage generation for damage taken is simply:

{$$ R = \frac{2.5d}{c} $$}

A 10,000 point hit on a level 70 warrior will yield 91 rage.

Unfortunately this rage is based on armor mitigated, or reduced damage. This means that as your armor improves, your rage generation will steadily decline. Set bonuses, and other stats often compensate for this basic design flaw. However, in very good avoidance and armor gear, tanks can get long strings of low damage or completely avoided hits, and become “rage starved.” In this situation a warrior’s threat per second (TPS) will drop to abysmal levels. If aggro is then lost, the warrior is often forced to Taunt when possible, or reacquire aggro solely through rage obtained from outgoing white-melee damage (not a good situation.) For this reason, pulling aggro on a well-equipped warrior against an untauntable mob is typically a bad thing to have happen.

Skill rotations

This section is dedicated to a warrior with Shield Slam, and Devastate. I will add a section later for non-Protection spec warriors attempting to tank.

This section will assume standard gear, and will not get into a discussion of what happens at extreme levels of gear (for instance 100,000 DPS weapons, or 1 million shield block value).

You can calculate your theoretical TPS using the TPS calculator provided by Punscho in this thread.

This section will assume unlimited rage – and a discussion of limited rage situations will be done on the following section.

A tanking warrior will be using the following abilities when generating threat:

Here is how these abilities break down in terms of threat per second:

Shield Slam > Revenge > Heroic Strike > Devastate

In terms of threat per rage:

Revenge > Shield Slam > Devastate > Heroic Strike

In all situations, if you have the rage to use Revenge or Shield Slam before Devastate, then you should.

The reason you simply cannot spam Shield Slam and Revenge is that each have cooldowns.

Revenge has a 5 second cooldown.

Shield Slam has a 6 second cooldown.

Devastate has a 1.5 second global cooldown.

Warriors have a 1.5 second global cooldown on their yellow-attack abilities (ignoring next-attack abilities such as Heroic Strike).

Therefore, in unlimited rage situations, you can only hit Shield Slam 1 out of every 6 seconds. Ideally you would want to hit it every 1.5 seconds for 4 Shield Slams every 6 seconds, but the cooldown prevents this from happening.

The goal therefore is to come up with rotations that last roughly 6 seconds in length. The problem is that in addition to the global cooldown, players have a latency that adds to their rotation. For instance, if you have a 250 ms latency, and you use 4 abilities, your rotation will be extended by 250ms * 4 or 1.0 seconds.

It should be noted that Heroic Strike is only usable on a weapon swing. Therefore, it is usually preferable for a tank to have a faster weapon so that the tank will have more opportunities per second to use Heroic Strike. HS has a base threat modifier that is independent of damage done. Keep in mind that faster weapons typically do less instant damage, weakening Devastate. But at least with our current field of available weapons, a faster speed weapon will win out.

Before Devastate this was even more-so the case. Some tanks would use [Julie's Dagger] on Vaelastrasz or other threat sensitive fights in order to gain a large boost in threat (this was also pre-decent Shield Slam.) You could effectively have 6 tanks using 6 different delay weapons only pressing HS, and you would know their threat order well before threat meters existed.

The 3 ability rotation

Players with higher latency may want to consider using a 3 ability rotation:

Shield Slam → Revenge → Devastate → repeat

The total time for this rotation is {$1.5 + \frac{latency}{1000} * 3$}.

Solving for latency here gives 500 ms. If you latency is over 500 ms, you will improve your TPS by shifting to the above 3 cycle rotation.

The 4 ability rotation

Players with normal latency should use the 4 ability rotation under ideal circumstances:

Shield Slam → Revenge → Devastate → Devastate → repeat

The total time for this rotation is {$1.5 + \frac{latency}{1000} * 4$}.

If you have a 100 ms ping, this rotation will take you 6.4 seconds. There is some time lost, but it is better than 1.2 seconds of completely wasted time using a 3 cycle rotation for the same latency. Your latency is fixed, and rotations will not make that go away unless you go over 6 seconds early.

Also, because this is unlimited rage, you should be spamming Heroic Strike so that it is used on every single swing. In fact if you press Heroic Strike fast enough, you can even Heroic Strike on your Windfury procs! This is not a joke: if you are a tanking warrior, sit in an ergonomic position so that you do not develop carpel tunnel syndrome due to button spamming.

In a perfect world, tanking is as easy as that. Of course you will also want to be hitting Shield Block when it comes off of cool-down.

The problem of tanking of course comes when you do NOT have unlimited rage. And this is what separates good tanks from great tanks, and will be discussed in the following section.

Decision making

Threat per rage

There are only a handful of bosses in World of Warcraft that provide you with unlimited rage. Further, most of these high rage bosses do not pose any sort of threat crisis where other raid members have an opportunity to catch up to you in threat.

When you are in a high rage situation it is good to know how to establish an appropriate rotation. However, what is more important is to know what to do in a low rage, or medium rage situation.

In order to assist you in making these decisions, it is important to know the efficiency, and rage cost of all of your abilities.

I am assuming the warrior has Focused Rage (−3 rage to abilities)

A warrior who is setup for maximum aggro will have the Improved Heroic Strike and Improved Sunder Armor abilities. This is detailed in the later section about the Aggressive warrior stance.

This is how your tanking abilities break down in terms of threat per rage:

Revenge > Shield Slam > Devastate > Heroic Strike

Heroic Strike and Devastate are approximately equivalent in terms of threat per rage in the most basic sense. The problem comes from the fact that Heroic Strike consumes a rage generating white attack, since Heroic Strike does not generate rage unless it procs a white-damage Windfury swing. This means the actual cost of Heroic Strike is the tooltip rage cost, plus the cost of rage LOST by not having a white damage attack. Furthermore, the actual threat gain from Heroic Strike is the threat of the Heroic Strike itself, minus the threat that would have been caused by the white damage attack that it replaced. This means that the threat per rage (or relative efficiency) of Heroic Strike is slapped twice, and it actually becomes a rather terrible ability to use in a low rage situation.

Only use Heroic Strike to burn off rage, period.

The following is a contribution to this guide made by Stampy <GLA>, it concerns the relative values of Devastate and Heroic Strike in detail:

If, assuming we are talking about a warrior with 5/5 1H Spec, 0/2 Impale, in defensive stance, and not crit capped:

Expected White Threat per Swing, before threat modifier, is

X * M * (0.25G + 2C + H)

Expected Heroic Strike Threat per Swing is

(X + 176 + 62D) * (G + H + (2 + 0.1 * I) * C) * M + 196 * (G + H + C)

Then Expected Heroic Strike Threat per Swing minus Expected White Threat per Swing is

(0.75 * XG + (0.1 * I) * XC + (176 + 62D) * (G + H + (2 + 0.1 * I) * C)) * M + 196 * (G + H + C)

Expected Threat per Devastate* (5 sunders) is

(X/2 + 175) * (G + H + (2 + 0.1 * I) * C) * M + 174 * (G + H + C)

We can simplify the white→HS threat improvement and the Devastate threat to (HS on top)

0.75XGM + (0 + 0.1 * I) * XCM + 0.00XHM + (176 + 62D) * (G + H + (2 + 0.1 * I)C) * M + 196 * (G + H + C)

0.50XGM + (2 + 0.1 * I) * XCM + 0.50XHM + (   175   ) * (G + H + (2 + 0.1 * I)C) * M + 174 * (G + H + C)

So, Additional HS threat − Devastate threat is

X * (0.25G - 0.5H - 2C) * M + (62D + 1) * (G + H + (2 + 0.1 * I)C) * M + 22 * (G + H + C)

What does this mean?

It becomes clear that at a pretty low gear level, this will be negative, and maintaining Devastate spam should is always a better use of rage than Heroic Strikes (as has been conventional wisdom for quite some time, and is being repeated here) — even if they had the same rage cost.

0.5H + 2C > 0.25G in practice, so the first term is negative, and becomes more negative as average damage, crit, and hit rates increase.

The second term accounts for additional ability damage, 176 + 62D for HS, 175 for Devastate. Heroic Strike always wins on this, but on a non dazed target, this will never be more than 2. On a dazed target, it will never realistically reach 80.

The third term accounts for additional innate threat, 196 for HS, 174 for Devastate. Again, HS wins, but only by a flat amount… 22 if we never miss.

The first term obliterates the second two in almost all cases, and it scales with damage to boot. This is a chart of the additional threat given by one Devastate over the threat of one Heroic Strike minus the white threat the HS replaced, for various average weapon damages, and without or with daze.

Impale moves Heroic Strike up a little, but it still almost always loses, and Impale is dumb for a tank anyways… the gains form Impale tend to be lost back by the at least 2 points in Cruelty you lose. I didn’t feel it was useful to include it in the chart.

The conventional wisdom is right. Keeping up Devastate spam takes priority over Heroic Strike, always, even if they had equal rage cost. The only time Heroic Strike even becomes a minor competitor to Devastate is with a weak weapon and consistently dazed target. This only accounts for Devastates after the fifth sunder; but since the first 5 do significantly more threat, they are a moot point.

Decision making

Yes, Shield Bash. Shield Bash is an exceptional aggro talent. It is not worthy to be placed into a perfect 4-cycle rotation, but in low rage and decision making situations, it has a notable place.

Shield Bash generates 230 base threat (by comparison Shield Slam is 307, Revenge 201, Heroic Strike 196, and Devastate 101). Each of these abilities also generates damage from the bonus damage of the ability. Shield Bash has the lowest bonus damage of these abilities, and is the reason it has the lowest threat per second. However, it is not far behind.

In a situation where you have 7 rage, Revenge is on cooldown, you are far better off hitting your Shield Bash button than waiting even half a second for enough rage to Devastate. Time is threat, do not waste it waiting for a big hit, get that big hit on the next global.

Further, if this is a non-boss NPC, or a boss that can be dazed, Shield Bash will increase your Heroic Strike damage. Heroic Strike damage is increased on dazed targets.

For each of the above circumstances you should not hit your Heroic Strike button unless there is the imminent threat of incoming damage that will increase your rage to a level that will absorb the rage required for the next Heroic Strike (HS) swing.

The type of boss you are fighting matters in this regard. If the boss generates low levels of threat, you should not bank on priming an HS and hoping that rage comes. You should use HS reactively. Losing a Shield Slam, or even a Revenge to a Heroic Strike is a loss. However, if you suddenly get hit for 10k, and lose a Heroic Strike due to waiting for rage, you’ve also lost threat. The latter situation is slightly less common.

Basically, when it comes to HS, the question you need to ask is: can I use all of my rage up with Devastate, Shield Slam, and Revenge (and Shield Block if appropriate, which it likely is not if you’re having rage issues)? If you can say yes, do not bother with HS. In this case, use HS as a rage burn-off.

If the standard 3 tanking abilities are not sufficient to burn off rage, then apply HS as judiciously as possible to keep your rage in a manageable range. Do not let your rage sit at over 30 (HS+SS) unless you cannot burn it all fast enough. Incoming damage is stored as rage in your bar, therefore there should be room for that rage to be received. Having an aberrantly full rage bar means all rage over 100% is completely lost, meaning threat is lost. Remember rage management in a low rage situation extends not only to turning rage as efficiently as possible into threat, but not losing rage during the bursting periods if they exist.

Because of the potential to use Shield Bash, and not have enough rage to do ANYTHING, you will not be able to settle down into a perfect 4, or even 3-cycle rotation when it comes to low-rage tanking. You simply need to make choices on each, and every global cooldown. Less realistically is making decisions on when to HS. Treat it as a rage burnoff in low-rage situations, and don’t let yourself over-accumulate!

I would also recommend that you install unit frames that allow you to easily see your rage. I personally do not think the default unit frames do a good job of indicating rage, even when you adjust them to always show your rage. As a matter of personal preference, show your health and rage near the center of your screen, near most of the other important information, and be able to actually see the numerical value for your rage. This is similar to driving a car. You do not put your speedometer above your visor as does the default WoW GUI. You want to be able to watch cooldowns while watching rage if you are going to truly maximize your threat output.

Maximizing your mitigation – the Defensive style

This section will detail how to get max mitigation from your warrior.

Talent choices

The first question you need to ask is if you will have the assistance of a warlock, or another warrior when it comes to debuffing your mob with Demoralizing Shout, and Thunderclap. If the question is no, then I would recommend getting both Improved Demoralizing Shout, and Improved Thunderclap for a max-mitigation tank.

Remember that a max mitigation tank is sacrificing some aggro, for max mitigation; in other words, taking as little damage as possible.

Improved Demoralizing Shout also allows for a raid to use Curse of Recklessness without many, if any repercussions (except when the mob has attack power multiplying abilities).

Here is a talent list for a warrior seeking max mitigation – this list is just a point to get started from:

Arms (8 points)

Fury (10 points)

Protection (43 points)

Here is a link to this build on the Wowhead calculator (thanks Cluey!):

The Defensive Style

The debate on this spec would be centered around having Improved Taunt, Improved Shield Wall, and Improved Sunder Armor. Most of the other talents are a requirement for a max mitigation warrior. Improved 1HWS is a nice talent, but completely unnecessary for progression mode unless the boss requires an incredible threat ceiling (to which I have not yet seen outside of reliquary phase 2).

It should be noted that 1HWS will increase the damage done by all of your offensive abilities by 10%—this includes Shield Slam, Devastate, HS, etc. It will strictly speaking, be better point-for-point than cruelty. However, in a threat build, you would have both talents anyway.

Improved Taunt is a talent that some individuals do not like. Personally I think it is a wonderful tool, and very useful on trash. Keep in mind, trash takes up a lot of your night, and not having people die due to quicker Taunts can certainly save you time. In Mount Hyjal Improved Taunt is very useful. However, Improved Taunt will not help on many bosses (although when it can help, it is incredibly powerful), so a true min/maxer may want to drop Improved Taunt in favor of Improved Shield Wall or 1HWS on a singular boss.

I’ve chosen to put 3 points into Improved Sunder Armor at the cost of Improved Shield Wall and 1HWS. If you are fighting a boss that offers high rage, you will want 1HWS. For a boss that offers medium to low rage, Improved Sunder Armor is dramatically superior for its improvement to threat per rage on Devastate. These are issues of aggro though, so I believe in that sense the reader should decide how to spend their points.

The only talent here that really is going to improve your mitigation is Improved Shield Wall. This one is also open to debate as we’re talking 2 to 5 more seconds of Shield Wall, an ability stuck on the global cooldown (which is horrible). Usually, Shield Wall is reserved as a tool to save yourself from a bad situation, not a proactive counter-measure. I personally like Improved Shield Wall very much, but outside of Maexxna I would be hard pressed to prove that it has ever “saved” one of our raids.

Skill decisions

Debuffing a mob yields incredible returns of mitigation:

According to recently gathered data indicated throughout this post attack power reduction affects mobs in a non-linear manner:

Assuming linearity between 0ap to −210 AP and −210 AP to −300 AP and −300 AP to −510 AP:

It would appear that either the boss used to gather this data, The Lurker Below, had between 300–510 AP, or that there is a diminishing return on −AP abilities.

However, there is damage reduction seen in going from −300 AP to −510 AP. Therefore, points in Improved Demoralizing Shout “do not hurt.” Further, Improved Demoralizing Shout will allow a guild to apply Curse of Recklessness safely, as it increases an NPC’s attack power. The assumption is that without Curse of Recklessness you are improving a boss’s damage output exponentially faster if Improved Demoralizing Shout is not applied, as you push the boss’s attack power back into the more dangerous AP ranges.

Before TBC, the general consensus was that Improved Demoralizing Shout reduced a boss’s melee output by roughly 30%. In TBC most data tends to point between a 14.5% and 20% reduction in total damage. It is also likely that some bosses have more AP than others, and can receive a larger damage reduction from improved −AP talents.

I recommend that you run a mod, such as NECB that can track your Demoralizing Shout and Thunderclap timers. It is immediately noticeable when either, or both of these abilities fall off of a heavy-hitting boss. Keeping these debuffs applied is night-and-day when it comes to tanking, and will vastly improve your mitigation far beyond any single piece of gear.

Shield block and rage

As indicated previously, Shield Block prevents crushing blows. Therefore, you should be using it on every cooldown in a max mitigation scene.

On certain fights you need to use Shield Block to guarantee survival. For instance, on Illidan you need to have enough rage to Shield Block each shear in order to guarantee it does not land on you. Shear cannot miss, therefore don’t rely on crush immunity working here.

The oh-shit abilities


Swiftness Potion: Have this potion bound in case you need to move quickly from one point to another. Examples are hiding behind a Sapphiron ice block (I have had epic saves from this potion on this boss), moving toward an enemy that has just killed an offtank, moving out of a dangerous AE, etc.


The itemization of a max mitigation warrior is as follows for each item slot:

I will include the best items from each available tier of gear.

Tier 6 (Sunwell, Mount Hyjal and Black Temple), Tier 5 (Raiding game up through Hyjal access), 10 man raiding (Zul’Aman, Karazhan, 5 man instance, heroic badges, reputation rewards, etc).

If the best item is not from Tier 6, the list will begin from the Tier where that item originates from (and indicated).

The very best mitigation item should be the first, or leftmost item listed. To a first approximation the second best item, and so on continues in a left-to-right manner.

Helmet – [Crown of Dath'Remar] over [Faceplate of the Impenetrable][Destroyer Greathelm][Battleworn Tuskguard]

Neck – [Pendant of Titans] or [Collar of the Pit Lord][The Darkener's Grasp][Barbed Choker of Discipline] or [Brooch of Deftness]

Shoulder – [Pauldrons of Perseverance] or [Onslaught Shoulderguards] or [Pauldrons of Abyssal Fury][Destroyer Shoulderguards][Pauldrons of Stone Resolve]

Cloak – Badges: [Slikk's Cloak of Placation] OR Tier 5: [Phoenix-Wing Cloak] Sunwell: [Crimson Paragon's Cover]

Breastplate – [Breastplate of Agony's Aversion] or [Onslaught Chestguard][Chestplate of Stoicism]

Wrist – [Onslaught Wristguards] over [Eternium Shell Bracers][Wristguards of Determination] or [Bracers of the Ancient Phalanx]

Gloves – [Borderland Fortress Grips] or [Gauntlets of Enforcement][Royal Gauntlets of Silvermoon][Bonefist Gauntlets][Bonefist Gauntlets] or [Topaz-Studded Battlegrips]

Belt – [Onslaught Waistguard][Girdle of the Invulnerable][Girdle of the Fearless]

Leggings – [Felstrength Legplates][Sunguard Legplates]

Boots – [Onslaught Boots] over [Myrmidon's Treads][Red Havoc Boots][Jungle Stompers]

Ranged Weapon – [Rifle of the Stoic Guardian][Legionkiller][Gyro-Balanced Khorium Destroyer] (for stamina)

Weapon – [The Unbreakable Will] or [The Brutalizer] or [Dragonscale-Encrusted Longblade][Mallet of the Tides][The Sun Eater]

Shield – [Sword Breaker's Bulwark] or [Bulwark of Azzinoth] (close) – [Vengeful Gladiator's Shield Wall]

Trinkets – See section IX d.

Rings – See Section IX d.

In some situations, expertise is one of the best mitigation and tanking stats. In other situations, it can be near worthless. It is recommended to build a raw tanking set along with an expertise tanking set—the expertise set will augment your aggro set (and likely act as your aggro set).

3.95 points in expertise yields 0.25% less parries given to the boss. This does not correlate to 0.25% less damage taken, as parry swing-time reduction is not 100%, and is variable based on when the parry arrived versus the boss’s swing timer. However, because this stat reduces burst damage, and does still reduce overall damage taken, it is prioritized over similar items with potentially more theoretical mitigation when circumstances are “close.”

Rings and trinkets


There are many rings that a warrior can choose from for a mitigation set. The problem is choosing the one that provides the best overall mitigation.

In addition, the stamina value between these various rings can vary by nearly 20. This means there is a decision to be made on the need of avoidance versus stamina, which depends on the boss you are fighting, your other gear, and what point you are at in the progression game.

Judging the value of armor versus avoidance becomes an issue of how much avoidance (but not armor) the warrior already has. I will assume the warrior in the below example has a total avoidance rate of 40.0%.

In terms of raw avoidance vs. a boss mob, the order of rings available to a warrior is:

[Band of the Eternal Defender] (1.5% avoidance and a block value of ~0.88% mitigation against a 5000 damage swing, and an additional procced armor increase) I would wear this before the violet signet or unyielding force simply due to the increased aggro, better stamina, and better overall balance of the item. Further, the weaker the boss hits for, the greater the percentage mitigation from shield block value.

44 block value from a 5000 point mitigated boss hit is 0.88% mitigation. The problem is this value changes based on the average hit of a boss mob, and the percentage of attacks that are not blocked. I will assume an average boss hit of 5000 for block value mitigation calculations.

[Ring of the Stalwart Protector] (1.48% avoidance and a raw damage reduction of ~0.52%, math shown for signet of great protector)

[Ring of Sundered Souls] (2.22% avoidance)

[Violet Signet of the Great Protector] (0.95 avoidance and a raw damage reduction of ~0.52%)

The relative damage reduction here is calculated for a warrior with 18,000 armor as:

{$$ DR = \frac{18000}{18000 + 11960} * 100\% = 60.08\% $$}

{$$ DR = \frac{18392}{18392 + 11960} * 100\% = 60.595\% $$}

Difference in DR = 0.516%

Relative damage reduction at ~60.08% armor =

{$$ 0.516\% DR * \frac{1}{100 - 60.08} = 1.29\% $$}

Continuing on, the next best ring for a mitigation warrior is:

[Ring of Unyielding Force] (1.1% avoidance plus 0.98 Relative DR%)

[Band of the Abyssal Lord] (1.35% avoidance, with hit rating and a lot of stamina) – Wear only in situations where you need maximum stamina.

[Seventh Ring of the Tirisfalen] (0.85% avoidance plus 24 block value ~0.48% mitigation on a 5000 damage hit)

[Signet of the Last Defender] (42 block value for ~0.84% avoidance against 5000 damage hits).

It is important to understand that the relative mitigation offered by “Last Defender” and “Violet Signet” are entirely dependant on a player’s gear, and the mob they are fighting (and how often they block).

If a mob hits for large values, then the Signet of the Last Defender, and Band of the Eternal Defender decrease in relative worth. If a boss hits for small amounts (say 2000–3500) then you would be well served by wielding the Band of the Eternal Defender (and perhaps even the Signet of the Last Defender), if you can maintain a high block rate on the attacks that are not avoided.

Lastly, do not underestimate the value of armor on rings and cloaks. However, be careful not to use relative damage reduction when comparing directly to avoidance. 1% avoidance on a player with 50% avoidance is a 2% reduction in relative damage, just as it would be a 2% relative reduction in damage for a 1% increase in DR due to armor at 50% DR. Therefore, when comparing armor to avoidance, you need to consider your current avoidance, and your current DR when comparing their relative worth. Typically avoidance will have a relative factor of approximately 2.0 per percentage for most warriors (50% avoidance), and armor based damage reduction will have a factor of approximately 3.0 for most well equipped warriors (66.7% DR).

Since this calculation is entirely based on an individuals gear it is not reasonable to carry out every possible combination of when to use armor versus avoidance. However, treat armor damage reduction as roughly 1.5 times as valuable as avoidance damage reduction and you should have a good estimate of the relative worth of two items.

Therefore, comparing block value reduction, to avoidance reduction, to armor damage reduction is something that will not be an exact science for the purposes of this compendium. You will have to perform your own calculations based on your current gear level, and the average attack damage of the boss.


[Shadowmoon Insignia] (3.49% avoidance, 1750 HP on use for 20 seconds)

[Scarab of Displacement] (2.10% avoidance, 8.25% avoidance on use for 15 seconds)

[Figurine - Empyrean Tortoise] (2.13% avoidance and Use: Increases dodge rating by 8.72% for 20 sec. every 2 minutes)

[Moroes' Lucky Pocket Watch] (2.01% avoidance, 15.85% avoidance on use for 10 seconds)

[Ancient Aqir Artifact] (1.90% avoidance, ~3.15% raw armor DR on use for 20 seconds)

This is approximately an 8% relative damage reduction on-use.

An interesting trinket:

[Commendation of Kael'thas] Melee attacks which reduce you below 35% health cause you to gain 152 dodge rating for 10 sec. Cannot occur more than once every 30 sec.

Another interesting trinket:

[Argussian Compass] – Absorbs 68 damage per attack, up to 1150 damage in 20 seconds every 2 minutes. This is an interesting trinket to keep around, but typically you will never use it, and reaching the required 17 attacks in 20 seconds is not common.

The on-use ability of the Pocket Watch is incredible (albeit for only 10 seconds). This may tilt the scales for some players over the passive and implied gear-choice advantages of the Scarab.

Maximizing your aggro – the Aggressive style

This section will help you maximize your aggro while retaining your ability to tank. This means I will not be giving you gear advice that has you tanking Mother Shahraz in DPS plate, or using Mortal Strike on bosses. The Aggressive Style of tanking retains exceptional mitigation, while partially sacrificing some mitigation for large returns in threat.


Arms (8 points)

Fury (6 points)

Protection (47 points)

Wowhead talent calculator link:

The Aggressive Style

Alternate high-aggro build:

The Aggressive Style with Imp TC/AM

This talent spec gains Improved Heroic Strike, Improved Sunder Armor, full 1HWS, full Cruelty, and full tanking talents.

You lose Improved Thunderclap, Improved Demoralizing Shout, and the user has a choice of shifting Improved Taunt points into Improved Bloodrage.

[1] An alternate spec which will provide additional threat would be to drop Improved Defensive Stance, 1 point in Bloodrage/Anticipation, and place the remaining four points in the Arms tree: 3 points in Improved Thunderclap, 1 point in Anger Management.

Skill decisions

A threat based build is often used during farm mode. As a warrior’s gear improves, the warrior will often generate less rage, and thus threat (there are exceptions with expertise, hit rating, crit rating, set bonuses, etc). Sometimes it is useful during farm mode to “tone back” your gear, or to use a high aggro build and item set in order to allow room for the rapidly improving DPS’s threat ceiling.

Some bosses (such as Reliquary of Souls phase 2), are very threat sensitive due to a lack of incoming rage, or extenuating circumstances. In these progression instances, maximizing your aggro is also very useful. In addition, some tanks have poor threat to begin with, and may be able to use some of the talent specs or gear listed here in order to improve upon that (but perhaps start on threat rotations and decision making in Section VIII.)

This talent spec assumes that you will have another warrior debuff for you. If you are going to maximize your threat, you cannot be wasting rage on Demoralizing Shout, or Thunderclap. They are simply not a part of your 4-cycle rotation.

Having an offtank (ferals may assist with debuffing attack power) assist with debuffing is huge for your threat, do not underestimate this synergistic change.

Some important decisions one can make to improve their threat:


1 block value is equal to 0.16 TPS in a 4-cycle rotation with 100 ms of latency.

This is determined by:

{$$ \frac{\text{1 dmg}}{1.5s * 4 + 0.100s * 4} = 0.156\text{ TPS} $$}

1 hit rating is equal to ~0.7 TPS for a 4-cycle rotation with 100ms of latency with “good” tanking gear.

1% chance to hit equals roughly 11 TPS. The math for this can be seen in the threat per second Excel template linked above.

Unlike the itemization chart for a mitigation warrior, I am going to only list the items that give a warrior max-aggro (while retaining some quality of tanking). The goal here is to maximize expertise, gain: hit, crit, and shield block value when appropriate.

There is a fine line that many of these items walk against similar items that offer higher TPS, but (sometimes significantly) lower mitigation. For instance, one could use a pure DPS cloak for their Aggressive Style gear set – some of these choices should be left to the individual.

With the advent of expertise, threat gear basically overlapped with mitigation gear for a long time (especially during the post-Illidan farm mode for many guilds). However, in some of the more difficult tanking situations, avoidance/mitigation gear will forego expertise for raw avoidance and tanking power. It is recommended you have a strong aggro set, and a strong, raw avoidance/mitigation set.

The following set is a compilation that sacrifices some mitigation for an increase in threat, these items are still “tanking” items at heart. This is therefore, still an exceptional tanking set.

Helmet – [Hard Khorium Goggles]

Neck – [Collar of the Pit Lord] or [Shattered Sun Pendant of Resolve]

Shoulder – [Pauldrons of Perseverance]

Cloak – [Crimson Paragon's Cover]

Breastplate – [Breastplate of Agony's Aversion]

Wrist – [Bracers of the Ancient Phalanx] (consider DPS onslaughtt)

Gloves – [Gauntlets of Enforcement]

Belt – [Onslaught Waistguard]

Leggings – [Felstrength Legplates]

Boots – [Onslaught Boots]

Ranged Weapon – [Bristleblitz Striker] or [Vengeful Gladiator's Longbow] or [Golden Bow of Quel'Thalas] Each of these items has a different style.

Weapon – [Dragonscale-Encrusted Longblade]

Shield – [Kaz'rogal's Hardened Heart] OR [Sword Breaker's Bulwark]

Trinkets – See section X d.

Rings – See Section X d.

If you overshoot the expertise cap, go for hit rating where appropriate.

Rings and trinkets


[Band of the Abyssal Lord] 1.33% chance to hit (~14 TPS)

[Band of the Eternal Defender] 44 block value (~6.86 TPS)

[Signet of the Last Defender] 42 block value (~6.55 TPS)

[Stormrage Signet Ring] (~30 TPS)

[Shapeshifter's Signet] 5.06 expertise or ~2.53% hit (~27.8 TPS) plus 28 Agi (0.93 dodge, 56 armor, 0.85 crit) for another ~6.5 TPS for about 33 TPS total! This is a fantastic ring.

[Band of Ruinous Delight] Take this if you hate the melee DPS in your guild.

There are many other rings (notably DPS rings) that should provide more threat per second (TPS). Again, when choosing DPS items for tanking, it should be left to the individual player to decide how far they wish to sacrifice their mitigation in order to improve threat.

For instance, the [Stormrage Signet Ring] would be a fantastic aggro ring. Although obtaining one might lead to a bit of drama, and will reduce your mitigation.

It packs 1.9% to hit (~20.9 TPS), ignores 126 opponent armor (~0.84% more DPS), and increases your attack power by 66 (~7 TPS).

Most of these TPS values are subject to change based on the rest of a player’s gear.


[Shard of Contempt] Expertise by 11.16 (44 rating).
Chance on hit to increase your attack power by 230 for 20 sec.
Over 30 TPS based on 1000 TPS base.

[Gnomeregan Auto-Blocker 600] (59 shield block passive, 200 shield block on-use)
Approximately 9 TPS, with an additional 32 TPS during on-use

[Glyph of Deflection] (23 shield block passive, 235 shield block on-use)
Approximately 4 TPS, with an additional 37.6 TPS during on-use

[Romulo's Poison Vial] (2.22% chance to hit, plus chance to proc a poison)
Approximately 22 TPS, plus additional threat from proc

[Icon of Unyielding Courage] (1.9% hit, on use −600 armor for 20 seconds)
The “poor man’s” poison vial. 19 tps + the proc.

[Madness of the Betrayer] (1.27% to hit, 84 AP, chance to ignore 300 armor for 10 seconds)
Approximately 23 TPS, plus additional threat from proc

[Battlemaster's Cruelty] (1.81% critical strike increase, 1750 hp for 20 seconds on-use)
Approximately 14 TPS

[Dragonspine Trophy] (AP by 40, chance to increase melee haste by 21.38% for 10 seconds)
The proc offers nearly a 10% increase in threat when it is up (~100 TPS). The DST has an internal cooldown of 20 seconds. Assuming 1.5 ppm, you will get around 30 TPS from this trinket. 1.5 ppm is a slight over assumption for a Protection warrior.

Many of these trinkets will simply not be obtained by a tanking warrior. These will often have a priority for other physical-damage classes in your raid. Therefore, the Auto-Blocker is one of the staple trinkets for the Aggressive warrior. Sapphiron’s Glyph of Deflection is not on a shared cooldown with the autoblocker. You can achieve ridiculous Shield Slam crits with 2 piece tier 5, autoblocker, Glyph of Deflection, and +block items and enchants.

Do not underestimate the value of seemingly weak items such as [Romulo's Poison Vial]. If you can make full use out of the hit rating that it provides, it is a very nice passive threat boost.

It is recommended that you use the threat calculator Excel sheet with your own specific gear set to see the precise numbers by which each of these trinkets will affect your (ideal) threat.

This section will be updated as I find more specifics regarding proc rates of the appropriate trinkets.

Tanking with a DPS build

This section of the Protection warrior guide is from a contribution by Olon97.

You’re on call for tanking duties at times, but at other times someone else is the MT and you may as well do your best to DPS. While the Devastate in DPS gear is one approach, another alternative to consider is having 31+ points in a DPS tree and taking advantage of the 63% threat bonus to Mortal Strike or Bloodthirst threat that 3 points in Tactical Mastery gives (source) so that you still produce adequate threat when tanking.

Before going any further, it’s worth noting that MS appears to be the weaker route from a pure PvE utility standpoint. Any significant investment in Protection talents forces a PvE MS build to drop flurry and possibly imp. slam as well. Using a slow mainhand while tanking should keep the threat per second and snap aggro potential of MS, but at the cost of HS efficiency. The only raid-centric rationale that comes to mind for the MS approach is if you really need the MS debuff from your character to reduce a boss' healing mechanic.

Bloodthirst will work more efficiently with a HS Spam friendly (fast) mainhand, precision makes reaching the 9% hit cap easier, and weapon mastery offers additional threat advantages if one hasn’t already removed boss dodges via expertise.

The DPS hybrid tanking approach is another balancing act between DPS for threat, and mitigation/avoidance for survivability, except you don’t divide your attention between buffing Shield Slam with block value and buffing white dmg / HS / Devastate with strength and attack power. The right balance between threat and survival depends on your healing crew, the specific bosses in question, and your roles on said bosses.

DPS warrior tanking roles

DPS warrior tanking gear

Shield block value is a mitigation only stat for a DPS hybrid build. Traditional DPS stats, on the other hand, significantly impact the skills (and white damage) that will likely make up 60–80% of the TPS in your skill cycle. This makes pure DPS pieces very tempting. The best DPS pieces for swapping in will have high ilvls (hence high armor) and respectable amounts of stamina, making them at least “survival” pieces if not avoidance pieces. If you don’t have such DPS pieces available, you may be wiser to boost threat via jewelry first to avoid losing armor value.

Making room for threat pieces: crit immunity via resilience

Of course, when thinking of high ilvl DPS pieces with lots of stamina Arena / S3 pieces (link) come to mind. Getting the 2 piece gladiator bonus significantly reduces the number of items with defense you’ll need to reach crit immunity. Remember, add up the you should have crit immunity.

(rating conversions courtesy of Satrina):

39.42 resilience rating = 1 resilience skill = 1% reduction in chance to be crit

2.36 defense rating = 1 defense skill = 0.04% reduction in chance to be crit

Note: at times in resilience gear you can potentially have enrage proc while not actually being crit (a mechanic from Blizzard to make talents like blood craze not totally useless in arena) which is a nice boost to threat.

What to look for in hybrid threat pieces

Some of the tanking plate out there is itemized quite well for DPS offtanks. Look for items that have armor (derived from ilvl unless it has bonus armor out of its item budget), stamina, strength (or theoretically AP), hit rating (if not hit capped), as well as defense. Some examples of good hybrid DPS tanking pieces from Wowhead: 23 DPS tank friendly armor pieces (link).

Expertise – Still a great stat

Not landing a Bloodthirst (or MS) is going to create a large dip in your short-term threat per second. Before making room for pure DPS pieces for threat, consider making room for some of the usual suspects of Expertise armor & jewelry: [Brooch of Deftness], [Bracers of the Ancient Phalanx], [Gauntlets of Enforcement], and [Shapeshifter's Signet].

Gems and Enchants

Depending on how committed you are to being a DPS tank hybrid warrior, consider “sovereign” purple gems (Str/Stam) in red sockets instead of ignoring socket color as a Protection warrior typically would, especially if you can recover stamina via the socket bonus. Similarly, a meek threat piece can get a significant boost (at the expense of avoidance/survival) by using enchants traditionally reserved for DPS pieces. You shouldn’t re-enchant at the expense of your avoidance set, however.

Weapon considerations

If you’ve chosen the MS route, it’s fairly common sense to go with a weapon type that matches your weapon specialization and if you need snap aggro, also a slow weapon speed. Otherwise mainhand choice very much follows the guidelines from the Protection section, with DPS stats on the weapon being a little more attractive. [The Brutalizer] is still the clear winner for a Bloodthirst weapon due to the expertise (except for humans due to expertise on swords from racial).

DPS tank talent choices

Arms vs. Fury: what they offer for tanks

At the start of this section, the case for BS over MS as the snap threat tool of choice was presented, but there are other tanking related factors to keep in mind from the trees.



Dabbler builds

It is certainly an option to only get Tactical Mastery and go no deeper in Protection. It’s the only way to get Blood Frenzy and imp. Slam (but still losing Flurry) on an otherwise normal PvE DPS MS build. On the Fury side, you can still keep Imp. Thunderclap, and even Impale at the cost of Rampage. Almost into the next category is 8/41/12 to have Imp. Thunderclap and one point of Defiance.

Up to Defiance (with Last Stand option)

With 3 points of Defiance giving 6 points of expertise in all stances (since 2.3), this is a particularly attractive option for a lot of currently full-DPS warriors. Between the Shield Specialization route and the Toughness route, it’s likely better for raid offtanking to go for Improved Shield Block. Two charges give significantly better crush protection. The 15% threat from Defiance also makes a large impact on the levels of sustained TPS one can maintain.

Last Stand is a great survival talent (even while purely DPS'ing it can buy time for a raid healer to get around to you and keep you alive) and just one more point, so for most players who have already invested 10+ points in Protection it will be hard to resist.

The trade offs from the Arms and Fury trees are more on the DPS end of things. As mentioned earlier, a PvE MS build loses a lot by not having Improved Slam. In Fury, the choice is between 5/41/15 and 0/44/17 is forgoing 5% parry for DPS extras in Fury (eg. Imp. Execute or 5/5 DW Specialization) and Improved Taunt / Improved Sunder. Given that many gear sets for hybrid threat may already be a little on the daredevil side, strongly consider keeping Deflection if you’re serious about the tanking part of hybrid play. Getting 5% parry from gear would cost more in lost threat (and DPS in said threat gear for “tank then DPS” fights) than not having those last 3 Fury talents.

Improved HS has the benefit of being of potential use in both tank and DPS mode. It may be a good choice if you’re using HS a lot in either scenario while still consciously managing rage. If you’re low rage and avoiding HS due to it’s low TPR/DPR, or flooded with rage and not worrying about “per rage” factors at all, the talent may end up under-utilized.

Up to 1H Spec

One-Handed Weapon Specialization is multiplicative with MS and Bloodthirst, but generally EJ posters using the DPS spreadsheet have found in DPS mode it’s still going to be behind having Imp. Slam or Rampage + Imp. zerker stance. Still, the reason to go this deep in Prot would be for the added tanking utility of the other 10 talent points getting up to 1H Spec, especially Toughness if it was skipped in lieu of Improved Shield Block in a 15 talent point scenario.

Another question going this deep into Protection is whether a full Protection build can output better damage. Arms and 1H Spec have worse synergy than DW Fury and 1H Spec, so a proper DPS set for Devastate would generally come out ahead of 31/0/30. With Fury, it’s still probably worth checking spreadsheets for your own gear to be sure.

DPS warrior threat per rage and skill rotation decision making

Doing the math for your threat numbers

Everything besides MS/BT was covered in more than enough detail in the Protection warrior guide.

Here’s how you figure Raw Damage for a normal MS/BT for each (assuming non-dagger 1h).


[ (min + max)/2 + (AP / 14) * 2.4 ] * D. Stance (0.9) * 1H Spec (1.0 to 1.1) * Armor (~0.7)


[ AP * 0.45 ] * D. Stance (0.9) * 1H Spec (1.0 to 1.1) * Armor (~0.7)

Note: you can use average normal hit values from combat log / WWS data if you prefer.

Then combine your normal MS/BT value (“NRM DMG”) with your combat table vs. a boss for Average Damage:

Block% * (NRM DMG - Blk Value) + Crit% * (2 * Impale * NRM DMG) + Hits% * NRM DMG

Single attack average MS/BT Threat:

Average Damage * Defensive Stance (1.3) * Defiance (1.0 to 1.15) * Tac Mastery (1.63 for 3/3 points) * Threat Enchant (1.0 to 1.02)
TPR = Avg. MS/BT Threat / 30

TPS = (Avg. MS/BT Threat * # Uses per Cycle) / Cycle time

Note, if you’re at all handy with Excel, it is very easy to add these threat calculations to the Warrior TPS Spreadsheet. At the time of this post, the owner of that thread notes plans to add MS/BT options himself soon.

Low rage vs. high rage considerations

Pure DPS builds

At a certain point (eg ~1600+ raid buffed AP for BT), MS/BT will still edge out Revenge in snap threat value but at such a rage inefficient manner that they should be avoided except for very high rage situations.

Efficient TPR prioritization: Revenge > Shield Bash > Sunder > BT/MS (if surplus rage, otherwise not worth losing the GCD) > HS (also under rage dump conditions).

Builds with 3/3 TM

Generally, with typical gear choices, you will find the change to tactical mastery has done the following for Mortal Strike and Bloodthirst:

A prioritized sequence for skills for efficient TPR (low rage) would be something like “Revenge > Shield Bash > BT (if rage available) > Sunder (if Revenge, Shield Bash, & BT on cooldown) > HS (if rage available)”. Of course getting a sunder stack on a mob for the sake of the debuff makes sense on anything that doesn’t die quick.

Efficient use of TPR in a rage “starvation” situation is going to be more likely a “Revenge > Shield Bash > Sunder” priority, forgoing the 30 rage for Bloodthirst unless there is a significant rage spike. Fortunately, if hit capped with some expertise and DPS stats and a decent 1h, starvation scenarios should be quite rare.

Sample numbers

Let’s take the following example Threat/OT set (not necessarily optimal, but pretty decent—gemmed and enchanted for threat):

This set comes in at 1874 raid buffed AP. Let’s presume at least one point of precision to cap off +hit, and conservatively estimate average haste from flurry uptime at 9.5% average haste. We have 32 total expertise, no dodges, est. 5.6% remaining parries, 5.6% block, 25.8% raid buffed crit, and the remainder of skill swings (63%) hits are hits. For a 5/41/15 build Here’s how the threat numbers for that gear set work out (numbers courtesy of the TPS spreadsheet):

Single Use Threat (highest to lowest):

Threat Per Rage (TPR):

Threat Per Second (TPS) in a 6.2s duration “low rage” cycle consisting of 1 HS (4.2 infinite rage), 3.2 main hand (0 infinite rage), 0.7 Windfury, 1 Bloodthirst, 1 Revenge, and 1 Sunder:

Considering this set in a “first to die” scenario, if one uses this tanking set and weapon swaps in Dual Wielded merciless gladiator 2.6 speed weapons for dps (after their target dies presumably) and switches to Berserker stance, the version of the DPS calculator I’m using estimates 847 DPS raid buffed in a warrior/rogue/shaman group.

For comparison, here’s the TPS ranks for the same skill cycle in the same gear for a pure 17/44/0 Fury build:

Spreadsheet estimated DPS with 17/44 in the tanking gear with DW weapon swap: 905 DPS (6.8% more than hybrid)

(Note: The limited rage setup produces 31% more cycle TPS with TM and Defiance than the pure DPS spec)

Final words & highlights of feedback/commentary on DPS war tanking

Hybrid DPS tanking specs (esp the Fury/Prot variants) appear in theory to be viable alternatives to deep Protection for warriors who are not the Main Tank of their group, but yet are called upon to do non-trivial tanking on a fairly regular basis. How viable depends on gear, available healing, and group makeups in one’s raid (eg. 5% crit from a feral is very nice to have), leaving it up for the individual tank to decide what approach they prefer. If DPS Hybrid tanking is uncomfortable for you, the Full Prot DPS'ing model is always an alternative approach.

There has been no mention of 2H tanking or DW tanking up to this point, and for good reason. Both were fun approaches for overgeared tanks in classic. If you’re doing either approach now, you have some combination of overgearing and excess healing for the encounter in question. Shields in TBC have a ton of armor, enough so that if you’re tanking something that requires a shield you will know right away without having to refer to theorycraft posts in an EJ thread.

In case someone wants to look up my Warrior on armory, the toon’s name is “Olona” on Tichondrius, and it’s an alt. I progression raid on my feral druid, and have not taken my warrior first hand into many of the circumstances some readers of this thread would hope to use a DPS hybrid tank for. That said, I leveled my warrior in classic as Fury/Prot, raided with it as my main during most of classic up 'till early Naxx frequently with hybrid builds (generally doing MT or primary OT work), and have played it in non-progression heroics & 10 mans as 5/41/15 since patch 2.3 arrived. Hybrid tanking happens to be a style of play I find fun, useful, and comfortable—I’ve even bothered to advocate for the play style once or twice on the Blizz forums over the years. My warrior’s tanking sets are different than the sample set provided—most use a somewhat heavier mix of DPS pieces along with a few pure avoidance pieces while tanking heroics/10-mans since those mobs don’t generally hit all that hard. The avoidance set is no different than what I would use for full avoidance if the warrior was full Protection given my gear options.

I’m more than happy to update this mini-guide with feedback from TBC hybrid tank mains with direct progression experience, or have any mistakes/innacuracies corrected/updated by the thread owner & forum mods without my explicit consent.


Weapon enchants

There are only two weapon enchants that a Protection warrior should consider:

Mongoose enchant

Procs “Lightning Speed”:

If Mongoose procs while the “Lightning Speed” is up, it will simply renew the buff to 15 seconds, it will not stack.

120 Agi is:

A warrior with 60% DR from armor, and 50% avoidance, will see an 8.8% decrease in damage due to the “Lightning Speed” proc. [(1 / (1 − 0.5)) × 4.0 + 0.79]

A warrior may assume 1.4 ppm for Mongoose for 1.4 × 15s for 21 seconds of uptime each minute. If this ppm value is incorrect please let me know.

This means that a warrior will see on average an 8.8% × 21 / 60 = 3.08% relative increase in damage reduction with the above gear setup.

According to the threat calculator, a Mongoose proc will increase a well geared warrior’s TPS by 39. This correlates to 39 × 60s × (21s / 60s) for 772 threat per minute or 12.9 TPS.

Executioner enchant

Executioner increases your armor penetration by 840 for 15 seconds.

As indicated above in the armor penetration stat section, the lower the boss’s armor, the more valuable armor penetration becomes. Therefore, it is a sliding scale when measuring the worth of this enchant.

This enchant will also not help in mitigation, only in threat.

I will assume this enchant has 1 ppm. This is complete assumption until I find data to show otherwise. This would mean the uptime is 15 seconds out of every 60 seconds, or 25% uptime.

840 armor penetration is roughly equivalent to a 5.6% DPS increase according to information posted by Kalgan.

According to the threat calculator, this comes out to just over a 6% total increase in threat for a well equipped warrior, or ~65 TPS. This would make Executioner significantly better than Mongoose for use on your “Aggro weapon”.

Keep in mind that the ppm value will radically adjust this first approximation.

Gear enchants


The Glyph of the Defender is better for raw avoidance, but the Presence of Might adds Stamina and aggro. Typically, go for the Glyph, as it doesn’t require a ZG run to get.



I would recommend Greater Agility, or Dodge based on the needs of the player for mitigation versus threat. Greater Agility is a good balance.

Steelweave is not the best enchant for avoidance, even though it is one of the most commonly used.



I recommend going with Stamina.


You need to decide if you want HP, aggro, or avoidance. I typically choose Stamina in this slot. Keep in mind this is a new Stamina enchant for patch 2.3.


[Formula: Enchant Boots - Boar's Speed] = +9 Stamina and +8% movement speed.

The math on movement speed when it comes to DPS is as follows (from Malan’s guide):

Let D be your dps without a boot enchant. For the run speed to provide more benefit, we need:

(D + 12A)(T - t) < (D + 6A)(T - t/1.08)

which simplifies to

T < [(1 - k) * D + (2 - k) * 6A] * t/(6A)

where k = 1/1.08. For example, gives A = 0.16286, and so we have

T < (0.07581D + 1.074) t

Using some actual data, a warrior that does between 900 and 1000 dps will have T < 76.88t

For 5 minutes, we would need t > 3.90 seconds and for 6 minutes we would need t > 4.68 seconds.

So for a 5 minute fight if you spend roughly 4 seconds moving between adds, running to the boss, etc, run speed provides a superior threat benefit.

The question is if 3 Stamina is worth this improvement. I believe it clearly is, go for Boar’s Speed.


Not much competition here.


I go with Stamina, you need enough Stamina to survive, this is one nice place to get it.

Gem selection

Your best standard gems are:

Blue: [Solid Empyrean Sapphire] +15 Sta or [Solid Star of Elune] +12 Sta

Red: [Shifting Shadowsong Amethyst] +5 Agi, +7 Sta OR [Shifting Nightseye] +4 Agi, +6 Sta

Red Gem for an avoidance set (requires high-end gear): [Subtle Crimson Spinel] +10 dodge rating (0.53%)

Yellow: [Enduring Seaspray Emerald] +5 defense, +7 Sta OR [Enduring Talasite] +4 defense, +6 Sta

Yellow Gem for avoidance set (requires high-end gear): [Thick Lionseye] 10 defense

There is also a 10 hit gem that isn’t too bad, but obviously sacrifices avoidance.

Meta Gem 1: [Eternal Earthstorm Diamond] +12 defense rating, 10% block value (a superb meta)

Meta Gem 2: [Powerful Earthstorm Diamond] +18 Sta, +5% chance to resist stuns

There are other gems that a player may wish to use that sacrifice Stamina for avoidance. In my opinion, raw blue Stamina gems are the best way to socket your tanking gear. You can get Stamina on-the-cheap through gems, and well over 1000 contributed through all of the gem slots.

Many of the tier 5 and tier 6 armors contain red gem slots, which are terrible for a tanking warrior. In many cases it is fine to simply sacrifice the socket bonus to achieve more Stamina. Another 300 HP is often worth more than less than half a percent of avoidance.

A note: In Sunwell, avoidance stacking has become so prevalent and powerful (see the avoidance section as an explanation as to why this occurs) that stacking red avoidance gems has become very popular. This is not really necessary or recommended until you already have a lot of quality avoidance gear accumulated (late tier 6, transitioning to Sunwell).


Eat me:

[Spicy Crawdad] – 30 stamina for 30 minutes. Worth using.

[Scroll of Protection V] – 300 armor, stacks with other buffs (was this changed?). These are random world drops. Have your entire guild send you ANY scrolls of protection that they find via your mail. This is the only reasonable way that you’ll have plenty of these for the hardest encounters.

There are a number of beneficial flasks and elixirs that a tanking warrior can use. It is recommended though that the warrior uses a [Flask of Fortification] in place of any other single elixir.

You have 2 consumable timers, the “healthstone” timer, and the “potion” timer. Neither of these consumable types share the global cooldown lockout.

The potion timer will often by used by [Ironshield Potion]. These potions increase your armor for 2500 for the length of the potion timer cooldown. You basically will need to spam these potions while fighting most bosses – and therefore should provide some means to have a limitless supply.

A couple of other useful, but situational potions are:

[Swiftness Potion] – This potion temporarily increases your run speed by 50% for 15 seconds. This can be very useful in getting from point A to B. For instance, you pull too far from the raid, pop a sprint-pot in order to get back to your healers before you die.

[Mighty Rage Potion] – Increases Rage by 45 to 75 and increases Strength by 60 for 20 sec. In low rage situations, particularly in offtank situations, these potions provide significant increase to your threat.

[Free Action Potion] – Makes you immune to Stun and Movement Impairing effects for the next 30 sec. Does not remove effects already on the imbiber. This potion is great to pop before pulling mobs that you know will stun you. For instance, the packs of 4 abominations leading up to Patchwerk in Naxxramas. Often times mobs that can stun will stun a tank on the pull before the tank has had time to acquire aggro, and then proceed from the tank into the crowd of raid members who just healed the tank – leading to a string of unfortunate deaths. This potion prevents those stuns from ever happening, and thus control is retained. (2 Min CD)

[Super Healing Potion] – Heals you for 1500 to 2500. Yeah, this one rarely saves you, but its something. (2 Min CD)

[Heroic Potion] – Increases Strength by 70 and temporarily increases health by 700 for 15 sec. Another way to temporarily increase your HP. (2 Min CD)

On the other timer:

[Master Healthstone]: Pop this judiciously when you are low on health – as you would with Last Stand. Heals for ~2000–2400. 2 minute CD.

[Nightmare Seed]: Increases your health by 2000 for 30 sec. When the effect ends the extra health will be lost. (3 Min CD)

The Windfury totem (vs. GoA)

Windfury provides better threat.

Grace of Air provides better mitigation.

In fact if the tank is not parry-immune, Windfury totem will actually increase the damage taken by the tank by creating more parry-retaliations.

Grace of Air should be considered under the following circumstances:

TPS from Windfury totem is:

In an unlimited rage situation, with all swings being Heroic Strikes, and a 4-ability rotation with 100 ms (6.4 second rotation):

Chance to hit includes all types of hits (including crits, and glancing blows).

Windfury damage may have its attack power component increased by 30% with the Improved Weapon Totems shaman talent.

Windfury should contribute at least 40 TPS from its damage contribution. It will contribute significantly more TPS through rage generation, which is an additional calculation.

Mitigation from Grace of Air is:

Grace of Air increases Agility by 77.

This may be improved through the shaman talent Enhancing Totems by 15%, to 88 Agi.

88 Agi = 2.67% crit, 2.93% dodge, 176 armor (~0.23% DR, ~0.58% RDR)

Raid specific buffs

The following buffs are beneficial to a tanking Protection warrior:

Buffs with a star next to them are easy to setup for a Protection warrior in nearly any raid.

Raid specific groups

There is no way to give the main tank all of the above buffs. In particular, the paladin buffs will be the hardest to place on a tank.

A mitigation warrior should be placed in the following group:

  1. Main tank warrior
  2. Paladin with Improved Devotion Aura
  3. Enhancement shaman with Enhancing Totems and GoA totem
  4. X
  5. X

An aggressive style warrior (high threat) should be placed in the following group:

  1. Main tank warrior
  2. DPS warrior
  3. Enhancement shaman
  4. Feral druid
  5. Ret paladin

A typical group setup that our guild uses for most boss fights would be the following:

  1. Main tank warrior
  2. Resto Shaman
  3. Holy Paladin with Improved Devotion Aura and set bonus
  4. X
  5. X

The X’s may contain: A feral druid, another warrior (for a second shout), a warlock with Improved Blood Pact (for +91 stamina), a Beast Mastery hunter.

If your guild is running into threat issues and you are limited in number of shamans, you will be far better served by giving your main tank the shaman. This will increase your threat ceiling for the raid as a whole, and allow the overall DPS to improve.

Professions of the Protection warrior

There are four professions which will improve either your mitigation or threat as a Protection warrior:

  1. Jewelcrafting
  2. Enchanting
  3. Blacksmithing
  4. Engineering

Jewelcrafting provides a few minor unique gems for your time. It will likely not provide as much of a tanking boost as the other professions.

Enchanting allows you to enchant your rings with +4 stats each. That means +8 to Sta, Str, Agi. If you cannot find any gains through other professions, this is at least something.

Engineering and Blacksmithing are primarily chosen if there are craftable items in either profession which may improve your ability to tank.

Let’s start by mentioning the more notable items in Blacksmithing:

Blacksmithing is not cheap to raise (it is probably the most expensive profession to increase). And for some tanks, it is usually not worth the effort. Furthermore, some items require specialization in one field of blacksmithing (such as armorsmithing), which will lock you out of another specialization (such as swordsmithing).

DPS warriors will also find a number of BoP items that require blacksmithing to obtain. And someone in your guild will need to be a blacksmith in order to craft all of the items that you will need in order to progress. Personally, I raised blacksmithing and got a lot of use out of it. Base your decision on your circumstances.

Engineering always has been one of the best talents for the Protection warrior.

Some useful engineering items:

There are also a few useful +resist items from the old world. These may be useful in particular gear configurations in order to get any last few points of necessary resistance. So far I have not found a use for these in The Burning Crusade.

A list of bosses, and recommended style

Serpentshrine Cavern

Tempest Keep

Our original strategy for killing Kael’thas was to have the main tank have enough HP that when a pyroblast hit the main tank, he would not die. This requires 23265 HP in order to survive a pyroblast. If you provide the tank with a Power-Word: Shield before every pyroblast that is going to hit the tank, he can survive given about 21800 in HP.

You may augment this survival by having the tank use the following abilities on each of the potential pyroblasts that will hit:

  1. Major Fire Protection Potion (MFPP)
  2. Nightmare Seed
  3. MFPP
  4. Last Stand
  5. MFPP
  6. Nightmare Seed
  7. MFPP
  8. Shield Wall
  9. MFPP

10th pyroblast: Nightmare Seed

So on.

You use the legendary shield to protect against 1 pyroblast.

Some guilds rely on breaking the shield and interrupting the second pyroblast, but as a tank you should act as if the DPS will fail in this regard, and come prepared.

Further, I’ve been letting the first pyroblast hit me, and using the shield buff on the second pyroblast so that there is more time for healers to recover from healing me before Kael’thas begins regular melee and casting again. Do whatever works best for you.

Hyjal Summit

/console CameraDistanceMaxFactor 4 

This will allow you to see flanking doomfires.

Black Temple

Save your oh-shit abilities for phase 3. I blow all my taunts in the last 30–40% of his life with Shield Wall up, so that the raid can pass me in aggro while Taunt holds the boss.

The tank for the first mob the raid kills in phase 2 needs to emphasize aggro. The tank for the second mob the raid kills in phase 2 needs to emphasize survivability. Warriors need to understand the limit of distance that they can travel from the opposing Flame of Azzinoth, and their own warglaive. Have other raid members call out where the lasers are coming from, and use tank names to specify side. Do not tank in more than 1 blaze at a time, or you risk an “unhealable” situation.


The Sunwell Plateau enemies are affected by the Sunwell Radiance buff: Sunwell Radiance - Spells - World of Warcraft

Chance to hit increased by 5%.

Enemy chance to dodge reduced by 20%.

This means, that YOU (you are the “enemy”) will have your chance to dodge lowered automagically by 20%. This is simply a lazy fix to an otherwise exponential/infinite problem of avoidance returns, which will almost certainly be addressed later.

As stated by Xaviera:

It is also worth noting that nothing in the M'uru encounter is buffed by Sunwell Radiance, which is an anomaly.

WWS report where you can check the dodge chances of the 3 tanks (Xavastrasz, Sadarie, Dartanius), and the hit rate of the various mobs. Wow Web Stats

I noticed this right away when tanking the encounter, and WWS let me know I wasn’t just having a bad RNG.

When not currently tanking, make sure you run to your other tank and buff him/her with whatever shout you’re on, since most (all?) tanking positions will normally leave you out of range if players don’t move.

An avoidance trinket(s) like [Moroes' Lucky Pocket Watch] or [Scarab of Displacement] to use on Stomps is invaluable. Use Last Stand/Nightmare Seed or Shield Wall to mitigate stomps where you have no trinket to use. Switches occur about ever 3 slashes, your strategy may vary.

Intervene can be useful on yourself, or if you’re OT’ing, you can intervene the MT when corrosion is cast to prevent burst damage deaths.

Sacrolash can crush, unlike many other Tier 6+ level bosses.

Spec wise: Max threat generation with 3/3 Imp. TC being essential.

If main tanking / sentinel tanking, you’ll want extremely high stamina+armor if possible due to the high individual damage hits, and overabundance of elemental damage you take. Also highly useful to wear select “exceptional” threat pieces for Phase 2—and swap in your best threat weapon/shield/ranged when phase 2 starts to have as much threat generation as possible.

Spec wise: Standard spec, but 2/5 Imp. Demo and maxing out 1H Spec gives you the best threat talents and sufficient mitigation talents.

Tanking macros

Some of these macros are meant to “replace” buttons currently on your action bar. Such as /startattack would likely replace your attack toggle button.

Some of these macros are standalone macros that may not even require a key binding. Play around with them and see what works best for you.

/console CameraDistanceMaxFactor 4

The first “macro” that I am adding is one that is really just a simple script. This script allows you to zoom out much further than the default amount. You can become a tiny spec with this feature, and zoom out very far.

This script is very useful on Archimonde, or any situation where you need to see flanking abilities. Be aware that as you zoom out, you draw more 3D environment, and thus your frames per second will be lowered.


That’s the macro! Unlike the attack toggle macro, hitting this one more than once will not accidentally turn off your attacks. If you want to turn off attacks after hitting this button, tap the escape key.

Assist and Mark macro

/script SetRaidTarget(“target”, 8)
/raid Kill ---> %t <--- ASSIST me in Killing It
/p Kill ---> %t <--- ASSIST me in Killing it

This macro is useful in waking people up, letting people who are not in vent know that you are tanking something, letting people know you have enough threat or are comfortable with having them attack your target, and it marks the target with a skull.

Stance Dance – Fear Break

#show Berserker Rage
/cast [nostance:3]Berserker Stance;Berserker Rage
/cast [nostance:2]Defensive Stance

Spam this macro when a fear is being cast, and it will either break the fear, or prevent it from affecting you altogether.

You can use berserker rage while feared, but you cannot change stances while feared. Therefore, you must at least press this macro once to break the fear before it expires, or is dispelled.

Interrupt (stopcasting to make sure slam never gets in the way)

#showtooltip [equipped:Shields,nostance:3]Shield Bash; Pummel
#showtooltip [equipped:shield,nostance:3]Shield Bash; Pummel
/cast [nostance:3,noequipped:Shields] Berserker Stance; [nostance:3,equipped:Shields] Shield Bash; Pummel

All-purpose charge (can set a /focus intervene for fights like Murmur)

/dismount [exists]
/cast [stance:2,target=focus,exists][stance:2,harm,target=targettarget][stance:2,help][stance:2] Intervene; [combat,nostance:3] Berserker Stance; [stance:3] Intercept; Charge

I’m not quite sure everything this macro does. Contribution by Garithras.

Remove salv when tanking

/cancelaura [stance:2] Blessing of Salvation
/cast Bloodrage

Taunt/victory rush (ctrl- or right-click to change stances, Mocking Blow & immediately shift to defensive stance)

/castsequence [stance:1,btn:2][stance:1,mod:ctrl]Mocking Blow;[stance:1/3]Victory Rush;[nostance:1,mod:ctrl][nostance:1,btn:2]Battle Stance;reset=8 Taunt,Challenging Shout
/cast [button:2][modifier:ctrl]Defensive Stance

Again I’m not sure the purpose or details of this one.

BigWigs – Last Stand + Timer

#showtooltip Last Stand
/cast Last Stand
/bwcb 20 Last Stand

BigWigs – Ditto, Shield Wall (lengthen from 10 if Improved and all)

#showtooltip Shield Wall
/cast Shield Wall
/bwcb 10 Shield Wall

These bigwig macros place a raid timer for everyone using bigwigs that clearly shows the users when the tank’s Shield Wall and/or Last Stand will run out. Make sure to adjust the Shield Wall timer according to your spec.

Lazy tank macros:

/castsequence reset=6 Shield Slam, Revenge, Devastate, Devastate
#show Shield Slam
/cast Shield Block
/use Gnomeregan Auto-Blocker 600
/castsequence reset=6 Shield Slam, Devastate, Devastate, Revenge

Shield Slam + 2x Devastate

/castsequence [equipped:Shield] reset=2 Shield Slam, Devastate, Devastate
/cast [noequipped:Shield] Devastate

Block + Revenge

/cast [equipped:Shield] Shield Block
/cast Revenge
/cancelaura Blessing of Salvation
/cancelaura Greater Blessing of Salvation

Spamming both still does a SS → Rev → 2 × Dev cycle while keeping up Shield Block, they wont hang on Revenge and are still useful when not currently targeted for attacks for some reason or other or when tanking shieldless.

So-called “lazy tank” macros are 1 button macros that make ability choices for you. I DO NOT recommend tanks use these macros. They make you a worse tank. I am including these here for the sake of completion, because they may help an emerging Protection warrior get started. But as soon as you can, get off these macros! This is one of those things where you can get away with using it, but that doesn’t mean you should use it simply because you “can.” You lose much of the decision making process.

Please let me reiterate this point—do not use “easy-tank” or “lazy tank” or “1 button tanking macros” unless you have no other choice.


The default GUI will work fine for a Protection warrior. However, based on personal opinions there are a few things that I would recommend for a tanking warrior:

ItemRack – If there is one mod a majority of tanks can agree on, it is likely to be itemrack. Setup itemrack to let you switch between your aggressive style gear, your defensive style gear, your resist gear, your DPS gear, your birthday suit, and so on. This mod is incredibly useful for a warrior.

A filtered combat log – If your combat log is scrolling at 60 pages a second, it is worthless. Filter it down to show only the most important things. Incoming heals, incoming damage, things that only affect your character. This is useful for determining what went wrong with a pull, or if something is about to happen that you need to react to. Consider downloading the mod: recount as it is very useful for determining how you died.

Have your unit frames display rage as a numerical value. Consider centering your unit frames so that they are nearer to your action bars and the rest of the action.

Some Unit Frame mods:

Have a casting bar mod (either the in-game mod, or an external mod). I prefer NECB for this purpose.

Consider using a boss mod such as BigWigs – timers can be incredibly useful (when is that fear imminent? Deaden? Berserk?)

Using nameplates – some individuals prefer the mod ALOFT, which improves nameplates

This is especially useful when tanking multiple mobs, such as in Mount Hyjal.

Bagnon – allows you to manage how you view your inventory a little differently. All in one is an option, as is displaying inventory items by type.

An action bar mod – This lets you place your action bars wherever you like, however you like, in whatever orientation you like. I personally use Bongos2.

KTM or Omen – a threatmeter is unquestionably valuable to a raid. Choose your mod, and make sure the entire raid uses it!

SCT – Scrolling combat text can be appropriately filtered to show the user specific events that he or she might find useful. As a tank it lets me visually see the flow of incoming heals, and any crushes that might have snuck past my defenses.

Raid frames – for many players raid frames are simply too much information. However, if you can handle it, there are countless circumstances where even a warrior can benefit by knowing a player’s mana, or the health of particular, or many targets. Grid and SRF are commonly used raid frames.

Suggested mods by readers:

XRS (XRaidStatus) – This mod allows you to concisely show pertinent information instead of having to glance at a whole raid frame. Some favorite options include:

By Whiteknight:

Mobspells – It’s a pretty simple mod which lists the mobs you’ve seen and the spell ability links used by that mob—including melee/spell damage range, cooldowns and such. Index of /MobSpells/

FocusFrame and a keybind to /focus. It allows you to keep track of 2 mobs at the same time—so you can time spell reflects while simultaneously ranged/melee tanking two mobs, or for swaps to Shield Bash. Mostly useful for multi-mob trash pulls, but I’ve found it quite useful for Twins and M'uru.


A GUI is a very personal thing. In fact commenting on another person’s GUI will often lead to a defensive response. Everyone thinks they have the best GUI out there, and cannot improve on it further, or worse: does not wish to bother to improve their GUI. That being said, there are a few brief things I would suggest with a GUI.

The lower part of your screen contains the least amount of visual 3D information. GUI elements that block your field of view will block the least amount of visual information is placed at the bottom of the screen. The top region of the screen contains a lot of visual information, but it is often directed toward the uninteresting ceiling, or sky, and can serve as another location for GUI obstacles.

Try to center your GUI as you would if you were designing a complicated dash-board. You would not put your speedometer above your visor, as the default GUI does. You would center the most important pieces of information, and work outwards in a manner as if water had spilled on that central spot and flowed down and out. This is how professional web pages are designed, and most high end machinery consoles (such as the control panel for a jet).

Lastly, don’t assume that less is more with a GUI. If you can handle more information, then it will not hurt you to add it. Don’t worry about the aesthetics of your GUI – it is your GUI, and not the kid’s who is commenting on how ugly or cluttered it looks. You’ll be saving that kid’s healer from death because you saw the healer gained aggro from an NPC on your raid frames and intervened.




I’d like to thank both Malan and Dukes for writing their excellent compendiums on enhancement shamans and feral druids. My own design is a hybrid of theirs.

I’d also like to specifically thank Malan for some of the equations provided within this guide.

Thanks as well to Edgewalker and JamesVZ for their assistance with some parts of this guide.

Thanks to Olon97 for the DPS warrior tanking/offtanking guide – section XI.

Thanks to Tauftamir, and especially Xaviera for their help with the Sunwell portion of the boss guide.

Thanks to Emrus, Whiteknight, and Stampy for their contributions.

Thanks to Cluey for a few grammatical edits and contributions to style and design.

Lastly, I’d like to thank the Elitist Jerks community through which much of this knowledge was obtained.

This article will be a constant work-in-progress and much of the information above will be updated as appropriate. If you have any corrections or contributions that you would like made to this article, please feel free to post them below, or PM me.

You may also contact me on IRC on the gamesurge network, in the Elitist Jerks channel:, #elitistjerks – My nick on IRC is: Marauder[FH]