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Blood DK: Tanking for a Ranking

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Introduction

 

Lately I've been having some fun on farm bosses by trying to do anything and everything I can to push the limits of Blood DK DPS. I'm far from the best in the world at it, I only have one #1 rank and it's on a flex fight, but I do have multiple heroic ranks with a bunch of them in the top 50, and a few even in the teens. I decided I should write a guide about my efforts because tank dps is something many of us have questions about, but there is very little information out there on what to do, and more importantly why. The Sections I've included are gear, enchanting, rotation, and maximizing vengeance. I will eventually also be creating a boss by boss guide with specific tips for maximizing tank dps.

 


 

How To Use This Guide:

As I got half way through writing this guide I realized something. I have tried almost all of these tips and tricks at one time or another. However, if you attempt to make all of these changes at once there is absolutely no way you will survive. The overall theme to this whole guide is that maximizing tank dps is like playing with fire. You should try a few tips and tricks at a time and make sure they work for you before jumping in head first and trying to follow the whole guide to a tee.

 


Part 1: Gearing

 

There are two different ways you can gear for maximizing your tank dps. You can stack haste/crit 'dps gear', or you can stack parry/dodge gear to maximize your benefit from riposte and extra scent of blood procs. While Haste/Crit may likely come out ahead, especially in a 10m setting. I much prefer the dodge/parry method for two reasons. 1.) you are less likely to become a burden on the healers just for the sake of your ranks. and 2.) If you're taking less damage you can control the situation to take even more damage when it will increase your vengeance. (You can't stand in puddles anymore, but nobody says you can't take a few extra stacks of a debuff before taunt swapping)

 

To create my BiS list for tank dps I've used my custom stat weights that I created about a month ago, which average the benefit of damage taken vs. dps increase. the weight are

 

Hybrid Average Stat Weights
Parry - 1.24
Dodge - 1.20
Mastery - 1.02
Strength - 1.00
Stamina - 1.00*
Crit - 0.80
Haste - 0.55

 

*I never sim'd Stam which could increase your dps if you are hitting max vengeance, so I will have to do that later. In the mean time I'm going to just give stam a 1.00

 

With these weights this is what the BiS list looks like from Ask Mr. Robot:

 

Weapons:

X4v0icJ.png

 

I've only included the normal versions of the weapons to show the order of BiS among the weapons. A higher ilvl weapon is always better no matter what weapon it is. So a warforged Britomart's is better than a normal Gart'ok's, and the same for heroic/heroic warforged also.

 

Head:

 

htau2gk.png

 

The normal versions of Rage-Blind is better than the Heroic version of some of the other helms. It should definitely be your goal to get it.

 

Neck:

x3fK9nT.png

 

Essentially these two are equal. The only thing that would make one better than the other is whether you need more Hit or Exp for cap.

 

Shoulders:

OKbbW4w.png

 

Pauldrons of the Violent Eruption is the best hands down. The normal version is better than the Warforged versions of about 4 other shoulders. Tusks of Mannoroth surprised me though. I never considered that 3 red sockets would make it competitive with a dodge/parry piece. But since we're comparing an immersius drop to a Garrosh drop, most of us will get Heroic Pauldron's of Violent Eruption long before anything else.

 

Chest:

MAWSbXX.png

 
Wrist:
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Hands:
XYCgAlt.png
 
Waist:
oxSGl5e.png
 
Legs:
SkeuCYQ.png
 
Legs are a nightmare for Plate wearers right now. Legplates of Willful Doom is pretty much BiS for everyone, and typically you'll kill Heroic Malkorok months before you start kill heroic Paragons and Garrosh. Normal tier legs will be the alternative for many of us.
 
Feet:
WRnsgqP.png
 
Rings:
qDxJmAJ.png
 
Trinkets:
It's hard to rank a "best trinket" when you're aiming for a combination of high tank dps, and also acceptable survivability. Rather than trying to rank the trinkets against each other I'm going to go over the pros and cons of each trinket individually.
 
(This Part is Coming Soon)
 

 
Part 2: Enchants
Much like the rest of this guide, some of these recommendations will have more of an affect on your survivability than others. It may not be benefitial to make all of these changes, but I will explain why I recommend each enchant as another option to just Mastery/Stam enchanting.
 
Pretty straight forward, you can use the dps inscription instead of the tank inscription. Strength will also contribute a small amount of Parry, which is likely approaching ridiculous levels if you are following the rest of my guide.
 
Can be useful if you're having trouble with the hit cap, or if it will allow you to reforge different elsewhere.
 
Is technically the highest dps gain you can put on a cloak, but won't contribute anything to survival.
 
Chest: Just stick with Stamina, in my opinion 80 stats won't add enough dps to justify the difference.
 
More avoidance + more Riposte.
 
Strength for added dps, plus some addition parry.
 
Same as the shoulder enchant. The only one that adds extra dps, plus we'll gain some additional parry from the strength.
 
Boots: Continue using Padaren step if for nothing else but the movement speed bonus.
 

Weapon: spell_holy_retributionaura.jpgRune of the Fallen Crusader

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Part 3: Rotation - Maximizing DPS

 

I'm going to assume anyone reading this already plays a Blood DK at a fairly high level, so we are mostly all using the same sort of rotation that looks something like this:

 

Diseases > Death Strike > Heart Strike > Runestrike > DnD/Blood boil with Crimson Scourge Procs 

 

Necrotic strike was nerfed and is no longer a dps boost, and Death Coil was rendered obsolete by the current weapon damage (you need about 400k vengeance before Death Coil will outdps rune strike).

 

We can however make a few tweaks to our play style to maximize our dps within this rotation. I'm going to make a numbered list with some tips. The farther you work down this list the higher your dps will be, but also the larger the hit you will take to your survivability. You will need to determine if you outgear the content by enough, or have strong enough healers before you attempt some of these changes.

 

1. Make sure you always use Crimson Scourge Procs on DnD first if it isn't on CD. (This is actually part of the main rotation but I want to restate it)

2. Spam death strikes instead of sitting on them and waiting for incoming damage. (Instant spikier damage, but a wasted global is wasted dps.

3. Summon your ghoul on cooldown to maximize extra pet dps. (This will cause a 1 min gap between summons where you can't use Death Pact)

4. Use death runes for more heartstrikes (Higher dps, at the cost of less self healing)

5. Death Siphon (If you've made it this far down the list, then this is increased dps, and will actually help your survivability at this point. Your new rotation is now (Deathstrike x2, Heart strike x 2, Death Siphon x 4, repeat)

 



 

Part 4: Vengeance - Standing in Fire (figuratively)

 

My heading is misleading, but I like the way it sounds. We do gain dps from standing in stuff, but only for the first hit. What this means is there is no point in standing in a sha puddle on Immersius, or any sort of lingering ground based aoe. However, if you stand an ability that does one big hit like Garrosh's annihilate (with CD's so you don't die) you'll get anywhere from 100k-400k vengeance. In the future I plan to add boss specific tips, but for now here are some general guidelines for vengeance capping.

 

1.) Standing in Magic attacks with AMS will give you 100 runic power, and may also give vengeance.

2.) Standing in high damage boss aoe's/cleaves with cooldowns will generate massive amounts of vengeance (Malkorok's smash, Garrosh's Annihilate, etc.)

3.) Don't taunt swap if it isn't going to kill you. Take 2-3 corruptions on Immersius, lets your stacks get ridiculous on Seigecrafter so you can hit the adds for 1million damage death strikes, solo tank Garrosh (normal). If the other tank is willing to help you out (and maybe you can switch roles next week) You can taunt swap at higher stacks on many of the bosses to maximize your vengeance and push for higher ranks.

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Totally my bad, I actually forgot I hadn't put trinkets in here. and I wasn't sure if anyone was actually using the guide since there weren't any responses.

 

I actually use Juggernaut's Focusing Crystal. It's a weird trinket. Most people look at it and their first thought is, "Wow, that will probably generate a lot of self healing", then you do some math and realize it won't do very much self healing. but I've been using it, and in practice it actually does a lot more self healing than I expected. Plus all that dodge contributes a lot to riposte.

 

Here's my self healing from our H Malkorok kill last night

IH797lI.png

 

I have a fully upgraded heroic warforged Juggernaut's Focusing Crystal, and Malkorok is pretty much the perfect fight for showing off healing potential with almost 0 over healing, but even considering all of that; Lifesteal, which comes from Juggernaut's, is 12% of my self healing. It's also somehow one of my lowest in overhealing on this particular fight, but I wouldn't expect that on other fights.

 

Overall I like Juggernaut's more than probably any other tank. The healing from it has actually turned out to be much better for me than most other tanks thought it would be, and the dodge (which you should reforge to parry) plays really well into my methods for tanking with high dps.

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the overall healing of the lifesteal isnt the issue, its that its immediate heal is so small it will never effect how you use CDs/DS or how your healers heal you. Also malk is a bad fight to look at the overall effectiveness of ANY healing because of the mechanics behind it. The dodge is okay, but I would never use that trinket if given the option because there are trinkets that are far better for survival and trinkets that are better for dps, and trinkets that are better for both (see thoks tail)

 

Also,

I mentioned in your last thread why its dangerous to use stat weights. Especially "hybrid weights". The amount of dps you get from dodge/parry will depend very much on the fight, and how long you tank a physical meleeing target in that fight. In other words its going to be slightly different for every single fight. 

 

On the topic of rotation, spamming DS is not a huge gain outside of low resource situations. In high resource situations you basically gain nothing, and with a high avoidance build and actively tanking you are not likely going to be resource starved any way, and you should be able to do plenty rune striking/heart striking to the point where you shouldnt have to spam DS to keep GCDs rolling. 

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- The spike damage argument in my opinion is only relevant in cutting edge progression, or groups with under geared healers/tanks. In other words, situations where you may actually die in a short period of time. In either situation you aren't going to be concerned with your tank dps, When was the last fight where you thought you might actually die as a tank? If you can only go 5 seconds without a heal before you die then it becomes more important to have the ability to react to and smooth out your incoming damage. but if you can go 10, 15 even 20 seconds sometimes without a heal before you die, then the ability to instantly react to spike damage becomes less important and the overall throughput of healing/blood shields/avoidance begins to become relevant.
 
- I apply the same logic to the iron juggernaut's focusing crystal. It may not instantly mitigate a boss attack with it's 4% healing, but I'm not concerned with my ability to situationally mitigate 1 attack to prevent my death. I'm assuming I'm at least going to survive 10 seconds in a worst case scenario, and it's throughput over that 10 second period is sufficiently strong for a passive ability. Combine that with 2338 dodge, and the 1753 crit through riposte, and it's not a bad trinket. Certainly I would love to have a Thok's tailwhip, but we seem to get new melee so often I don't know when I'll be able to get one.
 

- I went over some of my logs. Even on fights with tank swaps such as Norushen and Sha of Pride I still usually have around a 75% uptime on Riposte. If there is a fight where you are not tanking for long enough periods of time to have a worse uptime than that, then I would say that is the situational portion of the argument, not simulating dps weights for dodge and parry based on 100% uptime and assuming most of the time you'll be close enough to that.

 

- By DS spamming I mean not sitting on the 2 runes to use DS to mitigate spike damage. once again falling back on my argument that if you aren't going to die anyways. you might as well try to maximize your dps.

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"if you can go 10, 15 even 20 seconds sometimes without a heal before you die, then the ability to instantly react to spike damage becomes less important and the overall throughput of healing/blood shields/avoidance begins to become relevant."

 

If damage intake is not a huge issue and you're able to live for long periods of time without heals, why is your next priority increasing overall healing? The next step should be increasing damage output.

 

"I'm assuming I'm at least going to survive 10 seconds in a worst case scenario, and it's throughput over that 10 second period is sufficiently strong for a passive ability. Combine that with 2338 dodge, and the 1753 crit through riposte, and it's not a bad trinket. Certainly I would love to have a Thok's tailwhip, but we seem to get new melee so often I don't know when I'll be able to get one."

 

But there are better options. If it takes 10 whole seconds to make the passive healing effect worthwhile, look elsewhere. The dodge is okay, but there are far better trinkets for damage output. Skeer's is a good example. the Str is still a decent damage stat and you do get SoB procs from the parry it gives, but you also get crazy huge short term damage with the proc it gives. Being able to apply double diseases with 85% crit is kind of awesome. Also, if this is a post about achieving ranks, why is a healing approach even being considered?

 

"Even on fights with tank swaps such as Norushen and Sha of Pride I still usually have around a 75% uptime on Riposte."

 

That doesn't mean you can assume a 75% uptime for your weights. That value is going to vary enough that it's not ok just to place an average. You can get an idea of your active tanking dps by assuming its on, and inactive by assuming its off, but you can't say the the average encounter will have x% uptime because there's just too many variable. Not to mention that just because you HAVE riposte, doesn't mean you're getting the full benefit of it. You can parry something small that gives no vengeance and have 20 seconds of riposte, but you're not going to have vengeance so it's not going to give you as much as it would if you had the same 20 seconds of riposte on a hard hitting boss. 

 

"By DS spamming I mean not sitting on the 2 runes to use DS to mitigate spike damage. once again falling back on my argument that if you aren't going to die anyways. you might as well try to maximize your dps."

 

I know what you mean by spamming DS, and the gains are nearly negligible with the resource gen we have now. You can almost always RS or heart strike or use DS appropriately. It's a gain, but very small and the increase you get will get smaller and smaller relative to your total the longer you go without a rune state reset. In other words, if you spam you can only get 1 free DS before you are now waiting the same interval you would have if you timed it anyway. There is some RP and rune charge return, but that diminishes quickly. 

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I'm not saying Iron Juggernaut is the best trinket, I'm just saying it's not a bad option if you have one available to you. Even compared to Skeer's where you're getting 2513 Str, the equivalent of 2341 Parry, and an average of 2518 crit (plus the ability to snapshot your diseases with at 80%+ crit)

 

With Juggernaut you're getting 2519 dodge, 1889 crit, and anywhere from 3-5k hps depending on the fight. 3-5k may not seem like much, but looking a different log (heroic spoils) life steal was the 7th highest heal I received. It slightly beat out Riptide from our very strong shaman healer. Life steal made up 3.7% of all the healing I received from any source.

 

It isn't the best purely survival trinket, it isn't the best purely dps trinket, but if you take into account that it gives you a little bit of both, then it isn't too bad.

 

The guide isn't just about ranking. It's about ranking while also being a viable tank. If it was purely about the dps I'd recommend people stack haste/crit and let the healers carry them. I prefer to search for the middle ground where I still feel like I can carry the healers, but at the same time I can put up a lot of ranks.

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You're just operating on the assumption that overall healing matters and I promise you it matters far less than you think it does, even from a non-cutting edge point of view. the little dribble heals of the trinket are practically negligible. 

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Then why does any healer use a HoT? the trinket has given me just as much healing as I've ever received from Riptide, Renew, or Rejuvenation. If the small heals don't matter then healers should never use these.

 

I understand your reasoning for saying the small heals don't matter. If you take a 400k hit, a disc priest for example may cast pennance to heal you back up. If Iron Juggernaut gives me 3k of healing, the priest is still going to cast pennance at me. I'm not making any major changes to the way the priest needs to heal. However if there are already a few hots on me, or if blood shield absorbed half that hit. then maybe the healer will decide it isn't important to cast a large heal right away, and over a few seconds the trinket is passively smoothing out the spikes more and more. During periods of heavy damage the small heal is insignificant, but during periods of lighter damage it puts me one step closer to the point where healers can just ignore me.

 

Even my overhealing from the trinket on an average fight is 40-60%, which sounds like a lot, but it's right in line with every  healer's hot on all of those fights. I'm getting slightly more total healing, and identical overhealing to riptide and rejuvenation on every fight. and it's from a passive ability

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Healers aren't sacrificing anything to have hots on you, but you are because you are losing other better options to gain that "HoT". You just can't make that comparison. 

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