Classic Warrior Tank Stat Priority

Last updated on May 07, 2020 at 00:00 by Seksixeny 35 comments

On this page, you will find out the optimal PvE stat priority for your Warrior Tank in WoW Classic. We first present the stat priority, before delving into more complex explanations.

If you were looking for TBC Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Protection Warrior stat priority.

1.

The Basics of Stats for Tank Warriors

Before we begin, it should be said that gear in WoW Classic tends to be very unique, and as such, you will often be chasing very specific items, rather than simply following a stat priority list. Still, a more detailed explanation on each of a Warrior's relevant stats will help you understand why those pieces are so sought after.

2.

Stat Priority for Tank Warriors

2.1.

Survivability-based Stat Priority

  1. Stamina (more health per point);
  2. Armor (less physical damage taken per point);
  3. Parry and Dodge % increases (more likely to avoid damage altogether, parry also hastens your next auto-attack so it is slightly better);
  4. Defense (lessens the chance for the enemy to hit, crushing blow, or critical strike you);
  5. Agility (grants dodge and armor);
  6. Strength and Block Value (you gain block value from Strength too, which lessens damage taken when a block happens);
  7. Block % increases (more likely to block, only useful when Shield Block Icon Shield Block is not up).
2.2.

Threat-based Stat Priority

  1. Weapon stats (DPS, Damage Range, and Speed);
  2. Extra Weapon Skill (great benefit until 308 skill is hit, minor afterwards);
  3. Hit Chance (about 6% is the soft cap against bosses, if you have at least 305 weapon skill, otherwise you need 9% for capping, which is when your special attacks always hit. Hit loses value after hitting this point);
  4. Critical Strike (200% on normal swings, 220% damage on special attacks if you have Impale Icon Impale, 200% otherwise);
  5. Strength and Attack Power (1 Strength = 2 Attack Power for Warriors, 14 Attack Power = 1 Weapon DPS gain).
  6. Agility (grants critical strike);
2.3.

Priority of Other Stats

  • Spirit (health regeneration outside combat);
  • Intellect (faster weapon skill learning).
3.

Getting a Better Understanding of Stats for Tank Warriors

3.1.

Spirit

Class Health gained per tick
Druid Spirit * 0.09 + 6.5
Hunter Spirit * 0.25 + 6
Mage Spirit * 0.10 + 6
Paladin Spirit * 0.25 + 6
Priest Spirit * 0.10 + 6
Rogue Spirit * 0.50 + 2
Shaman Spirit * 0.11 + 7
Warlock Spirit * 0.07 + 6
Warrior Spirit * 0.80 + 6

As the table shows, Warriors are the class that gains the most health regeneration per point of Spirit in WoW Classic. This makes it a very powerful stat while leveling, despite Warriors having too much maximum health for it to matter at higher levels.

3.2.

Stamina

Stamina is the only stat that will help you survive all types of attacks, and as such, should always be highly valued.

3.3.

Resistance

Resistance, while inherently niche due to different bosses dealing different magical damage types, can be very useful while progressing specific bosses. Wearing resistance gear of a type makes you take less damage or even completely avoid damage when hit by that type of magical damage.

3.4.

Defense

Defense determines your chance to get critically hit, missed or crushed, among other things. WoW Classic's combat is table based, and one of the following results happens when you attack or get attacked, in this precise order:

  1. Miss > 5%
  2. Parry > 5%
  3. Dodge > 5%
  4. Block > 10% to 85% (depending on Shield Block Icon Shield Block being active)
  5. Critical Strike > 5%
  6. Crushing Blow > 15%
  7. Hit > 55%

NOTE: Crushing Blows are hits by higher level enemies (typically bosses) that deal 150% of normal damage. Since bosses in WoW Classic are Level 63, this means that their base chance to Crushing Blow you is 15%.

This table can be interpreted like this: if I am not using Shield Block Icon Shield Block, then I only have a cumulative 15% chance to not get hit entirely, 10% chance to block, and a significant 20% chance to get hit for extra damage, of which 5% of these are likely to be a critical hit one shot at low gear levels.

However, all it takes to make the worst (and most likely) case scenario be a block, is pressing the Shield Block Icon Shield Block button, as then you will have a 15% chance to dodge entirely, followed by a whooping 85% chance to block. This is why both Shield Block, and Improved Shield Block Icon Improved Shield Block, are so critical to tank Warriors: they make your damage intake very predictable for a low cost.

3.5.

Block Chance

By once again looking at the combat table above, it is easy to understand why Block Chance, while valuable, is generally not very good. Once you use Shield Block Icon Shield Block, even at low gear levels, you are effectively wasting any extra block chance, as Shield Block plus miss, Parry, and Dodge is usually enough to completely push critical strikes off the table. Still, it is a very useful stat to have when Shield Block is not reliable, such as when tanking multiple, or fast hitting, targets.

3.6.

Weapon Stats

Your weapon is by far the largest contributor to your threat building capabilities, and you should aim to upgrade it whenever possible. As a tank, you will mostly care about the DPS and attack speed of your weapon, in order to build high threat and quickly generate Rage. Faster weapons are generally better for steadier Rage and threat generation, as well as faster Rage dumping with Heroic Strike Icon Heroic Strike.

3.7.

Weapon Skill

Weapon Skill allows you to hit enemies more often and, more importantly, for a lot more damage when you land a glancing blow. Glancing blows are regular hits that deal reduced damage. Against your typical Level 63 boss, a full 40% of your attacks will be glancing blows, which deal 35% reduced damage if you only have 300 weapon skill.

Level Difference Chance to Occur Base Damage Penalty
0 10% 5%
1 20% 5%
2 30% 15%
3 40% 35%

However, by increasing your weapon skill, up to a maximum of 308 for this purpose, you can increase your glancing blow damage up to a cap of roughly 95% of a normal hit, making glancing blows hit for close to normal hits.

Defense / Weapon Skill Difference Glancing Penalty Miss Chance Hit Cap
15 35% 8% 9%
14 31% 7.8% 8.8%
13 27% 7.6% 8.6%
12 23% 7.4% 8.4%
11 19% 7.2% 8.2%
10 (Human / Orc) 15% 6% 6%
9 11% 5.9% 5.9%
8 (Edgemaster's Handguards Icon Edgemaster's Handguards) 7% 5.8% 5.8%
7 5% 5.7% 5.7%
6 5% 5.6% 5.6%
5 5% 5.5% 5.5%
4 5% 5.4% 5.4%
3 5% 5.3% 5.3%
2 5% 5.2% 5.2%
1 5% 5.1% 5.1%
0 5% 5% 5%

Increasing your weapon skill also significantly increases your chance to hit the target, as seen in the table above, making it one of the most powerful threat stats.

3.8.

Hit

Hit allows your attacks to land more often, which can often be the difference between having Rage or being Rage-starved, and between quickly establishing threat on an enemy or having a quick wipe, due to eager DPSers pulling aggro on pull.

3.9.

Agility

As a Warrior, Agility increases your dodge, your armor and your critical chance. This makes it a rather valuable stat for tanking.

3.10.

Critical Strike

Critical Strike allows you to have higher uptime on Flurry Icon Flurry in PvE, if specced into it in later phases, and increases your threat generation overall. Take note that, due to Critical Strike aura suppression, you have a reduced Critical Strike chance gain from gear against bosses.

When you swing your weapon, it has a chance to miss, be parried or dodged by the target, among other outcomes. Only hits have the potential to critical strike, but hits only represent roughly 30% of the potential outcomes for a white (auto attack) swing. This is what is known as a crit cap since any critical strike chance above that roughly 30% mark cannot result in a critical strike.

Further in depth, the calculation priority on a white swing goes as follows: misses, dodges, parries, blocks, glancing hits, white crits and hits. Because glancing blows by themselves are always 40% of your hits against boss level enemies, it is possible to gain enough extra critical strike chance to make all normal hits critical strike, thus hitting the crit cap.

This cap increases along with your hit chance and weapon skill, because those reduce your chance to miss, get dodged, parried, or blocked (does not affect glancing blows, though). As an example, if you are dual wielding and have no extra hit chance on your gear, as well as 300 weapon skill, you will have 100% (baseline) - 28% (miss with dual wield) - 5.6% (dodge chance) - 0% (parry from behind) - 0% (block from behind) - 40% (glancing) = 26.4% chance to land a white crit or hit against boss level enemies, while attacking from behind.

Since yellow or special hits cannot be glancing hits, you will be able to increase your critical strike chance with them well above the white hit critical strike cap mentioned above. Also, the white critical strike cap will usually be higher while using a two-hand weapon due to their lower miss chance.

4.

Changelog

  • 27 Jul. 2020: Updated Strength to be preferred to Agility for threat-generation while tanking in the current phase due to better scaling.
  • 07 May 2020: Reworked some outdated sections.
  • 19 Mar. 2020: Corrected some minor typos in the critical strike section.
  • 28 Jul. 2019: Added information on the white hit critical strike cap.
  • 20 Jul. 2019: Corrected some theorycraft due to feedback.
  • 12 Jun. 2019: Page added.
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