This guide is presented in a simple Question/Answer format to allow for maximum information within a minimal amount of space. It will show you exactly what you need to be a successful paladin tank. The data is valid for WotLK patch 3.3.
WHAT IS ALL THIS DEFENSE STUFF I’M HEARING ABOUT?
Defense is a statistic which has 2 uses. Firstly, the higher your defense is, the less likely that a mob can critically hit you. A plate wearing tank needs to have 535 Defense to be un-critable in heroics and 540 to become un-critable by Raid bosses. Secondly, Defense will raise your avoidance statistics just like Dodge and Parry, but by a lesser amount. That is why it is prudent to stack true avoidance instead of Defense once you reach 540.
CAN YOU BREAK DOWN THE MATH BEHIND DEFENSE RATING FOR ME?
- Defense Rating is a statistic which is linked to Defense
- Try to think of Defense Rating as the building blocks of defense.
- A level 80 Paladin with no gear or buffs has 400 defense.
- In order to become un-critable you need 540 defense.
- 4.92 Defense Rating = 1 Defense.
Using these numbers, we can write an equation to tell us how much defense rating is needed to become un-critable.
((540-400)*4.92) = 689
So you need to add 689 Defense rating from gear and such to become un-critable by raid bosses. That being said, there is no downside to having Defense higher than 540, especially when true avoidance gear is hard to come by (Pre-Raid).
WHAT IS ALL THIS I HEAR ABOUT RESILIENCE?
Resilience does in-fact reduce your chance to be critically hit just like Defense. The problem is; that is all it does for a tank. Defense on the other hand reduces enemy critical strike chance as well as raises your avoidance stats.
The only resilience you should have on your gear is the PvP shoulder enchant. Ignore the resilience and still stack defense to 540. It’s not worth doing the math just because you want to tank a heroic an hour in advance. Wearing PvP gear in a PvE Environment is a bad habit.
WHAT DO I STACK AFTER I GET 540 DEF?
Start stacking Stamina and avoidance stats; Parry, Agility, Dodge and…. Block (good for heroic trash mobs, not so useful in ICC25). Strength is very useful but it comes naturally and doesn’t need to be focused on. Your aggro will be fine with the static Strength that is on all of your gear. Never Gem or Enchant for Strength.
Although Hit and Expertise are ‘good’ stats you should never gem/enchant for them. Every other tanking stat is more useful. Most of your threat is from magic damage. Missing a white auto attack won’t affect your tanking in any noticeable way.
The glyph of SoV is the only expertise you should go out of your way to get. The rest will come naturally is of little concern to tanks.
WHAT SEAL DO I USE?
For almost every encounter you want to use, Seal of Vengeance. There may be times when you will think to yourself, “Seal of (whatever) would work better here!”. Don’t bother, just use Vengeance and be happy that you’re getting a ton of expertise from the glyph. You did take the glyph didn’t you?
YEAH! WHAT ABOUT GLYPHS??????////SLASH/?QUESTIONMARK?/?
Relax pumpkin. Read on and be enlightened. There is some debate about the ‘best’ glyph combinations. What follows is a list of good tanking glyphs and a list of what glyphs I use personally.
- Glyph of Righteous Defense – You can use this until you get some hit on your gear, honestly, it’s not that great.
- Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous – It is just amazing for 90% of tanking. I never take it off. It makes those groups of 4 mobs stick to you like glue.
- Glyph of Divine Plea – Perfect for Tanking, No down-falls. Take this one.
- Glyph of Seal of Vengeance – ALMOST MANDATORY until upper tier raiding (10 expertise is huge).
- Glyph of Judgment – Meh choice really, it slightly increases single target threat.
- Glyph of Hand of Salvation – it isn’t as useful as you would think.
- Glyph of Avenger’s Shield – It is good for owning clothies in pvp, not useful otherwise.
This is my glyph setup: DP, HotR, SoV or HoS, SoV, RD depending on the situation. Don’t flip out if you see a tank with something else, individual tanks have… individuality. Besides, we can’t stop here. This is bat country. You can take whatever minor glyphs you want. Most people take Glyph of Sense Un-dead or Glyph of Invincible Auto-Tanking.
I THINK YOU MADE A MISTAKE WRECKY! YOU FORGOT TO LIST GLYPH OF CONSECRATION!
No, I didn’t. It screws up your rotation. Glyph of Consecration = Tanking Fail
WHAT BE THIS ‘ROTATION’ THOU SPEAKS OF??
Actually, it is quite simple. You are going to want to use what is lovingly referred to as the 969 rotation. If it is followed correctly, this rotation will produce the maximum amount of threat with a minimum amount of leakage.
Here is how you want to rotate your attacks; Pull with Avenger’s Shield.
- Holy Shield
- Hammer of the Righteous
- Shield of the Righteous
There is one catch to this however… You need to ALTERNATE between Shield of the Righteous and Hammer of the Righteous every full rotation to optimize your cool-downs for threat. I’m met some tanks who use a 2 button macro to tank. I DO NOT suggest you do this. Being a meat shield is as much about flexibility as it is about protection (No
THAT’S A LOT OF CONFUSING INFORMATION TO ABSORB! CAN YOU DUMB IT DOWN FOR ME?
WRECKY, I WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND TO YOU AN INVITATION TO THE PANTS PARTY.
No, thank you. I don’t wear or own pants.
DO I NEED ADDONS?
No, they are not required. That being said, some are very helpful. Here is a short list of what I use. Some are for Tanking some are for Banking, some are for Ranking and some are for Boss Encounters (bet’cha thought I was gonna end that in ‘anking…) You know you did, don’t lie, you ain’t gotta lie to kick it.
- Omen Threat Meter
- Pally Power
- Deadly Boss Mods
Seriously though: All game content can be cleared using the standard Blizzard UI. There is nothing in this game that REQUIRES Macros, Key-Binding or Add-ons. Those being said, if you want them, then by all means, use them (I do).
WHAT SPEC SHOULD I USE; ARMS, UNHOLY OR DISC?
There are numerous tanking specs which are all viable. Please refer to the official World of Warcraft Paladin forums for spec advice. I’m too old and too tired to list them all out here. If you absolutely require some spec advice please read the following AFTER checking out a few cookie cutter specs.
Here are some talent change suggestions from yours truly.
- Dropping Divine Sacrifice and Divine guardian and taking 3 points in Reckoning.
This is recommended for those of you who will never be raiding.
- Throwing another point into Divine Plea (This can be useful if you have mana problems. For most tanks though, 1 point is all that is needed.
WHY DID YOU TAKE SEAL OF COMMAND?
I took that seal for two reasons:
- It’s good to use in heroics because most mobs will die before they get 5 stacks of vengeance.
- Because you touch yourself at night.
WHY DID YOU TAKE ONE-HANDED WEAPON SPECIALIZATION?
I took that talent because my right hand is usually very busy whenever i’m on my computer and i just don’t have the ability to use both… Actually, I took it because it’s an amazing threat talent. Read the tool-tip very carefully. This talent increases ALL damage done when you have a 1-handed weapon equipped, not just weapon damage. It is a Flat increase in damage and threat for EVERY attack you have. It is just beautiful. As long as you have 1 point into Improved Judgments and you have all the actual Tanking talents (Damage Mitigation, Attacks that end in the word “Shield”, you will be fine).
TELL ME SOMETHING ELSE WRECKY!
My dog has no nose.
HOW DOES IT SMELL?
COMON BUDDY, CAN YOU AT LEAST TELL ME WHAT TALENTS NOT TO TAKE?
I’ll try to help you. Here are some talents that look good at first glance but later
they end up stealing your jeans and burning a hole in your couch with a cigarette
before puking on your bed and hitting on your mother.
- Divinity (nothing but over healing)
- Guardians Favor (Obviously)
THAT ADVICE IS USELESS. THANKS FOR NOTHING WRECKY, I DON’T THINK I LOVE YOU ANYMORE.
That’s fine, I want to see other people anyway, and you’ve really let yourself go. Just ignore PVP talents and you can’t go wrong.
CAN I TANK WITH A 2-HANDER?
hehehe… Oh, you are serious. Let me laugh harder! MWAHAHAHAHAHA! Leave the 2-handers to the DK tanks. Without a shield and one-handed weapon equipped the following attacks will NOT be available:
- Holy Shield
- Avenger’s Shield
- Shield of the Righteous
- Hammer of the Righteous
That is roughly 80% of your threat. Also you will become very squishy. Armor is THE most important tanking stat. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Armor negates more damage than anything else. What’s that? You don’t believe me? Go ahead check for yourself.
I’ll wait for you…
*Break for Milk and Cookies*
See? I told you so.
HOW MUCH STAMINA DO I WANT?
All of it.
I DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT.
SERIOUSLY THOUGH, WHY DON’T I WANT BLOCK AND BLOCK VALUE?
Because blocking 2K damage from a 19K hit isn’t going to keep you kicking. It’s better to avoid that damage all together. Holy shield and the static blocking stats on your gear is all the blocking potential you’re really going to need. There are tanks who disagree with this statement. If you want to follow their advice then by all means, do it. I won’t judge you (First and only paladin pun).
WHAT AURA DO I USE?
HOW ABOUT RET AURA?
No. That was useful in Burning Crusade. Now it provides a -7.230×36012 increase in threat at the expense of a huge amount of mitigation.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE ADVICE ABOUT TANKING?
Here are some good resources for Pally’s of all specs.
- Tankspot.com (Highly Recommended)
- Elitistjerks.com (Highly Recommended)
- I also highly recommend the orange chicken salad.
OK, I’M SOLD, WHAT GEMS DO I WANT?
HOW ABOUT AVOIDANCE GEMS?
I NEED TO ACTIVATE THE POINTLESS META ON MY UNCOMMON LEATHER DPS HELM, WHAT GEMS DO I USE?
Use spirit gems to activate your meta, use intellect gems for good socket bonuses. I’m kidding… You will want to use stamina gems and double-color gems that provide stamina and avoidance stats.
WHAT IS UP WITH YOU AND STAMINA? WHAT ABOUT BALANCE? WHAT ABOUT MITIGATION? WHAT ABOUT SOCKET BONUSES?
FINE… HOW ABOUT MY ENCHANTS?
Real tanks don’t use enchants but if you insist here is some advice. You are going to want Stamina enchants wherever possible. If you can’t get stamina on something then enchant for defense, agility or avoidance. For your weapon you get to choose between some under-powered enchants. Just take Mongoose if you want to look cool, Blade Ward if your rich or Black Magic if you are an idiot.
A weapon chain is decent if you can’t afford anything else or you are using a mining pick. I suggest you use the PVP enchant for your shoulders it is actually better than any PvE enchant. Ignore the resilience and love the stamina boost. Shield Spikes can be really useful at lower levels too.
WHAT META DO I WANT?
Stamina and armor is the choice that most tanks take.
HOW DO I GET TO CARNEGIE HALL?
Practice man… Practice.
IM A TAYLOR AND AN HERBALIST, IS THAT GOOD?
Not really. You can take Blacksmithing and Jewel-Crafting if you want maximum tanking potential. You can also take Mining for a stamina boost and Enchanting for some stamina ring enchants. It’s really not that important because the difference between the good tanking professions is a relatively small amount of stamina. The following professions provide some good tanking bonuses:
- Alchemy (More useful than you might think)
The other professions provide helpful stats and such, but they simply aren’t the best for a tank. Take them if you want. It’s not that big of a difference really. Honestly, JC is probably the best tanking profession. BoP Trinkets and Gems are hard-core baby!
DOES YOUR DOG BITE?
I THOUGHT YOU SAID THAT YOUR DOG DIDN’T BITE!?
That’s not my dog.
WHERE CAN I GET SOME TANKING GEAR? I JUST HIT 80 AND I WANT TO BE A BEAST!
Go to the auction house:
- Buy the ‘Tempered Saronite Set’
- Buy a ‘Titansteel Shield Wall’
- Buy a ‘Tempered Titansteel Helm’
- Buy some green tanking rings, neck and cloak.
- If your insanely rich buy some ‘Spiked Death Dealers’
Buy any other tanking gear you can afford, there are many more pieces available than the ones I am listing. You can also buy good gear and enchants from the following reputation vendors:
- Son’s of Hordir
- Argent Crusade
- Wyrmrest Accord
Fill in the holes with stamina and strength gear. Gem and Enchant to 535 Defense, then gem and enchant for stamina. Now you can tank heroics… barely… Or, if you’re in a good guild you can have them carry your squishy butt through the following instances:
- Regular TotC (Trinket, Boots, Belt, Legs, Gloves)
- Regular HoL (Trinket)
- Heroic UK (Sword)
- Heroic VH (Legs, Trinket)
- Heroic OK (Bracers)
- Heroic AN (Trinket)
- Heroic UP (Sword)
- Heroic TotC (Neck, Sword, Helm, Shoulder, Ring)
Once you are geared enough from these heroics, it’s time to start buying Triumph Gear and running the 3 new instances which contain a lot of nice ilevel232 gear. Honestly, with the new Random Dungeon system and the amount of Triumph badges you can obtain, It is entirely possible to deck yourself out in 245‘s in 2-3 days.
THIS DK KEEPS DEATH-GRIPPING MY MOBS HALP!
First ask them politely to stop. If that does not work use hand of protection on them for a few pulls. If they still don’t stop then remind them that your queue time is 3-5 seconds. It also works for dps who can’t wait for mobs to reach you before they attack.
I HAVE 539 DEFENSE. ISN’T THAT GOOD ENOUGH TO TANK RAIDS? IT’S ONLY ONE POINT… HOW BAD COULD IT BE?
I suggest that you find a way to squeeze out that last point. Here is a video example of what can go wrong:
Defense, 540, ‘nuff said.
HOW DO I PULL A GROUP OF 4?
- Firstly, tell your DPS and healer to hold off until they all the mobs have been standing directly in front of you for 3-5 seconds.
- Cast Exorcism (not HoR, you should save that for taunting) on the one farthest to your right.
- Cast Avenger’s Shield on the one farthest to your left.
- Cast Holy shield.
- Cast Consecrate.
- Hammer of the Righteous when they all get close.
- Proceed with your normal rotation.
DUDE, I CAN’T HOLD AGGRO AT ALL! YOUR ADVICE SUCKS!
Turn on Righteous Fury. OH. Yeah.
I’M RUNNING OUT OF MANA AFTER EVERY PULL. SHOULD I PUT SOME INTEL GEAR ON?
No. Use Divine Plea and Blessing of Sanctuary and Judgment of Wisdom. Make sure you have 1 point into Spiritual Attunement and 2 points into Guarded by the Light. Having 2 points in Spiritual Attunement is overkill if you’re having mana problems but there is nothing stopping you if you want to slap another point in it.
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO ADD?
Yes I do. With the addition of ‘The Trial of the Champion‘, you now have access to some very nice tanking epics which are WAY too easy to get. You should be running regular TotC non-stop until there is no more gear for you to get. Then you should switch to heroic and farm the shit out of that one too. That one instance has made gearing a fresh tank insanely easy.
You don’t have to farm Molten Core for 3 years to get a nice tanking sword anymore. Here is what I consider the MINIMUM for tanking raids. Do not expect to get into groups without these stats:
- 540 Def
- 28K Armor
- 35K Health (Un-buffed)
- 50% Avoidance (Combined Dodge and Parry)
Sadly, these are also the stats that most heroic groups are looking for. People are looking for geared and experienced tanks for emblem runs. They want a smooth run that takes no time or effort. In short, 90% of Random Heroic groups are extremely under-geared and expect to be carried. Deal with it, it’s nice to top the damage meters while tanking.
When in doubt, stack a lot of stamina. Chances are – if your sporting 35K health, your group isn’t going to give a darn what your avoidance is.
I agree that it is a sad state of affairs but regrettably, this is the way of the world… of Warcraft.
If you have followed this guide then your fresh 80 tank should now be geared/experienced enough to run all heroic instances and all 10 man raids (excluding ICC and hard modes) As well as the majority of 25 man raids. You should now be well on your way to kicking the Lich King right in his small sensitive ice cubes.