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Posts with tag death-knight-tanking

Lichborne: Switching to tanking at expansion's end

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

I've been doing tanking of some sort of most of my WoW life. Almost as soon as feral druids were viable tanks, I've been tanking dungeons, including a long stint as the main tank of one of my guild's old school 10-man runs. When I became a death knight, you can bet I kept up on my tanking gear and my tanking skills, and not just to write this column.

Still, for the past couple of years, I've been solidly DPS for most of my playtime. Still, looking at the end of an expansion with the knowledge we've seen the last announced content patch and have yet to see another expansion announcement, my thoughts turn to tuning up my tank gear and doing a few more tank runs than I'd normally do.

Maybe you're in the same situation. Maybe you want to try tanking as a new experience now that we're in the last part of the expansion. Maybe you need to replace a raid tank who quit until next expansion. Maybe you're a new level 90 death knight who wants to dive into actually dungeon tanking. With that mind, this week we're going to do some quick tips for getting together a tanking spec and gear and trying this out. Note that this isn't meant to be a full guide, rather a quick crash course for dipping your toe into basic end game tanking.

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Lichborne: DPS stats for tanking death knights

Lichborne DPS stats for tanking death knights
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

So Rossi bought this up in his last column, and I feel like it is a valid question. If haste is a valid gearing strategy for Paladins, why shouldn't it be for the other tanks? The idea of haste and critical strike as being valid, even desirable stats for a tank seems almost anathema, but as of Mists, especially, it's worth a look. Paladins even have a gearing strategy built around haste. Are they the only ones? Should death knights be considering haste and critical strike rating? Should Blizzard be looking at ways to make haste and critical strike rating more desirable for tanks? We'll consider those questions this week.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: The hidden skills of of the tank

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

DPS guides are usually pretty straightforward. You have your damage rotation, your stat priorities for gear, and maybe an extra section with some tips on using some of your more esoteric abilities. Tank guides get a little bit more slippery, though. Sure, you can cover some of the same stuff you cover in a DPS guide, included stat priorities and tips and tricks for using specific abilities, but a tank will operate on a different level. They need to know when to use their defensive cool downs. They need to know when specific boss fights may require them to switch up gear. In some cases, they need to know certain intangible things about a boss and about raiding or grouping that it doesn't seem like DPS quite need to deal with. These aren't things that will ever really involve using Death Strike, but they may be just as important to being a successful tank as Death Strike ever will be.

This week, we'll take a look at some of these intangible things and discuss ways to make sure you're on top of them. Most of this will apply primarily to pickup groups, since at the raiding level, it's easier (or at least necessary) to make sure even healers and DPS know this stuff. But if you're in Raid Finder, boy howdy will you want to keep this advice in mind.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: What do I do at level 90? And 2 other burning death knight questions

Lichborne 3 common death knight questions
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Reading a guide is all well and good, but sometimes, even after you read, you still have questions or need clarification. This week, I've taken 3 questions I see death knights ask a lot at various places around the web, and provide some advice and clarification.

Why don't tanks need so much hit and expertise?

If you've been reading the column, you've probably noticed that I have de-emphasized hit and expertise when discussing blood death knight tank gear and strategy. This is for a very good reason. Certainly, active tanking is the rule of the day in Mists, which means in theory that tanks should want hit and expertise so their abilities land. In theory, if your Death Strike doesn't land, you don't get the healing or the blood shield, right?

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Guide to PvE blood death knights in Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Guide to PvE blood death knights in Mists of Pandaria
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

With Mists of Pandaria fast approaching, we continue our basic guides to the specs as they stand in the expansion. This week, we catch up with blood tanks. As a reminder, the following guide is for the basics of the class and spec.

Blood basics in Mists of Pandaria

Blood has changed remarkably little in Mists of Pandaria. Our basic setup is still using Death Strike to get our Blood Shield up, while trying to keep threat at the same time. Vengeance is now based off the amount of damage you've taken in the last 20 seconds, which won't be a huge deal but may lead to some attack power and threat spikes in the long run. Be aware that, especially at the start of a fight, you may need to work slightly harder for threat.

The two things you will probably notice the most are the 1-second global cooldown and the loss of 30-second Outbreak. The GCD change was one that was very much needed for DPS death knights but wasn't really an issue for us. However, since Blizzard decided to make that GCD change global to the class, we do have to deal with it. It may cause some noticeable downtime. That said, it will also allow you to fit in more emergency health-gaining cooldowns faster, so it may be a fair trade. Overall, it's something that should be easy to get used to and may work to our advantage more often than not.

A 30-second Outbreak is a little more of a solid nerf, in that you will have to deal with Outbreak's being on cooldown just when you need it most, but Blizzard has taken most of that agony out of the equation, since Scarlet Fever now allows Blood Boil to refresh diseases. Just be sure not to let diseases completely drop, and you're golden.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne, Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne: 3 death knight tanking changes to watch out for in Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne 3 Death Knight tanking changes to watch out for in Mists of Pandaria
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

On the surface, blood death knights seem relatively unchanged in Mists of Pandaria. With Bone Shield and Vampiric Blood off talents and back to being blood specializations, we have our usual toolkit in place. Death Strike still serves as our main source of damage absorption.

However, an expansion always brings with it unexpected changes, and there are a couple subtle little tweaks that may affect blood tank death knights more than you realize. Overall, of course, it's looking like we have at least another month of the Mists beta to go, so any of this could change at any time. Still, it's always nice to have the heads up. In the end, the large changes are the ones you see coming and the ones you can easily adapt to, but sometimes it's the ones you don't expect that can throw you off balance.

Today we'll look at a few of those changes, how they may affect your tanking style, and what Blizzard may or may not do before the expansion goes live.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Raegwyn and friends claim first all-death-knight Firelands

Raegwyn, one of WoW Insider's favorite blood death knights (sorry, Daniel!), is at it again. The blood elf death knight of Onyxia (EU) holds a stunning array of previous solo kill achievements including The Lich King, Kael'thas Sunstrider (at level 80!), and two of the four bosses in heroic Stonecore. Now he's released a new video highlighting the ridiculously cool self-healing power of blood death knights -- except this time, rather than riding solo, Raegwyn brought along nine other blood death knight friends for an epic romp in Firelands. No healers, no DPS ... just 10 tanks.

Part 1 of their adventure has the band of blooders facing off against heroic mode Rhyolith, Alysrazor, and Baleroc. My favorite moment of the video is at 7:30, when all 10 players simultaneously pop their Army of the Dead right before the pull. Part 2 includes normal Beth'tilac, heroic Shannox, normal Majordomo Staghelm, and the fiesty firelord himself. Some of the fun moments here are watching the sole surviving death knight tank Shannox for his last few hundred thousand hit points, and marveling at the talent of these 10 players on the incredibly high-magic-damage fight that is Ragnaros.

As an enhancement shaman whose preferred form of making money is soloing old raids like Caverns of Time: Mt. Hyjal, Raegwyn's videos constantly both amaze and humble me. I get excited when I can manage to down Karazhan's chess encounter weekly, but Raegwyn is a player who constantly manages to push the boundaries of traditional playing, and I'm always excited to see what he has in store for us next. If you'd like to read more about Raegwyn's approach to soloing and what he considers to be the hardest aspects, check out Lisa Poisso's interview with him.

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Review the official patch notes, and then dig into what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: Machinima, News items, Death Knight, Cataclysm

Lichborne: Analyzing the proposed patch 4.3 death knight tanking changes

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done. This week's header image comes to us from everyone's favorite WoW Insider commenter, Orkchop.

So recently, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street posted a new Dev Watercooler discussing the ins and outs of the new active mitigation tank philosophy. Since he dedicated a whole section to proposed death knight changes in patch 4.3, I figured it would be a good idea to take a look at the stuff and see what it does.

My preliminary verdict would be pretty simple: It's a pretty big help. It fixes or mitigates a lot of our quality of life issues, it makes a little less squishy, and it nullifies rune tetris nicely. I can't really disagree with the individual changes or the rationale behind them. That said, it doesn't completely solve our problems, and there are probably one or two more little things to be done before stuff looks really good. Let's take a look at the specifics.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: What the patch 4.3 tank changes may mean for death knights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

So by now, I'm sure everyone is aware of the huge tanking changes recently announced by Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street. Of course, there are the immediate threat increases, but the really interesting part regards their plans for patch 4.3. They're planning to put all four tanks on active mitigation models, similar to what death knights have currently with Death Strike, which is primarily the focus of today's column.

There's been an uproar from many corners with this announcement, with many tanks declaring that if they wanted to tank like a death knight, they would have rolled one. Funnily enough, many death knights who rolled the class to tank back when they could do it as frost or unholy, or back before Death Strike spam, might protest that they never wanted to tank this way either -- but that's not the point. The point to make here is that active mitigation won't put the other three tanks in the same dire straits as we are, per se. While there are arguments to be made for and against active mitigation in general, active mitigation isn't our only problem, if it's a problem at all. Our problem, among other things, is that we're reactively mitigating.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Why the death knight blood tree needs tweaks

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Patch 4.2 will likely be on live servers by the time you read this, but I figure we've talked enough about the patch 4.2 in past columns. If you read those, you probably have a good idea of where everything is for death knights. This week, I've decided it would be a good idea to take a break and talk about something that didn't get much attention in patch 4.2: the plight of the death knight tank.

It's been sort of an undercurrent in the death knight community since the beginning of Cataclysm. The death knight blood tanking tree is just sort of gummed up. It's not that we're underpowered, per se. No, a well played death knight tank is pretty dominant in heroic dungeons and even normal raiding. You only start really falling behind in heroic raids, where the problem becomes really evident: You're doing twice as much work for the same results, more or less.

Most of the issues are centered around Death Strike and how it interacts with our resource system. The quirks of said resource system are so demanding that you end up staring at your rune bar more than the battle in front of you, trying to game the system just right to squeeze out one last Death Strike.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: More blood tanking questions answered

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

With the new patch 4.1 Call to Arms feature likely to be stuck near permanently on tanking, death knights are going to find themselves with a pretty nice little incentive to stay in their blood spec a bit more often. With that in mind, it's pretty lucky that we just finished going over the basics of blood tanking and gear tweaks for blood tanks. Considering that's still the hot topic, though, and that we're likely to see a surge in death knight tanks looking for that Call to Arms bonus in patch 4.1, I want to take one more week to keep on this whole tank thing and answer some of the questions I've seen floating around, both here and elsewhere.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Gemming, reforging, and other gear tweaks for blood death knight tanks

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Last week, we discussed the basics of death knight tanking, including finding your perfect spec and figuring out which stats to aim for. This week, we're taking it one step further. Once you're all geared up, you need to put the finishing touches on your gear. Today, we'll look at how you can use gems, reforging, and enchants to bump your tank gear up to the next level.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Blood Death Knight Tanking 101

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

A lot has changed since the last we did a Blood Tanking 101 article. There's only one tanking tree for death knights now; you don't need to worry about defense rating; and parry haste is a thing of the past.

While we have talked about various aspects of Cataclysm blood tanking in past columns, this column is meant to be your one-stop shop for all things blood tanking, to give you a general idea of what you'll need to do to start seriously tanking at the heroic dungeon and raid level as a death knight.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Tier 11 raid and valor point tank gear for death knights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

With no sign of patch 4.1 going live so far and all the tier 12 raids not coming until patch 4.2, the best place to get gear is still in raid dungeons. Last week, we covered all the DPS gear you could pull from raids -- so this week, we'll cover tank gear.

Note that with tank gear, there is still a pretty healthy debate going on in the DK community over whether mastery or avoidance is the best secondary stat set to get. We've covered this extensively in past columns, so I won't go too much over it again, but suffice it to say that you'll have to examine the boss fights you're doing, your raid makeup, and your own playstyle to see what works for you, although you should strive to fit in four pieces of tier gear in order to get your set bonus. This list will cover primarily raid gear and valor point gear, but reputation rewards and crafted items will be mentioned where they are a viable possibility for the slot.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Death knight tank pre-raid gear guide


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. Join World of Warcraft's first hero class as we head into a new expansion and shed the new kid on the block label.

So a few editions of Lichborne ago, we talked a bit about stat priorities for death knight tanks. Because of that, I probably won't go over it much more before we head into this week's gear guide, but I did want to give you a quick refresher course. Let's run it down one more time:
  • Stamina is still king, but not as much as it was in previous expansions. You may find that there comes a time when more avoidance or absorption is better than a higher health pool, as the extremely high health pools and new boss design philosophies of Cataclysm mean, for now, that you'll rarely die from a couple hits.
  • In the mastery vs. avoidance struggle, you'll essentially need to experiment to find your best balance. Which stat is best for which tank will depend on personal playstyle and competency, healer and raid competency and composition, and other factors. You should take a balance of each, but where that balancing point is will vary. Recall that Death Strike is getting a slight nerf in patch 4.0.6, which will in turn nudge the balance more toward avoidance for most people.
  • When gearing for avoidance, try to keep dodge and parry percentages as close to each as possible, as they have the same diminishing returns. This means you'll always want to raise the one that's lower for optimal effect. You can do this by regemming and reforging instead of regearing in many cases, especially now that solid gems in every slot isn't 100% mandatory.
  • Hit and expertise are not as mandatory as they are for most DPS, but you may find they help you with threat. That said, you should never go beyond 8% hit rating and 26 expertise. If you're mastery-heavy, you'll want to focus a bit more on these stats, as missing a Death Strike could prove catastrophic.
With all this in mind, let's take a look at some of the stuff you should be rooting up as you prepare to tank the first tier of Cataclysm raiding. Note that while some ilevel 333 items may be decent stopgap options for a raider with an experienced raid group that doesn't mind a bit of undergearing, I've left them off this list, and you really should just try for the higher-level options. Finally, don't feel too guilty if you can't afford some of the crafted or world drop BoEs on this guide. Most raid groups probably won't hold it against you, and in some cases, they're arguably inferior to or only marginally better than BoP drops anyway.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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