Tank Gearing 101: Gearing for Heroics

I’ve helped two up and coming guild tanks get their gear in order in the past couple weeks, so I thought this might be a suitable time to do a post about gearing your tank.

Disclaimer:  While there are some slight differences between the plate-wearing tank classes, the primary rules remain mostly the same.  While some classes may put more stock in Block (Paladins) than others, the general guidelines I present here today will give any plate-wearing tank a good idea of how they should gear.  I’m not even touching Druids, they are a mystery to me.  Who tanks without plate?

The Rules

There are (currently) some rules to gearing your tank.

  • Rule #1 – To tank a raid, you must have 540 Defense (Heroics require 535)
  • Rule #2 – When Defense is no longer required, gem and enchant for Stamina.

Those are the rules, not overly complicated right?  Of course, there are exceptions, but these two rules will get you far.

The Gear

Now let’s talk about the actual gear.  I’m going to present to you two tiers of fairly easy to obtain gear for two different levels of content.

Pre-Heroic

The first we will talk about is pre-Heroic.  What do I mean by this?  If you intend to tank a Heroic, you will want a certain level of gear to not get splattered across the floor like a newb.  You want to have a minimum of 535 Defense and a fairly solid pool of Hit Points.  Here are some easy to obtain options to get you going into Heroic Instances.  All of the following items are either purchasable from a crafter, purchasable with a relatively easy to obtain amount of rep or extremely easily farmable.

  • Head:  Tempered Titansteel Helm with an Austere Earthsiege Diamond and a Solid Sky Sapphire.  You want to enchant this with the Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector, which requires Revered with the Argent Crusade.  This is easily purchased from a Blacksmith.
  • Neck:  Titanium Earthguard Chain with a Regal Twilight Opal.  This is easily purchased from a Jewelcrafter.
  • Shoulders:  Crusaders Square Pauldrons are a bind on equip drop that wowhead claims drops from both Normal and Heroic Culling of Stratholme.  They should be enchanted with a Sons of Hodir enchant, Exalted Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle is preffered, but the lesser lesser version only requires Honored.  Another Bind on Equip option is Wapach’s Spaulders of Solidarity, an epic BoE world drop.
  • Back:  The Cloak of Peaceful Resolutions only requires Honored with Wyrmrest Accord and is a very servicable cloak.  It should be enchanted with Titanweave.
  • Chest:  The Silver Plated Battlechest is a quest reward from Utgarde Pinnacle.  It’s stacked with defense, so it will help hit that 535 goal.  Enchant with Greater Defense.  Another option at Revered with Wyrmrest Accord is the Breastplate of the Solemn Council or the Reanimated Armor, which is a drop in Regular Utgarde Pinnacle.
  • Bracers:  This slot leaves a little to be desired, other than extremely expensive Blacksmithed stuff, your best bet is Svala’s Bloodied Shackles.  These drop in Utgarde Pinnacle, which can be farmed.  They should be enchanted with Major Stamina.  For a non-drop option, you can go with the lower level Blacksmithed item, the Tempered Saronite Bracers.
  • Gloves:  Daunting Handguards are extremely easy to acquire, as they are a lower level Blacksmithed item.  Enchant these with Armsman, extra threat is nice.
  • Waist:  Girdle of Obscuring drops out of Regular Occulus (farmable).  For a non-drop option, you can go with the Icebane Girdle.  With the Icebane and an Eternal Belt Buckle, you get a whopping 3 gem slots.  You can opt for all Defense gems if you need it, or you can try to match sockest with a Defense/Dodge gem, and two Defense Gems.  You can also opt to put a Stamina gem in your buckle socket, since it has no color requirement.
  • Legs:  Daunting Legplates are the way to go there, throw a Frosthide Armor Kit on them and go on to the feet.
  • Feet:  Tempered Titansteel Treads are your friend.  They are a Blacksmithed item, but they are epic, so they will be more expensive than the Daunting stuff.  Throw Greater Fortitude on them for an extra chunk of Stamina.
  • Weapon:  The Eternally Folded Blade is a nice weapon that drops out of Regular Halls of Lightning.  For a non-drop option, you can go with the Teldrassil Protector, which you obtain by doing the Argent Tournament Dailies in Icecrown.  Worst case scenario, you can grab a dps weapon like Fang of Truth at Honored with Wyrmrest Accord.  Enchant this weapon with Agility for dodge/armor or a weapon chain to increase your Hit Rating.  ***For DKs, any 2-handed weapon will do.  Your best bet is to buy the Titansteel Destroyer and put Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle on it for a whopping 25 defense skill (not rating).
  • Shield:  The Titansteel Shield Wall is an epic shield crafted by a Blacksmith.  It won’t be cheap, but it’s very good and will get that defense up.  Calling of Stratholme also has Leeka’s Shield, which drops off of Malganis, so you can farm it.  Do yourself a favor though, save the money for the Titansteel Shield Wall.  Throw +20 Defense on this bad boy.
  • Ranged:  The Armor Plated Shotgun.  It’s an Engineering item.  Accept no substitute.  You aren’t a serious tank until you have one of these or better.  You can gem it with pure Stamina or Stamina/Defense if you are still lacking.
  • Ring 1:  Titanium Earthguard Ring.  It’s made by Jewelcrafters.  Gem it with Stam or Defense/Stam.
  • Ring 2:  There really aren’t a lot of Defense options here, there are a couple low-level items, but a decent non-defense option is the Ring of Earthen Might, a jewelcrafted rare quality ring with tanking stats on it and a socket.  Socket it with a Thick Autumn’s Glow for an extra bit of Defense.
  • Trinkets:  Trinkets are a joy to deal with.  The best trinket for the up and coming tank is the Seal of the Pantheon, which drops from the last boss in regular Halls of Lightning.  Farm until you have it.  In addition, the up and comer probably didn’t see much of Netherstorm, so go to Netherstorm and talk to a guy named Dabiri.  He’s got a quest chain that rewards you with Dabiri’s Enigma at the end.  Sure, it’s a level 70 item, but it’s good and will do the job you need it to do.  DKs can still use their parry trinket from the DK starter zone.  Yes, I tanked Naxx and half of Ulduar with that trinket.

I created the following set from the gear listed above and managed to get 548 Defense, 25.5k Hit Points, 23.5k Armor, 18.63% Dodge, 15.05% Parry & 15.32% Block.  Not the best avoidance, but you’ve got the Defense you need and a decent pool of hit points for Heroics. Here are the items I used (all are enchanted as mentioned above):

  • Helm:  Tempered Titansteel Helm
  • Neck:  Titanium Earthguard Chain
  • Shoulders:  Crusader’s Square Pauldrons
  • Back:  Cloak of Peaceful Resolutions
  • Chest:  Breastplate of the Solemn Council
  • Wrists:  Svala’s Bloodied Shackles
  • Hands:  Daunting Handguards
  • Waist:  Icebane Girdle
  • Legs:  Daunting Legplates
  • Feet:  Tempered Titansteel Treads
  • Ring 1:  Titanium Earthguard Ring
  • Ring 2:  Ring of Earthen Might
  • Trinket 1:  Dabiri’s Enigma
  • Trinket 2:  None
  • Weapon:  Fang of Truth
  • Shield:  Titansteel Shield Wall
  • Ranged:  Armor Plated Combat Shotgun

Next time, gearing for raids.

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