Thoughts of Blood

>The last time I tanked a raid was in Karazhan – on my Paladin, Althorr. My how things have changed.

After reading up on where Blood tanking was at, bless you Elitist Jerks, I went and reforged my gear to ensure my threat levels would be sufficient. In the end I think I may have gone a bit overboard there, will scale it back for the continuation tonight.

Blood tanking is still a little bit up in the air at the moment. A lot of the discussion on the EJ forums was back and forth between whether stacking Mastery or Avoidance was the way to go. Stacking Stamina has pretty much been ruled out now.
Let me explain the dilemma. The Blood DK mastery is called Blood Shield. Here is the tooltip text:

Each time you heal yourself via Death Strike, you gain 50% of the amount healed as a damage absorption shield. Each point of Mastery increases the shield by an additional 6.25%.

One thing to note however is that the shield only absorbs physical damage. Magical just comes straight through. Ok, so Death Strike heals you for let’s say 30k (not unrealistic), meaning you get a 15k damage shield at 0% Mastery. If you stack Mastery, this starts increasing rapidly. You only need 16 (2868.48 rating) points of Mastery to gets a 100% shield.

By the way, the amount of healing you receive from Death Strike is either, 25% of the damage you received in the last 6 seconds, or 7% of your total health, whichever is higher.

Plus in patch 4.06 we will see the following change to the Shield mechanic:

If Death Strike is used while a Blood Shield is already active, the new absorb will stack with the old one instead of replacing it.

What this gives us is essentially a rolling shield. The current thinking on how this will function is that if you Death Strike with a Blood Shield up, and it has for example 5 seconds to run and a Shield value of 10k, then that 10k will be rolled into the new Blood Shield value of say 20k, giving you a 30k Shield for the new 10 second duration. There is talk of a cap though, which is looking like 33% of max health, meaning that assuming 200% Mastery, you would need to take 110% of your total health as damage within 5 seconds in order to hit the cap.

Essentially, the Blood Shield can be thought of as extra HP, pretty sexy HP though.
Avoidance stacking remains the same as it always has. For Blood DKs there is no difference between dodge and parry as far as weighting goes. More avoidance = less damage from the boss. Where avoidance has a definite advantage over Mastery is that Mastery is reliant on Death Strike connecting. Miss a strike and your shield potentially pops or drops. Avoidance isn’t reliant on anything to connect, giving your healers a potentially easier time of it. In the end there was no definite conclusion as to whether Mastery or avoidance was better, but the following relationship between the two was reached:

1. Avoidance decreases average damage taken, so
2. Avoidance results in smaller blood shields. But,
3. Avoidance effectively increases the pre-avoidance incoming damage you can take before the shield is used up,
4. The effect of avoidance in 1. is balanced out by the effect in 3, so
5. Avoidance has no net effect on the effectiveness of mastery.

So for me, I will be getting hit and expertise near the cap so that my threat is high enough and my interrupts don’t miss, then gemming for Mastery and leaving my avoidance stats as they are on my gear. Any other stats I don’t need UI will probably reforge to Mastery. This should *hopefully* give me a decent balance between the two. Maybe time will tell which is better but for now I’ll just play it by ear and see how encounters go and adjust the balance as required.

Ok, so the raid last night. Magmaw is fast becoming a trivial fight in terms of mechanics. We downed him on the third attempt which was nice as it gave us more time for attempts on Omnitron. I was in Frost spec for the Magmaw fight as it only requires a single tank. I pulled 18k dps on the kill, however this is largely due to Howling Blast on the lava parasites.

I shifted over to Blood for Omnitron. I think it took a few attempts for me to remember that I had buttons such as Icebound Fortitude and Vampiric Blood, but in the end I was basically using them every time they came off cooldown.
Omnitron is a really annoying fight to be honest. None of the Golems in isolation are particularly difficult, but when two are up it can get messy. The most annoying ability as a tank is the blue pools that Arcanotron drops, especially when they are directly beneath him. They can sometimes be hard to see, and if he drops a pool then starts casting Arcane Annihilator then he doesn’t want to move out of said pool. Irritating. The others aren’t too bad, although having to stop attacking when the shields go up can be fun.

Based on the trouble my healer was having keeping me up during the attempts, I have a feeling my gear is not quite up to scratch yet, at least not as much as it could be. It is viable but does make things a little more difficult than it could be on the healers. Something to work on.

We did get Omnitron down to 33ish% which was promising; I don’t think they will last too much longer. People are getting used to the abilities and having to make decisions on the fly, so it shouldn’t be too much longer.
I enjoyed tanking, so if I am required to continue in the dual role I will keep posting my thoughts on where both specs are at. Until next time, I will leave you with this:

Soccothrates and Dalliah from Arcatraz:

Soccothrates: “Did you call on me?”
Dalliah: “Why would I call on you?”
Soccothrates: “To do your heavy lifting now, most likely.”
Dalliah: “When I need someone to prance around like an overstuffed peacock, I’ll call on you.”
Soccothrates: “Then I commit myself to ignoring you.”
Dalliah: “What do YOU know about commitment, sheet-sah?”
Soccothrates: “You are the one who should be– Wait, we have company.”



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