Acrisius the Tank Tells All

UPDATED MAY 15, 2011

A little birdy tells me that you want to roll a Warrior tank. You’ve got your BoAs, you’ve got your enchants, and you’re all set to hit the LFG and take it by the storm. Well, from level 15 – 20, life is pretty much button mashing. The talents are self explanatory, and keeping aggro will be a frenzied mix of swearing and spamming Thunder Clap when you can.

This particular post will be detailing how I am tanking from level 20-29. First of all, this is Acrisius, more commonly known as Risi.

Isn't she pretty?

And she will be guiding you through how to tank in these first ten, intrepid levels.

First, we’re going to talk Talents. By level 20, you should have 6 talent points spent in the Protection tree. It should look something like this.

In case that link doesn’t work, I will describe the talents you should be investing in.

First Tier:

Toughness – 3/3 Increases your armor value from items by 10%.

Blood and Thunder – 2/2 When you Thunder Clap a target affected by your Rend you have a 100% chance to affect every target with Rend (scales from 50% to 100% with 2 points).

Second Tier:

Hold the Line – 1/2 Improves your critical strike and critical block chance by 10% for 5 seconds following a successful parry.

In your trek from 20-29, you’ll gain 5 more talent points. Here’s where I would recommend putting them:

Second Tier:

Finish fleshing out Hold the Line, which will increase the duration of the 10% increase from 5 seconds to 10 seconds.

Shield Specialization – 3/3 You generate 15 extra rage when you block an attack. You generate 60 extra rage when you Spell Block an attack.

Third Tier:

For the third tier of talents, where you spend this one point really does not matter because you will eventually be filling up the entire tier with points. I would advise that you put your point into Warbringer, the talent that allows you to Charge, Intervene, and Intercept in any stance and during battle. Your Intervene will now also remove any movement impairing effects.

Next up, is Glyphs. You’ll be receiving the ability to glyph your character at the tender level of 25, and with that you can choose a Prime Glyph, a Major Glyph, and a Minor Glyph.

For Risi’s Prime Glyph, I ended up choosing Glyph of Shield Slam. This is really the only effective tanking Prime Glyph available to Warriors at this level. It’s effect is that it increases the damage of Shield Slam by 10%.

The Major and Minor Glyphs can be chosen by personal preference. A friend of mine chose Thunder Clap as his Major Glyph for those times when DPS just got too pull-happy. I chose Glyph of Sunder Armor, which allows your Sunder Armor to affect a second nearby target. For my Minor Glyph, I chose Glyph of Furious Sundering, which reduces the cost of Sunder Armor by 50%.

Finally, we get to Rotation. It’s fairly simple, and I will show you how mine is set up.

This is a picture of what my main action bar look like, and a list of all the actions:

1) Shield Slam: 20 rage, instant, 6 sec. CD, requires shields – Hits the target with your shield for high damage. Use this as often as possible; it is going to be your main source of threat.

2) Sunder Armor: 15 rage (not glyphed; 7 rage when glyphed), instant – Does no damage, but makes targets take more damage from other physical attacks. Makes creatures more likely to attack you.

3) Rend: 10 rage, instant, requires Defensive Stance or Battle Stance – Causes your target to bleed.

4) Thunder Clap: 20 rage, instant, 6 sec. CD, requires Defensive Stance or Battle Stance – Causes damage to all enemies in the area and slows their attack speed.

5) Cleave: 30 rage, instant, 3 sec. CD – A sweeping attack that strikes the target and a nearby ally, dealing 144 physical damage.

6) Heroic Strike: 30 rage, instant, 3 sec. CD – A filler attack.

8.) Victory Rush: instant – Procs when you defeat an enemy, and hits the new target for extra damage as well as heals yourself. Use this as often as possible.

And here is a picture of what my secondary action bar looks like:

s1) Charge: instant, requires Battle Stance (unless you have Warbringer) – Charges an enemy, generates X rage, and stuns it for 1.50 seconds. Without the talent Warbringer, this cannot be used while in combat.

s2) Heroic Throw: instant, 1 minute CD, requires Melee Weapon – Throws your weapon at the enemy causing X damage (based on attack power). This ability causes high threat.

s3) Shoot: 1.5 sec cast, 2.8 sec. CD, requires ranged weapon.

s4) Taunt: instant, 8 sec. CD, requires Defensive Stance – Forces a creature that is attacking an ally to attack you instead.

s5) Gift of the Naaru: instant, 3 min. CD, RACIAL – Heals the target for X over 15 sec. Amount healed is scaled by your level and how much attack power you have. (this is only available to Draenei)

s6) Shield Block: 10 rage, instant, 30 sec. CD, requires Defensive Stance – Increases your chance to block by 25% for 10 seconds. In addition, if your total change to clock or avoid an attack exceeds 100%, your chance to critically block is increased by the excess.

s7) Battle Shout: instant, 1 sec. CD – The Warrior shouts, increasing Strength and Agility of all raid and party members within 30 yards by 20 and gaining 20 rage. Lasts 2 minutes.

Now then, how do I work my mobs? First of all, before every pull, I refresh Battle Shout. Always. The 20 rage is a nice pool to start with, and otherwise I forget to refresh it for the buff every 2 minutes.

Secondly, how do I pull my mobs? If you have Warbringer, then Charging into the mob is a simple way to get ahead of your DPS and quickly establish your threat. If you are trying to pull a tricky mob, then using your bow, or Heroic Throw is a nice way to pull a mob back towards you. Another method is face pulling, but there is really no benefit to it, so stick with Charging or pewpewing a bit with your bow.

One-man mob:

Shield Slam –> Sunder Armor –> Rend –> finish stacking Sunder Armor (so twice more) –> Shield Slam as it comes off CD –> Filler Attacks (Heroic Strike) –> Refresh Rend or Sunder Armor whenever they are about to fall off and Shield Slam when available

Two-man mob: My pulling technique remains the same for this sort of mob. The first creature will be Billy, the second will be Bobby.

This is my rotation without having Sunder Armor glyphed to hit one more target:

Target Billy –> Shield Slam –> Rend –> Thunder Clap –> Sunder Armor *SWITCH TO BOBBY* –> Stack Sunder Armor twice/Cleave/Shield Slam *SWITCH TO BILLY* –> Finish stacking Sunder Armor –> from here, refresh Rend, Thunder Clap, Cleave, and Shield Slam when possible, and keep an eye on the Sunder Armor stacks on both Billy and Bobby. If you find yourself lacking for things to do, toss in some filler moves.

If you have Sunder Armor glyphed to hit one other creature, this is my rotation:

Target Billy –> Shield Slam –> Sunder Armor –> Rend –> Thunder Clap *SWITCH TO BOBBY* –> Shield Slam –> Sunder Armor –> Cleave –> Sunder Armor –> Refresh Rend and Sunder Armor when needed, and hit Thunder Clap, Cleave, and Shield Slam when possible.

Three-man or more mobs: It depends on the scenario. These mobs names will be Ice, Will, and Apple.

Target Ice –> Shield Slam –> Sunder Armor –> Rend –> Thunder Clap –> Cleave *SWITCH TO WILL OR APPLE* –> Shield Slam –> Sunder Armor x2 *SWITCH TO THE THIRD MOB* –> Shield Slam –> Sunder Armor –> From here, it’s all Thunder Clap, Cleave, Shield Slam, and refreshing Sunder Armor and Rend if the need be.

Of course, the tanking styles are going to vary. You may find that another method works better for you; and I’d love to hear what it is! This is just how I do it, and I’m not necessarily looking for efficiency or least amount of Rage used for maximum threat. Using these rotations, I am a decent tank who can rescue flailing DPS (if I want to) and keep myself alive while my healer “accidentally” goes AFK.

Have any comments or suggestions? Leave me a comment! Thanks to Ice, Will, and Apple for letting me tank you. Also a huge huge huge huge thanks to Vosskah for giving me some tips when it comes to Warrior-tanking. Be sure to check him out!


~ by riththewarluid on May 15, 2011.

6 Responses to “Acrisius the Tank Tells All”

  1. Maybe it’s just me, but i’ve *never* understood having auto-attack on your action bars. As soon as you hit an ability you start auto-attacking anyway, so why have it on your action bars? If you need to stop attacking for some reason, i’ve always found that T (it’s the default keybind anyway) works best and it frees up another slot for an ability down the line… Especially as a warrior, you’re going to need. it.

    • Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t stand not having it! I have no clue why. *shrug* I’m not worried about freeing up space on my bars; with Macaroon you can have lots of buttons on your bars (not sure what the max is, though). I will probably end up eventually removing it’s key-binding, but I just like to have it there. On all my melee characters, I have auto-attack on my bars. For the longest time I even had it on my Warlock! But I did eventually take it off when I stopped being quite as much as noob.

      Maybe some people think it’s clutter, but to my little simple blond brain, it’s a must. I don’t mean to say that newbie warrior tanks have to have it on their bars, it’s just how I do it. 🙂

      • Oh I know you don’t mean it as “this is how it’s done”, it just confused me as to why some people do it. I’m not giving you crap over it, don’t worry ;). Also, keep in mind that Macaroon doesn’t “create” action bars any more than Bartender or Dominos does. They simply take the action bars space already given and let you customize their appearance, position, etc etc. There will come a point in your prot warrior’s career where you’ll be flailing around for bar space, I predict. 😉

      • We shall see. I’ve gotten pretty handy with my key-bindings, so hopefully that will make up for it.

  2. Not bad, but if I may suggest a few things:

    To pull, don’t forget that you have a ranged weapon. Never use taunt while in a group but just throw/shoot something at your mobs.

    Shield Slam is your biggest threat and damage generator. It should be used every time it’s off cooldown, whether or not you have sunders up.

    For the talents, I would suggest Incite in the first Tier instead of Toughness. Toughness is very good, probably starting at level 70 or so. Before that, you never are in that much danger of dying that you need it. And Incite’s effect on Heroic Strike is very appealing while levelling.

    Strike should not be used past level 14. Strike is something Blizz gave us because we didn’t have enough buttons to push in our first 14 levels. It has low damage, high rage cost. It’s really not that good. At 14, you get Heroic Strike which is better. And don’t forget Victory Rush too! It will heal you so should be used when it’s available. With this heal, the warrior is unstoppable. 🙂

    Good luck!

    • Thank you for all the tips! I really appreciate it.

      For ranged weapon: derp. I completely forgot about that. I guess I just never think of warriors as a “ranged” class. *scurries off to track down BoA bow*

      Shield Slam: I didn’t realize that. Shall have to bump up it’s priority in my rotation.

      Since I don’t really quest on Risi all the much, is the crit chance given by Incite worth it? I haven’t been using Heroic Strike that often due to its shared CD with Cleave.

      *Strike is taken off the action bars*

      I use Victory Rush as often as I can; with my luck, though, it always procs with the death of the last member of a mob and there is no nearby next mob to use it on. It sure does come in handy with pesky, trigger-happy DPS, though!

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