Tier 13
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a Blood Elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Patch 4.3 is upon us, and the Hour of Twilight has come. Once more, it falls to us rugged men and women of plate-covered action to strap on our Bulwarks of Azzinoth (because, seriously, what other shield would you transmogrify to?) and march into the fray. Deathwing's assault on Azeroth is coming to a head, and to make sure we're ready for the challenges beyond, we need to be as prepared as possible.

4.3 is a pretty tame patch when it comes to class changes -- no nerfs or buffs galore ... my kind of patch. Nonetheless, there are three key things you need to know about the patch to bring your absolute best to the table. Let's dig in.

It's a free threat bonanza

Multiple buffs were given to ret paladins, one of which deliciously overflowed onto our side of the fence and gave us a collateral boost. Seal of Truth's damage when Judged is now increased by 20% for each application of the Censure DoT on your target. This will dovetail nicely with the two-piece bonus of our tier 13 set, but I'll get to that shortly.

Melee's attack power gains from Blessing of Might (and similar buffs) was buffed to 20%, up from 10%. This affects us as well, meaning a nice chunk of free attack power.

And speaking of attack power, the first tick of Vengeance now automatically jumps to give us attack power equivalent to 33% of the damage taken from that first blow. This is paired with the official codification (rather than just hotfixed existence) of the threat multiplier going up to 500% of damage done.

Needless to say, threat is going to be even more faceroll than it's been in the past.

Drowning in mastery

Part and parcel with the rapidly inflating item levels are the rapidly inflating levels of avoidance and mastery that your gear will be bloated with. In Firelands, it was easy to block cap with a few pieces of heroic raid gear. In Dragon Soul, with item levels higher than Firelands heroic, you're going to be most assuredly doing the backstroke in a pool of excess mastery rating.

What to do? For starters, read my column from a few months ago about what to do once you hit the block cap. The easy answer is to start shedding mastery gems for stamina (or avoidance, if that's your favorite flavor) and go for those +stamina and +avoidance socket bonuses, concurrently.

You can drop down to needing only one mastery trinket. Go for the Mirror of Broken Images. The resistance clicky is still amazing, and you'll want to assume you have that lower amount of mastery to be able to block cap regardless of what mastery trinket you choose for your load out -- and perhaps you'll eventually be able to drop all mastery trinkets.

Perhaps a safer choice before dropping the second mastery trinket, though, is to drop needing to chow down on Lavascale Minestrone. I'd still with using the Elixir of the Master and Prismatic Elixirs, even when you're inundated with mastery, as that spell resistance is very helpful on certain fights.

Eventually, I suspect we'll be getting to the point where we're prioritizing dual avoidance pieces so we don't have any mastery we can't reforge away. That might be a ways away, though, because as you can see, there are always options for shedding mastery.

To ameliorate all these math-aches, I recommend (humbly) checking out my combat table coverage calculator spreadsheet. It can do a lot of the numbers work for you, allowing you to figure out your current CTC picture and see how different pieces of gear reacts in that environment.

No mandatory Judgement glyphing

Sure, you can do it, but you won't get much from it. Theck ran the numbers over at Maintankadin and made the judgment that:
The Judgement glyph will be a mitigation increase, but a very weak one. You're increasing the shield's value by 10%, but that's still a fairly small amount of extra absorbed damage. It's certainly something, but we get back into the same argument we've had before about SoI - it's another few hundred absorb that we can't control all that well, and will mostly just be negated by creating more overheal on the part of our healers.
So essentially, it's not something you want to bend over backwards for. According to his numbers, each shield we gain from Judgment will be worth on average around 5,400 damage. That's worth about 600 HPS. The glyph has been mathed out to only be worth around 270 additional absorption or ~30 HPS, because its benefit is additive with the Wrath of the Lightbringer talent. Exceedingly minor.

Is that worth sacrificing the damage potential of glyphing Shield of the Righteous? (Glyph of Seal of Truth remains mandatory as our best threat glyph.) This is a judgment call (sorry, easy joke) that you'll have to make for yourself. Just don't assume that it's mandatory to use that glyph -- it's small potatoes.
The Light and How to Swing It shows paladin tanks how to take on the dark times brought by Cataclysm. Try out our 4 tips for upping your combat table coverage, find out how to increase threat without sacrificing survivability, and learn how to manage the latest version of Holy Shield.

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.

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