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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Tanking knicknacks

Matthew Rossi

The Care and Feeding of Warriors is the column for warriors. It has warrior in the name, even, it's baked right in warrior goodness. Actually, now that I think of it, how good would it be to bake warriors right in? I probably should have used an entirely different saying there. Matthew Rossi has been leveling two new warriors over the week (when he had internet at all, that is) and can feel your burning eyes upon him, judging, always judging..

Yes, for those of you who always find it hard to believe, I'm actually working on two lower level warriors at the moment, in addition to trying to get my NE, my human and my tauren properly geared up for their various chosen roles I'm bringing a draenei warrior up (he's through the Dark Portal and newly 60 as of today) and working on my first undead character, a level 20 warrior. Part of the reason I'm doing it is to make sure that things I tell you about lower level warriors still hold true at the moment, but that's not the real reason. The real reason is that, eventually, I want to have a level 70 warrior of every race that allows one.

I have toons of other classes, obviously...two 70 shamans, for example, with a third shaman being worked on, various paladins in the high 40's or low 50's, a hunter I really enjoy sitting in the inn soaking up rested state at the moment... but my obsession with this class predates the actual existence of World of Warcraft and I won't pretend that it's not a little weird. Whether you're standing up in front of a big monster and keeping its butt turned towards the raid so that they might fill it full of arrows, ice shards, and stabbings (I'm not even going to speculate as to what warlocks are doing to it) or pulling out the big two hander or second weapon and wreaking unholy havoc upon unsuspecting gold-stuffed piñatas, I enjoy the warrior so much I actually enjoy leveling them over and over again.

Heck, I even picked up the Boots of Valor for my draenei today even knowing he's never going to wear them, he aleady has better green boots from Outland. But I eventually want to get him the entire Valor set.

Okay, last week I said I would talk about easy to obtain tanking trinkets, rings and necklaces (you know, the doodads, the non-obvious slots, the knicknacks, paddywacks, give that dog a bone, this old man is bringing a rambling metaphor home) for a warrior new to tanking at 70. So I should do that, otherwise everyone will assume I'm some kind of horrible tanking gear tease and I won't get invited to the good tanking parties. What? You didn't know about those? Oh, they're awesome. We spend all our time taking turns keeping that one guy who won't stop talking about his recent sigmoidoscopy away from the rest of the party by constantly sundering his self-absorption with devastating questions about his personal life. If you need to taunt him, just ask if he still wets the bed. If you can get him to phase two, he'll actually just leave the party, but sometimes you have to sit through quite a few deep breaths about the whole thing. When that happens, just shield wall if you have it up (yes, I'm sure it was very uncomfortable... wow, is that cake?) and try and keep him turning. Rogues, I know it can be tempting to use expose armor here, but we don't want a full fledged meltdown, so don't show everyone pictures of his choice to go to Blizzcon as Garona, okay?

When talking about trinkets, the first one to mention is one you can get at 60. It's not better than other trinkets you'll get at 70, but if you intend to be doing any tanking while heading to 70 you might seriously want to consider getting Regal Protectorate. At 70 it will be a little long in the tooth, but still viable, and if it helps you get there in one piece it was worth getting it. There are a ton of DPS trinkets as you level, but not very many tanking ones. I got lucky on my human and went into endgame with some nice BWL trinkets like the Lifegiving Gem and Styleen's Impeding Scarab, but the rest of my characters have not been as lucky. The Regal Protectorate served a valuable role for those warriors I expected to tank more with.

Speaking of the Lifegiving Gem, there's a nice array of options available for tanks now, and one of the ones that's a little easier than spending massive amounts of honor or Badges of Justice is this one, the Brooch of the Immortal King. It's not actually easy, exactly, but if you're doing the Skettis daily quests you'll probably also be doing the various quests that lead to Terokk's Downfall anyway. Terokk drops that trinket, which combines a nice dose of defense with the health boost effect. Meanwhile, if you're going to be running Shadow Labyrinth anyway, you should definitely pick up the Adamantine Figurine. I've used this on two warriors now, it's a solid trinket for increasing your mitigation in tight spots. A similar trinket you can get from a quest is Dabiri's Enigma, and any time you can get a solid tanking trinket via a quest you should do it, I for one hate the uncertainty of 'will it drop' when I'm trying to improve my gear.

As a warrior tanking, if you already have the necessary defense, considering picking up the Icon of Unyielding Courage. You can never have enough plus to hit on tanking gear and while the on use ability isn't amazing, it could help generate some additional threat (since, unlike sunder armor, only your attacks will benefit, giving you more padding against rogues and hunters) - either way, it's a nice trinket for the hit alone. Similarly, the Figurine of the Colossus isn't a defense based trinket, but a rather exceptional shield block rating one. It increases your chance to block and actually heals you on a successful block when the use is engaged. It's a nice trinket to use paired with Dabiri's Enigma for a special 'block set' if you know you're going to want exceptionally elevated blocking combined with the heal effect for a particular multi-mob pull. (I am informed that paladins love it for tanking, as well, as I haven't tanked with a paladin at 70 I can only pass this information along as hearsay, but it makes sense that they would.) Finally, if you're running heroic Underbog, there's always the Argussian Compass. For me, while the damage reduction ability is nice, it's the crazy dose of stamina that really stands out. If you're already fine on defense, pick this one up as fast as you can kill the Black Stalker.

Rings for tanking as you prepare for heroics and raiding are a bit more available than trinkets, thankfully. You have Andormu's Tear from finishing the Black Morass quest (if only it had stamina), the Protectorate's Mark of the Redemption from a five man Shadowmoon Valley questline (slightly superior to Andormu's due to the stamina, at least in my opinion), the Iron Band of the Unbreakable from regular Old Hillsbrad, and the crafted Delicate Eternium Band from your friendly neighborhood spide... er, I mean jewelcrafter. The Delicate Eternium is what I'd call a 'dodge tank' ring, but it's still nice. If you have all the defense you need and are looking for hit, there's the Resounding Ring of Glory as well, from heroic Old Hillsbrad... while you're there, give the Lieutenant's Signet of Lordaeron a look-see. Dath'Remar's Ring of Defense, ironically enough, has no defense but it has a lot of shield block rating and value for a block set. And if you want defense and hit on one ring, there's the Crystal Band of Valor, which is pretty drool worthy. Don't forget the Elementium Band of the Sentry, either, as I did. (Seriously, I totally forgot that ring exists, what's wrong with me?)

Speaking as a warrior, the first thing I did to get geared up for tanking was to get Natasha's Battle Chain. Each of my 70's has gotten it in turn - it's available from a reasonably easy to solo quest (some parts are easier with a friend, but my wife and I did them with minimal difficulty on my alliance warriors, and my horde did it solo) and it's got stamina, defense and block value. For an easy to get neck, you can't go wrong, and there are plenty of DPS necks in the game. If you are Scryer and missed it, you can pick up Thalodien's Charm instead. Keep in mind that these are block value, not block rating. Alliance tanks going into Shattered Halls can get the quest for the Medallion of the Valiant Guardian, while Horde actually pull the choker off of Maimfist's neck apparently. Luckily, either way it's a good tank piece. If you want higher stam and aren't excited by strength, there's the Mark of the Ravenguard. And if you've been running Coilfang and are revered with the CE, there's always Strength of the Untamed. A slightly upgraded version of this neck drops in heroic Auchenai Crypts, Maladaar's Blessed Chaplet, but if you already have the CE neck I wouldn't bother with it. If you happen to be in Crypts and it drops, however, grats on your new neck. If you're looking for a neck with hit on it and are already good on defense, there's another heroic drop, this time from heroic Slave Pens, the Skeletal Necklace of Battlerage. I use it as part of a hit set I'm cobbling together. For a shield block set, there's the Steam-Hinge Chain of Valor, which has both value and rating as well as a decent dose of stam, and for hit rating and dodge, there's the Enchanted Thorium Torque. If you have a choice between the two hit necks I've listed, take the torque, it's better for tanking.

This should more or less cover your pre-Kara needs, and you can use some of the items on this list to gear up for running heroics for the other items that drop in them. Keep an eye out for those quest rewards - getting a guaranteed upgrade for a slot can really help out a lot when gearing up for tanking.

Next week I will talk about why I want to have a 70 warrior of every race that allows it in the game and about why I love warriors. It will be devoid of game crunch in almost every way, so be warned, although I will talk about fun gear - that is, stuff you get just because you want it, not for better DPS or tanking, even if it does have one or both of those effects.

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