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The Light and How to Swing It: Gearing a new level 80 tankadin, part 2

Gregg Reece

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons.

We're still talking about fresh, up-and-coming tanking paladins who have just hit level 80 and are looking for gear. After taking another look back at it, most of last week was concentrating on items from reputation vendors and craftable items that you could either make for yourself or nab off the auction house. I decided that I could have done a lot more with various tanking drops from dungeons and items from the emblem vendors. So, this week we'll take a look at just about everything a level 80 can nab from a dungeon for tanking, and next week we'll take a look at what you can do with all of those emblems you earned up running dungeons.

A couple of quick notes before we get started. Everything is a drop off of heroic mode, unless otherwise marked. The only normal modes that were included were the level 80 dungeons and not the leveling ones. Anything with an asterisk (*) beside it is epic quality, and everything else is rare quality.

Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom Jedoga is that lady everyone wants to skip, but she's got a decent starter neck piece. It has a little more defense rating than the pendant you'll get out of Culling of Stratholme. The ring from Nadox is also a pretty good grab as well. The stats might look a bit low on it, but you've got to remember that it is spending some extra itemization on the armor bonus it grants.

Azjol-Nerub Essence of Gossamer is one of the best tanking trinkets you can get when starting out. The stamina is nice and the mini-bubbles it provides are also helpful to your effective health. If you can get out of the way of the pounds that Anub'arak dishes out, you'll be able to grab an epic belt. Always be sure to use an Eternal Belt Buckle to add an extra gem slot to your belt items for a little stat boost.
Caverns of Time: The Culling of Stratholme Here's where you'll probably grab your first epic shield when starting out. The old Emblems of Heroism shield is comparable with a small re-allotment in stats. The next big shield you'll find after it is in normal Halls of Reflection, unless you start doing raids.
Drak'Tharon Keep The ring off of the last boss in here is the best one you'll grab out of the older heroics, but it doesn't have any defense rating on it. So it's a good grab, but if your stats won't let you equip it, then just toss it into your bank for later.
Gundrak Both of the tanking drops off of the last boss are pretty good. The Offering of Sacrifice trinket adds some armor as well as the on-use ability of giving you an extra 3,025 health for a quarter of a minute. It's something nice to pop if you know you're about to take some major damage or if your healer just disconnected, to hopefully finish the fight you're on and prevent a wipe.
The Nexus The cloak from the extra boss in the frozen hallway has about the same defense rating as the Wyrmrest Accord rep cloak but has a larger itemization budget for other things. Also, Keristrasza has a rare-quality shield in case you haven't been able to get any of the epic ones yet. It should tide you over for the meantime.
The Oculus As much as it pains some of you to hear it, there are several good items for the starting level 80 tank in the Oculus in both normal and heroic modes. Each has a ring, but you'll also be able to nab a rare quality tanking weapon on heroic mode. The dungeon has had some bonuses added to it lately including a chance at an epic mount for completing it.
The Violet Hold Lavanthor's Talisman is off of the random corehound boss. It's a really nice block trinket if you're working on avoidance. The set of legs off of Cyanigosa are stacked heavily towards defense rating, but for overall stats, you'll probably want to grab the epic legs from normal-mode Trial of the Champion below.
Ulduar: Halls of Lightning A lot of tanks (primarily death knights before the Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle was added) ran normal Halls of Lightning over and over again to try and get the Seal of the Pantheon for the defense rating it provided. If you're short of the soft cap for defense or don't want to buy the enchants for gear you're going to quickly replace, then it might help you out. I included the Pauldrons of the Lightning Revenant on the list because if you tossed a defense gem into them, they'll work just fine as tanking shoulders.
Ulduar: Halls of Stone There isn't much special about either of the tanking items from this dungeon. Tanking rings can sometimes be hard to get hold of, and the Maiden of Grief is providing you an extra opportunity at one.
Utgarde Keep In here, we have a decent quality tanking weapon on the first boss. Also, Ingvar drops a set of epic legs that, while not necessarily a tanking piece, is just a gem or two away from being a tanking piece. Plus, hit doesn't hurt. They're not great tanking legs, but they'll definitely fill the spot until you can get something better.
Utgarde Pinnacle The final boss has an awesome tanking sword for those just getting started in heroics, if you're lucky enough for it to drop. Normal mode has several decent drops if you're brand new to level 80 and haven't gotten all of your gear together yet.
Crusaders' Coliseum: Trial of the Champion This dungeon was added in patch 3.2 along with the Trial of the Champion raid. As such, it starts out with a better quality of gear. The normal mode in both drops and difficulty is equivalent to your other dungeon heroics, whereas the heroic version has drops equal to the Ulduar 10-man raid. Some items of note are the trinket off of the Black Knight in normal mode, which is another big stamina trinket, and the tanking sword of either Eadric or Paletress on heroic. Everything in here is epic quality and definitely worth your time on both normal and heroic.
Icecrown Citadel: The Forge of Souls This is one of three dungeons added in patch 3.3 and like Trial of the Champion it has better quality loot than the other dungeons. Actually, the normal quality items in here are equivalent to the heroic ones from the TotC dungeon, with the heroic version being at the same level at the 10-man Trial of the Crusader raid. In order to run the rest of the Icecrown Citadel dungeons, you must complete this one first. Normal mode has another epic tanking weapon if you still haven't acquired one.
Icecrown Citadel: Pit of Saron This is the second dungeon in the Icecrown Citadel set. There is a nice dodge trinket from Ick, with a similar use ability to that of the Offering of Sacrifice we mentioned earlier, which allows a temporary health boost. Both versions provide a new chest piece from the final boss, so it's a good one to run if you're looking for an upgrade in that department.
Icecrown Citadel: Halls of Reflection This has been a frustrating instance for a lot of people on normal mode, as tanks will rudely begin the dungeon and then leave after the second boss, as they're trying to get the shield. This is the best PvE shield you can get without running raids.

The Light and How to Swing It tries to help paladins cope with the dark times coming in Cataclysm. See the upcoming paladin changes the expansion will bring. Wrath is coming to a close and the final showdown with the Lich King is here. With Cataclysm soon heating things up, will you be ready?

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