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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Running Scenarios

Matthew Rossi

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

I love scenarios and I just figured out why.

I love scenarios because I can queue up and run them as DPS, and when I do, I end up DPS tanking everything. Whether or not there's a healer, it almost always goes the same way. I queue, get in, wait to make sure everyone else is there, and start charging into things. The damage I take I mitigate with Die by the Sword, the Draenei racial and my ridiculously high parry chance. Finally, after eight years, I can get a sense of what arms tanking would be like and it's glorious. It's exactly what should have happened after Wrath of the Lich King, instead of DK's losing tanking spec versatility, warriors should have gained it. Let's rename protection into juggernaut spec, and all three trees should be able to tank or DPS!

No? Just me? Ah well. At least in scenarios, this is exactly what warriors do. I come in as prot and I wreck faces, I come in arms and I Bladestorm/Sweeping Strikes everything onto me. And I'm having a blast doing it.

Scenarios are perfect content for the warrior just getting used to level 90, finding your feet and trying to decide what role you want to play in instances. They're like danger room practice sessions and you get to be both Colossus and Wolverine, throwing yourself at the mobs. I find them excessively satisfying. For some, though, they might be a little daunting. So we're going to talk about how to approach the scenario as a warrior.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Running Scenarios SatSun
On the surface of it, scenarios should be (and are) the easiest to pick up and play of any content available via the Dungeon Finder. Unlike Dungeons or Raids, you don't have to pick a role - scenarios are designed around the idea that three DPS can complete them. This doesn't mean you can't have a tank and a healer for them. It just means they're designed around the idea that a group with no tanks and no healers can do so. I actually had a scenario the other day with a prot warrior, a blood DK and a guardian druid. It went fairly well, actually.

Like I said in the opening of this piece, as a warrior in a scenario, whether or not you're specced to tank you'll probably end up tanking stuff. You're wearing plate and you have relatively good AoE spending on spec and talent choice, so it's not hard to get a bunch of mobs centered on your if you want them. The key to running scenarios as a warrior of any kind is finding ways to take less damage. Anything you can do to minimize incoming damage, you should be using it.

I mentioned Die by the Sword before, but it's hardly the only trick in the warrior arsenal. If you're running scenarios, you're level 90. That means you have Demoralizing Banner. You should be using it. If you're running Greenstone Village and you have a ton of mobs pounding on your head, drop that banner right in the middle of them. You can Heroic Leap away if you're taking a ton of damage, then Intervene back to the banner once the mobs run out to you to minimize how much of a beating you're taking. You should be making use of it.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Running Scenarios SatSun

Another ability all warriors can use in any stance now is Thunder Clap. Yes, it's much better for protection or arms than it is for fury, because it spreads Deep Wounds for them. But it applies Weakened Blows for 30 seconds after you use it, so if you're about to take a pounding from six mobs in a scenario and you're not going to get any heals, it can be combined with Die by the Sword to perform as a kind of mini-Shield Wall. And also, don't forget Shield Wall. Yes, it requires a shield to use, and for a DPS warrior that's a pain, but it works in any stance and you can equip a shield, use it, and then take off the shield.

I haven't said use whatever healing mechanic the scenario presents yet, have I? Well, do that. If there's green healing circles, stand in them. If there's barrels of healing, click on them.

As DPS, however, especially as DPS in a scenario your job is to kill, and what's more, killing faster is a valid survival tactic for a DPS warrior who ends up tanking by default. This means cooldowns. Use them, and use them often. Skull Banner should be dropped, to coincide with Recklessness when possible. Yes, I know Reck's cooldown is still too long and needs to be reduced to fall in line with other DPS cooldowns, but for now it is what it is, and we're still a terribly crit dependent DPS class at the moment so use these two together when you can and get 50% more crit for specials and 20% more critical damage - and not just for you, either, 20% more critical damage for your other scenario goers as well. Remember, the faster things die, the less damage they can do to you. This also means any talented damage abilities you have like Bloodbath or Avatar should be getting used. Blow things up. It's what you're there for anyway. If you have Storm Bolt, Dragon Roar or Shockwave, use that stun. Stunned mobs can't hurt you.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Running Scenarios SatSun

You may be thinking this is all fine and good for DPS warriors, but what about prot warriors and my response to that is, do what you do anyway. Get threat, use rage for Shield Block and Shield Barrier. You're going to be survival focused anyway, so telling you to use your survival abilities seems kind of silly, really. DPS warriors are often used to not using them, but frankly a scenario is a good place for DPS warriors to get used to not dying because modern raiding is extremely damage intensive, and in a world with capped mana pools healers will tank you for every single trick you learn to minimize your incoming damage. Just don't pull aggro on ten mobs, blow all your DPS abilities, die like a chicken and blame me - clearly raiding isn't a scenario, you shouldn't import all of this stuff to raiding without thinking about it. But if you do get aggro in a raid, yes, you should hit your Die by the Sword button to stay alive until the tank can grab it back.

I love scenarios because they relax the game's rigid role hierarchy. You don't have to be specced to tank to end up tanking them, so to speak, and you can use them to practice what to do later. Make use of them. They're fast, frenetic, and they task you with being up to the challenge of managing your health just like any other resource. And yes, you do have the tools to do just that. Use them, and scenarios are a blast.

Also, make sure to check your Cache of Treasures after you run one. I got a nice iLevel 463 DPS ring out of one the other day. The items are random enchant, so they may not be good for you, but it's worth checking to make sure.

At the center of the fury of battle stand the warriors: protection, arms and fury. Check out more strategies and tips especially for warriors, from hot issues for today's warriors to Cataclysm 101 for DPS warriors and our guide to reputation gear for warriors.

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