However, I'm one of those people who deliberately goes and does something just to see if it can be done and how viable it is. So for the past few weeks, I've been putting together a sort of 'DPS tanking' set of gear and a spec. I experimented with both arms and fury tanking, and both seemed reasonably viable, but I went with fury because of glyphed Bloodthirst
heals and the fact that BT is on a 4.5 second cooldown, meaning that you can use it more often. Since I was still using Defensive Stance for the threat generation the smoother rage generation of fury was easier for me to make work. Fury also overcomes the lack of Vengeance a lot easier than arms seems to.
One thing I noticed was that Sunder Armor
didn't seem to provide enough threat to really make it worth using compared to a Bloodthirst, Raging Blow or even a Bloodsurge-procced Wild Strike. I ended up just glyphing Colossus Smash
to apply Sunders without having to actually apply them.
As I mentioned above, this sincerely
lacks in the active mitigation department. You can gear for parry and dodge, slap a couple of Colossus enchants on your weapons, but at the end of the day you're taking a lot more damage than a real protection spec warrior would, which is why (and I repeat this again for people who sometimes think I'm downplaying things) this is not a viable progression tanking choice
. Without Shield Block and Barrier, you're going to strain your healer with all the unavoidable damage you take. You're also absolutely not going to do anywhere near as much damage as you would geared properly for arms or fury.
I used this talent spec
to fury tank. I liked having Shockwave for AoE threat, since Defensive Stance throttles your rage generation a lot as fury. When I tanked as arms, I used Dragon Roar instead since arms uses TC to some degree for AoE threat (not having protection's free Thunder Clap meant I was sparing with this) - for gear, I used standard tanking gear, although I tended to lean on parry, hit and expertise since you need to connect to generate threat. I put Colossus
on both 2h weapons while tanking as fury - I don't have two decent 1h weapons so I didn't get to test a SMF tanking build, but I'm working on that for a future post. It should also be noted that as of right now, Colossus isn't on the Real PPM system yet. It may work better for DW tanking once patch 5.1 rolls around, it felt somewhat less than reliable during this experiment run.
The rotation is fairly simple. Do the stuff you do when you're not
tanking. The real problem comes when you're desperately out of rage. Since you don't have protection's Shield Slam/Revenge/Devastate system of creating rage, you're reliant entirely on Bloodthirst, Charge and Defensive Stance
's trickle of rage. Since this is an entirely unsupported method of tanking, you just kind of have to grin and bear it. Arms works pretty well for AoE threat since you can glyph Sweeping Strikes and use a TC to spread Deep Wounds around, but for fury I just found myself using Heroic Leap to open a lot of pulls and then worked to get a Whirlwind or two off.
Of the heroics I've tanked this way at 90 (Shado Pan Monastery, Scarlet Halls, Scarlet Cathedral and Temple of the Jade Serpent) Shado Pan was the hardest, Jade Serpent the easiest. There are certain trash pulls in Shado Pan that I deliberately switched to prot and used a shield and a green 1h weapon to tank rather than try it fury, just because I knew without Shield Block and Shield Barrier I wasn't going to survive. But with the use of Die by the Sword
, a Shield Wall macro and some luck I tanked all the bosses. I even felt like tanking the Sha of Violence was easier
In the end, although I don't expect it ever to happen, all that arms or fury would need to be viable tanking specs as they currently exist would be a modification to how they generate rage in Defensive Stance (I felt constantly like I was on empty) and a means to actively mitigate damage. My health was extremely spiky, as you'd expect, but I got some solid parry streaks that kept me up for the most part. One of my healers even complimented me on how well I stayed alive considering my only real mitigation moves were on two minute cooldowns. ultimately, you may ask, if it's so limited in application was the only purpose of doing this just to see if it could be done? And frankly, no. The real reason for doing this was, it's crazy fun
to tank as arms or fury. Frankly, one of the biggest problems I have tanking is, it doesn't feel like playing the rest of the game. Even playing protection for soloing before the Vengeance changes never really felt like tanking does. Doing this is not only good training for scenarios, where you need to be able to think like a tankish DPS at times, but it's just plain fun as heck to pop off a Whirlwind into the faces of a bunch of mobs you're tanking.
I also tried this out in ICC 10, and with only two people on Professor Putricide I discovered that this is an extremely
good soloing spec, since my partner died at 30% and I had to tank Putricide down solo. He simply could not kill me. So if you like doing older content, keep it in mind.
Next week, we'll talk about Banners.
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.