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The Light and How to Swing It: A look at 5.2 tanking loot

Matt Walsh

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 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Another patch, another tumbling pile of loot that we will spend the next half year greedily chasing like a kid in a candy store. Y'know, if the kid was only allowed to visit the candy store once a week, and the store owner handed him a random piece every time he visited. Still, it's pretty exciting, the possibilities of a new patch. Aside from all the interesting new stuff to do, a new patch always presents the opportunity to grow your character in power and effectiveness through ever-increasing item levels.

5.2 is unique in that, for the first time, most raid drops will have five different versions of item level value. With the introduction of Thunderforged items, we now can collect Raid Finder, Normal, Normal Thunderforged, Heroic, and Heroic Thunderforged flavors of each and every raid drop. Despite this cacophony of loot, for the purposes of my sanity and yours, I'll only be listing the normal-mode version of each item in the list ahead.

Gearing priorities in 5.2

With the change to Grand Crusader, Blizzard hoped to take some of the air out of the haste-gearing paradigm. To a degree, they succeeded -- recent sims by Theck on his blog show that haste isn't as amazing as it used to be. However, it's still an excellent option, and depending on your playstyle, may be the best option for you. Moreover, avoidance is much more acceptable with the new Grand Crusader.

In any case, you'll want to check out Theck's post for a complete rundown of what 5.2 should mean for your gearing. Generally, you should be more than fine sticking with the same gearing setup that you've been using since you landed on the shores of Pandaria. So, if you're a haste junkie like me, don't worry that the sky is falling. It just dropped a few feet.

Gear from reputable sources

Going into the patch you want to be sure that you have 1250 valor points saved up. The reason why is that the new raid faction, the Shado-Pan Assault, have an amulet that you can get from them at neutral reputation. All you really need to do to buy that neck is go up and say hello, which is fantastic.

The Assault will have gear available for you at every tier of reputation, so it'll be a good source of upgrades as your work through the Throne of Thunder, if Lei Shen's hordes are unkind to you.

In addition to Shado-Pan Assault, the new Kirin Tor Offensive or Sunreaver Offensive have gear you can buy at honored (Thunder Caressed Waistguard) and exalted (Ancient Overlord's Onyx Band) for gold. These are ilevel 476 and are not meant to be much more than a headstart for alts or new players, so I won't be including them in my list. Still, if they fill a gaping hole in your kit, then all the better.

The bounty of the throne


The Light and How to Swing It shows paladin tanks how to combat the Sha in the strange new land of Pandaria. Try out the new control gearing strategy, learn how to make the most of the new active mitigation system on your tankadin, and check out how to deck out your fresh 90 tank to get ready for any raids!

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