Tankadin 101All you need to know to become a holy meat sheild.
Last updated January 22, 2008 @ 12:45:48PM
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So you want to make a paladin tank! What do you need to know? What do you need to do? What spec? What gear? Never fear, Eradorn is here. Having played a tankadin since the game began, I figured I would set down what my experience has gained me. Most of the advice is geared to any level tankadin, but the slant is towards 70 since that's where you will spend most of your time if you take them all the way. I am assuming a basic knowledge of the game, so don't worry, this won't be filled with *DUH* info if I can help it. Skip the basics if you are really experienced and just want some good advice.
I. The Basics
a. What we do
b. Tanking and Off-Tanking
II. The Spec(s)
III. The Stats
V. The Macros
VI. The Spells
VII. The Gear
I. The Basics
a. Paladin tanks can technically tank "anything" but we excel at the AOE tanking. Many casters will agree that trying to tear down a group of mobs with AOEs is near impossible without a Pali tank. This is one area where we are not only the best, but in many ways the only real option. We make up for this ability in the fact that we have much less Stam and Damage Mitigation than Druids or Wars, and we rely on mana.
a. Tanking and Off-Tanking
Since Paladins are such a hybrid class, they are often asked to be an OT. Many experienced group or raid leaders (especially those who were around when 99% of Tankadins SUCKED) will pigeonhole you as an OT, but we are fully capable of being main tank.
What exactly is the difference between MT and OT? Well, since there are 2 types of OT, it can depend a lot. If you are simply the "second tank" in a raid, then there is really no difference between you and the MT except which mob you take. You should gear and spec as though you were the MT.
In certain instances (pardon the pun) you might be asked to use your amazing Hybridness to tank "sometimes." The road to Moroes in Karazahn, or the "Gauntlet" in ZA are perfect examples. In these moments, no matter what kind of Pali you are, if you are able to do it, you will be asked to OT. The reason? Simply because NO one can do it better. Because of this, you can become an OT with any spec, but will definitely want Tank gear. If you do it a lot, you will want to look at OT specs in the Spec section. If you like Healing or DPS, but like to switch it up sometimes, this can be a great thing for you. *Example, because of Gruul's run needs, I have specced Holy, and am a full healer in my raids, but in those aforementioned spots, I switch to Tank gear and get us past it before switching back to healing.
II. The Spec(s)
a. Main Tanking:
If you plan on MT, you should be primarily Protection. Pre-70 there is a lot more flexibility on this, but despite the debates that may exist, if you want to MT heroics or raids, you MUST have strong Protection leanings.
Here is my version of the best spec:
You will notice that there are 13 unspent points. This is intentional, as they really donít matter. I put them in Ret, as I like the movement speed, and the cheap seals, etc. but many people put them in Holy, gaining some extra INT or SOR dmg, some do a combination of the above or sink more points into Protection.
I will say that Reckoning is flexible, especially if you NEED the +20 defense that talents can provide. I will explain in stats why this may or may not be a useful talent for you.
As I mentioned in the basics, you can be an OT that is really just the second tank. If thatís the case, go back up and read the MT spec. If instead you like to tank rarely, but donít want to suck at it, here ya go: *Note that these specs have a lot of flexibility, but the goal is to *waste* as few points as possible no matter what job you are doing.
In this instance you would use Sanc aura nearly all the time, including to tank. The goal with the spec was to offer the most to your group whether you are DPSing or tanking. You will also find that soloing is a breeze with this spec.
You will have no problems main healing with this spec, and in addition can offer a lot of benefit to the group/raid, and generate a great deal of threat when a tank. You would be with Devotion Aura under most circumstances.
Shockadin OT (The best Hybrid):
Though you certainly sacrifice some aspects of all your jobs, this is arguably the best spec to be able to do ďwhatever is needed.Ē You will certainly need three separate sets of gear to do three different jobs, but you should be able to effectively function as DPS, Healer, or OT.
III. The Stats
Of top importance to a pali tank are:
Defense: Must have 490 to be uncritable. This should be one of your top priorities when you hit 70. After 490, you can get more Defense, but you will be better to focus elsewhere, especially in Block Rating.
Block Rating: The SINGLE most important attribute for a pali tank. Paladins live by their shield. Holy shield generates significant damage and threat when you block, Blessing of Sanctuary does the same, and this is your most effective damage mitigation.
Spell Damage: This is the source of your threat. Righteous Fury makes this attribute incredibly valuable. 100+ spell damage is recommended for baseline tanking, but of course as your group damage improves so should your spell damage.
Stamina: Obviously health is important. 12k+ health is preferred for heroics at 70.
Intellect: Provides both mana pool and crit rating. Though hard numbers vary some focus on this stat is important.
Dodge/Block Value/Parry/Resillience: All of these have value for a pali tank to make you take less damage, so are never bad, though you should always take Block Rating as a priority over any of these.
Armor: Reduces the damage you take, and with a Paladinís lower health, it is good to keep that as high as possible. Minimums at 70 should be about ***
+MP/5: Your agro is mana based, and though your mana returns from healing are good, you will be far better if you can get your MP/5 to at least 100+ for 5 mans. In raiding you will not need MP/5 as a tank as the healing mana return outweighs your expenditure.
Agility: Assists with your Armor and Parry, acceptable to boost, but not a priority for a paladin tank.
Strength and Spirit: Nearly worthless for a paladin tank. Replace with more useful things at all costs.
V. The Macros
Righteous Defense: Since the spell pulls agro off a friendly target, often it is difficult to use when you are targeted on a mob and need to gain agro back. This macro solves that.
/cast [target=mouseover,help,nodead][help,nodead][target=targettarget,help,nodead]Righteous Defense
Basically, it will cast Righteous Defense on your target or mouseover if they are friendly, or your targetís target if they are unfriendly. Very handy.
Libram switches: As you gain Librams, you might find that multiples are beneficial. Since it is considered a weapon, you can switch in combat when you cast a spell giving you max benefit.
You can write your own specific macros for these following this template:
*note that instant casts require the equip first, normal casts put the equip second. If you have another libram that gives a constant bonus you want to reequip, I recommend making a separate macro for that, whereas if they are all spell specific, you can just use the spell macros.
/equip Libram of Saints Departed
VI. The Spells
Consecration: No matter your spec or your role, Consecration is your bread and butter for tanking. Whether AOE tanking or single pull, this steady holy damage offers you a great deal of threat. Practice will allow you to use it effectively without affecting CC.
Righteous Fury: As a Pali tank should be on at all times. It is what lets you hold threat. No exceptions.
Retribution Aura: Though it might be assumed that you would always want an armor buff, this is rarely true. Your retribution aura provides a significant amount of threat all the while giving you a slight increase in damage taken, which is returned as mana. If you find you are dying fast, switch auras, but will be better to improve your gear and stick with Ret.
Righteous Defense: Our unique version of a taunt, this is best used in Macro form, as the taunt pulls from a friendly target, which can be difficult to target in battle.
Seal/Judgment of Righteousness: Most steady threat generator. Seal of Vengence can be useful on raid bosses, especially if you are using a low white damage caster weapon.
Holy Shield: Should be cast often in battle as it provides both mitigation and high threat.
Avengerís Shield: If you go deep enough in protection, this should be your pulling spell. Use this before party initiates CC.
Holy Shock: If you go with the Shockadin OT version, this is high threat for you and your only ranged pull for most targets.
Obviously, there are a lot more spells in your arsenal that can be used at your discretion. Many palis will start the fight with a Judgment of Crusader or Wisdom, etc. As your own style develops and as your circumstances change in instances there are many options available.
VII. The Gear
The gear possibilities for Tankadins are huge, but it can be difficult to get the right mix of protection vs. threat.
The biggest mistake that a starting Tankadin will make is to try and gear like a Warrior. Warrior gear comes with lots of stats you donít need, like Strength and Agility, and normally focuses less on Block and more on Defense and Dodge. You want to chose Block when possible. With the expansion, many more items came out geared towards pali tanking, even at lower levels.
Another thing to note is that many pali tanks will chose caster weapons. This is fine if you need the boost to spell dmg, or you can go for more tanking weapons that provide Stamina or Defense but always try and go for a slower weapon. The less chance that you have to get parried (and thus crushed) the better.
When deciding on gear, go for a good balance keeping in mind the numbers illustrated in the Stats section.
Some great gear suggestions are found at: