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Unholy DK Tank Help

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Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby Bogomips » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:45 am

Hey I was wondering if I could get some advice from experienced DK tanks. My armory link is http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Kirin+Tor&n=Menae.

So far I don't seem to have any survivability/threat generation issues in ICC10 on Marrowgar (which is as far as this toon has gotten), but for some reason in ToCr 25, I always end up dying on Icehowl if not earlier. My guild has complained about other DK tanks going down too quickly and we pretty much always run every raid with a pally and warrior tank. I'm beginning to wonder if our tank healers are just used to blocking tanks, or if I really have an issue with survivability. Also threat can be a problem for me, especially when the worms tunnel and resurface or even after Icehowl hits the wall (and not a raider lol).

After Icy Touch and Plague Strike, my normal single-target rotation is: Blood Strike, Death Strike, Pestilence. I know its short, but I'm usually throwing in Death Coils where I can. I also get as many Rune Strikes as I can.

One thing I've noticed about my gear is a lack of hit. On my main I aim to stay around 226 because we usually run with a draenei. I have been seriously considering grabbing the dps hit trinket and replacing all hit/stam gems with defense/stam gems and replacing the Stoneskin Gargoyle enchant with Sword Shattering. I'll lose a few thousand health out of that, but my parry and hit will be nice and high. I know that a lot of people let hit go where it goes, and I normally cared little about it on my pally, but I'm wondering if never missing might make the difference here.

The only other thing I can think of is that my rotation needs work. That and I don't really keep Bone Shield on cooldown, although I get it up before the fight starts.

Well, any advice you guys can give would be awesome. I'm starting to wonder if DK tanking isn't working out because of me, or because my guild just isn't used to running DK tanks.
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby Bogomips » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:47 am

Could I trouble a moderator to move this to the Off-Spec board? I just realized I posted this in the wrong forum. :shock:
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby Syrcla » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:31 am

I am currently at work and cannot view your armory. My dk tanking experience has been limited to blood and frost specs, so I don't know unholy rotations.

However, check out www.pwnwear.com

It's a dk tanking blog with a ton of useful information on all specs.
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby blakk » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:05 am

Unholy should be using scourge strike not death strike. Rotation should be ps-it-bs-bs-ss-dump-ss-bs-bs-ss-dump repeat unless you use the glyph of disease or reaping in your build. With reaping you replace the second pair of BS with a SS and with glyph of disease you go ps-it-pest-bs-ss-dump-ss-bb-ss-dump-ss-pest-bs-ss-dump and always ss instead of ps-it but it's tight and ps-it does more dps and gets more rp for rune strike.

Edit: your spec has neither imp icy touch nor scourge strike. The imp icy touch could be why you have survival problems and your rotation probably doesn't get enough rp for runestrikes and deathcoils so you're probably losing runestrikes to deathcoil use which is by far inferior threat.
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby amh » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:19 am

That's one of the funkies specs I've ever seen :) What made you choose an un-talented, un-glyphed DS over SS (which the entire tree builds up to)? Simply put, you've skipped tons of the good shit that would've allowed you to do proper threat without gemming hit all over.

Swap to your strength-sigil. Seriously, it's that awesome.

If I were you I'd look up the benefits of a more conventional unholy-build, see how your threat works out. It seems to me that you're dying from burst damage situations. In other words, gem more stamina. Don't even consider replacing your stoneskin gargoyle. You're way past 540 defense, shed some defense-gems. Swap to 30stam-inscription. Don't be cheap, either go 22 stam or 15stam/runspeed on those boots.

What kind of dps do you run with? How much tps do you need to produce? That ilvl 232 weapon is going to hold you back sooner rather than later.

Once you've got your spec sorted, if you still need more threat, replace your purple gems with either expertise/stam or strength/stam. Being neck-deep in diminishing returns on avoidance is an excellent excuse to gem for threat.
I used to play a paladin.
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby ulushnar » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:05 pm

Also, Unholy doesn't have the best deep-build tanking talents. Frost has Frigid Dreadplate and Unbreakable Armor, Blood has Vampiric Blood, Veteran of the Third War and Will of the Necropolis, Unholy has Bone Armor, which is fine for 3-4 hits, but it's uptime varies dramatically based on mob swing speed and avoidance (the latter of which goes to the toilet in ICC).

If you're really sold on Unholy, try something like this: 12/8/51 (Stolen from Pwnwear, but I tend to agree with it).

But generally, I'd echo the advice of the others: replace any gems that don't give Stamina, and don't match any socket bonus that doesn't give stamina.
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby Gracerath » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:27 am

Along with the spec and gemming advice, seems like you answered your own question partially when you say you don't keep bone shield on cooldown. You don't really have to keep it on cooldown but you have to know where to use it along with your IBF.

Usually where we'd lose tanks on Icehowl was during the Ferocious Butt (tee hee) ability. Keeping a cooldown ready to pop during those times is probably a good idea. If I remember correctly, Bone Shield can only lose 1 charge every 3 seconds, regardless of attack speed. So worst case scenario, it lasts 12 seconds assuming you've glyphed it for the extra charge (you do). Its only a 20% damage reduction but still its nice to have and only on a 1min CD.
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby Hokahey » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:14 am

ulushnar wrote:Frost has Frigid Dreadplate and Unbreakable Armor,


Imp. Frost Presence? Acclimation? Extended duration on IBF? :wink:
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby ulushnar » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:21 am

Hokahey wrote:
ulushnar wrote:Frost has Frigid Dreadplate and Unbreakable Armor,


Imp. Frost Presence? Acclimation? Extended duration on IBF? :wink:


Wasn't including (Acclimation/Spell Deflection/Whatever the Unholy Magic mitigation talents are called) because they're situational and not every DK tank takes em. Fair enough on Imp FP and the boots on IBF.
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby Hokahey » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:36 pm

ulushnar wrote:
Hokahey wrote:
ulushnar wrote:Frost has Frigid Dreadplate and Unbreakable Armor,


Imp. Frost Presence? Acclimation? Extended duration on IBF? :wink:


Wasn't including (Acclimation/Spell Deflection/Whatever the Unholy Magic mitigation talents are called) because they're situational and not every DK tank takes em. Fair enough on Imp FP and the boots on IBF.


Don't worry, I'm just being a nitpicky jerk.

The increased IBF duration is barely a consideration in Frost. Its a survivability afterthought to a threat/DPS talent. Acclimation has great potential, and isn't horrible already, but its unreliable, and is generally most effective in scenarios where magic damage is near constant (i.e. Sapphiron). Its worthless for encounters where damage comes in large bursts separated by long periods of time, or that can be interrupted. Spell Deflection is in a similar boat.

Anti-Magic Zone is the Unholy option, and I consider it the strongest of the "caster tanking options" because its an actively used ability as opposed to RNG. Its still very situational at best, and is at its best under the opposite circumstance of Acclimation.
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby Draslin » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:09 pm

My primary Alt is a DK tank, and I've been experimenting with unholy builds (I'm @ work so i can't make an armory link, but look up Drazlin [with a Z] on Garrosh/Horde).

From my experiences (heavy frost and blood, and a little unholy) tanking, the utter emphasis on blood's stellar EH numbers are perfect for slow hitting bosses like you find everywhere but ICC. Use blood for ToC and you'll probably see some improvement (but make sure you switch to a different spec for fac champs, as heart strike is wimpy when the aoe debuff is taken into consideration.

For ICC, I have had severe surviability problems in Blood. Both my frost and unholy builds do -much- better for surviving the onslaught of hits, with unholy being slightly better thanks to bone shield being a pretty long duration and awesome cooldown. I would say that glyphed bone shield is better than glyphed unbreakable armor mainly because the duration is a bit better and the flat 20% damage reduction works on magic and physical (so it's 20% less coldflame as well as 20% less saber lash on marrowgar, for example) whereas unbreakable armor is a great cooldown, but doesn't reduce magic damage taken.

To Maximize the cooldown on fights like Marrowgar, the DK tank should always offtank. 20% less from a 4-5 saber lashes is a huge relief on the healer, while allowing a block tank to maintank provides smooth mitigation for the extra melee hits, and saves your bone shield charges for lash.

DK's have some great utility, especially if you keep an open mind and spec for progression. If you're running out of time on bosses, an unholy build with the ghoul will add about 500 dps to your personal DPS, which is great for 10 man stuff. The gnaw ability is also really, really great for Saurfang's adds if you use my burn strat (see the thread here on Saurfang 10 for more info). If you're still hitting enrage, throw in the gargoyle. You can find these points in my spec by taking them out of a few of the lesser threat talents (scent of blood and 2h mastery) to put them into gargoyle and NotD and Ghoul.

For threat generation, one thing is very important about unholy - ALWAYS pull with death and decay. A lot of tanks only use DnD when there's multiple mobs. As an Unholy DK you should try to always go with the following opening rotation:

DnD
PS
IT
BS
Horn of Winter
Blood Tap (if bone shield isn't up)
Bone Shield (if bone shield isn't up)

Always use plague strike before icy touch, so that your icy touch benefits from the damage increase of rage of rivendare, and so that all three of your diseases are up ASAP. The Ebon Plague will give your DND more threat, too, which is another strong reason to fire PS before IT.

After that, don't blow RP on death coil unless you are capping out on runic power. Rune strike > death coil, always.

The unholy spec I run can be very, very good if used properly. However, blood is fading fast behind frost for the easiest spec to tank on. I always recommend glyphing howling blast and using the single disease rotation. I have never had a problem tanking using this spec and the following rotation, which works really nicely for both AOE and Single Target:

Single Target:
Glyphed HB (places frost fever on the target)
Obliterate
BS
BS

AoE
DnD
Glyphed HB
BB

Continue with a priority rotation, using obliterate whenever there are runes available and blood boil or strike whenever your blood runes are up. Whenever rime procs or your disease goes down, fire howling blast.

If you're looking for more single target threat in a frost build, go with glyph of disease over glyph of howling blast and use a traditional DnD->IT->PS->Pest rotation for AoE and an Oblit -> IT -> PS -> BSx2 rotation for single target. I glyph Frost Strike over Rune Strike, as the 8 runic power reduction in frost strike allows for more of both frost strikes and rune strikes. ymmv

Hope this helps. If you're lost, make a noob on Garrosh and talk to me in game.

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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby Levantine » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:53 am

Tanking with only a single disease is stupid unless you're in an AoE situation. The boost to Obliterate and the Blood Plague damage more than offsets the simpler rotation. Death Knight threat is alread dangerously low, lowering it further by your own choice is dumb.
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby phaqueue » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:52 pm

your frost rotations both seem a little off...

for aoe situations - I will usually hit with glyphed HB before I will DnD - the HB will do much more additional initial thret - and get diseases ticking, then I will usually bloodboil once then finally DnD, or BB again - depending on the group/what I'm doing - I very rarely drop DnD in heroics... I usually get off glyphed HB then BB twice and have enough aggro to hold off almost any heroic DPS - in raids, DnD will come out after HB/BB

for single target - lev is very correct - skipping PS is not a great idea - you definitely want the extra disease up there - especially since Blood Strike and Oblit both benefit from your diseases, and they're your main threat on single target - there are times where I will even forgo opening with glyphed HB on single targets, so I can use the extra rune to get diseases up faster and still be able to oblit right away (if blood Tap is down)
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby Draslin » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:53 am

I have been running single disease frost through ICC25 with 0 threat problems, but again, your mileage may vary. I also actively tank and tab target between attacks.

I pull with DnD so that mobs are stacked and ready by the time the GCD finishes from casting it. It ensures that all of the mobs in the pull get hit with HB and covers some initial threat in the case of a miss on the initial HB.
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Re: Unholy DK Tank Help

Postby Splug » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:06 pm

I never really had any trouble holding threat with single disease frost either; the throughput threat is slightly lower than two-disease frost on paper, but in practice the huge startup burst tends to justify it. The cycle is stronger where it is most critical, in exchange for slacking where there is slack to be had. Then again, I would not recommend single-disease frost with a 2h; half the benefit of single-disease frost is the extra obliterates gained off the free disease refreshes from Rime, and dual wielding nearly doubles your Rime proc rate.

As several people have already mentioned, you may want to go with a more cookie-cutter unholy build. I don't think it will do much to help your survivability, but it will make threat more consistent. If you're dying to burst damage, reducing your stamina is likely very bad; you probably want more effective health, not less.

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