Hold the Line; An Endgame Tanking Reference
By: Patrick O'Callahan / Ciderhelm
2.7 All About Shield Block
Shield block was originally placed as a small addition to the armor and stamina sections above. However, gearing around your shield block value and percentage now dramatically changes tanking ability. It is important to note is that your Shield Block ability is an Instant ability and can be used at any point during combat; it does not affect your global cooldown.
Shield Block -- Critical & Crushing Blow Negation
Any attack blocked with your shield in a raid environment cannot be a critical or crushing blow. This occurs because all attacks in raid content are based on a combat table that is additive between your avoidance abilities.
For example, if you have 10% Dodge, 10% Parry, and 10% Shield Block, your combat table would have a 30% chance of affecting any incoming blow. Using the Shield Block ability, which temporarily raises your block by 75%, this pushes you well above 100% of incoming attacks affected by your combat table. In turn, this means that the mob is unable to affect attacks on you -- a critical strike or crushing blow cannot share the same space on the combat table with a blocked attack.
For more specific detail, please read Satrina's analysis:
Shield Block Value -- Damage Reduction
Basic shield block value is in the same league of mitigation as armor and stamina; when you wish to use it, you can guarantee a 100% block rate just due to itemization and your Shield Block skill. Shield block is, thus, a constant reduction of damage taken in. It is particularly useful on mixed boss fights which deal magical damage as well, because it is more likely you will block every incoming attack.
Also, note that the dynamic of shield block value is unique to mitigation: it is added after all other mitigation is calculated and is not based on a mitigation percentage. While blocking 150 damage from a mob that just laid out 4,000 to you may not be impressive, blocking the same 150 damage from a mob that is dealing small hits of 200 damage is similar to a Shield Wall.
Shield Block Value -- Shield Slam
Shield Slam adds your shield block value to a base damage amount and does straight damage. Since Shield Slam obeys the same modifiers as your other special attacks, it is also impacted by your One-Handed Weapon Specialization talent in your Protection tree. The effect is dramatic; with about 200 block, it is possible to crit an unarmored target for 1200 damage.
Shield Block Percentage
Most trinkets or items which increase your shield block value will also increase your shield block percentage. Having a very high base shield block percentage will allow you to be more flexible in your rage conservation in certain fights such as Noth the Plaguebringer. In general, having high shield block percentage in addition to a high dodge and parry rate will keep your Revenge ability available for use every time the cooldown is free.
2.8 Self Sustenance; Consumables
It is your responsibility to keep yourself alive through whatever means possible. If you die at any point and had a cooldown available, it is generally your fault. If you die due to unexpected burst damage, it is again your fault if you did not utilize every constant effect buff prior to the fight.
Firstly, your skills: Shield Wall and Last Stand. I'm a big fan of Improved Shield Wall, because almost any time I use Shield Wall it's because the healers have to recover from some tragedy or I want to cement a kill in stone; both of these times, the additional five seconds is a boon. Last Stand is the same way: if you are going to Main Tank, this ability is not necessary but it may be irresponsible to take new content without it.
Next, Healthstones. You can hold three healthstones at a time, a 1440, a 1320, and a 1200; this naturally requires 3 warlocks, one of whom is a raid build (1320 has to be a conscious decision while choosing talents). These will act as your Major Healing Potions, because unless you are on a pure melee fight, you won't be touching Major Healing Potions.
Why not? Because you will have Greater Protection Potions. These are preventative potions that will not mitigate melee damage but will mitigate a very high amount of magical damage. Unless you are in the most dire cirucmstance where the melee damage is likely to kill you, you should be using these every 2 minutes or at intelligent intervals. For instance, Chromaggus does two types of fire breaths, an instant massive breath and a DOT breath; your healers can heal through a DOT much easier than they can heal a very large drop in health, so save your protection potion for the massive burst damage. The reason you use Protection Potions instead of Major Healing Potions is that the healing potions won't save you after you die; the protection potions will prevent that death.
Not in a resistance fight? Try Greater Stoneshield Potions for the tough physical encounters in the endgame. This will give a static 2,000 Armor bonus for 2 minutes and can be refreshed accordingly. This should be considered a necessity for getting through new encounters.
Finally, Lifegiving Gem. Wear it. Your Onyxia Tooth Pendant does not warrant removing what I consider to be the single best warrior trinket in this game. If you have it in your bags and you die, you have absolutely no right to complain to a healer.
Not everything is about health recovery; many of the buffs you will want for fights will extend your health bar, aggro, armor, defensive statistics. There are plenty of relatively easy to acquire buffs and consumables you can use through fights to ease progression through new content. The following is short checklist of constant effect buffs you can utilize:
Flask of the Titans (Lasts through death)
Flask of Chromatic Resistance (Lasts through death)
Lung Juice Cocktail (Does not stack with Zanza's Spirit)
Elixir of Giants
Elixir of Brute Force (Does not stack with Priest Fortitude)
Elixir of Fortitude
Elixir of Superior Defense
Elixir of the Mongoose
Dirge's Kickin' Chimaerok Chops
Tender Wolf Steaks
Major Troll's Blood Potion
Gift of Arthas - Covered in section 3.1
Also, be aware that the Darkmoon Faire can benefit your entire raid if utilized while it's in town. For a major health bonus from your fortune teller, you must a) Confiscate the corn and b) Speak against your brother.
A Dire Maul Tribute run will net you a great 2-hour health buff. Don't forget to stock up on Grog after the run for an easy 10 Stamina!
The Heart of Hakkar turn-in will net you a bonus to all stats, including your Stamina. This is particularly sweet in that it lasts through death.
The Onyxia or Nefarian head buffs will give you a large Attack Power buff, helpful for holding aggro off the rest of the raid that just got that same Attack Power bonus as well as crit increases.
Notice: The Burning Crusade expansion will dramatically change certain aspects of section 2.11. Read a quick overview of Devastate in the Addendum. If you are a full Protection warrior, be on the lookout for very slow, high-damage weapons.
Note that 2.11 was written near the time Ahn'Qiraj was released; weapon itemization has changed significantly.
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