Posted Mon, Mar 05, 2012 by Messiah
Gearing up in the World of Warcraft as a tank is a long and difficult process. Two pieces of key equipment for a Warrior or Paladin tank are your "sword and board", meaning your weapon and shield. So with all the great content available in Cataclysm which are the five best tanking weapons and shields for "sword and board" tanks?
Glad you asked, let's take a look at them, first at the shields and then at weapons.
Keep in mind that some of the items listed here come in multiple different levels since items that drop in the Dragon Soul raid are base ilevel 384 in LFR, ilevel 397 in normal, and ilevel 410 in heroic. Some items are even higher level if they drop from Deathwing.
Also keep in mind that this guide is taken from the point of view of a Paladin or Warrior tank. Death Knights and Druids obviously do not use one-handed weapons and shields so should completely ignore this guide.
You can find all the items listed below, and more, on PlayerScore.
This shield is one that is fairly easy to get because it is created by blacksmiths and the pattern is trained from blacksmithing trainers, meaning that all blacksmiths can get it.
It is a decent shield but was given stats based on previous expansion tanking requirements. sure it has tons of stamina, and a blue socket that grants even more stamina, and it has mastery as well. However it's other stat is hit, which just isn't a priority anymore with the threat generation that tanks have now.
This sword is a world drop and can be found in any high level Cataclysm zone or instance. It is a great shield as it has parry and mastery as it's two supplementary stats, which makes it far better than the #5 shield that offers hit instead of the parry.
This shield also has an interesting story around it, having been created by Blizzard to honour a player name Blockade that had collected all of the epic shields in the game. Apparently he had over 40 at the time, and hence the marking and note of 47 on this shield to honour him.
This shield is the 3rd best in the game right now, and for many it really is the second best since they do not have access to the second best. This shield drops from Asura Dawnslayer in the Hour of Twilight instance and is level 378.
It offers a lot of key stats with high numbers such as stamina, dodge, and mastery. Best of all it is pretty easy to get as you will be running the patch 4.3 Dragon Soul instances to gear up anyway.
The second best tanking shield in the game currently still comes from the Firelands raid from the boss Baleroc. This means that many players will not have access to it as Firelands does not have a looking for raid option.
The shield itself though is amazing, having two gem slots that grant a stamina bonus, as well as two avoidance stats: dodge and parry. This makes the shield pretty much perfect.
For those out there that collect items this is one you will want to get as it has a cool look as well, and is worth having for transmogrification.
The best tanking shield in the game right now is found in the Dragon Soul raid from Warmaster Blackhorn. This shield offers huge amounts of stamina on it, 2 gem slots, and great stats. It has dodge and mastery which are both key for tanks.
Maybe best of all, you can get it fairly easily since you can run the looking for raid version of Dragon Soul to get a lower level version and then get the higher level one when it finally drops in your raid group.
This weapon is still a great tanking weapon but a lot less common due to few players still running the Troll heroic instances. This sword drops from Bloodlord Mandokir in the Zul'Gurub heroic instance.
It has all the key tanking stats and a cool look to go along with it, but due to addition of the Dragon Soul heroics and the availability of the 3rd best tanking weapon below, this one falls down the tables to number 5.
This sword is created by blacksmiths and the plan is found by finishing the Fireland dailies enough times to open the blacksmithing plan vendor. This makes it very common and easy to get.
It is a high level weapon that sells for a reasonable price. While not exactly cheap, if you are fresh to level 85, it will get you a great weapon to tank with before you even set foot into a raid. Best of all it provides solid amounts of both parry and mastery.
The Gavel of Peroth'arn is likely the first high level (378+) tanking weapon that most players will get as they gear up in the final stages of the Cataclysm expansion. This is because it is found from the heroic boss Peroth'arn in the Well of Eternity instance and is almost a pre-requisite before going into the Dragon Soul raid.
It offers really good amounts of stamina as well as key avoidance stats. It has high parry and mastery values helping to make sure you have a decent amount of avoidance.
The second best tanking weapon in the game right now is the Hand of Morchok. This one handed axe comes from the very first boss in the Dragon Soul raid and while it doesn't appear to be a tanking weapon at first glance, it offers a lot on it that is great for tanks.
First up it has a lot of stamina, and a lot of mastery which is a key stat for tanks this expansion cycle. It also has a socket which can be used to get more of whatever stat you need. While the crit is horrible for tanks, it can be reforged away to something else.
Due to it being perceived mainly as a DPS weapon though, be careful about just needing on it as DPS players can get quite cranky if they think you are taking it for your off-spec. Make sure you make it clear that you are using it as a tanking weapon for the mastery it provides you.
The best tanking weapon in the game right now has got to be Souldrinker. At first glance though it isn't really obvious that it is a tanking weapon at all. It has no defensive or avoidance stats on it at all, and looks almost like a PVP hand weapon. While the PVP part is true, it makes an awesome PVP or solo PVE weapon for characters that can use one-handed swords, it still makes a rock solid tank weapon.
It comes with a huge amount of stamina on it, 373 on the heroic version, as well as an amazing proc. The proc allows you to cause damage and drain that damage to you healing you for twice the damage it caused. Since the amount of damage is 1.7% of you health, the more health the better, meaning it suits tanks very well. Many tanks have about 250,000 health in a raid meaning that this will cause roughly 4,200 damage each time it procs and heal just over 8,000 health. While those numbers are fairly small it has a proc rate of roughly 15% which means it happens a lot over the course of a fight.
This sword drops from the final fight in the Dragon Soul raid from the Madness of Deathwing encounter.