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WoW Guides: Tanking Glyphs and Rotations

Updated Fri, May 08, 2009 by Stow



You have forsaken the two handed weapon.  You have put aside 'critical rating' as a luxury you cannot simply afford.  Your armor is impervious, and made to help you mitigate damage and nothing more.  You are the tank, and you are the heart of the raid's body, although it falls onto your healers to keep you beating.  Now, let’s take a look at what you can do to make the most of what you're doing and analyze some deeper aspects of tanking as a Warrior - Glyph Choices and Threat per Second (TPS) optimization.  

Tanking Glyph Setup & Ratings - So many majors, so little slots  

***** Glyph of Blocking.  While a 10% boost to your shield potency may seem like paladin oriented nonsense, the real power of this comes from 10% stronger shield slams as a result.  So it's more damage, and a lot more threat since Shield Slam scales very well with how much damage it does.  You need this, and it's never leaving your slot.  

*** Glyph of Sunder Armor.  Not only do you get the added threat on the second enemy, but it makes them obviously more vulnerable to the physical area of effects that get activated in trash situations like that (blade flurry, whirlwind, etc).  This shines mostly versus trash, but has some raid encounters going for it as well.  The sunder applied by Devastate will hit a second enemy as well, or this glyph would be near worthless for serious tanks.   

**** Glyph of Devastate.  The second sunder applies the same bonus threat beyond the five stacks, so it's more than just a DPS increase for a short period as your sunder stack hits five faster.  Against bosses that like to target randomly and not damage you consistently, hammering heroic strike isn't an option and that is where this glyph really earns its place in your glyph chart.   

*** Glyph of Cleave. In encounters with 3+ opponents, tabbing from enemy to enemy and hitting heroic strike can distract you from your real rotation of threat generators.  Assuming you can get them all on you to begin with, you'll have plenty of rage to cleave, thunderclap, and shockwave your heart out.  Do remember to tab occasionally in encounters of four or more to ensure everyone is receiving some cleave love.  

**** Glyph of Shockwave. Shockwave is the highlight of protection, and this drops the cooldown on it by 15%.  Every time Revenge or Shield Slam isn't up, this is our next choice and lowering the cooldown makes it an option much more than before.  Some area of effect trash pulls will end up netting you two shockwaves with this glyph in place.    

**, or **** Glyph of Vigilance.  The power of this glyph varies depending on the power of your raid's damaging classes.  If you have people pushing 6000+ damage per second on a regular basis, you will get a lot of extra threat from this glyph.  If your guild is still gearing up and mastering their rotations, you won't get nearly the same threat per second boost, which is what it all comes down to when weighing this glyph's effectiveness. 
 
**** Glyph of Heroic Strike. Let’s face it.  We use this skill a lot in every encounter that we're constantly being hit, and any enhancement to it will give us a lot of extra overall threat per second in encounters that don't have unlimited rage.  You really can't go wrong with this. 
 
*** Glyph of Revenge. It's not a bad glyph by any means, but your Heroic Strikes have very little rage cost to begin with and in most situations you'll have more than enough rage to throw around to keep the heroic strikes flowing, without needing a free one every 5 seconds.  This does combo effectively with the Heroic Strike glyph, Focused Rage, and Improved Heroic Strike to create a very cheap offense. 
 
** Glyph of Taunt/Glyph of Mocking Blow.  With the new taunt diminishing returns between warriors, these glyphs now have some worth when it's an encounter you need to taunt often while tanking alongside another warrior. 
 
*** Glyph of Shield Wall / Glyph of Last Stand. Panic buttons are great, and if you're to main tank some encounters such as Sartharion +3 drakes,  these are damn near essential.  Sometimes, our standard avoidance just isn't enough.  Having these cycle faster will let us tag back in with another tank ASAP as they cooldown much faster.  Beyond the highest burst damage encounters though, these glyphs really don't contribute to the big picture of your threat and mitigation. 
 
Try many combinations! There is only one clear cut winner for our glyphs unlike other classes. If an encounter simply isn't working for you as a tank, from a threat, taunting, or durability stand point, change up the glyphs and see how they affect the outcome.  This may be expensive, but so are repairs for failure!

TPS and You - How to avoid the DPS leader's Enrage

Early in our raiding careers, we shouldn't have too much trouble holding a boss tightly.  The damage classes simply don't match our stellar threat building skills.  However, once that fury warrior starts using dual Betrayers of Humanity, you're going to have to step it up a notch.  He has no way to instantly lower his threat unless he kisses the pavement after stealing the enemy from you.  I hate to say it, but you can no longer headbutt your keyboard and hold threat.  It's time to optimize your rotation.  Before I begin, I want to say that if you have more than 20 rage, Heroic Strike should be highlighted for your next attack unless the boss is attacking others and not you constantly.  Bind it to something comfortable for your hand, you'll thank me.  It is the only skill that should be used non-stop all fight above that rage threshold. 
 

#1 - Shield Slam 
Simply outstanding threat and damage.  Every single time this skill is up, it needs to be pressed.  I'd even go so far as to Bloodrage to get the rage to use it if I have to!  All of our main protection talents enhance this skill, making a great skill even better.  Listen or watch carefully for your Sword and Board to go off and hit this immediately. 
 
#2 - Revenge 
Very high damage for a pathetic rage cost and can trigger Sword and Board.  If the boss is physically attacking you constantly, this button should be constantly activated and should be your secondary press when Shield Slam is recovering.  Even if you can't stun a boss with it, Improved Revenge gives this ability the damage and thus threat to earn this spot in your rotation. 
 
#3 -
Shockwave and Concussion Blow 
Concussion Blow has taken a hit with 3.1 putting it back on the global cooldown, but that doesn't stop it being just as good as Shockwave.  Both are fairly potent attacks based on your attack power, and will hopefully be used sparingly enough after your two primary options to not have to resort to your final choice 
 
#4 - Devastate
 
It seems funny that our last resort to use our global cooldown is our 41 point protection skill.  While devastate does put out respectable cheap threat, and even more so with the glyphs that enhance it, the damage simply doesn't come close to the above skills.  However, Devastate does have something on the above skills.  It's based on your weapon damage, so once our one handed tanking weapons scale further, expect Devastate to rise in our priority list.  The biggest mistake I see my fellow warriors tanks do is simply hammer Devastate the entire fight.  You can tell someone is doing it when Sunder is being refreshed every 2 seconds.  Some even ignore the Sword and Board activations! Smack some sense into them and link them here!  Have them see the light!  Or perhaps, offer to tank the next encounter yourself and compare your threat per second.  The numbers speak for themselves. 
 
The finest gear and enchantments will only take you so far.  The player is the one that makes or breaks an encounter when it comes to tanking, and you have to pay attention and use the correct tools for the job in your offensive rotation.  If by chance, something goes wrong in an encounter, and you are the first to die, guess what?  You did your job.  There are some things outside of your control, but as long as you are at the top of that threat list and using the right glyphs for the encounter, you are the right tank for the job!

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