Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The current state of block

It's been a quiet couple of weeks online. Offline, work has intervened on me and unloaded a concussive blow, although I should be back in Ulduar for a third night of Freya+3 on Friday.

Had another night of getting my nose ground into the floor by Gormok the Heroic Impaler, and that fight really brought home to me in a way I had not seen before exactly how spiky warrior damage can be in cutting edge fights. I wrote a couple of weeks ago that I was quite excited by the change to critical block, but this combined with the doubling of block value on gear has had several impacts:

1) Shield block is now a really powerful third cooldown. My critical blocks when shield block is up block for 7.5k, and I do not specifically gear for block. It is almost as powerful as shield wall, giving more than 50% mitigation at times.

2) Since we are now balanced around critical block warriors are the most spiky tanks in terms of healing damage. Sometimes you'll be hit by a boss for 20k and sometimes for 12.5k. Your healers don't know and will have to assume that you'll take full damage.

3) To balance our awesome blocking abilities (we now block for more than paladins, just not as often) we have to have lower mitigation elsewhere. This means a combination of lower EH and lower avoidance. This puts a great deal of pressure on us for EH fights.

4) Warriors are now like DKs were in LK beta - too squishy when our cooldowns are unavailable, too good otherwise.

5) The 4-piece tier 9 bonus looks all kinds of awesome.

6) Warriors are the best adds tanks bar none. No-one else can tank hard hitting elite adds as well as we can. We have the ability to fully block quite powerful blows, many add abilities can be reflected, many adds can be stunned. It's possible to kite with intervene as well.

7) If one assumes that the expected value of boss damage is broadly equal between all four tanks, warriors have the potential to take the least damage of any tanks if you get a run of crit blocks, but have the potential to take the most damage if you get a string of unblocked hits.

8a) I wonder if Lavanthor's Talisman should get a second look as a trinket. It provides around 4.5% block chance (not subject to diminishing returns) and 400 block value for 40 seconds every 2 minutes - ie 1600 critical block with shield block up. This would push me to 9.2k critical blocks if needed.

8b) Alternatively Lavanthor's Talisman could be used consecutively with shield block (which gives 30 seconds of coverage every 2 minutes) to provide a total cooldown coverage of 70 seconds every 2 minutes. Add last stand and shield wall to this, and you get 94 seconds of cooldown coverage every 2 minutes - or just 24 seconds where one or the other wouldn't be on. Use of Furnace Stone or a similar trinket could get you to just 4 seconds of no coverage... (sorry - went off on one there, but you get the picture - we play like DKs now).

So yes, we have the joint-lowest EH of any tanking class, but shield block as a third cooldown is getting much much better.


  1. You'd remember I tried working out once why block-tanks often feel less squishy in 5-man heroics, so although my hypothesis wasn't supported, I still have an intuition that block is lovely. You also say warriors pwn as an add tank.

    "4) Warriors are now like DKs were in LK beta - too squishy when our cooldowns are unavailable, too good otherwise."

    Does it really feel that variable? wow.

  2. I was tanking Freya +3 tonight. With shield block up she hit me for 8k ish most of the time. Without shield block up it was 17k.

  3. Pretty big difference indeed!