Tanking Heroics

So you’ve just hit revered with Lower City, bought your [item]Auchenai Key[/item] and are ready to head into heroics? Tanking heroic dungeons can be a challenging and fulfilling experience. Or it can leave you in a quivering pile of flesh and bone…

Agreeing to tank a heroic is not something you should do lightly if you have never done so before. Obviously you will need to have some decent gear, which you should have anyway if you have run enough normal instances to get your heroic key.

Be Prepared!

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to be able to hit 12,500 hitpoints and armor, although you could probably do it with less. Make sure you have 490 defense so you can avoid those crits. If you have the luxury of multiple gear sets, for heroics you’ll want to focus less on avoidance and more on mitigation (stamina, armor, shield block).

Know Your Encounters

Next up is knowledge. You’ll need to be familiar with what is different in a heroic vs. a normal dungeon. You may need to build a resist set depending on the encounter. For example, having a Shadow Resist set for Pandemonius can make the first boss in Heroic Mana Tombs a joke (I’m sitting at about 265 in my shad resist set). Head over to www.wowwiki.com and read up on the changes to trash mobs and bosses.

Group Makeup

Group makeup is also important. For most heroics you’ll want multiple forms of cc, which CAN include bringing along another tankly type as an offtank! A good healer is also required as heroic mobs just dish out too much damage.

You’ll need to make sure you are capable of handling multi-pulls as a loose mob can often one shot healers and other low armor targets resulting in a probable wipe.

Phat Lewt!

Here are some of the better loot items you can get from heroics:

  • [item]The Sun Eater[/item] – Mechanar *practically a must have
  • [item]Argussian Compass[/item] – Underbog
  • [item]Girdle of the Immovable[/item] – Slave Pens
  • [item]Ironscale War Cloak[/item] – Slave Pens
  • [item]Boots of the Colossus[/item] – Mana Tombs
  • [item]Crystal Band of Valor[/item] – Mana Tombs
  • [item]Warp-Storm Warblade[/item] – Mana Tombs
  • [item]The Fel Barrier[/item] – Mana Tombs
  • [item]Fanblade Pauldrons[/item] – Auchenai Crypts
  • [item]Maladaar’s Blessed Chaplet[/item] – Auchenai Crypts
  • [item]Spaulders of Dementia[/item] – Sethekk Halls
  • [item]Lieutenant’s Signet of Lordaeron[/item] – Old Hillsbrad
  • [item]Resounding Ring of Glory[/item] – Old Hillsbrad
  • [item]Truncheon of Five Hells[/item] – Hellfire Ramparts
  • [item]Lion’s Heart Girdle[/item] – Hellfire Ramparts
  • [item]Eaglecrest Warboots[/item] – Blood Furnace

You can use this link to browse more over at the armory.

Heroics can grant you some needed gear upgrades and can be very fun and challenging, just be sure you are up for the challenge otherwise you may end up with expensive repair bills


  1. For heroics, you only need 485 defense to be uncrittable I’ve read. This is because there are no level 73 mobs.

    I’m also wondering why you think mitigation is more important than avoidance for them, in my experience with a gear that’s reasonably good and around 22% dodge, 16 parry & block I get plenty of rage from the heroic mobs. I don’t know if you’d consider those numbers high on avoidance but I’ve certainly tried to acquire that sort of gear and it probably show a bit in that I only have about 12k HP.

    Nice list of potentially useful tanking gear there too. The Sun Eater would certainly be nice, a 5% drop rate may just mean that it’ll take a very long time to get. :P

  2. Yes, you are correct on the 485, but personally I don’t like playing around with cutting edges and being in a position where my raid gear ends up not quite there when I really need it to be without realizing it! Good point though!

    I favor mitigation more for consistent rage generation. Your burn rate on rage is always something to keep in mind. High mitigation will keep a steady stream of rage whereas high avoidance could put you in a position of a rage drought. Honestly with your avoidance numbers, that is probably more than fine.

    I feel I got lucky with my Sun Eater, only took me 7 runs to get mine!

    Sadly I don’t really have any target gear left to shoot for out of heroics other than badge bought items, so now I just run heroics for badges. I would love to get a [item]The Fel Barrier[/item] for my shadow resist set, but Prince can be a PITA!

  3. Yes, I was just wondering about your advice to try to keep avoidance less in focus specifically for heroics. The stuff I have is what you could expect from someone venturing to heroics for the first time, mostly as good blues as one can get from normal-mode dungeons with a couple of crafted epics. I’ve tried to find best-in-slot items from those while focusing on avoidance (dodge rating after 490)

    Haven’t done a lot of heroics yet but so far I’ve had no problems building rage there. I can definitely see the difference compared to normal mode.

    Badge rewards are nice because you know you’ll get them eventually, a 5% drop rate means it’s not that far-fetched I’ll be still trying to get the Sun Eater 6 months from now if I decide to try and go for it. With the Azure Shield of Coldarra I know I won’t get it next run but I’m certain I will after a few. It’s very much the same as a quest asking you to kill 15 raptors versus one where you need to collect 5 eyeballs from them but the droprate is just 15%.

    Thanks for a great blog, I just happened to find my way here yesterday. Have you found thepositivewarrior.blogspot.com yet? It’s one more tanking blog to keep an eye on. :)

  4. In heroics you will really have to be stacked in terms of gear for avoidance to start possibly hurting your rage generation. As long as you’re still getting hit plenty, there’s no isssue =)

    Funny how that mechanic works. The better and better your gear gets, it potentially makes it harder for you to do your job of holding aggro!

    Thanks for the link on thepositivewarrior, I’ll check it out!