Raiding Elixirs and Flasks

As all tanks know, you always strive to perform to your maximum potential when tanking raid bosses. As such, you should always be flasked or elixired up. [item]Flask of Fortification[/item] is great when learning new encounters due to persistence through death. [item]Elixir of Major Agility[/item] coupled with a Guardian Elixir are the typical tanking Elixirs.

For the most part the only debate is whether to go for the +250 hp and 10 health regen every 5 seconds from [item]Elixir of Major Fortitude[/item], or the 550 armor from [item]Elixir of Major Defense[/item]. I have always been partial to [item]Elixir of Major Defense[/item], and I feel it is worth investigating which it makes more sense to use.

First we need to understand how armor affects physical damage reduction. From the Elitist Jerks thread, for level 73 raid bosses, the damage reduction formula looks like this:

Level 73 Damage Reduction Formula

Taking that and plugging in typical level 70 armor values, we have:

Armor DR Damage Difference
12000 50.08% 2496 51
12500 51.10% 2445 49
13000 52.08% 2396 47
13500 53.02% 2349 45
14000 53.93% 2304 44
14500 54.80% 2260 42
15000 55.64% 2218 40
15500 56.45% 2178 39
16000 57.22% 2139 38
16500 57.98% 2101 36
17000 58.70% 2065 35
17500 59.40% 2030 34
18000 60.08% 1996 33
18500 60.74% 1963 32
19000 61.37% 1932 31
19500 61.98% 1901 30
20000 62.58% 1871 29
20500 63.15% 1842 28
21000 63.71% 1814 27
21500 64.26% 1787 26
22000 64.78% 1761

So what does this tell us? Well, in my opinion, I feel the added damage reduction outweighs the added health. Some would say that the added 250 health would help you survive the burst from a boss. I would contend if a boss is coming within 250 points of bursting you down, that you are undergeared for the encounter in the first place.

You can also look at it in terms of Effective Health. At almost any reasonable combination of health and armor, [item]Elixir of Major Defense[/item] will grant you more effective health than [item]Elixir of Major Fortitude[/item]. The higher the ratio of hitpoints to armor, the more effective health you will gain. The only time you would gain more effective health from Fortitude is if you have substantially more Armor than health (like 6K more).

In the end, it likely all comes down to personal preference and ease of obtaining these Elixirs. They realistically are very close in terms of benefit. The ability to take more raw damage, or the ability to mitigate more. If you are a follower of the Effective Health doctrine, then you would go with Defense. If you are worried about getting burst down, you would go with Fortitude. Perhaps each Elixir is better suited for certain encounters. At any rate, as a tank, you should always be looking for ways to improve your tankability, and you should always be potted up during raids. So do those dailies, befriend an Alchemist and always have a steady supply on hand!



  1. I choose Fortitude every time. I accept that defence has a slight advantage in overall tank survivability, but not all bosses deal damage that can be mitigated by armour. Even seemingly physical-based bosses, such as Nalorakk in ZA, favour tanks with health rather then armour.

    The answer, as with most things, lies somewhere in between the two elixirs. If there is any kind of serious magic or bleed damage, or damage that cannot be mitigated by armour, take fortitude. But for fights where good overall mitigation is a must, gruul for example, go with defence.

  2. I have never really considered using elixir of defense. I showed up late to the effective health party and never really think in those terms. I just like the immediate and obvious health bonus I get from major fortitude. So while I suppose defense is technically more effective, the increased health makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  3. I wish I had included Gift of Arthas as an option. I’d be curious to know how many people use that one a majority of the time.

  4. Agree with Dryn.. Potions should be chosen based on what boss and the type of damage dealt (physical/Magic). But if we are just talking about trash clearing in my opinion go with the armour…. Most trash mobs are physical..

  5. Sorry for the Thread Necromancy here, but I just have to throw this in. Flask of Chromatic Wonder is GREAT. Especially in progression content (since its a flask and doesn’t end on death.) You benefit from boosts to STR, DEX and STAM as well as a nice increase to all your resistances. It’s a great way to cover all your bases a little bit more for 2 hours.