I had finally gotten on board the Effective Health Bandwagon. Avoidance is great and all but as long as you have a balanced set of gear then you have enough avoidance already so you might as well gem and enchant for pure stamina. I still was a little queasy when I would see people eschewing balanced gear for something with nothing but stamina and some sockets but I got over it. ‘So what if they are lacking avoidance, they have enough stamina to do just fine’, I would tell myself. I was reluctant to get on the bandwagon in the first place because making gear choices simply based on which item has more stamina is boring and simply doesn’t do justice to tanking – one of the most complex roles in the raid. But, reluctant or not, I jumped on the bandwagon.
There was a thread on the R&D forums about a warrior who gemmed a second set of T6 gear with dodge gems. The guy who did it is a tank for Premonition although he might have been with Death and Taxes at the time of this thread (for anybody who doesn’t follow progression raiding, those two guilds are kind of a big deal). He did it when Sunwell was on the PTR and he successfully tanked all the bosses in this crazy avoidance gear. The R&D forum went crazy and warriors from everywhere came out saying that this guy was nuts and that he must be logging out in goofy gear just to mess with people because it could never work. But it did work. And now if you look at tanks from the top 50 guilds, they are all doing it. Before Sunwell they would all have had 15 stam gems across the board but now you see 12 defense and 10 dodge gems all over the place and tanks that are actually picking up socket bonuses.
The first thing you should do when trying to gear a tank is get enough stamina AND avoidance. If you don’t have a baseline level of each, you are going to run into trouble. The majority of raiding gear provides enough avoidance by itself so you don’t need to gem and enchant for it (ZA and badge gear is a different story) which is why most tanks always gem and enchant for pure stamina. But Sunwell has changed that with this spell http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=45769. Every boss (or at least the 5 that anyone has seen) has that buff. Basically it means that the T6 raiding gear that previously gave you enough avoidance, no longer does. So all the Sunwell tanks are realizing that 22k fully buffed is enough and are now gemming for avoidance. There are still a few die hards out there that are clinging to all stam all the time, but most have made the shift.
Personally, I couldn’t be happier. I finally get to use my socket bonuses and I get to think before numbly sticking 15 stamina in every socket. So, shortly after I hopped on the Effective Health Bandwagon, I get to hop right off again. Now my biggest challenge is to loosen the guild bank’s vice-like grip on the crimson spinel supply.