Threat rotations and when to change them:
Had a pretty good reception from my last post, so I thought I’d write up something a little more rich with paladin detail.
Any tank has two basic jobs.
One is to generate enough threat for the damage-dealers to not have to hold back too much. Eventually, its inevitable that they will be holding back, but, especially on fights with sensitive enrages, its important to put out as much threat as possible.
The other is to survive, obviously. A dead tank generates no threat. Most of the work you have to do to keep yourself alive is done way before the raid, when preparing your gear. Once in the raid, your life is in the hands of the healers. Obviously you have a few things you can do to help them but basically you need to trust your healers.
In this little post, I’ll be talking about our first job, and how it relates to paladins.
Most people in here would know a basic threat rotation for paladin tanks.
Avenger’s Shield (if possible)
Judge Righteousness on the primary target while dropping a Consecrate
if on a boss, you do Holy Shield before the Judgement.
Thats pretty easy, right? Right.
The hard part is that all of these abilities cost mana. You get your mana back from being healed, but what if you’re not taking enough damage? You’re going to get less mana. This is where you have to start looking at doing something. You can basically either, a) get more mana, or b) spend less mana.
Of course, its preferable to get more mana, because then you can continue your threat production. There’s a couple of ways to do this. Mana pots are the easiest and quickest. I always carry a healthy supply with me. Seal and Judgement of Wisdom are good also, although I prefer to use them to prevent mana shortages, and not to fix a current one, as they work slowly. Judging Wisdom on a boss at the start of a fight will give you a lot of mana back over the fight.
There is also three “unorthodox” methods to get mana. One is a Demonic Rune. Little known to many players who did not play before The Burning Crusade, Demonic Runes drop in many of the high-level instances in Azeroth, Dire Maul, and the like. They restore 900-1500 mana at the cost of 900-1500 health. So, you get mana, and you also take some damage, which then translates into more mana from Spiritual Attunement when you get healed.
If you’re REALLY scraping the barrel for mana, you can use Lay on Hands on yourself. It will give you 900 mana.
Finally, you can mash the X key. This will cause you to “sit” (unless you’ve changed your key bindings from the default for this key) and automatically take a critical hit on the next hit. The next heal you get will give you more mana back, as it will be healing actual damage and not overhealing. Obviously this is not a good idea if you’re tanking a hard-hitting boss, but then again if you’re tanking a hard hitting boss you’re probably not having mana problems to begin with.
The second option when faced with mana starvation is to spend less of it. This is what you move onto once you’ve exhausted all avenues of getting more mana.
Personally I don’t change my threat rotation all that much, as by the time I’ve exhausted all avenues for getting mana back, the fight is over and I can drink. However, here’s a few tips I use, during combat, that make a small difference.
-If you’re AOE tanking a few mobs, but they are not being killed by AOE, you can probably drop Consecrate from the rotation after two-three full Consecrates. It will be plenty to keep ahead of healer aggro, and you can focus your Seals/Judgments on the target being killed first.
-Judge and Seal Wisdom. Energy gains such as mana are AOE threat, and in a huge AOE situation (Hyjal), can actually add up to more overall threat than if you went through and hit mobs with Righteousness up.
-Balance your threat cooldowns. If I look at my actionbar and see that I have 30 seconds left before Avenging Wrath and my Icon of the Silver Crescent are both cooled down, and I look at my mana bar and see that I’m spending mana faster than I’m gaining it, I’ll slow down a little. What this achieves is that when its time to blow those cooldowns, you don’t want to be running low on mana, because it will lessen their effect. What you ACTUALLY want to do is to maximize the effect of those, by spending as much mana as possible on threat abilities while they are up.
The other half of managing mana is when you have so much incoming damage, and thus, incoming heals, that you simply cannot spend your mana fast enough. Everyone loves to be in this situation. In this situation, what you want to be doing is hurling Judgments every cooldown without fail, Consecrating constantly, if the enemy boss is Undead, using Exorcism, and even, if your latency allows for it, weaving Avenger’s Shield and Hammer of Wrath in between the boss swing timer. If you want to go REALLY overboard, you can constantly recast Righteous Fury. It will dump a lot of mana and give you more threat from Spiritual Attunement gains.