How to be a better tank

Situational awareness.

I’m getting tired of repeating this over and over. Situational awareness, threat, and survival are all three pretty much equally important for a tank (depends on specific cases, but in general that’s the rule of thumb). All three aspects need to be mastered if you want to perform well. If you’re only sitting there and pulling off TPS and soaking all the damage, that’s fine, but without being able to react, you’re not as good a tank as you could be

Let me start off with some background information. My guild already cleared Naxx25 this week and I tagged along with my warrior, and the ID went pretty much flawlessly (picked up the Spore Loser and Can’t Get Enough achievements on the way). Not feeling like I had my fill, I decided, yesterday, to go with my warlock alt in once again.

Here’s the funny part. Whenever I raid with my warrior in our guild runs, I feel like the tanks are doing a great job. Whenever I raid with my warlock, I think the tanks are either not doing so well, or doing horribly. The explanation is obvious: each run includes different tanks.

When I entered the raid with my warlock, I took a quick peek at the different tanks we were going to be working with. Two protection warriors and a frost DK. Stamina looked fine on all three (DK was lacking a little, but still quite decent), overall the gear looked ok. I checked the specs of the two warriors, and they looked fine as well.

Boy, was I disappointed.

Here’s a list of what caused me to almost break down:

- You have cooldowns. Use them. If the boss is going to squish you like a bug, you panic and you use your panic button. If you have a panic button, use it. If you don’t have a panic button, minimize this window, log into WoW, type /m and start making one.

- AE tanking is, weirdly enough, the first indicator of how good you are. Not so much about how much TPS you can pull off, but rather, noticing that an add broke free of the grinder and is heading towards your clothies. Quick reaction time and a trigger finger on your taunt button are the key here. Likewise, noticing that something isn’t right and lighting up your cooldowns ALSO belongs to this. As you might have guessed from the previous point, I’ve been using a special OHCRAP macro for a while now that activates all my cooldowns at once (it saved my butt PLENTY of times, I can assure you that) and whenever something looks bad, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

That said, AE TPS *IS* important. Get that rotation in and don’t be sloppy! Charge/pull, thunderclap, take a few steps back, shockwave, start tabbing through all the mobs and applying shield slams + devastates, and as soon as the shockwave stun wears off, light up shield block. Keep thunderclap on cooldown, depending on the HP of the mob group keep shockwave for the next pull or on cooldown (it’s always nice to have shockwave at the beginning of the pull), and whenever you don’t use those two, you’re tabbing and devastating/shield slamming until the cows come home!

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