4.0 Warrior Cataclysm Preview – Abilities

It’s now been three weeks since the big 4.0 patch has dropped.

By now, you all should have a pretty good idea of just what the hell you’re doing. If you’re new to tanking still or still haven’t gotten around to setting up your warrior’s talents and glyphs, take a look at the previous two articles to get at least a rough idea of what direction you should be taking.

It’s time we moved away from the more basic parts of what the new mechanic changes and shifted gears into edging out small benefits in your playstyle.

Let’s talk about ability usage.

There are two parts to ability usage in the midst of combat, the offensive and the defensive.

When it comes to defenses, it’s fairly straightforward. Bind your Shield Wall and Last Stand and Enraged Regeneration to easy to reach keys that are automatic to you and just wait for the right opportunity to use them. Keep in mind that in addition to these three skills, you might want to turn them into macros instead, adding in the usage of health potions, healthstones or trinkets along with them, working under the assumption that when you DO need to hit those keys, the need will be dire.

When it comes to single target threat generation, the priority system is fairly straightforward.

Shield Slam > Revenge > Victory Rush (if you’re talented for it) > Devastate.

This priority is, of course, after you’ve stacked up sunders. The purpose of the Victory Rush if you’ve talented for it is for the minor healing it provides. While the 5% of your total health might not seem all that much on paper, when you combine it with the talents Blood Craze and Field Dressing, that little bit of nearly continuous healing will add up over the course of a long fight. On top of that is the ever present reworked Heroic Strike which is used only in the presence of excess rage. Just keep in mind that as used to spamming that key as you are, it may take you a little bit before the muscle memory fades enough for you to use it as it’s now intended.

When it comes to multi-target encounters, things get a little more messy.

If you’ve specced into Blood and Thunder, your first priority will obviously be to land that Rend and follow it with a Thunderclap to spread the love. Remember that your priority isn’t always to hold a group of mobs for an indefinite amount of time, but just long enough for them to die. Don’t be afraid to let your damage dealers pull threat, stun the group with a Thunderclap then follow up with a Challenging Shout just to keep them on you long enough to kill.

Given the fact that Revenge is your second highest threat ability and that it hits two targets, don’t miss the opportunity to hit it when it comes off cooldown. Swap your occasional Heroic Strike usage for the occasional Cleave usage instead and in the even that it doesn’t look like you’ll bepulled off of anytime soon, consider your Thunderstruck talent and maybe let 3 Thunderclaps go before you Shockwave to get that 30% damage boost.

Don’t forget to tab between your targets and hold that threat.