Cataclysm Level 85 Tanking Gems

Be sure to check out our Level 90 Tanking Gems post!

UPDATE : Epic gems from patch 4.3 have been added!

Shiny sparkly gems, there are so many to choose from aren’t there?

Well worry not, as I am here to help.

So now you’ve probably gotten nice and settled in, gotten a few pieces of gear, have run a few heroics and are maybe looking to tweak your gear to be ready for raiding?

There are basically two strategies you can use. While you can mix and match them, doing so will likely reduce the effectiveness of either strategy so we’ll work under the assumption that you’re doing one or the other.

For starters, you can either reforge your items to meet your hit and expertise caps and then gem for pure survivability or, alternatively, you can reforge for survivability and then gem for threat in the form of hit and expertise rating.

Gem set for survivability:

Gem set for threat:

As you can see from this list, there are a few crossovers, like the meta gem and a lot more options for the threat set compared to the survivability set.

Just keep in mind that this early in the expansion content, you’re going to want to stick primarily to the survivability style of gemming as you’ll be getting hit extremely hard and often until we get a few more dungeons into the expansion.

If you do choose to gem a little bit for threat or to shore up your hit and expertise caps, just keep in mind that when you do so, you’re largely going to make it harder for healers to keep you alive so keep that in mind before you dip your toe too far into those waters.


  1. Nice list but what about the mastery gem?