Dual Specs: Double or single tank

Wait, 2 protection specs?

Hey guys and gals, I’m the newest blogger on tankhard.com, and I want to talk with you about dual specs today. Dual specs have been in the game for quite some time now and while people first were skeptical about their use, most can’t live without them nowadays. Whether you just use them for your quick entry to the LFG dungeon to tank, or want a better spec to PvP with, they are useful to a lot of people in one way or another. The subject I wanted to approach today was the use of that second dual spec.

You probably had it before, standing for a boss encounter, thinking: “Oh, why didn’t I pick that one talent, it is really useful on this certain boss.”. The thing you did in TBC was going to your home city for a respec if it was so good that it was “necessary” or you just ignored it and tried to make the best of it with what you had. Nowadays people don’t really think about it that much and just tank with a general spec that “sort of” works for everything. You chose your spec to fulfill everything, but not to excel at a specific part.

Here’s where my question comes in: could you have used your second spec for a tanking spec as well, making it so that you have two different specialization with both having their strengths and weaknesses? For example, you have the classic warrior build for Heroics, trash and add tanking and you also have the more single target focused. Both can be used for everything, but neither are optimal for the job their counterpart was designed for. Now, let’s take a look at the encounters we currently have in raids and what spec fits there. You have fights like Halfus Wyrmbreaker where having the extra AoE is really nice. Add tanking on Nefarian? Not required, but fun anyway ;) Jumping between Nezir and Anshal, grab some extra AoE damage on the adds. Doing Maloriak? Hey, extra threat/damage is always welcome. In general, it helps out quite a lot fights. So why not have 2 tanking specs, just to give it that extra oomph on those specific bosses.

A lot of you might now be thinking: “Ok, I helps on certain bosses, but does that really make such a difference?”. Let me take for example Halfus Heroic. For the ones of you who haven’t tried him, while he only has 3 drakes at his command in normal mode, in Heroic he has all 5 of them flopping around. As stated in the previous paragraph, an AoE spec seems really good at that point. But how much of an improvement is it? I’ll give you an example from my raids. Note, we haven’t killed him yet, but we are getting close. We use 4 tanks on the encounter, 2 of them being warriors. I myself use a spec including Blood&Thunder, while my co-tank doesn’t. Over a whole night of wiping I did over 96million damage, while he did 48million. That’s DOUBLE the damage done! You might think that tanks aren’t supposed to do lots of damage, but on this fight every bit helps. The faster you kill those dragons, the easier it gets on you tanks and as result the healers.  Plus, you’ll need the threat to keep aggro from the Hellfire-Happy-Warlocks.

The use for our single target spec implies, as you probably guessed it, a single target. Where AoE tanking has it’s niches, single target is what the majority is about. Tanking Magmaw, Omnotron Council or other bosses, you don’t need to worry about the adds (unless you’re using some funky strategy) and are all about that one thing, or actually 2 if you count survival as well: Single Target Threat/DPS. The better you are at your single target job, the better it is for the DPS and the healers. Since, the faster stuff dies, the less strain you put on them. In general, it makes sense to use a single target spec on a single boss.

So, except for the fact that you don’t have a DPS spec to relax when not raiding, having two tanking specs seems a really good idea. What are your thoughts on the issue? Do you use two tanking specs? Or do you think having a DPS/Healing spec is better? Let us know.



  1. Omg coen turned into a blogger :) Hopefully your walls of text will get the attention they deserve on here ;)

  2. Wayne Molina says:

    It depends on your guild/raid composition. What I’ve noticed (I have a Pally tank) is that often a guild has a surplus of tanks, and unless you are really buddy buddy with the guild or are an officer or RL or similar you may find that going the dual-tank spec means you get benched for some fights that don’t require more than one tank, because you have no DPS spec to switch to. I’ve had it happen to me a couple of times and I’m now working on a DPS spec.

  3. If I wanted to make a Pally tank what would be a good strategy for making a dual tan spec?

  4. Sorry for the really late response to you, as stated in another blogpost, I had some personal issues going on.
    From what I can see, the potential for dual tanking specs on a paladin is much smaller than on a warrior. What you could do though, is just take talents like hallowed ground, which is usually not present in a single target spec. For you pallies it comes more in the form of glyphs.

  5. I’m gonna take a look at these tonight after work, can’t look at specs from work :( This is one of the few sites I can look at while here. I am sick of carrying two/three sets of gear around. Having two such tank specs would help, since i normally quest and PVP in prot anyway. Takes longer to kill things, but I am fairly unkillable until I pull10+ mobs.

    Sizzlelegs – Azgalor US

  6. I’ve been running dual prot spec on my warrior since dual spec came out. One spec is a multi-mob aoe trash spec with a bit of pvp thrown in and the other is a single target boss spec. I’m starting to rethink the lack of aoe on the single target spec for the reasons cited above. The question is whether giving up deep wounds is worth it (I think the answer is yes – I’ve never really been convinced on deep wounds).

  7. Okay. I checked the meters from my raid night. Deep Wounds is giving 4-5% of overall damage. There’s no way that is going to be made up using Blood & Thunder / Thunderstruck. The other option is Cruelty which buffs crit on Shield Slam by 10% and as my Shield Slam crits account for almost 6% of my total damage I don’t think that’s an option either. I’ll watch over the next week or two in other raids.