Shieldbearers and their masterstat

All classes and specs in game have always had a stat they had to stack to achieve their maximum dps. For most classes it now is their primary stat above all, being hit-capped and then usually there is one rating sticking out above the others. For retribution paladins it’s strength and then mastery, for enhancement shamans it’s agility and then mastery and the same holds true for many other classes. But what about tanks? Do they have a priority like that as well?

I’d actually say we do, but with a few annotations. Whereas our primary stat, stamina, is really solid, we don’t “have” to reach specific caps. Stamina is, just like for a dps classes our main stat. That is, until we reach a critical point where healers have enough time to keep us alive. After that, things become interesting. When you don’t need more life to stay alive, you focus on taking less damage. But how to do this. One way to do this is making sure you avoid hits completely, which can be achieved by both dodging and parrying. The other way for both shield wearing classes is to get more mastery, which only reduce the damage taken by a set amount when they block.

Now you might be thinking that taking no damage is better than taking less damage. Whereas I normally would agree, this isn’t the case with taking. The thing with mastery is that it reduces the damage you take more often than the amount of times you completely avoid an attack. For protection warriors, their mastery increases the chance for them to block 30% of an incoming melee attack and gives them a chance to critical block for double of that. With paladins, their mastery does also provide block, but whereas they can’t critical block, they gain it at a much faster rate.

The goal for tanks in the current content, and has been in previous content as well, is to take as little damage as possible AND make the damage you do take predictable. Being predictable makes it easier for your healers to keep you alive, and saves their mana, because you make sure there is less chance of a couple of big hits in a row.

So, as stated before, our goal is a predictable damage income and the best way to do that is to make sure all damage you take is the same. We do this by gearing to be “unhittable”. Unhittable is basically making sure there is never a full hit going through: everything is either parried, dodge, blocked or missed. By doing this you never take the big hits, but multiple smaller ones. And this is where mastery comes in play. While dodge and parry are affected by diminishing returns, mastery is not and it quickly allows us to get to that unhittable cap. And then, when you are at that unhittable cap, you basically reduce every melee swing with 30%. How awesome is that? Wouldn’t you just love to have the certainty that you always take 30% less damage than what the boss was planning to hit you for?




  1. Just a short explanation here about why I took so long with this blogpiece. I had a relative pass away a little while ago and it shook me so bad that I didn’t have feel like playing the game for a little while. The same for working on these blogs: I just couldn’t find the motivation. New blogposts should be up more frequently again.

  2. So for my tank, I should go for hit, expertise, stam, then mastery? or mastery then stam? I would think with gear, stam would be pretty much automatic up to about 150k…

    What is highest mastery anyone has seen so far?

  3. Sizz to answer part of your question, your hit and expertise rating should take lesser presedence over your stam and mastery. stam/mastery/dodge/parry fall into your survivability catagory which as a tank is an important factor in your job. Hit and expertise fall into your threat catagory which IS important, but if you find you are not having an issue gaining and keeping agro, then dont worry about reaching the hit cap..with that being said it is important to reach the expertise soft cap once you start raiding..

    worry about your survivability, taking less damage, and having that valuable high stamina healing buffer then take a look at your threat based stats once you are happy with your ability to stay alive.

  4. Sorry for my late response to you, Sizz, but as Matt has said: Hit and Expertise are important for threat, but survival is your main priority.
    Therefore, go for Stamina until a certain threshold where you and your healers feel happy, and then stack mastery, dodge and parry.

    Hit and Expertise really aren’t needed at the moment, since apart from the first few seconds, Vengeance solves most, if not all, of your threat-problems.

    If you do feel yourself lacking threat, go first for the Expertise softcap, 26 expertise, where you can’t be dodged anymore and after that go for Expertise and Hit in about equal amounts.

  5. Does any one know the exact %’s and hit caps we warr tanks need to be at, well as soon as we’re full of epics that is.

    Last i read was on (when it was up/running) and before expansion, Dodge/Parry 18% (no less), hit 6%, experise at 26 and cant remember what mastery was.

    I doubt it was more than 45-50% because if your going to achieve those %’s and hit/expert numbers you won’t be able to raise your Mas that much. Can someone shine some light with relevant facts and info please? Much appreciated

  6. You don’t “need” to be at any cap for raiding. It can be benefitial for your threat, but that only really matters at the start of an encounter. Vengeance solves it in the long term.

    But if you want to go for caps, you need 26 expertise (781 rating) for the softcap to remove dodges, 56 expertise (1682 rating) for the hardcap to remove parry, and 8% hit (961 rating) to remove misses. That way all your attacks will hit, though some may still be blocked if the boss is wearing a shield.

    The real “cap” you should be aiming for is being unhittable. This means that you can’t be hit at all: you block, dodge, parry or be missed for every attack. To get there, you need a combined rating of 102.4%. 5% of that is a standard miss chance.

  7. Anonymous says:

    As stated above by Coenani you don’t “need” to be hit capped to raid. I normally sit at or around 6.5% on hit which keeps any mob at lvl 87(heroic) at a 0% chance to miss and the 88 mobs at a measly 1.2% chance to miss. For my fellow death knights out there I wouldn’t shove off the 3/3 in virulence for interrupting and taunting purposes, with something that important I don’t want it to miss.

    Unhittable is the way to go, but for those of us who don’t like to hide behind a giant slab of metal… no offense my warrior/pally friends. I would recommend getting your dodge/parry to around 30-40% combined and stack a high amount of mastery for our savage defense/blood shield. This is our “block” and you want it to mean something.

  8. Thanks Coenani/anonymous for your insight. I do like the idea of being un-hittable but I must say I LOVE hitting hard too. I mess around sometimes and throw on my pvp gear to tank in, my healers hate it and i switch gears once i see heals OOMing on trash-lol..but its fun leading the DPS sometimes in a group as a tank-lol.

    I just feel differen’t about gemming for pure stam and then focusing on your lacking stats. You can have 200k HP but guess what your still going to get hit so that means your healer is still going to waist mana on filling your gaps.

    As for me I’m just a casual player but I’m good w/ my warr tank (only char i got) been playing with him for 2-3yrs now. I’m not embarrased at all to say this but my HP is only 138k-lol- and I still constantly get invited to raid. My gear sucks compared to most warr tanks out there. I only have the craftable epics i make from my BS and rep epics. Crappy lvl 308 trinket (but gives me 200+ hit). Well what I’m trying to say is that in my opinion mitigation is the key to warr tanks.

    I feel we warr tanks ARE the BEST tanks in the game, if you know what your doing that is. The skill it takes to hit our abilities on time and get that rotation in your muscle memory, takes a lot of TIME and a whole lot of WIPES to learn. Feels like I’m typing 100 words per min when i tank.

    I’ve been focusing a lot of my little time on pvp so my tank gear is lacking. I am currently at about 30% for Dodge/parry combined, 6%hit, 10 Expertise (lol) and about 43% Mastery and o yea 138k HP-lol My bud whos a holy pally (i always give that skirt wearer shit-lol)- dedicated raider always tells me that its easier to heal me than his guilds MT (warr tank) whos gear is BAD ASS!! i almost busted a nut looking at his Gear-lol and who btw is a dick cause in the past i asked him for advise and he said just look at my char on armory…what a ass whipe! Sorry freaking A.D.D… SO yea I’ve learned everything on my own the hard wiping way-lol So i know what i’m talking about.

    Well I’m just saying that i dont gem just for this or that. I gem for dodge, parry, mas, stam and reforge like a mad man to keep my stats as ensynch as possible. Healers hardly ever OOM when running with me unless of course DPS is low

    No offense but I feel that pallys and DK’s got it so easy when it comes to AOE with all their little spells, concentration and throwing crap on the floor. There like magicians running around w/ plate armour..FTW…. take the skirt off your horse pallys and put it on you and the DK with their little balorina spins n shit-LOL jk no offense

    So uhm yea to close I feel we should just spread that love around forget about the deep wounds spec that was wrath where everything was sooo easy-lol and spec for survivability and just keep a balance on your stats, it goes a long way. You’ll hardly get hit, your hits will all land,enough HP to get you a raid spot and o yea you’ll also generate a significant amount of damage.

    Tank Hard!

    Btw i love this site, very informative on everything i need to be successfull.