Warrior: the metal-bound juggernaut

We tanks are currently living in a world of effective health. Come Icecrown Citadel, the general view is that stamina stacking is going to be an even more important part of gearing up, due to the inclusion of Chill of the Throne and the 20% hammering our avoidance is going to take as a result. Irrespective of whether I agree with that assessment or not (I don’t), it’s worth having a look at the real implication as opposed to the simple one and how, as a warrior tank, we should approach it. Basically, the notion is that tanks are going to be hit more often, but for slightly less damage than they have been; depending on the scaling of gear and the appropriate content, of course. So, logically speaking, stacking stamina is the best way to make sure we’re surviving for decent periods of time when we’re not avoiding. This sounds great on paper, but it’s not exactly big news – warriors have generally been the worst tanks for taking damage throughout this expansion, so a certain amount of cushion has been required throughout. But the cushion is called effective health and not just health. There is another facet to effective health that seems, to me, to be continually overlooked.


Warriors have access to plate, the heaviest armour type in the game. Our shields have a pile of it stapled on, we can enchant for it, we can gear for it and we can find loads of gear with armour where you wouldn’t normally expect to find it. Armour is effective health – it’s the X to the stamina Y. The question, I suspect, is how good armour actually is for a warrior tank when compared to other stats that you may look for on your gear. And as anyone who looks at my profile will be able to see, I’m pretty aggressive when it comes to stacking armour. I’ll tell you why.

Armour lessens the amount of damage you take per hit. No, really; I’m not kidding. If you look at your character sheet and hover over your armour value, you’ll see just how much physical damage you’re lessening with the armour you’re wearing. When you consider that the vast majority of damage you take in this game is physical, the correlation is fairly obvious. Those with more stamina have a higher health pool, but will take a bigger hit. Those with more armour have less of that health pool, but take less of the hit. What’s the difference? Feel free to ask your healer who they like healing more. Back during The Burning Crusade, healers weren’t often fond of the “mana-sponge” tank that constantly needed topping off.

The second and most important part of armour, however, is the added benefit of DPS. Just as paladins were previously getting more spellpower from stacking stamina, warriors get more damage from armour through the talent Armored to the Teeth. Only an idiot would underestimate just how big this passive increase to their DPS is and ignore it purely for stamina. In my case, I’m currently running with 27599 armour on my gear. Purely from the aforementioned talent, I’m picking up an additional 766 attack power (rounded down) unbuffed. In anyone’s book, that’s a pretty substantial damage buff to be picking up from gearing for the other side of the effective health coin.

I’m probably labouring the point. Suffice it to say that armour, for a warrior, is an extremely good stat to be picking up. Not only does it provide constant mitigation, you can grab an awful lot of threat from it when you take the points, as everyone should, in Armored to the Teeth. I appreciate that armour is no defence against large or prolonged magical damage, but these mechanics are typically dealt with by using cooldown rotations and should not be a hindrance to going for armour when you get the chance.

Get more armour. Go on. You’ll love it.


3 Responses to “Warrior: the metal-bound juggernaut”

  1. DarkX2 Says:

    Hello, I am a DK Tank, what means that there is a little difference in how we approach things.Armor has a problem: It only reduces physical damage. There are many fight that have massive amounts of magical damage, where armor won't help you.For those magical damage fights having much armor does not help, because only your health will help you survive. This is why most tanks started stacking stamina.The other problem with armor is that it is hard to receive much more then a tank not trying to get armor. I think there is only the 225 armor back enchant and the engineering only gloves-enchant.Then there are some trinkets with armor. Furthermore there are rings and amulets with armor.And there are some items with additional armor. However to wear them you have to drop parts of your set-equip, probably removing a bonus.And all those additional armor points are afaik not modified by the tanks armor modifier that increases armor.The only place you decide if you take either stamina or armor should be your trinkets. You can't gem for armor, besides the meta gem, that gives both, armor and stamina. You could gem for agility giving you additional armor, but I don't think that this is really worth discussion.The only real deccisions we as tanks could have, are trying to gear for effective health, avoidance or threat. Let's just say that I was going for avoidance, until Gormokk started one-shotting me on togc 25. From then on, I went with eh and threat, trying to hit the "low" caps for hit and expertise and everything else with stamina and armor.

  2. Dreador Says:

    I repeat this to just about everyone in many different arguments and usually get the same response; gear for the encounter. Take an avoidance kit for fast-hitting melee bosses. Take a stam kit for high magic damage. Take an armor kit for heavy-steady damage melee-only. Take a threat kit when it's a hard, fast DPS race. Or you can do what most tanks do and just have your best gear gemmed how you want (let's face it, the difference in stats between one who gems for pure stam, and one who uses Eyes of Zul and Dreadstones is minimal. We're talking 2k HP and maybe 2-3% avoidance, at most).

  3. Zellviren Says:

    Magical damage:I've yet to come across a fight where more stamina was the difference between wiping and winning. I've always made sure my health pool was about right for whatever encounter it was I was doing (including Sartharion 3D), then looked at other stats to smooth out the healing. I dislike the "magic damage" argument, because the vast majority of tanks will have enough stamina for the content they're tanking by default, without going overboard to pick up more. If not, you're under-geared and that's not a valid comparison.Physical damage, however, is a part of practically every encounter, so armour will always be an excellent stat to have. When you look at the comparatively few encounters with large burst magical damage, you see why armour is typically better than a bit more stamina, particularly if you're a warrior who gets more DPS/TPS from armour.But, yes, you should gear for the encounter at all times, just as Dreador said. For the most part, if the tank is gearing with an eye on all of his stats, the raid will not struggle because of him; especially if we assume that player is using their class to the best of their ability. But we accept that there will always be specific encounters that require a different approach.I just don't think it's wise to plan for 5% of encounters instead of the other 95%.

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