There are three main types of tanking
- Stamina Tanks (Soaking up damage)
- Mitigation tanks (Trying to minimise taken damage)
- Avoidance tanks (Trying to avoid as much damage as possible)
Each style has it's own pros and cons. The first thing I would like to emphasise, is you need to become crit immune. You do this by getting the defense cap of 540. (Please note, defense DOES NOT become useless after 540, it ONLY means at this point you will not be critically hit.)
The idea here is that the best way to stay alive, is to completely avoid damage. Sounds logical right?
When does avoidance work?
- Avoidance works on mobs and bosses that land very heavy physical blows.
- Avoidance also works when there are lots of mobs to contend with. Mitigation favours this situation as well.
When does avoidance not work?
- Avoidance falls down on bosses that have a large amount of magic damage being thrown around, usually in the form of undispellable debuffs
How to gear for avoidance:
Avoidance paladins need to rely on:
Generally, a paladin should gear for defense and dodge, NEVER specifically for parry (IE, don't gem for it).
Like avoidance-gearing, mitigation-gearing also seeks to reduce the total damage taken, however, mitigation aims to reduce the impact of incoming blows, rather than to avoid it all together.
When does mitigation work?
- Mitigation tanks work best where bosses or mobs use smaller faster attacks, that do not hit as much damage.
- Mitigation is also a good place to start when learning to tank seeing as it reduces the largest amount of damage you can take, plus, mitigation gear is easier to get at the lower tiers, than it is at the moment
When does mitigation not work?
- Mitigation does not deal well with bosses that hit extremely hard, the mitigation can not be adequate to deal with powerful swings.
- Mitigation does not do well against bosses that have a large amount of magic damage being thrown around, usually in the form of undispellable debuffs
Mitigation Paladins rely on:
- Block rating
- Defense Rating
Your main stat is block rating, try to get as much of it as possible, follow up by defense rating (which adds more total avoidance including block). As a filler (Blue hybrid gem prehaps) go agility.
This one is obvious, increase the amount of damage you can take before dying. This is probably the simplest form of tanking.
When does stamina tanking work?
- Stamina tankings main use is on bosses that use alot of unavoidable spell damage.
- When learning an encounter, stamina is a solid choice.
When does stamina tanking not work?
- Stamina tanking does not do well against a large number of mobs, seeing as none of the blows will be avoided or mitigated with any reliability, ranking up a huge amount of damage
- Stamina tanks will also not fare well against bosses which have extremely powerful mele swings.
- Stamina tanks are extremely heavy on healers mana, seeing as they essentially have to heal all damage tanken, unavoided or mitigated. This relates directly to point 2.
Stamina tanks rely on:
Yeah, stack stamina to oblivion. There is no DR on stamina, so stack away.
NOTE: Seeing as threat is not a problem on magic due to the fact that bosses do not dodge or parry, I will not discuss how that relates into the tanking styles. (Threat gearing is another style of tanking, but one that is useless on magic).
So, what should you choose?
In my opinion there are two things you should really concider.
1) Your personal preferance.
2) Your healers preferance.
YOU have to be comfortable with how you tank, and be familiar with your own weaknesses. Similarly, your healers must be able to handle your tanking style. Healers going oom? Prehaps a stamina tank is not what you should be concidering. Healers not able to keep Avoidance / Mitigation tanks alive due to magic damage? Maybe you should switch to stamina.
It is also class specific really, I would say from experience:
- Paladins and Warriors do well at mitigation.
- Druids and Warriors do well at stamina tanking.
- Paladins, Death Knights, and Warriors do well at avoidance.
However, I do not have much experience with Druid or Warrior tanking.
So what is the moral of this story?
The next person who tells me to switch my avoidance trinket / gear to stamina because "Stamina is totes better" will get stabbed. There are more than one tanking styles, and one is NOT better than the others for all situations.