The Death Knight Tank and You: OH SHIT Buttons
“ROOOOAR!” Screams our Death Knight champion as a green bubble surrounds him and protects him from Loken’s final explosion, piece o’ cake…
Besides having a ton of HP, a lot of armor, uncrittability, pulling vast amounts of threat, and a lot of avoidance, Tanks are generally spread apart. Each tank is completely different to play from the one next to him, The Frost DK has some similarities to the Tankadin, but they are completely different when you actually sit down and play the two. Though, there is one thing that every tank in WoW has in common, and those are OH SHIT buttons, these are popped either for the “lulz” or are used in a time of extreme need when a tank is taking more damage then his body has room for. Healers can only heal your wounds so quickly, and if the damage is more then he can heal, these can save your group from a wipe. How most of them work are different, as well as the quantity each class of tanks get, but they all in the end do the same thing, a last stand to save your group from death and destruction.
Death Knights have quite a few of these buttons, we have 2 just because we are Death Knights, and then we can get about one more depending on which spec we choose. I swear, that as long as you are not near a boss, you may as well just pop them for good measure, most have a cool-down of 2min, all of which are quite useful. It is just a matter of using them on the correct fights to help with the right damage!
ANY Death Knight: As I mentioned this before, every Death Knight gets at least two just because he was sexy enough to roll with the D to the K’s. The first of which helps out our specialty as being the best spell caster Tanks in the game at this moment of time, yes my favorite of them all, Anti-Magic Shell. This bad boy prevents 75% of the spell damage that was supposed to be taken, up to a maximum of 50% of your health is prevented. This is the scaling for anything except for an Unholy Tank, which can increase the damage prevented by 25%, making it 100% spell damage absorbed. The ideal time to use this is in some sort of inescapable AOE magic damage, lets say Steel Breaker’s Fusion Punch, if we are tanking him, we will be taking ridiculous amounts of damage. Do not fret, most healers should be able to dispell and heal through it, but to help them out a bit, toss up your shield. It is a team effort to down raid bosses, and helping one part of the team’s mana pool out, may just save your comrade’s lives.
The second OH SHIT button for any Death Knight is Icebound Fortitude this makes you immune to stuns yes, so we can see the delicious PvP useage there, but the main thing we should be looking at is the minimum of 20% of damage reduced. This of course scales with your Defense Skill, which is obviously at least 540, so we should be getting a decent amount of damage re-ducted from the hits we are receiving. This could and should be popped on any boss, but a specific instance should be when you get a
Mortal Strike like debuff, in which healing received is reduced. This is when reducing the damage you can take is extremely useful, so how about we think of Gluth in Naxx for a second? The Tanks switch every 3stacks of his healing debuff so that they can first of all, clear the stacks from the guy who tanked it before, and second of all, to ensure the most healing is received. This would be a nice time to pop Icebound Fortitude, if the heals are starting to get low on mana, pop it when it is your turn to tank him to ensure some damage is not taken.
Both of these cool downs are extremely useful no matter what spec you decide to go as, as a Death Knight Tank, so do not forget them, they can save yourself, but also your group, which is really the point of being a tank. Next up, each specific Death Knight Tanking spec gets at least one OH SHIT button, each of these buttons have their uses, but are quite different. Let us start with Blood, shall we?
Blood: The Blood tree really focuses on improving your stats as a whole, whether it be stam/expertise/strength, it is known to increase these. It also is desired due to its self healing talents, which no lie, are very delicious. Their special OH SHIT button is of course, Vampiric Blood, this grants the Death Knight 15% more health and 35% more healing received for 20seconds. This allows a Blood Tank to take a ton of damage at once and get a lot more healing while he is doing so, how about we look back to Steelbreaker in Iron Council again. Our Anti-Magic Shell is on C/D from the last FALCON PUNCH, what should we use, VAMPIRIC BLOOD I CHOOSE YOU! Boom, our healers were awesome and dispelled it, but you were able to take a lot more damage due to your larger then usual HP and healing Bonuses! This game’s winner is Blood Tank!
Frost: Does this really need a OH SHIT button? It is amazing on its own! *smack* Fine, okay, well lets think this through, Frost is a master of reducing the damage we take/avoiding damage in its talents. So obviously a damage reduction button is what we should be expecting, correct? Class, meet your newest button, his name is Unbreakable Armor this increases our STR which gives us a decent amount of Parry, so that is cool. Though the main thing we want to squeel about is the fact that we get a scaled amount of reduced damage. The stat that scales it is Armor, unlike how Icebound Fortitude scaled with Defense, these are basically the same button, except they have different cool downs so it is pretty epic. This should be used at any time when we are taking some high physical damage, or as I said earlier, if we have a healing debuff on us pop this if Icebound Fortitude is on C/D and vice-versa.
Unholy: My old buddy actually has TWO if we want to get technical, hot right? Well, I guess since Blizz planned to nerf him to hell and back they figured they should give him some lovin’. First up is good old Anti-Magic Zone this is pretty much the same as our Anti-Magic Shell, except for a whole group. Yeap, this is the bad boy that we put up as a huge purple bubble and the whole group can take a lot less magic damage. Of course, there is a point where it has to go good bye, and that is either 10seconds of usage, or a scaled amount. Obviously Unholy specializes in taking a lesser amount of Spell damage, while Blood focuses much on self-healing, and Frost on physical damage reduction.
The final OH SHIT button we will be discussing is one of my favorites, mostly because the animation makes me laugh with glee. Bone Shield is an interesting spell, but when used at the right time it can be extremely useful. The shield allows you to do 2% more damage, yes so more threat is always a great thing, but the 20% damage reduction per hit for 4 hits minimum is nothing to scoff at. Popping this at the correct time is crucial, so if you expect within four hits to get hit pretty hard, pop this, because timing has to be perfect to use this right. Though it can be quite tricky, it has its uses int its respective places, as I have said before with Icebound Fortitude pop it when you are taking some heavy hits. Unholy in my opinion has some of the best OH SHIT buttons, but they need to be used creatively to see their full potential!
Lesson Learned: So kiddos, what have we learned today? Yes, OH SHIT buttons are amazing and can be frickin’ amazing when used at the right times. Tanking is not tough once you get used to it, but much of it is timing. When do I pop this cool down, what ability should I be using to get the most out of my threat. Quick thinking and strategy is involved, but it becomes a 6th sense of what to do if you practice it!
Writer’s Update: School is in less then a week, how lovely right? I suppose so, I have been getting a little bored lately of doing nothing, oh well! I will try and make this as short as possible. Death Knights are the favored tanking class for the readers of Plagued Candles! Though Paladins were not far behind them, and a new poll will be coming shortly, be sure to vote in it, cause remember, winning is not everything, but it does give bragging rights! Happy WoWing!