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Threat and Death Knights, Is It Any Different?

October 25, 2009



We find our Elven Hero snickering like a 5yr old boy who managed to pull off a whoopie-cushion prank on his sister…

It really is interesting how people can get to 80 and still be able to Tank Raids when they have no clue what in the hell they are talking about. How about I paint you a picture, keep in mind this happened about two weeks ago and I am STILL questioning this Tank’s sanity!

A friend asks me to hop on Eldadres and play Healer for her Ony10 group, now I have never healed it before, but I have Tanked that bitch until she was hot (Trust me, it works)! So I say sure and hop on their Vent to talk and all of that goodness, and of course I get on right as the two Tanks were talking about which one should Tank Onyxia. There was a Warrior with 35k HP unbuffed, and a Death Knight with 30k HP unbuffed, and thus the madness begins!

My Friend: So which one of you wants to Tank her?
Does not matter to me, do any of the Healers Mind?
As long as they aren’t terribad, go!
Death Knight:
Death Knights are not good with Physical threat, how about you Tank Onyxia?
Physical Threat?
Death Knight:
Yah, you know, Physical Attacks, we just use spells ‘n shit which isn’t good Threat
Fair enough then…
Me: Oh, BRB, the Dog just fell off of the counter!
*Turns mic off and goes into a fit of laughter for 2 min straight* (Note I don’t have a Dog)
Me: Okay, back, what a dumb ass!
The Raid: Lmao I bet he is! *laughter*

This is a great example of someone who obviously never bothered to do their research before they rolled their class.  The reasoning for the Warrior to Tank Onyxia is, “Death Knights use spells, thus meaning that they will not get the amount of Threat needed to hold physical bosses”. This is wrong in so many ways, sure Death Knight Tanks are MUCH better at picking up multiple adds then Warriors or Druids, but our Tanking ability is not lesser to theirs because they can use only Physical Abilities and we tend to use a combination of Spells (bear with me there) and Physical Abilities.

Before we go any further in this discussion, how about I define Threat?
“Threat is the amount of “hate” a Mob shows towards a particular Player, the player with the most Threat will be attacked by the Boss/Trash. Every single role in a Raid will produce Threat, Healing produces Threat as well as Damaging Attacks. Special abilities and Talents can lessen/drop the amount of Threat you have on a particular mob.”
Healers generally should not have to worry about Threat, but DPS should always keep an eye on it using Omen or any other Threat Tracker. If you are not the Tank and your Threat is the #1 spot on the meter, just slow down your DPS for a few seconds, or pop a Threat reducing CD such as Fade or Soulshatter.

That's a PENGUIN not a BEAR...

That's a PENGUIN not a BEAR...

Buffs, Abilities, Spells, Healing, everything produces Threat. The amount of Threat that is gained however, is based on two things, the first obviously being if the Ability’s Tooltip says that it “produces a high amount of threat”. Our other factor is how much damage each ability does, a 2k Scourge Strike will produce some Threat, but not as much as a 5K Howling Blast. Critical Hits count as more damage, thus increasing the amount of Threat you gain from said attack!

Is there a difference between Physical Attacks and a Spell in terms of Threat? If they did the exact same damage, and neither stated if it “produces a high amount of threat” then no, there is not a difference. In a flat-out test of Threat, there is no difference in Threat because of how an ability is caused, only how much damage is done or if the attack produces an exceptionally high amount of threat.

How Do Tanks Increase Their Threat!?: Good question, if you look at Death Knight Tanks the only thing that we do differently from our DPS cousins is merely more Rune Strikes. Grant it, these do produce a TON of Threat, but the main reason we will pull the amount of Threat that we do is our Frost Presence. Every single Tank in WoW has some sort of Form/Ability that is constantly up as they Tank to add additional Threat to their abilities. Warriors have Defensive Stance, Druids have Bear/Dire Bear Form, and Paladins have Righteous Fury.  Those abilities are the sole reason that we can pull more Threat than DPS in the same exact gear.

What if a DPS pulls off of me?: Hopefully this does not happen often, but in the worst case scenario of this you will have to use your class’ respective Taunts. Every Tank has at least one, but how do you KNOW if the ability is a “Taunt”? The Tooltip would say something along the lines of “Forces the target to attack you for 3 seconds”. What happens is you hit that button and your target switches off of the other Player and on to you immediately, on Omen it will show it as your Threat matching the previous #1 spot’s Threat. After that just keep on Tanking and hope to Christ that they popped a Threat reducing OH SHIT button!

Any other Tips?: As a Tank the only time you ever want to stop using your abilities is when you are dead, your target is dead, or when you are supposed to let the other Tank take the boss for a bit. When you stop using your abilities or doing your rotation, you lessen your Threat Lead. As a Tank we want to be #1 on the Threat Meters, but we also want to be #1 by as large a gap as possible from #2. Do not make space for the whatifs in a pull, just keep gaining Threat until something else needs to be done!

So, the moral of the story is that Death Knight was an incompetent bastard, Death Knights are not poor at Tanking Onyxia or any other boss for that matter due to them using some spell-like abilities. Coincidentally though, the use of those spell-like abilities make us delicious add Tanks, but this is merely due to most of them being AoE friendly moves.

Do not even make me bring in Blood Tanking to say how Death Knights use quite a few “Physical Abilities”…

Happy WoWing!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2009 7:51 PM

    Ironically, my guild’s first choice as tank for Ony10 and Ony25 is to have me on Onyxia – a Frost DK tank. The first few seconds are pretty crucial on building threat, especially with having to position her in the back, but once I’m able to get into my rotation [and no dps decided to pop every CD they have right away], I’m good.

    • October 25, 2009 7:52 PM

      And ironically, I was asked to come MT heal an Ony10 run the other night as well… definitely gave me a new perspective on the fight and even more appreciation for my healers when I’m tanking.

      • October 25, 2009 8:07 PM

        Hah, the same happened for me when I healed it on my Disc Priest. I knew there was a lot of damage going out on the Tank but holy hell.

        Yah, once you get her into position and they DPS gives you 2 seconds you’re generally set for Threat in that fight.

  2. October 25, 2009 9:07 PM

    My healer is a disc priest too lol. That damage is nasty! And our tank tried to solo it too… ugh. He was running around like a chicken with his head cut off.

  3. Alex permalink
    October 26, 2009 1:51 AM

    I lol’d.

  4. October 27, 2009 1:26 PM

    W-wow. Oh, stupid Death Knights, it’s no wonder people don’t like our class. ;_;

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