Stoneskin Gargoyle, We Use It Because We Can
We find our Death Knight hero perusing his favorite weapons at his home, the Ebon Hold…
It came to me the other day, on the 14th of November WOTLK turns 1yr old. To top it off, the Death Knights that were extremely unbalanced at release are now pretty much as stable as the rest of the classes in WoW. I bring up the 1yr anniversary because around now it really hit me that this “new class” (Death Knights) were going to be able to use 2h weaponry to Tank.
What… the… hell?
This made no sense to me, using a 2H weapon is just a stupid idea you would get no Defense or avoidance that you would from “Tanking Weapons” and shields, so why bother!? Runes were the answer, and they still are in fact. The Death Knight class, as you know, has a special skill exclusive to themselves somewhat like the old Rogue poison skill. This skill is Rune Forging, the ability to put a Rune onto a weapon of your choice, and some of which are exclusive to either 1H/2H/or are interchangeable.
As a 2H Tank you would be insane not to be using Rune of Stoneskin Gargoyle, 2% more Stamina is a great bonus, but 25 Defense (skill not rating) is frickin’ amazing. It makes up for our lack of shields and THEN some! This single Rune was what allows us to Tank with a 2H weapon, and it feels great. Hell, a free Enchant and it can be changed around with another anytime I want for free? Sign me the hell up!
Dual Wield Tanking is an interesting concept, and Blizzard has been trying their hardest to make it a viable to Tank with, which so far has been successful. The problem with this is that you will generally lack a bit more Drating than the 2H Tanks because of your lack of Stoneskin Gargoyle, but this really is not a huge problem, all you have to do is switch a few gems around. In turn of not using this Rune, you are able to use Rune of Swordbreaking on both weapons, giving you 4% Parry and 100% reduced disarm time.
There is in fact a 2H version of Swordbreaking, but 2H Tanks tend to stay clear of that due to the fact that losing 25 Defense would force them to use most of their gem sockets for Defense. Is 4% Parry really worth a lack of 6-8 STAM gems? Hell no, but due to the amounts of Drating on Tanking weapons, the losses for DW are not even close to the amount 2H would be losing.
That should be easy enough to see the point, basically both use different Runes because DW Tanking lacks a Rune of Stoneskin Gargoyle 1H version. Though, just as the Red Dragonflight have our backs in Eye of Eternity, Blizzard has swooped in to saved the day in 3.3! Yes, this is correct, Death Knights now have a Stoneskin Gargoyle 1H Rune, IE. a 1/2 strength Stoneskin Gargoyle Rune that you may put on both weapons. (1/2 + 1/2 = 1)
- Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle: There is now a 1-handed version of this rune in addition to the current 2-handed rune.
- Night of the Dead: Now reduces the damage your pet takes from area-of-effect damage by 45/90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.
- Scourge Strike: Redesigned. The base ability now deals 50% weapon damage plus an additional amount as physical damage. However, for each disease the death knight has on the target, the target will take additional shadow damage equal to 25% of the physical damage done.
- Unholy Blight: This talent now deals only 10% of Death Coil damage as a damage-over-time effect on the target.
Yes, see right off of the WoW Community site’s 3.3 Patch Notes for those of you non-believers. Besides me squealing at how little they changed Death Knights, let us view our major focus at this time, the fact that 1H weapons now have their own version of Stoneskin Gargoyle.
How is this such a big deal? For starters, DW do not need to suffer from a lesser amount of Defense (and crippling some enchants/gem sockets towards being used for Drating). They can now be on-par with the 2H Tanks in terms of not having to switch out gems in order to hit the DCap. However, this would force them to not use Rune of Swordbreaking. They would lose a huge edge they had over the 2H Tanks, 4% more avoidance, and honestly, this was worth the 2k HP that is generally sacrificed by switching between the two.
Luckily, we do not have to choose one or the other to use as a DW Tank, there are multiple combinations you can use in order to get the most out of your Runes/weapons. How about we check out some predictions I have for what will be plausible next patch for DW Tanking Rune combos?
Predictions on how this will be used to get the most out of your Runes.
Some people may find it in their best interest to stay the same and not have a few sockets/enchants in order to keep the 4% Parry and 100% less disarm time from Rune of Swordbreaking. This still is not a bad way to go, because that much avoidance can seriously be worth the amount of HP lost.
Now there are two things that I can see these use for, the first being a creative thought of using Stoneskin Gargoyle on one of the 1H weapons, and Swordbreaking on the other, giving you a mix of Defense/HP and 2% Parry. Essentially you do not have to sacrifice any Enchants/Gem sockets, and you still get a good portion of avoidance. I dub that, “the best of both worlds special”, you basically get two great bonus for a very limited sacrifice of stats. This would be used if you are wielding 2 Tanking weapons, with at least 1 of which having a bit of Drating on it already, otherwise this may not be in your best interest.
Remember back to what we discussed earlier, that Stoneskin Gargoyle was created so that 2H weapons which had no Drating would be viable to Tank with. Are there not really frickin’ good 1H DPS weapons that have no Drating on it either? Yes, I said it, we can get away with Tanking with 1H DPS weapons. Think, these weapons are generally slow which is what we WANT but 1H Tanking weapons generally are fast as hell. The only downside with this is that you would be losing any of the Tank stats that are found exclusively on 1H Tank weapons (Avoidance/Defense Rating, but the Drating is made up for by Stoneskin Gargoyle!).
By using 1H DPS weapons to Tank with, we would get higher Threat because their only purpose in life is to increase your DPS. More DPS = More Threat! Plus it is much more common to find a 1H DPS weapon with Hit/Expertise than a 1H Tank weapon, which in turn makes it easier to get to the Hit Cap and Soft Expertise Cap. The possibilities are ENDLESS!
In Short, Blizzard is giving us many more choices to chew over as DW DK Tanks. Just changing Runes around can affect your entire play style as a DW Tank thanks to the new Rune of Stoneskin Gargoyle.
It’s times like these when I sort of which that I was still a DW Tank.
P.S. Rouges/Enh Shammies, we’re stealing your weapons 😀