In case you hastily clicked on the Cleric tanking thread while looking for the BIS list for gear and lessers, here’s the link that you really want. Feel free to read the tanking guide when you get done looking at the BIS list.
First thing’s first… Tanking crafted gear.
The following gear are items that you’ll want to have crafted if you plan on tanking. You can potentially use blue augments if you’re hurting for plat, but since a tank can make/break a raid, I would personally just suck it up and spend the money on the good stuff… it will make your life much easier. All of the crafted gear for tanking (with the best augments,) will be used well into tanking the raid encounters.
Tanking Helmet Rugged Reinforced Rhenium Coif
Augment: Stellar Rugged Augment
Hit Bonus +53
Requires Level: 60
Runebreakable (Runebreaking 376)
Tanking Belt Rugged Reinforced Rhenium Cord
Augment: Stellar Rugged Augment
Requires Level: 60
Runebreakable (Runebreaking 376)
Tanking Rings Rugged Reinforced Chrysoprase Circle
Augment: Stellar Rugged Augment
Resist All +162
Requires Level: 60
Runebreakable (Runebreaking 376)
Tanking Seal Rugged Spiteful Resurgence
Augment: Stellar Rugged Augment
Requires Level: 60
Runebreakable (Runebreaking 301)
Remember that as a tank, gear effectiveness is calculated via the amount of effective health points (eHP,) it gives. Just because a piece has better armor or block or endurance than another piece, doesn’t mean it’s better. Dodge/Parry scaling is still inferior to block, and is also granted in smaller quantities than block is, which is really a double insult. The toughest decision when upgrading gear is going to be the weighing the amount of endurance versus the amount of wisdom/block a piece gives.
This is a good point to throw in a disclaimer: IF you’re planning on tanking in raids, be very careful going solely off of eHP calculations. The reason why is because eHP assumes that attacks are physical and mitigateable. I have noticed that throughout Frozen Tempest and Endless Eclipse, many of the tank killing mechanics are unavoidable. With those being unavoidable, the only thing that prevents you from being one shot, is raw HP and resist. Some of the tank killing attacks are physical damage, so armor does help, but they’re still unavoidable. That means that Block/Dodge/Parry are worthless there.
Each point of Wisdom gives 3/4 of a point of Spell Power and also a point of both Block and Parry. Each point of Intelligence gives 1/4 of a point of Spell Power and 1 point of Dodge. You really shouldn’t worry about Intelligence at all as it will come naturally and is the stat that affects you the least.
The Build: 61 Justicar /9 Inquisitor / 6 Shaman
This spec is the one that I use on all new fights. It has the highest armor and highest HP of any of the tanking builds. The 61 points in Justicar are mandatory, but really only 6 points in both Shaman and Inquisitor are mandatory, the 3 points left over can be put anywhere in Shaman/Inquisitor that you see fit.
If you normally play DPS, tanking is going to be a transition. The reason is because you don’t have to worry about your rotation and offensive cooldown timings and maximizing DPS. As a tank, your new objective is boss positioning, watching mechanics, and doing anything necessary to make your healers’ lives easier, because all tanks know that no one whines more than healers.
Wanting to tank brings more responsibilities, or at least different ones. As the tank, you are now the primary interruptor. You can assign other DPS to if you want, but if a boss ability doesn’t get interrupted, you’re always the first one to be blamed. Being that I am a main spec’d tank, I will also tell you that there’s no reason you shouldn’t be the interruptor as most of the time we’re just chilling in front of the boss and letting it hit us as we’re watching a movie on our other monitor.
Vengeance of the Winter Storm is from the Shaman tree and is just added free damage for all melee abilities.
Armor of Treachery is from the Inquisitor tree; increases your Endurance by 3% and your armor by 3%, so a nice bonus.
Mien of Leadership is what makes us a tank. It increases: Armor/Endurance/Resistances by 35%, threat generation by 350% and allows our overhealing to generate threat.
Courage of the Bear is a self buff that increases our Endurance by 5%.
Spells / Key Abilities:
Threat generating attacks:
Hammer of Faith – The best AoE threat generating ability that the Cleric has at it’s disposal. It consumes all of your built up convictions, so always try to be at 5+ convictions when using this ability. This ability doesn’t do damage to everything immediately, it kind of bounces around to other targets after the initial hit, so keep that in mind if there are caster mobs in the group as it may not reach them before the mob that you cast it on is out of their range.
Hammer of Duty – The BIGGEST threat generating attack of any class in the game. This only hits a single target, but hits the target normally for 7-9k and I’ve had crits over 19k before. Again, this ability uses all of your convictions, so use it only above 5 convictions if you know that you’ll be able to attack a few times before you need any more convictions.
Strike of Retribution – This is a nice bonus. After every time you block, this ability does a nice little bit of damage (every 6 seconds). It has no global cooldown (GCD), so you can work it in through your normal rotation, basically it’s free extra damage.
Precept of Refuge – It’s important to keep this up on heavy physical damage type of fights. Precept of Refuge (PoR) does a good amount of damage and also increases your chance to block 5%, so it should always be up. This isn’t horribly important on fights where there’s little/no physical damage, but is good practice to use it anyway.
Strike of Judgment – This is your basic melee attack. Nothing special, it doesn’t hit really hard, it’s just a good spammable filler attack.
Reckoning – The only ranged, spammable attack that Justicars have. It hits about as hard as Strike of Judgment , and is very nice to use if you find yourself DC’d from the boss, which happens frequently.
Censure – This is a 360 degree AoE attack that hits up to 10 mobs. It also reduces the chance for mobs to hit by 5% for 15 seconds. Be warned that it is a relatively weak attack, so just spamming this ability will NOT keep aggro off of the DPS. It’s very good at getting some aggro on mobs while you get into position to use Hammer of Faith .
Even Justice – The most famous of all Justicar abilities. It hits up to 5 targets in front of the Cleric. I keep trying to figure out a way I can change my rotation so I don’t have to just spam Even Justice all of the time, but really there’s nothing more effective. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
Threat Generating Heals:
Doctrine of Bliss – Self heal on the Cleric. This is a trap!!! When creating a spec, you look at this ability and think “Hey, a self heal would be nice”, then after you use it for the first time, you find the most out of the way location on your bar to put it, so you’ll never be tempted to use it agian… ever.
Doctrine of Loyalty – This is the healing equivalent to Even Justice. Does a small’ish heal to up to 10 people. Anyone that’s tanked as a Cleric for very long will tell you that this isn’t really a heal, it’s a weak (unlimited number of mobs), taunt that is psuedo-spammable. When pulling trash in dungeons, I may be using my tanking macro, but I’m always ready with DoL because DPS LOVE pulling more packs of mobs to make life interesting.
Righteous Mandate – Ok, so this isn’t really a heal per se, but it is a very good tool. On most fights I’ll put this onto the Defiler healer. I know, I should put it onto the other tank for Reprieve, but I just feel somewhat obligated to the poor defiler that is eating some of my damage through their links. When the Cleric tank is at full health, the overhealing from their attacks go to the target of the Righteous Mandate. Since the Defiler has their links on both tanks, on a tank swap fight (all but Progenitor in EE), when I’m not tanking, I’m healing the Defiler for about how much link damage they’re taking.
Doctrine of Authority – I love this ability. Does really nice damage (5k standard up to 12k crits), and also heals for a set value. The healing that it does won’t keep anyone alive, but adds more threat to an already large hit. It consumes only one conviction, so don’t give a whole lot of thought as to when to use it.
Doctrine of Glory – This cooldown makes you take 2.86% less damage for each conviction that you have built up, for a 4 second duration. In essence, the devs wanted to give us a damage reduction cooldown that used convictions, so they made it some weird number so at 7 convictions, it gives a 20% reduction in damage, on a 30 second cooldown.
Total Assurance – Not directly a heal, but grants 7 convictions while increasing healing and damage done with Convictions by 50% for 30 seconds or until all of those Convictions are consumed.
Resplendent Embrace – Increases HP by 20% and healing received by 50% for 10 seconds. It’s on a long’ish cooldown of 2 minutes. Definitely a nice bonus to have to help the healers catch up if they fell behind or had to move because of mechanics.
Just Defense – My favorite cooldown that the Cleric has. 50% of the Cleric’s HP as a shield that lasts 10 seconds on a 1 minute cooldown. You’ll get the feel for when this needs to be used in raids after a few pulls on each boss.
Reprieve – My second favorite cooldown. Reprieve used to be a horribly bad 4k heal. That was just fine when we were level 50 and tanks only had 7k HP, but come on, we now have well over 50k HP, does a 4k heal really do anything? Now, it’s a full heal that also heals the target of your Righteous Mandate for half of the Cleric’s HP. Do not use this at the beginning of a fight if you’re not tanking, or just got done tanking. Due to the way that threat is calculated, it’s roughly the same as hitting the boss with a 120k attack. If you use it in the first 30 seconds of a fight, you WILL pull aggro on everything in the room, even if there’s a tank on an add. Note* It can be used almost as a taunt, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a lot of faith in your healers.
Taunts / Miscellaneous:
Provoke – Single target ability that forces the mob to attack the Cleric for 3 seconds. Do not use this ability to pull!!! Although it’s tempting for new tanks to use this ability to pull, if you do, it will most certainly be on cooldown when an over zealous DPS pulls it off of you.
Righteous Imperative – Basically an AoE version of Provoke. Hits up to 10 mobs and forces them to attack you for 3 seconds. Again though, I really don’t like using taunts because once you get used to tanking, you should be able to keep aggro without ever using a taunt. I try to reserve this ability for when unexpected things happen, just to keep adds off of my healers.
Rebuke – This is an AoE pull in taunt that forces the mobs to attack the Cleric for 3 seconds. This is a very useful ability and I’ll use this not to get aggro, but rather to postion caster mobs in with the rest of the melee mobs to expedite their being killed. It’s noteworthy to add that if there’s any type of obstacle around/near the mob, Rebuke will start to pull them in and then they’ll glitch on the obstacle and remain at range. Kind of frustrating sometimes.
Sovereignty – This is a 2 second stun on a 20 second cooldown. It’s not horribly effective, but can be used to help out while tanking Matriarch. Also, need to be used on Crucia right before you get mind controlled otherwise you could stun one of your healers with Lightning Rod.
Purpose – This is the only toggle ability that Cleric tanks have. You toggle it on, and for each melee attack that you do, it restores 10% of your mana. This is much more important at lower gear levels and on magic damage bosses. Magic damage bosses do no attacks that you can block (Matriarch), which means that you’ll never restore mana naturally. Remember kids, you won’t gain any convictions when this is active, so check to make sure you toggled it off before putting in a support ticket that you’re not generating convictions. Note* Purpose does NOT give you mana back for ranged attacks. If you toggle Purpose on while you’re at range, all you’re doing is keeping yourself from gaining convictions.
Salvation – Thank god they changed this to a passive ability instead of a buff. This is a great passive ability. It heals you and 5 people for a set value depending your gear level. On ST attacks, expect it to heal yourself and other for ~650 per swing (crits of 1.1k), and with AoE attacks, it heals for ~350 for each mob hit, up to 5 people.
Interdict – This is just a simple interrupt on a 10 second cooldown, plus a little more. First, it’s a 30m ranged interrupt. Second, it’s an AoE interrupt centered around your target. Third, you can actually be facing away from the add your targeting and it will still go off. It may be a 2 second longer CD that warriors’ interrupt, but you don’t have to be facing the mob and you can use it at range, so I think it’s an amazing ability.
Absolution – I saved the best for last… the battle rez. Hopefully you won’t need it very much, but us Cleric tanks are blessed with having the best battle rez in the game. Why is it the best? Simple, ours is the only one that rezzes someone at 100% health. There is a problem though, we’re usually right in front of a cleaving boss. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting battle rezzed and by the time your screen loads, you’ve already been cleaved dead again. The best way to handle using your battle rez is to either only rez your co-tank (all fights in EE/FT require at least 2 tanks), or wait until you’re not tanking to rez someone, just hope that it’s not an essential role if you have to wait to rez them.
I am going to put in the only attack macro that I use. I know that there are people out there that are purists who hate macro’s, but I view it as Trion put something into the game to make my life easier, so I’m going to use it. It seems to just add a level of complexity that isn’t needed to try and execute a tanking rotation while also observing mechanics. Remember, we’re not DPS, so a sub par rotation isn’t necessarily a bad thing…. unless you lose aggro. In which case, you should probably pay more attention and use the following macro.
#show Strike of Judgment
cast Strike of Retribution
cast Precept of Refuge
//cast Doctrine of Authority
cast Strike of Judgment
cast Bolt of Radiance
The above macro is for single target only. I put all of my ranged attacks at the bottom to ensure that they never get cast if I’m in melee.
I would strongly suggest getting used to pulling trash and bosses without ever using taunts. None of the taunts do damage anymore, so after the 3 second duration wears off, if you haven’t hit the mob or healed, it’s going somewhere else.
The best way to pull trash packs is to keep chain pulling the trash so your convictions are always up. If your convictions fall off before a pull simply hit your Total Assurance to get 7 instant convictions. In either case, you should always pull trash packs with Hammer of Faith .
For single target pulls and boss pulls, again don’t use a taunt. First, use your Total Assurance , immediately followed by Hammer of Duty . This ability hits so hard that you can tell all of your DPS to open up on it and pop all of their cooldowns and you won’t risk losing aggro.
After the initial pull, it’s pretty easy. Simply hit your macro to 7 convictions, then use Hammer of Duty . On trash packs, after the initial pull, hit Even Justice a few times, then Censure once. After you get up to 7 convictions again, use Hammer of Faith . Remember that one of your cooldown’s use convictions, so try to plan around that. Also, when you’re pulling trash packs, stop using conviction using attacks well before the mobs die to ensure that you’ll have 7 convictions to power the Hammer of Faith for the next trash pack.
That’s pretty much it. I wish I could make it harder, but there’s really no need for that.
Other tanking builds:
As I said earlier, I am a main spec tank. What that means is that I have 4 different tanking specs and only one DPS and one Healing spec. The spec/rotation that I list above is the one that I recommend to everyone that’s looking to get into Cleric tanking as it’s a good spec for experts and most bosses in FT and EE. Below is a list of other specs that I have or have had as well as the differences in playability from the spec that I listed above.
With this spec, you lose a little bit from the passive abilities in Justicar. That means slightly lower HP, armor, and resistances. This spec does increase your Block/Parry however, since you get the passive out of Cabalist that increases Wisdom by 5%. You gain 3 key abilities, which is why I created this spec.
Dark Harbor – This ability increases the amount of all resists that you have. Although you lose some resists by not going a full 61 points into Justicar, you more than make that amount up with this buff.
Bound Fate – This is a ranged, AoE spammable ability. It’s very useful, if for some reason you find yourself at ranged with a group of adds. This rarely ever happens, but if it does, that probably means something has gone terribly wrong, so you’ll probably want to use Righteous Imperative to get everything under control.
Dark Passage – This ability is the reason why I created this spec. When I was low geared as a fresh 60, there are definitely fights in expert dungeons where a teleport was very effective. Manslaughter in Golem Foundry needed a teleport before they changed the encounter and did away with the mechanic, and also the 3rd boss of Tower of the Shattered when the little guys were gettting ready to explode.
Trion either did away with the mechanics that caused me to make this spec, or I’m just geared enough now that I don’t get one shot anymore. Either way, I no longer have this spec, but is still worth consideration if you’re getting killed by mechanics that could be avoided if only you were farther away.
What you lose from this spec is Total Assurance , which isn’t a huge deal if you’ve been tanking for awhile, but really hurts if you rely on it for pulls (as I do.) Your macro above is almost identical except for the fact that you no longer have Sanction Heretic from the Inquisitor tree.
This is the spec that I use for heavy magic damage fights. It can also be used as a main tanking build if you’re going for more mitigation because of the increased Block/Parry from the Wisdom passive in Cabalist. The biggest reason that I picked up this spec and still use it is because of the added resist/mitigation. It could be argued that I don’t have as much armor/HP as with the Inquisitor tree like my build in this guide, but it would be minimal and this is my desired flavor.
Dark Harbor – The only buff that I gain in this spec. As I said already though, it depends on the fight. This isn’t a bad spec for tanking experts if you have a weak healer as you’ll Block/Parry more.
What this spec loses is Armor of Treachery for the buffs and Sanction Heretic for attacks. So, if you want to pick up this spec, just remember to take Sanction Heretic out of your spam macro so you don’t fill your chat window with “Unknown command or ability”.
This spec is for any fight (Regulos) where you need the ability to cleanse yourself if you happen to find yourself seperated from the rest of the raid. You lose Armor of Treachery again from the Inquisitor tree. You don’t get the Wisdom buff from Cabalist. You don’t get the Resist buff from Cabalist, and you lose HP/armor/Endurance from the passives of Justicar. You lose all of these things in a small amount to gain a cleanse.
Jealous Intervention – This is a spammable cleanse with no cooldown period. If you ever find yourself in need of a spec that has a self-cleanse and you’re either away from your healers or in a really bad pug where the healer can’t seem to cleanse off Magma Torrent or Chain Lightning before people die, then this is the spec for you.
Rage Blight – A buff that increases your damage done. Although this initially looks like a good thing, once you realize that you lose passive damage with this spec, Rage Blight just gets you to where you were damage wise with the original spec.
Although you do lose quite a few different stats that I listed above, in all reality, it is a very small overall mitigation/HP loss. Sometimes, you just have to take one for the team if you need a spec that allows you to progress, even if that means having less HP than your warrior tank who rubs it in your face when he has more HP than you do.
This spec is all about the interrupts. Have you ever caught yourself thinking “Man, I wish that I had another interrupt so I could interrupt everything, all of the time. I just love interrupting things so much and getting yelled at by the raid if I happen to miss one of the interrupts that comes every 6 seconds for the entire 7 minute fight.”? ME NEITHER!!! However, this spec was designed for Matriarch. Matriarch casts “Wave of Decay”, sometimes every 6 seconds, so no class can get all of them with a single interrupt. What that means is that you have to have multiple people doing it. There’s another problem: On the Matriarch fight (3rd boss in EE btw,) those people interrupting also have to run out of range of the boss to deal with a mechanic. The ONLY people that are always on Matriarch are the tanks. So, with that lengthy introduction out of the way, I use this spec for Matriarch. It has 2 interrupts that don’t share the same CD, so you can get all of the interrupts by yourself. This is also useful for the 2nd boss in Golem Foundry, so you can interrupt both “Mark of Doom”, and “Dark Pool”, by yourself, because as we all know, the DPS mysteriously lose their interrupt ability as soon as they join a pug expert.
Glacial Shield – From into Shaman a little ways, a small shield that helps reduce incoming damage on you, go ahead and put it in your spam macro as it too small to be treated as a save.
Bitter Wind – Interrupt on a 10 second cooldown. This again is one of those nifty interrupts that work at ranged and facing away from the boss, so it is one of the most useful for you to have.
Glory of the Chosen – Buff from Shaman that heals you for a small amount while you’re attacking. This ability does stack with Salvation heals, so it’s a nice little benefit from being so deep in Shaman.
There are some attacks that you get out of Shaman, but with the recent buff to the threat modifiers with Justicar abilities in 2.2, there’s no reason to use any of them as they’ll be an overall threat reduction.
Now the depressing part… What you lose from this spec. You lose Armor of Treachery , you need to take Sanction Heretic out of your macro, you lose HP/Armor/Block/Dodge/Parry/Resists from the passives of Justicar. In addition to those you also lose Total Assurance from Justicar and you also lose your cooldown Doctrine of Glory from Justicar.
It seems like a lot to lose from one spec, but the tank damage on Matriarch isn’t very significant, so all of the mitigation stats you lose is a moot point. This spec simply allows simplification to a fight so you don’t have to have different waves of people trying to keep straight whose turn it is to interrupt. I personally don’t care for this spec, but if it gets the job done by performing its’ specific function, then I’ll run it. The only problem is getting my eyes to stop bleeding after doing nothing but interrupting for a 7 minute long fight.
Cleric tanking really is a lot of fun. The thing that still puts a smile on my face is when adds get facepulled and start going all over… I wait for a second or two (enough to scare the whiny healers,) and then hit my Reprieve and watch all of the adds in the room simultaneously whip back around from whatever direction they were headed and come running to me. Cleric tanks have many tools at our disposal and I would be lying if I said that it was easy all of the time.
Tanking is: 20% rotation, 30% gear, and 50% raid awareness. As long as you’re hyper aware of mechanics and boss position as well as knowing which tank killing abilities are coming up and plan accordingly, you should be just fine. All of the fights take several pulls to figure out the in’s and out’s, so when you get to a new boss fight, hop back into RiftScene and take a look at our very detailed guides for some help.