a theory on gearing – the effective health set

Earlier on in the month I talked about the theory of a threat set and its applications during raids. As we get closer and closer to the Trial of the Grand Crusader (Heroic Coliseum), I felt that it would be a great time to start talking about your effective health set. Why does an effective health set correlate perfectly with new hard mode bosses? Well, your effective health set will be the gear set that you are going to want to wear for most progression fights, however there are always exceptions to the rule. You want to wear this set when you as tanking a new boss and healers will need to adjust to new mechanics, new positioning, and new raid disorganization.

By gearing for pure effective health, you will be taking the least amount of damage of any set that you have in your arsenal. This is important for new content for two reasons, first and foremost because new bosses hit HARD and you want to counter that with your best foot forward when it comes to survivability. Secondly, the less healing that you require (e.g. the more damage you avoid and mitigate) the more breathing room your healers will have to learn the encounter. In the end the more you can do to make the encounter easier for your healers, the smoother the attempts are going to go.

What is Effective Health?

I discussed this earlier on in a previous blog entry, however since the concept of effective health is very important to understand, I will reiterate the words of a much smarter man:

Effective health “…is basically a measurement of how much raw damage a creature has to deal to kill you. It is a measurement of Armor and it’s relation to Stamina…

Effective Health is the measurement of how much breathing room your healers have to keep you alive assuming all other factors fail — assuming you do not avoid or block attacks or have a mana shield active. Effective Health is important for tanking heavy hitting creatures because of Murphy’s Law — if you can have long strings of not Dodging an attack, it will definitely happen. Raid tanking, ultimately, is about stability.” – Ciderhelm

Let’s take a look at this statement and start to understand what the key elements are. First and foremost, it talks about the amount of damage that you can take with out receiving any healing. This is what the theory is based off of, but not what you should expect in any real situation. The concept of survival, and being able to take more and more damage and mitigate it, is essential to a progression encounter’s success. Healing mana on a progression fight is a crucial commodity. People do not know where to stand or how to react to boss mechanics, and as such, more healing is needed that in farmed content. Why do we care how much damage other people take? Well the less mana your healers have as a result of raid damage directly correlates to the number of heals you will receive on any given encounter.

The two key stats to ensuring that this is possible are Stamina and Armor. Stamina is as simple as it sounds, the more health you have correlates directly to how much damage you can take prior to dying. If your health pool is at 40k fully buffed, then you can take 40k worth of damage. However, if your health is at 48k then you can take 8k more damage. Armor on the other hand is a commonly overlooked statistic that is essential to your effective heath set, and it is something that you should strive to enhance any chance you get. Armor reduces the amount of physical damage that you take no matter what happens. You can be stunned, hit from behind, etc and you will still mitigate damage based on your armor.

The most important thing to remember about armor and why you want to continue to increase the amount you have is that:

An X% increase in armor means an X% increase in armor’s contribution to the amount of damage you can take.

What this means is that for a level 83 npc, aka a boss, to achieve 50% damage reduction you would have to have 16635 armor, 60% – 24953, 70% – 38815, and 75% – 49905. As you can see it takes significantly more armor to get a percentage, but as it says above, an increase in the percentage of armor you have gives you the same percent increase in damage reduction. Why did I stop at 75%? Well if you have ever been in your armor set with an Indestructible Potion and Furnace Stone active, you will notice that your damage reduction is a perfect 75%. That is because Armor caps out at 75% damage reduction.

Is armor and stamina all I should care about?

Absolutely not! Although these will be your main focus for item selection, gemming and enchanting, it would not be wise to completely forget avoidance and block. Avoidance is something that you will still want to focus on, as it is a chance at completely avoiding all the damage of an incoming attack, prolonging your time to live or TTL. Once you have identified the pieces that provide the most armor and stamina, you want to focus on avoiding attacks. Although your effective health set will not have nearly as much avoidance as your best in slot set, it will make up for that with stamina and armor.

Block value is another stat that may be overlooked when it comes to effective health sets. As long as you have first focused on avoidance so that you can maintain the unhittable 102.4% dodge, parry, block, miss summation, block is another powerful tool to increase your effective health. If you are unhittable and maintain your 969 rotation to ensure 100% upkeep of holy shield, any block value translates into pure mitigation. The more you can block, the less damage you take, extending your effective health.

Gearing, gemming and Enchanting your effective health set

When selecting your gear for your effective health set, you always want to consider any piece of gear that has bonus armor on it. How do you know if there is bonus armor? The armor value on the item is green. These pieces are usually high in stamina and perfectly tailored for effective health sets. As we have talked about before, if these pieces have sockets in them, you want to gem them to their strengths, meaning pure stamina most of the time. If the socket bonus is a +12 stamina or more, then it is worth the gem itemization to go with at 10 agility 15 stamina gem. Some great examples of gear that you would want to include in your effective health set are the following:

Saronite Plated Legguards Cloak of the Shadowed Sun The Leviathan”s Coil
Clutch of FortificationMark of the Unyielding

Each of these pieces has bonus armor, lots of stamina and some avoidance to boot. They are the ideal pieces to create the foundation of an effective health set. Based on the encounter that you are facing, you can go with double stamina trinkets such as the Heart of Iron, the Royal Seal of King Llane, or The Black Heart, or you could go with a dodge and activatible armor trinket such as the Furnace Stone. These are all great choices when it comes to effective health trinkets. There are pure armor choices, but my personal tendency is to not use them. If you are someone who likes to use armor trinkets there is an amazing trinket from the badge vendor.

Now that we have the neck, trinkets, rings, and base gear that will provide you with the stamina and armor that is needed as a foundation of an effective health, what fills in the pieces. The answer to this is usually the Best in Slot gear you have. What I mean by that is the piece of gear that you have that is strongest for that slot, e.g. gloves that have lots of stamina, armor, and avoidance. As you run more instances, you will acquire more gear that you can mix and match. In the end you should be able to put a nice effective health set together with unique gear that will boost your armor, health and avoidance as much as possible to help your healers and your raid during progression encounters.

As you round out your effective health set you want to focus on the holistic gear set, something that provides max survivability while maintaining the essentials of tanking. Hope this helps!


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