Faction Champions Down!
Once again, after one night of wiping and perfecting our strategies, we go back into the Trial of the Grand Crusade and one shot the next boss. After assigning out all of our crowd controls, interrupts, and dps order, we pulled with double hungering colds, and a bubble divine sac. One by one, the champs dropped like flies and we only had one person die the entire encounter, twice LOL. Once again, the loot gods were not smiling on the tanks, and we did not get a trinket or a belt for our sets. Oh well, next week.
More on Stamina versus the rest…
On to the meat and potatoes of what I want to talk about today. In response to some of the comments that have been posted on Rhidach’s post about the Onyxia trinket, I wanted to go into a bit more depth on my philosophy of Stamina vs. anything else. I know that I will more than likely disagree with the vast majority of the paladin community, and the tanking community as a whole, however I feel that my perspective warrants a bit more discussion. The concept of stamina stacking is a very simple one to understand, the more health you have the more damage you can take. But the real question is, why take the damage if you do not have to. I will concede that there are certain situations when having the largest health pool is an advantage, but in my opinion, these situations are few and far between.
Since most of us are pushing trial of the grand crusade in one form or another, I will make use of the encounter mechanics to show you my point of view. There are two fights in the entire instance where more stamina may save your life (if we are forsaking armor), and those are Icehowl’s Ferocious Butt, and Anub’arak’s Freezing Slash. These are two attacks where there is nothing that you can do to avoid the damage, and you will be taking all of it right on the chin. The only thing that will save you here is Stamina and Armor. To me, this is where the effects of stacking stamina are beneficial, and it is also where the benefit ends. For all other mechanics that we encounter as a result of the Trial of the Grand Crusader, there are better ways to survive as a tank. Since I have been engaged in this debate for a long time now, and have tried my best to articulate my point of view in many different ways, I am going to lean on a respected tankadin to explain the point at which stamina is no longer the best stat (in my opinion):
I think the “EH until AD ain’t proccin'” rule of thumb is probably a good one for tanks that aren’t sure where they fit in the progression ladder. – Theck
Now whether his statement was meant to align with my gearing philosophies or not, I do believe that this statement is really the heart and soul of why I chose to balance my gear sets, stats, and abilities.
Ardent Defender’s Guardian Spirit and your Stamina
The way that I see it, If you have had the experience with tanking a good amount of Trial of the Grand Crusade, you are well aware of the amount of incoming damage that you are going to take, and you have a plan as a result. When I tank the Hard Modes, I have an effective health set that I wear. This set has dual stamina trinkets, however, it is not comprised of pure stamina gems. I feel that the balance of stats is much more valuable. In my experience with tanking Northrend Beasts, Lord Jaraxxus, and Twins, I have yet to have AD proc during the fight unless it was already called a wipe. The one exception to this is also the reason that we have AD. I have on multiple occasions survived the enrage when icehowl hits someone because of Ardent Defender, quick CDs and long strings of avoidance.
With that being said, what is the true benefit of having more stamina if you are not dropping down into the 30% range, let alone activating the GS life saver that is built into AD. The answer is not much. The largest argument of stacking stamina in my eyes is to extend the range of ardent defender by increasing the amount of health you have at 35%. Beyond this, if you are not dying, and you are not dipping into that 35% range regularly, there is no benefit. At this point, you are willingly taking more damage than you have to. If you alter your gearing philosophy to allow for the inclusion of avoidance and mitigation statistics once you have reached a health pool that safely keeps you alive, you are purely decreasing the amount of damage you take. Sure you can say that by increasing the range of your ardent defender, you increase your mitigation considerably, however if you are not regularly dipping down into the 30% range, then you are not utilizing the skill and your justifications are flawed.
The benefits of Armor and Avoidance
When it comes down to it, if your healers are doing their job, you should rarely have to use your Ardent Defender, and as such, more stamina is really not worth anything to you from a mitigation stand point. At this point, you can start leaning towards avoidance and armor to increase your survival, and your ability to take damage. Really, regardless of the justification that “healers have infinite mana right now” they still have a finite amount of healing based off of global cool downs. There is a point at which a decision has to be made by a healer, heal the tank or heal the guy that got X debuf as a result of the current encounter. If you are taking less damage because you are better at mitigating and avoiding damage, then you are an easier decision. The pure stamina tank will be taking more damage regardless of the amount of stamina he has, and as a result will require more heals. You will still live a long time, and be able to take a lot of hits, but you will be consuming more of your healers global cool downs.
In the times where blizzard thinks that making encounters challenging means making the raid and the tanks take LOTS of damage and nothing more, you have to see healers global cool downs as a commodity that is not to be squandered. The less healing you take the more the raid can receive, and as a result, the longer your raid will survive. As always, in the end your gemming, enchanting, and gearing philosophies are all opinions and are part of each tanks unique situation, however, I think that as a whole, the tanking community has lost sight of one of their most important duties to their raid and their guild. Each tank has a duty to be the one that takes the damage for the raid, however they also need to understand that less damage is always better.