What Gear For What Fight?

Ulduar is NO MORE!

A quick aside to the purpose of this post; I am finally free of Ulduar for good unless I want to level another character. Last night we finally took a group into a partially cleared Ulduar to blow up Yoggy with three keepers to get our next mace. Since we did not want to clear the entire instance, as most of us are beyond burnt out of that instance, we got saved to another guild on the server’s instance. Because we stole that instance, we invited a few players from the guild we borrowed it from to come along for the ride for some achievements. After basically 21 manning the instance, and a few wipes on three keeper because our brain blood lust was a pug, yogg was down, we had another mace, and I was a very happy camper.

Gear sets for each boss of the Trial of the Crusader

In response to Amico’s request, I wanted to highlight the encounters of the trial and what gear sets I prefer to use based on my role. After I start to think about this, I have noticed that even the tanks I know that have gear sets often forget to swap them around for different boss fights, trash, etc. Now thats not to say that I am not guilty of this, as my number one swapping error is usually going from General to Yogg. That A’HAH moment usually came around the first tentacle when I did not see heart of the crusader up on my target. Not a big deal for normal yogg, but when you are pushing the encounter with less keepers, the 3% crit really helps. But in the end, what is the point of having gear sets if you don’t use them to the fullest.

NOTE: for the purpose of this discussion, any time I talk about Hard Mode versions of these fights, you can assume that I mean progression fights. So, if you are working on normal mode, and it is a progression fight for you, you should be wearing what I outline in the HM fights. If you have anub’arak on farm on hard mode (mel…), then you can take these suggestions at face value.

Northrend Beasts

Normal Mode: For this fight the most important things that you have to gear for are the impale/ferocious butt and threat on P3. For me the trumping issue of this fight on normal mode is P3 and the aggro that is generated during the stunned part of the phase. My guilds dps is getting to the point where I am having a hard time keeping up on threat between the Ferocious Butt and being knocked across the room on the charges. The impale on normal mode does not hit hard enough that you should have to worry about stacking effective health.

Gear Set – Threat Set.

Hard Mode: For this fight, the amount of damage that you take from unmittigated hits due to Impale and Ferocious Butt are more than your threat set can handle. Needless to say, any fight where you are getting hit for as much as this fight dishes out should require your effective health set. This fight has a great combination of dps and tanking gear checks, and as a result you want to have as much effective health as possible.

Gear Set – Effective Health Set.

Lord Jaraxxus

Normal Mode: There are two different roles that a tank has to fulfill on this encounter, the role of meat shield for Lord Jaraxxus, and off tank or run around and pick EVERYTHING up. For normal mode, if your mages (and to a lesser degree shamans and priests) are doing their job right, then you should have no survival issues on either normal or hard mode. For tanking Lord Jaraxxus, I always wear my threat set. The way that our guild does the encounter, we have our melee dps riding my threat the enitre fight, with the ranged killing the adds. The biggest issue with this is the dps race on the boss and adds. Jaraxxus hits like a kitten, with the exception of his Nether Power, and as such survival is not much of an issue. As for the role of off tank, threat, quick pickups and landing your taunts is the most important part of your job. Because you are only tanking adds, and the pickups and quick burst of threat are important, being hit capped with a threat set is very helpful in doing your job.

Gear Set – Threat Set

Hard Mode: While the Nether Power creates more of an issue on hard mode, and you have a dps race to the portals where every single dps swaps to the portals, Surviving is more of an issue and priority over bursts of threat. Because of the continuous swaps, you will always have a healthy threat lead on your dps. I like to be conservative when it comes to survival on progression / hard mode fights, as there are many things that can cause you do be killed. For these reasons, I always wear my effective health set for this boss fight, with a bit more focus on avoidance (Here is where I am going to lose a few people). I swap out my Heart of Iron for the Ony trinket to give me a bit more avoidance, as I don’t get hit that hard and I still have over 50k hp raid buffed. I find that the less that the healers have to worry about me, the more they can focus on Incinerate Flesh, Chain Lightenings, and the adds damage.

Gear Set – Effective Health / Avoidance

Faction Champions

Normal Mode: This fight is 100% about control and focused dps. I do not swap from protection, and as a result I find that my best utility comes from cleansing, Divine sacrifice, and BoP’s/Freedoms, and above all, lots of taunts. For normal mode, the dps burst from the npc’s is not unmanageable, and dps is the best way to combat this both from the focused dps of your raid, and the amount of damage you can do to the target  you are assigned to distract the npc healers. I like to be hit capped so that my taunts land every time on the target that I am dragging out of the raid, I also like the 2 piece T9 set bonus to reduce the time on my Hand of Reckoning. Luckily my threat set is two piece T8 and T9 for the set bonuses. As long as you are attacking your taunt target, and you have Divine Plea up, you should have plenty of mana to cleanse your entire raid and taunt every time its off cd.

Gear Set – Threat Set

Hard Mode: As taunting is no longer an option in this fight, my main roles in this fight are cleansing, BoP/Freedom, and above all the use of my Divine Sacrifice on cooldown. Because the fights can last up to 20 minutes, the more times you can get your bubble sac off the better. I like to use a modified effective health set for this fight, as the more health you have, the more you will be absorbing by your Bubble sac. As long as you have your four piece T9 on, stack as much stamina as possible. With this, you can mitigate the initial pull’s burst damage on the raid, as well as every 1.5 minutes give the healers some breathing room. Cleanse liberally, BoP on cool down, and keep your mana up and you will serve your purpose for this fight.

Gear Set – Effective Health (4 Piece T9)

Twin Val’kyrs

Normal Mode: As this fight comes with some interesting dps buffs in the form or the orbs and the Light Essence / Dark Essence benefits, threat will be paramount to this fight. Depending on your strategy and the gear levels of your dps, you can be left with very few stacks from the orbs while your dps could be easily pulling 12k. From a tanking perspective, and a threat perspective, I like to compare this fight to Hodir’s threat gimmicks. As a result, producing the maximum amount of threat will help you. The damage that the twins themselves do is not enough to worry about being in an effective health set as they do not hit hard unless they are under the Power of the Twins buffs, in which cool downs can be used if you feel that you are taking too much damage.

Gear Set: Threat Set

Hard Mode: The fight is exactly the same on hard as it is on normal with the exception of the fact that they (both the bosses and their shields) have considerably more health, and the AoE damage is increased a LOT. The damage from the twins themselves is not something that should concern you enough to put on your effective health set, but when you introduce the AoE damage, and the fact that the tanks don’t switch colors during the vortexes, maximum stamina is the only way to go on this fight. While threat may become an issue, as you will have your dps pushing as hard as possible to prevent a 6th ability, your threat should be sufficient in your effective health set if you position yourself to get a lot of the orbs.

Gear Set: Effective Health


For Anub’arak, instead of breaking it down into normal and hard mode, I am going to split it between tanking the boss and tanking the adds. The unmitigated damage from the freezing slash is enough for me to want to wear the same set on normal and hard mode if you are taking the boss. When you get to the point where you are killing Anub’arak on 25 man Hard Mode you can downgrade to your threat set for normal mode boss tanking, but until then, better safe than sorry.

Tanking the Boss: Freezing Slash is all that needs to be said. Threat is a consideration, but not at the cost of survival. The 2-3 seconds of unmitigated damage plus the constant damage in phase three is enough that you should be wearing as much health and armor as possible. I dont really know if there is anything more that needs to be highlighted about this role or the reasoning behind the gear.

Gear Set: Effective Health

Tanking the Adds: I have explained the mechanics behind the adds and their expose weakness debufs here, so I wont get into too much detail on this one. You have to stack as much block value and block rating as possible to try to get to passively unhittable. Even if you do not have the gear set, the more block value and rating you have the better to mitigate the damage. On 10 man Hard mode, if you have an unhittable set, you will literally tank 0 damage.

Gear Set: Passively Unhittable


7 Responses to “What Gear For What Fight?”

  1. October 19, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Congratulations on being clear of Ulduar. I’m a bit jealous. We’re still clearing it every week for… 2 trinkets, random offspec gear, and shards for the 4th mace, and when we can sell a drake, a little bit of money for the gbank. We’re all pretty burnt out on it, but at least the raidweek is generally shortenened now.

    I pretty much can’t argue with your gear recommendations, although starting from our 2nd kill on Jaraxxus I went very threat-heavy and helped DPS portals, rather than playing with avoidance. I don’t know if that’s a reasonable progression path or not.

    Honestly, my progression set (pure EH, damn the torpedoes) is almost completely retired right now, I wear a blended EH/Threat set for all of ToGC (probably my armory right now). I keep planning to wear pure-threat for normal mode, but with the setup involved in getting the 2 runs organized, and the laughability of the content, I tend to do that instance in kind of a “Ready, Fire, Aim” mentality.

  2. 2 Amico
    October 20, 2009 at 5:35 am

    Thanks alot for explaining what you think is best suited for the encounters 🙂
    We only run 10 man, so I only have to worry about that. Normal mode I just run an avoidance set and we switch every other week to solo tank beats, jaraxxus and anub. Hard mode is still a bit scary, we finally managed twins last week. So I hope today (our dedicated raid day per week) will give some tries on anub. I hope my block set proves valuable 🙂

    I see you mention passive unhittable, I might be completley off here. But all my sets are at 102.4% when Holy Shield is up (ie all the time). Is that wrong?

    I am having a hard time getting a hit cap set, so I usually just run a dodge/parry set for threat fights. I use salvation and taunt to keep the boss in control.

    For faction champions I use ret spec with pvp trinket. divine sacrifice helps alot and also I can do some heavy burst to the healer targets. And turn evil on the lock pet! 🙂

    • October 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm

      In 10-mans the passive-unhittable set is much less important, but it still rewards Block Rating over pretty much any other stat. If you have old Naxx gear you can wear, with BR/BV on it, odds are it’s the right choice for the fight.

      What we mean when we say passive unhittable is hitting 101.6% total avoidance+block WITHOUT Holy Shield. 101.6% is because the adds are level 82, not 83, like bosses. Holy Shield will get eaten on this fight. A couple of posts below, Wrathy has a damage intake comparison between 2 10-man attempts, one with progression MT gear, and one with a passive-unhittable set. The delta is quite significant.

      • 4 Amico
        October 20, 2009 at 11:32 pm

        101.6% withouth holy shield.. now that is hard. I have to rethink my gear set then. Bummer! I noticed in part 3 last night (we managed 1 hour of wiping on anub) that as soon as I had more then 2 adds, I had no chance in hell to keep holy shield up.

        And another thing I was wondering about, on Twins the reasoning for using EH set is “and the fact that the tanks don’t switch colors during the vortexes”, why would the tanks not switch colors during vortex?

      • 5 Amico
        October 21, 2009 at 4:29 am

        This is disturbing!
        How can you get to 101.6 passive.. I have tried almost everything now, but it wont happen for me 😦 83.89% with kings and nothing else. I must be missing some paramaters. That is:
        Defense 572
        Dodge 24.50%
        Parry 21.01%
        Block 28.41%

        I am currently logged with the block gear, so it should show up on armory.

  3. October 21, 2009 at 5:41 am

    You don’t have to scroll down too far on this very site to find detailed instructions on how to hit passive unhittable.


    There’s also a threat on it at maintankadin in the gear forums, and it’s discussed in the Anub-25 thread on strategy.

  4. 7 Wrathy
    October 21, 2009 at 7:52 am


    Our tanks never switch colors during vortexes (on normal and heroic). The reason behind this is that on normal, the vortex hits softer than the boss, and is not necessary for someone with 45k+ health even in threat gear to move at all. On heroic mode, there is a significant increase in the damage taken from both splash damage and the boss itself, hence the Effective health set.

    Bottom line, I don’t ever switch my color because I don’t have to, and you can ensure proper positioning for the entire fight.

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