Pick up that Piece of Gear!

Icecrown gear swapping and you…

There has been a lot of discussion as of late on the concepts of gearing in Icecrown. Every tank in the game is hoping to get that edge on the encounter which will make it that much easier to defeat and help progress their guild through the instance. That is why I wanted to take some time to write a little bit about my opinions on gearing, icecrown, and what has changed in the past three weeks. The short and dirty version is that Icecrown is currently easy content, where bosses do not truly hit hard enough to provide examples of burst damage which we can subsequently gear towards. So, in the mean time, we can discuss what we should do with the gear that is now available to us, and why you, as a main tank, should be picking up as much of it as possible.

My equipment Manager

My bags are overflowing

Gear sets are a very important concept for newer tanks to understand. Even if you have been tanking for all of WoLTK, or even longer, if you are still using one gear set for a whole raid night, you are doing your guild a disservice. Knowing what a particular trash pack or boss does, and tailoring your gear that you wear into that encounter makes you a very powerful, and high end tank. This is important to remember as we plow through the first four bosses of this instance. I know that each guild had different experiences in ICC during the past few weeks, but speaking form personal experience, I have already swapped over to threat gear because my health never dropped below 40% in any given encounter (with the caveat that we were not wiping). This shows me that I out gear these progression bosses. This will be a different story when the hard modes open up, but until then this is what we have to work with.

Because of this gear disparity, it is important to understand that a tank has many “roles” during a raid. And, each of these roles usually required different gear sets to perform at your very best. Now while I have extensively gone over the different gear sets and the philosophies behind them, I have not truly justified why they are necessary. We will more than likely encounter bosses in the rest of the instance, as well as the hard modes to come, which will employ a multitude of methods to try to kill you. Having the proper gear available to counter this is crucial to successful progression. What this means is that if there are pieces that drop from ICC with hit and expertise on them, they may not be valueable to you now in your current gear set, but that will not always be the case. The same is true for bonus armor, or avoidance pieces.

Tanks are Loot whores by nature

This is something that most of my fellow tanks in Crypt Friends have yet to embrace. They take a look at a piece of gear, and say well that has dodge and parry on it, and I don’t really need more avoidance, I need the expertise that is on my current gear. The problem is that, there will come a time where you WILL NEED that avoidance, and that time is the week after you kill Arathas and decide that you want to try  hard modes. If you are not properly prepared with your gear before the day when your guild wants to try, you will be holding your guild back as you wait for those pieces to drop.

It is interesting to note that there are three distinctive sets of gear that drop out of Icecrown Citadel, can be crafted by reputation patterns, or can be bought with Emblems of Frost. Each of these sets tailors your statistics to bolster different strengths. There is a near complete set of gear which has hit and expertise, one that has bonus armor, and one that has a ton of avoidance on them. Now while balancing each of these will give you a nice balanced set, stacking each of these will give you a huge advantage when it comes to an encounter that employs a counter to one of these gearing philosophies.

Icecrown Citadel is the perfect example of a loot table that has gone above and beyond when it comes to providing different gear for different gearsets. Blizzard has done an excellent job with itemization of said gear and making most of it available to the masses. It is important that you consider what your role is with in your raid, when that next piece of gear drops, so that you know if it is something you should pick up immediately, or if it is something you can pass to your fellow tanks. Never let something get disenchanted or go to an offspec role if you don’t have it first, as each piece that drops in ICC has a purpose.


13 Responses to “Pick up that Piece of Gear!”

  1. 1 Dosan
    December 28, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    What bag addon do you use? Also is that the blizzard equip manager?


  2. 3 Blyerts
    December 29, 2009 at 2:22 am

    You have really opened my eyes to gear-sets. I was once one of the tanks with only one set of gear. In the beginning I started swapping trinkets and now im craving for more and more variations of gear. Im in the progress of getting a good threat weapon but I have really been out of luck lately. Thanks for all the insight!

  3. December 29, 2009 at 2:31 am

    Looks like you need some portable holes!

  4. 5 Sapria
    December 29, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    I’ve been poking around the maintankadin forums looking for some gearset info and I came across your post here. I’m trying to find a simple summation of what’s the best gearset to use for a particular boss. I’ve only been in ICC once so far and I just used my EH set b/c I didn’t know what else to wear for each boss. Do you know a link that holds such precious information.


    • December 29, 2009 at 1:53 pm

      Physical EH for marrowgar, Magical EH for Deathwhisper or DW adds on right side, physical EH for DW adds left side, physical EH for gunship adds, Avoidance for High Overlord Saurfang, avoidance for Deathbringer Saurfang.

  5. 7 William
    December 31, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Man, you are way overcomplicating things as a prot pally. There has only been a single fight that has ever required a 2nd gearset in WotlK so far, and that is Anub-25 HM, which required a high block value set if you were solo tanking all 4 adds.

    If you are a competent prot pally, you don’t NEED to gear for threat, ever. This is because we never have any threat issues except on specific gimmick fights (e.g. Hodir). All you need to do is gear for survival, that means finding gear that has as much dodge/parry on it as possible and of the highest iLvl (more stamina), while maintaining soft-cap on expertise (very easy). If you’re under hit cap, just glyph your taunt and it’s all good.

    On the other hand, warriors or DK tanks could realistically have threat issues if they completely ignore threat stats. Thus, it is more important for them to build more than 1 set or balance stats a bit more.

    Just be glad that you’re playing the most overpowered tanking class currently in the game (hint: I play a prot pally).

    • January 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm

      Sufficient is not the same as optimal.

    • 9 Wrathy
      January 3, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      I will just agree to disagree. The purpose of this post was to try to get people away from your train of thought. I agree that I could put on my progression set and tank everything just fine. Sure my Hunters may have to Feign Death, and I may need a few Tricks and Misdirects, however it can be done. From this perspective, I agree with you, you do not need the gear.

      However, as I have always said, you are not doing the best you could be. If you follow the “I don’t NEED that to do my job” philosophy, you can also say that you are ok with that participation trophy, instead of winning, or that Killing Algalon in 264 gear is still a worthy accomplishment that deserves praise from the greater community.

      Just because you can do something, does not mean its the best way to do it.

      • 10 William
        January 3, 2010 at 6:58 pm

        “Sure my Hunters may have to Feign Death, and I may need a few Tricks and Misdirects, however it can be done. From this perspective, I agree with you, you do not need the gear.”
        Now that’s putting words in my mouth. What I’m saying is the class mechanics of a Paladin Tank initself provides far more than enough threat to tank any encounter except a gimmick one, provided you are playing the class to its fullest potential. You don’t need gear to help you with that, I’ve never had any mage or hunter needing to drop threat, and our guild is a 25-man Anub HM guild with raiders regularly doing 9-10K+ DPS on fights.

      • January 4, 2010 at 12:14 am

        William, I highly doubt that you have mages and hunters doing 9k+ on fights without needing to MD, FD, or Invis. You might not notice it, but if they’re good enough to pull that kind of DPS, they’re good enough to know how to manage their aggro without being told. I would suggest you go back and check the WoL parses and see just how often they actually use their aggro manipulation abilities.

        The difference between running with a threat set and a EH set is huge. While it’s not often useful for progression content, it does serve it’s purpose. An avoidance/unhittable set has proven it’s use, and the sort of difference you gain between certain survival stats varies wildly based on the mechanics of the fight.

        Saying that one set fits all is not untrue, it is, however, innacurate. A car built for the 24 hours of Le Mans can certainly complete a 1/4 mile sprint, but it will never do so as effectively as a vehicle built for that purpose. Min/maxing is what allows for guilds to gain an edge on cutting edge content. Multiple gear sets for a tank is just another extension of that. One which you are not willing to commit to, but one that is useful nonetheless.

  6. 12 Vorian87
    January 3, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Wrathy is discussing things here from a min-maxing perspective not from a general raiding POV. And since you are in an Anub25 HM guild I am sure you are familiar with min-maxing 🙂


  7. 13 Morlin
    January 20, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I’ve been trying to get more into gear sets myself. I do have a question or two though. Do you pick up duplicates of certain pieces, for the purpose of gemming/enchanting them differently for different sets?


    That’s my main set at the moment. I’m trying to build up my other sets, but I don’t currently have a lot to work with. I destroyed a lot of outdated gear awhile ago, like the XT shoulders and older tier, along with everything I ever got from Naxx.

    For my threat set (and tanking heroics), I swap out the neck for Shard of the Crystal Forest, gloves for Gauntlets of the Royal Watch, my Brewfest trinket out for DMC: Greatness, and my weapon for Titanguard (enchanted with Accuracy). I’m also planning on spending Triumph badges to get the T9 232 helm for this set.

    Other pieces I have but I’m not sure where they fit in or whether I should just vendor them:

    Endurance of the Infernal (magic EH/avoidance?)
    Spiked Deathdealers (avoidance?)
    Purified Onyxia Blood Talisman (avoidance)
    Ferver of the Frostborn-232 (avoidance)
    Bulwark of the Royal Guard-232 (magic EH)
    Wall of Terror (?)
    Barricade of Eternity (?)
    Libram of Defiance (avoidance)

    I love the idea of swapping out gear sets tailor made for specific situations, but I am a little overwhelmed comparing all the gear. I loved your guide to specific gear sets, but I’m still trying to learn. I’m a seasoned tank, but not so much with gear swapping!

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