Gambits (Part 3) – Tanking

So I’ve been delaying this post a bit but wanted to get it out before too long – essentially I’ll talk about the gambits to use while tanking and some common “rotations” folks use.  I’m not going to claim this is the only way to do it but it has been effective for me.  I will try to keep it level independent, but I will at times talk about higher level gambits.  I have a number of threads here talking about specific fights, traits, legendary items, threat definitions, etc. which I won’t cover here but if you haven’t seen them I’d suggest checking them out – you can find them either via the search tool or the category picker.

A couple of general tanking thoughts first – make sure you have a plan communicated (who’s main assist, who’s off-tank, etc.) and that you’re all on the same page.  Use all the appropriate foods and buffs as they can make a HUGE difference.  And of course, make sure everyone is ready before some big pull or boss fight ;)  For boss fights, it also is good to discuss what is known about the boss (big DoTs, inductions, etc.) and assign folks to the appropriate roles.

For most cases, it makes tanking easier if you can do the pulling – but it certain cases it is better for a hunter or loremaster to do a root-pull.  But either way, the rest of the plan doesn’t really change much – you just might suggest folks go a tad easy up front if you’re doing a root-pull but usually I don’t have too many issues with them.

I’m going to break this up into single and multi-mob pulls and assume you’re pulling the mobs to you.

Single mob pulls:

  • as the mob is headed your way try to get as many attacks as possible in – javelins, etc. and if you have gambit masteries I suggest building war-cry (fist-shield) as it is fast and can be used at range.
  • once the mob is in melee range use precise blow (fist-spear) which is by far our BEST single target agro generator.  When in doubt, use this gambit ;)
    • Depending on how my agro is at this point, I may fire off another PB – remember our Threats over time (ToTs) stack with each other.
  • If the mob is a big hitter, I’ll pop up a defensive buff (best available at your level) but if not I’ll use a threat transfer to keep myself ahead of the group.
    • For threat transfers they work best when your group has had a chance to build some threat, so don’t use right off the bat.
    • whichever I don’t use first, use second
  • I’ll then use another PB, followed by a threat transfer
  • By now, you should be pretty set on the agro table – depending on your health you may need to get some of our Heals over time (HoTs) up and keep an eye on your defensive buff to keep it up.
  • From here, it is mainly an issue of just maintaining that agro so I sprinkle in:
    • PB/Threat transfers
    • Boot/Onslaught/Wall of Steel for interrupts if needed
    • Fist Damage over time (DoT) line for more threat and DPS
    • Spear DoT line (Power Attack and Mighty Blow) for pure DPS
    • Keep defensive buffs and HoTs going as needed.

The one variance here is single mob pulls where you use Ambush.  I highly recommend this method assuming there’s no issue with pulling un-wanted adds as it gives us a nice jump start on the DPS and threat areas (ambush, crit, and wages of fear) and gives everyone a chance to get set.  With this plan, ignore the first bullet and start right off with PB and then continue on.

Multiple mob pulls:

  • A little trickier, but the same general idea
  • as the mobs rush to you I usually build war-cry using the mastery
    • some prefer Exaltation of battle, and it is probably a toss-up
  • After war-cry I hit Exaltation of battle which has a threat component but just as important is the AoE life-tap as this will not only help heal you but those heals generate more threat for you.
  • Then I’ll either pop up my defense buff if I’m worried about getting pounded on or another AoE life-tap.  These don’t stack, so it will either be Fierce Resolve or Resolution.
  • At this point my group usually has some agro so threat transfers are good here.
  • I’ll use PB on the main assist target just to make sure it sticks to me
  • I will then primarily rotate between the AoE life-taps, threat transfer, war-cry, and PBs on the main assist target to not only keep my agro up but continue to heal myself.
    • Desolation can be handy at times for its AoE DoT and fear proc, but can also be rather annoying with melee DPS classes.  I’ve also read it can be real handy for certain fights in DN.

One thing with multiple mob pulls, our health will fluctuate quite a bit – so as you get comfortable with it you can better communicate with your healer as to when they should heal you.  With Resolution, you can leach upwards of 1,000-1,500 morale depending on how many mobs are around you and if that’s timed with your ticks from the other life-taps you can easily leach 2,000 morale.  I know when I’m on my mini, 1,000 is about the point when I start healing, but when with a good warden I tend to lay off or at least look to see what buffs they have up.  This not only allows the mini to conserve power but helps them stay lower on the agro pole which is always a good thing.

So you’ll notice I don’t have a set rotation I tend to mainly build as the fight develops and adapt as need be.  There are quite a few threads on the LOTRO warden boards with this exact discussion, so feel free to check them out.  With the combination of our ToTs (most of our threat gambits have a ToT component) and threat leaches, once we get agro usually it is hard for us to lose it.  This free flowing style does take a bit to get used to, but in the end I think it is a better path to follow.  But you will notice that I mainly only use a few gambits:

  • Precise blow (fist-spear) best single target agro gambit
  • War-cry (fist-shield) my personal favorite quite AoE agro gambit
    • I don’t use Goad as it takes longer to build and only works on 3 targets un-traited
  • Threat Leaches (Conviction and Dance of War mainly)
  • AoE Life taps (Exaltation of Battle, Resolution, and Fierce Resolve)
  • Defensive buffs (Shield Mastery)
  • HoTs (Preserve, Celebration of Skill, Restoration)

At the lower levels, tanking in general is really hard as DPS is much higher relatively then threat generation tools.  However as you get into your late 30s and early 40s you really start to turn the corner and catch up.

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8 Comments

  1. 3

    As a fellow warden I approve this post. That is a very good rundown of warden tanking. Just out of curiosity, what trait-line you use mostly for tanking? I usually run 5 Shield 2 Fist for the healing buffsand 10% threat. I have ran with Fist, but feel that I become too squishy without B/P/E buffs up.

    • 4

      I’m currently running 3 fist, 2 shield, and 2 spear. Here’s what I slot with the line bonuses in parentheses.

      Fist mastery, +DoT Pulse, -fist line resist (+threat, +DoT pulse)
      I have the 2 +HoT pulse traits (+block rating)
      The spear mastery and 40% power reduction for quick thrust (-5% spear line power)

      I probably should at least try the shield capstone again as it has been a while, but I feel I give up too much to go all shield. My current setup is more flexible for my style and seems to offer the best overall bonuses.

  2. 7

    Just found this thanks to a link on CSTM. Great addition to the Warden roundtable. My little warden is still in her 30s, but the basics in this post still apply for tanking (PB, defensive buff, healing buff, PB, etc.)

    Thanks for all the pointers. This newcomer warden finds them very useful.

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