Survivability vs. Damage

With the bosses in the Throne of Thunder raid hitting much harder than the previous tier the way we look at tanking has had to change as well. Especially in heroics, survivability enchants, gems, reforging and trinkets are becoming much more prevalent then their DPS counter parts.

So, the main question that I am going to try and answer today is;

When should I stop gearing for damage and start gearing for survivability, or vice-versa?

What are our current stat priorities?

So going for our damage build we want to use a reforging priority like this;

Hit (7.5%) > Expertise (7.5%/15%) > Haste (Until you have enough) > Crit > Mastery

So with this build, we want to cap our Hit and Expertise, making sure we are as close to the cap, without going under. If damage is your concern then the 15% Expertise cap is the one you want to go for.

Haste is something that is purely up to you, you want to have enough to make sure that you have the Chi generation for the following:

  1. Keep Shuffle at 100%.
  2. Use Guard on cooldown.
  3. Use Purifying Brew as often as you need to.

After you have reached the above point on your gear, you want to max out the amount of Critical Strike Rating you have on your gear. This not only increases the damage that you deal, but also increases the number of Elusive Brew stacks that you will get during a fight, increasing the uptime on the 30% Dodge chance increase.

Mastery as a stat adds no damage, so it isn’t something to aim for, but Mastery on your gear isn’t something to worry about.

When going for survivability we want to use a reforging priority like this;

Hit (7.5%) > Expertise (7.5%/15%) > Haste (Until you have enough) > Mastery > Crit

Like the above build, you want to at least have 7.5% Hit and Expertise, you can go for the 15% Expertise cap, and it will increase the damage that you do, but it isn’t necessary.

For the survivability build you will want to have more Haste then the damage build as you will be using Purifying Brew much more often.

Mastery is what you will want to be gemming and enchanting for. This will increase the Physical damage that you push to Stagger, which will result in your Stagger damage going to Yellow much more frequently.

Critical Strike Rating does add survivability via Elusive Brew.

So How Do I Know Which To Gear For?

As a tank survivability isn’t the only thing that we need to be concerned with, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t important, as if you can’t take the hits your raid team won’t be able to kill bosses. If you do find that you aren’t able to stand up to the hits you’re taking, make sure you are using your cooldowns properly.

Once you are able to stand up to the bosses attacks you need to work out what is killing you. Most of the time it is spike damage that tends to kill tanks. Mastery, and Stamina, are the stats that you will want to gear for if you find that this is happening to you.

On the other hand, if you find that your raid team is unable to beat the enrage timers, gearing so that you can do more damage is one way of helping this. I am personally in this scenario right now, so I am using a Crit build to increase the damage that I am doing.

You need to make sure that you communicate with your healer, as your survivability will definitely be noticed by them.

So Do I Need To Change The Way I Gear?

The only way to know if you do need to change your gear is to actually do it. You aren’t going to know if the change in going to be beneficial until you actually go through with it and stand in front of a raid boss.

Make sure you talk to your healers so that they know you have changed the way you are gearing. For the first few attempts you are probably going to need to actively think about what you are doing, changing how often you use Purifying Brew and Elusive Brew.

If you are using World of Logs I believe that the damage that you Stagger is also included in the damage that you take from the bosses melee attacks. So that the total damage that you have taken will be lower then what is shown.

You might find that you only need to change your gear slightly to make sure you are survivable, in this case, I recommend changing the trinkets that you use from Agility trinkets to Stamina/Mastery trinkets. My favourite trinkets for this are Soul Barrier (I have the LFR version) and Lao-Chin’s Liquid Courage.

So thanks it from me today everyone, let me know what you think. Leave a comment below with your own experiences or questions/suggestions.

If you want to reach me feel free to leave me an email me at, find me on twitter at @matthews9292 or you can chat to me while I am streaming at

I hope you all have had a good International Star Wars day, but remember to beware the Revenge of the 5th.


~ by matthewsmonk on May 5, 2013.

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