How to Tank Heroics and Not Run Out of Mana
This post is dedicated to a former guildie and dear friend. It’s not much, but I do what I can.
There’s something I’ve been wanting to address for a long time, but never got around to it. But now with pugging made easy through the LFD system, the lack of tanks and the abundance of highish ilevel gear, the time is ripe. Especially when I hear horror stories of disc priests getting kicked from the ICC 5-mans for using Power Word: Shield. Especially when the tank is glyphed like this:
Yes, keeping your mana up can be a challenge when you’re a brand new tank sporting tier 9 gear. But it can be done. Here’s how.
Where does mana comes from?
Your main sources of mana in a 5 man are as follows:
- Blessing of Sanctuary: Mana back from Blocking, Dodging and Parrying. Added bonus of boosting your stamina and strength so you don’t need Blessing of Kings.
- Spiritual Attunement: Mana back from being effectively healed. Or from taking damage, depending on how you look at it.
- Seal of Wisdom: Mana back from hitting things. Nice when used in combination with Hammer of Righteous.
- Divine Plea: Continuous mana regen. With the proper talent, it refreshes when you hit an enemy. If you chain pull, it always stays up, but make sure you watch your teammates’ mana when chain pulling. (EDIT: In the comments, Elelereth made the excellent suggestion of killing critters between pulls if needed to refresh Divine Plea.)
- Judgment of Wisdom: When it’s up on a mob, you’ll get mana back from hitting that mob.
- Replenishment: If you’re lucky, someone in the party will have a replenishment effect and will periodically allow you to regen mana.
Build a 5-man set
The key is to sign up for LFD in your fancy, polished, highest ilevel raiding gear. When you zone into your instance, wait for a few seconds for your group to inspect you. Once you’ve gotten the groups’ respect, switch to your 5 man set.
For a 5-man, you want high threat gear. When you overgear heroics, your challenge isn’t minimizing damage anymore, it’s holding threat.
That means strength and hit (melee hit caps at 8%, taunt/spells at 17% – you don’t have to cap as a tank, but hit is good). Expertise to the soft cap of 26. You also want to be blocking a lot. Why block? It triggers Blessing of Sanctuary (a huge source of your mana regen), while still allowing you to take some damage.
Defense-wise, you only need 535 to be at the minimum for a 5-man (540 for raids). Contrarily to popular belief, it’s not a cap (every time someone says “defense cap”, please smack them with a giant spoon for me), but you shouldn’t be going out of your way to get any higher for a heroic. (Raiding is another story that I’m not going into.)
Stamina isn’t much of a concern in 5 mans. I didn’t bother regemming my gear from stamina to strength, partly to save gold and partly to avoid whiny people, but you can do it if you’re motivated. I have 40k health buffed in my 5 man set, but I’ve healed tanks with way less and it wasn’t an issue.
I swap out my tanking trinkets for dps ones, Darkmoon Card: Greatness, strength version and Mirror of Truth. Until I had a high threat weapon, I swapped out my weapon to a dps 1-hander as well. When debating between two pieces of gear, I’ll check on Rawr to see which generates the most threat. Here are some of my favorite 5 man set pieces:
- Necklace of Unerring Mettle (Kologarn, Ulduar 25)
- Valorous Redemption Breastplate (Tier 7.5)
- Bindings of the Hapless Prey (Maexxna, Naxx 25)
- Ablative Chitin Girdle (Maexxna, Naxx 25)
- Signet of the Earthshaker (XT, Ulduar 25)
As an exception, note that the ICC 5 mans are hard, especially in a pug group. I wear my raid tanking gear in there and mana is never an issue.
Speccing and Glyphing
Good news! You don’t need to change your spec or glyphs for 5 mans. You don’t need that extra point in Spiritual Attunement. You don’t have to use strange glyphs like in the picture above. I use my raid tanking spec and glyphs and I do fine.
If you’re desperate for a 5 man spec or if you don’t raid, the first thing I’d suggest is getting the Seal of Command talent and the Hammer of the Righteous glyph if you don’t have them already. The quick, multi-target damage is lovely for 5 mans. Here’s a 5 man spec, suggested byRhidach. Again, the key is to maximize threat since you won’t be taking a lot of damage anyway.
EDIT: In the comments, Rhidach pointed that there is Seal of Command glyph returning 8% of your base mana when you Judge while having that seal up. It could be a possibility if you’re really struggling with mana and don’t want to use Seal of Wisdom.
Buffs Buffs Buffs
To Seal of Wisdom or not to Seal of Wisdom?
I prefer to not Seal of Wisdom. Ideally, I’d use Seal of Command on trash and Seal of Vengeance on bosses. But I don’t have Seal of Command in my spec so I use Seal of Vengeance everywhere. Usually that works. If I’m really struggling with mana, I’ll give in to Seal of Wisdom. Really, with the amount of threat you should be generating in a 5 man gear set, you shouldn’t stress too much over seals.
For blessing, Blessing of Sanctuary all the way. No questions asked.
Rotations for the Win
Your usual 96969 rotation should be fine and remember to pop Divine Plea before the pull. Use Judgement of Wisdom, unless another paladin is keeping it up on your target. If you’re hard up on mana, save Consecration for when you’re fighting 3 or more mobs. Save Avenger’s Shield for when you really need it. It’s too mana consuming to be used regularly. I get better results pulling with Hand of Reckoning anyway.
This is probably a no-brainer, but if you’re struggling with mana, don’t use Sacred Shield on yourself.
When tanking a pack of mobs, position yourself so they’re all in front of you, as much as possible. Mobs in front of you means more block/parrying which means Blessing of Sanc mana regen. If you’re using Seal of Wisdom, mobs in front of you also means more Hammer of the Righteous hitting which means Seal of Wisdom mana regen.
Just don’t move around too much trying to get into position. Your melee dps will get sea-sick and you don’t want that.
Saving the day
Have your raid frames configured to show you who has aggro.
Then have Righteous Defense hotkeyed/macroed/cliqued so you can cast it quickly. For example, as soon as I see a red border around anyone’s name, I can shift-left click on their health bar and Righteous Defense will pull their attacks to me. (Combination of Grid and Clique)
Dealing with Discipline Priests
Yes, there is a noticeable difference in mana regen when you’re being healed by a Disc Priest. Especially one waving Val’anyr procs all over the place.
That said, it’s extremely rude to ask a Disc Priest, especially a stranger, to not shield you. Most of the time, if you’re playing right, the difference isn’t that big anyway. (Same goes for Holy Paladins using Sacred Shield on you.)
If I’m being healed by an exceptionally skilled and well geared Disc Priest and I’m really suffering for mana (say…in Nexus for example), I’ll occasionally unclick PW:S. If the priest is dual specced Disc/Holy, they might switch to Holy if you whine enough about the lack of mana too.
In the ICC 5-mans, you should be taking enough damage to keep your mana bar full. If not, you might want to check to make sure your dps isn’t tanking the instance for you before you start blaming the priest.
And there you have it. How to never run out of mana in 5 mans again. And please, please, please, stop the Disc Priest abuse.