Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Retribution Tanking

Judd W asked for some tips on tanking as Retribution. So here are some. Retribution tanking works pretty well in 5-mans, as Protection armor now has a fair amount of strength on it. Your biggest problem is that you are missing most of the mitigation talents, so your healer has to be prepared.
  1. Make sure Righteous Fury is always up. Because Ret has extra threat reduction from Fanaticism, keeping RF up is crucial. I refresh RF if it goes below 10 minutes.

  2. Wear Protection Armor and a high-DPS 1-hander. Stamina, Defense, and Strength are your key stats. I've found that good tanking gear usually comes from instances, though there is a little bit as quest rewards. There are also some decent crafted pieces.

  3. Pulling can be hard. Pull with Repentance if you can. Otherwise body-pull if it is safe, or get another class to pull for you, and drop a Consecration to pick up the mobs.

  4. I prefer using Seal of Vengeance as you can switch targets while the Vengeance stack ticks away. You'll have to switch targets a bit more often than Protection.

  5. Ability preference is something like: Consecration, Judgement, Divine Storm, Crusade. Emphasis on Holy damage that can hit multiple targets.

  6. Don't forget about Divine Protection. It's really powerful now for reducing damage at crucial points, especially early on large pulls, where you have multiple mobs beating on you.

  7. Righteous Defense is actually pretty useful with the new threat display. As soon as one of your teammates highlights in red, you can select them and RD. You don't have to find the mob that is actually attacking them. This is invaluable on larger, more chaotic pulls.

  8. Unlike Protection, a lot of your threat comes from active abilities, not reactive abilities. As well, you have Judgements of the Wise, so you don't need healing to regenerate mana through Spiritual Attunement. This means that you and your teammates can use stuns liberally, and still maintain high levels of threat.

Realistically, tanking as Retribution is not a whole lot different than tanking as Protection for 5-mans. Make sure your healer knows that you might be a bit squishier than normal so she is prepared. Tab around a bit more to maintain threat on multiple mobs. Stun early, stun often.

I personally wouldn't advertise myself as a tank. But I would offer it as an option if the group is having trouble finding one.


  1. Can you give us any kind of ballpark idea of what health/mitigation/avoidance you would consider minimally-viable for UK and/or Nexus?

    Like many Ret Pallies, I don't have much in the way of good tanking gear (mine is like HFP/Zangamarsh level, ugh). As a Blacksmith, I could make myself some Cobalt stuff, but why would I bother if I'm still not going to be viable enough to keep the instance run from being a serial wipefest?

    Even UK ("Undergeared Keep" as I've seen it called), which I've run on one of my DPS casters, can be tough in spots, especially the AoE damage of the end boss.

  2. I tanked UK at lvl 70 in S3 pvp gear and S3 healing mace/shield. Fo reverything else I used all DPS trinkets/gear, had about 10k hp.

    If you have _any_ tanking gear, it'd help. I was tempted to get my tanking gear from the bank, but I cbf.

    The final boss is the only one who hits hard, and just dont stand around for his smash/dark smash, and especially dont point him towards your casters/healers during those two attacks.

    Our healer was a resto druid who was so bad that while he was spec'd for it, he didn't even use Wild Growth

  3. I don't think HFP/Zangamarsh stuff is going to cut it. I think TBC 70 blues and above are good enough. If you don't have that, I think the cobalt crafted set plus one or two levels (ie, don't tank it if the end boss will be 3+ levels higher than you) will be enough.

  4. Aye those craftables look worth the time if you can get a hold of the mats easily... prices on the AH are all over the place so I am thinking it'll be at least a month before those mats have some kind of median value that's affordable.

    Still not the worst of investments for an off-tanking set.

  5. Tanking as retribution paladin is very painful for someone who's used to tanking as protection. I'm also not sure if Divine Storm or Crusader Strike does extra threat, as Blizzard change them to physical damage.

  6. I often offer to tank, dps, or heal as ret, though I have the gear I feel is necessary to handle it.

    Of course I've had some groups who were totally unwilling to give me a shot at either tanking or healing; their loss, I just go back to questing or find a new group.

  7. Hey, great blog, love your analysis of all things Pally. Quick question, does Divine Protection affect your threat? I enjoy tanking and haven't really ever used it post 3.0.2 as I assumed it affected my threat.


  8. Neither Divine Protection or Divine Shield will affect your threat. However, mobs won't attack a person who is completely Immune to damage. That's why they switch targets when you bubble. Not because you lose threat, but because you are totally immune.

    Divine Protection now only reduces damage by 50%, so you aren't totally immune, and the mob will continue attacking you.

  9. Awesome post, thx Rohan! Can't wait to give it a try :)

  10. @Anonymous ret pally not often given chance.

    I sympathize. I hate when people want to form perfect groups. I ran The Nexus with a non-frost Death Knight one time and a DPS warrior another time. My rogue had to watch threat but it went more than fine.

    On strange group composition, I do remember the regular Shattered Halls run on my protection paladin with two healers, a warlock and another I don't remember - I was pulling non-stop, whole rooms at a time.

  11. Woot! I shot this off in an email to my ret pally leveling buddy. We blasted through Borean and Dragonblight with him ret and me enhance. Only on two of the big group quests in DB did we feel like we didn't want to waste time on multiple attempts to two-man it so we sought out extra firepower. We tend to amass as many of the instance quests as we can get in two zones, then go respec prot/resto just to take advantage of the dps always sitting in LFG for some insta-groups. I know we've been struggling to figure safe tanking numbers level by level, instance by instance. We might have to consider not respeccing next time. ;)

  12. My buddy Ret tanked UK a couple nights ago. He just slapped on a sword and board and ran in head first. Definitely we noticed that the pull order should be root/sheep then repentance then wacking on whatever remaining mobs there are. CC was the key for us because otherwise he was taking too much spike damage. It was still scary though!

  13. One of my guildies ret-tanked the other night and it went perfectly fine. He missed his Avenger's Shield (former prot pally) so pulling was entertaining. He was telling his wife to Chain Lightning the mobs so he could taunt off her. :)

  14. 75 Ret Pally here, with mostly greens from starter Northrend zones and Dragonblight. I was a pick-up for a group halfway through Nexus. I was able to hold aggro pretty easily with just AoEs excepting for Anomalus (too many little adds!). The holy priest was completely unable to keep me alive for Keristrasza, however.

    I had 14k armor (with buffs) and 378 defense rating. I think with a rating of 490-540 (which would be easy to get with some blue blacksmithing armor), we would've been able to handle it.

  15. Im curious what would be a proper spec for an effective Ret-Tank? Personally, I like the idea because the cookie cutter specs bore me. Yes I know they are what the design is suppose to be but I want a diverse, unique and effective character.

    I've ran a ret style healer (sheath and FoTW) in PVP playing around and I must say I loved out healing priest 3 levels above me in BG's and a glimmer of success in 2v2's. However, haste for the long cast periods need to be addresed or I'd be continually overlooked. But the Ret-Tank seems interesting. The pull sequence seems creative though. But how would you spec this? I already have an idea on how to gear, I think. Thanks in advance.

  16. If you were actually trying for a Ret tank spec, I'd go something like 0/18/53.

    More damage reduction, armor, and avoidance, but no Kings and various Ret tricks.

  17. Thanks Rohan.

    Just want to question one choice as a Ret Tank. Is it necessary to put the 3 points in 2h? Should I take BOM since I wont have Kings or BOSanct? Just curious gonna run this either way just to see...