UPDATE: now reflects the gear changes for patch 4.3
People looking for gear from raids or reputation can go to:
- Tier 11 raid drops for feral druids
- Reputation rewards for druid tanks
- Firelands raid gear
- Dragon Soul raid gear
I also discussed the new gear for from heroics in patch 4.3 in this post.
This blog post looks at gearing a level 85 druid tank for heroics and raids, and the gear listed does not include raid drops.
A character is ready for heroic instances when they have the majority of their gear at ilevel 333. When most of this has been upgraded to 346 then the character should be ready for tier 11 raid entry. Ideally there would be a couple of pieces of epic level 359 gear as well, from reputation rewards or crafting.
With the much higher level gear available from Justice points as of patch 4.3 it should be pretty simple to jump to an item level that will get you into the Zandalari heroics. The new crafted PvP gear is item level 377, which is well worth it too.
I will go through each armor and weapon slot, covering the available gear, how to get it, and a recommendation for entry into heroics and another for raids. I’ll also cover enchants for each slot, including cheap options.
I haven’t strictly used any statistic weightings for this article, but have followed the rough priority below:
- Stamina (only really applies for trinkets, since it comes for free on all other gear)
- Mastery rating
- Dodge rating
- Critical strike rating, hit rating and expertise rating
- Haste rating
- Resilience – has a zero contribution to PvE tanking now that the critical strike reduction has been removed
There are cases where I present several items because they offer alternative statistics that will be required by different characters. This is particularly true of items with expertise rating and hit rating. In the case of tank rings, cloaks and neckpieces this is also true, I listed the agility and strength items.
While choosing gear here are some ratings to consider:
- Hit rating requires 120.1 points for 1%. The cap is 8% or 961 points.
- Expertise rating requires 30 rating for an Expertise point. 26 Expertise is still the parry cap, so to reach the cap requires 780 Expertise.
- Dodge rating gives 1% dodge for 176.7 points. More is always better!
- Mastery rating requires 179.3 points per Mastery Point. Given that each point of Mastery adds 4% to the absorb of Savage Defender, this is very attractive.
- Agility gives 2 attack power, 0.55 critical strike rating and 0.72 dodge rating per point. This may be useful when comparing agility items against strength-based tanking items. Strength gives 2 attack power per point.
While I haven’t discussed them in the gear lists, pretty much all the items in the current PvP set make decent tanking items. This is an ilevel 377 set of gear that is almost equivalent to heroic instance drops. Here’s the gear:
Enough introduction, here’s the gear lists!
Best in slot: Nocturnal Gaze, 2200 Valor points. This is better itemized than the helm from the Hour of Twilight heroics, with expertise and mastery rather than haste and hit. It also has a better socket bonus.
Hour of twilight heroic: Helm of Thorns, a 378 epic from heroic Well of Eternity (Mannoroth and Varo’then).
Engineers: Agile Bio-Optic Killshades. The 2 cogwheel slots allow for some impressive combinations. Fractured Cogwheel adds 208 mastery rating, Precise Cogwheel is 208 expertise rating, Rigid Cogwheel is 208 hit rating and Subtle Cogwheel is 208 dodge rating. The flexibility here makes this the best option pre-raid, and possibly better than the T11 helm.
Best in slot BoE epic: Tsanga’s Helm, a BoE trash drop from the Bastion of Twilight raid.
Best Zandalari heroic drop: The Savager’s Mask from heroic Zul’Aman.
Best in slot heroic item: Helm of Numberless Shadows from heroic Stonecore.
Best pre-heroic: Helm of Secret Knowledge from the Kill the Courier quest inside normal Grim Batol. Since this is a level 85 dungeon, the most accessible substitute to have ready at 85 is the Bloodied Leather Helm. The Dunwald Winged Helm from quests in Twilight Highlands and the Chain Reaction Hood from a quest in Uldum are also good.
Best enchant: Arcanum of the Earthen Ring: +90 Stamina and +35 dodge rating. Requires Revered reputation with the Earthen Ring faction.
Most affordable enchant: Heavy Savage Armor Kit: +44 stamina.
Best in slot: Cameo of Terrible Memories, 1250 Valor points
Best BoE: Don Rodrigo’s Fabulous Necklace, a BoE epic world drop.
Best Zandalari heroic drop: Amulet of the Watcher from heroic Zul’Gurub
Best in slot heroic item: Pendant of the Lightless Grottofrom Ozruk in heroic Stonecore. The Acorn of the Daughter Tree is available from the Guardians of Hyjal once you reach Revered with that faction. This is a great option of you have no luck with Stonecore.
Hour of twilight heroic: Desecrated Shoulderguards, from Archbishop Benedictus in the Hour of Twilight.
Best Zandalari heroic drop: Tusked Shoulderpads from heroic Zul’Aman
Best pre-heroic: Bloodied Leather Shoulders are the best bet here. Other available options have lots of haste rating and the stamina and agility from the PvP piece are more attractive.
Best enchant: Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz: +75 Stamina and +25 dodge rating. Requires exalted reputation with the Therazane faction.
Most affordable enchant: Heavy Savage Armor Kit: +44 stamina.
Best in slot: Batwing Cloak, 1250 Valor points.
Hour of twilight heroic: Cloak of the Banshee Queen from Echo of Sylvanas in the End Time heroic instance.
Firelands raid item: Sleek Flamewrath Cloak. This is a reputation reward from the Avengers of Hyjal, and can be obtained by trash farming in the Firelands raid. This item barely made it into this list, since it requires raiding to obtain.
Wrap of the Great Turtle, which requires Exalted reputation with the Guardians of Hyjal faction looks like a good druid cloak. This has changed in patch 4.2 – this cloak is now bad for druids, stay away from it.
Best Zandalari heroic drop: Recovered Cloak of Frostheim from heroic Zul’Aman.
Best pre-heroic: There are two leatherworking cloaks that vie for top spot here. They are the Razor-Edged Cloak and the Twilight Dragonscale Cloak. There are two cheaper versions as well, the Cloak of Beasts and Cloak of War.
Best enchant: Protection: +250 armor.
Most affordable enchant:Enchant Cloak – Major Agility.
Best in slot:
Shadowbinder Chestguard, 2200 Valor points.
Best BoE: Morrie’s Waywalker Wrap, a BoE raid trash epic.
Assassin’s Chestplate, a crafted leatherworking epic comes in second place. Stormrider’s Raiment is available for 2200 Justice Points, but doesn’t have great tanking stats.
Best Zandalari heroic drop: Shadowtooth Trollskin Breastplate from heroic Zul’Aman.
Best pre-heroic: Sly Fox Jerkin, requires Honored reputation with the Guardians of Hyjal faction. The Bloodied Leather Chest is packed full of mastery rating, so this could be an option for those without the required reputation.
Best enchant: Greater Stamina: +75 stamina.
Most affordable enchant: Enchant Chest – Stamina: +55 stamina
Best Zandalari heroic drop: Amani’shi Bracers from heroic Zul’Aman.
Best in slot heroic item: Double Dealing Bracers from heroic Shadowfang Keep.
Best pre-heroic: Bloodied Leather Bracers. Hopefully a better option will be available after Cataclysm is released, since this piece has less than ideal itemization.
Best enchant: Dodge: +50 dodge rating.
Most affordable enchant: Enchant Bracers – Major Stamina: +40 stamina.
Best in slot: Lightfinger Handwraps, 1650 Valor points.
Hour of Twilight heroic: Gloves of the Hollow, a shared drop in the End Time instance. It is equivalent to Clutches of Evil, a BoE crafted item from a recipe dropped by Firelands trash. The tier 12 gloves, Obsidian Arborweave Grips, are now available for 1650 Justice points as well.
Liar’s Handwraps/Stormbolt Gloves, requiring exalted reputation with the Twilight Highlands faction, comes in second place.
Stormrider’s Grips are now available for 1650 Justice Points and are a good alternative to the reputation reward.
Best Zandalari heroic drop: Knotted Handwraps, a BoE epic from Zul’Aman.
Best enchant: Greater Mastery: +65 mastery rating.
Most affordable enchant: Heavy Savage Armor Kit: +44 stamina.
Hour of Twilight heroic: Peroth’arn’s Belt drops from Peroth’arn in the well of Eternity.
Firelands BoE: Riplimb’s Lost Collar, a BoE from Firelands trash.
Best pre-heroic: Sash of Musing, 1650 Justice Points.
Best enchant: Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Most affordable enchant: Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Best in slot: The tier 12 leggings, Obsidian Arborweave Legguards are the best for tanks. These cost 2200 Justice points.
Hour of Twilight heroic: Puppeteer’s Pantaloons from Queen Azshara in the Well of Eternity instance.
Best heroic item: Leggings of the Burrowing Mole, 2200 Justice Points. These are truly well itemized with expertise, mastery, red and blue sockets and agility as the socket bonus. If you only buy one item with justice points, make it this one.
Best enchant: Charscale Leg Armor: +145 stamina and +55 agility
Best in slot: Rooftop Griptoes (BoE), 1650 Valor points.
Treads of Fleeting Joy, purchased for Justice points are a much cheaper option.
Best in slot heroic item: Boots of the Predator from heroic Shadowfang Keep.
Best enchant: Personal preference will apply in this case, particularly with the additional movement speed enchants. The options are:
- Assassin’s Step: +25 agility, movement speed
- Earthen Vitality: +30 stamina, movement speed
- Lavawalker: +35 mastery rating, movement speed
- Major Agility: +35 agility
- Mastery: +50 mastery rating
Most affordable enchant: Heavy Savage Armor Kit: +44 stamina
Best in slot: Emergency Descent Loop, 1250 Valor points.
Hour of Twilight heroic: Mannroth’s Signet drops from Mannroth in the Well of Eternity.
Best 359: Signet of the Elder Council, requires Exalted reputation with the Earthen Ring faction. Hornet-Sting Band is available for 1250 Justice Points, and is a minuscule downgrade from Signet of the Elder Council. This is the best option for a second ring outside raid drops.
The Gilnean Ring of Ruination is a BoE world drop that is not quite as good as the above two rings.
Best Zandalari heroic drop: Arlokk’s Signet from heroic Zul’Gurub is perfectly itemized with crit and mastery. The BoE Quickfinger Ring from trash in Zul’Aman is also a good option with expertise and haste.
Best pre-heroic: Several jewelcrafting rings are good options here; Band of Blades, Elementium Destroyer’s Ring, Elementium Moebius Band and the reputation reward Felsen’s Ring of Resolve, which requires revered reputation with Therazane.
Firelands BoE: Scales of Life is a decent tanking trinket. It’s just a bucket of health and is probably not best in slot, but worth a mention.
Best in slot: Fluid Death is available for 1650 Justice Points. 380 Agility when fully stacked is awesome, and the large amount of hit rating can be reforged to dodge.
Best pre-heroic: Figurine – Earthen Guardian, a jewelcrafting-only trinket. other options include:
- Baradin Footman’s Tags or Baradin Grunt’s Talisman requires honored reputation with the Tol Barad factions
- Skardyn’s Grace drops in normal Grim Batol
- There are numerous dps trinkets that may be appropriate substitutes, or a defensive trinket from Wrath of the Lich King.
Hour of twilight heroic: Thornwood Staff drops from Mannoroth and Varo’then in the Well of Eternity. Ranseur of Hatred is a BoE epic that drops from trash in the Firelands raid. It is not as well itemized for tanking as the Thornwood Staff, but neither of these will tempt a druid who has managed to get their fire kitty staff.
Witch-Hunter’s Harvester is a crafted epic now available in patch 4.2. It is firmly in third place and ideally itemized for bears.
Mobus’s Dripping Halberd is a BoE epic that was added in patch 4.1. It drops from Mobus in the Abyssal Depths. It is better itemized for cats than bears (with haste and mastery) but is still an excellent weapon for both specs.
If you can’t afford the expensive poleaxe then these are your options:
- The normal version of Seliza’s Spear from the Lost City of the Tol’Vir
- Staff of Draconic Pacification (Torth-Slayer’s Staff for the horde) from quests in The Twilight Highlands
- Obsidium Bladespear, a cheaper crafted blacksmithing weapon
Best enchant: Mighty Agility, +130 agility
Most affordable enchant: Mighty Agility, +130 agility. This is not a particularly expensive enchant.
Best in slot: Ripfang Relic is the new Valor point relic. The Covenant of the Flame is now avilable from the Justice Point vendor. Relic of Golganneth is also a Justice point reward, but a lower level one.
Best pre-heroic: Silver Inlaid Leaf, inscription only crafted relic. Otherwise the normal instance versions of the relics above.
Pre-heroic gear set
Using all the pre-heroic recommendations gives the following list for a character fresh to level 85:
- Helm of Secret Knowledge, enchanted with a Heavy Savage Armor Kit
- Bloodied Leather Shoulders enchanted with Heavy Savage Armor Kit.
- Twilight Dragonscale Cloak enchanted with Protection.
- Tunic of Sinking Envy for 2200 Justice Points, enchanted with Heavy Savage Armor Kit
- Bloodied Leather Bracers, enchanted with Dodge
- Bloodied Leather Gloves, enchanted with Heavy Savage Armor Kit
- Sash of Musing 1650 Justice Points, with an Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
- Leggings of the Burrowing Mole, 2200 Justice Points, enhanced with Charscale Leg Armor if you can afford it or Twilight Leg Armor otherwise
- Bloodied Leather Boots, enchanted with Major Agility
- Mirage Ring and Temple Band
- Lifebound Alchemist Stone and a Darkmoon Card if you are rolling in cash. Otherwise whatever trinkets you can get your hands on. There are quite a few trinkets in heroic instances you can pick up later.
- Staff of Draconic Pacification enchanted with Mighty Agility
- Stalagmite Dragon
This gear set provides the following tanking stats (trinkets excluded for these calculations):
- Stamina: 4041 from gear and 261 from enchants for 4302 total. Trinkets could add more than 400 stamina to this.
- Agility: 2242 from gear and 210 from enchants for 2452 total. 1765 dodge rating, 1348 critical strike rating and 4904 attack power
- Strength: 349 from gear. 698 attack power
- Critical strike rating: 552 from gear
- Dodge rating: 263 from gear and 50 from enchants for 313 total.
- Mastery rating: 945 from gear
- Expertise rating: 292
- Hit rating: 238 from gear, this is very low, so be aware of that
- Sockets: meta, 1 yellow, 3 blue, 3 red, 2 prismatic
- Derived statistics from strength and agility are: 1765 dodge rating, 1348 critical strike rating and 5602 attack power
- Dodge % = +11.8% dodge
- Critical strike chance = +10.6%
- Mastery = 5.2 or just over +20% damage absorbed (roughly 52% total)
None of the calculations above include gems, so there is some room for customization.
I hope you find this gear listing useful!
Note: I have edited this to remove reference to reforging resilience on PvP gear, since that is not possible.