Best in slot gear for druid tanks, patch 4.06

This week I thought I’d extend on the previous raid drops post, and highlight what I consider to be the best-in-slot items in tier 11 raids. I’m focusing on level 359 items for this since a lot of people do not have access to the 372 items yet. I’ve listed hard mode upgrades as well for people who are into that level of content. This list is current as of patch 4.06.

When ranking the gear I have used statistic weights rather than trying to reach hit or expertise caps. As a result you should consider your needs (like being hit capped for interrupts) in your own raid environment before using my suggestions. Reforging to dodge is the most common choice in the list below, but some people may prefer to choose mastery for some reforges. In an older article I discussed the dodge/mastery reforge debate and the summary is that it doesn’t matter much.

The other area of contention in the list is choice of gemming and enchants. I have chosen Agility gemming and picked up socket bonuses and made sure the meta gem is enabled. If your raid group prefers you to have more health but slightly lower avoidance then that will change some gemming to stamina. Enchants are similar, they are avoidance and mitigation based, but swapping them for more stamina enchants could significantly increase your health pool.

You will notice that I haven’t prioritized tier gear in this list. Not all of it is particularly well itemized, but if you can get the full 4 piece set then the 6 seconds increased duration on Survival Instincts makes that gear equivalent to the list below. I believe the best offset piece to keep is the chest, with tier gear being the helm, shoulders, gloves and legs.

Here’s the list:

Head

Tsanga’s Helm
Location: BoE drop from trash mobs in The Bastion of Twilight
Sockets: Austere Shadowspirit Diamond and a Shifting Demonseye.
Reforging: 67 crit to dodge rating
Enchant: Arcanum of the Earthen Ring

Hard mode upgrade: Stormrider’s Headpiece, the Tier 11 heroic helm

Neck

Necklace of Strife
Location: Valiona, The Bastion of Twilight
Reforging: 50 haste to dodge rating

Hard mode upgrade: Necklace of Strife

Shoulders

Poison Protocol Pauldrons
Location: Omnotron Defense System, Blackwing Descent
Sockets: Delicate Inferno Ruby
Reforging: 59 crit to dodge rating
Enchant: Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz (although Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal is also good if you don’t need the health)

Hard mode upgrade: Poison Protocol Pauldrons

Back

Cloak of Biting Chill
Location: Maloriak, Blackwing Descent
Reforging: 50 crit to dodge rating
Enchant: Enchant Cloak – Protection

Hard mode upgrade: Cloak of Biting Chill

Chest

Sark of the Unwatched
Location: Atramedes, Blackwing Descent
Sockets: Delicate Inferno Ruby and Polished Ember Topaz
Reforging: 79 crit to dodge rating
Enchant: Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats (although Enchant Chest – Greater Stamina is good too)

This item is identical to Morrie’s Waywalker Wrap, so either will do.

Hard mode upgrade: Sark of the Unwatched

Wrists

Parasitic Bands
Location: Magmaw, Blackwing Descent
Reforging: 50 crit to dodge rating
Enchant: Enchant Bracer – Agility

Hard mode upgrade: Parasitic Bands

Hands

Double Attack Handguards
Location: Chimaeron, Blackwing Descent
Sockets: Delicate Inferno Ruby
Reforging: 59 expertise to dodge rating
Enchant: Glove Reinforcements

Hard mode upgrade: Double Attack Handguards

Waist

Wind Stalker Belt of the Windstorm
Location: Conclave of Wind, Throne of the Four Winds
Sockets: Shifting DemonseyeDelicate Inferno Ruby
Reforging: 64 crit to dodge rating
Enchant: Belt buckle

Hard mode upgrade: Wind Stalker Belt of the Windstorm or for extra challenge: Belt of the Fallen Brood (Sinestra, The Bastion of Twilight)

Legs

This slot is the most contentious for the best in slot item. Both the Wind Stalker Leggings of the WindStorm and the Stormrider’s Legguards are well itemized, with the only significant difference being the color of the sockets. Both items have a +20 Agility socket bonus, and the difference in crit/mastery ends up being trivial. The key decision point about which item is best will be based on the number of yellow sockets in your other gear – if you already have 2 yellow sockets then the Wind Stalker Leggings of the WindStorm are best, otherwise go with Stormrider’s Legguards to ensure that your meta gem is activated.

Wind Stalker Leggings of the WindStorm
Location:  Al’Akir, Throne of the Four Winds
Sockets: Delicate Inferno RubyShifting Demonseye
Reforging: 83 crit to dodge rating
Enchant: Charscale Leg Armor

Stormrider’s Legguards
Location: Valor quartermaster, for 2200 valor points or from Argaloth in Baradin Hold.
Sockets: Polished Ember Topaz and Shifting Demonseye
Reforging: 75 crit to dodge rating
Enchant: Charscale Leg Armor

Hard mode upgrade: Stormrider’s Legguards or Wind Stalker Leggings of the WindStorm

Feet

Storm Rider’s Boots
Location: Halfus Wyrmbreaker, The Bastion of Twilight
Sockets: Delicate Inferno Ruby
Reforging: 59 haste to dodge rating
Enchant: Enchant Boots – Major Agility or Enchant Boots – Assassin’s Step

Hard mode upgrade: Storm Rider’s Boots

Finger 1

Lightning Conductor Band
Location: Omnotron Defense System, Blackwing Descent
Reforging: 50 hit to dodge rating

Hard mode upgrade: Lightning Conductor Band

Finger 2

Mistral Circle of the Windstorm
Location: Conclave of Wind, Throne of the Four Winds
Reforging: 50 crit to dodge rating

Hard mode upgrade: Mistral Circle of the Windstorm

Main hand

Malevolence
Location: Halfus Wyrmbreaker, The Bastion of Twilight
Reforging: 91 crit to dodge rating
Enchant: Enchant 2H Weapon – Mighty Agility or Enchant Weapon – Windwalk

Hard mode upgrade: Malevolence

Relic

Relic of Golganneth
Location: Valor quartermaster, for 700 valor points.
Sockets: Delicate Inferno Ruby
Reforging: 28 haste to dodge rating

Trinket 1

Tia’s Grace
Location: Siamat, Heroic Lost City of the Tol’vir
Reforging: optional reforging of mastery to dodge

Trinket 2

Fluid Death
Location: Valor quartermaster, for 1650 valor points
Reforging: 128 hit to dodge rating

or

Quicksilver Alchemist Stone
Location: Alchemy BoP
Sockets: Delicate Inferno Ruby
Reforging: 77 crit to dodge rating

or a stamina trinket if your raid requires it of you. Some good examples are:

For the last two trinkets the heroic version is clearly better if you can get it.

I hope people find this list useful!

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8 Responses to Best in slot gear for druid tanks, patch 4.06

  1. Rahl says:

    Thanks for the info im trying to balance gearing for kitty and bear.
    Let me tell you its very hard and time consuming but reforging to mastery instead of dodge helps allot to share gear!

    • Antony says:

      I try and do the same thing on my druid. As a result there are some items that I have enchanted with agility over armor, and reforged to mastery rather than dodge. In some cases I have left large amounts of haste alone and not reforged them at all since kitties gain much more from haste than bears do. It’s not optimal for tanking, but when you are expected to perform both roles the balancing act between what you want to do and the fact that you don’t have 2 of each item can be a pain.

  2. Aester says:

    Wouldn’t Don Rodrigo’s Fabulous Necklace be a better choice for pre-heroic? It’s got more mastery less haste.

    http://www.wowhead.com/item=67137 Sorry, don’t know how to item link.

    • Antony says:

      Haste would be reforged to dodge on both items, with 50 dodge for the Necklace of Strife compared to 38 dodge for Don Rodrigo’s Fabulous Necklace, 12 dodge rating difference. The difference in mastery is 18 points.
      So at that point the question is the relative value of dodge vs. mastery. In the weightings that I used dodge 12 dodge was worth more than 18 mastery, but only just.
      The difference is so tiny that I’m sure it would not be noticeable at all in actual play, Don Rodrigo’s is an excellent choice for a neck item 🙂

  3. xarnen says:

    “of the windstorm” items from Throne (crit/mastery) would be ideal upgrades as well.

    • Antony says:

      That is an excellent point. I’d been looking at these the other day and shouldn’t have forgotten them!
      The Mistral Circle is itemized better than the other rings, and the Windstalker Belt of the Windstorm is better than the Leatherworking belt. The Wind Stalker Leggings are fractionally better than the tier 11 legs, as long as you already have 2 yellow sockets to activate your meta gem.

      At the 372 level they are still very good too. I’ll go through and edit these into the post shortly.

  4. J Deveraux says:

    Hey A

    So, question for you. I am really F___ tired of getting parried/dodged by almost all of the bosses. I realize this reason is b/c my expertise is pretty crappy right now. Are you too having this issue? Also; i notice your BIS list doesn’t include any of the tier pieces…arne’t any of the bonuses valid for you? 😀

    • Antony says:

      Yeah, I get parried and dodged too. While it is annoying, it isn’t making a difference to my threat levels that affects the rest of the raid. Honestly at the moment I don’t think we have the itemization points to spare for expertise. Sure I want to cap it, but do I sacrifice a defensive stat for it? I don’t feel I can do that at the moment. Maybe in 4.1 or 4.2.

      As for tier pieces, I did a post about that here: https://eaoexcursions.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/druid-tier-11-set-bonuses-for-tanks/
      Basically it’s only worth using Tier 11 if you have all 4 pieces. A that point the defensive stats, if you use your cooldowns appropriately, are equivalent to the gear listed above.

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