This was written on discord originally, but I figured there’s a small chance that it could be useful to someone that doesn’t have access there, and it’s easier to link to on the forums if necessary, so here it is.
I was thinking about optimizing my Hammer tanking rotation and generally examining various tanking cooldowns in comparative analysis and i figured it could be useful to someone who wants to try tanking e17 raid, but might not be sure of what rotation of abilities to use for maximum protection.
To evaluate hammer mitigation potential we must first examine the type of mitigation hammer provides, I.e. temporary hp mitigation and understand exactly how it works. Temporary HP mitigation, while being the weakest form of damage mitigation without healer’s assistance is still good enough to prevent the tank from dying reliably. The upside of temporary hp mitigation is that it’s not RNG, you will always get it no matter what, and that makes it appealing to beginners. The downside is that most hammer abilties don’t give you additional mitigation of damage instead pawning off the job of upkeeping the buffed hp on to the healer, as once extra HP is exhausted via damage the mitigation effect is essentially lost until it’s replenished. (which should not be a problem barring circumstances when the healer is unavailable for some reason) Let’s then take a look at available Hammer abilities and how much mitigation they provide exactly. Starting with Elites. Raging Volcano : This ability effectively doubles your HP compared to your base + HP% buff amount (from 80k to about 160k, rounded up for the sake of comparison), which in essence gives you 50% damage mitigation as it now takes twice as much damage to kill you. However, upkeeping that temporary hp requires extra effort on part of the healer so to mitigate that it also gives you an 85% bonus heal back every time you are healed. (edited)
Raging volcano does not make you easier to heal as a tank because it does not change the relative amount you’re healed. A heal that would restore 5% of your base health, would still restore 5% of your health while raging volcano is running because now your total health bar is twice as big. Ergo the grand total of this ability in terms of mitigation is 50% that the healer has to work for. Ability lasts for 10 seconds (mitigation part)
Unstoppable Force : Unlike RV this ability gives you straight 50% damage mitigation that does not require healer input, on top of also buffing healer’s output by 25%. So relatively speaking it’s more mitigation than RV at the cost of losing AOE damage and taunt. On the flipside you gain more damage and therefore aggro generation, but the ability itself lasts 2 seconds less than RV
Pain Supression : This ability is interesting, while it doesn’t technically give you any mitigation, functionally it’s the same as RV and UF, in that you take full damage and then you unconditionally heal half it back, so that practically it’s 50% mitigation. Similarly to UF it also features increase to incoming heal that also buffs healing from itself, so that this ability as well is also higher mitigation that both UF or RV at the cost of having the lowest duration at 6 seconds. It features passive protections that trigger after main effect expires to offset low duration to an extent but it’s not enough to bring total mitigation it in line with either UF or RV. The big drawback is that it doesn’t prevent full damage from hitting you initially so using it on pull runs the risk of sudden death and is therefore not recommended unless absolutely necessary. Offhand abiltiy : Can be either Reinforced Shells from shotgun or Invoke self from chaos, chaos being a clearly superior offhand choice, I’ll assume it’s chaos offhand and therefore IS here. (edited)
Gadget : Generally there are two options here. Either Manticore Agitator (taunt) or USM (mitigation). Running USM mandates running RV elite and using it to pull as you need a taunt, but provides additional mitigation at the cost of running the rist of taunt failure (RV is nototiously wonky) in addition to low convenience of having to pull aggro early before personal space casts, shadow casts, etc. Agitator however can be combined with either Elite, to either secure RV taunt and make sure a sneeeze from 2nd tank doesn’t pull aggro or to taunt with RV and save agitator to securely pull hulks from range. Running UF elite on the other hand necessitates running agitator as you must have a taunt to pull, but provides you with more initial mitigation when you pull under UF effect. With that said here are all the example builds with sample rotations (stack number in parentheses denotes the timing of using the ability when your stack count reaches that value)
RV + USM:
Pre-taunt Enraged Pulverize + Blazing Fury + Rotation Start USM + RV(taunt) + (27-25 stacks) Pain supression + Blazing Fury (20 stacks) + USM (10 stacks) / Repeat replacing Pain Supression with Invoke Self
RV + Agitator:
Same as Above, shifting Blazing Fury to 10 stacks
UF + Agitator:
Pre-taunt Enraged Pulverize + Blazing Fury + Rotation Start UF(+agitator) + (27-25 stacks) Pain supression + Blazing Fury (10 stacks) / Repeat replacing Pain Supression with Invoke Self At raid start, if pulling first drop Pulverize and use either BF + RV or BF + UF. These rotations will provide you with maximum average protection distribuition and should allow a minimally competent healer to keep you up with no effort. (edited)
Suggested passives are : No Pain No gain, Molten Armor, Unbridled Wrath, Percussive maintenance and Displacement, replacing Molten Armor with Bullheaded for UF build
Question and suggestions are welcome, if there’s interest I could write a similar guide for Chaos and Shotgun tanking builds as well.