Glyphs...any point to Elusive and Stalwart?

Does anybody use these and/or are they necessary? Seems as though players mainly want Accurate, Destructive and Fierce?

Some people use them, but they aren’t necessary.

The problem is that a tank needs to be able to survive without the mitigation that they provide, because you won’t have 100% glance or evade at all times (I think you might be able to get them using cds, but not with 100% uptime).

That means that you need to be able to take hits without them anyway, which is normally done via defensive cooldowns. That means that if you cycle your def cds right, then you will be able to survive without any defensive glyphs at all. If you don’t need to have defensive glyphs, you can instead use those which will instead boost your damage and hate generation. At the higher levels, you pretty much need to use offensive glyphs, just to be able to generate enough hate to hold aggro against well geared DPS.

It also makes life easier for levelling tanks, because you can just change your AA around and you’re in DPS gear already, which means you can run dungeons as DPS, or kill stuff in missions without it taking forever.

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Thanks for your reply.

Still learning some of the terminolgy - what are defensive cooldowns and what is meant by cycling these?

Defensive cooldowns are abilities which provide a defensive buff, and have a cooldown before they can be activated again.
The sustain tank meta uses 4 main def cds. From Chaos: Immutable and Twist Fate; and from Hammer: Thick Skin and Pain Suppression.

As the tank’s gear and signets improve, it’s normal to be able to drop to just using 3 of them, with Twist Fate being the one most commonly switched out.

  • Immutable means you can’t be killed whilst the ability is active (though some abilities will still kill the tank, and need to be interrupted). You then get healed for 40% of your total hp (which can also crit,) so that you’ve still got a big chunk of hp after using it.
  • Twist Fate increases your Protection stat, and the associated passive Backlash provides a reflective barrier that reflects 50% of the damage. It can be a little bit dodgy, as 50% of the damage still comes through, so if you’re getting hit really hard, Twist Fate won’t always save you.
  • Thick Skin also increases your Protection, and the associated passive Rock Hard gives a shield that will absorb all damage up to 150% of your hp. It’s possible to die during this time, but you have to be getting hit by a lot of things very hard!
  • Pain Suppression is a bit of an odd ability really. It’s normally combined with the passive No Pain, No Gain, which increases the amount the ability heals you for. Basically, when you get hit by an enemy with PS active, you are healed for 113% (only 50% without the passive) of the damage you are about to recieve before the hit lands. That means that as long as you’ve got enough hp to survive the incoming hit, you won’t be killed by it. It’s a bit weird that the heal is applied before the damage, but it does mean that you’ll almost always survive the hit (unless you get hit by something really big).

As each of these abilities has a cooldown, tanks use them one after the other. Immutable is the only one that’s an elite, which means you can use a head signet to reduce that cooldown, allowing you to drop to 3 abilities later in the game. Using different def cds as each duration ends is known as rotating or cycling cds. With practice, you’re able to maintain 100% def cd up time, so that you’re always covered by something. Unfortunately, as Pain Suppression and Immutable also heal the tank, healers have become rather superfluous - the tank heals themselves, so there’s nothing for the healer to do.

Shotgun’s defensive cds also boost Protection, but they don’t provide any heals in the same way. That means it’s much less common to see shotgun tanks, just because it’s harder to keep yourself healed. There are still some dedicated sg tanks out there, but as it’s harder to play, they are much fewer in number.


Defensive cooldowns means abilities, typically on your action bar, that are defensive in nature, and have a cooldown (meaning that there is a time after using it that you have to wait until you can use it again). So things like Twist Fate in Chaos, Thick Skin in Hammers, or Glutton for Punishment in Shotgun, which are defensive (in that they reduce the damage that you take - they help to defend you) Special Abilities, (though an example that isn’t would be Immutable, the Elite Ability in Chaos) and are often most effective combined with their passives.

Cycling means just activating (or, “popping” is another mmo term that you might see for “activating”) one ability, then the other, then the next, etc. eg. button 1, button 2, button 3… wait for the first to be off cooldown… button 1, button 2, button 3 etc. etc.

Hope this helps!

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From a defensive glyphed tank, it is possible to get the glance chance and evade chance up to 100%/near 100% for either of those stats, paired with the right defensive ability. As AWOL mentioned though, it’s but for a moment, and impossible to keep up 100% of the time. Unfortunately, when reaching high enough elites, the bosses will 1 slap you, if you take a clean hit. a 50% chance to evade completely or reduce damage, is a 50% chance to just die.

It works alright when tanking stuff that doesn’t 1 hit you, with or without a healer to back you up, but if you plan to take your gear up to it’s max, you might wanna go straight for dps glyphs instead =).

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Thanks everyone for your time providing such detailed explanations. Helps us newbies a lot :star_struck:

Crit isn’t just damage- it also gives back energy and causes luck talisman/signet bonuses to trigger. If you are using a Cruel Delight signet, crits translate directly into significant healing.

Most importantly though, as the others said, is that you can’t rely on defensive glyphs because incoming damage is just too rough at high levels.

The glyphs(and tank+healer group composition) were designed using an averaged model of incoming damage versus healing over time. The problem with that is that being statistically alive isn’t the same as actually being alive.

That is the crux of it. Even if you get to a 90% chance to evade all damage, that’s a 10% chance to die every time you get hit. How many times do you get hit in a boss fight? A lot.

Shotgun tanking also relies on glancing, which has the same problems as using defensive glyphs in that is it a probability of damage reduction.

Mostly, no. Niche strategies and for-funsies strats are all they’re good for.