[Guide] Sustain-tanking for everyone


#1

Sustain-tanking for everyone

Introduction

The term “sustain-tanking” is a common reference to the way of tanking that does not require any healer in the group. Contrary to the common belief that this way of tanking is better suited for experienced and/or highly geared / overgeared (compared to your currently considered highest elite tier) tanks, this way of tanking is in reality applicable very early (I started doing it as soon as E1 back in the time), it makes it possible to undergear content if you become experienced and competent in this role (literally by several tiers – been tanking E9 tiers with as low of a tanking gear as full mythic lvl 1 gear pre-Pulverise nerf, nowadays it is possible to do the same with up to E8 tiers and regional lair bosses).

Commonly used abbreviations

  • DD: damage dealer - also commonly called “DPS”.
  • DPS: damage per second - a metric to evaluate performance in damage output. Also referred to as a role in a group for a player supposed to focus on dealing damage (see DD).
  • HPS: healing per second.
  • APS: aggro per second.
  • PoV: point of view.
  • HR: Hell Raised.
  • HE: Hell Eternal.
  • DW: Darkness Wars.
  • Pol: Polaris.
  • HP: health points.
  • EHP: effective health points.
  • AA: anima allocation.
  • CD: cooldown.

Pros and Cons of sustain-tanking

PROs

  • Works on 100% of the current content.
  • An experienced sustain-tank is a game-changer: they are in very high demand, can easily get in groups through the groupfinder, and are pretty much always leading any endgame activity, as they dictate the flow of the encounters.
  • Enables to farm efficiently with 4 DDs in the group, which makes the whole grind less of a chore and lowers risks of failure by making fights shorter / straight out easier.
  • Gear requirements are low, and gearing is very flexible from upgrades PoV, and multi-role PoV.
  • Gives a deep knowledge of pretty much all the tanking, self-healing and aggro mechanisms once mastered.
  • Can still add utility contributions such as an interrupt or a purge with the gadget slot.

CONs

  • Hard to learn (but quite easy to master) – the pressure that is usually shared by healer and tank is now shared by the tank only
  • On fights that usually require a healer for different purposes than healing the tank (such as the few encounters with adds / group damage / group cleanses), the DDs of the group should be contributing more than usually to compensate, and communication is required (example: for fights involving Lifeburn dots such as HE3, you’ll need for example 2 DDs with a Clean Slate rotating cleanses).

The build

Actives

  • Ground Pound
  • Thick Skin
  • Twist Fate
  • Immutable
  • Pulverise
  • Pain Suppression
  • (optional / flexible gadget: Electrogravitic Attractor (check the gadgets’ section))

Passives

  • Backlash
  • Rock Hard
  • Unbridled Wrath
  • Percussive Maintenance
  • No Pain No Gain

Variants of the build

  • (Twist Fate + Backlash) can be removed if (Evulsion + Mass Evulsion) is desired (HR1, HR5, Ankh6 notably).
  • Unbridled Wrath can be swapped with Die Hard or Forged in Fire, it is my personal go-to choice though, as it provides a permanent EHP buffer, and improves all %-based selfhealing.
  • Unbridled Wrath can be swapped with Fast & Furious for some extra aggro.
  • Die Hard can be a life saver in somewhat random circumstances, but is somewhat bugged and sometimes stays randomly active even when you get above 35% life (the tooltip doesn’t state that it works only when you are under 35% life, but this is most likely how it is supposed to work). This passive drains quite an amount of rage, thus giving up on some potential selfhealing. This is especially a big issue while under Immutable (or if the tank happens to self-shield while being under 35% life) – the rage will just get wasted.
  • Forged in Fire is a decent option with low gear when self-healing might be an issue because of the lack of crit chance.
  • Unbridled Wrath and Percussive Maintenance can be swapped for Incongruity and Resonance Cascade, alongside the Enigmatic Apparatus. This setup scales with elite CD reduction. More info about this setup can be found in the comments here:
    [Guide] Sustain-tanking for everyone

Rotations

Without elite CD reduction / disregarding it, below is an idea of the standard cooldown rotation. Pain Suppression overlaps Thick Skin alone (after Rock Hard fades or gets destroyed), as well as a part of Twist Fate / Backlash.

The following rotation uses only 3 CDs, without any elite CD reductions. The 3 CD rotations require a decent gear and good selfhealing to sustain long-enough through unbarriered Thick Skin and to avoid getting one-shot under Pain Suppression alone.

The following idea of a rotation can be performed to get a use of elite CD reductions (coming from the head signet and/or Efficieny weapon affix and/or Recursive Circle). The selling point here is to maximise Immutable usage, and blow one of the 2 other cooldowns between each Immutable usage. The value of this rotation over the previous one is that it is less prone to one-shots since Immutable’s uptime is higher, which means more possibilities to face-tank very high-damaging abilities if needed / wanted.

Mechanics

  • Selfhealing generates aggro at the rate of 1:0.5 – 1 point of healing/barrier generates 0.5 points of aggro. Overhealing does not generate any point of aggro however. What this means is that a sustain-tank will generate more aggro than a regular tank + healer since the healing part of the equation will also be provided by the tank himself instead of the healer. You can see it as follows:
    sustain-tank’s aggro ~= regular tank’s aggro + healer’s aggro

  • Pain Suppression’s heal occurs before the damage, which means that using Pain Suppression while being full life is a waste, and that if the tank is at 1 HP, the tank will live no matter how hard the direct hits hit him for, as long as the hit does not one shot the tank.

  • Pain Suppression only works with direct damage, which means it does not provide any heals on damage dealt by dots such as Lifeburn.

  • Pain Suppression currently does not provide any heal on a glanced hit due to a bug (most likely).

  • Backlash is a damage redirection barrier that gives indirectly 50% mitigation by reflecting 50% of attacker’s damage, so if the tank uses (Pain Suppression + No Pain No Gain) alongside (Twist Fate + Backlash), the tank will effectively get healed for 226% of damage taken instead of the regular 113% by No Pain No Gain, and this fact will allow the tank to avoid dying during Twist Fate / Backlash.

  • Rock Hard and Backlash provide instant aggro on everything being in combat with the tank.

Stats

Anima allocation

The default AA for this build is 100% in survivability, however it can be moved to 80% survivability and 20% damage if needed in case of aggro issues, watch out for the loss of mitigation.

Protection and HP

The most important stats outside glyphs are protection and life – that’s the stats you get baseline from gear, with extra protection potentially coming from extraordinary talismans / weapons and/or passives. Each 1000 protection grants additional 4% EHP (effective health points).

There is a damage mitigation %-age written in every character’s sheet. It is mostly not that useful to get fixated on as it is “exponentially” harder to approach 100% (and therefore, impossible), because at 100%, you become immortal (opposed to 100% mitigation = taking 2 times less damage and so on, in this situation, you take 2 times less damage at 50% damage mitigation, 3 times less damage at 66.6% damage mitigation, 4 times less at 75%, etc…). It is wiser to think about protection granting a fixed amount of reduced damage taken. For a same amount of HP, having more protection means being able to take more damage before dying, so that means that your health points are worth more than their base amount. Example, with 10k HP and 0% damage mitigation, you can sustain 10k damage before dying. With that same 10k HP and 50% damage mitigation, you’re able to sustain up to 20k damage before dying, that makes you having 20k “effective health points”, or EHP.

Essentially, the protection multiplies the value of the HP, just as much as getting extra HP multiplies the value of protection since it now buffs more HP – it means that the best way to increase your survivability is to keep upgrading your talismans while being in allocated as much as possible in full survivability AA – which will both boost your HP and protection.

Glyphs

In the current state of the game, an offensive DPS-like glyphing setup is the most efficient way of glyphing: 1 hit, 5 crit and 2 crit power glyphs. Why is being loaded with crit is better than defense/evade glyphing? Here are the reasons:

  • Tanking in this game, even more with this build, is reliant on cooldown rotations to mitigate and/or heal all the damage taken reliably. Defense and Evade glyphing does not suit well in this way of tanking since they add an extra RNG layer of mitigation, which means glances or evades might happen in circumstances you won’t need them to happen (when under Immutable for example), and that they might not happen in those tight situations you might need them to happen (weak points in the cooldown rotations).
  • Having a crit glyphing setup is more flexible since it’ll allow to transit to a DPS build easily with Anima Allocation, and to do scenarios easily in the same fashion.
  • Crit chance and crit power improve DPS, hence aggro.
  • Critical hits provide extra energy, hence more aggro through more Pulverise usages instead of Ground Pound usages.
  • With more Pulverises used, more rage will be generated, so more selfhealing will be provided by Percussive Maintenance.
  • Critical hits will proc the luck signet more often. Since the go-to tanking luck signet is Cruel Delight, it will proc more often, providing more selfhealing.
  • All selfheals can crit (in theory, that includes barriers – Rock Hard and backlash, though currently, Rock Hard barrier is bugged and cannot crit, despite Backlash being able to crit), even %-based ones and fixed heals provided by Cruel Delight. So, having more crit chance and crit power will provide more selfhealing through crit heals. Having, for instance, 150% total crit power will make a critical heal of Percussive Maintenance go from 6% of your max life to 15%, and will make Immutable heal you to full life instead of its base 40% max life.

Itemization

Chaos focus

For the offhand chaos focus, 2 options exist:

  • Flame-Wreathed
  • Sanity’s Aphelion
  • Enigmatic Apparatus

The Flame-Wreathed gives 1850 protection for 5s every 10s, giving an average of 925 protection.

The Sanity’s Aphelion gives up to 880 protection while being at 0 paradoxes, which will always be the case, except in those very rare fights were Evulsion might be used instead of Twist Fate.

While Flame-Wreathed appears to give more protection on average, it alternates between giving 0 and giving 1850, so it isn’t quite as reliable as Sanity’s Aphelion is. Moreover, it is a purple weapon that comes from Infernal caches, so it is quite expensive, and costs more than Sanity’s Aphelion at the moment.

Sanity’s Aphelion is a blue weapon which comes from Haunted caches. Its only negative side at the moment is the fact that the protection buff vanishes if you die, but it comes back if you reequip the weapon after dying. It also works the other way around: once equipped, the weapon can be removed/replaced and the protection buff will stay until death or zone change.

Sanity’s Aphelion is the go-to weapon for this build – despite providing on average 45 less protection than Flame-Wreathed, it provides constant protection at an uptime of 100%, which is an important parameter.

The Enigmatic Apparatus on its own provides nothing, but its effects can get used with Incongruity + Resonance Cascade in replacement of Percussive Maintenance and Unbridled Wrath. The value of the Enigmatic Apparatus scales with elite CD reductions - head signet, Efficiency weapon affix and eventually the Recursive Circle.

Any other chaos focus will have close to no effect since no skill besides defensive CDs is ever used in this build.

Hammer

Many choices here, some of my insights are subjective and need more tests to determine the exact damage/other benefits, to be done later. Let’s see what each hammer provides, and how it might suit this build.

  • Anima-touched: “Whenever you hit, you have a 33% chance to deal 0.85CP physical damage. You are healed for 100% of the damage dealt.” With 100% survivability AA and a level 70 hammer, we have 700 combat power, which translates into damage procs (hence, heals) of 595 every 3 hits on average, which turns out into 198 DPS, 198 HPS and 297 points of aggro per second if no overhealing and outside Immutable. Overall a decent weapon from flexibility point of view, since if switching into a DPS build, this hammer will provide some additional decent damage (more than for a tank, since more combat power), and it is a good option for scenarios. The proc is unaffected by any aggro modifiers besides Immutable.

  • Flame-Wreathed: “When you enter combat, you gain 1,850 Protection for 5 seconds. Once this effect expires, it will return 5 seconds later. Multiple weapons with this effect do not stack.” See Flame-Wreathed chaos focus described in 3.2.1. A purely tanking option, and not the best in its category, decent-enough however.

  • Plasma-Forged: “Whenever you hit you have a 25% chance to deal an additional 0.565CP physical damage to the target. The amount of damage dealt increases to 1.125CP physical damage the second time this effect triggers on the same target. The third time this effect triggers on the same target, the damage dealt is increased to 2.81CP physical damage and the count of the number of times this effect has triggered is reset.” Just like for the anima-touched hammer, this hammer’s procs are unaffected by any aggro modifiers besides Immutable. Even if quite flexible, it is never a top-tier weapon for any role.

  • Frost-Bound : “Whenever you hit you have a 20% chance to deal an additional 1.5CP physical damage to the target and reduce the amount of damage you receive by 7.5% for 6 seconds.” This hammer provides more DPS than the anima-touched version, but less than Plasma-Forged. However, its additional 7.5% damage reduction buff has an uptime close to 90%, and extra flat reduction is multiplicative with the mitigation provided by protection, which turns out this weapon is the best mitigation-wise with advanced gear after 18187 protection (see maths in the discussions).

  • Shadow-Bound of energy MK2: “Whenever you hit, you have a 20% chance to summon a Revenant who will cast Raven Blade. 15 second cooldown. Raven Blade: An attack that deals 2.25CP physical damage.” The procs provides less than half the DPS that Anima-Touched would give, without any aggro modifier, and clunks the vision when spawning the revenant. To avoid.

  • Flanged Mallet: “Hammer abilities which consume Rage deal increased damage. This damage bonus increases based on your maximum health, up to a maximum of 20%.” The tooltip isn’t very accurate – in this context, it scales with max HP, and reaches maximum bonus at roughly 14k HP. It is a decent option from flexibility PoV, but far from the best (even if while being DPS, the bonus is closer to 10%).

  • Fuming Despoiler: “Your Rage consuming abilities deal an additional 0.825CP physical damage to the target and nearby enemies.” Again, unaffected by aggro modifiers other than Immutable. Decent option from flexibility PoV, but not the best.

  • Hell Forged Warhammer : "Consecutive Hammer ability uses generate increased Rage. The amount of bonus Rage generated increases with each Hammer ability use and is reset when a non-Hammer ability is used.” Gives up to 6 additional rage per consecutive hammer hit, starts at 0. Using offhand’s chaos focus’ cooldown won’t reset stacks – only a damaging ability will. Good option for additional selfhealing provided by the additional rage, and the best option for pure hammer DPS builds for fights lasting more than roughly 45s, so an overall good option from flexibility PoV, but not the best.

  • Mangler: “Whenever you become Enraged, your Crit Power is increased by 9% for 3 seconds.” Decent option from flexibility PoV, but not the best.

  • Manticore Riot Suppressor : "While you are protected by the Hammer abilities “Enter the Fray,” “Thick Skin,” “Raging Volcano,” “Juggernaut,” or “Die Hard” your Hammer abilities deal 8.5% more damage and attacks against you generate 2 more Rage.” Pure tanking hammer. It should be worth it to replace Unbridled Wrath by Die Hard if using this. Provides good additional aggro generation, and somewhat negates the occasional aggro degen from Die Hard. Still not the best pure tanking hammer for this build.

  • Orochi Motivator : “Whenever you spend Rage, your Protection is increased by 450 for 8 seconds. This effect can stack up to 5 times.” This is a pure tanking option, and it provides a total of 2250 protection once fully stacked, which is equal to 9.2% EHP, which makes it the best pure tanking option at lower level gear. However, it takes quite some time to stack the protection stacks, and is only reliably doable with crit glyphing since a lot of energy is required to generate enough rage for it without dropping the previously acquired stacks – crit glyphing is the whole theme of this build, so this is a strong and viable option, even if not optimal from flexibility PoV. Best defensive weapon before 18187 protection, after what Frost-Bound becomes better.

  • Pneumatic Maul : “Whenever you critically hit with a Hammer ability, you gain a benefical effect which allows you to gain the benefits of the Enrage bonus effects on your abilities without spending any Rage and without being Enraged. This effect can only occur once every 10 seconds.” With a full crit glyphing, this hammer has a very good value for tanking because of the additional selfhealing (thus, aggro) it gives through Percussive Maintenance, and it is currently considered being the best-in-slot for DPS roles, so a win win option from flexibility PoV.

  • Red Hand Destroyer : "While your Rage is above 50, your Hammer Basic Abilities deal 30% more damage and generate twice as much Rage.” Decent extra aggro if Pulverise is only used under 50 rage (or to refresh the buff) and Ground Pound above 50 rage. For DPS role, it isn’t the best option either since it is inconvenient to use alongside Fast & Furious, which is the best hammer passive if managed right.

  • The Tenderiser : "Whenever you hit an enemy with a Hammer ability, you gain an effect which lasts 30 seconds. When this effect expires, your Hammer damage is increased by 7.5% for 4 seconds. Using Hammer abilities speeds up the initial countdown and spending Rage increases the duration of the damage increasing effect.” Decent option from flexibility PoV if managed correctly.

Flexibility sorting (cross DPS/tank roles), from best to worst:

  1. Pneumatic Maul
  2. Hell Forged Warhammer
  3. Frost-Bound / Anima-touched
  4. The Tenderiser / Mangler / Fuming despoiler
  5. Flanged Mallet / Red Hand Destroyer
  6. Anything else

Pure tanking sorting (for someone who won’t care that much about optimizing a DPS role alongside tanking):

  1. Frost-bound (multiplicative with protection)
  2. Orochi Motivator
  3. Flanged Mallet / Red Hand Destroyer / The Tenderiser / Mangler
  4. Hell Forged Warhammer (longer than 45s fights) / Pneumatic Maul / Anima-touched
  5. Anything else

Weapon affixes

For the chaos focus:

  1. Alacrity
  2. Warding
  3. Anything else

For the hammer:

Flexibility sorting (cross DPS/tank roles), from best to worst:

  1. Energy / Havoc (Havoc ends up being the default best option for burst fights, energy is slightly better for sustained fights)
  2. Efficiency / Alacrity (I consider this being a very good option for melee DPS as well, but this is subjective, looses its value if already present on the offhand since the offhand can be taken out when running is needed)
  3. Destruction
  4. Anything else

Pure tanking sorting (for someone who won’t care about a secondary DPS role that much):

  1. Warding / Restoration (better at lower gear, worse at higher gear (with better crit glyphs and Mark of the Starspawn)) for pure performance
  2. Efficiency / Alacrity (looses its value if already present on the offhand) for extra options
  3. Anything else

Talismans

For this build, going full DPS extraordinaries is not a bad choice at all from flexibility PoV, or for someone transitioning to the tanking role from main hammer DPS role. This is what I am playing with, thanks to AA.

Otherwise, here are the choices of extraordinary talismans for each slot for a pure tank-oriented setup:

  • Head : Mark of the Starspawn > anything else
  • Ring: Recursive Circle > Rurikid Knot > anything else
  • Neck: Lycanthropic Essence (useful for additional initial aggro when starting with Immutable) > Fishbone Medallion > Seed of Aggression > Egon Pendant > anything else
  • Wrist: Bracer of Forgotten Horrors > anything else
  • Luck: Cold Silver Dice > anything else
  • Belt: Black Sash (hard to test, but should be 10% extra additive aggro, similar to Immutable) > Brawler’s Belt > Grounding Line > anything else
  • Occult: Whalebone Rune > Razor Fossil > Alloy Heart > anything else

Signets

  • Head : it is fine to have a damage signet if coming from a main DPS role (Paragon / Shattering / anything else), otherwise Transience / Ascendant. My go-to choice is Ascendant for maximum flexibility with potential different creative purposes (works for a healer role as well).
  • Ring / Neck: generic signets are more flexible, pure hammer are obviously better otherwise
  • Wrist: Signet of Condensed Anima > Signet of Overwhelming Power
  • Luck: Signet of Cruel Delight > Signet of Thirst > anything else
  • Belt: Signet of Time and Space Alteration > anything else
  • Occult: Signet of Quickness > anything else (Quickness if the best occult signet for PvE by far, for any role and pretty much any situation)

Gadgets

The best way to be useful for the group is to take care of any utility required on a given encounter. Since you have a free gadget slot, and gadgets cannot glance nor be evaded, is it safe to take care of extra tasks as a tank even with low glance reduction. Mitigation gadgets should be considered if the tank is undergeared, or in a learning phase. I advise to get at least 1 gadget of each category, and all the gadgets of the “Others” category.

  • Interrupts: Electrogravitic Attractor (best option for single target), The Mistress’s Bashosen (aoe), Improvised ECT Instrumentation, Ultrasonic Anti-Personnel Cannon, Borrowed Clairvoyance Drone, Pulsed Energy Emitter (only works as interrupt on crowd-controllable targets – everything besides bosses)
  • Purges: Electromagnetic Destabilizer (quality is irrelevant)
  • Cleanses: Purification Drone Model UW-0 (group) (quality is irrelevant), Asibikaashi’s Hoop (personal)
  • Mitigation: Primeval Jötunn Cranial Fragment (clunky to use, but very strong), Unification Susceptibility Module, The Osmium Configuration, Orochi Buckler Drone (museum), Spectre (museum), True Ancile of the Salii
  • Others: Compact Catastrophe Shelter, Manticore X27 Agitator, Sedative Delivery System, Superluminal Bridging Device

Agents

  • Faction Recruit (+1000 protection, +980 HP)
  • Oleg Yablokov (+2.5% all damage, +650 attack rating)
  • Thomas Grady (+3.5% hammer damage, +980 HP)
  • Warlawurru (+490 HP, +8% power abilities’ damage)
  • Sarah Skelly (+325 attack rating, +8% power abilities’ damage)
  • Petru (+490 HP, +7% hammer damage)

For NY raid, the best agents are the most defensive ones:

  • Faction Recruit (+1000 protection, +980 HP)
  • Thomas Grady (+3.5% hammer damage, +980 HP)
  • Jayesh Suresh (+1000 protection, +500 defense rating)
  • Christina Del Rio (+1000 protection, +500 evade rating)

Additional resources

The following video comes from one of my twitch stream sessions when i’ve first experienced the sustain-tanking on the Transylvania lair regional boss. You can notice at 0:51 mark that my gear was mainly all purple talismans lvl 1, and one yellow DPS talisman (the neck). The clip has been done quite some time ago (September), prior to the Pulverise nerf and to the AA patch (i had 50% extra max HP back then).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PY-dfT-G7Y

The following video is a highlight of another of my streaming sessions 4 months ago, again, prior to the AA patch, but after the Pulverise nerf.
https://www.twitch.tv/videos/202324000

For both above videos, i chose them to demonstrate that the sustain-tanking can be experienced and played effectively with very low gear (and, well, because i didn’t bother making any other videos since that time).


Sustain Tank Blessing or Bane?
Consolidated list of Gameplay Guides
#2

Encounters

This is a quick resume of some tips on some bosses in E5+ dungeons, and it is meant as a complement for tanking purposes. For the basic and complete strategy of each boss, please refer to the following guide:

Be aware that the tricks presented here are one way to deal efficiently with various mechanics, but not the only one. While these tactics work very well for our own groups, your mileage may vary.

Polaris 1

Gadget: any capable of interrupting.
Pull the boss by running towards it. If it starts casting Charged Hack, use Immutable to mitigate it and start spamming Pulverises. On each subsequent Charged Hack, use Immutable (Rock Hard or Backlash might be enough, but dangerous if undergeared, they might get destroyed by the hit too soon), unless randomly interrupted by a DD. If the boss starts by casting Deep Calling, then proceed by walking behind the boss to line-of-sight the spell. Interrupt Mjolnir’s Echo - it is a knockdown and an aggro reset.

Polaris 2

Gadget: electromagnetic destabilizer, as purging utility. Purge Tide Wall’s barrier. When Deathsquall is cast, a persistent AoE will appear (a cloud), it might be graphically rendered in an incorrect place - my advise is to drag the boss back and forth alongside the container. When adds arrive, put yourself in combat with them by Ground Pounding once on them, then immediately use Rock Hard or Backlash if available, and continue the Ground Pound spam. Catastrophe Shelter is a good option to protect the group from adds as well, but someone else will have to bring the purge. If you’re confident enough and not undergeared, you can remove Twist fate and bring Evulsion for that matter.

Polaris 3

Gadget: any capable of interrupting.
Use Rock Hard or Backlash on each add spawn when the boss vanishes. Interrupt Mjolnir’s Echo.

Polaris 4

If you’re confident that the DDs will kill the bombers, then ignore them. If not, do not pull with Immutable, but keep it for bombers when they’ll appear. In any case, pull the boss, generate some aggro with 3-4 Pulverise hits, then use Rock Hard and run towards the exit where the bombers will come from. Take the aggro on them, wait a while until you’ll get snared, then use Immutable to absorb their explosions.

Polaris 5

Gadget: electromagnetic destabilizer, as purging utility. Other options could be used though, as for instant the Mistress Bashosen as an area knockback and interrupt for Synapse Spasm.
This is the hardest fight in the game for a sustain-tank. Watch the animations of the boss to see when it will autoattack you, and use Immutable, Rock Hard or Backlash accordingly. Without debilitate, autoattacks can oneshot you if you’re not overgearing the fight, and debilitate falls off each time you get into P2 (add phase). Mitigate Synapse Spasm with Rock Hard or Backlash just as if it was an autoattack. If, while under Backlash, you’re too low life, add Pain Suppression to avoid dying. Whenever the boss makes adds spawn, you’ll see an animation of a lightning going towards the relevant side of the area – immediately use Rock Hard or Backlash to instantly get aggro on the adds at distance.

Start by pulling the boss with Immutable, then keep the next Immutable for incoming bombers, and use it to mitigate their explosion. Bombers will keep coming periodically until the boss gets under 50% life, at which point, only small adds will be spawning, in huge numbers. At the beginning of each P2 (add phase), there will be 3 add waves spawns – wait until at least 2 waves are up, then use Rock Hard or Backlash to get instantly aggro on everything, rush towards the last wave and take aggro on them with Ground Pound - Signet of Quickness is really useful in this situation. After that, when surrounded by adds, start spamming Ground Pound, use Pain Suppression to get tons of aggro from that healing on everything. After a while (roughly 15s), position yourself as the closest group member towards the boss on the right side of the ramp, and pull the boss again with Immutable.

Polaris 6

Gadget: any capable of interrupting.
If not overgearing, autoattacks will most likely oneshot without any protection cooldown up, so follow the 4 CD rotation perfectly. You can temporize when boss casts a slam. Interrupt his Cosmic Gaze instantly. During black phase, don’t hesitate to get in line of sight of the boss so that anyone else doesn’t get caught – just use a cooldown to mitigate the attack.

An advanced option consists of slotting Evulsion for the interrupt purposes, and slot the Purification Drone as cleansing gadget.

Hell Raised 1

Gadget: Electrogravitic Attractor.
Unless undergeared, remove Twist Fate and take Evulsion. Wait until the aoe zones are cleared, and engage the boss quickly with Immutable. Make sure to alternate Evulsion and the gadget to interrupt all the Macroshocks. Her regular attacks have a chance to apply a stack of lifeburn – unless overgeared, it is a good idea to loose the stacks by line of sighting the boss around a pillar if at 2 stacks – the damage dealt by lifeburn cannot trigger Pain Suppression heals.

Hell Raised 3

Make sure to face the boss away from the group since he cleaves. Otherwise, regular tank & spank fight with Searing Brand being interruptible or mitigatable.

Hell Raised 4

Gadget: Catastrophe Shelter, to be used on each Molten Metal.
Try to mitigate the Searing Brand with either Immutable or Rock Hard, or roll behind the boss when the cast is about to finish to dodge it. The best moment to engage the boss is when aoes arrive to the boss on the left side of the corridor.

Hell Raised 5

Gadget: Electrogravitic Attractor.
Remove Twist Fate and slot Evulsion. Make sure to interrupt all the Macroshocks between add phases (call out anybody else for the first Macroshock coming after an add phase If you’re out of interrupts because of the adds, or keep one of your interrupts always up for this matter). Always stand at the opposite of other people. After the 2nd add phase, and after her last Infernal Criticality cast, don’t stand in melee range of the boss and take some distance until she throws a reflective shield at your position (it is always targeted on the tank in the last phase), it can happen immediately after her Infernal Criticality cast, or some time later, but in any case, don’t melee her at all until the shield is dropped safely away from her, at a distance, but keep dealing with Macroshocks at a distance and rotating defensive cooldowns.

Hell Raised 6

Gadget: Electrogravitic Attractor.
Track the timer of his debuff called Anima Depletion, and make sure to bring him into an anima well when he has less than 5 seconds remaining on the Anima Depletion. Don’t make the boss face the group because of his cleave.

Hell Eternal 1

Gadget: Purification Drone.
Trigger the gadget as soon as Rot Iron is cast on the group (green chains). If you’re too slow, someone from the group can die, so don’t be hesitate to ask someone else to bring a 2nd Purification Drone.

Hell Eternal 2

Gadget: Purification Drone.
Use the gadget each time the boss runs away from a spot as he’ll put Rot Iron (green chains) on someone in his line of sight. The chains kill no matter what, even under Immutable.
It is possible to use Rock Hard or Twist Fate as aggro generator on aggro resets.
The other option is to remove Twist Fate and to equip Burning Wrath. Use it alongside Immutable as soon as you hear the boss resetting his aggro (just before he starts casting his Mephisto’s Reach – a green pbaoe). Immutable might not be up each time you engage him, so use either Rock Hard or Pain Suppression instead. You should reengage the boss with 15 energy if possible - the Signet of Quickness helps catching up to the boss in time and/or Ground Pounding him while he is running so as to regen energy.

Hell Eternal 3

Kite the boss from water spot to water spot. Use the opportunity to run towards the next water spot as soon as the boss gets busy casting anything if you’re confident with your aggro. Watch his Heat stacks - the boss needs to be position in a water pool before he reaches 100 heat.
Now that the Purification Drones can cleanse Lifeburn, you have the option to slot this gadget, however everyone in the group will need one and target self (no target is defaulted to targeting self) as the drone cannot jump on other people and cleanse them (probably a bug).

Hell Eternal 5

Gadget: the Mistress’ Bashosen.
Engage with Immutable + Ground Pound. The aggro might be volatile if anyone uses an aoe elite and cleaves the other bosses than the one designated to be focused. Usual order: B-I-C (I-B-C is safer if the DPS of the group is lowish, since the fire debuff from Iscariot deals noticeable damage when Brutus dies first, and he’ll have time to cast it at that point with low DPS – unless some group heals are present, the fire debuff might kill a DPS, but potion usage is just enough to survive that, while obviously running around dropping flames). Use the gadget to interrupt Rot Iron from Iscariot (the green chains) – the first cast of it happens straight at the beginning on engagement (in the first 5 seconds roughly), so be ready for it. It is advised to enable the display of enemy nametags, alongside their cast bars under their health bar, so you could see all the enemy casts under their respective nametag without aiming at them. After each boss’s death, use your gadget to interrupt Painwheel Overdrive incoming from another boss.
Once geared enough, Twist Fate can be dropped and replaced with Burning Wrath, which nullifies any risk of aggro being stolen at the beginning of the fight. Burning Wrath should be used until you spend 50 fury with it to leave a ground AoE.

Hell Eternal 6

Gadget: any capable of interrupting, or Purification Drone.
Unless undergeared, remove Twist Fate and equip Evulsion. At 50% of his life, the boss will teleport and use Cast Out. This can lead to a wipe if the boss rushes the tank and puts the exploding aoe on him. To prevent this, start kiting the boss towards 60% of his life – this often happens right when the boss is stunning someone, so use that opportunity to take distance. One way of kiting is to run around a pillar to line-of-sight the rush. The other thresholds for Cast Out are 25% and ~0% (correct me if the thresholds are wrong). Interrupt Drink Deep with Evulsion. If you have Purification Drone equipped, use it each time the boss casts Rot Iron (green chains).

At the final Cast Out, when phased out in the middle of the room, use Evulsion to interrupt Painwheel Overdrive. If you got an interrupt gadget, you’re safe to also interrupt Drink Deep with it; if you have the Purification drone, you are either relying on someone else interrupting it, or you are planning to soak it with Immutable (it will make the boss heal up, this is mostly irrelevant with big group DPS), or you are willing to roll behind the boss, or a wing usage is relevant to get the immunity during the cast (the ground AoE is visually annoying afterwards though).

Darkness Wars 1

Gadget: the Mistress’ Bashosen.
Interrupt Blood Boils. You can instantly get aggro on the adds by using Ground Pound, followed by Rock Hard or Backlash barrier. Catastrophe Shelter is also an option as gadget, as it saves DD’s lives if they stand in it and take a hit from adds here and there. It is advised to ask DDs to save their area interrupts if relevant (such as Eruption) for the incoming waves of adds, which are coming roughly 30s after the first 2 adds enter the fight at the beginning.

Darkness Wars 2

Gadget: the Mistress’ Bashosen, or Sedative Delivery.
Ask DDs to use their area interrupts (such as Eruption), and pull adds 1-2 packs at a time, try to avoid grabbing more than 6 of them. When only one pack of adds remains use your gadget on it, then rush the boss and start building aggro on it ASAP, you can pull adds towards the boss or the other way around. Mitigate the Concuss with either Rock Hard or Immutable. Each Concuss cast will knock you backwards – make sure to avoid getting knocked down into an existing filth.

Darkness Wars 3

Gadget: electromagnetic destabilizer, as purging utility.
Grab the adds with Ground Pound + Rock Hard or Backlash barrier. Purge Izama’s Wrath buff after the cast with the same name ends.

Darkness Wars 4

Gadget: Electrogravitic Attractor.
Grab the adds and gather them, call the DDs when they are clumped up so they aoe them down in one spot. Bring the boss in a corner, and run towards the opposite side of the area when he goes underground. While he’s underground, gather the adds. When boss is out, and adds gathered, wait until the boss stacks up with the adds in a corner (or in the same spot where you previously killed the adds, if you’re confident enough about surviving in the blood under Immutable), and then call out DDs to aoe everything down. It is preferred to wait until the boss stacks up with the adds so abilities like Eruption also hit the boss.

Darkness Wars 5

Gadget: electromagnetic destabilizer, as purging utility, or the Mistress’ Bashosen.
Purge Izama’s Wrath if purging gadget, interrupt Sanguine Omen if interrupt gadget.
Another option is to stand at maximum melee range of the boss – that way, Sanguine Omen’s circle will spawn on top of you and will be excentered, allowing melee DDs to have a spot on the opposite side of the boss. Tank the adds with Ground Pound and shields.

Darkness Wars 6

Gadget: Manticore X27 Agitator.
Unless undergeared, remove Twist Fate and slot Evulsion. Use Evulsion to interrupt his cone aoe casts, and use the gadget to get aggro back after a Concuss. In phase 1, line of sight the Concuss cast to avoid getting teleported away and blinded then immediately use the gadget to get the boss back. This is done by hiding behind the rock on the right side of the area - be sure to move the boss closer to that rock after around 15 seconds spent generating aggro.

Ankh 2

Gadget: Electrogravitic Attractor.
Grab the reaper with the gadget. Make sure to use Pain Suppression just before the boss starts casting his Dreaming Shroud on you, and to keep it off cooldown for that matter. You can see him doing it when you notice a sudden purple flash appearing. For the giant wave, you can either tank it with Immutable only (in that case, stay at melee range of the boss), or jump above the wave – you have to stand on the edge of the corridor, on the left or right side.

Ankh 3

Refer to the Hell Eternal 5 advises to pull multiple enemies.

Ankh 4

Gadget: Sedative Delivery.
After the initial scientists are killed, tell the DPS to ignore the rest of the adds and to focus the boss. When an add appears, use the gadget at a distance to interrupt their cast, and then ignore them.

Ankh 5

Rush the Orochi Dead Ops and tank them. After the 2nd gate breaks, rush towards the end of the bridge, and tank the subsequent Orochi Dead Ops. Use a barrier’s aggro to get hate on the adds behind any gate.

Ankh 6

Gadget: Electrogravitic Attractor.
Unless really undergearing, remove Twist Fate and take Evulsion. Make the boss face away from the group since it cleaves. As soon as the boss casts Sinkhole under your feet, move on the opposite side of the corridor. If you didn’t have time to generate enough aggro, use Evulsion when you make the boss move. When the boss is down, rush upstairs and interrupt Klein’s cast by using the gadget at a distance (spam gadget’s button while approaching). On the first interrupt, get back down by the same path you’ve taken to get upstairs. On the 2nd travel, jump on top of the crossing underneath Klein to get back.

Check out the following video about boss positioning:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRovgx2SQe8


#3

reserved, just in case


#4

In short:
1, Immutable
2, Be panic and hit pain suppression/thick skin/twist fate when immutable is on CD :stuck_out_tongue:


#5

A good introduction to sustain tanking, especially the fight-specific part. I’ll add a few of my comments:

When it comes to sustain tanking, self healing is not very important. The key to not dying is simply to be invincible through the use of three cooldowns; Immutable, Rock Hard (Thick Skin), and Pain Suppression. Chaining these three yield 18 seconds of invulnerability, and Twist Fate/Backlash cover the last three seconds of your rotation. (I like having a second to spare in my rotation.) Those three seconds, and possibly lag when applying new buffs, is the only time you can die to normal attacks. If you can consistently keep the buffs up according to your first figure, everything else is handling fight-specific mechanics and aggro management. Self-healing is, however, quite nice to get initial aggro on adds.

I also have to point out how I disagree with your ranking of hammers: The average time between each enraged pulverise is mostly depending on your energy regeneration. It is better to spend this time enraged than not, and hence your argument against the Red Hand Destroyer is invalid. The Destroyer mostly gives hate-boosted aoe dps which is what I find most weapons lacking, and a little self healing (through percussive maintenance). I also think you vastly overestimate the Hell Forged Warhammer. As I said earlier, self healing is not very important, and that’s the only thing the warhammer brings to the table. I’d actually swap these two in the rankings in your post.

I’d link to the long and good discussion we had on tank hammers on swl-forums, but it seems like that content is lost as the forum only redirects here now.

Encounters:

Pol 5: I don’t think this one is anything special. Ask a dps to purge, slot the Phoenician Support Stratagem, and let self healing pull the adds to you. Use support stratagem to survive the add explosions. I just stick to my normal braindead rotation for buffs. Knowing when to get back on the boss can be a bit tricky, but I wrote a mod to beep when he becomes targetable again. That helps a lot. Using a red hand destroyer also helps to hold aggro on the squiddie adds :wink:

Pol 4: Same as #5, use support stratagem to handle the adds. Keep buffs for normal rotation. Asking dps to ignore the adds increases damage on the boss, but it’s not like dps ever listens anyway.

HE6: I ask a dps to impair drink deep in the last phase so I can keep my normal rotation. Even if the dps fails, there’s still a good chance you survive it.

DW2: I actually find his concussion rather dangerous, and this one has killed me through thick skin/pain suppression.

DW6: Again, I ask a dps to impair the filthy things, and aim them towards the ledge in case the dps fails.

Ankh2: I hate this one. It’s the only fight where I have to think about my rotation and can’t rely on muscle memory. If I know the healer I might ask him/her to heal to avoid stupid wipes. At least the damage output is pretty low with the frequent casts.


#6

There is also the matter of group healing. Cruel delight is nice for some fights and general topping up, but (at my level) not enough for eg Pol 3. An AR DPS with unveil essence is great healing but not always available and incurs a DPS penalty. Clean slate is really nice in hell dungeons where it both cleanses and heals. What other options do you use?


#7

Thank you for the inputs Kahleon ! First of all, before we discuss your points, i’d like to ask you: how high of a difficulty did you ever tank ?

When it comes to sustain tanking, self healing is not very important. The key to not dying is simply to be invincible through the use of three cooldowns; Immutable, Rock Hard (Thick Skin), and Pain Suppression.
Chaining these three yield 18 seconds of invulnerability

Rock Hard lasts only 5 seconds and not 10. You’re calling the remaining 5 seconds of Thick Skin protection buff “invulnerability”? I have an issue with this. Also, according to you, since selfhealing isn’t important, than we can as well unslot Percussive and Cruel Delight signet. Here are some examples of what could happen:

  1. After Immutable, the Immutable’s heal doesn’t crit. You start using Rock Hard.
  2. Rock Hard falls off, you still have 40% max life left. You take a hit and you die if you fail to use Pain Suppression immediately (got sniped).

Another example:

  1. After Immutable, the Immutable’s heal doesn’t crit. You start using Rock Hard.
  2. Rock Hard falls off, you still have 40% max life left. This time, you immediately start using Pain Suppression alongside Thick Skin. You get at very low life after each hit taken until Pain Suppression is over.
  3. You use Twist Fate while being low life. You take a hit and you die.

You’re a lot more vulnerable to glanced hits not healing you under Pain Suppression as well. Besides, even Rock Hard isn’t actually an invulnerability - at the highest difficulties, special hits from bosses tend to one shot you through Rock Hard and your entire life pool behind it.

Generally, if selfheal wasn’t important for your survival itself, then we won’t see so many tanks failing and dying so frequently while either getting sniped because they missed their cooldown rotation by a split second, or they screwed up anything else. Last and very important thing: having a solid selfheal orientation allows you to safely drop cooldowns when you start to overgear content.

The average time between each enraged pulverise is mostly depending on your energy regeneration. It is better to spend this time enraged than not, and hence your argument against the Red Hand Destroyer is invalid.

The Red Hand destroyer is doubling the generated rage, so it gets from 2 to 4 per hit per target, i’ll take into consideration only single target rage generation here. How would you argue that an extra 2 rage per second (which cannot even last that long) can ever beat the Pneumatic Maul’s 4.5 rage per second (as equivalent) on average at 50% crit chance, or Hellforged Warhammer’s 6 rage per second after only 6 seconds of ramping? Maybe my argument was malformed in that regard, i guess i shall put this explanation in perspective.

The Destroyer mostly gives hate-boosted aoe dps which is what I find most weapons lacking, and a little self healing (through percussive maintenance).

The base damage of tanking basics is equal to 0.59CP, it is extremely low. An extra 30% more additive damage on top of that means an extra 0.177CP on hit with a basic. For 1, the more crit chance you’ll get, the less basics you’ll be doing, and for 2, i wonder how you manage to tank things in aoe with basics only without anyone in the group dying. With the way the aggro works in this game (mobs sticking to their target until they hit it, more or less), having an extra 0.177CP damage so 1.77 CP of aggro translates into an extra 1190 extra aggro per hit. This is pretty much negligible (explanation: with a maxed out basic hammer signet, you deal 0.59 * 2.11 = 1.245CP damage with a basic, which translates into 12.45CP aggro, and with 700 CP, it is equal to 8715 points of aggro, so an additional 1190 extra aggro is an overall 13.7% aggro improvement on Ground Pound - the vast majority of the time, it doesn’t make any difference in binary situation of adds having or not having aggro on you) . In practice, the realistic scenario of aoe tanking consists of locking the initial aggro with Rock Hard or Backlash barrier’s aggro points, and only THEN spamming basics. I’ve personally pretty much never lost any adds there i’ve had aggroed with one of the shields and started to spam Ground Pound. When farming lairs or some other easy content, the safest way to tank packs of trash mobs is with Mass Evulsion and Raging Volcano. I wish you went deeper into your analysis of this weapon, since i still don’t see how it could ever be viable.

I should also remind you that, again, any selfhealing has built-in extra aggro value in it, even if that selfhealing goes to waste under certain Immunities such as Immutable.

I also think you vastly overestimate the Hell Forged Warhammer. As I said earlier, self healing is not very important, and that’s the only thing the warhammer brings to the table. I’d actually swap these two in the rankings in your post.

See above : selfhealing isn’t useless, and extra aggro comes from extra selfhealing.

Pol 5: I don’t think this one is anything special. Ask a dps to purge, slot the Phoenician Support Stratagem, and let self healing pull the adds to you. Use support stratagem to survive the add explosions. I just stick to my normal braindead rotation for buffs. Knowing when to get back on the boss can be a bit tricky, but I wrote a mod to beep when he becomes targetable again. That helps a lot. Using a red hand destroyer also helps to hold aggro on the squiddie adds :wink:

Pol 4: Same as #5, use support stratagem to handle the adds. Keep buffs for normal rotation. Asking dps to ignore the adds increases damage on the boss, but it’s not like dps ever listens anyway.

Phoenician Support Stratagem granting immunity to bombers is an exploit. There’s no way i’d ever put in my guide any semblance of using exploits. I know Sleight of Hand worked exactly in the same fashion back in TSW, and was never fixed, this isn’t the reason to keep using non-intended flaws in the code. I don’t care that much if people use it as it won’t break the balance of the game or anything, but, again, i’ll never put that in my guide. This won’t happen. Besides, you can already do the same thing with proper Immutable timings (i’m already doing this regularly, and it gets even easier with CD reductions), so you could still keep the Purge. Another thing: imagine i ask a DD to slot a purge, and that DD dies - this is now automatically a wipe since the boss won’t get purged and the shield is pretty much undestructible.

HE6: I ask a dps to impair drink deep in the last phase so I can keep my normal rotation. Even if the dps fails, there’s still a good chance you survive it.

I used to do the same. You can quickly be able to survive in this fight with 1 less defensive CD, even in highest difficulties. You can’t survive it with any defensive besides Immutable though (so here we go with your “18 seconds immunity” you threw at the beginning).

DW2: I actually find his concussion rather dangerous, and this one has killed me through thick skin/pain suppression.

Concussion seems to hit you twice, with the 2nd hit being stronger than the first. If undergearing a bit, it won’t surprise me to hear it even kills people through Pain Suppression + Twist Fate, since the 2nd hit is pretty much a standalone hard hit.

Ankh2: I hate this one. It’s the only fight where I have to think about my rotation and can’t rely on muscle memory. If I know the healer I might ask him/her to heal to avoid stupid wipes. At least the damage output is pretty low with the frequent casts.

Just using potion is most of the time enough to recover after Pain Suppression is over, without ever needing anything, not even Anima Suffusion.

Most of your other suggestions make the DDs do extra things i don’t usually ask them to myself. But as stated, the “Encounters” part is work-in-progress, i’ll update it with some of your notices.

Cheers!


#8

Clean slate is really nice in hell dungeons where it both cleanses and heals. What other options do you use?

If the cleansing doesn’t also involve damage (such as Lifeburn), then the Purification drone is always the go-to choice.


#9

I don’t agree with your ranking of affix. I consider Restoration to be way above anything else. The constant self-heal is amazing for sustain, generates heal aggro, and scales off your main stat - max HP.

The only other thing I’d consider from a tanking point of view would be Efficiency, but because that gets devalued somewhat by a cooldown signet I consider it less useful than Restoration.

Energy would be my third pick for it’s aggro potential and dual use as a DPS weapon.

Alacrity MH isn’t really needed if you run Quickness signet or Alacrity in the offhand. There’s only a couple fights where movement is an issue (HE 3 if low DPS group and you need to kite, E10 NYR dodging personal space) and I don’t think those alone justify spending a mainhand affix on Alacrity when the other options are so much better.


#10

I consider Restoration to be way above anything else. The constant self-heal is amazing for sustain, generates heal aggro, and scales off your main stat - max HP.

Provide some numbers instead of just an opinion to convince me. The way i see it, the base healing it gives is 1.125% max HP per second. The thing is that, how many of that constant heal goes to waste in overheals or under immunities ? Any healing done by this affix during Immutable is factually ZERO (only the extra aggro provided by those heals matters when under Immutable for instance). Any healing done by the affix during Pain Suppression is also ZERO. Any time you’re full life and under Rock Hard, the heals you proc from this affix are ZERO. Do you see the problem here? The selfheals with Pulverise are really strong because you can somewhat control when you proc Percussive Maintenance by delaying Pulverise usages, you cannot do the same thing with Restoration. When you consider adding things like Mark of the Starspawn, you’ll get into on average more overhealing and wasted heals situations as well since you cannot control that one either. Restoration is just kind of meh and a good thing to have when gearing up early, when you don’t have that much crit chance and no Mark of the Starspawn, etc… Btw, since you’ve been using it, can you tell us if the selfheals from it can crit ? The other thing is that the other selfheals are just a lot spikier than this affix (Percussive can heal easily 13% max hp on a crit with only mythic 20 crit power glyphs, and that can be decisive), which matters big time here.

Basically, if i were to choose a pure tanking affix (because honestly, Restoration is useless from flexibility PoV), i’d choose Warding over Restoration, and that’s what i put into pure tanking affix sorting. Warding provides 1.8% EHP, which is quite good and couples perfectly with this already selfheal-heavy build.

The only other thing I’d consider from a tanking point of view would be Efficiency, but because that gets devalued somewhat by a cooldown signet I consider it less useful than Restoration.

Efifciency, as of cooldown reduction in general, shouldn’t be overrated, because as i demonstrated it in the rotation section, the cooldown reduction on Immutable is mostly flavour and can only get uses in very specific and controlled situations. But this is an extra option and can find creative ways of being used, i’d rate it on the same level that i’d rate Alacrity.

Energy would be my third pick for it’s aggro potential and dual use as a DPS weapon.

Agree entirely with this, and that’s what i stated in the guide basically.

Alacrity MH isn’t really needed if you run Quickness signet or Alacrity in the offhand.

Just like any other affixes aren’t actually really needed, their impact is close to negligible. Alacrity on mainhand is mainly a comfort-providing affix, it is situational for sure, and not really needed if already on the offhand, but that’s not exactly the scope of the guide, it just meant to provide a sorting based on affixes on one weapon alone (guess i can state that it looses value if Alacrity is present on the offhand, for sure). But to your knowledge, there are certainly more fights where movement could be important, notably some fights in DW where add picking up is crucial, HR6, ankh6, pol5, HE2/3. It also can save you a dodge-roll usage so you could keep Quickness for a somewhat more important situation. For flexibility, Alacrity will always have value for DPS (even with an alacrity offhand, unless you go into offhand switch macro or automatic weapon switch mod shenanigans) as it allows you to have absolute stickiness in any movement-heavy fights (prenerf HE3, HR6) and is in fact very decisive in those fights - this affix can be seen as a progress-facilitating tool or a failsafe, whereas other affixes such as Energy of Havoc are adding a bit of extra dps / hate which hardly matters on farmed content and tank & spank bosses. It’s a matter of preference and PoV at this point i think, i’ll tend to always choose an affix or signet based on the extra options it could provide me, rather than pure performance (unless pure performance gains start to become significant, i don’t consider 1-2% being significant enough in this game), and i’d agree to the fact the guide might be biased towards that.

I’ve swapped Warding and Efficiency / Alacrity for pure tanking affixes here, so Warding has the top spot now.


#11

The Restoration proc can indeed crit. Early in the game my first hammer was actually an Anima-Touched of Warding. I used it as fodder for my Restoration one once I got it. The increase self-healing was instantly noticeable, and it made sustain tanking much easier.

I don’t really value Warding that high. Sure the extra health it gives is nice, but we get plenty of that from talismans already. Passive healing is great for both sustain and aggro, which is why I value both Anima-Touched and Resto procs so high.

Cruel Delight can give you a similar sort of thing, but you need high level DPS glyphs to make it really shine. If your glyphs are low level (or if you use tank glyphs) it doesn’t do much healing. Resto+Anima is anywhere between slightly better or slightly worse than Cruel Delight depending on glyph set-up.

I guess I may be a little biased towards Restoration because I also have the Anima-Touched proc, which strengthens the effect (in terms of healing, Anima-Touched of Restoration MK III is essentially a Restoration MK 4.5). Stacking this much passive self-heal produces some pretty noticeable results.

I also have a different glyph set-up than what people these days normally do. It’s a difference in perspective. You’re looking at it as “How much of my DPS gear can I use for tanking and still stay alive?” whereas I’m looking at it as “How hard can I gear towards full-tank while still being able to keep aggro?”.

I started out with the full-tank glyph set-up of 3x evade, 3x defense, 1x hit, 1xcrit. With this set-up I could hold aggro up to about 22-24k DPS before I would have an issue. Then I dropped the 3x evade for 3x crit and I could hold aggro up to about 25-27k. Now, I’ve dropped 1x defense for 1x crit damage and I can hold aggro up to around 30k DPS. So my final glyph set-up is 1x hit, 2x defense, 4x crit, 1x crit damage.

The above is for regionals, which is what I find the hardest thing to hold aggro on. Because the incoming damage from the boss is so low, I don’t get to proc a lot of the self-heals which is a good chunk of my aggro. For things like E10 dungeons or E10 NYR I can still hold aggro on 30k DPS with a tankier glyph set-up just because of how hard things are hitting me. For that content I go back to the 3x defense version.

So, I guess it’s time for some maths.
Max HP with full red 70 talismans: 28362 (36871 with pulv)
Combat Power with red 70 weapon and full tank allocation: 699.2
Anima-Touched proc with red 70 weapon and full tank allocation: 596 (33% chance), effectively 199 per hit
Restoration Proc with full red 70 talismans: 2.25% (50% chance), effectively 1.125% per hit, or 415 per hit

Now, all of these procs can crit. So first lets look at these with the standard full-DPS glyph setup.
Crit Chance: 50%
Crit Power: 170.1%

Anima-Touched = 199 * 0.5 + 199 * 0.5 * 2.701 = 368 hp per hit
Restoration = 415 * 0.5 + 415 *0.5 * 2.701 = 768 hp per hit
Restoration + Anima-Touched = 1136 hp per hit

Now with a slightly tankier glyph set-up (my preffered setup of 1x hit, 3x defense, 4x crit):
Crit Chance: 42.7%
Crit Power: 60.7%

Anima-Touched = 199 * 0.573 + 199 * 0.427 * 1.607 = 336 hp per hit
Restoration = 415 * 0.573 + 415 * 0.427 * 1.607 = 523 hp per hit
Restoration + Anima-Touched = 859 hp per hit

Looking solely at the health sustain values, this doesn’t seem like much. But consider the aggro value of the heal. When tank DPS is around 2.5-3k, an extra 500 is A LOT. And yes, some of that value can be lost to overhealing but you can play around it so most of it will proc for aggro.

Any healing done by this affix during Immutable is factually ZERO (only the extra aggro provided by those heals matters when under Immutable for instance).

Yes, you agree that we still get aggro value while under Immutable.

Any healing done by the affix during Pain Suppression is also ZERO.

The thing about Pain Supression is you are very often left at half health during it’s effect. And with defense glyphs, you can sometime be left at 0% health (yay bugs!). So even though the heal value of the proc may be 0, the aggro value of the proc isn’t lost.

Any time you’re full life and under Rock Hard, the heals you proc from this affix are ZERO.

You don’t use Thick Skin when you’re at full life. You use it when you’re chunked and 1 hit from dying. That way you can gain value from your self-heals during the duration of the shield. With all the self-healing from Anima-Touched, Restoration, Cruel Delight, Forged in Fire, and Percussive I can use Thick Skin at 1% hp left and be full health by the time the Rock Hard shield ends.

Another thing to consider with 3x defense glyphs is you do have a 41.5% glance chance. Any glanced hit will do no threatening damage, but will damage you enough that your self-heals can proc for value. The glances themselves will allow you to delay using a cooldown. Even just one glance will gain you an extra 1-2 seconds on your cooldown rotation. Multiple glances in a row can gain you a ton of extra time, and with such a high % it’s not too uncommon. And any time you’re not using a cooldown you’re getting full value from the heal procs.

Granted, if you’re running the full 4 cooldowns then glance isn’t really needed. But if you’re only running 3 (when you need Evulsion for instance) then it does become noticeable.

And specifically for E10 NYR, due to how the boss deals damage, glance has a super high value. I only run 3 cooldowns for E10 NYR and even so, I find myself sometimes able to go upwards of 5-10 seconds between the time one of my cooldowns ends and my health gets low enough before I have to use the next one.

Basically, Restoration and Anima-Touched procs gives me enough extra aggro to let me run defense glyphs. And running defense glyphs lets me run 1 less cooldown.

Granted, past a certain overgear level the extra health and protection from talismans alone will let you run 1 less cooldown. But a tankier glyph setup lets you do that sooner (with lesser gear). You do lose value from Cruel Delight the more you glyph towards tank, but Restoration / Anima makes up for that.

Anyways, that’s my perspective on it. At the current level of content in the game, you can really just do whatever you want once you get past a certain gear level. But when you’re still gearing up, a tankier set-up lets you get to that point sooner. And for that kind of set-up I do believe Restoration and Anima-Touched procs are the BiS.

And eventually we may get more challenging content (they did hint about it on the last devstream). So it’s good to think about the future too.


#12

I believe a tank, upon engaging the Unutterable Lurker, is given an extra cushion of initial aggro to help prevent the aggro ping pong we all so fondly remember from the Secret World, wherein, a tank would run in to engage the Lurker, their health dropping fast, and the healer might be caught in the dilemma to hold healing back long enough for a tank to attack the Lurker or risk grabbing aggro away. The same thing was done on the second encounter in the Ankh with Doctor Klein and the Dimensional Reaper, where, before the change, as players would run in to engage the boss, the healer would often pull aggro on one or both enemies as soon as a heal was cast.

Anecdotally, my sustain tanking build does not ordinarily keep aggro in dungeon and Regional boss fights against the kind of DPS who participate in the same raids that I do, since I do not have the Finger and Neck signets to match my Hammer. But I have no such trouble in the initial engagement of the raid, where the threat of losing aggro is most profound against a damage dealer’s intense burst damage. In fact, the only reason I re-allocate Anima for 85% Survivability and 15% Damage is to maintain aggro on the Birds, who I have lost aggro from damage dealers in the past if my DPS failed to match their burst damage potential. While it is important to not under-appreciate aggro generated from self-healing, it is not a factor specifically for the New York raid.


#13

I don’t really value Warding that high. Sure the extra health it gives is nice, but we get plenty of that from talismans already.

That doesn’t make much sense. At any given time, any amount of protection will always give you the same EHP. It would be like saying that agents that give +325 attack rating isn’t that much of a good thing because you already have lots of attack rating baseline. It doesn’t mean much.

Cruel Delight can give you a similar sort of thing, but you need high level DPS glyphs to make it really shine. If your glyphs are low level (or if you use tank glyphs) it doesn’t do much healing. Resto+Anima is anywhere between slightly better or slightly worse than Cruel Delight depending on glyph set-up.

Agreed, and my statement specifies that Restoration is mainly a good idea on low levels of gear, otherwise the selfheals coming from that become less and less relevant.

whereas I’m looking at it as “How hard can I gear towards full-tank while still being able to keep aggro?”.

And what’s the point of doing that ? If you have requirement X in terms of stats and cooldown rotations to survive any given encounter, and X+c with c being an extra margin just as a failsafe, why not. But then, why extending in getting more tankiness when you’re already too defensive and tank everything ? It is just wiser either to migrate into a hybrid style tanking (hammer/“any weapon” is an example, any weapon being a utility weapon you could grab such as pistols for clean slate / kill blind), or to a dps-oriented setup. You don’t bring any contribution to the group if you keep improving the tankiness while you’re already 100% certain to be able to survive anything. Don’t get me wrong, i still keep tanking myself with the ridiculous 36k HP without any AA into damage and such, but that’s a laziness issue. One won’t improve if he keeps overextending on something irrelevant for the group, and will just ceil his own utility brought to the group and make stagnate his gaming skills. But i see what you’re going towards, it’s just an opinion coming from someone who’ve been playing high-level pve in WoW where tanks absolutely had to actually dish out as much DPS as possible with subpar gear (as all the gear has been given in priority to the DDs, and tanks and healers were most of the time geared at the very end) because of how demanding and challenging everything was during PvE races.

I started out with the full-tank glyph set-up of 3x evade, 3x defense, 1x hit, 1xcrit. With this set-up I could hold aggro up to about 22-24k DPS before I would have an issue.

I’m not sure how you managed that without using Evulsion and such, which means less cooldowns, which in turn means a swap from a cooldown towards defensive glyphing, and i don’t see any reason to do that. That’s the reason so many tanks swapped from defense and evade glyphs to crit, because the aggro was been becoming an issue way earlier than 22-24k DPS. You must be the only tank in the whole game who’ve been able to keep aggro on 22-24k DPS with such a setup, so i somehow have doubts.

The thing about Pain Supression is you are very often left at half health during it’s effect. And with defense glyphs, you can sometime be left at 0% health (yay bugs!). So even though the heal value of the proc may be 0, the aggro value of the proc isn’t lost.

It is lost since the next heal you’re getting out of Pain Suppression will heal you for less - any overheal gives you 0 aggro. Imagine, if a hit removes 50% of your max life, you’re under Pain Suppression and you go from 50% to 75% max HP with your selfhealing, then the next heal from Pain Suppression will grant you 25% max life worth of healing and the according aggro, instead of the full 50% healing if you had no selfheal. So in this example, you gain an amount X of aggro in a moment, and the moment later, you got exactly that same X amount less aggro because you got healed for that X amount less by Pain Suppression. Any selfhealing under Pain Suppression is totally irrelevant, both in terms of actual healing AND aggro.

You don’t use Thick Skin when you’re at full life. You use it when you’re chunked and 1 hit from dying. That way you can gain value from your self-heals during the duration of the shield. With all the self-healing from Anima-Touched, Restoration, Cruel Delight, Forged in Fire, and Percussive I can use Thick Skin at 1% hp left and be full health by the time the Rock Hard shield ends.

In the rotations i’ve presented above, you cannot know if you’ll be full life or not after an Immutable, since Rock Hard comes after Immutable. If you greed and don’t use Rock Hard immediately and you don’t crit on Immutable and just get healed to 40% max hp, you’ll get sniped. It happened to me and other tanks enough times to know that it’s not advised to gamble, but to use Rock Hard right before Immutable ends. Your proposition is only applicable on slow hitting bosses such as Ur’Draug where you have time to react upon Immutable fading without being sniped - in normal circumstances, you won’t be able to do that.

Another thing to consider with 3x defense glyphs is you do have a 41.5% glance chance. Any glanced hit will do no threatening damage, but will damage you enough that your self-heals can proc for value.

I’ve been getting killed way too many times because of the no-heal on a glanced hit under Pain Suppression back in the days i’ve been having defense glyphs as well, same experience for DumbOx. I’d unfortunately say “no thanks” until this is fixed.

The glances themselves will allow you to delay using a cooldown.

I won’t rely on RNG mitigation to allow me dropping a cooldown. Only the main tanking stats (protection + max HP) are acceptable in that regard, and i won’t advise anyone to consider the contrary.

And specifically for E10 NYR, due to how the boss deals damage, glance has a super high value. I only run 3 cooldowns for E10 NYR and even so, I find myself sometimes able to go upwards of 5-10 seconds between the time one of my cooldowns ends and my health gets low enough before I have to use the next one.

I agree to that, the lurker is a rare example of a very fast-hitting boss (2 hits per second) which will alleviate the RNG part of glance or evade-based mitigation. But this is not worth the investment imo. We can drop a cooldown at this point as well, and that’s with crit glyphs.

Anyways, that’s my perspective on it. At the current level of content in the game, you can really just do whatever you want once you get past a certain gear level. But when you’re still gearing up, a tankier set-up lets you get to that point sooner.

This is absolutely not the experience many of the tanks have been having, namely all those who switched to crit glyphing just because otherwise they HAD to run Evulsion or other force aggro shenanigans just to be able to get reliable aggro out of those bursty hammer DPS. The aggro has been a real nightmare for a reasonable amount of tanks already, and the defense / evade glyph issues have been discussed enough on swl-forums and Reddit previously in my opinion.


#14

While it is important to not under-appreciate aggro generated from self-healing, it is not a factor specifically for the New York raid.

Exactly, especially with a healer who makes most of the tank’s selfhealing go into dumpster. Otherwise, it’s wise to keep a good balance. Here we have Kahleon who don’t even consider selfhealing important at all, and Shalrys who maybe overextends on it. I’d advise going somewhere in the middle ground.


#15

Are you sure of this? Everything I know says your weapon suffix is only active if that weapon is in hand at the moment. I did some preliminary testing and it seems to corroborate my assumption.


#16

Are you sure of this? Everything I know says your weapon suffix is only active if that weapon is in hand at the moment. I did some preliminary testing and it seems to corroborate my assumption.

I didn’t ever imply you were getting the move speed boost without getting the offhand weapon out. I meant that if you already have the affix on the offhand, than you have the option to get the offhand out in those situations you’d need to Forrest Gump run something, so you probably won’t ever need to have Alacrity on the mainhand in this situation (that’s what the “loss of value” means in that sentence). Having Alacrity on the mainhand AND offhand is probably only relevant for a melee DD for the movement-heavy extra stickiness, that’s it, pretty much. Then, there’s the “laziness” parameter for anyone who won’t have the will to bind a weapon swap button as well.


#17

Ok, I see what you’re saying.

It’s pre-bound by default. Shift-R I think?


#18

Don’t remember the default keybinding myself, but it’s rebindable.


#19

I’ve moved Restoration to the same tier as Warding with a mention of it being better at lower gear levels, it’ll most likely be better to separate performance and options here. Also moved Alacrity from the flexibility ranking below Energy and Havoc.


#20

Great guide! But I have a math question about tank weapon prioritization that I’d like to address. As far as I understand the damage calculation, the Frost-Bound effect Frigid Storm is multiplicative which is added to current Damage Mitigation. This means that the Frost-Bound’s EHP value depends on the player’s current level of protection, and if my understanding of the formula is correct the Orochi Motivator should outperform at lower levels of protection and the Frost-Bound should outperform at higher levels of protection:


16.927% base Damage Mitigation @ 5k protection
22.8% DM with Motivator @ (+2250 protection, 9.17% EHP)
(16.927 * 1.075) = 18.196% DM with Frigid Storm active (equivalent to roughly 460 extra protection, or 1.87% EHP)

Frigid Storm’s value is 1.269% DM, so with 90% uptime it will average 1.14% DM compared to the Motivator’s 5.87% DM.

With 90% uptime this is roughly 1.69% EHP vs. the full stack Motivator’s 9.17% EHP.


50.46% base Damage Mitigation @ 25k protection
52.61% DM with Motivator (+2250 protection, 9.17% EHP)
(50.46 * 1.075) = 54.24% DM with Frigid Storm active (equivalent to roughly 4100 extra protection, or 16.71% EHP)

Frigid Storm’s value is 3.7845% DM, so with 90% uptime it will average 3.4% DM compared to the Motivator’s 2.15% DM.

With 90% uptime this is roughly 15% EHP vs. the full stack Motivator’s 9.17% EHP.


The Orochi Motivator’s EHP value is 9.17% at all levels because it’s a direct increase to protection, but the Frost-Bound’s effect increases in value with more protection because it is multiplicative. As it’s possible to have much higher than 25k protection, this trend will further scale into the late-game.

This presumes no other multiplicative effects, but otherwise are my maths correct here? If so I would conclude that for sustain tanks the Motivator is better early game and is always more reliable, and that at late game the Frost-Bound has a stronger effect but lacks 100% uptime.