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Thread: Guide to tanking as a Riftstalker :D (As of Beta 7)

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    Shadowlander
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    Default Guide to tanking as a Riftstalker :D (As of Beta 7)

    I've been enjoying tanking instances with my rogue with the Riftstalker soul and several people in-game have been asking me questions about how one might tank instances using a rogue, so I figured I'd post a guide. This is in no way definitive.

    The backbone of your survivability as a Riftstalker are your short duration tanking buffs:
    * Rift Barrier and Rift Guard absorb a good amount of the damage you receive.
    * Guarded Steel increases your armor value and threat generation..
    * Phantom Blow gives a stacking damage reduction buff.

    Tanking as a Riftstalker is mostly about getting your temporary tank buffs up as quickly as possible and maintaining them. You might be a little squishy without them... but once they are up, you should be pretty easy to heal. Phase shifting to activate Rift Barrier is generally a smart way to get an initial barrier activated before you get the chance to start maintaining Rift Guard.

    Various Builds:
    Level 32
    Level 50 Rft 36/Bld 22/Brd 8 - Utility, DPS, and Avoidance
    Level 50 Rft 51/Rng 8/Brd 7- Max Rift Guard

    General strategy for getting survivability up:
    1) Use a phase shift to get Rift Barrier up
    2) Phantom Blow for another combo point
    3) Activate Guarded Steel - 24s, we put this up now to help reduce our incoming damage as quickly as possible.
    4) Use Phantom Blow until you have a full stack (3) of its buff.
    5) Continue building up to 5 combo points (Planar Strike, etc)
    6) Activate Rift Guard - Lasts 30s, this replaces Rift Barrier
    7) Phantom Blow to refresh its buff stack, then finish building up 5 combo points.
    8) Reactivate Guarded Steel - This time, the buff will stay up for 60s

    At this point you will be maintaining at least 3 temporary tanking buffs (Guarded Steel, Rift Guard, and Phantom Blow). Letting any of them drop will put a strain on your healer.
    I find the buff from Phantom Blow easiest for me to maintain if I use it once at the start of my general rotations for building up combo points.


    Strategy I like to use with the 36 Rft build:
    (This is just the strategy I've personally found helpful)
    1) At range, Pull with Cadence. This builds 3 combo points before the mob(s) can touch you.
    2) Use a Plane Shift to put up Rift Barrier
    2a) Shadow Assault puts you behind the mob on a single target
    2b) Shadow Blitz gets initial AoE agro on a multi mob pull
    3) Use the 4 combo points already generated to activate Guarded Steel
    4) Phantom Blow 3 times
    5) Use the 3 combo points to activate False Blade
    6) Start your tanking rotation using Rift Guard to replace your Rift Barrier as your first finisher.

    Rotation:
    0a) Use Reprisal any time its up - off the global cooldown
    0b) Use Weapon Barrage to interrupt spell casting, or any time its up for melee mobs - off the global cooldown
    1) Rift Disturbance if its up for the debuff and AoE threat
    2) Refresh Phantom Blow to keep the damage reduction buff up
    3) Fill with combo generation attacks (Planar Strike, Twin Strike, etc) until 5 combo points
    4) Finisher: Rift Guard, Guarded Steel, or False Blade if they need to be refreshed; otherwise Annihilate, Dauntless Strike, or Compound Attack
    5) Repeat above until the mob is about to die.
    6a) If its just one mob left and a tanking buff is about to expire, use remaining combo points to refresh it (may help for next pull)
    6b) If there are still mobs left, switch targets and use Planar Switch - Go back to step 5.
    Last edited by Laylle; 02-18-2011 at 08:12 AM. Reason: Updated builds slightly.

  2. #2
    Plane Touched Warrender's Avatar
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    Very nice guide. Bookmarked.

  3. #3
    Rift Disciple
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    Subscribed!

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Telaran
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    Thanks a bunch! I'm beginning to like the rogue soul a lot, and was wondering about rogue tanking

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    Shadowlander Ripwind's Avatar
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    This will definitely help ease me into my tanking role. Thanks for detailing it out!

    -Rip

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    RIFT Guide Writer Hokonoso's Avatar
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    also dont be scared to tank before 32, an 18 riftstalker can tank IT no problem, just know when to use that 50% dodge buff from bladedancer and u'll be set.

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    Soulwalker
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    Thank you for this, exactly what I've been looking for.

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    Rift Disciple Malok's Avatar
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    Thanks for this!

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    Sword of Telara Fasc's Avatar
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    Curious to know how squishy/non-squishy you feel you are at current max level without maxing RS for Improved Rift Guard and Improved Guardian Phase?

    7% of the possible 25% bonus Endurance
    8.5% of the possible 17.5% bonus damage reduction
    85% of the possible 175% bonus shield size

    Seems like a lot to give up just for another 6% Parry. The interrupt at 12 points deep is a pretty good reason to go at least that far but beyond that I don't think I'd be willing to drop sub 51-RS until I knew better how hard (or not) the tougher mobs/bosses were smacking me.

    EDIT: Blah, numbers are for lvl50.
    Last edited by Fasc; 02-17-2011 at 09:49 AM.

  10. #10
    Soulwalker
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    Awesome I will definitely use this as a 2nd or 3rd role now. I've been wondering how...

    Great guide!!!

  11. #11
    Shield of Telara Emek's Avatar
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    To the person asking about how squishy you feel as a riftstalker, i've been tanking FC as a riftstalker and as long as i keep my absorbs up incoming damage is a non issue. The only time i saw my health spike was when i intentially pulled 2 or 3 packs of mobs and all 9 mobs hit me before i had a shield up and i dropped to 60% but the healer was able to heal that up on one casts.

    Overall I've been looking at my healing taken SCT and it's just HoTs for the most part, rarely ever a big or medium heal. And I'm talking about the 2 point warden root and bard heals w\e they are. Bard does his thing and the warden from what i saw was just standing around, dpsing most of the time actually now that i think about it.
    Last edited by Vespera; 02-17-2011 at 12:02 PM. Reason: Reply to a post that was removed

  12. #12
    Shadowlander
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fasc View Post
    Curious to know how squishy/non-squishy you feel you are at current max level without maxing RS for Improved Rift Guard and Improved Guardian Phase?
    (I've updated my specs slightly since you posted your numbers, so things are a little bit different. They are still very similar in idea however.)

    I find the build choice to be personal taste really. Not sure how the build will tank like at 50 with harder content... but right now I am generally told that I am easier to heal then most warrior tanks, including against content above my level. So far, I can't really say I fell squishy at all.

    When I had first started tanking with the Riftblade soul, I was aiming for a 51 point build... but ended up finding it to be WAY too boring to play. The Riftblade soul alone just doesn't have much to do...

    My build adds some personal/raid DPS and a little variety to make things a bit more interesting for me.
    1) You get extra hit (noticeable when the mobs are above your level!)
    2) 15% more dex = more crit, ap, and avoidance stats.
    3) Combat Efficiency which prevents you from getting energy starved.
    4) Every tank needs a spell interrupt on a decent timer so Weapon Barrage is wonderful.
    5) Compound attack helps with AoE damage.
    6) The extra group/raid buffs are nice to have and can help fill in for holes in the group makeup. Have group wide buffs for Dex, Endurance... two crit buffs, and an AP buff.
    7) Extra kinds of attacks to use (like Reprisal which is off the global cooldown)
    8) Between the avoidance given by the 15% dex, and the 6% parry... you actually gain enough avoidance to offset a some of the of the lack of passive bonus in the riftblade tree.

    The biggest problem is the smaller total damage absorption shield size... but have not really run into too many problems with that yet.

    All in all, I find the build to be way more exciting to play.
    Last edited by Laylle; 02-17-2011 at 02:28 PM.

  13. #13
    Rift Chaser
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laylle View Post
    (I've updated my specs slightly since you posted your numbers, so things are a little bit different. They are still very similar in idea however.)

    I find the build choice to be personal taste really. Not sure how the build will tank like at 50 with harder content... but right now I am generally told that I am easier to heal then most warrior tanks, including against content above my level. So far, I can't really say I fell squishy at all.

    When I had first started tanking with the Riftblade soul, I was aiming for a 51 point build... but ended up finding it to be WAY too boring to play. The Riftblade soul alone just doesn't have much to do...

    My build adds some personal/raid DPS and a little variety.
    1) You get extra hit (noticeable when the mobs are above your level!)
    2) 15% more dex = more crit, ap, and avoidance stats.
    3) Combat Efficiency which prevents you from getting energy starved.
    4) Every tank needs a spell interrupt on a decent timer so Weapon Barrage is wonderful.
    5) Compound attack helps with AoE damage and threat.
    6) The extra group/raid buffs are nice to have and can help fill in for holes in the group makeup. Have group wide buffs for Dex, Endurance... two crit buffs, and an AP buff.
    7) Extra kinds of attacks to use (like Reprisal which is off the global cooldown)
    8) Between the avoidance given by the 15% dex, and the 6% parry... you actually gain enough avoidance to offset a similar amount of damage to the passive bonus in the riftblade tree. It just becomes rng vs guaranteed.

    The biggest problem is the smaller total damage absorption shield size... but have not really run into too many problems with that yet.

    All in all, I find the build to be way more exciting to play.


    As much as i dont like it 51 points in RS is required for any serious tanking.
    1,3,5,7 irrelevant they are only threat related. Threat is a non issue and some talents you miss in RS lower your threat as well so it is iffy advantage at best.

    2) covered in 8 so we ll ignore it.
    4) Interrupt.... yes bad *** but you can still get it with 51 RS, you would have to sac some bard or ranger points for it tho. This sucks to be honest interrupt should be core RS ability
    6) is decent in 5 mans, but yet again bard stuff can be gotten with 51 in RS so irrelevant, it is a issue of Ranger vs bard soul. Totaly different topic.

    SO we have 8) 6% parry 15% dex. 15% dex i hard to judge as we do not have hard numbers yet. at lower lvl it is pretty bad.

    Even if 6% parry + 15% dex ~ same mitigation as 9% absorption: absorption wins by a mile predictable damage >> spikes.
    That is a long time fact from multiple MMOs, but EVEN if we assume them even: You very conviniently forgot to mention few things besides shield size:

    18% endurance... i mean common tanks needs HP. Even if you Can get comfortable hp without it, that just means that with 18% endurance buff you can concentrate on dodge/parry gear over endurance gear and get ALOT more mitigation from gear then you build can.

    On top of that you missing out on deffer death/scatter shadows combo, which might be amazing ( or might be worthless, if for example it causes agro wipe on scatter shadows) The judgement is still out of this, but i mean 2 top top tier abilities in tank tree cant be totaly worthless right?

    to top it off you missing out on aoe taunt.


    So ya.... Rs 51 point is a must.

    That said i agree with you that, you build is a bit more fun and should do fine in 5 mans. And frankly this design is horrible they are killing their own idea of flexibility in specs, but forcing 51 points in RS. I mean you don't even have any options on ow to spent those 51 points, it just forces you to mindlessly take every talent in there. I really hope this will be gone by launch.

  14. #14
    Soulwalker
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    Default Auto attacks

    how do you find auto attacks help you tanking? i guess you dont think they help at all since you not only didnt take the "strike back with both weapons" talent (which i see MANY people do) but you also didnt take the increase auto attack damage one.

  15. #15
    Plane Touched
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    It's pretty much been summed up at this point, but you won't get far endgame tanking without 51 points in riftstalker. At this point, your build looks like a hybrid tank/dps spec instead of pure tank.

    As far as your pull strategy, you will find in later dungeons (specifically RD) that for AoE pulls, cadence usually isn't an option if you intend to pick up all the mobs with Shadow blitz+rift disturbance.

    Threat is completely and entirely a non-issue for Riftstalker tanks. As soon as I see the argument that bladedancer will help with threat in someones post, I immediately start to disregard their opinion. Why? Well, if you are rotating your skills properly, then you should not, and will not have an agro problem.

    In the past few days, I have been running meters on every dungeon I do, trying both avoidance (BD, with a full avoidance set) and full riftstalker builds. So far, I have found the avoidance damage reduction to be negligible and actually make it harder on the healer.

    My recommendation to all prospective RS'ers, as someone who has been maining riftstalker since IT, is to spec RNG/RS/BD and focus on endurance stacking. At this point in the game it will benefit your ability to take damage better then any other build I have tested so far.

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