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Thread: [2.8] In-Depth Justicar Tanking Guide

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    Telaran Trilkin's Avatar
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    Default [2.8] In-Depth Justicar Tanking Guide

    Just as a note before I get started: this guide had been sitting half-finished in a Word Document for a while. While this was not originally intended to replace Benzzy’s guide (it hadn’t existed when I started writing this,) much of the information in it is going to be redundant as it IS intended to be a fairly exhaustive guide. I will say seeing his guide did partially inspire me to finish it as he and I disagree fundamentally on quite a few things, but I mostly just wanted to get this published having fixed up my other guide. That being said...

    I Am A Justicar (And So Can You)

    This guide is written for new-ish players and veteran players who may not have ever played a cleric and are curious how Justicars work – especially post 2.7. This guide assumes you have eyes and can click links to find the raw numbers if you really want them. A good chunk of this guide is –VERY- words-heavy as I intend on giving a description of nearly every single thing in the soul and its purpose. If you want the tl;dr on how to actually play it, go to the appropriate section. At the end of the guide, I will include a very basic ‘how to tank’ summary that is applicable to all tanks in virtually any game ever. It might seem superfluous, but you may well be surprised to see how many people actually don’t understand the basics that most of us take for granted in knowing.

    If any of the terminology or acronyms in this guide are unfamiliar to you, I recommend a quick glance through Riftgrate's Terminology guide. A lot of it is universal to MMOs and even some other genres.

    If you have Javascript enabled, mousing over any of the item and ability links should give you a tooltip with more information.

    “Weren’t Justicars nerfed in 2.7?”

    Yes and no. Prior to 2.7, Justicars used to be able to effortlessly hold rooms full of mobs with extraordinarily little effort. They could, quite literally, spam Censure (which used to be a 10-target, 360 degree AOE attack similar to what Even Justice does now) and do absolutely nothing else for the rest of the fight. This would keep their established threat as well as generate threat on adds through Salvation threat. In the cases that wasn’t enough, you could spam Doctrine of Loyalty a few times to get them into melee range of you and just add more targets to the Salvation proc party.

    This was not only brainless, but potentially dangerous as well during some fights. The large threat modifier on Reprieve (our full-heal) combined with overhealing threat also meant that we essentially were unable to use Reprieve as a defensive cooldown to keep ourselves alive without risking peeling threat from another tank. It, in turn, however, allowed us to use Reprieve as an I-WIN button. The threat from it was so high that during fights without adds, one could quite literally press it and AFK to hold threat. I know – I’ve done it before.

    That’s all gone now. Overhealing does not generate threat. Salvation does not generate threat. In return, however, virtually all of our damaging abilities deal more threat – significantly more, in fact. Mien of Leadership’s aggro generation buff was increased by 50%, the aggro modifiers of most of our mainstay abilities were increased, we received a damage buff as well asan additional passive aggro buff (shared with all tank souls) and our AOE was simplified. Hammer of Faith was also made more useful by increasing the amount of targets it can hit while making its effect happen instantly.

    What this adds up to is much greater reward for active play, putting us in line with the other tanks. We also have much stronger snap aggro without relying on taunts than we ever have before. We also retain the strong sustained threat in both ST and AOE situations that may well surpass what we started with pre-patch. Unlike Warriors and Rogues, we have a full ranged rotation without cooldowns and we still retain the ability to pull rooms to us. It isn’t as easy as it was before, but it is still entirely possible thanks to how much snap aggro Doctrine of Loyalty now gives us with the changes – provided you do effective healing with it.

    What was nerfed was our ability to do things without paying attention. We just have to work a little bit more to accomplish the same things we were able to do before. This puts us in line with the other tanks, but based on experience and observation, Justicars still lead the way in establishing and maintaining threat – especially in AOE.

    Builds

    Primary Build

    61 Justicar/8 Inquisitor/7 Shaman

    This is the Seraphic Guard preset in game. Best mitigation and health pool while also giving you a sizeable range increase on your ranged abilities. The base spec from which all others are judged and compared.

    Other Options

    61 Justicar/12 Defiler/3 Shaman (Thanks to Burninalways)

    If you have the Storm Legion souls, this is one of the best self-cleanse specs you can pick up. This is useful for some fights (Regulos – especially middle portal if you’re lazy) as well as random dungeons. You also have the added bonuses of increased damage (thus threat) from Rage Blight as well as a debuff that increases non-Physical damage a mob takes simply by dropping Marrow Harvest on it every 30s. This debuff will naturally be overwritten in raids, but it can be useful in dungeon content. You also get a small (5%) link that you can throw on somebody for a bit of damage interception. If you already have a defiler in your group/raid, this will not be usable - again, it's more of a nicety for 5-mans or encounters that don't require a defiler. In return, however, you will lose a little bit of mitigation and the increase to your spell range. Overall, a rather nice spec if you have the Storm Legion souls.

    60 Justicar/16 Purifier/0 Shaman

    The free-to-play alternative to the above. Trading Total Assurance, a bit of HP and some armor, you pick up a self-cleanse. Purifier is chosen for the Wisdom increasing talent, but any of the healing souls could theoretically work. Not having Total Assurance is not a crippling loss, but it is a very noticeable one. Only use this spec if absolutely necessary.

    61 Justicar/12 Inquisitor/3 Shaman

    Trading some HP and a small bit of mitigation, you pick up a purge. This spec is only marginally useful – your raid composition should be set up in a way where your DPS and supports are handling the purges, but you never know. You will never need this in five-mans at this point except possibly Nightmare Coast. The points chosen should be fairly obvious. You could trade some points in Corporal Punishment for some in Agent of Affliction to make your Censure hit harder, but I recommend against it.

    How It All Works

    First, a breakdown of our key (and some not so key) abilities – passive and otherwise – to get an idea of what everything in this tree is actually doing for you and how it all fits together. Note: all non-talent links go to that ability's max. rank.

    Tanking-specific Buffs / Self-Applied

    Mien of Leadership – Your tank stance. Without this on, you are not a tank. It does not drop on death, so if you need to be battle rez’d, you can immediately get up without worrying about toggling it back on. Prior to the 2.7 patch, Mien of Leadership used to allow you to generate threat through your overhealing. This was changed. In compensation, we received more overall threat gain from everything else.

    Armor of Treachery (Inq. Variants Only) – The main reason you go into Inquisitor in most variants in the first place. Some additional armor and endurance.

    Courage of the Bear (Primary Build Only) – Some more ‘free’ HP. Not the primary reason you go into Shaman, but a damn nice bonus.

    Shroud of Agony (Purge Build Only) – Some reactive damage upon being hit. You have nothing better to spend your points on. You could probably drop this for a point in Corporal Punishment for harder hitting Censures, but that’s up to personal taste. The difference is negligible.

    Other Buffs / Self-Applied

    Mien of Honor – This is your healing stance. This is not a Senticar guide, so you will not be using this, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re stuck in tank spec, but aren’t actively going to be tanking – such as trash.

    Vengeance of the Winter Storm – All variants will have this. It’s free damage, which means free threat. There’s no reason not to keep this on.

    Sign of Wrath (Purifier Cleanse Build Only) – More reactive damage. You will rarely, if ever, proc this. The only time you will ever do so is if you use Doctrine of Bliss – something that you will likely never do. Still, it’s a buff and it means a longer buff bar and that’s always pretty. Right? Don’t put this on if you have a purifier in your group that’s already using it. Also ask them why they’re using it instead of Sign of Faith. Punch them if the answer isn’t adequate.

    Rage Blight (Defiler Cleanse Build Only) - A stacking damage buff on yourself every time you take damage. You're a tank, so this translates to 'free 5% damage increase for doing your job.'

    Purpose – This toggled buff blocks your Conviction generation in return for giving you mana back every time you hit an enemy. This means that you will get more mana back in AOE situations. At later levels and end game, you will very rarely have to use this. Commitment is generally enough to keep your mana full, but there are some fights that have some form of mana drain or have mobs that are strictly casters. At low levels, however, you may find yourself struggling to keep up – that makes Purpose very useful until you get points into Commitment. Toggle it on when you need it, but remember to turn it off when you don’t – Convictions are important to your ability to maintain threat. You can still spend any Convictions you had before you toggled Purpose on even while it’s up.

    Passives

    Salvation – Procs a heal on hit. A talent in the Justicar tree (Reparation) allows it to splash to five other people. Prior to 2.7, this ability used to generate threat. This, combined with Mien of Leadership’s old function of giving us threat with overhealing, essentially meant that the bulk of our sustained aggro would be through this. Now it’s just a nice support-y thing and an addition to our survivability. Its usefulness wanes in raids, but it’s actually a pretty potent bit of group healing with the crystal bonus in 5-man content.

    Thorvin’s Wrath – Passive threat modifier depending on endurance. Basically just rewards you for doing what you should already be doing: stacking endurance.

    Cavalier – Generates a Conviction every time you use a Life-based ability. Convictions are most similar to combo or ability points and most of our more potent abilities require and consume them. With talents, we also passively gain Convictions. This allows us to start most fights with a strong opener – typically a 7-Conviction Hammer.

    Justicar Soul Gift – That’s right. That stuff you get just by putting points into the soul. Due to there being no link for it, the values are, per point in Justicar: +0.5% Damage Done, +1% Armor, +2% Resistances, +1.5% Endurance.

    Notable Talents

    Stalwart Citadel – Converts your Wisdom to Block. You naturally get block from Strength along with warriors, but you’re a cleric. Your gear doesn’t have strength on it. This is the solution. 100% conversion at max rank.

    Devout Deflection – Converts your Wisdom to Parry and your Intelligence to Dodge. All classes gain parry naturally from strength and dodge from dexterity. Much like Dexterity is the off-stat for Warriors, Intelligence is the off-stat for Clerics. This is yet another equalizing stat-converting talent. 100% conversions at max rank.

    Confidence – Grants you Convictions passively. This works in and out of combat. Prior to 2.7, you had no way to get Convictions out of combat except by blowing Total Assurance. The quality of life improvement this introduced was massive. Gives a Conviction every 3s at max rank.

    Commitment – Mana regeneration on block. It’s easy to take this for granted, but when you’re fighting mobs that only cast spells against you, you’ll see how much this actually contributes to your mana regeneration. 4% Mana on block at max rank.

    Divine Right – This one’s a fairly controversial talent. It was changed to make Doctrine of Loyalty and Doctrine of Bliss consume up to 4 total Convictions. Each Conviction consumed increases the healing by 100%. What this translates to is that you essentially will cast 4 Doctrine of Loyalty/Bliss in a single GCD – with the corresponding Conviction cost. This is more useful than a lot of people have given it credit for and is part of why you have room-wide snap aggro. At max-rank, this talent grants you an absorb shield for 6% of your max health when you overheal yourself with either of your Doctrines.

    Damaging Abilities/Primary Threat Generation

    Precept of Refuge – Fair chunk of damage and aggro, but most importantly, gives you a percentage block buff that stacks additively with your natural block chance. Very important to keep up – especially when dealing with multiple adds. The cooldown is shorter than its duration, so you theoretically don’t have to keep it in your spam macro, but unless you find yourself really struggling to keep aggro off of people (which you may if you’re undergeared,) it’s safe to keep it there in order to ensure 100% uptime. Strangely, doesn’t proc Vengeance.

    Hammer of Duty/Hammer of Faith – Your primary Convinction dumps. They both generate additional threat and will likely be your primary openers to any fight as well as what you will use every time you hit 7 Convictions. Use the one appropriate to the amount of mobs you’re pulling/attacking. Naturally, buffed by Total Assurance. Doesn’t proc Vengeance.

    Blood Fe---Censure – A DoT that reduces the mob’s hit chance. It used to be a melee AOE ability that would hit 10 targets around you, but is now single target with an improved aggro modifier. Can be splashed to other targets around the debuffed one by using Hammer of Faith while it’s up, essentially replicating its old functionality – but better! It’s also ranged now and is no longer a weapon attack, so it doesn’t proc Vengeance. Oh well.

    Even Justice – Hits 10 targets around you at melee range. Used to only hit up to 5 targets in a cone in front of you – now hits 360 degrees. Your primary AOE spam. Procs Vengeance.

    Bolt of Radiance – A large chunk of damage. I believe it has an aggro modifier, but I’m not terribly sure on what it is. Should be one of the first abilities in your single target spam rotation.

    Doctrine of Authority – Costs one Conviction for a large hit and a minor group heal. Buffed by Total Assurance. Procs Vengeance.

    Strike of Judgment – Your primary melee filler. No frills. Generates additional aggro, though the tooltip does not say so. Procs Vengeance.

    Reckoning – Your primary ranged filler. Again, no frills. Does not proc Vengeance as it’s not considered a weapon attack.

    Strike of Retribution – An oGCD reactive that’s enabled after a block. Procs all the damn time. Should be at the bottom of your spam macros. Procs Vengeance.

    Marrow Harvest (Defiler Cleanse Build Only) - A straight damage ability, this doesn't pull much threat. Its primary purpose, if you're running the Defiler variation, is to keep the debuff from Tenebrious Distortion up. This debuff is likely to get overwritten in raids by Inquisitors, Cabalists or a full Defiler so don't bother with it if you have any of the above. In dungeon content, though, it can be useful to toss out once you establish threat since it costs you virtually nothing to do so.

    Other Abilities

    Righteous Mandate – This oGCD, targeted buff makes your target an additional Salvation target separate from Reparation while also allowing them to be affected by your Reprieve. In five-mans, this allows one person to take two ticks of Salvation healing; in any situation, due to it being oGCD, you can quickly Righteous Mandate somebody and Reprieve them to save them in a tight spot. Creating a macro with both in it on mouseover would not be a terrible idea.

    Total Assurance – Gives you 7 Convictions instantly and buffs any Conviction-consumers. This will not give you more than your maximum, so try to only use this when you’re at 0 Convictions. It has innumerable uses.

    Doctrine of Glory – Consumes Convictions to give you a damage reduction buff. One of your primary defensive cooldowns.

    Resplendent Embrace – Increases healing taken and increases your maximum health temporarily. There are very few cases where you would ever want to use this on your own – generally only when you’re faced with a mechanic that reduces the healing you take.

    Just Defense – Absorb shield for 50% of your maximum health. Synergizes well with Resplendent Embrace. I generally use them both together for a fat shield when I need it.

    Reprieve – Heals you for 100% of your max. health and the person you have Righteous Mandate on by half of that. Before 2.7, this was guaranteed to rip threat from anybody and anything, requiring you to think twice before using it in two-tank situations. Now, it can be used as a defensive cooldown both for you and for somebody else.

    Intercede – A new ability with 2.7, this targeted, oGCD buff grants the target your toughness and transfers half of the the damage they take to you. This is an extremely useful ability in cases where you need to protect someone during particular boss mechanics (Mind Sear comes to mind) or to protect someone with an add on them while you’re stuck in a GCD. Do not forget this ability; it will save lives and raids with proper usage – especially on a healer.

    Provoke/Righteous Imperative – Your single target and AOE taunts. They are oGCD and have very low cooldowns. These are your friends when it comes to picking up lose adds quickly.

    Rebuke – A ranged AOE taunt that pulls whatever it hits to you. Note that the taunt is separate from the pull so even if a mob is immune to one, they can be affected by the other. Due to this being a literal pull and not a teleport, mobs can get stuck in the terrain and not be fully pulled. Keep this in mind when using it. If mobs are in relatively close proximity to each other, you can use this similar to Void Knight or Riftstalker summons to clump a somewhat loose pack closer together for AOE. It can also help to position mobs that have cone ability to get them to face you rather than an awkward angle.

    Sovereignty – A single target stun. There are quite a few mobs in the game this is useful against, including some that have abilities that normally can’t be interrupted. It’s also good to keep a ranged add from going loose in situations where you can’t move to reposition them for whatever reason.

    Interdict – AOE interrupt. It has an inherent delay as it seems to be considered a projectile so keep this in mind when you’re attempting to last-second interrupt a mob.

    Absolution – Your battle rez. It’s unique among brezes in that it will restore 100% of their health. You will generally only want to save this to pick up a healer, but situations will always vary. When picking somebody up with this, always be aware of what you’re fighting. If you’re tanking something that cleaves, turn the mob to one side (NOT FACING THE GROUP!,) brez, then immediately return to your previous position to avoid getting them killed again.

    Doctrine of Loyalty – Your AOE heal and a potentially useful threat-gaining tool in certain situations. The amount of threat it can potentially pull, even post 2.7, is fantastic – but only if your group if not already at full health. It will use up to 4 Convictions if you have them, so keep that in mind when using it. It essentially means that each press of the button is like (potentially) casting it four times. This can also be useful for some healing in a pinch in 5-mans if your healer dies or is unable to keep up for some reason.

    Doctrine of Bliss – Your self-heal. This has very limited use and is really only good to cast in situations where your healer is dead and the boss is almost dead and you’re out of cooldowns. In content you’re vastly overgeared for, you can actually keep yourself alive for quite a while just dumping Convictions on this, cycling cooldowns and letting Salvation do its job. Like Doctrine of Loyalty, this will use up to 4 Convictions for an appropriately beefier heal.

    Link of Distress (Defiler Cleanse Build Only) - A 5% damage intercept. Does not stack with other links and if you have a link on you from another person, you will not be able to cast this. Still, worth keeping on your bars in the cases you don't have a Defiler or similar link thrown on you.

    How To Play This

    Buffs (Primary Build): Mien of Leadership, Courage of the Bear, Armor of Treachery, Vengeance of the Winter Storm

    Conviction Spenders: Hammer of Duty (ST), Hammer of Faith (AOE), Doctrine of Loyalty (AOE Heal), Doctrine of Bliss (Self Heal)

    Taunts: Provoke (ST), Righteous Imperative (AOE), Rebuke (AOE+Pull)

    Cooldowns: Resplendent Embrace + Just Defense (Big Shield) > 7-Conv. Doctrine of Glory (Damage Reduction) > Reprieve (Full Heal + Heal on Mandate Target)

    Other Stuff: Censure (DoT+Hit Chance Redux.), Interdict (Interrupt), Total Assurance (Instant Convictions), Precept of Refuge (Block Buff), Righteous Mandate (Salvation+Reprieve Target), Absolution (Battle Rez), Purpose (Emergency Mana Regen), Intercede (Damage Interception On Target)

    Here are the macros I use:

    Single Target
    #show Precept of Refuge
    suppressmacrofailures
    cast Precept of Refuge
    cast Bolt of Radiance
    cast Doctrine of Authority
    cast Strike of Judgment
    cast Reckoning
    cast Strike of Retribution

    AOE
    #show Even Justice
    suppressmacrofailures
    cast Even Justice
    cast Strike of Retribution

    Playing this is fundamentally simple: Use the appropriate hammer for your situation to pull, keep up Precept of Refuge, keep up Censure, use your cooldowns as you need them and don't be afraid to use Doctrine of Loyalty if your group is hurting with adds loose. Effective healing = effective threat gain.

    Now for the long version:

    These macros assume, naturally, that you are level 60. Abilities you don’t have, just comment out or remove until you get them. In AOE situations, you will have to refresh Precept of Refuge manually. You can theoretically add Precept to your AOE macro without issues most of the time as you will be leading with a Hammer of Faith in most encounters, but it’s generally good practice not to. You can also remove Precept of Refuge from your ST macro and refresh it manually for a nearly negligible increase in damage and threat gain. This is generally not worth the extra effort; you’re at an abundance of threat most of the time as it is and the tiny bit you gain doing this will not make or break you.

    For min-maxing, you can also remove Doctrine of Authority from the macro and maximize its effect using Total Assurance. The downside is that you otherwise have to use it manually when its cooldown is over. The gain from min-maxing DoAuthority is minor and not worth the trouble, in my opinion, but the option is there.

    Opening is simple: You’ll typically start with 7 Convictions, so you can open with the appropriate Hammer.

    If mobs are spread out and Hammer of Faith will not hit them all, you can hit one side with one Hammer, Total Assurance, then quickly Hammer the other side to establish threat. From there, simply apply/refresh Censure and spam the appropriate macro, dumping your Convictions on the appropriate Hammer. This is what you will be doing for nearly every encounter you ever have to face. Hammer of Faith will splash your Censure to the other mobs in the pack and after that’s done, you will likely never have to worry about it again for that pack. If it’s a single target, you will obviously have to refresh it manually.

    Picking up adds can be done simply by Taunting them and spamming your ST macro on them for a few GCDs until they get into range before returning to your AOE spam. You can also simply Hammer them if you have enough Convictions and your GCD is up. Your Hammer (and spam) range is actually longer than your Taunt range when playing with an Inquisitor variant such as the primary build, so keep this in mind.

    If you are faced with a situation where you find yourself with a lot of adds that spawn at once such as Proteus’ Rift Hunters, Doctrine of Loyalty will help. Note that this requires your raid members not be at full health as DoL’s threat is only through its effective healing. In heavy AOE situations where everybody is at less than full health, though, DoL can be incredibly useful for room-wide snap threat.

    In a situation where you need to take some weight off of the healer or you’re in danger of dying, your order of cooldowns should be: Resplendent Embrace + Just Defense > Doctrine of Glory > Reprieve if absolutely necessary.

    Again, there are situations where you may need to save RE and use it on its own for the increased healing it gives you, but most of the time, you can simply use it to give yourself a bigger shield. That is usually enough of a cushion to help your healer catch up. If you find your shield dropping too quickly – especially during some boss phases – Doctrine of Glory will help ease some of the incoming damage. Make sure that you use it with at least 5 Convictions. Total Assurance into it if you have to during emergencies. When all else fails, Reprieve for full health if you haven’t already used it to save someone else. Ideally, you will rotate between these three for maximum survivability – especially during tough fights.

    Stats and Gearing Up

    (Still a WIP)

    As a general rule, your stat priorities are: Endurance > Wisdom > Block > Parry = Dodge = Intelligence > Armor

    For specific stat weights (i.e. how much value does one stat have versus the others,) you can check out Riftscene’s best-in-slot list for Justicars. You’ll notice that Armor is strangely weighted very low. Considering how much armor that tanking-oriented equipment naturally has, this isn’t that much of a concern. At later levels, the diminishing returns for armor also make it much less worth worrying about. Essentially: don’t worry about armor. It comes naturally with your gear anyway.

    Here’s a cheat-sheet for the BiS runes for each slot. If you can’t afford the Lustrous versions, look for the Auroral and Empyrean ones and upgrade from there. For any reputation runes you can’t buy yet, look for replacements on the auction house that favor Endurance or Wisdom. Note that accessories can only be enchanted with rep. runes. Runecrafters cannot make anything for them.

    Head: Qaijiri Pardoner’s Rune (Qaijiri Rep. Required)
    Cape: Qaijiri Rune of Wisdom (Qaijiri Rep. Required)
    Shoulders + Legs: Auroral Tough Rune (BiS for all tanks)
    Chest: Lustrous Hardy Rune (BiS for Warriors as well)
    Gloves+Boots: Lustrous Resolute Rune (BiS for Warriors as well)
    Belt: Caretaker's Rune of Wisdom (Necropolis Caretakers Re. Required)
    Weapon+Shield: Lustrous Adamant Rune (BiS for all non-Mage tanks)
    Ranged: Auroral Wisdom Runeshard (There is literally nothing better to put here)
    Neck: Survivor’s Rune of Wisdom (Eternal City Survivors Rep. Required)
    Trinket: Empyreal Rune of Wisdom (Empyreal Alliance Rep. Required)
    Rings: Achyati Rune of Wisdom (Achyati Rep. Required)
    Seal: Hailol Endurance Expansion Rune (Hailol Rep. Required. BiS for all tanks)

    As for Dream Orbs, you will want to strive for the best pure endurance rolls possible for your gear. If you get a decent-but-not-BiS roll on a piece of gear, start putting Orbs on your other pieces before attempting to max out one piece of gear. Having ‘okay’ rolls on the four Dream Orb-capable slots is better than having a maxed roll in one slot and nothing in the others.

    Check out Riftgrate’s Dream Orb sheet to see what the max values for your tier of gear are.
    The Toughness requirements for content can be found by mousing over the Toughness stat in your character window, but as a quick reference:

    Expert Storm Legion Dungeons: 300
    T1 Storm Legion Raids: 400 [This includes TDQ, IDH, FT, EE and Raid Rifts]
    T2 Storm Legion Raids: 500 [This includes GA, IG and PBB]
    T3 Storm Legion Raids: 600 [This includes all of the Bindings of Blood raids]

    You will need the same Hit requirements as DPS as well which match the value of your toughness requirement (i.e. if you need 300 Toughness, then you need 300 Hit.) Like DPS, you’ll want about 20 more hit than is required to ensure you are hitting the mob with as close to a 100% hit rate as is possible. This is especially important as a tank – if you aren’t hitting the mob, you aren’t generating threat.

    For tank related stat caps, you can refer to Riftgrate’s Reference List (which includes a whole mess of information that is useful to everybody,) but for quick reference:

    Block: 45% Soft Cap, 60% Hard Cap
    Parry and Dodge: 40% Hard Cap

    The Basics of Tanking

    (Still a WIP)

    If you're new to tanking in general - don't be intimidated! It's actually not as hard as you might think it is - in fact, I'd venture to say that it's easier than DPSing and healing. This is due to the fact that not only can you ignore certain mechanics, but you're intended to eat some of them; this makes positioning in most cases much easier. If you're a veteran to tanking, there is likely nothing in this section that will be new to you - this is intended for the newbie who has never picked up a shield and charged his silly butt out there. We'll start with the basic rules:

    1. If it doesn't have a tail, face it away from the group.

    This is simple enough. Many mobs have some sort of cleaving mechanic that will hit anybody in a cone in front of them. Most are melee, but there are some that have a ranged AOE cone like the first boss of Tower of the Shattered. There are exceptions on an encounter-by-encounter basis where it is safe (and, indeed, preferred) to be in front of the boss, but as a general rule - if you don't know, turn the mob. This can easily be accomplished by simply running through the mob as you pull it.

    Mobs with tails tend to have tail swipes - in the case of these mobs, turn them so their side is facing the group instead. Other mobs also have some form of 'butt cleave,' and you'll learn all of them as you go.

    2. With a group of mixed melee and ranged mobs, don't be afraid to line-of-sight pull them.

    Line-of-sight pulling a group of mobs is very easy: find a convenient place near the mobs that allows you to be out of their line of sight. Engage the mobs (preferably at range) then quickly duck into the place in question and let the mobs come to you. This makes positioning stubborn ranged mobs MUCH easier. If you are going to do this, warn your group first - your healer is likely going to want to hold off on heals and your DPS should not hit anything until the mobs are parked and stacked. If there is no where for you to do this safely, then...

    2a. In a group of mixed melee and ranged, run to the ranged mobs and stack the melee mobs on top of them.

    Don't separate a group. It's far more efficient - and easier - for you to simply run your body in and pick up everything to stack on the ranged mobs. In the case of ranged mobs that can be pulled, if they are spread out too far, every class in the game has some form of pull to help position the mobs tightly for efficient and effective AOEing. In short: rather than have them run to you, run to them when at all possible. This is a good practice to get into because later on, you'll find mobs that can't be pulled. When doing this, just be aware of the other packs and wandering mobs that may be around you. They may aggro onto you if your group members or the mobs themselves move too close.

    3. Keep your eyes open for adds or any other loose mobs and pick them up ASAP.

    This should go without saying, but it's still something important to impress on new tanks: keep your eyes peeled and your reflexes sharp to pick up any adds that may path into or spawn on your group as well as mobs that may somehow get pulled off of you. Keep in mind that some mob behavior may be different - for example, some mobs may not have a true threat table and will always attack whatever is closest to them regardless of how many times you hit them. This is called 'proximity aggro' and will require you to actually physically move to that mob so you're the closest thing to it. A good example of this is the add that the third boss of Golem Foundry spawns.

    4. Be aware of your own position regarding environmental hazards and the rest of your group.

    Is there fire on the ground? Well, you know enough to get out of it. However, do you know enough to get the mobs out of it so your melee DPS can do their job? You should. Always keep in mind your group composition and position the mobs so that any melee DPS can safely keep attacking it. There will be some cases where it's a choice between forcing them to disconnect from the mob or get yourself killed at times, but they're quite rare - almost every encounter has some way to position yourself and the mob so you can stay safe and allow your entire group to keep hitting stuff.

    5. It is your responsibility to initiate fights.

    This is just as much for the DPS that might be reading it as it is for you. The tank should always be the one pulling mobs unless you're overgeared or have already established that the tank will pull off of you (pulling another group back while the tank is stationary for whatever reason.)

    6. Don't blow your cooldowns unnecessarily.

    While you may think you're helping your healer popping that full health shield - unless you're actually in danger of dying or you're taking more damage than your healer seems to be able to keep up, you should be saving those cooldowns. While you shouldn't be overly conservative with their use (especially as a Void Knight or Riftstalker, where they are plentiful and part of your mitigation,) you should also remember that a rainy day is bound to hit and Murphy's Law WILL be invoked. Always keep something up your sleeve just in case.

    7. Always keep an eye on your healer's status.

    Are they AFK? Are they out of range? Are they dead? I sure hope not. You sure hope not. Your healer is what keeps you alive - always make sure they're ready before you pull. Generally, after the first ready check - unless they say they need a second, it's safe to assume they're ready if they're in range. Always ask if you aren't sure. It's a dumb reason to wipe.

    7a. Be careful with line of sight.

    This is a corollary to point seven - be mindful of your terrain. If you absolutely have to get out of line of sight of your healer for whatever reason, be ready to pop a cooldown to keep yourself alive until either you or they can reposition themselves. This is also important for pulls where you want to pull something around a corner (line of sight pulling) where the healer is likely not going to be healing you until you park the mobs. An example of this is in Archive of Flesh - the pack right before the second-to-last boss. There are a total of six adds, two of which are just inside of the boss room. You will be out of the healer's line of sight briefly while picking them up, so be ready with a cooldown as you move.

    8. Know what to expect before you tank.

    Whether this is reading a guide, watching a video or experiencing it first hand through a role with less responsibility, the thing that will help your tanking the most is knowing what's coming. If you know the encounter or what to expect at every part of the zone, you can act proactively rather than reactively. As an example just off the top of my head: In Realm of Twisted Dreams, there are parts of the zone where the Sinister Presences spawn. Some of them simply disappear while others will actively aggro. Knowing which ones aggro and where they aggro from will allow you to pull them proactively before they charge out on their own and potentially one-shot a group member before you're able to pick them up.

    9. Interrupt.

    Most groups expect the tank to interrupt bosses. This is bad practice on their part, but it's something you will have to learn to live with. As an added bonus, some abilities that have a blue cast bar can't be interrupted. It's, unfortunately, up to you to find out which are interruptable and which are not. Generally a single run through an instance will get you acquainted with a boss' ability set.

    10. Don't panic!

    Seriously, don't! It's alright! You're going to screw up the first few times you tank as you get used to soaking damage rather than avoiding it. It might feel completely unnatural to you at first and you will have to develop judgment as well as awareness of what an encounter has in store for you from a tanking perspective. No matter what, though: don't panic. Keep calm and deal with it as best as you can. If you make mistakes or react to something important too late, acknowledge what you did wrong and fix it for next time. People can be toxic and unnecessarily rude to people just learning, but ignore them. If they drop group, oh well - you're a tank. Your queues are instant. It's best to group with friends, naturally - especially friends who know the encounters from a tank's perspective to help teach you, but if you have to learn on your own then don't sweat the small fries. There are precious few people who excel at any learned skill without practice.

    Whew, It’s Over

    I apologize for this being such a long and verbose guide. Tanking generally requires more explanation than DPS. With DPS, while understanding the mechanics of the souls is important for maximum performance, one can easily get away with just following a rotation without really understanding why it works. I’d venture a guess that most people who play Rift do this and it isn’t a bad thing. Tanking, like healing, though, has a larger reactive component to it than DPS does and generally requires more elaboration on how to do things.

    Input, positive or negative, is always welcome in helping me improve this guide. Constructive criticism is especially welcome. Thanks for reading and I hope this helps someone!
    Last edited by Trilkin; 08-22-2014 at 04:35 PM. Reason: Added a little to the tl;dr part of the guide

  2. #2
    RIFT Guide Writer Burninalways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trilkin View Post
    Other Options

    60 Justicar/16 Purifier/0 Shaman

    Trading Total Assurance, a bit of HP and some armor, you pick up a self-cleanse. This is useful for some fights (Regulos – especially middle portal if you’re lazy) as well as random dungeons. Purifier is chosen for the Wisdom increasing talent, but any of the healing souls could theoretically work. Not having Total Assurance is not a crippling loss, but it is a very noticeable one. Only use this spec if absolutely necessary.
    Wouldn't 61 Justicar, 12 Defiler, 3 Shaman be the better choice, if you had the Defiler soul, in order to cleanse yourself.
    As you only need 12 point to get it and the remaining 4 can go back into Justicar & Shaman, you also gain the ability to debuff your target by 5% non-phy for 60s.
    Last edited by Burninalways; 08-14-2014 at 05:05 AM.
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    Telaran Trilkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burninalways View Post
    Wouldn't 61 Justicar, 12 Defiler, 3 Shaman be the better choice, if you had the Defiler soul, in order to cleanse yourself.
    As you only need 12 point to get it and the remaining 4 can go back into Justicar & Shaman, you also gain the ability to debuff your target by 5% non-phy for 60s.
    Yeah, it would, actually. I think I focused too much on the F2P souls that I sort of neglected the SL and DW souls! Adding it.
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    Telaran Trilkin's Avatar
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    Started the 'basics of tanking' section. All of it was off of the top of my head. I'll add to it as I think of things. Feel free to offer advice regarding it along with the rest of the guide.
    Last edited by Trilkin; 08-15-2014 at 02:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trilkin View Post
    Ranged: Blazing Wisdom Runeshard (There is literally nothing better to put here)
    Hardly a difference but Auroral Wisdom Runeshard
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    Telaran Trilkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethaemis View Post
    Hardly a difference but Auroral Wisdom Runeshard
    Goes to show you how hard I looked for a ranged enchant. Fixed.
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    Champion Serein's Avatar
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    This is a great guide for those looking to get into Justicar tanking, or to take it a step beyond the basics, well written

    Couple other builds I use for various situations:

    http://rift.magelo.com/en/soultree#l/rmGBkGkll5h0/Dkyd8 -- 3x interrupt spec, great for fights like the Matriarch. More HP/mitigation loss than the purge spec, but still quite doable if the fight calls for it.

    http://rift.magelo.com/en/soultree#pkaG9y2/rkGGyF2ix2/l -- tank/healing combo. If you're overgeared for dungeons and the healer sucks, this works quite well, including an AOE cleanse. Definitely more of a mitigation and HP loss compared to other builds, but you do gain Healer's Covenant as a CD for use.
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    Telaran Trilkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serein View Post
    This is a great guide for those looking to get into Justicar tanking, or to take it a step beyond the basics, well written

    Couple other builds I use for various situations:

    http://rift.magelo.com/en/soultree#l/rmGBkGkll5h0/Dkyd8 -- 3x interrupt spec, great for fights like the Matriarch. More HP/mitigation loss than the purge spec, but still quite doable if the fight calls for it.

    http://rift.magelo.com/en/soultree#pkaG9y2/rkGGyF2ix2/l -- tank/healing combo. If you're overgeared for dungeons and the healer sucks, this works quite well, including an AOE cleanse. Definitely more of a mitigation and HP loss compared to other builds, but you do gain Healer's Covenant as a CD for use.
    I actually wanted to keep the specs list to a bare minimum of 'things you might have to switch into during a raid.' There's also the problem that these two specs trade away a bit too much in the way of tank stats for my liking although the triple interrupt spec could definitely be useful in really bad groups. The loss of Total Assurance always bothers me in any spec. I may throw that one up in the OP anyway. I can see a LOT of uses for it - especially in PUG T1 raids.

    Thanks for the comment and suggestions! Much appreciated.
    Last edited by Trilkin; 08-15-2014 at 01:58 PM.
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    Champion Serein's Avatar
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    Yeah, the sentinel mix one is definitely not a raid spec, if healers are that bad in raids you're in trouble, lol. The "standard" Justicar build (with 2 points for 35m range like yours has), the purge spec, and the 3x int ones are all I normally use in any raids (Isskal comes to mind as another 3x int spec boss).

    And yeah, I do love Total Assurance and hate when it's gone. I love hybrids but there's something nice about a full 61 build of any soul.
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    Telaran Trilkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serein View Post
    Yeah, the sentinel mix one is definitely not a raid spec, if healers are that bad in raids you're in trouble, lol. The "standard" Justicar build (with 2 points for 35m range like yours has), the purge spec, and the 3x int ones are all I normally use in any raids (Isskal comes to mind as another 3x int spec boss).

    And yeah, I do love Total Assurance and hate when it's gone. I love hybrids but there's something nice about a full 61 build of any soul.
    Isskal and Matriarch were EXACTLY what I was thinking about with the 3x Interrupt spec. That Sentinel build is damn near going into Senticar territory, though. I'll probably toss that interrupt spec in the OP later.
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  11. #11
    Soulwalker
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    Thanks for the great guide! Answered all my questions about the changes to Justicar in one neat package.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trilkin View Post
    Started the 'basics of tanking' section. All of it was off of the top of my head. I'll add to it as I think of things. Feel free to offer advice regarding it along with the rest of the guide.
    A finer point I haven't seen mentioned is the use of Ride the Lightning to follow your Hammers into the fight. I can see Bolt of Radiance/Reckoning spam as you run to a single target being more effective, but for AoE fights charging in to start Even Justice spam sooner could be better.
    Noob cleric tank's idea, any insight you can offer would be appreciated!

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    Telaran Trilkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldridge View Post
    Thanks for the great guide! Answered all my questions about the changes to Justicar in one neat package.



    A finer point I haven't seen mentioned is the use of Ride the Lightning to follow your Hammers into the fight. I can see Bolt of Radiance/Reckoning spam as you run to a single target being more effective, but for AoE fights charging in to start Even Justice spam sooner could be better.
    Noob cleric tank's idea, any insight you can offer would be appreciated!
    It depends on how you open the fight and want to position the mobs. Often times, you don't want to tank mobs where they stand and want to drag them to a certain position, so charging in after a Hammer isn't always a good idea. Another thing is that by the time you get both Hammers off (or Hammer+Censure+Hammer2) you'll be in melee range anyway.

    This is absolutely a thing you can do (Hammer then charge) if you want to tank a group where it stands, but remember that that is a full GCD that you are doing NO aggro generation. That can be very dangerous with extremely high DPS in your group.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trilkin View Post
    This is absolutely a thing you can do (Hammer then charge) if you want to tank a group where it stands, but remember that that is a full GCD that you are doing NO aggro generation. That can be very dangerous with extremely high DPS in your group.
    Good point! Glad I'm still grinding towards 60 with that toon, leaves time to break the "charge everything" habit I'm in.

    Thanks again for the great guide!

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    Plane Walker
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    The first build (61just/9inq/6shm) does not seem to be working

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    Telaran Trilkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhumble View Post
    The first build (61just/9inq/6shm) does not seem to be working
    ...Odd. Fixed.
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