4.3 5-Man Tanking Upgrades
As you probably know, in patch 4.3, in addition to the Dragon Soul raid, Blizzard is releasing three new Caverns of Time-themed 5-man heroics, which will drop item level 378 gear, including a full tank set. This will give us a nice selection of gap fillers and minor upgrades for raiders, and a whole new baseline set for the non-raiders still stuck in 353 Troll gear.
As usual in any gear discussion, the rankings here are based on my own warrior’s gear set unless I state otherwise. What is an upgrade for one tank may be a downgrade for another, so please take recommendations with a grain of salt, and when in doubt, spreadsheet it out for your own character.
Blizzard sure likes its apostrophes.
4.2 baseline: Gurubashi Destroyer (353, Hazza’rah – H Zul’Gurub)
4.3 baseline: Bronze Blaster (378, Quest – Murozond – H End Time)
Comparison to N Firelands BiS (Gurubashi Destroyer): Bronze Blaster wins.
The Bronze Blaster will be the BiS tanking ranged slot weapon ever, so get it while it’s hot.
No, really, ever. Warriors are losing our ranged slot in Mists, so this is the last ranged weapon you will ever need.
4.2 baseline: Boots of Sullen Rock/Gryphon Rider’s Boots/Pyrelord Greaves (359 Dragonmaw Exalted/ 359 Wildhammer Exalted/ 365 Molten Front)
4.3 baseline: Boots of Sullen Rock/Gryphon Rider’s Boots/Pyrelord Greaves (359 Dragonmaw Exalted/ 359 Wildhammer Exalted/ 365 Molten Front)
Comparison to N Firelands BiS (Mirrored Boots): Mirrored Boots wins.
4.3 5-man item we’re ignoring: Chrono Boots
4.2 baseline: Earthen Handguards (359, JP)
4.3 baseline: Handguards of the Molten Giant (378, JP)
Comparison to N Firelands BiS (Handguards of the Molten Giant): Same item
4.3 5-man item we’re ignoring: Gauntlets of Temporal Interference
It’s not that the Gauntlets are bad – it’s just that the Handguards are better, and also easier to acquire.
4.2 baseline: Spiritshield Mask (353, Nalorakk – H Zul’Aman)
4.3 baseline: Annihilan Helm (378, Mannoroth and Varo’then – H Well of Eternity)
Comparison to N Firelands BiS (Helm of Blazing Glory): Sidegrade
Annihilan Helm has 24 mastery where Helm of Blazing Glory has 24 parry; but the Helm of Blazing Glory has 45 extra stamina via socket bonus, while the Annihilan Helm’s socket bonus is worthless. If this drops for me I’ll take it, but I’m not going to go out of my way to farm it.
4.2 baseline: Legguards of the Unforgiving (353, Daakara – H Zul’Aman)
4.3 baseline: Legguards of the Molten Giant (378, JP)
Comparison to N Firelands BiS (Legguards of the Molten Giant): Same item
4.3 5-man item we’re ignoring: Bloodhoof Legguards (378, Echo of Baine – H End of Time)
4.2 baseline: Pauldrons of Sacrifice (353, Hex Lord Malacrass – H Zul’Aman)
4.3 baseline: Pauldrons of the Dragonblight (378, Archbishop Benedictus – H Hour of Twilight)
Comparison to N Firelands BiS (Pauldrons of Roaring Flame/Shoulderguards of the Molten Giant): Pauldrons of Roaring Flame/Shoulderguards of the Molten Giant win.
N.B. These shoulders are better than the Spaulders of Recurring Flame, if, like me, you’re currently wearing that inferior Firelands shoulderpiece.
4.2 baseline: Hardened Elementium Girdle (359, Crafted)
4.3 baseline: Girdle of Lost Heroes (378, Echoes, H End Time)
Comparison to N Firelands BiS (Uncrushable Belt of Fury): Uncrushable Belt of Fury wins.
4.2 baseline: Ricket’s Gun Show (365, Molten Front)
4.3 baseline: Bracers of Regal Force (378, JP)
Comparison to N Firelands BiS (Bracers of Regal Force/Bracers of the Fiery Path): Identical/Sidegrade
There actually aren’t any wrists from the 4.3 5-mans, but the VP->JP conversion will make the BoE bracers much more affordable.
4.2 baseline: Amulet of Protection (353, Gri’lek – H Zul’Gurub)
4.3 baseline: Stoneheart Necklace (378, JP)/Twilight Amulet (378, 4.3 5-man trash drop)
Comparison to N Firelands BiS (Firebound Gorget): Firebound Gorget wins.
The Twilight Amulet is actually slightly better than the Stoneheart Necklace, but it’s a difference of 2-3 rating, so I wouldn’t grind it if I were you.
4.2 baseline: Lylagar Horn Ring (365, Molten Front)
4.3 baseline: Lylagar Horn Ring (365, Molten Front)
Comparison to N Firelands BiS (Adamantine Signet of the Avengers): Adamantine Signet of the Avengers wins.
4.3 5-man item we’re ignoring: Queen’s Boon (378, Queen Azshara – H Well of Eternity)
4.2 baseline: Shield of the Blood God (353, Jin’do – H Zul’Gurub)
4.3 baseline: Corrupted Carapace (378, Asira Dawnslayer – H Hour of Twilight)
Comparison to N Firelands BiS (Shard of Torment): Shard of Torment wins.
There are a few new item level 378 trinkets being introduced in 4.3:
Master Pit Fighter – This trinket is a reward from the new Darkmoon Fair. It is strangely under budget for an epic trinket, with 192 less stamina than the Scales of Life. Even if its stamina is buffed before it goes live, its special effect is lackluster: a chance on hit to grant 1147 mastery rating for 20 seconds. Given that many warriors will be block capped in this patch, and nearly all will be soft-capped, this proc would see a lot of waste. I do not recommend this trinket.
Varo’then’s Brooch – Drops from Mannoroth and Varo’then in H Well of Eternity. I include this on the list only because I have seen some suggestions that it might be a viable tank trinket. It is not. 383 strength is the equivalent of 108.5 parry rating after Kings; and its proc, given that it is almost identical to that of the Master Pit Fighter, is likely to see a lot of waste on a warrior. I do not recommend this trinket either.
Veil of Lies – Drops from Archbishop Benedictus in H Hour of Twilight. This is something that we haven’t seen yet in Cataclysm: a stamina trinket with a decent damage reduction random-proc effect. This passive+proc combination is perfect for undergeared or barely-geared tanks learning a new fight – stamina buoying the undergeared health pool, while a dodge proc increases your overall damage reduction without adding another cooldown to use on an encounter you’re still trying to learn. That said, I don’t think many warriors will see use for this trinket. Since in 4.3 shield tanks are balanced around being at or near the block cap, and since warriors for the most part will require two CTC trinkets to remain capped until they are well into Dragon Soul, I can’t see us being able to afford to use this trinket until we’re too well-geared to need it (with the notable exception of the Ultraxion encounter). In all, a good trinket to have in your bank, but not something you need to grind.