Sunday, 13 June 2010

Da Toughest - A Guide to the Black Orc Tanking Mastery


In the second part of my guide to Black Orcs I'll be discussing our primary mastery - the tanking role. We have a whole tree dedicated to this known as "Da Toughest". It features our self heal bellow, aggro generating attack and a few defensive abilities. I'll look at typical mastery builds and mastery rotations. This is just a guide to the tree and some builds and rotations around it, specific guides on roles such as the ORvR tank will feature as a seperate guide. Warning, this is a LOT of text (over 2,500 words).

Da Toughest is our tanking tree, featuring defensive abilities and tactics. Each point in the mastery tree increases the effectiveness of abilities from this tree. The purchasable actions and tactics in this tree are geared more toward PvE tanking rather than anything of great value to RvR. There's a few key points to know about Black Orcs and PvE tanking though. You have to keep in mind that we're not 'technical' tanks like Black Guard or Chosen, we dont have mass amounts of parry and no way to drop our chance to be critically hit. What we do have though is a decent block rate which can be increased by a large amount (at a cost of threat generation and AP) and a vast amount of wounds. Finding the right balance between your wounds, armour, chance to be critically hit and defenses such as block and parry is half the battle. I tend to make sure I'm well stacked on wounds with a low chance to be crit, your healers should be able to keep you up, if not then dropping a bit of crit reduction for more block/parry might be the best option (and a bit of praying).
A key stat that Black Orcs lack in however is parry, we have no real natural way of increasing it other than one tactic which is quite weak (and even then it's 0/5/10% depending on the plan you're in). What this means is that Black Orcs are vulnerable to cleave attacks as they cannot be blocked, only parried. If you struggle on a boss with cleave attacks then there's no harm in seeing if a chosen or black guard can take over the tanking duty for him, it might be easier until you can start stacking Parry through renown.

  1. Action Breakdown
  2. Tactic Breakdown
  3. Rank 4 Morale
  4. Builds, Tactics and Morales
  5. Rotations

Action breakdown
I'll break down each action that comes under Da Toughest mastery, I'll list plan, action point cost and if it's a low, medium or high damage action.

Clobber (first plan - 35 AP – Low Damage)
Our basic threat generating ability. Causes a decent chunk of damage and increases threat on our target. It costs 35 Action Points (compared to every other tank other than Swordmaster who does the same or more damage for 30AP, and the SM does spirit damage with his). This should be used a couple of times upon engaging a boss before starting your rotation and is a good, solid ability in PvE. Sadly not great in RvR due to needing to slot a tactic to turn it into a morale drain attack, combined with the high AP cost, spamming it will drain your AP very quickly.

Tuffer 'n nails (second plan – 30AP – Low Damage)
This action increases our armour by 990 for 20 seconds, it's not on a cool down but is in our second plan. A great action to use for PvE tanking.. IF you don't have any armour potions or a DoK with the armour buff covenant on due to the fact it doesn't stack which is disappointing. In all honesty though the buff you get from it is better than the covenant or the armour potion so should be used. It's cheap as well for one of our actions so fits in nicely, plus smashing a shield into someone's face is always good for a laugh.

Right in Da Jibblies (second plan - 35 AP – Medium Damage)
Quite possibly the most iconic action from a Black Orc. Kicking someone right in da jibblies causing a decent amount of damage and a reduction in weapon skill. Excellent in small scale for taking on melee DPS to reduce armour penetration (the bane of a tank).

Savin' Me Hide (third plan - 0 AP – Medium Damage)
My favourite RvR ability. Increases your toughness but importantly reduces the incoming magic damage your group receives by 20% for four seconds. This is a great ability in large scale RvR where bomb groups rule the roost. The four seconds could do for being a bit longer due to it only being 20% and Black Orc abilities having a hidden cool down due to the plan mechanic. I would recommend this and Not In Da Face as two essential RvR actions. Put this as your third plan and your group will love you.. For four seconds.

Ya Missed Me (25 AP – Low Damage)
Now we look at the purchasable actions. Ya Missed Me is the first action you can buy. Upon blocking you can deal a chunk of undefendable damage to a target and reducing the physical damage done by 20% for 10 seconds. This is great in PvE encounters but also very handy in small scale RvR (scenarios, 6v6 etc) where it will proc off a guard if you block it and can then dish out de-buff to any target you want. Not as much use in large scale RvR due to the single target nature of it but if the enemy has a melee focus or a super slayer then you can neutralise them. What is important is that this action is not bound to a plan so you can use it and retain the plan you are in without stepping ahead or back.

Can't Hit Me! (15 AP/Second – Medium Damage)
Can't Hit Me! is the ability other tanks want and immediately believe that it makes Black Orcs the best PvE tanks in the history of ever. "OMG you can get 100% block permanently".. WRONG! CHM is a fantastic action but it's certainly not an ability to trivialise PvE due to a couple of drawbacks. The first is that it drains AP. Black Orcs have a higher than normal cost for abilities so when you get out of AP, it is more of an issue. The second problem is that the threat generated is very low, you will only be dealing around 120 damage upon blocking so you can only spam it up once you have a large amount of threat (imagine 240 threat compared to 1000 threat from a choppas auto attack crit). It's great for emergency situations or for holding large numbers of mobs but remember you cannot block a cleave so it won't help on a lot of bosses. It is however essential for PvE tanking for a fall back and to keep up when you're at the last few percent of a boss when your threat should be high enough.

Down Ya Go (Third Plan – 0 AP – High Damage)
Our only knock down appears at the top of the toughest tree. 20 second cool down and a 3 second knock down... Not great, but it does have the single biggest base damage of any black orc ability. I have seen 2k+ crits on this with a two hander however the fact it's on a 20 second cool down, is the third plan and the knock down is only three seconds does limit it as a crowd control action. If you're speccing into the tree fully it's worth it as a burst damage ability and in small scale it's nice to have for neutralising someone for three seconds so they can be focussed down.

Tactic Breakdown
Less Stabbin' Me (3 points in Da Toughest)
The first purchasable tactic you can get is Less Stabbin' Me. I actually think this is overrated and used a bit too often. People see the 10% increase to parry and block in the last plan and get blinded by it. This tactic gives 5% increase to parry and block in second plan and the afore mentioned +10% in the third. The problem is, you don't hold yourself in a plan for long as you're debuffing the target, hitting things, trying not to get hit and building threat. It's pointless in RvR and in PvE the tactic slot would be better suited for an 'always on' tactic for tanking.

Stop Hittin' Da Runts (7 points in Da Toughest)
Now THIS is a must have tactic. 40 AP every time a bellow goes off (normally 25% of the time on a hit). It works in a fantastic combo with Can't Hit Me and Da Biggest bellow which can proc on multiple targets almost giving you 50% extra block for a longer duration as your AP will be regenerating when the bellow goes off. It also lets you keep spamming the rotation as you shouldn't have any AP issues. If you're taking any points in Da Toughest then you could do a lot worse than take Stop Hittin' Da Runts.

Mor' Hardcore (11 points in Da Toughest)
Dear Gork.. What a dreadful tactic for 11 points. Right in Da Jibblies and Savin' Me Hide will now knock back targets a medium distance. Two main problems here though. Medium distance is actually pathetic compared to any other type of knock back that tanks have (Black Orcs have the shortest distance of knock back available). And the second problem is that Right in Da Jibblies is on the second plan along with our base knock back so there's no use in having two knock backs on the same plan when you can only use one anyway. Seriously, this is one tactic I have NEVER taken and in its current form NEVER will.

Rank 4 Morale
Can't Touch Us
Group Members within 100 feet gain 200 Action Points and absorb 4500 damage over 15 seconds. This is basically a very weak version of the Zealot Rank 4 morale Tzeentch's Shielding (250 Ap and 5400 damage over 20 seconds). It's also an exact mirror of the Swordmasters morale 4. Basically it looks nice for extra support in a war band but as ORvR Black Orcs tend not to spec into Da Toughest for war band action it's of limited use and I certainly can't justify the 3 mastery points you have to spend to get it. It's a common trait amongst Tanks, the rank 4 morale in the defensive tree just doesn't seem worth the points. Honestly unless your war band requests you to spec into it then don't bother.

Builds, Tactics and Morales
One of the great things about Black Orcs is that a lot of the actions you use are not in the actual mastery tree so you can actually perform most roles without having to respec too much but you do still need a build. I'll do each build for 25 mastery points and point out where you can put the other points once received. All builds feature PvE tanking as a feature but some (particularly the ORvR and Skirmish specs) will also feature in other trees with different builds

Fairly obvious build. The spare points including those from renown ranks can pretty much go anywhere but I find popping them into the brawler tree will at least help Skull Thumper and Da Biggest bellow while Arm Breaka is handy if you find yourself doing some RvR. Tactics and Morale are straight forward as discussed above.

Turtling is all about survival, losing group utility, damage and general usefulness to become an immovable object. It's not a whole lot of use but some do enjoy playing it. Extra mastery points I'd split between both trees as you'll absorb more damage with Rock 'Ard, heal more with You got Nuffin' (which is now a group heal, not the anti de-taunt as shown) and if you use the toughest bellow as a turtle then the extra points will help to heal. Stop Hittin Da Runts can be useful as well if you want to slot that instead of the You Got Nuffin, especially if you want to spam Can't Hit Me. I've included both in the build so you can swap them out depending on the situation.

AoE and survival is the biggest thing in large scale ORvR. The more damage and debuffs you can do while staying alive the better. Depending on tank numbers and what they're specced for (example being Chosen with crippling strikes) you will likely have to be either spamming Hold The Line or hitting the ORvR rotation. Spare points are just that, put them anywhere that you feel like though I'd recommend keeping them to the Boss spec or Toughest. Putting them in Brawler will just spread it out too much. I have to admit however that I feel a good solid ORvR build is based more in the Brawler tree, but this works if you wish to keep a single spec.

Skirmish is what I call the Toughest build that is most effective with for Scenarios/6v6 or small roaming groups but with the PvE aspect of the tank still attached (again it saves a respec). It's also effective in ORvR however you do lack Big Brawlin' which is great (more in the boss guide). Spare points go in brawler to get Arm Breaka and Not in Da Face. Tactics can vary if you want to use a two hander, I'd then slot in Dat Was Great, Stab You Gooder or Stop Hittin Da Runts depending on how you feel and how your group is composed.

Your basic toughest rotation for PvE tanking involves two toughest abilities and one from the brawler line.

Clobber >> Tuffer 'n Nails >> Skull Thumper >> Clobber >> Right in Da Jibblies >> Skull Thumper

Clobber is a no brainer, until you have a decent level of threat up then use this in your first part of the rotation. Once you hare happy you have enough threat then start swapping in Wot Armour? to help the group DPS. You can then move onto Tuffer 'n Nails which will give you a nice armour buff and lasts long enough that you can swap in Right in Da Jibblies when the second plan comes around again. Skull Thumper, although it's a brawler ability there's no decent third plan from the Toughest that you will use in PvE. Use Skull Thumper as this will do damage every time someone crits, so if you have a crazy Witch Elf, Sorc or Choppa with a huge crit build you will actually gain extra threat and damage done to them. Skull Thumper features more in the "Da Biggest" section. Of course, during this rotation you will keep Ya Missed me up on the target when it appears, as this does not break your plan you do not need to worry about it causing any interference with your rotation.

Turtling is an incredibly boring way to run as an RvR tank, in fact it offers little to no group utility, probably won't earn you any friends but you will be incredibly difficult to kill.

Rock 'Ard >> Tuffer 'n Nails >> Savin' Me Hide >> Can't Hit me for 5 seconds if under attack

Add in Can't Hit Me as often as possible and you will be a solid rock, just that though.. A rock, you wont be hitting anyone, you won't be doing anything and in fact you'll be a big, immobile blob of worthlessness.. Not Orcy as not enuff fightin'. This is more like Stunty fightin'. Note though that Rock 'Ard is in the Boss mastery tree so I'll discuss that more in that part.

The next rotation is for the ORvR build. Catching as many enemies out and helping your allies is the aim here.

Wot Armour? >> Big Swing >> Savin' Me Hide / Not in Da Face

The whole aim of this is to cause debuffs and disorients with Big Swing then follow it up with damage mitigation or unstoppable buffs if facing low numbers of casters. You should be in the middle of your war band doing this to the enemy unless the healers aren't staggered (chosen AoE normally) in which case feel free to disorient them, just be careful you don't break any staggers that are incoming. Though as stated on the top of the guide, I'll actually be doing a guide just on the ORvR Black Orc.

Skirmish Build is what I basically use as a term for a spec that you can use in PvE tanking and also in Scenarios or small scale stuff. I'll do the rotation for RvR as the PvE tanking is the same as the standard rotation above.

Wot Armour? >> Right in Da Jibblies >> Down Ya Go! >> Wot Armour?/Arm Breaka >> Trip 'em Up >> Savin' Me Hide / Shut Yer Face / Not in Da face

The Skirmish rotation does vary depending on what your facing and if you have the extra mastery points from the renown rank, for example I really wouldn't bother with Savin' Me Hide if you're not facing any casters or they're not overly powerful or blowing the crap out your group at that point in time, instead Shut yer Face on a healer would be fantastic as would Not in Da Face to increase cool downs (and gives unstoppable to your group for four seconds).