By Pristia Heartfilia
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Warrior is first and foremost a tank job, with heavy utility in the form of Storm’s Eye and Storm’s Path. It is also capable of the highest DPS output of all tanks, and can even outburst DPS jobs during openers.
Warrior doesn’t have all of the fancy cooldowns that Paladin and Dark Knight have, but we do get a pretty great toolkit all our own. Warrior brings not only great utility, and potent self-healing, but also the ability to consistently generate high DPS in both single target, and AoE situations.
It’s a very active play style that involves a lot of stance dancing to take advange of the job’s amazing versatility. It is fairly simple to pick up, but can be challenging to master, so I hope this guide can help you do just that!
THE WARRIOR THOUGHT PROCESS
Off-Tank Priority and Thought Process:
Your top priority as off-tank are to keep up Maim and Storm’s Eye at all times. Never let either fall off, if it can be helped. The main OT rotation is to start with a Storm’s Eye combo, followed by a Butcher’s Block combo, and repeat, alternating SE and BB combos. Depending on how aggressive your MT is, using BB may lead to hate issues. If this is the case, simply stop using BB and just repeat the SE combo.
Be ready to pick up any adds that might spawn during an encounter, as well as be ready to apply Storm’s Path anytime heavy raidwide AoEs are coming out, and when this happens, prioritize Storm’s Path over Butcher’s Block. Yes it’s a 40 Potency loss overall, but that’s better than a dead raid. Always be prepared for any change in the flow of the battle, such as phase pushes, or should the main tank die and you need to take over threat on the boss quickly.
Main Tank Priority and Thought Process:
Just as with off-tanking, it’s important to sustain Maim and Storm’s Eye at all times, but your primary responsibility as the main tank is to ensure your enmity lead over the rest of the raid and maintain it. You also have to be aware of when heavy tank mechanics such as tank busters will occur and mitigate them properly. The rotation for main tanking is the same as off-tanking, alternating Butcher’s Block and Storm’s Eye.
Main tanking does not mean you must always remain in Defiance – you can switch to Deliverance while main tanking, as is shown in the Main Tanking opener. Before you stay in Deliverance for an extended period of time, however, make sure you have the CDs necessary to mitigate any heavy damage to the point that you can survive comfortably even in Deliverance.
If there are a lot of Weakness or Vulnerability debuffs on your raid, you may want be a little more conservative and stay in Defiance, since your healers will already be struggling to keep everyone else alive. Other than that, simply alternate your cooldowns, ensuring you always have one available, as well as a back up should you need it, and keep an eye on your threat lead, if a DPS or healer is about to overtake you, change back to Defiance and re-establish a comfortable lead on threat.
Off Tank Opener:
There’s a triple fell cleave opener that’s extremely popular, but this opener is better optimized for raiding and makes the most of the raid buffs being used in openers (Battle Litany, Trick Attack, Hypercharge, etc).
Main Tank Opener:
Storm’s Path – Learn when big raidwides are going out and apply path to help mitigate. Also learn to keep an eye on your party list, and especially apply ‘Path if you see people with Weakness or Vulnerability.
Storm’s Eye – Keep it up. Never let it fall off. You want every Storm’s Eye after the first one to be buffed by it’s own effect. The only exception is if the boss jumps and dropping it is inevitable. Outside of that, make sure it’s up 100% of the time.
Unchained – I use Unchained in my main tanking opener, and also if I need to establish a lot of threat really quickly on adds mid encounter. Also be sure to use Unchained anytime you’ll be in Defiance for an extended period of time (at least 10 seconds).
Fracture – Keep it up, a good general rule for Fracture is to always apply it with at least 2 stacks of Abandon, and let it tick for the full duration. It’s 100 frontload potency followed by 200 potency over 30 seconds. At 9 ticks that’s equal to a Butcher’s Block, and at all 10 ticks it’s a DPS gain over Butcher’s Block. Never clip Fracture outside of Berserk.
To Cleave, or Not to Cleave – Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a situation where you have 5 stacks and a Fell Cleave primed, but no Eye debuff on the boss. You can overwrite your stacks to reapply Maim/Storm’s Eye if you want, as long as it doesn’t cause you to lose an entire Fell Cleave over the course of the encounter.
To properly manage your cooldowns, you need to be familiar with the encounter and know two key things: when the big hits are going to happen, and whether those big hits are magical or physical. One of the best things about the Warrior job is how short the recast timers are on our best cooldowns, generally 90-120 seconds, allowing Warriors a lot of flexibility in how they use and
combine their best CDs.
Not sure if a big attack is physical or magical damage? Try asking a healer or a Black Mage – they also have CDs that only work on specific types of damage, and may already know the answer. If your whole group is new to a particular fight and no one is sure, just experiment. Use Raw Intuition and take the big hit. Did you parry it? If so, it’s physical. If not, it’s magical.
Is there a big tank buster coming and you’re out of CDs? Sounds like a great time to Holmgang! If you’re going to use Holmgang to survive a big hit don’t bother using any other CDs at the same time (you can’t die anyway, so it’s a waste). Just be sure to communicate to your healers what you’re doing, so they can heal you up quickly afterward.
Deliverance vs. Defiance:
For this most part this is pretty basic, one is your tank stance one is for DPS. However, just because you’re tanking something doesn’t mean you have to stay in Defiance. There are a few key things to remember though before you change stances while tanking a boss. You are harder to heal in Deliverance than in Defiance, and you have less health. This means you’ll need to know how much damage is going to happen, and compensate accordingly with cooldowns. For instance, a tank buster is coming up and you’ve switched to Deliverance, you should know how much the buster will hit for unmitigated, and use the appropriate cooldown to ensure you survive not only the tank buster, but also the next auto-attack comfortably.
Another thing to note is that if you normally take a certain hit with only Defiance up, but want to do so in Deliverance, Thrill of Battle + Convalescence is basically a 20 second Defiance.
When to Berserk:
Outside of your opener, Berserk can be tricky to use in certain situations. It’s all about timing, ensuring you get the most out of your Berserk without losing any uptime while it’s up, as well as making sure you aren’t Pacified at the wrong time. The best way to use Berserk is to experiment. Learn the boss’s patterns and rotations, when adds will spawn, when you are going to have to leave the boss and lose uptime, and when you can stay and DPS to your heart’s content. Learn the timings of mechanics, and use Berserk at times when you can get the full benefit from this amazing ability.
There will be scenarios where holding Berserk for a short period will actually lead to a DPS gain, such as if a group of adds is going to spawn shortly after it’s ready to be used, or if using it in a certain part of the fight can help to push phases leading to a shorter encounter.
Stat Weights and Gear Choices:
For Warrior, there are 2 important thresholds you want to hit with your gear set: 700 accuracy, and 550+ skill speed. The frontal accuracy requirement for Creator (Savage) is 700, and missing an attack is not only a huge DPS loss, it can also lead to a wipe if it happens at a critical time, like immediately after a tank swap, or when trying to establish threat on a newly spawned add. Having 550+ skill speed (or more) will allow you to get 9 in GCDs (including 3 Fell Cleaves) within the 20 second Berserk window. Dipping below this amount will result in a significant DPS loss. If you have significant latency, you may want to be well over 550 skill speed, to ensure that you’re able to execute the 9 GCD Berserk effectively in a raid setting.
Here are the best available stat weights for a Warrior in Deliverance:
SS (Once at 550+ for 9 GCD Berserk/ x3 Fell): 0.350
Warrior 3.4 Best in Slot Lists:
Depending on which Warrior you ask, there’s currently 2 different gear sets that are arguably “best” in patch 3.4. The big difference is which chest piece you choose to use.
Option #1 uses the Alexandrian Mail of Fending (from A12S) and has a whopping 1167 crit, but only 555 skill speed, and an extra 90 points of unwanted parry.
Option #2 use the Augmented Shire Custodian’s Armor, this has significantly more skill speed (699) and less parry, but also has much less crit (1020) and 50 points of unnecessary accuracy.
If you’re not yet clearing A12S and don’t have access to the Alexandrian Mail of Fending, then the decision is easy – go with the Shire chest piece for now, and reevaluate later if/when you can get your hands on the Alexandrian alternative.