For the majority of end game content in this game I feel traiting 5 Defender of the Free (with legendary capstone) is a must, simply because it strengthens one of the Guardian's weaknesses; AOE threat. Even when I've a single boss to focus on, I have no trouble keeping high threat as long as I am using Engage and Challenge properly (see bottom section for skill rotation).
These last two are completely optional. I often switch them around depending on what I think I may need for a particular run. I like the lower cool down and reactives proc on Brave Heart for making initial pulls on multiple mobs etc. I also really like controlled breathing along with the LI belt legacy because it allows me to continuously generate threat without ever worrying about power (self sufficient).
Challenge the Darkness
Even if you do not have incredibly high crit rate you will still benefit from Litany Master since it gives you +5 Litany of Defiance targets. Challenge the Darkness is useful not only because it gives you a rather large defensive boost when you use it, but because it is a threat mirror, and forced taunt on as many as 10 targets.
Non AOE Traited/Geared
|In the above image you will notice how each skill has a base number of maximum targets. Vexing blow is most noticeable since it becomes a single target skill.|
|In this image you will see that when you trait/gear for AOE, the maximum number of targets for your skills will increase greatly. Again, Vexing Blow gets a huge boost and now targets 8 enemies.|
|Notice the two debuffs which can be applied full time on a target, or multiple targets.|
While it is important to properly gear any class for a raid, the different between a properly geared, and poorly geared tank is extremely obvious in their performance in a raid. It does not matter how skilled everyone in the raid including the tank are, if they cannot properly mitigate the damage they are taking the raid will fail.
It is important to focus on capping both tactical and physical mitigations on a tank (70% cap on both). However, block and parry should not be overlooked and must also be close to if not capped (25% cap on both, 10% cap on partial B/P/E). Finally, critical defense and incoming healing also play an important role while tanking. A good starting point for critical defense is 35% (there is no cap), and 15% for incoming healing (25% cap, 30% for the race of man). You can go over the cap on any of these by using items/gear/trait that directly increase the % instead of the rating.
|Image credit to Alad.|
|Image credit to Alad.|
|Legendary items will often define how you play your class.|
Skill Rotation and Positioning
Ultimately, even with the best gear, capped mitigations, etc, if you do not actually practice proper Guardian skill rotation/positioning, it will all amount to nothing, because you will be unable to hold solid threat on a target/targets.
The majority of mobs in a raid will usually have some form of AOE (180 frontal, or 360). As a tank, it is your duty to drag the mobs you are assigned to tank and face them away from the raid. Failing to position/face the mobs properly will result in dead Minstrels/Hunters/Champs etc. The following diagram will help to visualize proper positioning in a raid (the red x represent mobs).
|A good example of how to position your self in respect to the rest of your team.|
If you will only focus on one mob as a tank, or if you there are multiple mobs to tank and you do not need to split them up, the best way to open up your skill rotation is to either use Ignore the Pain, or Warrior's Heart (requires a trait) in order to proc a shield block event as you are running in. Once you have the block event and you are in range of the mob/mobs, you will use Litany of Defiance immediately, followed by Shield Taunt. You then position yourself so that the mob/mobs are facing away from the raid, and use Guardians Ward to increase your mitigations.
After applying Guardian's Ward you can use Vexing Blow and Fray the Edge if you do not have any block/parry events, or if you do use Whirling Retaliation, Litany+Shield Taunt, and repeat the process. In between block/parry events you may use Challenge/Engage if you feel the need to secure aggro against heavy DPS, always remembering to reapply Guardians Ward as necessary.
If you all of the previously mentioned skills are on cooldown, and you have not trying to conserve power, you can use other skills such as Shield Swipe and Shield Bash, although I give them low priority since they generate weak threat. Do note that two pieces of the Erebor Defender set from the skirmish camps will allow Shield Bash to apply a threat over time effect, which you can sustain for an indefinite amount of time as long as you reapply it, in which case using Shield Bash is high priority.
Actual threat numbers etc will be posted later.
More to come....comments and suggestions are welcome!