How I generate AoE threat as a heroic warrior

v3.2

Following on from my previous post about struggling a little with Aoe threat in heroics I have made some changes to improve my situation and they seem to be working.

Before I start a couple of caveats.  I’m a noob warrior tank and have only tanked about 15-20 instances so far.  So I might be wrong.  Secondly this is aimed at newer protection warriors tanking heroics, not at well geared raid tanks.

Right now thats sorted, on to the good stuff.


I changed two areas in my play style to generate more AoE threat, skill selection and glyphs.

Firstly skill selection.  I have replaced Heroic Strike with Cleave.  As per standard advice I was using Heroic Strike to bleed off excess rage (60+).  I have replaced this with Cleave as it seems to be helping me build threat quite nicely on multiple targets.  Cleave costs 5 more rage per use, does less single target damage and less single target threat, however on two (or more – see glyphs below) targets it produces more total damage and more total threat.

I have found warrior tanks have little issue generating single target threat with skills like Shield Slam, glyphed Devastate, Concussion Blow and Revenge.  I am yet to notice the reduced damage and rage cost from Heroic Strike on a single target.  I am currently not using Heroic Strike at all and I am Cleaving single targets if I need to dump threat.  This is less than ideal, but i’ll work on that later.

So Heroic Strike out, Cleave in.

Secondly Glyphs.  I had been running with Blocking, Devastate and Shield Wall for a fair while and they were doing fine.  However to match the change to my skill selection I have dropped Shield Wall for Cleaving.  In heroics having a 2 min CD for Shield Wall was rarely used.  For starters the boss fights rarely last 2 minutes.  So it seemed a waste.  Cleaving means I am now hitting three melee range targets with each cleave.  This is awesome and great for AoE threat generation.

I have also dropped Blocking for Sunder Armor.  This is still on trial.  I use Devastate quite a lot to build threat on my current target and this applies the sunder debuff to another melee target (including the threat) each time.  The extra block from Blocking has quite a bit of synergy with my talents so i’m still testing this one.  I think it’s a good idea…

Now to the action.  How am I pulling and building AoE threat?  Well its not rocket science 🙂

Heroic Throw a caster and Charge {skull}.  Thunder Clap now and, for the first 20-30 seconds of the fight, on cool down.  With the Thunder Clap minor glyph for a little extra radius this should get the attention of everything.  Shield Slam and then Concussion Blow and/or Revenge {skull}.  I usually drop one or two Devastates on the main target also.

Thunder Clap again.  Usually about the time your Thunder Clap is ready to use a second time your rage has gone off the meter, so start Cleaving.  I have a Power Aura set up to alert me as soon as my Rage goes over 60.  If some (all) of your DPS is doing AoE then often about now is a good time to Shockwave.  This has excellent threat and that combined with the 3 second stun might be enough to keep all the foes focused on you.  Otherwise it will give you a chance for a couple of Cleaves before things turn ugly.

Usually by now you have plenty of threat on your main target.  I tab around and share Shield Slam and Revenge love around.  If they aren’t ready for use the fill the blanks with Devastate.  Keep Cleaving when you have excess rage.

In heroics the pulls are often about four foes and after about three Thunder Claps (or sooner) the first target is dead.  I tend to stop Thunder Clapping and just focus on using my global cool downs to Devastate/Shield Slam and Revenge.  These do more damage than Thunder Clap and when there is only a couple of targets they generate better threat. Between Cleave hitting three targets and Devastate hitting two threat is usually strong on all the targets.  Worst case scenario is I do what the pros do and actually tab around and focus on those with lower threat.

If DPS really need to AoE then I ask them to single target until they see that second Thunder Clap.  Its an easy visual sign and once that’s landed I usually have enough of a lead to handle all the AoE they can throw at me.

Don’t forget (like I do often) to Vigilance you highest threat DPS or healer.  I currently do a DPS but i’m starting to think I should do the healer due the AoE nature of their threat.

For the record, on single targets i’m still dumping rage via Cleave (but less so) and using Shield Slam, Revenge and Devastate to build huge rage.  Devastate spamming with the glyph of Devastate very quickly build huge threat.

Gobble gobble.

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3 Responses to How I generate AoE threat as a heroic warrior

  1. If I may offer a comment: I actually find it easier to just charge a target (in Norhtrend instances) instead of opening with a heroic throw. The spacing is vastly different from the ones we have seen in TBC, so the next pack is never in range to pull – even if you overshoot a little due to the charge.

    The added bonus is that charge usually takes you past the target, allowing you to make sure their back is turned towards the group.

    I usually thunderclap after the charge and then follow immediately with a shockwave (well.. if they are spaced properly, a little shuffling is often needed). Those two tools are enough threat to make your healer feel safe and hold AoE threat (except against horrible gear differences). The problem usually comes from one of the enemies peeling off due to slighly more focused fire. For the runner you then have several tools still at the ready: simply taunting works (especially if you use vigilance and the same people always pull aggro) – and you still have your heroic throw ready to bring the runner back under your control.

    Otherwise – I love the glyph combination of cleave, sunder and devastate. It really shines with two pieces of T8 and two pieces of T9 armour.

    Against single targets, heroic strike is still more damage and threat, though. Might be a good idea to switch back to that for bosses and the last mob alive.

  2. BobTurkey says:

    Of course you may Koch (Aszune).

    I use Heroic Throw for extra threat on the target plus silence for a caster, but each to their own.

    For runners I usually taunt them and try and hit them with a Shield Slam or something when they get to me.

    I’ve now dropped the Glyph of Sunder as it didn’t seem to add that much. I’ve returned to Blocking, so my three are Devastate, Cleaving and Blocking. This is alos partially as i’m getting more expereieneced at tab targetting and a better feel for threat generally.

    Yeah i know about heroic strike. I might have to modify my Cleave macro so i can HS using a modifier (e.g. Alt) or something. Glyphed Devastate builds huge single target threat so i’d work in HS more for damage than threat.

    Gobble gobble.

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