A Sunwell Radiance by Any Other Name Would Still Nerf as Much

So… yeah. Once again I feel compelled to point out that I did not raid during the Burning Crusade and only ever cleared the Sunwell last week in a PuG full of 80s, but I know a guy whose friend is the cousin of someone who did thus I am qualified to open a discourse on the subject. Sunwell Rad… uh… “Chill of the Throne” will be an instance-wide debuff reducing all dodge by 20%. As a tank with about 30% dodge when raid buffed, I’ll be knocked down to 10% dodge, 21% parry, 15% block. This nerf, of course, will make it functionally impossible to be unhittable (102.4% avoidance) so at least I won’t have to worry so much about whether or not I’m block capped.
I think it will be fantastic to not have bosses hitting me for 25k anymore as I always hate the Random Number Generator god. He hates me when I’m tanking, when I’m looting, and when I’m rolling. As a block tank, even if I’m not unhittable, I should routinely be taking less damage than other non-block tanks and, coupled with the likes of Sacred Shield or Power Word: Shield, may even routinely take next to no damage if I stack enough block value. I’m interested to see how Blizzard will balance around this. Warriors, with their Critical Block talent, should take even less damage than me. Perhaps this is their way of apologizing to Warriors for neglecting them in favor of Deathknights and Paladins for the duration of this expansion, making them the clear OP tank for non-magic-damage-cooldown-dependant fights.
While this may not turn out to be true (here it is, the first time I’m putting my self out on a limb in the “informative paladin / tank blogosphere”) I think parry has just doubled in itemization value as it is not affected by the global debuff. Parry has always been harder to get than dodge, but ever since they normalized the two avoidance stats so that Parry was not the obvious inferior because of higher point value costs and poor itemization, it has actually become a worthwhile state. No one gems or enchants for it, lets be honest, but that fact may change. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any tank with 30%+ parry, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. I don’t think dodge will disappear as an itemization secondary stat on gear in icecrown (especially not in favor of parry) and it can’t be ignored, but it will be far less valued. The Armsman and Bladeward enchants should see a resurgence among tanks who picked up Agility and Mongoose for the armor / dodge / threat.
Because we are losing a flat 20% dodge and not a percentage of our maximum, we definitely can’t afford to ignore or remove dodge as a tanking stat or we’ll soon find ourself at 0% dodge along with all the DPS and the healers. While all tanks get a free 5% from talents and dodge has been plentiful on gear thus far in the expansion, it should be very difficult to see tanks dropping below that 5% minimum because parry will still suffer from diminish returns as it gets higher, and dodge’s DR will not be affected. I wouldn’t be surprised if the more math-savvy people on Elitist Jerks, Tankspot, or Maintankadin find a new “soft dodge cap” where getting dodge above a certain % will start yielding less value than the DR on parry because of the 20% diminishing. And, keep in mind, while dodge may be screwed in Icecrown, people are still running Ulduar and ToC. The gear in Icecrown will logically be better than what we can get out of it so dodge will still be useful to people going back to finish off TotGC. I would be surprised to see tanks with much more than 12% dodge in Icecrown because the DR is likely going to be applied before the instance nerf, so start looking for that parry gear and gems and enchants 🙂

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