It has been a while since I have done a feral tanking blog post, but I have been trying to tank a little more in anticipation of leveling in Cataclysm and getting used to the 4.0.1 changes. And unfortunately, swipe spam does not work anymore. Neither does putting Maul with all of your abilities. They have actually done this with all the tanking classes to make it harder to just AoE tank. (Consecration has a long cooldown. So does Death and Decay) So since you have lost two major spammable threat builders, what do you do now? Here is what I have been doing to hold aggro in 5 mans as well as a rundown of stats important for bears right now.
If Feral Charge is up, I will charge into a group if possible. Some groups aren’t possible so with those, I pull with Faerie Fire. While I’m charging in, I will Faerie Fire the first target. From there, if the group is around me, I will Swipe. From there, I will Tab target the next target and hit Mangle. I will then Tab target the next target and hit 3 Lacerate. By then, Swipe should be up again. I repeat this until every target has Mangle and 3 Lacerate on them, although if DPS is sufficient, I get nowhere close.
I Feral Charge in and put up Faerie Fire. Then I hit Mangle. Then I stack my Lacerate up to 3. Then I use Pulverize, which clears my 3 stack of Lacerate. I reapply my Lacerate up to 3. If Pulverize drops off, I reapply Pulverize. If Beserk procs, I hit Mangle. Mangle is still a great threat builder and should be used on cooldown. Swipe should be used if adds spawn, like Prince Keleseth in Utgarde Keep. Maul should only be used if you have a lot of rage. If you have low rage, use Faerie Fire to help with a little bit of threat.
You still will get overzealous DPS who want to try to win Omen. If that is the case, you still have Taunt and Challanging Roar as aggro capturers as well.
Most of this information, I have gotten from Kalon at Think Tank (see blog list). Since all extra armor is gone from leather pieces now, we basically want to use the highest armor, highest stamina, and highest agility pieces we can. All 3 of these things all come as we get better armor. A 4T10 277 bear is going to have more stamina, armor, and agility than a 4T10 264 bear. The major stats that we are looking for are in this order.
1) Hit/Expertise – We need to make sure that we are hit capped so that we are not missing our abilities. A missed ability could make the difference between your DPS pulling or you holding aggro. Expertise is along the same line. It makes sure that your attacks do not miss. If you are hit capped but not expertised capped, I would reforge hit into expertise if possible. Vice versa is true as well if you are expertised capped but not hit capped.
2) Stamina – Stamina is still the king of tanking. While agility does help with dodge rating, critical strike chance, etc, there is diminishing returns and you will eventually get hit by something. That is where having high enough stamina becomes important. This is still the major thing you gem for in 4.0.1.
3) Agility – Agility helps critical strike chance, which helps with Savage Defense procs, and dodge rating, which increases our effective health. While we should gem stamina, there are a few enchants that have agility, for example, cloaks. Agility is now a much better stat, especially when combined with mastery.
4) Mastery – With reforging, we could do a lot of fun stuff with mastery. The bear’s mastery is that increases the size of your Savage Defense by 4% per mastery point. If you have excess hit and excess expertise, I would highly recommend changing some of that hit/expertise to mastery (since you can’t reforge it into stamina, agility, or armor anyway).
5) Armor – The only reason it is down this far is because armor gets better as we get better gear. I would not gem or enchant for armor though.
So hopefully, this will get you started tanking post 4.0.1. and into Cataclysm, because I’m fairly certain the quick level way will be through the LFD, especially with them putting the quest givers right at the entrance of the instance.