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I bloody well love mastery

November 2, 2010

The battle between dodge, parry and mastery will be exercising the theory-crafters for a while I suspect. After a reasonable amount of time spent trying to understand this, I can confidently say that it is difficult to be sure.

In reality, the difficulty is that it depends on your style and how effective you are at using Death Strike. Avoidance is a stat that is completely out of your control (unless you sit down or turn your back to your enemy) and thus effective however useless you are. Mastery is a stat that, for blood, scales with your own skill and as such I really like it.

On the other hand, I suspect that if you are either a) incompetent or b) overgeared for your content, avoidance may be better. Incompetence because it is easy to mess up death strike and have ineffective healing. Overgeared because mastery becomes better when you are taking lots of damage. On heroic Putricide I saw a 25k shield at one point last week. That was fun.

Having said that, mastery can also be impressive on content you overgear. Tanking the headless horseman last week, I was amused to find that I had not been hit by the end of the fight. I could tell that because my bone shield still had three charges. Presumably I had avoided some of the attacks and the others had not managed to hurt me through the life shields I had thrown around myself. Oh, and of course throughout that time I had had the 20% damage reduction from bone shield which meant it was harder for that fallen paladin to chew through the life shield enough to hurt me.

I wonder what the healer did that fight?

I also love the synergy of our mastery. The use of bone shield is a good one. Life shield allows your bone shield to last longer and your bone shield makes your life shields last longer and thus extend bone shield further. Similarly, avoidance positively enhances mastery in itself – the more attacks that are avoided, the more useful it is to mitigate the others.

I mentioned that skill improves our mastery. It is easy to say; if you get your death strikes to heal each time rather than overheal and if you arrange it so that your life shield has just gone down when your next one goes up, you will be more effective. Actually working this when struggling with rune cooldowns and runic empowerment is not as easy.

But when it works, the death knight feels more and more like my ideal tank. One who is proactively involved in his own survival.

I really hope that the war ends with mastery on top. Or ideally, on top for those who master it’s use. It would be lovely if you could tell how good you are as a death knight tank by whether avoidance or mastery works better for you.

Although, I do wonder which side I would fall on. I still have a lot of improvement in my death striking to go.

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