SK tanking questions

Discussion in 'Tanks' started by aozs, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. aozs Elder

    I'm currently taking a new box crew of sk/enc/dru/wiz/wiz/wiz through TBL (currently level 111).

    I've previously completed TBL and ToV on war/brd/shm/rog/ber/pal and had no issues tanking with the warrior. Warrior tanking is pretty straightforward - here's a bunch of powerful cooldowns, now stack or cycle them as needed. It was pretty easy to establish a "flow" of pulling bigger/smaller depending on what CDs were up, or tanking up to tackle a big hitter.

    As I'm going through TBL with the SK crew, I'm not really seeing how SK survivability is put together. I generally try to fight 1-2 mobs at a time, relying on CC/pulling to limit mob count, then just spam taps on the SK so the druid doesn't have to heal much. That works fine for basic grinding, but when I need to deal with multiple big hitters (Relic Raider, Strange Magic) I get crushed in seconds, even with cooldowns running.

    So here's what I'm wondering about:
    1. I hear that end-game SKs can tank a bunch of mobs with a 2her out no problem. How is this accomplished? Do you need to pop major defensives (mantle/reaver's bargain) to enable this, then pull smaller when those are down? Or is there a reasonable rotation of CDs that can enable big pulls to happen continuously? I'd like to be able to pull bigger in my grind sessions reliably.
    2. Is it normal for SK damage intake to be a lot spikier than warrior? I know even on the warrior, with no CDs running, damage can get pretty spiky even on trash mobs, but SK doesn't seem to have enough CDs to constantly be running one.
    3. How do you handle big hitters or very heavy damage intake? The golems in Strange Magic were taking off up to 90-95% hp chunks in a single round with no CDs, and up to 60-65% with Mantle or Reaver's Bargain running. Getting 2-rounded with major CDs running seems pretty insane. Warrior could stack CDs in this scenario to handle it no problem.
    I can probably get through most of the content no problem by just burning (this group has gigantic burn potential) but I do want to understand and improve the survivability aspect of the group, and my biggest issue right now is tank survivability.
    Gear: The SK is in Snowbound + GMM non-visibles, about half of it is aug'd. Around 3.5-4k AA's spent (so I have most defensives, aside from a few ranks of Armor of Wisdom), ~260k hp, ~6.3k AC with shield. There is definitely room for improvement here but I'm not expecting a night/day difference when I finish gearing/AA'ing.
  2. Scornfire Augur

    The glaring omission in this post is the lack of mention of using your Epic 2.0. Survivability on the SK is probably moreso Epic/MC/CoA robe + Offensive Abilities and tapping than it is defensive discs rotation. This is what enables mass 2her killing. As far as rotations go, If you have a plan for what you're doing, use Reaver's in conjunction with a Disc and melee burns on a big pull earlier than later as you don't want to run the risk of draining your mana/end and then having your Disc drop early. Procing Mortal Coil and keeping it on is the general goal, train yourself to allow the SK to get killshots as much as possible while boxing. I typically go Carapace - Cursed Guardian - Restless mantle in a group setting, Hope you're also using Skin buff.

    Someone else can elaborate further, but thems my quicknotes
  3. aozs Elder

    Oh yeah, I try to use my 2.0 on cooldown and pair it with Visage of Death when available. I don't have CoA robe and don't try to snipe killshots on the SK - keeping up MC could be huge, thanks for the tip. I do keep up skin at all times.

    Still pretty worried about spikes though. The healing and tapping part makes sense to me, but I'm worried it won't help if I'm getting one-rounded by a pack of mobs or a heavy hitter. Those golems in Strange Magic are just nuts. Is it normal to be dropping to 30% then healing to full every 1-2 seconds?
  4. BadPallyGuildLeader Augur

    If your box group relies on SK dps then THAT is your problem.
  5. Flatchy Augur

    The only time I take out a 2 hander is if im farming Light blues. I know now a days every SK wants to have their cake and eat it to. I have always said my job is to live so you can kill the mob.
    Angahran and Ezbro like this.
  6. p2aa Augur

    The baseline mitigation difference between warriors and knights is + 1%.
    A small difference on the AC softcap, and the return per AC ratio post softcap, but that's also very small impact.
    So it's not normal, you are for sure missing clicking some stuff on your SK. Don't ask me which ones, I don't play a SK.
  7. Syylke_EMarr Augur

    Make sure you have your Weapon Stances enabled and the buff is active. Sometimes the buff will disappear after a rez or zone.

    Also make sure you're using all of the self only buffs. The Azia/Beza Unity AAs get most of these, but you'll also want the xxx's Skin buff running.

    You are correct that SKs do not have as many disc-type abilities as warriors, and therefore cannot be "under disc" for as long as a warrior. We also don't have as many stackable abilities.

    However, some things you can use to help mitigate damage would be Spire, Reaver's (as you noted), Veil of Darkness (short duration but helpful), Shield Flash (another short duration, but gives time for debuffs to land). Obviously there's always Deflection, too.

    Other than that, it's just using your discs (Carapace/Impenitent, Guardian, Mantle) and lifetapping. You can always try to use things like Glyph of Dragon Scales, but shouldn't really be necessary if you're in adequate gear.

    That being said, the Strange Magic golems hit very hard. Don't be discouraged if you're dying to them. Even with raid gear, they were still a threat.
  8. aozs Elder


    Warrior can stack Ultimate Stand + Finish the Fight + Dissident and take almost no damage. I wasn't able to find anything similar for SK, which was part of the reason I made the thread.

    But yeah, during casual grinding with no cds, the damage intake does seem pretty similar between my SK and warrior (adjusting for gear/aa). The difference is that the warrior can always be under some kind of CD, and the SK can't.


    Thanks for the suggestions, I had forgotten about Veil. That'd be a nice help against the big hitters. I typically use Shield Flash to set up (as you suggest) or to recover from really bad spikes. 4min CD is a bit long though, I miss the 1m 30s warrior version.

    I've finished TBL and am halfway through ToV now, with no further issues. I don't remember anything hitting as hard as those golems in ToV (except for maybe a T2 named) so I think I'll be fine until I can finish gearing/AA'ing, and then hopefully I'll have enough HP to eat spikes without freaking out.

    I will say it's real nice to not need healing help as a tank.
  9. p2aa Augur

    Only for a very limited duration, aka 1 min every 10 min. I just add it for people who would not play a warrior and would think warriors are taking no dmg 24/24.

    SK are mitigating dmg in a different way, with spamming their lifetaps, which are also healing them at the same time.
    Are you spamming a lifetap multibind ?
    It requires to be more proactive on the SK casting. And I suspect that the reason you feel your SK is taking more dmg even on trash mob is that you don't cast enough spells.
    Funky likes this.
  10. aozs Elder


    Yep, hence not needing the druid to heal.

    Currently wiping to Icebound Avatar which was my only upcoming worry. The issue, as I mentioned, is spikes. Just had 2 tank deaths in that one tick after a disc fades, where it won't let you pop the next one, where I just get instantly killed by 2 big rounds from Avatar + add. I tried to shield flash to cover the transition on the second attempt but it didn't go off (probably busy casting a tap or something).

    If I don't have a disc up I'm basically guaranteed to die to a spike at some point. A bad melee round + the axe swing for 140k can easily instakill my 260khp SK. Even with Carapace + Epic 2.0 + Visage running I can still get purple'd by boss+add in a spike.

    Still in Snowbound+GMM at level 114, missing a bunch of AA's like Knight's Synergy, and not using any ToV spells, so I'm pretty confident I could come back and just knock this out at 115. My warrior handled this no problem at 113 (but I did have full TBL t3 and max AA from TBL).
  11. aozs Elder

    So I spent a few more hours wiping on Icebound Avatar. I think I can do it but the execution is pretty precise, I have enough DPS to get through P1 within Carapace+2.0+Visage > Cursed Guardian > Reaver's Bargain (trying to save Mantle for P2 and Deflection for P2 finishing burn), but there are bits of healing lapses where the taps aren't enough and some unlucky hits can end an attempt. P2 will be interesting, I got there a couple times, burned too early, then ended up getting overwhelmed. I'll need to figure a way to survive for a bit before Carapace comes back up.

    Out of frustration I logged on my main team (war/brd/shm/rog/ber/pal) and steamrolled the mission. What an immense difference. I combo'd Ultimate Stand + Finish the Fight for P1, accidentally overburned the boss and popped 3 giants + 1 axe at the same time, and just tanked it all in dual wield stance while shrugging off the damage. Pretty sure I never dropped below 70% and only needed Paladin HToTs and shaman HoT to stay topped off.

    I'm sure being 115 and AA'd/geared out will help a lot, and the comp being generally more fragile has a lot to do with it. It really sucks that I feel pressured to finish this mission before 115 because I'll just be "throwing away" ~50% regular exp if I wait til max level.
  12. Chopin.Xegony Augur


    Can I ask what is your SK's spell lineup and what all do you have in your spam key?
  13. I-WANT-IT-NOW Augur

    SK are amazing at many many things. But for the hardest relative content of your area of play a warrior as far as tanking tends to be better. But Glyph's can hide most of that if utilized properly and let you retain the benefits everywhere else.
  14. aozs Elder

    Got it this morning on my first try! Getting shaman + cleric buffs might've helped.

    I think the big thing was pulling giants more aggressively with Reaver's Bargain so I can burn through P1 faster. I almost got away with not needing Cursed Guardian, but even then still had a bunch of time left with it on P2. That meant I had enough things to cycle in P2 to get him into burn range (still pretty sure I'd go splat with no CDs tanking multiples in P2). Then I was able to barely pull off the burn before Deflection dropped. It's super handy that SKs auto-agro everything with lifetaps, my warrior has a much harder time grabbing adds like that.

    In case anyone is curious as to how I was burning both phases, P1 was ITC+IoG+Frenzied Destruction+A bunch of other major cooldowns. P2 was Arcane Destruction+Spell Twincast+Harm Touch+Leech Touch+Chromatic Haze+Forced Rejuv. That was enough to get him from 30-0 in deflection.


    I have Dire Testimony > Touch of T'Vem > Touch of Lutzen > Insidious Denial, plus Spurn, Wounding Blade, and Vicious Bite of Chaos in the spam key. I save Dissident for scary spikes.

    The problem was that without Reaver's Bargain, I can get taken 100-0 in about a 3 second window with bad luck (faster with weaker CDs or no CDs). That means I need to be topping myself off every 3-4 seconds. When the weaker taps don't crit or twincast, or Touch of the Cursed doesn't proc, etc, that doesn't really happen.

    The druid might be able to help in these situations but it's tricky because he's casting offensive spells (gem refreshes can ruin quick reactive healing), and moving him to dedicated healing isn't great because druid healing seems...not very good.
  15. Chopin.Xegony Augur

    So my SK spell line up I use
    Spear of Cadcane
    Terror of Mirenllia
    Dissident Fang
    Dire Indictment
    Vulak's Bite
    Ancient: Bite of Muram
    Touch of Drender
    Touch of T'Vem

    Thwart, Rending Blade, Vicious Bite of Chaos is in my spam key.

    I engage AoW with Epic then use Carapace when epic drops, then Cursed Guardian, epic again, then mantle. At this point AoW has typically ported upstairs. Run everyone upstairs, pop burns and engage once I get 1-2 Mobs I shield flash, once shield flash is down to 1 second left I hit deflection. AoW normally dies before Deflection drops.
  16. Wulfhere Augur

    This is a painful server/client desync bug that has be around for a couple of years now and seems to have gotten worse (more prevalent) in the past year. It locks out discipline activation because the client thinks the previous one is still running. It also causes buff effects to fade a full tick before the buff icon does (e.g. Spirit of Wolf and snares are obvious). Probably many other more subtle things that contribute to broken game play and instability. The basic bug seems to be that the client UI is a full tick behind the server.

    Using Shield Flash, as you note, is the right thing to do to try and cover the lapse between discs. Other things include spell casting and defensive item clicks (we all have a macro for those right?).
  17. Szilent Augur

    might. :rolleyes:

    also you haven't mentioned slowing the mobs with Protest for Power.

    druids can heal between offensive spells with chain Blessing of Ro
  18. aozs Elder


    Chanter slow overwrites Helix of the Undying and it's one of the first things my chanter does on every new mob. I open with spell Tash into AA Slowing Helix during the gem refresh. Also one aspect of the kill that helped was having Mental Contortion still up for P2 where CDs were a bit more sketchy.

    Druid Blessing of Ro was something I'd been meaning to work into my spam key but hadn't gotten around to it (it is currently on the assist/opener key, so it fires every time I switch to a new mob). I was going to do a close look at upgrading the healing setup on the druid if I was still having trouble. That's good advice though.
  19. Wulfhere Augur

    The other group heal that druids have comes from Sporali Storm (104) and Fungusoid Assault (109) pets. I believe druid mains forgo this spell line, in favor of remote heals, but it can be helpful to boxed druids.

    Note: it does not heal mercenaries (and I reported this bug ages ago).
  20. Repthor Augur

    A thing to keep in mind and why its so importent to get mortal coil procs and haveing you epic is they enable your melee offensive burns to dubble as defensive cooldowns due to leech. So wile you dont have the warrs big def cooldowns you get to dubble dip on your sks offesive coolies. It take a bit to get use to, but once you get comfy it works out really well
    Szilent likes this.

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