Jacemora: Thoughts on Polar gear and stacking stamina

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thoughts on Polar gear and stacking stamina

Here's the deal. If you didn't know by now most of the gear rankings out there put the polar chest, belt , and boots very high on the bear list... tops in matter of fact... the #1 item in each of those slots.

The gear is ranked so high due to it's high stamina value, something us bears get the most bang for the buck out of.

Here is my real world testing thoughts... at least at the current level of raiding... considering I am in mostly Naxx heroic gear.

1. No polar for trash pulls. You want to use your gear that falls closest to the polar items in rank but gem/equip/enchant for damage, hit, expertise to hold the threat you need when you are AoEing this stuff down.

2. Patchwerk... by now you know to wear you polar gear and highest stam pieces if you are soaking the hurtfuls.

3. Don't gem/enchant your polar gear trying to get avoidance out of it. gem/enchant more stam, that is what you want out of these items when you do wear them.

4. Any fight you MT, wear these items. You won't have problem with single target threat and the huge HP pool helps with the various silence mechanics and what not in many of these boss fights.

5. The polar chest/belt/boots is a must have IMHO for any starting bear hitting level 80. It is too cheap to get these crafted not to have them starting heroics and 10 man Naxx.

6. OTing on bosses where you are controlling add waves you should be fine ditching the polar. I would also not use it on Gothik or Noth fights where controlling adds is very important.

I would use Polar on these fights...


Arachnid Quarter
Anub'Rekhan - If OT no need for Polar. (Insect swarm hurts, healer positioning, green goo)
Grand Widow Faerlina - If OT no need for Polar. (red too long or people want achievement)
Maexxna - (Everyone gets frozen/webbed)

Plague Quarter

Heigan the Unclean - (in case you mess up the dance... over and over)
Loatheb - (healer silence)

Military Quarter

The Four Horsemen - (Meteor, bad party or OT placement even if for a moment, stacking debuff)

Construct Quarter

Patchwerk - Huge Hurtfuls
Grobbulus - If OT no need for Polar. - (Positioning, players that don't get away when injected)
Gluth - (stacking debuff, decimate)
Thaddius - (Players changing sides late)

Frostwyrm Lair

Sapphiron - FR is reason alone
Kel'Thuzad - (void zones, icebolts, bad melee positioning)

So there you go with a short notation of the problem mechanics. You prob could tank more than one without polar gear depending on the experience and talent of your raid members but I see no good reason not to wear it as a safety precaution on those same fights.

I don't have any experience tanking Malygos yet or the 3 drakes up fight (although it is known you need uber HP for that) and the Vault fight is easy.


Mekias said...

Polar gear is great for entry-level bear tanking. It's good for Patchwerk. It's fantastic for Sapphiron. It's absolutely necessary for Sarth-3D.

Outside of that, I wouldn't use Polar gear for much else. You mention that the added stamina gives you a buffer but so does dodging. My main is a healer and I'd prefer a nice balance of health and avoidance on my tank. With Polar gear, you're forcing the healers to spend more time healing you instead of helping to heal the raid. If your healers are any good, they can keep up a 40k bear just as easily as a 45k bear. Easier actually because the 40k bear would probably have 5% more dodge.

Jacemora said...


"With Polar gear, you're forcing the healers to spend more time healing you instead of helping to heal the raid."

Actually I have found this to be quite the opposite. Once your healers know how long they can not heal you it gives them more time to heal the raid. I also find having such a high HP number makes crit heals less wasted. As long as healers learn and understand that your 50% is not the same as another tanks 50% they end up with added flexibility on when to heal you or the raid with our longer TTL. I love seeing Crit heals for 10K not go wasted as over heal. The higher HP makes our SI and FR better as well. I know my healers tend to keep me at about 70% but that other 30% helps when they top me off for a silence or other mechanic when no healing is going to be available and that is how they approach keeping me up... I think it works really well.

I know for a fact, at least where our raids are concerned the higher HP is a HUGE help when facing Maexxna where our warrior MT rarely makes it through the fight without dying.

Again, I mention where having the higher HP is beneficial because of fight mechanics and allows for a wider margin on error from others in the raid and that with a good experienced group might not have as big a benefit.

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree its excellent cheap starter gear and I'm glad your getting a lot more usage out of your gear than I am. I dont use mine except on sapp + sarth+++ I suppose(yet to come) because I think the 4p valorous looks so much nicer - what a beautifully designed set it is!

Re patchwerk, for example: yes it does help you survive if you're just starting naxxx, but over the weeks as we've geared up, I've seen my total damage taken go from 2.2million to 1.3 million, and average hurtfuls dodged rise from 40% to 47%, while hurtfuls hit for roughly the same as ever. We're killing him in 3 mins now instead of 5:30. What I mean is: it doest take long to outgear the instance, and now its time to work on naxx achievements.

But I think its great that people experiment with gear & find what works well in their group. I tend to see too that bears just survive bad moments a lot better than warriors at the moment due to the extra health. We cant get through Maly10/25 our warriors & pallys (in naxx25 gear) getting 1-shot 50% of the time. Valorous is more than fine for Maly25 + a spark eating however.

I prefer expertise, agility & hit on my tanking gear but will most certainly regem the polar to stamina once we get to sarth3d, if I'm getting insta-gibbed. Otherwise I'll stick with valorous. Having said that, the teir gear, origin of nightmares & the gossamer puts me well over 43k buffed without a single piece of polar, and no gemming or enchanting for stamina.

Kalon said...

So...some nitpicks.

Faerlina is one where having the stam is actually really good if you're MT and you want to just ignore MCing the adds. And on Maexxna, it can help a bit but it's not essential; more avoidance can help a lot more here.

Loatheb does have healer silence, but the amount of damage he does is trivial. There's no need for it, but there is need to have good threat if you get the debuff from the spores. And Heigan...please don't tell me you're advocating people stacking stam so that they can't dance!

4h it can be good - but it is also really nice to be able to do more damage and do early threat. I guess if you can stack enough to eat a meteor (40k) + a couple hits it'd be valuable.

Grobbulus there's no need for it, and you absolutely need the threat and damage if you're MTing.

Gluth - it's a huge percentage of your stamina when you decimate. Stacking stamina will mean that instead of 3500 health, you'll have 4000 health. Neither is going to save you. Dodge will, as will popping cooldowns.

Thaddius requires high threat because of the debuff to beat the enrage timer. He does very little damage, and even a charged hit won't kill a tank.

KT is good because of the ice bolts if they don't get interrupted. However, the void zones do 110k damage so there's no possible way to outstam them. The ice blocks do 104% of your health, so health doesn't actually help.

Jacemora said...

All good points Kalon.

I have never been caught in a void personally... I guess it's a good thing I haven't... lol

As far as threat, wearing the polar I have not had any issues with single target threat even with most of our DPSers being geared quite well.

We don't have people stack stam for the dance, just as a tank if you aren't experienced the extra stam helps in case you screw up... or a bunch of healers screw up... lol

Again, notice I pointed out "once your raid has experience the value of the polar gear is not as much". I am not advocating that MTing Naxx forever in polar is necessary just that on those particular fights it can be beneficial especially just a couple weeks into Naxx 25.

Anonymous said...

While it's typically fun to discuss gear theory-craft, I see about 5 of these "stam v avoidance guides" go up everyday. The truth is, right now it just doesn't matter what you wear. With the exception of Sarth+3, you can mix and match gear without consequence because the content is trivial. You want to go stam-heavy? Do it. Feel like stacking avoidance? Rock on. How about gearing for max threat? Use your cat gear for kicks (unless you're OT'ing Patch). If they decide to make the content more difficult, then we'll see a more clear direction for the best way to gear up.


Jacemora said...


This is true... although MTing in straight up kitty gear (unless it's pretty awesome) on some fights I wouldn't recommend.

Phantom said...

So is stamina the number 1 stat for bears now that the bonus armor doesn't count in bear form? Sucks that Blizzard took bonus armor away from you guys, you have my sympathy.

Anonymous said...


With regard to your comment about the change in bonus armor: They took away the modifiers from bonus armor, but, they also increased the modifier from leather armor by 66%. This was only a nerf if you were at the top of the curtrent gear level and HEAVILY invested in +bonus armor items, like Origin of Nightmares, Defender's Code, etc. If you were in Naxx-10 gear, this change was a wash or maybe a small buff. If you were still in Heroic/quest blues, this change was probably a significant buff.

With regard to your question about Stamina being the #1 stat for Druid tanks: Druids have been debating the merits of Health vs. Avoidance for ages, and will probably continue to do so. I prefer a nice balance of the two myself (except for specific fights where high health is beneficial, Sarth3D, OTing Patchwerk, etc). Even if the theory math weighted health higher than avoidance in general, it would be kinda silly to just stack Stamina and ignore avoidance. I think most people agree on that in general.

Anonymous said...

What the Polar gear does is gives us even more versatlity. Now that we are free from constraints of the Defence capped we can move toward more specialized sets for tanking.
I am now 5/5 Tier 7 and plan on having that set Agility heavy for added DPS and Dodge. Then the Polar gear will be gemmed Stam heavy, for situations that need it.
Of corse this will mean packing around more gear in the bags. Kitty set, Polar set, PVP gear(sometimes)..... Where do we Put all the phat lootz? LOL

Jacemora said...

Yeah, as my guild DPS gets better and better geared I have already started to see the need to at least OT in a mix of bear and kitty gear in order to hold agro on a pack of mobs.

I am sure once I get T7.5 (I have still been passing to guildmates all this time) I will be gemming it fo avoidance/DPS and tanking in that except for the couple fights that demand high stamina and have mainly magic damage.