This is a continuation of my post at Big Hit Box about DPS glyphs, but this time focusing on tanking glyphs*. Choosing what glyphs to use as a tank is a little bit different than for a DPSer. Instead of going for straight min/maxing of DPS, where every % counts, tanks have to balance tank stats like avoidance and mitigation with DPS stats in order to stay on top of threat. Without further ado, I shall begin with Frost, as is starting to become/already is tradition here.
*This time posting the entire thing here and at Big Hit Box
Frost meatshielding (like what a fridge does for leftovers?)
There’s really only one mitigation-related glyph that’s specific to Frost, and that is the Glyph of Unbreakable Armor. Since UA is an excellent tanking cooldown for many situations (especially those where you’re taking a lot of relatively smaller hits, since UA absorbs a set amount of damage on all incoming damage), this is an excellent choice for Frost tanks. Also, Frost has such excellent single-target threat through the use of Obliterate, Frost Strike and Rune Strike that it’s not a problem to sacrifice a DPS-glyph slot for this one.
Glyph of Howling Blast is also a solid contender for Frost tanks. Where Frost DPSers can argue for the minor damage boost provided by the Obliterate glyph over taking the HB glyph, the convenience that this provides tanks is extremely helpful for any AoE tanking situation. This glyph basically does the same thing as the Disease glyph, but better; it does damage, gives more RP, and doesn’t require diseases to already be up on the target. Semi-questionable in Ulduar, where many AoE packs are untankable (like XT’s Scrap Bots and Freya’s Detonating Lashers), but a godsend for Naxx and Heroics. My guild also uses a lot of CC on Ulduar trash packs, so it’s not as helpful here. Depending on where you are in raiding and how your guild does things, mileage can vary.
The best threat glyph is probably Glyph of Frost Strike, since it’s Frost’s most damaging strike. Cutting the RP cost also allows you to use more Rune Strikes, another excellent source of threat. I prefer this over the Obliterate glyph because I think cutting an ability’s RP cost will have a more significant impact on your tanking than slightly upping the damage of another skill that usually does less damage.
If you decide not to use the HB glyph, then Glyph of Icy Touch is probably next in line. Rune Strike is probably the most-used tank ability, and a large chunk of crit for the ability will help your single-target threat.
Unholy is known for having somewhat weaker single-target threat than the other two specs, so depending on how comfortable you are with tanking bosses, your glyph choices may vary. Glyph of Rune Strike is one of the better options for increasing your single-target threat. Glyph of Scourge Strike is another, allowing you to forego weaker abilities like Icy Touch and Plague Strike for the heavier-hitting Scourge Strike.
Since Unholy tanks will almost always be taking Morbidity, as well as Impurity to further boost Death and Decay’s usefulness, the DnD glyph is a valid choice for Unholy tanks. Since you will start almost every pull with this, except in AoE situations (you can often drop DnD and pull the boss/mobs into it as your runes get close to refreshing), the glyph is a solid option.
The next glyph is pretty much mandatory due to how awesome Bone Shield is. That, my friends, is (surprise!) Glyph of Bone Shield. Buffing Unholy’s core defensive cooldown is awesome and 2 extra charges adds a not insignificant amount of uptime (which will scale with your avoidance as well).
Blood tanking glyphs follow pretty much the same logic as the other two trees: buff your defensive cooldown, your main nuke and Rune Strike. That means you want to use Glyph of Vampiric Blood, Glyph of Death Strike and Glyph of Rune Strike. There aren’t really any other solid choices for Blood because it typically uses the DRW glyph, which is completely useless for tanks, and the Dark Death glyph, which isn’t great because most Blood tank builds don’t take Sudden Doom (the talent that procs free Death Coils).
Glyphs you don’t want and why you don’t want them
Some glyphs seem like they’re pointed towards tanks, but haven’t been included in my list of what glyphs to take for each spec. These include the glyphs of AMS, Rune Tap, IBF and Dark Command. First, the AMS glyph: since AMS was nerfed to only absorb 50% of a DK’s health, extending its length is at cross purposes with the goal of using AMS, which is to absorb large spikes of damage (like Sarth’s Flame Breaths). If it lasts 2 seconds longer, it may simply end early due to having already absorbed the maximum amount of damage possible.
Rune Tap is usually fairly insignificant to a well-geared tank, and also takes up a lot of talent points to buff and make usable in the first place. Most tank builds don’t even take the talent, so the glyph is even less helpful.
The IBF glyph, which was previously bugged and added on to the amount of damage absorbed after its scaling with defense was calculated, now no longer boosts the skill’s absorption past 30%. It’s useless for tanks.
Glyph of Dark Command is simply not worth it due to the rarity of taunt misses (if your taunt doesn’t work, it was likely caused by one of 2 things: the boss was immune to taunt or suffered from taunt diminishing returns, which can make a boss immune if taunted too frequently).