Working with a tanking Paladin

[A few edits are added – bracketed italics like this – where I try to remove my foot from my mouth…]

Tankadins cause more swearing among healers I know than anyone else. While part of it is that tanking with a paladin is harder to learn – and so till they “get it” they’re not so good a tank as a warrior or bear – part of it is a miscomprehension of how to work with the tankadin effectively. So, let’s take a look.

Now, to start I’m going to give a basic overview of how a pally tanks. This isn’t detail – for that I’ll recommend either this article from WoW-Insider; this US forum post; or this EU forum post. Actually, all three give slightly different viewpoints (and the commonalities are extremely useful for non-tankadins). On we go…

As with all tank types, the pally tank does his job by generating lots of threat. While talents and skills can enhance the generated threat, it’s mainly created through actions.

Like all tanks, the tankadin generates threat through damaging foes. Nothing new, no modification of our behavior is needed.

The tankadin can also gain threat from being damaged in that he’s got talents that return damage to the attacker. In some respects a variation on the first method, it is still nothing that changes our behavior.

The tankadin can heal. Ahhhh, think about this again. The tankadin’s healing generates threat. Half the heals [Halved again due to innate talent – see below], divided by the number of mobs, applied to every mob. THIS requires thought. Because every heal you do for this tank is not just threat you’re building but it’s threat you’re pre-empting from the tank. Basically, you are DOUBLING your threat level when you heal a tankadin. BUT… the tank is doing a lot of things and so can’t stick to healing — if s/he does, that’s damage that’s not being done, which means less threat… Fortunately, I have a general recommendation you can use till you gain experience here.

Until the tankadin’s mana is below half, you are responsible for the bottom 2/3 of the tank’s health, and the tankadin is reponsible for the top third. Assume at level 70 your tank as about 12K health (buffed), that means the tankadin manages a 4K pool and you get the bottom 8K. [As Gwaendar graciously corrects me below, this is wildly wrong. While the pally’s healing will generate threat, I forgot about the innate halving of healing threat. And while I was at it, the consequences of trying to cast a spell while being beat upon. Most embarassing of all is the fact that some of these same points are in the guides I referenced. Gah. But then, that’s why I ask for comments and corrections. So I get better…]

Which means you spend less time and mana healing — it actually gives you a better use of the five second waltz. It also allows you to play more with the rest of your party.

Oh – in case your tankadin is fairly new to the job, you really, REALLY have to watch one thing. The paladin has a bubble, just like the priest. Except that while the bubble is up the paladin can’t attack. That’d be bad enough, but there’s worse. The bubble is also, essentially, fade. The idea of a tank tripping fade gives me nightmares. Be prepared. If the pally bubbled it’s a desperation instinct. Slap a big heal and a renew and then fade yourself and hope SOMEBODY else has high aggro. And… have a macro standing by. Something like:


~ by Kirk on August 22, 2007.

5 Responses to “Working with a tanking Paladin”

  1. “The tankadin can heal.(…) Until the tankadin’s mana is below half, you are responsible for the bottom 2/3 of the tank’s health, and the tankadin is reponsible for the top third.”

    Uuuh, no. Just no. What you describe is the FFXI paladin, not WoW.
    A tankadin won’t heal himself for the following reasons:
    1. Pallie heals have a native 50% aggro reduction, it’s the least efficient way to generate hate
    2. A level 70 cookie-cutter tankadin will have 0 points in holy, meaning his heals don’t benefit from the talent which gives 70% chance to resist interruption. Self-healing while tanking doesn’t work because even a Flash of Light takes ages to go off
    3. When casting non-instant spells, a pallie doesn’t block. When he doesn’t block, he is crittable, crushable and open to 15% more normal hits than when he’s blocking.
    4. Most of the threat the tankadin generates comes from Holy Shield, which assumes you’re actually blocking.

    Not only are you responsible for 100% of the pallie’s health pool, you will also to have to make sure that you overheal as little as possible. Getting healed will return a tankadin’s mana, unless it’s an overheal – in which case the whole effect is lost (not just the overheal portion).

    However, if you really are experiencing loss of aggro from a tankadin, he’s either new to the job or needs a little bit more +spell damage (+120 to +200 is enough even for raiding, I’m told) on his tanking gear. If there’s one thing tankadins are good at, it’s generating a ton of aggro very fast.

  2. FYI there are two Paladin bubbles, the self only FULL immunity one DOES allow the Paladin to attack at 50% of normal attack rate (Full speed with prot talents) AND it is possible for the Pally to keep the mob on him while bubbled for a short time using his taunt.

    I would normally ignore something like this but a TRULY talented paladin tank can use this technique macroed as a wonderful debuff remover, fear breaker, or as a slightly gimped last stand, giving you time to get off that clutch heal.

    Lastly, DO NOT fade until he has clicked OFF the bubble. Pally bubbles do not affect the aggro table by a set number or anything of the sort… they are just automatically at the bottom of the list until the bubble drops. They can also still generate aggro during the bubble. Your best bet is to fade right AFTER the bubble since they were most likey generating less threat while bubbled (due to the reactive nature of a lot of pally threat).

    One other thing to recommend for your tank if he hasn’t already, go to the forums at:

    and read up. there is no better pally tanking resource anywhere on the web.

  3. I’m a lvl 70 Protection Paladin. When i’m in a instance with a group there is one thing that i never do when tanking is to try and heal myself. Tanking Paladin do not try to attempt to heal them self when tanking. No do we attempt to bubble when tanking. If we ever do that it is absolutely dire if we ever do for very few reasons. I’ll likely fail on health from not been healed from the healer than pulling my bubble. You have to remember that there is a difference between been in a instance than soloing for a paladin where he will heal himself soloing. But tanking is a different thing. Its the healers responsibility for 100% of the tank health and that means a Paladin tank.

    Paladins can hold aggro and aggro on multiple mobs just fine. All you as a healer had to do is keep him healed. Healing allows a Paladin to recieve 10% of the healing back in mana to them. Paladin want to take damage because on healing its how they get a constant source of mana back. A paladin being healed also generate threat through Spiritual Attunment, its threat that goes on that paladin aggo list or adds to his aggro for even more threat. Paladin can take physical damage just fine as the more damage we take the more threat we generate on the mob in reflected damage and with Holy Shield.

    The difference is though is that people needs to know how to work with the different tanks, warriors, paladins, druids. Each works differently and as such a group needs to work as such differently with the tank.

  4. I’m also a lvl 70 tankadin. I fully agree with Gaoheart here above me. We pallies have the ability to create aggro in a wide area around us (consecration), and in my case I seldom loose that aggro, that means no one of my party members get attacked, no one else needs healing but me so the healer only needs to focus on me. I really don’t see how that should be a problem for a healer. In some cases, where u have alot of adds or spawn, maybe one or two of theese slips by my AoE, but that really is no problem (or shouldnæt be). In my opinion priests are the worst healers for a paladin. Because they way to often bubbbles me. That means I’m not getting hit (aggro building from auras/blessing and buffs), not creating aggro/threat and not getting healed (meaning my mana pools is getting emptied fast. Ever heard the expression “blue rage” bar? No mana, no threat building). Luckely we nowget a 2% base mana return for each block when we have blessing of sanctuary up. But if we are bubbled…. The healers I like best in a group is Pallies, druids, shammies and then priests.

  5. I have my prot pally to 74, and I love any healer that comes, I have run with some great priest healz and Druids. and a priest healz that runs with a pally tank alot just never uses there bubble on the tank, as such the only time I have ever thrown my own bubble while tanking is when the party wipes, I use it to get out to come back and rez. If the pally tank knows what they are about then they should be the only target that needs healing 90% of the time. there are the adds, and the DK that pull a target out of our threat. or the hunter that is good at trapping, but his pet helps him there.

    I on the other hand am learning how to play a preist healer. Our guild has a serious lack of healing and heavy on the tanks.

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