In our previous installment, I showed you a list of all of the notable Paladin tank gear available in dungeons, and via dungeon quests in roughly the first half of your journey from 80-85 — namely, the Blackrock Caverns, Stonecore, and Vortex Pinnacle instances. (There may possibly be some gear pieces available in Throne of the Tides as well, but as of the time of that post’s writing, Wowhead’s database listed no such items.) In this post, I intend to finish what I started, and list the items available from the latter half of the normal mode dungeons, mostly in the 84-85 region. Let’s get to the topic at hand!
[Umbriss Band] – Finger, ilvl 333, Grim Batol
From the first boss of Grim Batol, General Umbriss, comes this nice ring. The hefty chunk of Mastery is the standout stat on this ring.
[Throngus’s Finger] – Trinket, ilvl 333, Grim Batol
All avoidance, all the time, with static Parry and a proc that triggers on a successful parry. With Parry being a significantly better avoidance stat in Cataclysm, this one isn’t too shabby. This drops from (rather obviously) Forgemaster Throngus in Grim Batol.
[Mace of Transformed Bone] – Mace, ilvl 333, Grim Batol
Another solid tanking weapon, if you haven’t had luck finding any others.
[Earthshape Pauldrons] – Shoulder, ilvl 333, Grim Batol
These shoulders carry a nice bit of Mastery, along with Dodge. Dropped by the second boss of Grim Batol, Drahga Shadowburner.
[Shroud of Dark Memories] – Back, ilvl 333, Grim Batol (BoE)
This nice cloak is a BoE zone drop in Grim Batol. Sports both avoidance (Dodge) and threat (Expertise).
[Breastplate of the Witness] – Chest, ilvl 333, Grim Batol (Quest)
This chestpiece is a reward from the quest Closing a Dark Chapter, obtainable inside the instance from Baleflame. The quest asks you to kill the final boss of Grim Batol.
[Sand Dune Belt] – Waist, ilvl 333, Lost City of the Tol’vir
Quite a nice amount of Expertise — our best threat stat — without sacrificing avoidance or Stamina. Quite well-rounded.
[Ring of Three Lights] – Finger, ilvl 333, Lost City of the Tol’vir
Another ring with Mastery on it. Would be easily paired with the Umbriss Band if you’re trying to maximize your block chance.
[Impetuous Query] – Trinket, ilvl 333, Lost City of the Tol’vir (BoE)
Lost City’s BoE tanking item is this interesting trinket, with a large pile of Mastery, and a Parry use effect with a 1-minute cooldown. Lots to love about this trinket.
[Sun Strike] – Sword, ilvl 333, Halls of Origination
Another pretty standard tanking weapon — good 2.60 speed, Hit, and Mastery. Not much to say here, but certainly a solid weapon. Mastery is always good to have.
[Darkhowl Amulet] – Neck, ilvl 333, Halls of Origination
An avoidance-heavy necklace, but with a little bit of Expertise to supplement it.
[Helm of Setesh] – Head, ilvl 333, Halls of Origination
This is an excellent helm. Sporting a meta socket, dodge, and expertise. Drop a purple gem into the red gem socket to pick up the beautiful +45 Stamina socket bonus.
[Fingers of Light] – Hands, ilvl 333, Halls of Origination
More mastery! These gloves sport Parry rating and high Stamina as well, making them attractive to plate tanks of all types.
[Bulwark of the Primordial Mound] – Shield, ilvl 333, Halls of Origination
As shields seem to be few and far between in terms of dungeon rewards (world quest rewards notwithstanding), this may be something to watch out for. This shield appears to be obtainable from both Ammunae and Earthrager Ptah in Halls of Origination.
[Armguards of Unearthly Light] – Wrist, ilvl 333, Halls of Origination
The most notable stat here is probably the Hit rating — useful to hang onto if you later find yourself short of the hit cap.
[Ramkahen Front Boots] – Feet, ilvl 333, Halls of Origination (Quest)
These boots are obtained from the quest The Source of Their Power, which, like the Vortex Pinnacle dungeon quests, are offered inside the instance entrance, so they’re impossible to miss. Clear Halls of Origination once to claim these boots as your own.
[Alpha Bracers] – Wrist, ilvl 333, Halls of Origination
What’s that? Two sets of bracers from the same instance? Well, these ones aren’t specifically tank bracers — you won’t find any Dodge or Parry here, for example. What you will find is Hit and Mastery, both very solid Tankadin stats as far as we’re concerned. Drop a Mastery(/Stamina) gem in the yellow socket to make this an ideal high-Mastery piece.
[Temple Band] – Finger, ilvl 333, Halls of Origination (BoE)
A BoE drop from Halls of Origination. With a good amount of Stamina, Dodge, and Mastery, this is a very well-balanced survivability ring. Keep an eye out for it on the auction house if you don’t get lucky with drops.
Sometime soon, I’ll finish up this series with a list of pre-raiding gear, including notable heroic drops, reputation rewards, and crafted gear, to help get you ready for level 85 raiding. Until then!
So, say you’re like me, and you want to take a balanced approach to your progression from level 80 to 85. You’d like to level as Prot, solo quest a bit, run some dungeons here and there, perhaps do a little bit of crafting, and otherwise experience all there is to experience as you go along. In your travels, you’re likely to come across a large handful of gear upgrades from quests rather naturally, but do you know all the dungeon loot tables? What about those dungeon quests that you always seem to only learn about after you’ve already completed the dungeon? I’ve constructed a list of many of the standout tank pieces that you can expect to obtain from either dungeon quests or dungeon drops in roughly the first half or so of your journey to level 85, so you can identify the “key” pieces that you may want to be certain not to miss during your adventures.
Keep in mind that while all of these items can be obtained by level 82, I can’t guarantee that they’ll be easy to obtain, especially the Vortex Pinnacle loot. You may need to level a bit more for some of these if your group is having trouble surviving the dungeons.
[Raz’s Breastplate] – Chest, ilvl 279, Blackrock Caverns
This nice-quality chestpiece comes from “Ascendant Lord Incendius,” a quest to kill the final boss of the new Blackrock Caverns instance, a level 80-82 dungeon. Wowhead doesn’t yet seem to indicate where this quest begins, but that information should be added as we get closer to release and their database becomes more complete. By doing one run through this dungeon, you are guaranteed a nice 279-level chestpiece, which should do you quite well until you pick up something better a few levels later.
[Shield of the Iron Maiden] – Shield, ilvl 279, Blackrock Caverns
This shield is a drop from Rom’ogg Bonecrusher, the first boss of Blackrock Caverns. While likely not a huge upgrade for anyone coming from Wrath (especially with the 270 PvP shield being only 70 honor points), it’s a solid piece regardless. Mastery rating is always nice to have, too.
[Beauty’s Plate] – Chest, ilvl 279, Blackrock Caverns
While the previously-mentioned Raz’s Breastplate is guaranteed for you upon a successful Blackrock Caverns clear, an alternative exists in Beauty’s Plate, a drop from Beauty (duh) in the same dungeon. This one has heaps of Parry and Mastery on it, which makes this a very solid survivability piece.
[Stalagmite Dragon] – Relic, ilvl 316, Stonecore
This relic is a drop from the boss Slabhide in Stonecore, the dungeon within Deepholm. Seeing as relics are relatively few and far between, tanking relics especially, this may be one that you don’t want to miss.
[Phosphorescent Ring] – Finger, ilvl 316, Stonecore
This ring also comes from Stonecore, this time from the boss Corborus. With a load of Stamina, Parry, and Expertise on it, this looks to have a good balance between survivability and threat stats.
[Magnetite Mirror] – Trinket, ilvl 316, Stonecore
This thing sports a whopping 215 Expertise rating, and will quite likely be a very solid threat trinket. The Strength Use effect won’t do too much for us as Strength isn’t as good as it used to be, but it’ll still up our threat by a not-insignificant amount. You may have to fight with your melee DPS over this one, though.
[Leaden Despair] – Trinket, ilvl 316, Stonecore
This is another one of those really nice survivability trinkets in the vein of the Commendation of Kael’thas or The Black Heart, with loads of Stamina and an automatic survivability proc that gives you a boost of armor when you need it. Definitely will be one worth picking up.
[Elementium Fang] – Sword, ilvl 316, Stonecore
I love the model for this thing. Great stats (avoidance and Mastery) in addition to a nice 2.60 speed make this a definite candidate for a solid tanking weapon. Between this and the above items, I can see myself running Stonecore several times to try to pick up all of the great drops that seem to come from there.
[Darksky Treads] – Feet, ilvl 316, Vortex Pinnacle (BoE)
On the down side, these are Bind on Equip, so you may have angry group members that want an equal shot at these so they can sell them. On the up side, these are Bind on Equip. Even if you can’t get them as a drop, you can plan on buying these on the Auction House if you so choose.
[Headcover of Fog] – Head, ilvl 316, Vortex Pinnacle
This helm is a drop from Grand Vizier Ertan, a boss in Vortex Pinnacle. It’s got quite a load of Hit on it, but seeing how a lot of our other pieces from this gear level don’t seem to have much Hit on them, it may be very nice to have. Lots of Parry and Stamina round out this piece.
[Band of the Dead End] – Finger, ilvl 316, Vortex Pinnacle
This ring comes from a quest to kill one of the bosses of Vortex Pinnacle, Grand Vizier Ertan. Luckily, the quest is issued right inside the instance entrance (think Utgarde Keep), so it’s all but impossible to miss this one.
[Greaves of Orsis] – Legs, ilvl 316, Vortex Pinnacle
These legplates come from a quest to kill the final boss of Vortex Pinnacle, Asaad. Just as with the above ring, you obtain this quest inside the instance entrance, so you should have no problem finding this one.
Check back later for a follow-up article!