What Shadowlands Tank Combinations are Popular in Mythic Castle Nathria?
Now that Mythic Castle Nathria has been out for over a month, we're looking at popular Tank combinations in Mythic Castle Nathria. We explain why these Tank combinations have been chosen on live servers and compare the live choices to our Tank predictions that were made before Castle Nathria opened and explain what changed.
Mythic Castle Nathria Tank Predictions
As a follow up to my previous article published prior to the release of this raid content
What Tank Should You Play in the Castle Nathria Raid?
There have been a few fundamental changes in what was written before the raid and what actually happened in the raid which will be discussed below.
As mentioned in my previous article several times,
it is important to still note that every tank class is perfectly capable at completing the raid on Mythic difficulty, and importantly the raid has been cleared with every tank on Mythic.
The focus is on the player being able to utilize the class and raid tools rather than any particular tank being “unplayable”.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Panthea. I'm a multi-tank player, one of the guidewriters for Blood Death Knight on Wowhead, author of
, a Useful Minion of
, Moderator in
Hammer of Wrath
, and finally the GM, main tank and raid leader of
What Changed from Initial Projections to Now?
To put it simply, the amount of damage enemies do from basic attacks increased from Beta to Live. This has a multitude of factors:
Lower amounts of damage reduction from gear upgrades in Shadowlands compared to BfA.
Lower effectiveness of armor from Shadowlands compared to BfA.
And finally the values of damage the enemies deal drastically increased from Shadowlands Beta to the raid launching.
To demonstrate this I’ve used some of my own testing data from Huntsman Mythic and compared it to the live encounter on a Blood Death Knight.
Huntsman Mythic - Shoot (Beta Test - 213 ilvl) This was also with the old version of Death’s Due which allowed the tank to have higher amounts of damage reduction.
Huntsman Mythic - Shoot (Live - 205 ilvl) This was on a Venthyr Blood Death Knight.
The main thing to note here is the Unmitigated damage as shown in the screenshots with U:XXXXX
All enemies have a 5% variance in the amount they can hit but we can see that the damage dealt from just auto attacks is roughly 1.44x higher from the Beta tests of these encounters. In Nyalotha we had the opposite scenario for reference purposes where the values on Beta were what actually came live and the expectations were that we were going to be taking more damage than we were.
How did this Impact each Tank?
The focus of damage intake shifted to auto attacks rather than special abilities which is a part that Protection Warrior handles really well. With the addition of the legendary effect
Protection Warriors were able to achieve high amounts of damage reduction both on themselves and other players via
. It was also seen as a prominent source of
too as DPS Warriors were not taken in as often as before due to limited melee DPS rosters and the dominance of Unholy Death Knight in those spaces. It is important to note that the DPS of Protection Warrior is significantly lower than other tanks.
As expected representation of Brewmaster Monk decreased (primarily due to teams not using double Brewmaster Monk) however teams also opted to use no Brewmaster Monks as Windwalker Monk turned out to be much more powerful than expected. This opened up tank diversity, but in the wrong way as Brewmaster Monk was suddenly not taken because
was handled by someone else rather than the spec itself being powerful.
Vengeance Demon Hunter
With the rise of the
Fiery Brand build
for Vengeance Demon Hunter the inherent weaknesses the spec had (downtime of
) was covered and Vengeance Demon Hunter finally has its time in the spotlight. No longer will it be seen as a weak tank option in the eyes of many. The representation was also further enhanced by Havoc remaining a relatively weak Melee DPS pick compared to other melee DPS options so someone needed to bring the
debuff. As with Brewmaster Monk tank diversity was opened but not in the best way.
Blood Death Knight
Going into the release of Castle Nathria it was speculated that Blood Death Knight was going to be a very strong pick. With manageable damage intake this meant that the spec could shine with the self sustain and also bring much needed utility of Grips +
. However, as we know all too well by now damage intake was increased this led to issues where the damage taken was at a potentially overwhelming level at lower item level meaning that more external cooldowns were required more than ever before. At much higher item levels this is no longer a weakness as the damage intake is becoming more manageable, however if history repeats itself it will likely start to shift representation of the spec down going forward. The changes that arrived this reset will help in the short term, however do not do much to move the needle with regards to tank preference for Castle Nathria and the issues of the spec still remain. Some more attention is needed to the spec as a whole long term.
The defensive strength of the tank is quite widely known by now and as expected this was utilised by more guilds than ever before, however the requirements for
saw the representation of this tank not as high as it should be.
With the increase to damage taken from Beta values this saw Protection Paladin in a precarious position where it should have been a strong contender but the increase in melee damage taken saw Protection Paladins being perceived as squishy tanks once more. When in the right hands Protection Paladin is a solid tank choice as external cooldowns can be used to shore up any defensive gaps, it has lots of utility for the encounters in Castle Nathria however as with Guardian Druid the requirements for
saw the representation of this tank not as high as it should be.
What Tank Combinations are Popular?
In the previous article I speculated that the representation of Vengeance Demon Hunter, Blood Death Knight, Guardian Druid and Protection Paladin would rise and Brewmaster Monk (primarily due to no more double monk) and Protection Warrior would fall.
With the changes that happened going into Castle Nathria how each of the tanks are viewed changed and thus other options rose to dominance.
Vengeance Demon Hunter + Protection Warrior / Vengeance Demon Hunter + Brewmaster Monk
These combinations were the most popular on early raid progression. The main reason for Demon Hunter as explained earlier was to do with needing the
debuff but not wanting to bring a Havoc Demon Hunter. Vengeance Demon Hunter was a strong defensive pick with the Fiery Brand build therefore it was taken. Some of the later bosses also highly favored mobility which is squarely in the toolkit of Vengeance Demon Hunter too (Council add kiting in Phase 3, Stone Legion Generals to negate high values of tank damage, Sire Dentharius to reach the side platforms in Phase 2).
The other tank option used was Protection Warrior or Brewmaster Monk.
Warrior was simply due to its strength against Physical damage which as highlighted earlier became of significant importance with the damage taken from auto attacks increasing significantly, as well as the power of
. There are also scenarios where you would not bring a DPS warrior to the raid group in favor of other melee DPS options and Protection Warrior will bring
for the raid.
Monk on the other hand I would speculate that it was simply taken due to comfort, not having a Windwalker Monk for
(or not having one planned in the roster), or not having an alternative tank prepared for early progression.
What Does this Mean for Future Raids?
What we saw this tier was the first of many tiers where if the
debuffs remain as they are, the choice of tank is largely dictated by the relative strength of Havoc Demon Hunter and Windwalker Monk/Mistweaver Monk.
From a melee DPS perspective, melee DPS raid spots are limited primarily due to encounter design remaining to be somewhat oppressive to melee DPS. You will often find room for 2-5 melee DPS in a Mythic raiding team as such diversity in rosters are limited too, you look at how many melee you can have and how many you can fit in.
With the debuff matrix as is and bring primarily given to melee classes you look to see how many melee DPS spots you have available, what brings the tools required for the encounter (raid cooldowns, burst DPS requirements, cleave DPS requirements), and then finally how is the fight for melee DPS? Can you afford to bring many (example: Sludgefist forces melee to move out of range often, so as a result ranged DPS are favored).
Along side these checks you need to consider
. Do these
to be bought by melee DPS? Do you have
available? Or even better can they be offloaded to the Tanks, DPS priorities are much more paramount than tanking priorities as long as you are not increasing healing requirements by bringing those tanks as then it would be a net loss for the raid. As such you have
three raid DPS increases
but very few slots to use.
In Castle Nathria, Havoc Demon Hunter was in a relatively weak position and Windwalker Monk was strong, combined with this Vengeance Demon Hunter was in a good position so it just makes sense to bring
on a Vengeance Demon Hunter. Should this remain the case in future raid tiers Vengeance Demon Hunter will be a staple tank much like how Brewmaster Monk was in BfA (as Windwalker Monk was not strong in that expansion for raiding).
From a Healer perspective, Mistweaver Monk does not really have much of an identity in the Damage Reduction world we live in. Encounters are designed primarily around large bursts of damage and Mistweaver Monk does not have any Damage Reduction to add to that equation. The throughput of Mistweaver Monk is often lower than Restoration Druid / Holy Priest so those are favored instead. This means that bringing a Mistweaver Monk for
is a last resort and is often pushed to the Tanks instead of the Healers.
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