Tanking with a Pet
Here I want to discuss more general tanking ideas and concepts, and how a hunter’s pet fits into the tanking world. Tanking is very different from dps, so it’s going to take some getting used to. The goal is to become a hybrid spec that does dps and tanking at the same time, and most likely on different targets! All classes love doing damage through tanking, or while tanking, but we are different. We can tank and dps.


Table of Contents
The Draw
Pet Choice
Defensive Buffs
Pre Raid Gear


So what are realistic expectations when it comes to the extent of the pet’s ability to tank? While we will not truly know the exact limits of their abilities until we actually experience level 80 endgame (and not just in beta), it can be safely said that our pets will never be able to perform as well as a tanking class. Main tanking 5-mans with proper Hunter/pet spec and gear/enchancement will be possible for most content. I believe pets will be able to off tank most raid content.


last-standThe Draw
Ok, so a pet CAN tank, but not as well as a tanking class designated as an off-tank, so WHY bring them along when someone else can do it better? Good question.


-The hunter can still dps while the pet tanks
While the pet is tankng, a skilled hunter can still dps. also when tanking is not needed, the hunter can still dps competitively.
-The hunter can dps a different target that the pets target
The hunter can split his tanking and dps onto any targets desired, providing more flexibility than a player tank.
-The pet can assist a tank by taking some of the damage
When tanking is not needed, the pet can use Roar of Sacrifice to split some of the damage the tank is taking, helping the tank to survive a big hit, to help out if the tank is low, or to give the healers more time if they are silenced.
-The pet can be rezzed in battle as many times as desired
The hunter can ressurect the pet as many times as needed with little downside. This allows the pet to be sacrificed if needed, where sacrificing a player would use up valuable cooldowns. Basically you’ve got infinite battle ressurections for your pet tank.
-Pets are immune to some of the attacks that effect players
Because players are not in direct control of their pets, pets are often immune to certian boss and mob abilities that would be unreasonably difficult to avoid. This can give a pet the edge in specific encounters.
-The pet can be used an alternate form of cc
Sometimes mobs simply can’t be cc’ed, but it would be a boon if they could. In steps the tenacity pet! Furthermore, a tenacity pet’s target can still be attacked without fear of breaking the cc. Apply dots, or open up with an AOE attack without fear!


rhinoPet Choice
There are many roles a tenacity pet may fill after you have tamed them. While the difference between each family comes down to only one special move, it can make a big difference. I think of the roles a tenacity pet can fill as being divided into Main Tanking, Off Tanking, Leveling, and Group Buffing. Let’s look at each role and which pets excel at each.


Main Tanking
In my mind, Main Tanking is when you are taking the damage for a group, topping the threat meter, and positioning and orchestrating the fight. One or more tanks may share these tasks. Some people will call a secondary tank an ‘off tank’, but for the purposes of this site we will not use this label. Your pet may not be taking the lead in an instance, but if threat is an issue than I would catagorize that as ‘main tanking’.
-For this purpose, the gorilla has really proven to be the best pet. It’s extra threat generation is unrivaled even against a single target, and its aoe move helps alleviate targeting and positioning difficulties. Of course, many believe the gorilla will see nerfs until it is in line with the other pet’s capabilities, so I’ll keep you posted.


Off Tanking
As stated in the Main Tanking section, this roll is not what some people might label it. I am not talking about a secondary main tank role. This role involves taking a trash mob or two, or a lieutenant level boss mob, and holding it in place until the raid is ready to attack it. Threat is not an issue here, and survivability takes the main stage. You could think of it as universally applicable cc. Also, an off tanking pet will also split damage with the main tank during critical points via Roar of Sacrifice. The hunter will also be more focused on dps.
-Unlike the main tanking role, I believe all tenacity pets will be able to adequately handle this role. However, the turtle is clearly the best choice. Shell Shield will greatly reduce or even eliminate the need for attention from the healers, keep you pet up when things get tough or chaotic, and double the amount of damage your pet can survive during a Roar of Sacrifice. With the focus being on survivability and not on threat, the turtle has the best defensive move.


The leveling role seems pretty obvious, and it includes world questing, grinding, some intances, and fun. Yes thats right, a leveling pet should be fun. Especially when playing on an alt, having a fun pet encourages you to level faster, and having a boring pet can turn the leveling process into work. So get whatever pet you want! You can always min/max at the level cap, and all the tenacity pets are going to make for a great leveling experience. Their increased threat will allow you to maximize your dps, their survivability will reduce downtime due to pet or player death, and their ability to tank in general will bring difficult quests within reach.


Group Buffing
This role is pretty straightforward. You are grouped up, filling one of the other roles, and you want to bring a buff to your raid/group. Really, your only tenacity pet choice is the Worm. Its armor pen is a great buff for your group, and while it doesn’t stack with other buffs, It can be applied to a mob you are off tanking, so that the mob is already fully debuffed when the group is ready to kill it.


Defensive Buffs
I have compiled a list of the buffs that benefit the pet for tanking. While buffs that increase damage increase do also increase threat, players are used to dolling out these buffs, so I limited the list to defensive buffs, which players will not be used to giving your pet. This list will help you identify those buffs that will help your pet defensively, and identify which classes you should seek out when forming a group. I have not included abilities that classes might have that will assist you, but only buffs, in the proper sense of the word. If I’ve missed anything feel free to let me know.


Death Knight

Horn of Winter
(Blood) Blood Aura


Mark of the Wild


Amplify Magic
Dampen Magic


(Party/group only) Devotion Aura
(Protection) Blessing of Kings
(Protection) Blessing of Sanctuary


Power Word: Fortitude



Strength of Earth (Now with Agi)
Stoneskin Totem


(Imp) Blood Pact


Commanding Shout


Your pets benefit from your hit chance, stamina, resistances, armor, and attack power, in descending order. Hit chance and attack power will buff your pet’s damage, and therefore threat, while stamina, resistances, and armor will boost survivability. Mix and match the enhancements to your gear based on your greater need, more threat or more survivability. Or collect two sets of gear, enchanting one for threat and one for survivability and mix the gear as needed.


For each slot, I have included a few options which I believe to be good choices respectively. I have also included the alternatives to more expensive choices.


Head   Arcanum of Torment 50 AP, 20 CR
Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector 37 Stam, 20 DR
Falcon’s Call 24 AP, 10 Stam, 10 HR
Neck   None
Shoulders   Greater Inscription of the Axe 40 AP, 15 CR
Lesser Inscription of the Axe 30 AP, 10 CR
Greater Inscription of Vengeance 30 AP, 10 CR
Heavy Borean Armor Kit 18 Stam
Fortitude of the Scourge 16 Stam, 100 Armor
Back   Scroll of Enchant Cloak – Major Agility 22 Agi
Scroll of Enchant Cloak – Mighty Armor 225 Armor
Chest   Heavy Borean Armor Kit 18 Stam
Enchant Chest – Powerful Stats 10 All Stats
Bracers   Fur Lining – Stamina 90 Stam (Leatherworking Only)
Scroll of Enchant Bracer – Fortitude 12 Stam
Fur Lining – Attack Power 114 AP (Leatherworking Only)
Enchant Bracers – Greater Assault 50 AP
Gloves   Heavy Borean Armor Kit 18 Stam
Scroll of Enchant Gloves – Crusher 44 AP
Scroll of Enchant Gloves – Precision 20 HR
Belt   Eternal Belt Buckle 1 Gem Slot
Legs   Frosthide Leg Armor 55 Stam, 22 Agi
Jormungar Leg Armor 45 Stam, 15 Agi
Icescale Leg Armor 75 AP, 22 CR
Nerubian Leg Armor 55 AP, 15 CR
Heavy Borean Armor Kit 18 Stam
Boots   Scroll of Enchant Boots – Greater Fortitude 22 Stam
Heavy Borean Armor Kit 18 Stam
Enchant Boots – Greater Assault 32 AP
Melee Weapon   (2H) Enchant Weapon – Massacre 110 AP
(2H) Scroll of Enchant Weapon – Greater Savagery 85 AP
Enchant Weapon – Superior Potency 65 AP
Enchant Weapon – Accuracy 25 HR, 25 CR
Ranged Weapon   Biznicks 247×128 Accurascope 30 HR
Heartseeker Scope 40 CR
Ring   Enchant Ring – Stamina 24 Stam (Enchanting Only)
Enchant Ring – Assault 32 AP (Enchanting Only)



I have not included Resistances in this section, as these will be included in their own section.


dragons-eye1Gem Choice
For threat, Hit Rating boosts your pet’s hit rate and therefore helps the pet generate more threat. It also scales to your pet 100%, making it a great choice until you are hit capped. Attack Power scales to your pet by 22% and also increases the pet’s damage and therefore threat.


For survivability, all you get is stamina. Your pet receives about 63% of your stamina if you have all the stamina talents, so the return is pretty decent for the investment. You will slash your dps by choosing stamina gems over Agility, Crit, AP, etc. This is why my master is collecting two sets of gear, so he can mix and match to meet our need in the moment. One will be enchanted/gemmed for dps, the other for tanking.


Here is a list of Northrend gems with AP, Hit, and Stam. To be flexible, I have included some gems with Agi and Crit Rating, as you can’t always get the gem you want when you want it. Agility gives AP, and increases your dps, and Crit Rating will increase your pet’s available focus, so they still do give you some benefit.


Red   Bright Cardinal Ruby 40 AP*
Bright Scarlet Ruby 32 AP
Perfect Bright Bloodstone 28 AP
Bright Bloodstone 24 AP
Blue   Solid Majestic Zircon 30 Stam*
Solid Sky Sapphire 24 Stam
Perfect Solid Chalcedony 21 Stam
Solid Chalcedony 18 Stam
Yellow   Rigid King’s Amber 20 HR*
Rigid Autumn’s Glow 16 HR
Perfect Rigid Sun Crystal 14 HR
Rigid Sun Crystal 12 HR
Purple   Balanced Dreadstone 20 AP, 15 Stam*
Shifting Dreadstone 10 Agi, 15 Stam*
Balanced Twilight Opal 16 AP, 12 Stam
Shifting Twilight Opal 8 Agi, 12 Stam*
Perfect Balanced Shadow Crystal 14 AP, 11 Stam
Perfect Shifting Shadow Crystal 7 Agi, 11 Stam
Balanced Shadow Crystal 12 AP, 9 Stam
Shifting Shadow Crystal 6 Agi, 9 Stam
Green   Vivid Eye of Zul 10 HR, 15 Stam*
Jagged Eye of Zul 10 CR, 15 Stam*
Vivid Forest Emerald 8 HR, 12 Stam
Jagged Forest Emerald 8 CR, 12 Stam
Perfect Vivid Dark Jade 7 HR, 11 Stam
Perfect Jagged Dark Jade 7 CR, 11 Stam
Vivid Dark Jade 6 HR, 9 Stam
Jagged Dark Jade6 CR, 9 Stam
Orange   Pristine Flawless Ametrine 20 AP, 10 HR*
Wicked Flawless Ametrine 20 AP, 10 CR*
Glinting Flawless Ametrine 10 Agi, 10 HR*
Pristine Monarch Topaz 16 AP, 8 HR
Wicked Monarch Topaz 16 AP, 8 CR
Glinting Monarch Topaz 8 Agi, 8 HR
Perfect Pristine Huge Citrine 14 AP, 7 HR
Perfect Wicked Huge Citrine 14 AP, 7 CR
Perfect Glinting Huge Citrine 7 Agi, 7 HR
Pristine Huge Citrine 12 AP, 6 HR
Wicked Huge Citrine 12 AP, 6 CR
Glinting Huge Citrine 6 Agi, 6 HR
Meta   Austere Earthsiege Diamond 32 Stam, %2 Increased armor value from items.
Effulgent Skyflare Diamond 32 Stam, Reduce spell damage taken by 2%
Powerful Earthsiege Diamond 32 Stam, Stun duration reduced by 10%
Powerful Earthshatter Diamond 26 Stam, Stun duration reduced by 10%
Invigorating Earthsiege Diamond 42 AP, 50% chance on crit to be healed for 2% of your health
Persistant Earthsiege Diamond 42 AP, Stun duration reduced by 10%
Persistant Earthshatter Diamond 34 AP, Stun duration reduced by 10%
Prismatic     Bright Dragon’s Eye 54 AP* (Jewelcrafting only)
Rigid Dragon’s Eye 27 HR* (Jewelcrafting only)
Solid Dragon’s Eye 41 Stam* (Jewelcrafting only)


glyphglyph-interfaceGlyph Choice
There are several glyphs that will be beneficial to pet tanking, some more than others. If you are looking to devote all your glyph slots to pet tanking, then you won’t have to make any hard choices. Here I’ve listed the glyphs that you might consider, with some comments on their usefulness, or lack thereof.


Glyph of Aspect of the Beast – If you use aspect of the beast often, you may want to use this glyph. The extra attack power will boost your pet’s threat, although the amount won’t be too noticeable.


Glyph of Bestial Wrath – If you feel you need more pet threat, this glyph is a better choice than the last glyph. Combined with the Longevity talent, this makes Bestial Wrath available once or even twice on every pull, and more often during boss fights. On top of the added threat from increased damage, the CC immunity of Bestial Wrath prevents your pet from getting shutdown by otherwise debilitating CC effects.


Glyph of Deterrence – If you find yourself getting aggro alot, you might be considering this glyph. I would suggest that the cooldown will not be significantly reduced. If you are in need of Deterrence often, I would look to improving technique over taking this glyph.


Glyph of Feign Death – Feign Death is a great tool to control your own threat in relation to your pet’s. It can be useful when trying a tricky pull, when you want to open up dps, or when the group is going down. Having it up again quick can be very useful.


Glyph of Freezing Trap – Using CC on top of tanking takes extra focus, but can really help a fight go alot smoother, especially if your group is light on the CC. Since the talents to improve Freezing Trap are out of reach for the hunter build suggested here, this can be a great way to make trapping a little smoother.


Glyph of Mend Pet – Just thinking about this glyph gives me warm, fuzzy feelings. If your pet dies, you can spam mend pet to raise its happiness level instantly, which is great if you don’t have growl (Guard Dog) on, and is a good supplement if you do. Its useful, but optional. If you don’t have Guard Dog, it becomes more valuable.


Glyph of Possessed Strength – This glyph speaks for itself. When using Eyes of the Beast, you lose the ablility to control your hunter. This extra damage can help make up for some of that. It also helps if you are using EotB to make the initial pull, since you won’t be able to misdirect right away.


Glyph of Revive Pet – This glyph is very beneficial to pet tanking. If your pet goes down and you are second on threat, you can take hits while you revive your pet, and then once its healed, use Taunt to get the pet’s threat back up to the top of the list. Repeat as many times as cooldowns will allow.


Glyph of Volley – Aoe grinding isn’t instance tanking, but it’s still tanking. Use this glyph to reduce mana cost and down time if needed. You may not find that you need the extra mana.


Remember, at 80 you have 3 major glyphs and 3 minor glyphs


chestPre Raid Gear List
We will look at mail only, focusing on Hit Rating, Stamina, and Attack Power. It will be limited to pre raid content, and will not include resistance or pvp gear, as they will receive their own treatment. I have categorized the best choice or choices for each method of obtaining gear, and I have included a wowhead item comparison link which includes all the gear for that slot. I have also included T5 into the list for weighing the benefits of the set bonus.

BOE – Helm of the Broken Ram
Dungeon – King Dred’s Helm, Plunderer’s Helm, Headgaurd of Westrift
Crafted – Swiftarrow Helm, Truesight Ice Blinders
Reputation – Toothslice Helm
Badge – N/A
Quest – Helmet of Just Retribution
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Helms

BOE – Draconic Choker of Ferocity
Dungeon – Necklace of Arcane Spheres
Crafted – Jade Dagger Pendant, Titanium Impact Choker
Reputation – N/A
Badge – Pendant of the Outcast Hero
Quest – Severed Noose of Westwind, Choker of the Betrayer
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Amulets

BOE – Nixod’s Chain-Threshed Spaulders
Dungeon – Massive Spaulders of the Jormungar, Spaulders of the Abomination
Crafted – Virulent Spaulders
Reputation – Spaulders of the Black Arrow
Badge – N/A
Quest – Spaulders of Lost Secrets
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Spaulders

BOE – Cloak of the Agile Mind
Dungeon – Cloak of the Gushing Wound
Crafted – Ice Striker’s Cloak
Reputation – Cloak of Holy Extermination
Badge – Hammerhead Sharkskin Cloak
Quest – Bloodbane Cloak, Shroud of Fluid Strokes
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Cloaks

chest Chest
BOE – Condor Bone Chestguard
Dungeon – Aviary Guardsman’s Hauberk, Hauberk of Arcane Wraith
Crafted – Razorstrike Breastplate
Reputation – Cuttlefish Scale Breastplate, Polished Regimental Hauberk
Badge – N/A
Quest – Gilded Ringmail Hauberk, Lightningbringer’s Hauberk
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Chestguards

BOE – Bracers of Accurate Fire
Dungeon – Raging Construct Bands, Interwoven Scale Bracers
Crafted – Eaglebane Bracers, Giantmaim Bracers
Reputation – N/A
Badge – N/A
Quest – Iskalder’s Fate
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Bracers

Dungeon – Grips of the Beast God, Gauntlets of the Plundering Geist
Crafted – Swiftarrow Gauntlets
Reputation – N/A
Badge – N/A
Quest – Grips of Chronological Events
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Gauntlets

BOE – Girdle of Unerring Flight
Dungeon – Belt of Tasseled Lanterns, Sovereign’s Belt
Crafted – Swiftarrow Belt
Reputation – Giant Ring Belt
Badge – Vereesa’s Silver Chain Belt
Quest – Ranger’s Belt of the Fallen Empire
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Belts

Dungeon – Hollowed Mandible Legplates, Leggings of the Stone Halls
Crafted – Dark Frostscale Leggings, Giantmaim Legguards
Reputation – N/A
Badge – N/A
Quest – Jormungar Hide Legguards
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Leggings

BOE – Boots of the Terrestrial Guardian
Dungeon – Dragon Slayer’s Sabatons
Crafted – Dragonstompers
Reputation – Boots of Twinkling Stars
Badge – N/A
Quest – Husk Shard Sabatons
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Boots

BOE – Stained Glass Shard Ring, Signet of Edward the Odd
Dungeon – Mobius Band, Prospector’s Prize
Crafted – Savage Titanium Ring, Titanium Impact Band
Reputation – N/A
Badge – N/A
Purchasable – Band of the Kirin Tor
Quest – Frog Toe Band, Jagged Ice Band, Signet of Bridenbrad, Kurzel’s Rage
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Rings

Pocket? (Trinket)
Dungeon – Essence of Gossamer, Sphere of Red Dragon’s Blood
Crafted – Boar or Ruby Figurine (JC only)
Reputation – N/A
Badge – N/A
Quest – Fezzik’s Pocketwatch, Fury of the Encroaching Storm
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Trinkets

meleeMelee Weapon
Dungeon – The Interrogator x 2
Crafted – Savage Cobalt Slicer x 2
Reputation – Whale-Stick Harpoon
Badge – N/A
Quest – Icier Barbed Spear
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Melee Weapons

rangedRanged Weapon
Dungeon – Drakkari Hunting Bow, Titanium Compound Bow
Crafted – N/A
Reputation – Sawed off Hand Cannon / Sin’dorei Recurve Bow
Badge – N/A
Quest – Polished Zombie Exterminator, Dragon Slayer’s Shortbow
Wowhead Item Comparison Tool – All Ranged Weapons

Last Updated December 15, 2008


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