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The main thing to watch out for when tanking as a paladin is that we have no taunt to snap aggro back if it’s lost. We can BoP a mage who’s just critted a bit too much, but that’s on a lengthy cooldown and doesn’t help if more than one person has stolen aggro. To help you get a good threat hold just ask your group to give you a few seconds, the same as they would to a warrior who asks for sunders before dps begins. Unless they’re a bunch of twits, they’ll understand why this is important. After that you have to hold aggro until the fight ends, which isn’t easy.
Threat as a paladin comes from two things: melee damage and spell damage. Each swing with your weapon does threat related to the white damage caused, simple. Most of our threat comes from holy though, particularly with Righteous Fury activated for +60% holy threat. We have the following to use throughout a fight to help generate threat:
Holy Shock (talent)
You’ll often hear that fast weapons are best for tanking. That’s from a warrior’s point of view, as faster weapons often generate more rage for them to use on instant strikes.As a paladin we don;t use rage, so that is not a factor for us. In contrast, weapon speed has one major result - which seal we use. If you use the warrior thinking then Seal of Crusader can seem best, as it makes your swings much faster. The problem with this is that it doesn’t add any extra holy damage to benefit from righteous fury. The two you’ll want to look at for generating threat are Righteousness and Command. SoR adds constant damage, every hit based purely on the speed of the weapon - a slower weapon gets more per hit than a faster one but it all averages out at the same added dps. Command on the other hand is proc based, with a chance per hit. While this means many hits will go without any extra damage, when it procs it does more than a SoR bonus and can crit while SoR does not. Which is most efficient comes down to how fast your weapon is. SoC has most damage potential, but if your weapon is fast it might rarely proc and the constant stream of SoR damage would be better. If the weapon you use is slow, SoC will proc more often and likely add more damage than SoR would making it the stronger choice. It’s a matter of preference for each individual but tanking with a Quel’serrar (2.00 speed) I use SoR, while when I used a mace with 2.70 speed I found SoC better. I guess the balancing point for me would be around 2.3-2.4, if it’s above that SoC is probably best and below SoR unless you feel lucky and want to go with SoC anyway. Another consideration with the seal is that on unstunned targets (most bosses immune to stun), JoR actually does more damage than SoC whereas if it’s a stunned mob you’d get more from JoC.
How often you judgerighteousness or command depends on how much mana you have, and how long you expect the fight to last. If it’s a short encounter you’ll likely keep throwing everything you have when cooldowns are up. If a long fight, you’ll try to conserve mana so you don’t run out. The same applies to consecration and holy shock. Consecration is one that is mana efficient on single targets, but against groups of mobs is the best ability a paladin has to aggro them all onto you - and does good damage for the mana cost when there are 3+ targets hit by it. The more mobs you can hit with consecration, the better it is. Holy shock is like a judgement… a burst of holy damage, but on a longer cooldown. The 20 yard range on this makes it a nice pulling tool for a holy paladin. A key tip for tanking is that if you’re on a boss where you need to make your mana last, judging wisdom when you pull will keep a steady supply of mana back to you as you swing. You just judge it once, then switch to SoR or JoC and judge those freely while JoW stays on. This can even keep you full of mana, especially if you’re not using consecration. If the fight has aoe damage and you have melee classes with you, you may want to judge Light instead so all gain a supply of health. If your mana is getting very low and the fight isn;t over, judging wisdom and then using seal of wisdom for a while will fill you up fairly fast. So here’s what I’ll usually do when tanking a boss:
Activate SoR (or SoC)
Holy Shock when I feel it’s needed
JoR (or JoC) when needed
With consecration used to aggro large groups of mobs onto me. When moving through mobs I like to leave holy shock and exorcism (if an undead zone) ready to try to snap aggro back if anyone pulls a mob off me. Apart from that there’s not a lot we can do… just get some aggro time before dps starts on a boss, try to keep your mana up and throw out that holy damage. Mana potions are useful if you get too low, and don;t forget your lay on hands.