Your CAPtains: Crit, Block, Hit and Expertise

10-7-2009: I wrote the original article almost a year ago, and it was in sore need of an update. I've now edited this post to bring it up to date.

Uncrittable Cap

The first and most important cap you want to reach in your gear is being uncrittable, which comes from Defense. At level 80 you need 540 Defense which equals out to about 689 Defense Rating. To quote Neo, "Whoah". It's a metric ton of defense needed. It is something you will need to actively work towards in your gear, but it is completely attainable with crafted items and rep rewards.

Edit 11/21: Petrus of Gorgonnash has put together a tidy list of gear that will get you to the Crit cap without relying on a single dungeon drop. You can see his list here: Well done, sir!

Block Cap

After you are Uncrittable, you should start working towards the The Block Cap. This may be a new concept for Paladin tanks, but it really isn't. The Block Cap is what used to be known as Uncrushable, i.e. a combined Miss, Parry, Dodge, and Block of 102.4%. Once you reach that point, any additional Block Rating falls off the table. You are 'capped' on the amount of Block you can have. It should be noted that since Holy Shield was changed to have its duration be longer than it's cooldown, it is now safe to assume 100% uptime on Holy Shield when calculating your Block Cap. Holy Shield is 30% chance to block.

Being at the Block Cap is very helpful because it means that every unavoided attack from the Boss will be a Block. Paladins are the only class now that can stay Block Capped 100% of the time. Each Block takes off damage equal to your Block Value. If the Boss hits for 20,000 and you have 2000 Block Value (not unreasonable), you effectively shave off 10% of the damage each and every hit. That can add up to a huge amount of damage reduction over the course of the fight.

It also provides Paladins with a predictable damage intake, and makes life easier for your healers.

The Block Cap is especially effective for tanking adds on Anub’arak.

So you can't be Crit, and every incoming attack is a Block at the worse case, what's next?

Hit Cap

Paladins are much like Warriors and we want Hit on our tanking gear. Math has shown that Hit is either the 2nd or 3rd best stat to increase threat depending on how much Strength you have.

Hit is what is checked to see if your Taunt resists. While your melee swings need 8% hit to connect, taunts are checked against spell hit, and require 17%. There is basically no reasonable set of gear that will get you to 17%, sorry.

The Glyph of Righteous Defense should help to eliminate most HoR and RD resists, and I suggest you take it. Paladins do have two taunts, Hand of Reckoning and Righteous Defense. The chance that both miss is small, however, it can still happen.

You need 8% to hit to be Hit capped. That translates to 263 Hit rating at level 80. If you can wrangle one of our Draenai friends into your group, you will need only 7% hit, or 230 rating.

You can't miss, but the boss can still Dodge and Parry you.

Enter Expertise.

Expertise Cap

Expertise is what stops the Boss from Dodging and Parrying. At 0 expertise, the boss has a 6.5% chance of dodging you, and a 14% chance to parry you.

Each point of expertise reduces the chance the boss will dodge you by 0.25% as well as the chance he'll parry you by 0.25%. Each point of expertise after 26 is half as effective as it was below 26, because the boss already has a 0% chance to dodge. Thus, expertise gets weaker above the dodge soft cap. It's entirely useless above the parry cap of 56, but this is rarely achieved in practice anyway.

Expertise affect Hammer of the Righteous and is in fact the only way to get rid of the occasional ‘Deflect’ message, which most theorycrafters seem to think is a parry of a ranged attack.

Expertise has also shown to be an excellent stat for reducing damage. Credit goes to Math genius Theck on Maintankadin. You can read the proof in this thread

Theck sayeth:

From the numbers in the latest stat analysis, expertise is 69% the threat of STR below the dodge cap (19.83/28.81), 34% above the dodge cap but below the parry cap (half of it's value below dodge cap), and 0% above the parry cap.

The avoidance value of expertise varies a lot, with multiple factors (swing speed, boss swing speed, avoidance, etc). I'm not sure whether I'd feel comfortable giving values quite as specific as you have. It might be fairer to say that it's about 40-70% as effective as dodge rating, and 2-3x more effective at reducing spikes, provided the boss has parry-haste enabled.

You can get 6 expertise from talents and 10 from the Glyph of Seal of Vengeance (skill not rating mind you). 26 Expertise is considered the Dodge cap. At 26 Expertise, the Boss can no longer Dodge your attacks. You need 56 Expertise to hit the Parry cap where the Boss can no longer Parry you.

Humans and Dwarves can get another 3 to 5 points depending on the weapon they are using. Humans get 3 Expertise with Maces and Swords. Dwarves get 5 Expertise with Maces.


for some undefined reason I felt my ears burning... you rang for a cap?
Shwitz44 said…
Pssst, Honors.

I know your a Dwarf, so this sort of thing is foreign to you, but the Human expertise racial is maces & swords. Orcs get axe expertise.
Aleathea said…
This is exactly the kind of information I've been looking for. Thank you for providing this, Honors.
CrimsonTemplar said…
Thanks! Very helpful info for me when it comes time to pick gear for endgame raids & whatnot.
Unknown said…
I think you should add that resilience can also be used to bring down the -crit chance. Sure resilience is not as desirable of a tanking stat as defense (b/c it offers not avoidance/block boost), but when you are having trouble hitting the cap it can be very helpful. Point for point, you'll bring down crit chance a lot faster with res than with def. Theres a few rings and enchants with massive +resilience. This can be a great way to start raiding at lvl 80 until you round out the rest of your tanking gear with great +def items.
Aurdon said…
Great post...I'm really going to have to dig into what a death knight needs once I hit level 80.

I never picked up much tanking gear through outlands because my main goal is to just pick up dps gear for the moment.
Anonymous said…
As an addendum for druid tanks.

Druids with 3/3 Survival of the Fittest do not need defense at all. This provides the necessary 6% to avoid crits.

Also, druids do not benefit from Block. So you bears out there can skip right over that.
Manu said…
You made it to WoWInsider:

Anonymous said…
There are no more "Crushing blows", the 102.4% avoidance+block is no longer required
Honors Code said…
You are correct that is isn't required, but I would continue to argue it is amazingly helpful.

Making every unavoided hit a block amounts to a significant damage reduction over the course of a fight.
Anonymous said…
Don't forget that advoidance (dodge, parry, and miss) are now subject to diminishing returns.
Saif said…
Great post - thank you! Very helpful. I'll be using this to gear up my Paladin.
Anonymous said…
I don't know if you did crit cap math pre wotlk or what but 540 is under the cap (they took our tallent away /cry)
540 = 5.8% = crittable
550 = 6% = uncrittable

good thread on hit and expertise tho I don't see enough tankadins using the obvious tools provided to them.
Honors Code said…
Your math is the one that is incorrect. The removal of the talent had nothing to do with how much defense you need, it just made it so you had to get it all from gear.

540 is the number.

For raids you will need to get and keep your defense at least 540.

Every defense skill increases your chance to dodge/parry/block and chance to be missed by 0.04% as well as reducing your chance to be crit by 0.04%.

All mobs the same level as you have a 5% chance to crit you. So once you reach 525 defense you’ll be uncrittable by level 80 mobs. Bosses are considered level 83. You'd need 530 for Level 81, 535 for level 82 and 540 for Level 83.
Anonymous said…
I apologize up front if I am just being dense, but is there a block number or rating I should be gearing towards to be block capped, or is it still the old 102.4% combined avoidance stat? Is there an avoidance stat I should be concentrating on as a tankadin? The term "block capped" makes me think it is only block I need to worry about, but I know that can't be correct.
Thanks for the great article!
Honors Code said…
It's still the old 102.4% combined avoidance stat. I'd advise you yourself a little wiggle room and actually get to 103.4% because it doesn't appear as if the tooltip is correctly reporting Miss from Defense.
Unknown said…
AWESOME article! I'm currently working on a Tankadin to fight with a coworker that has an 80 Orc Hunter. I will be bookmarking this page and keeping an eye on my stats as I level.

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