Weapon speed effect on dual-wield tanking

Dual-wield frost tanking threat is effected by the weapon speed.

My weapons. I have two: Black Icicle, and I also have two Rimefang’s Claw. They’re not hard to get, just takes time.

Using my own gear (i232 average), the simulated difference is that those two slow dps weapons (always both with [spell]Rune of the Nerubian Carapace[/spell], for stamina), do ~13% more threat than fast/fast.

A slow/fast combo is 8% more threat than fast/fast.

With slow/fast, if you put fallen crusader (“FC”) on the fast off-hand, you get about 12% more threat than fast/fast, which is another nice middle-ground. FC is better than Razorice (“RI”).

With slow/slow, if you go fallen crusader main-hand and razorice on off-hand to max out threat, it’s a 6% threat gain over two Nerubians. Quite a lot.

Fast/fast with FC and RI, is 6% more than fast/fast Nerubian.

Presumes you’re still over 540 (or 535 defence for 5-mans) without Nerubian. I value stamina highly, so wouldn’t recommend DPS runeforges in a raid (unless it was Ulduar or something below your gear level).

Tabulated answers

Using i232 gear levels, for a 5-man tank. I include the absolute threat values from Kahorie’s sim (v1.202), then I indexed them to a baseline of the fast/fast, and put that index in brackets (it’s a percentage). Obviously, the damage difference is because of strike damage being higher with two slow weapons.

At the extremes, two slow weapons with two DPS runeforges give 21% more threat than two fast ones with tank runeforges.

Weapon combination Nerubian x2 Nerubian and FC FC and RI
Slow / slow 5166 (1.13) 5377 (1.18) 5509 (1.21)
Slow / fast 4937 (1.08) 5097 (1.12) 5274 (1.15)
Fast / fast 4558 4729 (1.04) 4850 (1.06)

To save me time, these are only 75 hour simulations (normally I do 150), so the degree of accuracy isn’t as high, perhaps +/- 0.5%. The used ICC aura to reduce dodge.

Noob question on parry

Noobs believe parry generate lots of threat and ask what about [spell]Rune of Swordbreaking[/spell] then? Surely the extra avoidance giving more runestrikes is good for threat? What’s 1% avoidance worth in terms of threat?

If I increase avoidance by 1%, the total damage contribution from rune strike goes up by 0.2%. Total TPS for all damage goes up so marginally, it’s meaningless: +0.05%. (I did 150 hr sim to get enough accuracy).

How about the parry-haste you gain from parrying the boss? Let’s say you have a 1% extra chance to gain a 50% to 75% chance to gain a parryhaste on one auto-attack, which is contributing ~15% of your total damage from both hands… pretty lame isn’t it. Like 0.075% gain.

Swordbreaking then give 4% parry rather than 1% parry and 1 % dodge (its +1% miss doesn’t proc rune strike), so about 0.125% more threat in total from +2% more parryable avoidance. Useless. Stick with Nerubian for 2% stamina.


My philosophy remains to gear and spec for survival first, threat second.

In 5-man heroics, you don’t have much issue with survival usually, so you might as well gear up for high-threat. I know some well-geared tanks who do 5-mans in their dps spec and wear tank gear, for this same purpose. Some warriors take their pants off to get enough rage to tank properly.

In raids, survival is king unless threat starts to become a glass ceiling vs enrage timers.

I personally like the slow/fast combination as a middle-ground of gaining tank stats from the fast weapon (it’s about 4.5% less threat than slow/slow), with two Nerubians.

You decide what to do based on your gear vs your content vs your raid dps. Remember that weapon iLevel plays a large factor in damage too, so generally you should use your best weapons.

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19 comments to Weapon speed effect on dual-wield threat

  • Xaris

    Nice summary article – thanks.
    In regards to geared tanks using their dps spec for heroics, I have so many extra triumphs that I bought the dps tier9 head/hands/shoulders/legs and found that I can get 542 def with def gems in all the sockets and nerubian x2 on my weapons.  Plus I can switch my tank trinkets out for dps trinkets and I have a 5man set that boosts my dps and threat a quite a bit.

  • quixilva

    Hmmm interesting.  Surely you get more uptime on FC if you put it on the slower weapon.  I’m actually curious about what sort of uptime you get because the other interesting thing is you actually gain a bit of avoidance from FC proc.  With a 1500 base strength and a 50% uptime you’d gain an average of  0.62% parry (before DR).
    My other question would be how does it compare with 2H Frost threat?  Looking at the itemisation you’re pretty much going to need to be DWing two fast/fast weapons with Nerubian  in order to have comparable stamina. Although you might be able to get away with one dps weapon.  (in general the ICC agility 1H have low stamina)

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      In a 150 hour simulation, you get the basically the same uptime on a 2.6 or 2.0 speed weapon (like 0.5% more TPS by putting FC on slower weapon); it’s using ppm. So you’re right, albeit it’s pretty marginal. The effect is magnified more with DPSers.

      Re stamina, that’s one of those tanking decisions you have to make in your own scenario. Re 2Her, a 3.6 2H weapon compared to DW 2.6 and 2.0 weapons are basically the same threat. Two slow 1H weapons would be better by the around proportion you can see in the table here, of ~5% or so.

  • I think 4% parry > 2 Nerubian. You’ve got so much HP in Raid gear, and the avoid is really nice, especially when tanking Sauerfang or bosses like him.

    • Deathy

      It’s worth noting that using two parry enchant isn’t 4% more parry than 2 Nerubians.  Because the Nerubian enchants include 13 points of defense (not rating) that doesn’t suffer from DR, they’re worth about 3% total avoidance (dodge, miss, parry).  Your overall gain when using 2 parry enchants is about 1% avoidance.  Whether 1% avoidance is worth 2% stamina and the increased damage reduction on IBF is something that is debated back and forth a lot, and is ultimately a personal choice.  But the comparison is definitely not 4% parry or 2% stamina.

  • I don’t suppose the difference is a lot, but what about parry-hasted attacks on a slow 2-hander? Since the ilvl 232 weapons from the new heroics are moderately easy to get, I have one spare with Swordshattering on in my backpack. I don’t know when it’d be better to use that, though. Deathbringer Saurfang perhaps?

  • Kenshi

    Nice topic again gravity. The only thing I would like to add is that there is a stamina issue with using dps weapons as there isn’t alot of that on them :)

    in blood I’m soaring at 53k and in frost its 50.5k  5 man buffed :)

    So I guess it is all min maxing =)

  • Shazear
    Twitter: Shazear

    Are you using an actual in-game threat values or just Simulations?  I’m looking at updating my threat values in rawr to ensure that I’m using the correct multipliers, so if you had an updated table for 3.3 it would save me some work. ;)   If not, that’s plenty fine, and I’ll be going to town on it over the next few days.

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      I haven’t checked any threat multipliers in game, Shazear, so am relying on those in Kahorie’s sim (which I have checked in the code and appeared right, within the limits of my now very antiquated coding skill).

      If you do verify the threat values, I’d be delighted to post them here in a table for community reference. The original source many DKs used is on TankSpot, by Armstrong, but he doesn’t play anymore.

  • Shazear
    Twitter: Shazear

    Armstrong’s numbers are what I have in Rawr as well.  I’ve got it on my list of things to do to work on testing the threat values using Sat’s Threat addon.  I’m going to tweak it some to save the numbers off so I can do the evaluation after the fact rather than try to gather up numbers in-game and do the math from there.  Once I have numbers that I’m confident with, even if they confirm the Armstrong post, I’ll reply to that thread and let you know.

  • Uru

    heya gravity; on your conclusion i must say i like to exactly the opposite, regarding 5mans and raiding :-s
    explaining better : in 5mans, pugs above all , i never ever need strong threat ; on top of that, we all know of the discussions recently on the fact that dks take more damage in 5mans because of no block for easy mitigation on low-damage hitters.
    so i found i do VERY well with 2x rimefang claw+2x swordbreaking (4%parry)+onyxia defense trinket : that puts me in an average stamina-threat build, but with VERY high avoidance (usually 65% in 5mans with 1-2 buffs): i noticed i take clearly less damage and the stamina drop isn’t noticeable, since in 5mans the mobs hit for like 5k..not 15k like raid bosses. in full stamina gear instead u can be bursted easier when you are hit by lots of mobs hitting for low damage.
    on the opposite side, in raids i need all the threat i can output, so 2 x dps weapons are mandatory . i rune them with nerubians to cap defense and add HP, and use 2x stamina trinkets. this gives me around 8% less avoidance than the avoidance set, but 2k+ hp, and lots of threat more.
    so in few words :
    -5mans : high avoidance
    -raids : high threat + high stamina set to soak big hits.
    works pretty well for me.

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      I run around with pretty high avoidance too. I was at ~62% or so in HoR last night, with my two threat weapons and FC/RI. I like avoidance in 5-mans too. I happily put def/dodge gems in a +stam socket bonus slot. Maybe I should point out that avoidance is good in 5-mans in the OP, but then again, we’ve just done that. Why? It’s because it scales well against AOE targets. That said, I also like high threat. :)

  • noob

    I hope we can get slow tanking weapon maybe at lich king loot table.

  • Kenshi

    I think the putricide 25m mace is very DK orientated

    nice stamina
    nice speed 2.00
    and a cool proc

  • Shraken

    Im finding my single target threat realy bad as frost dualwielding 2x tank weapons is wepswapin midfight the way foward?

  • Nikapo
    Twitter: nikapo

    one thing – you are misusing the word “effected” up there – it should read, “Dual-wield frost tanking threat is affected by the weapon speed.”
    effect is a noun
    affect is a verb

  • [...] interesting read in regard to the Weapon Speed debate. Weapon speed effect on dual-wield threat | pwnwear Basically, using 75 hour simulations using 232 weapons they came up with Slow/Slow producing 13% [...]

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