Bone shield has 2s cooldown

A writer on EJ did enough tests to confirm the length of [spell]bone shield[/spell] internal cooldown, for each charge to be used up: 2 seconds. It might be slightly lower than that, in fact, but its certainly no longer. He got 40 mobs to attack him and looked at the time between bone shield activation and it fading.

Bone shield is not 2.5 or 3 seconds, as often quoted around the internet. It’s a measly 2 seconds, maybe slightly less. Since the first charge is used up at time zero, the last is used up 3 charges later, at six seconds.

So in Icecrown with fast boss attack speeds versus four bone shield charges when glyphed, we believe the least uptime you can get is 6 seconds. You could get more uptime if your avoidance RNG is in your favour. That’s horribly bad compared to [spell]unbreakable armor[/spell] which is always 20 seconds.

I’m not counting uptime when you are out of combat, of course, not counting time when you’re not taking damage that uses charges.

Bone shield does scale with avoidance, but you have a lot less of it Icecrown, and bosses hit faster.

I would not main tank with Unholy in Icecrown raids.

Merit? Where bone shield appears to have merit is whilst kiting oozes on Rotface, since its uptime is great when you’re not being hit. It doesn’t help as soak tank on Blood Queen since (I believe this is right), none of that damage can be mitigated (ie. stamina is your solution). It suits any fight where you’re not actually the main target or where the boss hits slowly or have a role where you run around without bone shield charges being used up (I don’t think any of the Icecrown raids are in that category). Looking over the other fights in ICC, I don’t see any jumping out as having mechanics that suit bone shield or AMZ either.

It’s one remaining selling-point is that if you do not have an Unholy DPS DK, it might be worth the tank going Unholy just to spread the debuff, if your gear is good enough to compensate for not really having a useful cooldown.

The two-piece bonus [spell]70650[/spell] does not suddenly make Unholy tank spec particularly shining, instead it’s more useful to think of it as fixing Bloods’ crappy AOE. Whilst you could conceivably do a D&D-based single-target rotation for quite high threat, it doesn’t suit mobility fights and it’d pull agro on Saurfang’s adds, and your bone shield is still crap.

Source on EJ. Credit for ooze idea.

Unless someone comes up with a list of surprise uses for unholy tanking, I think Unholy is pretty much dead for use in Icecrown raids. I wouldn’t even use it as an offspec for AOE; would go with Frost instead since UA is much better to mitigate rushed incoming damage from AOE tanking.

(that grey stuff was my caveat :) )

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20 comments to Bone shield has 2s cooldown

  • There are three different truths out there.

    The first is what really is true. Which spec really is the best. Elitist Jerks are probably the closest to finding that out.

    The second is what the community believe to be true. However, EJ and the community are much closer these days than what they were.

    The third is what suits you personally, in effect, what is best for you.

    I personally love Unholy myself. Got both unholy tanking spec and unholy PVP spec. So unless Unholy REALLY turns horrible, I’ll stick with it. And while it might not be optimal, it’s a long way from horrible.

    Regarding the topic, here are my thoughts.
    Vampiric Blood works differently from the other two cooldowns in the sense that it doesn’t reduce any damage at all. Thus it’s much easier to compare Unbreakable Armor and Bone Shield.

    1. Unbreakable Armor is guaranteed to last 20 sec. Bone Shield is guaranteed to last 6 sec glyphed. However, because you don’t necessarily suffer an incoming attack the moment the 2-sec limit is passed and you do have some avoidance, I guess it lasts on average 10 sec in ICC. Just guessing from experience, no data to back that up.

    3. Bone Shield mitigates slightly more physical damage than Unbreakable Armor, for a (in almost every case) shorter duration.

    4. Unbreakable Armor doesn’t help squat versus physical damage. Bone Shield mitigates 20% of that too.

    5. Bone Shield’s duration can (and should?) be increased by macroing it with an on-use avoidance-trinket.

    6. If you know the boss abilities and use your tanking cooldown to reduce incoming damage from a specific attack, the most important part is whether the cooldown will last long enough to reduce the damage from the entire attack or not. In most cases, attacks that deal a lot of tank damage last fairly short, practically always less than 8 seconds. Thus, Bone Shield, when properly timed, will fulfill its purpose in reducing the damage from those attacks.

    7. If you use a tanking cooldown to reduce general damage, rather than against a specific ability (might also be an ability that prevents healers from keeping you up), you would most likely be able to tank the encounter without using that cooldown at all, meaning you master or outgear the fight. Thus, it doesn’t matter which spec you have, any will do.

    8. Unholy DK tanks have, or at least can get, an additional cooldown, Anti-magic Shell. It can on some fights provide a ton of mitigation of a short while. Frost doesn’t have any additional cooldown, but their Icebound Fortitude lasts longer.

    9. Other points of interest: Frost has 3% more avoidance and takes 2% less damage from all sources. Unholy can in most cases reduce more incoming damage with their Anti-Magic Shell than Frost can, and they take 6% less damage from magic. Bottom line: Frost is better suited for handling for physical damage, Unholy is better suited for handling magic damage. Both works against the other too.

    My personal conclusion: Stick with what you like. Don’t drop Unholy just because some theorycrafters tell you to, unless you really want to try something else, or your personal experience tells you otherwise. I believe you do the best job if you’re comfortable with the tools, and not everyone are comfortable with every tanking style.
    .-= Vigan´s last blog ..Hear my plea: Will a paladin suit me? =-.

  • “It doesn’t help as soak tank on Blood Queen”

    This is interesting. Is that right then, that you can’t increase your shadow resistance to mitigate damage as OT?

    One of the clever points about Blood Queen seems to be that you swap tanks every so often. The OT takes 100% of the damage that the MT takes – so presumably increasing armour (or OMG using shield block) for the MT will mitigate the shadow damage on the OT? Does this mean that DKs are the worst tanks for this fight, lacking a block mechanic and uber-bear-armour?

    There is lots of theorycrafting to be done for this fight, and when we get there I will have to get my thinking hat on.
    .-= Everblue´s last blog ..Armour again… =-.

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      A blood tank makes a great OT (that’s the “soak” tank I meant), with their stamina orientation. All I’ve read suggests the OT cannot mitigate the incoming damage, so it’s up to the MT to reduce how much damage he takes and therefore passes on. I’ve read SrR does not help either.
      There’s no tank swapping here.
      Your MT just needs high armour and avoidance to reduce how much is passed on (for DKs, Frost tank is better).
      I’ve not done this myself; I’m basing on what I’ve read.

      • Again, I’ve not done it either, but my understanding is that you have to swap tanks occasionally to stop the bleed damage from Delirious Slash getting unhealably high.

        No doubt we can compare notes when we both get nailed by her the first few times!

        EDIT – From Tankspot it doesn’t seem to be present in the 10 man version so yes, in those circumstances you would want an armour tank as MT and a stamina tank as soaker.

        .-= Everblue´s last blog ..Armour again… =-.

        • She does use it in Ten Man, it’s just similar to Kologarn’s Crush Armor, on 25 man, it requires a tank switch, on ten man, it falls off before it can stack.
          .-= The Renaissance Man´s last blog ..Fail of the Lich King =-.

        • Xcel

          I can confirm that off tanking on Blood Queen you take the exact damage that the MT takes; armour, talents, cooldowns, buffs, resistance and avoidance do nothing to reduce this, the only stat with any use as OT is stamina – blood is best, max sta, self healing and vampiric blood (which is the only 1min CD that will help you). You can even go blood presence if you have it talented with the +10% healing or if you’re confident enough in your health/healers.

          As for MTing I go frost for avoidance+mitigation and use UA every cd which reduces damage taken by both MT and OT.

          Also there is no need to tank swap on this fight, the stacking debuff isn’t a problem.

        • Gravity
          Twitter: gravitydk

          That delirious slash means you need to tank swap in 25-mans til it falls off? I read one comment that “Delirious Slash seems to be applied only to the OT”.

  • Brigh

    Tank swapping can be used to reduce the damage both tanks take by alternating cooldowns. The first tank takes her and chains all their CDs then the ot taunts and does the same effectively reducing damage intake by a substantial amount and letting the healers focus on the raid more.

  • noob

    I am not sure if anyone tried this, death strike heals for almost 8k in unholy.

  • Bluedragon

    For Blood Queen, Delirious Slash does not ever stack.

    Here’s a log of our last 25man kill (I am the OT):
    Click on the # sign next to the debuff Delirious Slash, and you’ll see a layout of exactly when and how long it was applied for, and never once does it overlap.

    Bone Shield however does reduce Delirious Slash damage, and doesn’t eat charges for it. Which is nice in this fight because I always OT it as a DPS spec in tank gear, except DPS trinkets&sigil. While I was Blood in the log, for 10% AP, UH is usually the spec of choice for DPS.

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      An OT in PvP gear for example, or dps spec with tank gear, but in Unholy spec, sounds pretty nice. Bone Shield would therefore reduce Delirious but not the Blood Mirror, eh.

      Thanks for the WoL too.

  • Shayzani
    Twitter: Shayzani

    I’ve been under the impression that the internal cooldown on Bone Shield charges being 2 seconds has been a known issue since the launch of this expansion. Has that not been the case?
    .-= Shayzani´s last blog ..Small things that make me happy =-.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    This week I’m going to be trying an Unholy build in 5-mans (not raids), and will be using a Blood spec for Icecrown.


    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      So far, I am again reminded of why I love Unholy. In 5-mans, it’s just such easy threat, and I love bone shield. I wish it was more viable in ICC. Corpse Explosion is a particularly great talent, because you can use it to agro AOE when everything else is on cooldown, or when a new add runs into the pack.

  • Kaletri

    Since it was recently discovered that Dancing Rune Weapon gives threat to the DK, I wonder if the same is true for Gargoyle? If so, it might be worth taking for an Unholy tank build after all.

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    We checked on; gargoyle does not give threat. Only DRW.

  • Caim

    I have tanked unholy for almost a year now.  I keep ghoul up all the time which I have yet to see one tank spec which does.  Two reasons Death Pact for when healer lags and with ghoul frenzy if healer gets aggro from somewhere send him in to pull aggro off then put on passive to bring it back to you.  I really have no problem holding aggro if you use all your aggro abilities as needed and keep blood runes on cooldown.

  • ArchxGabriel

    Blood is best for healing back what they take, frost for reducing dmg…and unholy is the best at tanking magic oriented bosses…with anit magic sheild and anti magic zone dropped properly an unholy dk can end up taking almost no damage in these types of fights…they also have the best aoe aggro holding ability…making them good for OT in many fights with adds…i will agree that in most fights unholy isn’t very good as a main tank unless the dmg dealt is mostly or all magical based…

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