Author: theaxolotl#4252 (Barbarian: Icarium)
Last Modified: February 29, 2020
If you’re reading this, that likely means you want to know something about tanking as a Barbarian Sentinel! I’m not going to start this section off with my credentials and accomplishments in this game – I’ve only been playing since August 2019, so many of you have probably taken hiatuses longer than I’ve been in this game. I have not been in TOMM, however I have tanked everything else the game has to offer, including IC (the Infernal Citadel). I’ve thrown this together because there seems to be a lack of recent Sentinel information out there, and knowledge is great for us all to have!
I’d like to preface everything with saying this isn’t a holding-your-hand sort of guide. I’m not going to claim this is the only way to tank as a Barbarian, and I won’t even claim it’s the best way. This is what works for me, and it’s full of information that I’ve learned through both trial and error and discussions with other, better tanks. I won’t be touching on races or attribute distribution. I won’t be going into specifics of every single ability or option we have. I also won’t be going into gearing options, outside of mentioning a few select items that work well. There are plenty of guides out there that talk about these sorts of things.
If you happen to see something in here that is incorrect or want to talk mechanics either in-game or in Discord (TheAxolotl#9404), please don’t hesitate to reach out. With all of that out of the way, let’s move on to what you really want to see.
Primary – Sentinel’s Slash: This is my most-used At-Will. Since it’s an attack that can be charged, it’s very flexible with its timing, and to make it even better, you block during the duration of the charge. This makes it a reliable source of steady threat and AP generation, especially when used with Frustrating Slash.
Fun Tip: One downside to Sentinel’s Slash is the extended animation that makes up the swing. This animation can actually be shortened by immediately pressing Block after releasing the mouse button for Sentinel’s Slash. The attack will still land, even though the swing doesn’t happen. This will result in a significantly faster cast time, thus more AP generated. I highly recommend practicing this on a target dummy.
Secondary – Bounding Slam: This is my secondary At-Will for easier content where threat is not a concern, and I choose it strictly for mobility. Being able to bounce around to protect your dps and healers is very handy.
Alternative Secondary – Sure Strike: Having spent more time in IC lately, this has become my secondary At-Will for boss fights where threat is a concern. This is because Sentinel’s Slash alone was giving me some threat issues. Triggering Frustrating Slash and then spamming Sure Strike, especially while Unstoppable will generate more threat than spamming Sentinel’s Slash, however your AP regen will be lower. Balancing Sure Strike with Sentinel’s Slash is a bit of a learned art, based on the need for more threat vs faster AP regen.
Alternative Secondary – Challenger’s Slash: Similar to Sure Strike, triggering Frustrating Slash and then spamming Challenger’s Slash will generate significantly more threat than Sentinel’s Slash alone against multiple targets
Primal Fury: This encounter never leaves my bar. What’s not to love about a hard-hitting AoE with increased threat? Coupled with Blood Fury, you will heal yourself for the damage you deal and exit Unstoppable on demand, rather than waiting for your rage to drain.
Punishing Charge: This encounter is also a staple for me, and is mostly used for mobility, however when combined with Challenger’s Charge, it also allows you to immediately grab aggro on a target, while dealing damage.
Indomitable Battle Strike: Single target damage dealer – my go-to for single targets in most situations. Keep in mind, this encounter can miss if positioning isn’t right, or if your target moves away from you. Bloodletter can be an alternative attack here, as it’s a faster cast and won’t miss, however it does deal less damage (and thus, less threat).
Takedown: Alternative single target damage dealer. I will use this along with Disarming Takedown if I’m in a group with mostly physical damage dealers.
Not so Fast: Multi-target damage dealer that synergizes well with Trample the Fallen and can provide some extra mobility when using On the Move. This is my go-to when not fighting a boss.
Come and Get It: Multi-target hard taunt to grab aggro. Note that since this doesn’t deal damage, it needs to be followed up with Primal Fury or Not So Fast in order to actually keep threat. I rarely use this, but it recently has found a place on my bar while clearing trash in The Infernal Citadel.
Ignore Weakness: With the release of The Infernal Citadel, I have started using this encounter more, specifically for the second boss. The on-demand stamina it provides is extremely beneficial for absorbing multiple hard-hitting attacks in a row.
Enduring Shout: Formerly neglected, this encounter has made it to my bar for the Hellfire Engine fight. Particularly, when used before getting chained and blasted with fire, giving yourself an additional 10% HP will give your healer a bit more breathing room to keep you alive. I consider this encounter situational at best, and this fight presents a situation worth considering its use.
Savage Advance: This is my primary daily. It serves as a source of mobility, single target damage, and single target threat. Furthermore, when combined with Crushing Advance, it serves as a source of damage reduction. This damage reduction can have a very high uptime due to the high rate at which we can cast Savage Advance, thanks to the large AP gain we get through Sentinel’s Slash.
Battle High: I use this daily significantly less often than Savage Advance, however it is a very important source of emergency healing.
Steady Rage: Pretty self-explanatory, but this provides a constant source of rage to fuel the Unstoppable/Primal Fury combination.
Mighty Vitality: Self-explanatory too. Gives us more health and staying power, at the cost of some power.
Trample The Fallen: Increases damage from Punishing Charge and Not so Fast and also increases damage from all sources (including party members) when the target can be controlled. Unfortunately, this secondary damage boost does not work on most bosses.
Challenger’s Charge: This gives some additional utility to Punishing Charge. Without charging, it acts as a hard taunt, immediately placing you on top of the threat list. Alternatively, allows you to charge up Punishing Charge, allowing you to use the encounter without immediately taking aggro. This charging ability can be handy in scenarios with multiple tanks, when you want to use the encounter without overriding the other tank’s threat.
Threatening Presence: This is more efficient for threat generation than Trample the Fallen in most cases, so very useful when threat is a concern.
Frustrating Slash: This feat is crucial for this build, as it gives a threat component to Sentinel’s Slash.
Indomitable Might: Makes Indomitable Battle Strike hit harder. The damage boost is lessened as your health decreases.
Disarming Takedown or On the Move: You can’t go wrong with either of these options. Disarming Takedown provides a nice damage boost to physical damage dealers in your party, while On the Move provides some additional movement speed utility to yourself and nearby allies when using Not so Fast. My personal pick here was Disarming Takedown, as I found the situational additional damage to be more appealing.
Crushing Advance: This is another crucial feat to grab. This removes the knockback component from Savage Advance and in its place gives the target a debuff that reduces damage dealt by 5% for 12 seconds. This uptime ends up being very high, since our AP regeneration is extremely fast.0
Blood Fury: The third crucial feat for this build. This removes the rage cost of Primal Fury while under Unstoppable, healing you for the damage dealt. In addition, it allows manual termination of Unstoppable, providing you a means to terminate it on-demand, giving you much finer control over your stamina regeneration and rage generation.
Single Target (Boss)
At-Wills: Sentinel’s Slash, Bounding Slam (or Sure Strike)
Encounters: Punishing Charge, Indomitable Battle Strike (or Takedown*, Primal Fury)
*Alternatively, Bloodletter or Ignore Weakness can also be used here if desired
Dailies: Savage Advance, Battle High
Multiple Targets (Trash)
At-Wills: Sentinel’s Slash, Bounding Slam (or Challenger’s Slash)
Encounters: Punishing Charge, Not so Fast or Come and Get It, Primal Fury
Dailies: Savage Advance, Battle High
Class Features: Single Target (Boss)
Different combinations of class features can have value in different scenarios when it comes to bosses. Below is one recommended set of combinations, but feel free to adjust accordingly to your liking.
Steady Rage, Trample the Fallen (or Mighty Vitality) when threat is not a concern, but survivability may or may not be
Steady Rage, Threatening Presence when threat is a concern and survivability is not
Challenger’s Charge, Mighty Vitality when both threat and survivability are a concern
Class Features: Multiple Targets (Trash)
Trample the Fallen, Steady Rage (or Threatening Presence) depending on if threat is a concern.
Tanner’s Leather Ring: We have a lot of health and we get to cast a lot of dailies. Let’s put that to use by dealing half of our maximum health as additional damage on daily use!
Electric Defense (Trobriand’s Ring set): We use our dailies a lot, so let’s get 5% less damage taken and 5% more damage dealt from it, too!
Elven Battle Enchantment: Stamina regen? Yes, please!
Refreshing Breeze (Gas Spore mount). This one gives us 20% more stamina regeneration, which I like, and as far as epic mounts go, this one is hard to beat. That being said, I have phased this out in favour of a 25,000 HP mount, since I needed the additional health to be comfortable tanking The Infernal Citadel.
Mount Insignia Bonuses: Personally, I use 1x Gladiator’s Guile for the movement speed and stamina regeneration, 2x Barbarian’s Revelry for a heal on crit of 1.5% of my max health, and 2x Survivor’s Blessing for a heal on deflect of 1.5% of my max health. These are mostly because of the mounts I have available to me, but I also like the combinations. Feel free to use what you’d like.
TANKING IN THE INFERNAL CITADEL
A whole new section just to talk about tanking in this place? Yep! Since it’s a new dungeon that has resulted in a shift in some of my encounter and gear choices, I wanted to highlight some of the big changes specifically, while giving a few tips for the various bosses.
First, regarding loadouts, I run a couple of fairly static combinations when I tank in here.
At-Wills: Sentinel’s Slash, Challenger’s Slash
Encounters: Come and Get It, Not so Fast, Primal Fury
Dailies: Savage Advance, Battle High
Class Features: Trample the Fallen, Threatening Presence
Second, regarding boss strategies, I have had to really learn the various boss’ attack orders to help adjust to my lower-than-recommended HP. Most tanks say you want to have at least 700k HP, ideally more. On my first successful clear, I only had ~650k HP after using a food buff, which made for a few very close calls, but is doable with a solid healer, and understanding of the various attacks, and smart use of Unstoppable.
At-Wills: Sentinel’s Slash, Sure Strike
Encounters: Punishing Charge, Indomitable Battle Strike (or Takedown or Ignore Weakness)*, Primal Fury
*For Morzach and Hellfire Engine, I use either Indomitable Battle Strike or Takedown depending on my party makeup. For Zaphael, I use Ignore Weakness. You could also use Ignore Weakness on Morzach, but I find the additional threat a bit more useful than the extra stamina regen, due to the avoidability of his attacks. Alternatively, if healing during Hellfire Engine is a problem, you can help a bit with Enduring Shout.
Dailies: Savage Advance, Battle High
Class Features: Challenger’s Charge, Threatening Presence
There are a few main things for this fight. I generally save my Unstoppable for his 3-hit combo, which is the second major attack in his rotation. The third major attack is his tail jab, and that should be side-stepped and avoided completely. During that time, refrain from blocking to let your stamina regenerate. The spines can be blocked or avoided, with my preference being the latter. Generally when the boss animates before the spines, I walk forward and stand underneath him, within the targeting circle. This seems to be a safe spot around 90% of the time for me, but I still block while underneath him just to be safe in case I still get hit.
The hardest part about this fight is knowing how and when to move the boss around. This will also be the hardest fight on your healer, as you will be taking a very large amount of damage. One thing to keep in mind is that if you break line of sight with the boss by going around a pillar, you will immediately lose aggro, regardless of how high your threat threshold is. In general, try to keep the boss turned away from your group and as stationary as possible, particularly with melee dps in the party. You’ll want to move him after the hammer slam – use your discretion based on your HP, healer, and group makeup if you want to move him immediately after the slam or if you want to soak some of the fire damage first. In addition, when you place your small fire pool down, try to avoid turning him towards where your party is, even if that results in you placing it against the outer wall.
This boss is actually the easiest to tank by far. You can take minimal damage from the fire spin, possibly avoiding it outright, by stepping to your right after the single attack that follows the tile-breaking fire bomb. From there, circle around while attacking and regaining stamina. In this fight, I save my Unstoppable until I get the chains on me. When I have full stamina, this will allow me to absorb a significant portion of the fire blast damage. Keep in mind that there’s a bit of a delay between the chains and the fire attack, during which aggro can shift. This can result in DPS taking the fire blast even though you have chains if they pull aggro after you become stunned. This also works the other way around – if they pull aggro and get chained, you can immediately take aggro back to be the recipient of the fire blast. Consider using Enduring Shout during this fight to help out the healer when you get chained.
Thanks for reading! I hope this provides some sort of value to you. A big thanks goes out to Maku (https://www.twitch.tv/makunouchi_tv/), as much of the information above came from me asking him questions or picking his brain on things. Without his willingness to share knowledge, this wouldn’t exist. I’d also like to thank anyone else I’ve had the pleasure of talking game mechanics with, and Alleykate for fixing my crappy formatting and giving a place to host this!