This is a post about the relationship of Agility and Stamina, how it pertains to gearing, how it pertains to raiding, why certain choices are made, and how you can make those choices for yourself. I will be explaining the differences between Agility and Stamina: why we prefer one over the other, and what impact each has on tanking.
Many of you are now looking to raid, have started raiding, or are even starting to get into heroic raiding. The question then becomes: “Do I stack stamina? I see other tanks* doing it.” The immediate answer is: No. Agility is better the majority of the time. However, deviating from the path of Agility isn’t as taboo as it’s made out to be, and I suppose I have myself to thank for that. And like the good little bear that I am, I’m going to try and correct it, or at least provide some insight to this heated debate.
* As many of you have already guessed, I’m referring to Sejta and the other top world bears. But, I will get to them later.
As I have said, Agility is the best stat a Bear has. It is a trifecta of awesome coated in amazing sauce and wrapped in bacon. …Because everything is better wrapped in bacon. How could you not love such a beautiful thing?
My personal love affair aside, it is important to understand that we don’t stack agility for just its avoidance. Whenever this is being talked about, it’s better to state that we stack it because it is our avoidance and our mitigation and some threat (Though AP and Crit have never been that large for threat… I haven’t actually looked at a threat stats break down in a while, but I doubt that’s changed).
Here’s a slightly better breakdown of what Agility gives us, because as I’ve said, it’s as awesome as bacon.
Avoidance through Dodge
This is a given. Per point, Agility gives less dodge than Dodge Rating. A Bear equipped with sockets in about every piece of gear and gemming towards agility will only get about 2% dodge. Though if you remember Tangedyn’s Avoidance post, that isn’t as bad as it seems. Every percentage of Dodge better than the last.
Mitigation through Dodge
I am not saying that Dodge is mitigation. What I am expressing here is that dodging attacks extends the uptime of Savage Defense. You crit, you get SD, you dodge, you get hit and use up SD. That’s two attacks instead of one that you’ve taken less damage on (or none at all). Most bosses swing slow enough that this is a very good thing.
Mitigation through Crit
This is a given. More critical strike frequency leads to a higher uptime in Savage Defense.
Mitigation through Attack Power
The higher our AP, the bigger our Savage Defense absorb can become. And contrary to popular belief, SD is on par with block for single target. It only starts to fall behind when getting hit for 50k+ or more consistently. 1 point of Agility gives 2.8875 AP assuming full buffs.
Threat through Attack Power
The bigger our mangles, the better our threat. ([23:47:28.388] Reesi Mangle Exposed Head of Magmaw *78938* - Full vengeance during Mangle is great. [btw, you can attack the head while mangled ;P])
Threat through Crit
Crits are automatically 2x the damage. Threat is 300% of your damage. So if Magmaw’s head had a threat table, that would have been a 236,814 threat gain (helloooo ridiculous). Again, crit isn’t godly for threat (that was an inflated number as it was), and because of Vengeance threat is a joke. We like crit because of its mitigation importance.
That’s 6 things that Agility gives us. Six. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but no one stat for any class gives that much benefit. This is why we stack Agility.
If Agility is that good, then why is it commonplace to gem for Stamina and even vehemently argued about?
Let’s take a look at what Stamina gives us:
1 point of Stamina nets 17.99721 HP, which is a fair amount of HP. Despite everything else, Druids still have the highest Stamina modifier. Health is a key component to living (But you knew that already, didn’t you? ;) ).
Time to Live
Time to Live is defined as the amount of time a tank will last while not receiving healing. Stamina is the only thing that will extend that time indefinitely, restricted only by gear, and reliably since it is always there. Time to Live really saw its prime in Wrath, where if you did not have enough health to last 2 consecutive hits, you were going to die without a doubt. Heroic Lich King stretched that ideal to the extreme, because without as much health as possible, combined with timely cooldowns, a tank could die literally within a global cooldown.
Time to Live effectiveness is reduced when you are receiving any kind of healing.
Mitigation Through Attack Power
Ever since figuring out the correct formula for Vengeance (no thanks to Blizzard), we’ve been able to find out that 1 point of Stamina is only going to give a Bear 1.285515 AP, down from the 1.799721 AP per point we previously thought. But here’s the catch: Stamina will only have the benefit of mitigation if you are hitting your own Vengeance cap. (Vengeance Status is very good for monitoring this and has been updated to reflect the proper formula.)
It should also be noted that Vengeance AP is affected by Feral Aggression and buffs such as Trueshot Aura, giving Stamina a maximum potential of 1.767583125 AP per point. Again, this is assuming Vengeance Cap. If you are not reaching cap, then Stamina doesn’t provide any mitigation bonuses.
Threat Through Attack Power
Like Agility, and assuming Vengeance Cap, Stamina gives AP. AP helps threat. However, on this front it is so minuscule it was almost not worth mentioning. I knew someone would bring that up if I didn’t.
Essentially, Stamina is safe. It is constant. It creates a reliable buffer between life and death while allowing your healers to have slightly more time to react to incoming damage. It’s the main reason why it’s argued for.
Sound better than Agility already? Hold that thought.
Stamina’s consistency was a staple in Wrath. It isn’t so much in Cataclysm. In order to make the best choices in gemming and enchanting for yourself, it is quite important to understand the relationship both Stamina and Agility have with Bears. Knowledge breeds informed decisions and informed decisions breed good tanks.
Agility heavily contributes to reducing incoming physical damage but, while irrevocably mathematically better, is dependent on RNG and does nothing to reduce magic damage. Stamina contributes solely to Time to Live and creates a safety net for when things go wrong, but does little in the ways of physical mitigation and also nothing to reduce magic damage. Having an over-inflated health pool can put a strain on healer mana if they are always trying to top you off (and they are).