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NerdEgghead's Classic Bear gear sets

NerdEgghead's Classic Bear gear sets

  • "True" BiS does not exist for bear tanks, as a good tank should be swapping gear sets constantly depending on the required balance between threat and survivability that is needed for a given encounter and raid team. That being said, certain threat vs. survivability tradeoffs are substantially more efficient than others, so the goal of these lists is to provide the user with representative gear sets which balance these two axes as efficiently as possible.
  • Stat weights and EHP values are based on the integrated Classic Bear Tank Weights Calculator from the class Discord, and are calculated assuming full buffs, consumables, and boss debuffs unless otherwise specified.
  • Gear lists are based on their general effectiveness against all raid bosses as opposed to being tailored for specific bosses. For tank stats in particular, this means that magical resistance is not factored into recommended gear, so the sets should be interpreted as relevant to encounters where the majority of damage intake is physical.
  • For general purpose tanking, the "Balanced" sets in each category are most representative of the optimal gear for each tier. Sets labeled "Mitigation" should be used sparingly only in situations where very large effective health pools are required, as typically a large TPS penalty is paid in those sets.
  • You may notice that the pre-raid sets are often not hit capped - this is totally fine! Hit should be viewed as a very strong threat stat but still has a finite stat weight which is modeled in the tank calculator. Using poorly itemized gear just to reach hit cap is not recommended.
  • For general applicability across factions, gear is optimized without Blessing of Kings taken into account. Alliance-specific gear swaps (mostly involving Southwind Helm) are noted where applicable.

Table of Contents

  1. Phase 4 Gear Progression
  2. Phase 5 Gear Progression
  3. Naxxramas Sets

Phase 4 Gear Progression

Dungeon gear

  • These gear sets can be acquired by any fresh level 60 character via the auction house or dungeon runs, and are suitable for main tanking or off-tanking in Molten Core, Onyxia, and ZG.
  • Blackhand's Breadth is a significantly higher overall value trinket than Mark of Tyranny under a balanced 1 : 1 Stamina-to-Strength ratio applicable to most tanking situations. However, since Blackhand's Breadth will eventually be replaced by superior threat trinkets while Mark of Tyranny remains situationally BiS for scenarios where heavy mitigation is required, these sets assume that MoT is taken instead of BB.
  • Depending on how quickly you anticipate ramping up into 40-man raiding, it may not be worth spending the large sums of gold required to craft Breastplate of Bloodthirst. If this is the case, Tombstone Breastplate or Primal Batskin Jerkin are suitable alternatives which will last you into BWL.
  • For Horde bears, Rune of the Guard Captain and Thrall's Resolve can also be used in the balanced and mitigation sets, respectively.
  • It should be emphasized that the Mitigation set is completely overkill for the content you'll be tanking with this level of gear, so you should stick with the Balanced set almost always. The Mitigation set primarily serves to illustrate some of the gear swaps you could potentially make for increasing your EHP if needed.
ID Gear set Stamina-to-Strength Ratio Unbuffed Health Unbuffed Armor
1 Balanced 1.0 5083 6313
2 Mitigation 1.5 5723 9736

Onyxia + Zul'Gurub + Silithus summons

  • Abyssal Leather Shoulders of Striking are a large upgrade over Truestrike Shoulders, but may be challenging to acquire given the onerous requirements for Silithus raid boss summons. In contrast, Primal Batskin Bracers and Zulian Tigerhide Cloak are perfectly good alternatives to Abyssal Leather Bracers of Striking and Windshear Cape, respectively.
ID Gear set Stamina-to-Strength Ratio Unbuffed Health Unbuffed Armor
3 Balanced 1.0 5263 6300
4 Mitigation 1.5 5573 8493

Molten Core + Blackwing Lair

  • Shadow Panther Hide Gloves are equal in value to Aged Core Leather Gloves for the balanced set, so you can use ACLGs instead if you have trouble finding Shadow Panther on the AH and your melee DPS no longer need them.
  • If you do not have access to DFT, then continue to wear Devilsaur in your balanced gear set throughout this phase.
  • Contrary to popular belief, new modeling shows that Archimtiros' Ring of Reckoning is a much more efficiently itemized ring than Heavy Dark Iron Ring for mitigation sets.
ID Gear set Stamina-to-Strength Ratio Unbuffed Health Unbuffed Armor
5 Balanced 1.0 5993 7822
6 Mitigation 1.5 6393 8676
7 Balanced (no DFT) 1.0 5943 8280
8 Mitigation (no DFT) 1.5 6393 9366

World boss + PvP gear

  • Both 15 Agility and 15 Strength are acceptable enchants to use on the world boss mace. When fully world buffed and with 2/2 points in the Primal Fury talent, 15 Agility provides higher value. But when using the mace to tank farm raids without full buffs and consumes, or when using only 1/2 Primal Fury, then 15 Strength will provide higher value.
  • The EHP levels in epic PvP gear are so high that a dedicated mitigation set would be overkill for Phase 4 content if you have access to this gear. Instead, a threat-focused gear set is presented since ranking bears have the luxury of forgoing key mitigation pieces such as Malfurion's Blessed Bulwark in favor of more DPS/TPS.
ID Gear set Stamina-to-Strength Ratio Unbuffed Health Unbuffed Armor
9 Balanced 1.0 6163 9663
10 Threat 0.5 5993 8433

Phase 5 Gear Progression

Dungeon gear

  • Notable changes from Phase 4 are the highly impactful Idol of Brutality, an improved boot option from the T0.5 quest chain, and the 2% threat enchant to gloves.
  • As with the Phase 4 dungeon sets, the Mitigation set here is primarily illustrative for potential EHP swaps and should rarely be used when tanking.
ID Gear set Stamina-to-Strength Ratio Unbuffed Health Unbuffed Armor
11 Balanced 1.0 5083 6369
12 Mitigation 1.5 5633 9769

20-man raid gear (Ony + ZG + AQ20 + Silithus summons)

  • AQ20 adds several extremely high-value pieces to the early toolkit for bear tanks. Earthstrike in particular is absolutely worth the rather painful grind to obtain it, as it provides a huge burst threat lead when used at the start of an encounter.
  • In Phase 5, Chitinous Shoulderguards from AQ20 become a suitable alternative to Abyssal Leather Shoulders of Striking if you are unable to access the Silithus world content.
ID Gear set Stamina-to-Strength Ratio Unbuffed Health Unbuffed Armor
13 Balanced 1.0 5373 6363
14 Mitigation 1.5 5843 9392

Molten Core + Blackwing Lair

  • On Alliance side with Blessing of Kings, it is more optimal to replace Foror's Eyepatch with Southwind Helm and Master Dragonslayer's Ring with Circle of Applied Force in the Balanced set.
  • Wristguards of Stability, Scaled Bracers of the Gorger, and Primal Batskin Bracers are all sidegrades to Abyssal Leather Bracers of Striking with comparable value, so use whichever one you can get your hands on.
ID Gear set Stamina-to-Strength Ratio Unbuffed Health Unbuffed Armor
15 Balanced 1.0 6093 7894
16 Mitigation 1.5 6543 8815
17 Balanced (no DFT) 1.0 6033 7961
18 Mitigation (no DFT) 1.5 6543 9505

Temple of Ahn'Qiraj + world bosses

  • As always, the "Balanced" set will provide an efficient balance of threat and mitigation for typical boss fights. However, certain encounters such as the Twin Emperors in AQ40 are known to hit extremely hard, so the Mitigation set will be well-utilized in those fights. The Mitigation set will also be very useful for Patchwerk off-tanking during Naxx progression, as it hits the armor soft cap with typical raid buffs.
  • Full AQ BiS is the first time that bear tanks without PvP gear may find themselves with "too much mitigation" for older farm raids such as MC, so a threat-skewed option is also shown.
  • If you do not have access to world boss loot, then Genesis Trousers and Abyssal Leather Leggings of Striking are the only suitable alternatives to Dark Heart Pants for the Balanced/Mitigation and Threat sets, respectively.
  • It is worth noting that 9 strength and 1% haste enchants on Qiraji Execution Bracers and Dark Heart Pants are recommended in the Mitigation set even though 9 stamina and a ZG enchant would be respectively optimal. This is because it is extremely unlikely that you will acquire duplicate sets of these items, so they should be enchanted for use in the Balanced set.
  • Due to itemizing around hit cap, bears who have access to DFT should much prefer Cloak of the Fallen God over Cloak of Concentrated Hatred. However, if you know that you will never get a DFT due to your guild's loot system, then aim for the Skeram cloak instead.
  • The Threat set with DFT can be skewed even more threat heavy by replacing Foror's/BotSF/MDR with Southwind/Vanguard/Accuria in exchange for a hefty EHP drop if your objective is to parse.
ID Gear set Stamina-to-Strength Ratio Unbuffed Health Unbuffed Armor
19 Balanced 1.0 6303 9760
20 Mitigation 1.5 6833 11031
21 Threat 0.5 5843 8137
22 Balanced (no DFT) 1.0 6273 9682
23 Mitigation (no DFT) 1.5 6833 11683
24 Threat (no DFT) 0.5 5883 8079

"Full BiS" sets including PvP gear

  • In Phase 5, PvE drops start to equalize with epic PvP gear, so the BiS gear sets look essentially the same. The only notable difference is the use of PvP gear in the helm and leg slots to utilize the very strong set bonus.
ID Gear set Stamina-to-Strength Ratio Unbuffed Health Unbuffed Armor
25 Balanced 1.0 6323 9243
26 Mitigation 1.5 6763 10948
27 Threat 0.5 6053 8071

Naxxramas Sets

  • Creating recommended tanking BiS lists for Naxxramas is tricky, as several pieces which are technically "BiS" for overall value (Mark of the Champion, Band of Unnatural Forces, and Stormrage's Talisman of Seething in particular) should rightfully be allocated to DPS rather than tanks. As a compromise, I have excluded these three items from consideration in the Balanced and Mitigation sets, but have included everything in an aspirational Threat set.
  • In contrast, Ghoul Skin Tunic, Leggings of Apocalypse, and Kiss of the Spider are massive upgrades in both threat-leaning and mitigation-leaning gear sets, so bear priority on these items should be easily justified.
ID Gear set Stamina-to-Strength Ratio Unbuffed Health Unbuffed Armor
28 Balanced (realistic) 1.0 6653 10093
29 Mitigation (realistic) 1.5 7043 12027
30 Threat (aspirational) 0.5 5823 8463
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