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Comparison of tank classes

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This guide is an attempt to provide a quick reference guide for guilds, parties, raids, etc. to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various Tank classes in the game. Specifically, it applies to the Main Tank role in the various Raids and Dungeons in the game, unless otherwise noted.

This page is a work in progress and will benefit from the community's contributions.

Note: Please use the discussion area to debate the merits of each tank while keeping this page clean.

Comparison

Legend
EASIER Any class will do, however this class may find it easier in this circumstance, and should be considered when Min/Max-ing the raid/party.
HARDER Any class will do, however this class may find it more difficult in this circumstance and may have to compensate with gear, Talent Spec-tweaks, party/raid setup, etc.
Encounter involves: IconSmall Deathknight Death knight IconSmall Druid Druid IconSmall Paladin Paladin IconSmall Warrior Warrior Notes
Multiple Adds EASIER EASIER Paladins and Dks both have superior AoE threat. Dks have the advantage of ranged AoE pick up and Paladins have the best consistent mitigation through Redoubt.
Aggro Loss SLIGHTLY EASIER EASIER SLIGHTLY EASIER Paladins have the advantage of DoT damage in the form of Consecrate and Seal of Vengeance. They also have excellent snap threat from Avenger's Shield. Warriors and Druids have an AoE Taunt ability which the Druid can combine with Thorns for a strong reestablishment of Threat, though this is slow do to the two GCDs involved, possibly making it too late.
Attack Speed (Fast) EASIER EASIER
Attack Speed (Slow) EASIER
Damage (Magic) SLIGHTLY EASIER EASIER SLIGHTLY EASIER Large HP pools allow Feral Druids to soak magic damage well. DKs also have large HP pools and strong Anti-Magic Cooldowns. The Druids’ buff Mark of the Wild and the Paladins’ Blessing of Kings (which are exactly the same) offer them significant magic resistance, in addition to 5% bonus stamina. Paladins have the added bonus of being able to heal themselves if things get close.
Damage (Physical) SLIGHTLY HARDER EASIER Druids have a naturally lower armor value than the Plate wearing classes, Bear Form only provides the rough equivalent of Mail armor, and even Talents only provide at most an additional 45% of their original Leather armor value, still leaving them short. However the Druids tend toward Agility, rather than Strength, as both provide increase to Attack Power in feral forms, leaving the Druid with a much higher Dodge (enhanced further with talents) than other classes. This, combined with the passive mitigator Savage Defense and the active ones, Barkskin and Survival Instincts (both of which also reduce spell damage), give the druid good survivability in the hands of a knowledgeable player.
Healer Friendly SLIGHTLY HARDER EASIER Theoretically, druids compensate for their lower armor with their large health pool, but as healing spells rarely provide health based on their targets’ total health, this means heals will do slightly less for druids then other tanking classes, though Innervate can help with mana from pull to pull, long boss fights will be more draining on healers with a druid tank. Paladins can heal themselves when things get rough, helping their healers conserve mana (although sometimes they've been known to heal themselves when not necessary, only to gripe at healers that they had to heal themselves. This is consistent with “doctors make the worst patients”.)
DPS Race SLIGHTLY EASIER SLIGHTLY EASIER Death Knights have Army of the Dead (which also acts as a Shield Wall while casting) and Raise Dead to add in a little help, as well as Raise Ally should a party member die for any reason. Druids can ENTER a pull with Thorns, dealing damage to enemies as often as the enemies attack them physically for a short time, allowing them to build an Aggro lock very quickly and can “Stance Dance” to reset their Rage to 10 if it ever runs out by removing (doesn't cause GCD) and re-entering Bear Form, which can be done fast enough to not cause a period of armor loss and is usually undetectable to other players (except for a small puff of smoke). The Druids’ trend toward Agility also gives them a higher Crit chance than other Tanks.
Demon EASIER Paladin tanks' Holy Wrath improves their pick up and control of demon mobs.
Enrages (or Berserks) Predictably
Being Disarmed HARDER EASIER EASIER HARDER Druids do not use weapons in Feral forms, and do not deal weapon damage, though they will loss any stat and +Attack Power bonuses from their weapon if disarmed, they lose no abilities and lose less attack power. While Paladins can switch to Spell casting when disarmed.
Fear EASIER EASIER EASIER Patch 2.3 Creature AI has been changed to no longer prioritize attacking unfeared targets over feared targets. All DKs have the item Insignia of the Scourge, which releases them from any movement impairing effects, including fear. Frost DKs also have the ability Lichborne in their talent tree, having a similar effect. Feral Combat Druids’ final talent ability Berserk clears Fear effects and makes the Druid immune to them for 15 seconds (20 if Glyphed) though on a 3 minute cooldown. Warriors have Berserker Rage which frees them from and makes them immune to fear for 10 sec, on 30 sec CD. Note that warrior generates additional rage over the duration.
Interruptible Spells EASIER HARDER EASIER Paladin's interrupt Hammer of Justice has a long cooldown and is on the GCD.
Knockback HARDER EASIER HARDER EASIER Druid has Feral Charge and warrior has Charge and Intercept(obviously with Warbringer), so they can quickly return to a mob after a knockback.
Mana Burn IMMUNE HARDER IMMUNE Paladins are the only tanking class to use Mana for tanking, thus are the only tanks vulnerable to Mana Burns, in the sense of losing a resource. Druids have Mana, and can be caused a lot of Health damage from Mana Burns, do to most Druid gear giving Intellect in addition to Stamina and Agility and a Feral Druid's 15% expanded Mana pool from the Furor talents, BUT: they are not deprived Threat generating potential as they are the only class to GAIN Rage from a Mana Burn.
Rage Decay SLIGHTLY EASIER SLIGHTLY EASIER EASIER Paladins do not operate off Rage, thus are not effected by party members asking to wait for Mana, as they can use this time to replenish their own. DKs have Runic Power, which is subject to the same decay as Rage, but as time passes, though Runic Power is loss, the DK's OTHER resource, Runes, are restored, reducing the need to build Rage and take it to the next pull. Druids can use their Thorns spell to help build the initial Aggro lock if their Rage is too low, this also grants them 10 Rage to start the pull. ALL tanks are subject to Vengeance decay.
Mind Control EASIER Many Mind Control spells only affect humanoids, though it depends on encounter.
Off Tank (Same target as MT, building threat without having aggro yet)
Off Tank (Different target as MT) MORE USEFUL Druid off-tanks have the advantage that they can turn into Cat Form and help dps main tank's target after their target is killed.
Off Tank (During single-tank boss encounter)
Polymorph EASIER Bear Form Druids are immune to polymorph.
Reflectable Spells EASIER Only warrior has ability to reflect spells (Spell Reflection).
Silence HARDER Only paladin uses spells when tanking and all his spells are from one school (holy).
Spike Damage (Predictable) EASIER HARDER EASIER
Undead EASIER Paladin tanks' Holy Wrath improves their pick up and control of undead mobs.

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