Tanking Paths: Stamina Vs. Avoidance

This is the ultimate fight in all tanking discussions all over the world…in and out of World of Warcraft. Everyone pitch’s in and sadly few are experienced tank’s to really know what the hell they’re talking about. Nothing pisses off more a tank then another player non-tank-player to give him advises about anything especially when it’s something obvious.
“Hello! Welcome to the group? Is that your hp? Are you in your tanking gear? How much is your defense stat?” – Can you possibly piss me off anymore????
I very rarely join LFG channel for instances and especially raids (never to be most exact). The other day most of my guild mates were busy so I decided to take a stroll into the LFG channel to make it into a daily dungeon instance. I saw an announcement for last spot for a party looking for a tank. I whisper asking for an invitation and at the time I was using my Arms Spec and was geared properly for that. It didn’t take 10 second’s to get in the party channel messages like: “is that you HP? It’s too low mate! You can’t tank a rat!”. I took a deep breath trying to keep my cool and answered politely: “Currently with my secondary spec and gear mates. Hold on a second.”. And I changed back to Protection switching into my Heavy Gear. The message tones changed quite a bit off course but there was one that was the motivator for this post: “Above 30k of hp…nice mate. Not great but good!”….needless to say I could not kept my cool under such a stupid and na├»ve comment. But now I’m cool, well rested and my brain is at ease enough to share the knowledge and with hopes to bring some of that knowledge to a small brain resident of a “fracking” Warlock. (Thanks Galactica for bringing such a nice word where the meaning of it is no secret to anyone and still you can use it widely without being called cheap mouth).
Prior BC and still a bit in BC, Stamina was the how-good-of-a-tank-are-you measurable stat to compare. If you had tones of it you’re able to meet take a couple of Gruul punches without much effort. This WAS and still is for many uninformed people (I’m such a nice guy for not using the word NOOB), the measure from which a tank is evaluated. Needless to say this is a brainless evaluation. Skill, Threat, Avoidance, Mitigation is in the eye of a real professional player and knows what to look for to make a clean and knowledgably evaluation when checking a tank out.
The Wrath of the Lich King Expansion changed the tank rulebook a bit. For much better, in my opinion. Made tanking a smoother job and reflected the need for the tank to work is avoidance and mitigation as much as his hp pool. Make no mistake, it is very important to have out of the ordinary Hp pool. The more the merrier, yet you can compensate sometimes having less hp with something, that for me…is pure gold. Avoidance!… ladies and gentlemen. What’s better than being it and survive? Not getting hit and survive. This is a logic that you simply cannot beat. Every time a boss or mob fails the attacks to you its less strain to your gear, to your healer and a nice big-ass open window for you to land a ground-breaking shield slam or a swift swing of Devastate to upgrade your threat numbers. Nothing pisses off more a boss then missing the tiny orc that keep’s poking him. Trust me.

Don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the math of it … ‘cause the numbers never lie!
In my previous post I explained the equation behind the avoidance numbers, so if you miss that be sure to check it out pronto! In this example I’m going to set, to make things a little easier to follow I’m going to ignore the Chance to be missed stat and the overall 5% base miss rate from all NPC's. Using the parry and dodge stats alone. Now let’s assume this situation:

We’re on RAID X. We have the standard 2 tank’s composition for a 10 man situation. But in this case we have a Stamina Tank (A) and an Avoidance Tank (B).

Tank A - 33k Stamina – 20% Dodge + 15% parry = 35% Avoidance
Tank B - 30k Stamina – 25% Dodge – 17% Parry = 43% Avoidance

Let’s take an example of Boss that hits on Plate for 10K per attack at least 50 times in a certain amount of time or even during the whole fight (specials aside) that is equal to 500K of pure damage that is going to rain over some poor schmuck.

Tank A – Avoids 17 of those attacks which means he manages to pass on 170K of damage but receives 330K of it.
Tank B - Avoids 21 of those attacks which means he manages to pass on 210K of damage but receives 290K of it.

Bottom-line: The extra 3K of HP proves to be meaningless when compared to the extra 40K the avoidance tank manages avoid. By the end of the fight the Avoidance Tank needed about 37k less of heal then the Stamina tank.
This pure math and cannot be contradicted. Of course there aren’t two equal fights with the same needs, and varies from tank to tank they way things are going to work out. Skill’s, talents and mitigation can determine the end results too, but looking at plain number’s in simplistic manner it’s safe to assume that the Tank that can combine intelligently his stamina number’s without neglecting stats like Parry and Dodge, has clearly the upper edge.

It’s very important that a tank can deal with two blows without requiring any heals and still stand’s to tell the tale. That should be your kick-off pointer. But it’s my firm opinion, that once after reaching the 30K HP unbuffed, the really good tank should aim to improve his avoidance and not his HP pool. There are other opinions running around the web, and most of them with firm logic's and strong arguments, so don’t take my word for it and shop-around. If you wish another completely different perspective be sure to visit Rihns Blogspot where he makes a strong case with a very well written composition making me look bad and amateur (besides the fact he is ...blarghh...alliance). Fact is there is no right answer; it's up to the tank to choose his own patch.