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#4214758 Apr 13, 2011 at 03:27 AM · Edited 7 years ago
88 Posts
Hi All,

After chatting with Dom tonight, it sounded like a good idea to put together some thoughts on Ice Tanking (and DPS). I'm not a super number cruncher, but here's how I got to where I am now...

I started off reading good threads like - (Ice Tanking Guide Sticky) to get a sense of what others were doing. Looks like Cryo tanks (mainly what I am) are far more popular/resilient than Storm tanks. While some info in here is dated due to patches, I'd pay special attention to any posts by Shaolinwind (, as he has a good head on his shoulders and often explains things in detail.

Key takeaways that still matter...

  1. Bitter Winds is still borked (no animation, looks like no damage too) while in DPS stance.
  2. Building towards ice armor (prolonged buffs - by cycling at least two powers that grant chill effects) is a no brainer and almost required.
  3. Reflect, while possibly affected (less damage reflected back, surrounding enemies potentially not sharing the damage) by update 2, is still essential


My Loadouts up until tonight were:


  • Ineascapable Storm - my go-to pull method (single target focused, but if others are close to target they may be pulled too), this also adds frostbite to any enemies pulled
  • Bitter Winds - Surrounds you with ice/wind. This is my AOE/pop-up move often used right after inescapable storm (as it has the chance to freeze any frostbitten enemies) if there's a large pull (and I have more than ample power) or when I'm in the middle of a mob and getting hit hard (pop-up provides a break, and this mitgates some damage - but be warned damage mitigation has a cap and often ends before the animation is complete).
  • Reflect - The bread and butter of an ice tank, this reflects all damage from the next three attacks back at enemies - This is one of the two chill effect powers I cycle for ice armor, but its not the one I spam. I use this mainly in two cases: 1) the oh crap moments (low life, lots of damage taken quickly) to save my butt and the planned moments (right after walking into/pulling a mob or when a boss is telegraphing a big attack) to give some damage back to the mob/boss respectively
  • Ice Bash - Adds ice to normal attacks fo more damage (and aggro). My other chill effect cycle power, with that being its main purpose. I'm usually applying this whenever its ready and I have power. The extra damage, while not a lot (compared to when in DPS mode), is nice to have with a tank's DPS % down. I'm still doubtful this lil extra is worth the slot with other chill effect powers potentially more helpful for tanks (see my new loadout below)
  • Winter Ward - Liberates group from control effects, increases def/toughness, and damages attacking emenies. A nice extra to have defensively. This is one that I'll use for the group's sake if I have ample/near full power (after applying 1-2 basic powers above and regenerating power) in a tough/big fight. Its also my "reflect for the group" if I see a lot of folks going down. If you see me use this other than those two cases, its probably because the boss/mobs are CCing like woah.
  • Ice Elemental - Full Supercharge, Tranforms into ice hulk = crazier tank + ticked healing over time. This is my last ditch effort (after healers and colas) to stay alive move. Some of the new attacks in this form have AOE/popup effects and the extra def/healing over time can bring you back, or at least give your healers some time to get to you, but often I'm still biting my nails and my health is chipping away by the time this has worn off.


As a huge fan of Martial Arts (still waiting for an epic tank version to come my way) and a current epic tank pistols user, here's what I've used for duos/HA's that don't require a formal tank role in cases.

  • Inescapable Storm - Just kept it in till now, but if you see below, there's not a real reason to pull a mob into you if you're range DPS'ing :oP
  • Frost Snipe - a good single target attack with decent damage and rooting/encasing powers if chilled effects are on (which they always are)
  • Ice Bash - Adds ice to normal attacks for more damage. This is again my one of two powers to cycle ice armor and this is the one I always make sure is on to ensure extra damage.
  • Reflect - for cases and examples noted above along with chill effect cycling towards ice armor
  • Neo-Venom Boost - Strength and Def increases - This is one I usually cycle on and off with Ice Bash (though less frequently - for bosses, tougher enemies, large swarms with full auto)
  • Ice Elemental - again for the same "oh crap" moment reasons as noted above


After snagging a bunch of feats and being ~50 skill points now, I've reset traits and am trying a few other things out - I've got no solid results yet, just ideas on how to better things. I'll follow up with findings.

-Experimental/Improved? Tank-

  • Low Pressure (from Flight skills) - In Khan this evening, it was apparent that inescapable storm wasn't the best for nabbing aggro and pulling in clumped groups for DPSers. Instead it was throwing mobs into our party and spreading them out. In order to help get them aggro'ed in a pile around me, Spartan suggested walking in and activating a power - Low Pressure, a backdraft that sucks in nearby opponents in AOE fashion, seems to fit the bill. I'm hoping, upon testing it, to walk into more mobs and just activate (for the ice tank def buff and contained aggro/organization). Also, any recent victims of High Pressure take more damage.
  • High Pressure (from Flight skills) - An AOE pop-up that goes hand-in-hand with Low Pressure (where either if chained after the other causes more damage). I'm thinking this could be a similar replacement to Bitter Winds (without the damage mitigation) and used in the same way (oh crap get the mob off of me moments). By using this over Bitter Winds and Low Pressure over Inescapable Storm, I don't have to dip into the storms power branch and can save power points for use on Iconics.
  • Reflect - same as before
  • Cold Snap - Damages nearby enemies, reflecting some damage and grants chill effects. This seems like a good replacement for Ice Bash in my Ice Armor cycling powers as its has an AOE impact and some protection (rather than the minimal DPS increase of Ice Bash while in Tank Stance)
  • Winter Ward - same as before
  • Hibernation - 50% supercharge, short but protected incremental self-healing. I know, I know. Everyone on the forums says this isn't useful after level 20 or so in solo stuff. But hear me out in testing this again - my beef with Ice Elemental is the continued damage taken while healing and small ticks over time, as well as different combos/loadout all for 100% supercharge. With Hibernation, I may not get as deep a heal, but will be protected while being healed at half the cost (meaning I can do it twice if an emergency comes up again without healers/cola support). As a keep me alive option till my cola's available or better yet a healer gets to me, this may be better.


-Experimental/Improved? DPS-

  • Ice Bash - same as before
  • Reflect - same as before
  • Neo-Venom Boost - same as before
  • Hibernation - reasons noted above in Tank stance
  • Impaling Ice - (chant/animation time) heavy damage and knockdown of enemies with enemies at <35% health taking double damage. Sounds like a lot of our fire guys have something similar, and to Spartan's credit he got me thinking about trying this out. While there's chanting time, this may be worth it for bigger bosses and may go well with the dual pistols I'm rocking now (as I can keep my distance and knock folks back with Jump Shot before trying to get this off)
  • Snowball - ice fireball at single target, rooted enemies take double damage and after I have 3 or more chill effects under my belt, the ball explodes for AOE damage. I like the sound of this, but it needs set up - for one, I'd only use this one I have three chill effects, by cycling Reflect and Ice Bash (so that it can hit a mob) and because if I'm casting Reflect (which roots enemies) relatively before this I can do double damage. If that situation works out, this will be money.


Phew! Sorry for the Ice Tank manifesto, but that's how I've been playing/loading out and hopefully it'll help you guys with ideas for your tanks and improve my approach too (through your feedback/thoughts). So, let me know what you think.
#4215742 Apr 13, 2011 at 09:03 AM · Edited 7 years ago
128 Posts
Rain, thank you for your time and effort, very good read and insight.
#4216215 Apr 13, 2011 at 10:54 AM
101 Posts
Rain this is awesome! thankyou for putting this together. I am going to try low/high pressure this weekend. Will write more after my finals are over this monday!
#4235057 Apr 17, 2011 at 10:20 AM · Edited 7 years ago
88 Posts
Hey all, so here are some updates based on some play with the new loadouts:

  • Low Pressure is a nice AOE pull, but its pull range isn't as big as inescapable storm. On the good side, its cooldown time is also almost non-existent. I've been pairing this w/ High Pressure for the interaction/extra damage, which sadly seems really negligible.
  • I'm also having a bit of trouble nabbing (or reinstating) aggro exactly when I want it with my tank loadout - Low Pressure seems to be inconsistent in grabbing aggro and I miss inescapable storm for its dependable and very selective aggro. Cold Snap is the most dependable aggro maker in my loadout, but its not selective and its radius of nabbing aggro is a bit uncertain
  • Snowball is interesting, but possibly not worth the slot in DPS. When using it with at least 3 chill effects under your belt, you get AOE damage around your target which is nice. This damage is not significant though. To get more damage, I've found only using this with the chill effects in place and after I've cast reflect/enemies become rooted together is a better use (as it doubles damage against em). Even in that case, its still not a ton of damage.
  • I'm not sure what's up with Impaling Ice, but it doesn't seem to do as much damage as said in the power descriptions (even with enemies who have <35% health). I've read in the forums that folks are having the same problem and it might be a bug with the update. To me, its not worth the DPS slot at this moment, as I can do as much combo damage with ice bash as it when you consider the cast time.

I'll keep tinkering, but give a shout if you have any thoughts.
#4396902 May 22, 2011 at 10:11 AM · Edited 7 years ago
88 Posts
Hey all,

With some new ice tanks in the group and me trying to experiment with ice DPS a bit, here are some changes I've made in the past couple months to my loadouts.

  • inescapable storm - the best pull for picking off and grouping spread out mobs. Also great for boss taunts - low power cost/cooldown + frostbite
  • bitter winds - AOE aggro and damage mitigation + pop up make this the way I start aggro on mobs already clumped together
  • cold snap - cheap AOE aggro and small def/damage - I mainly use this as a follow-up to grabbing mobs with i. storm (+ builds to ice armor)
  • reflect - no brainer here (+ builds to ice armor)
  • winter ward - great for those times when me/folks are cc'ed or I need a def boost (+ builds to ice armor)
  • downdraft attack (from flight) - a new addition, this AOE attack grounds/disables movement modes and adds DOT for cheap!

As most of you know, using a power in tank mode gives you a 90% increase in DEF for 8-10s. The perk to building towards ice armor is having that same increase in DEF for 30s or so = less strain on trollers/your power bar and more focus on combos and pointed power uses for aggro.

I dropped hibernation and ice elemental (ice's two supercharge healing powers) as I'm usually only tanking in alerts/raids and our healers kick ass at keeping me alive. I'd rather pop a soda (or hit reflect/bitter winds) than lose aggro in an ice brick (hibernation) or lose mobility and combos for small health ticks like +40 at the cost of a whole super charge bar (ice elemental).

Here's my general plan with the loadout:

  • for mobs that aren't grouped together already or to add more to the pile, I always start with i. storm
  • for already closely together mobs, I'll pop bitter winds go into combos/pull any outsiders with i.storm
  • after the pull/initial mob nabbing, I'll cycle cold snap and combos
  • after the pull, for tough mobs I'll pop bitter winds (if not on already), then while they're knocked up, downdraft to ground (for easier mop-n-glowing by the team)
  • I only use reflect in emergency situations, very large/strong mobs with aggro on me, or telegraphed boss/bigger attacks
  • winter ward for any CC on the group (e.g. wing armors in Outter)

UPDATE: Downdraft is an amazing power - consistently grounds with the DOT (as mentioned above) and it spreads to enemies. I find myself more and more casting 1) b. winds for aggro/knock-up 2) downdraft, then 3) i. storm for pulling enemies into the downdraft cloud

UPDATE: I tend to use cold snap less and really only if my other powers are cooling down and I need to maintain aggro. Considering another power, but you can't beat the fact that cold snap is already paid for by traversing the cryo tree and that it builds to ice armor.


  • resonating gale - gives a 50% damage buff and does good AOE damage, does extreme AOE damage to anyone encased with ice, gadgets, mental, plus fast cooldown
  • ice bash - added dmg to weapon attacks (procs) (+ builds to ice armor)
  • reflect - my oh sh*t fallback for when I get into trouble while being more squishy (+ builds to ice armor)
  • winter ward - for the 50% damage buff, cc break-out (+ builds to ice armor)
  • downdraft attack (from flight) - same reasons as tank, with a focus on grounding for easier mop-n-glowing after by me/the team
  • vacuum bubble (super charge from flight) - 50% for good repeat damage and stun

I'm still on the fence about vacuum bubble given that I'm dual pistols now and full auto is stronger with a full super charge. Bitter winds might be its replacement (since its effects are un-bugged now, animation isn't yet) due to AOE damage mitigation and 40% damage buff.

I've heard that ice armor in DPS increases the longevity of buffs/procs based on the last power used to get it. Going to experiment with that for ice bash's sake.

Here's my general plan with the loadout:

  • I always try to keep ice bash on when in combat (for additional dmg/procs)
  • for hard single targets - ice bash (optional) + winter ward ( 50% buff on top of bash's proc), then combos
  • for mobs - ice bash (optional), r. gale (for 50% buff and knockdown), then downdraft (for ground/DOT) while mobs are stunned, then combos
  • I'll hit resonating gale if any ice tanks, trollers encase mobs for super damage
  • I only use reflect in emergency situations or telegraphed boss/bigger attacks
  • I'll use vacuum bubble in kill 'em fast situations as its good AOE+DOT.

UPDATE: I think I've got the damage building a bit more figured out. I'll always try to keep ice bash on for procs/its damage bonus and if there's enough power or a need hit r. gale to AOE dmg and stun and activate the 50% dmg bonus. For tougher fights, I'll also pop my mysterious egg trinket first then go into the previous pattern. I rarely use winter ward for the dmg buff unless I know an enemy pulls, but it's still handy for CC/def.

I'll keep you posted on how this works in upcoming raids. Feel free to add any ideas/thoughts.
#4411045 May 25, 2011 at 11:21 AM
78 Posts
Nice Updates, keep up the testing, might haft to go into my ice tank now

#4411358 May 25, 2011 at 12:31 PM
88 Posts
Thanks Arrow! Just updated (5/25) with some more observations.
#4415831 May 26, 2011 at 12:15 PM
101 Posts
Have you tried Arctic Gust. It is very good at rooting and encasing! Nice Cone damage, 260-420 on single target and it uses the same amount of power as ice bash. I like it a lot better than snipe because the damage is higher, and the rooting and encasing is more frequent with Arctic Gust. I have it on my damage loadout but it might be moving to my tank loadout pretty soon.
#4416039 May 26, 2011 at 12:56 PM
88 Posts
I haven't tried that one out yet, Dom. Seems useful when:

1) paired with Resonating Gale in a DPS loadout
2) on a tank loadout for timeouts against big baddies in a giant mob (mostly for the encase, not the DPS)
3) on a tank loadout if there's an ice DPS/tank with Resonating Gale that can murder encased baddies (like say you and I, ice bro :P)

I'm worried about the cone aspect of it in tank mode - if its single target only, I'd be using it to freeze the most pain in the butt enemy in a mob (often the boss - which may not be able to be encased due to DOM lvls or immunity to encase). What's the cast time like? I wouldn't want to ignore the rest of mobs, but it could be useful.

Thanks for the suggestion, wanna try out scenario #3 in a duo/alert together? :)
#4417212 May 26, 2011 at 05:24 PM · Edited 7 years ago
101 Posts
It works on multiple targets, I just can't test with multiple war room dummies. I definitely want to try it out in an alert.
#4419827 May 27, 2011 at 09:34 AM
88 Posts
Sweet - let's alert up today/over the weekend to try it out!
#4420683 May 27, 2011 at 01:43 PM
101 Posts
After some testing Glacier Flash is better. Cheaper power, (the same as inescapable storm and does the same thing as Arctic Gust) with high damage output. I don't understand it but I get 50 to 70 with crits above 110 with each tick from Glacier flash (about 6) as opposed to to Arctic Gust which usually hits for 35 to 50 with crits of 70 - 90
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