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Which tank is good at what?

Jurugu's Avatar

03.03.2013 , 02:07 AM | #1
As the thread title already may indicate, I am at the moment seriously considering to create my third "real" SWTOR character, and this one shall be a tank. Which leaves me the tough decision to pick between Guardian, Shadow and Vanguard.

Since my focus will be group PvE it would of course be good to know in advance what I am getting myself into with each class. I.e. what the strengths and weaknesses of each are in comparison to the other. Sadly the replies of my guild mates have not been overly helpful and the best summary Google could find for me is this one which is only a single opinion, and from 1.3. to boot.

Instead of spamming three different class forums with threads I'd rather ask on this one, then. Would you be so kind and give me a short rundown for endgame PvE about which tank class excels at mitigation (different kinds, if worth distinguishing), single target/multi target threat and whatever else you deem relevant. For example I remember one of my Denova HM tries, where on the final boss Kephess our Shadow tank complained how unsuited he was to take those heavy hits.

So I have something other than flavor to base my decision on.

Joshthecook's Avatar

03.03.2013 , 03:12 AM | #2
I can only really speak of Vanguard tanking and a bit on Shadow but from what I have read and experienced they are all very good tanks, it really depends on your ability and preference at this point. I am one to agree that Vanguards are the 'easiest' to play. They have a simple rotation and excellent AOE pull, their weakness lies in their gear and lack of cool downs. They are so dependent (not that I am complaining here) on shield and absorb, but while they are the less spiky of the three, they lack the ability to power through high damage like the Guardian and are less forgiving on the healers over all than the Shadow. None of this is to down play the Vanguard, they are very good tanks at this point.

The Shadow has great AOE pulling ability, stealth and CC's, their self heals really ease the strain on the healers and when played well can really hold agro against even the rippiest of DPS. Their downsides as I have see are spikiness, lack of a direct gap closer and the complexity. But over all they are probably the best tank at the moment as they don't mind a bit of defense but shield and absorb still rule so gearing at 50/55 shouldn't be that big of a hassle.

Guardians I know the least about, they can handle spikes with their great cooldowns, two gap closer's are a plus, and are pretty well balanced gear wise. I think their weakness's are the weak AOE threat, and their ok damage. I almost hate to say this because I know a lot of good Guardian tanks, but they are easy to rip agro off of and it just seems to take longer to down bosses with them. Or maybe the Guardians I know aren't that good. :P

nicehunter's Avatar

03.03.2013 , 03:36 AM | #3
I have a Juggernaut tank (same as the guardian) and have him geared to a point.
Generally we can survive a lot of spike predictable damage as a cooldown is usually available. If not we can survive but it will be hard. We have the lowest natural shield chance which is needed a boatload of shield chance to compensate to get to 50/50 of shield chance and absorb.Healing we also take more spike damage which makes healing a bit tense but manageable.
Our damage is lower than both the assassin and the powertech (shadow and vanguard respectively) and our threat takes longer to build. Don't go near AoE tanking as juggernauts we suck. We pick. The strongest mob and tank that while letting the other members deal with the strongs and weaks. Assassins and powertechs can use there AoE abilities which have a shorter cooldown and hit harder. Our resource is slow to build but is quite manageable and easier then cells or force.
On the whole I would put shadows as best for their innate surviibility and threat generation and their damage is higher than the other two (which I've seen on parses of).
Vanguards are probably next with their passive mitigation and their ability to generate snap threat (mortar bombardment) and their easier play style.
Finally Guardians are last but we can survive damage that the other tanks would die at without a boatload of healing (40% DR 25% max HP and 2s or invulnerability with an additional 50% of saber deflection) and our AoE threat sucks but we have a damn lot of mobility with charge and intercede (able to jump from mobs to players)
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Pubsam's Avatar

03.03.2013 , 12:26 PM | #4
Currently all tanks are capable of everything. The posters above me have noted some current minor differences in balance, but the real take away is that no one hesitates to take a well-played Guardian, Shadow, or Vanguard anywhere. Most people consider the tanks interchangeable and I have never heard 'Oh, if only we had a Guardian instead of a Vanguard, makes this fight so much easier!'

Also with the expac coming at some point things will be changing, and the current differences might flip around, disappear, be replaced by different ones, etc. My recommendation is to give all the classes a try and play the one you like the flavor of best. Like leaping into combat with a lightsaber? Rather stealth around? Want a gun? Want a certain type of gear? This stuff is important when you spend 50 levels and untold flashpoints and raids with it!
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SleepyKing's Avatar

03.03.2013 , 06:39 PM | #5
Guardian/Juggernaut - the toughest tanks in the game, but their damage is weak and threat generation is poor. It's extremely difficult to hold threat on multiple enemies and even on one it will be ripped from you regularly. Right now, it's probably the hardest tank to play for that reason - although in 2.0 (as it is on the PTS), they're much, much better.

Vanguard/Powertech - probably the easiest tank to play. They can take a lot of hits and hold threat pretty well, even on multiple enemies. Their defensive cooldowns aren't as good as a guardians, but they're a safe middle-ground choice.

Shadow/Assassin - they have the weakest passive mitigation of the three (because they're in light armor), but they have a big toolbox of active cooldowns that more than compensate. They have stealth and self-heals, and are excellent in the hands of a really experienced player, who knows when to use the cooldowns. Unlike Vanguards and Guardians (where the cooldowns are pretty much "oh crap" buttons), you have to be proactive with your defensive CDs and know when to hit them. Threat gen is the best of the three tanks by far. You'll almost never have to use a taunt in 4-man play, and will almost never get threat ripped from you. Shadows are great for experienced players who don't mind having a big rotation.

grallmate's Avatar

03.03.2013 , 07:49 PM | #6
In all honesty the tanks are exceptionally well balanced (relative to healers and DPS anyway). So play what you enjoy. Things are going to change when 2.0 hits so I would suggest waiting until then to start.

Guardian definitely has the hardest time with AoE threat (and ST threat) due largely to being a pure melee class. Has the most CDs. Has the best clutch CDs but falls behind Shadow for proactive usage. Very few changes in playstyle on PTS but they are making it a lot easier to hold threat. Rotation is completely revamped in 2.0 but is much smoother.

Vanguard takes the most damage, has the easiest time with AoE if Mortar Volley is up but is behind a Shadow if its on CD. Has the fewest and weakest CDs. Gameplay is changing on PTS at the moment. Definitely the easiest tank to play.

Shadow is great in the hands of an awesome player. Sucks in the hands of an inexperienced player but that's true of all the tanks. Gameplay is pretty similar in 2.0 For low DTPS these guys are the kings thanks to the self heal. For extremely high DTPS they are a little behind the others but usually pretty even. Has the best CDs if used proactively but lacks the clutch survivability of the Guardian.
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Azzirith's Avatar

03.03.2013 , 10:41 PM | #7
While I've only just started using my Vanguard in end-game ops, I've been tanking on my Guardian and Shadow since launch.

Many people complain about Guardians lack of threat, and while that's true about aoe, if your DPS give you two GCD's on a boss pull, you'll have very little problem with single target threat. The survivability that's inherent of the Guardian is just crazy, the cooldowns they have will allow you to survive things that other tanks wouldn't without a load of intervention from healers. And if you are losing threat to a particular DPS, there's always Guardian Leap (not to mention guarding that pesky dps'er, but all tanks can and should do that).

Shadow is a lot of fun, and takes a lot of extra work to keep up to par. The light armor is not really a detriment as their Combat Technique/Dark Charge not only dramatically increases their threat but also increases their armor and damage mitigation. Pared with self heals from Harnessed Shadows, Combat Technique and Force Breach, that takes care of most survivability problems. They have a very strong defensive cooldown with Resilience, though Guardians get their own version in 2.0. Shadows excel at aoe threat, which is nice on trash, not so useful on bosses, and have excellent single target threat as well.

From my limited time with my Vanguard, I like him... but he feels weak to me. Their defensive cooldowns are exceedingly weak, and are on a very long cooldown for as limited as they are. Their aoe threat is, imo, almost on par with a Shadows and their single target threat is about standard.

All-in-all, I'd suggest finding what you'll be tanking alongside if you want a varied tank group, and find one that compliments what you'll be tanking with. That aside, play what you like, they're all very fun to tank with and in the hands of a skilled player, any one of them can excel.

slafko's Avatar

03.04.2013 , 03:35 AM | #8
Shadow, ofcourse. Aside from regular tanking duties you get awesome stuff for solo play - stealth and soft cc.

haksilence's Avatar

03.04.2013 , 04:23 AM | #9
Shadows are currently the most survivable tank in the game, high levels of mitigation coupled with 250-300 HPS in self heals is considerable in nearly all the fights and makes shadows require the least healing of all the tanks.
on the downside shadows require a bit more experience to heal in order to anticipate their spiking.

guardians have a large number of powerful cooldowns at their disposaland when they are played correctly are *arguably* the best tanks, the guardian is the second most survivable tanking AC. Guardians are also *arguably* the most difficult to play properly and require alot of skillto use efficiently.

vanguards are the smoothest tanks in terms of spikyness, but are the least survivable.
they are by far the easiest tank to use effectively.

In 2.0 shadows become even more survivable, vanguards become must more usefull in active mitigation, and guardians seem to be lagging behind.

So my personal preference is a shadow, but there is no clear best tank all tanks are good at everything and id have to say tanking is probably the most balanced thing in this game
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Arovien's Avatar

03.04.2013 , 05:44 AM | #10

This article u linked is still relevant. Most all of the info is accurate even in 1.7.

Shadow Tanks
+ resilience is the best defensive cooldown for endgame PvE. lets the ops group work around mechanics straight up (NiM EC included).
+can stealth battle rez and/or use "OUT OF COMBAT" self-heal (this is straight up BROKE OP duh)
+best at holding aggro (both single and AOE)
-most spiky (skilled/over-geared healers can keep up tho)

Vanguard Tanks
+Best mitigation tank (white damage only)
+Best AOE aggro holding tank (lots of high damaging AOE abilities)
+Top DPS tank (usually not a big deal, but can be if <insert boring,specific examples>)
-the HoT cooldown is not all that great.
-Folds to force/tech damage more so than the other tanks because the ONLY way to coop with it is a single cooldown.

Guardian Tanks
+Better collection of defensive cooldowns than Vanguards
+slightly better at holding single-target aggro than Vanguards
+Broken OP in PvP (all other tanks are a negative to the team).
~Funnest tank to play (fact )
-good luck holding AOE aggro
-outshined by Shadows and Vanguards in practice very slightly tho

Summary: Shadows are broken due to stealth (seriously, not exaggerating). Abuse'em if u want to be a god. Vanguards are easy-mode + best at mitigation. Guardians are the worse in practice but fun.

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