Q: I see many other Paladins/Tanks also gearing straight up Stamina, especially for progression. Thoughts on this? Is it right/wrong?
There is no single correct way to gear for progression, and different players have different philosophies. You need to weigh the strengths of each build and apply them accordingly based on the strengths of your raid, what kind of damage type/intake you have on each encounter, and your personal comfort and confidence in your play.
What Stamina allows you to do is take more hits without dying, at the cost of mitigation uptime or strength (whether it be Mastery/Haste). In a min/max progression world, this can also negatively translate into more mana dumped into you from healers in order to heal that larger health pool. Furthermore, it starts to get into healing psychology. If a healer sees you randomly take 80% of your HP in one hit with a Stamina build, they will be more prone to use some CDs and bomb heal you immediately out of emergency to make sure you don’t die (even if you wouldn’t, we are all human after all). Those situations are more likely to occur with less mitigation than the mirroring hit with a mitigation build. That is, with less health but your mitigation being functional, that 80% hit of your health may in fact be only 50% as a result. A much less alarming scenario indeed.
Generally, mitigation gearing does require you to play “less sloppy”. You need to make sure you are using your mitigation as much and as properly as possible, but that should go without saying.
Personally, I opt to use more or less Stamina based on the amount of magic damage in an encounter, and how it is dealt (all in one spike? consistently for the entire pull? etc). For example, a fight like Primordius has a heavy magic DoT component to it pretty much the entire fight, not to mention the mitigation buffs you get from soaking red oozes. It should be evident here that stacking Stamina is a good and recommended choice. A fight like Megaera has spike magic damage during breaths only aside from the Rampage which should be mitigated with Raid Cooldowns and healing (when there is also no melee), which can just be easily CDed for every breath (unglyphed DP anyone?). Does that make a mostly (or even entirely) mitigation build viable since you can CD the breaths and then pool resources during breaths to very well mitigate the melee phases? Sure! Does some Stamina stacking perform well too? Sure! Again, your choice and play style. Furthermore, a fight like Council of Elders (depending what you are tanking), may also all for some reasonable levels of Stamina to be added for progression, since Mar’li casts the whole time on you, Sul may get a cast off, and Malakk’s Frigid Assault adds a reasonable amount of Frost damage to each melee swing. However, a fight like Horridon if you are solo tanking Horridon or Durumu (etc) is basically purely physical, there is not much reason to stack high levels of Stamina when you could be mitigating all of that damage better, especially through proper play.
A little more Stamina will allow you to make a mistake here and there, but sometimes the mistakes made on some of the harder-hitting bosses are so costly that the overkill is usually more than the Stamina you would have stacked anyways, and therefore it identifies gaps in your play that can be adjusted and improved.
This is my philosophy. So while some people may ask “Why is Treckie full Stamina and why won’t he move to North America?” and “Why is Slootbag full Haste usually on armory?”, it ultimately comes down to what was mentioned above, the varying factors that need to be incorporated into the decision making for your build. People will always advise you to go with “A” or “B” or “C”, but if you can understand and play properly with the way you have geared, and more importantly aren’t dying during progression pulls and putting a huge stress on your healers, then you are doing it right and playing your role well.
I chose to omit the other benefits of gearing Haste over Stamina in here, because they are generally discussed in the 5.1 Q&A.
Q: Is your stat priority changing for 5.2, in light of the change to Grand Crusader?
My stat priority will remain the same: Hit > Exp (hard-cap) > Haste > Mastery. Grand Crusader (GC) has been changed to have a 12% chance to proc from dodge/parry/CS/HotR (as opposed to 20% chance just from CS/HotR). This simply shifts a bit of value from Haste to dodge/parry, but not significantly enough to being to value an avoidance stat over Haste. Although Mastery remains competitive, and in fact mathematically can surpass Haste (more on this at the end of the answer), with increasing ilvl on gear, there is a new consideration brought to the table. Math aside, consider this notion: if you are already mitigating at a very high level with a Haste build, adding the extra 6-8% by Mastery stacking instead won’t benefit as much. In other words, generally speaking, if you are already unkillable with SotR up, why do you want to become more unkillable? Now keep in mind, this isn’t a global truth. There may be another Thrash-like mechanic favoring Mastery. This is where your Paladin spidey-sense must come into play and realize that for that encounter maybe Mastery is the better choice.
Our good friend Theck over at Sacred Duty has further enforced the idea I am pushing above in this post. What this shows, is that as implied above Mastery is an equal (if not higher) choice for overall mitigation, from a mathematical perspective. What such models unfortunately don’t consider is the player talent and ability. Theck does a good job of summarizing what this means towards the end of the post. Generally speaking, gearing for Haste is something that more advanced players can (and should) be seeking, while Mastery is equally viable, it does not have as high of a pay-off as Haste when played at high levels of performance.
Of course, Haste still retains all of its benefits from before. A linear increase in DPS, increased Sacred Shield ticks, increased healing (SoI + Battle Healer), and so forth.
Q: I’ve seen you use Divine Purpose a lot, is there any good reason for this? I thought Holy Avenger was always the right answer.
Divine Purpose (DiPurp), especially for a Haste build, is very powerful. Let’s look at some of the advantages that it provides and why it is a consideration. It provides a higher up-time of SotR than Holy Avenger (HA), and it also scales with Haste better than does HA. So, as you increase Haste even further, you will see an increased SotR up-time from DiPurp. Now that isn’t to say HA is useless. It provides the advantage of control, when you pop it, you are guaranteed SotR spam for those 18 seconds. Let’s consider a 2 minute scenario (since HA has a 2min CD). At high enough levels of gear/Haste, with proper CD/external usage/coverage, you can always have mitigation up if you time everything correctly. for coverage, which will be harder to do since there is a lower SotR up-time.
Consider the following: When using HA it can typically look somewhat like this (random estimates): 0s-30s HA, 30s-40s Divine Protection (DP), 40s-46s SotR, 46s-56s AD, 56s-61s SotR, and so on. So for those 90 seconds without HA you need to lace externals and personals for coverage, which will be harder to do since there is a lower SotR up-time.
When using DiPurp, the same idea applies, however instead of the guaranteed string of SotR at the start, you have to be reactive and be capable of adapting to varying times and procs. It requires sharper play to be able to use DiPurp properly. As a rough example: 0s-10s DP, 10s-22s SotR (has 1x proc, and due to the free proc you typically have enough time to build a third set of HP for another true SotR), 22s-32s AD, 32s-56s SotR (3x proc) and so on.
The further consideration for DiPurp is bad luck and good luck. RNG is RNG after all, sometimes you won’t get the procs you want, and that’s when you need to be able to adapt and use something else until you can re-build for HP for another round. Sometimes you get so many procs you don’t even know what to do with them and you get double the up-time of a HA use even.
There are other benefits of DiPurp as well for 5.2. Higher Haste means more DiPurp procs, which means more SotR up-time, which means more finishers are used. This makes Unbreakable Spirit even stronger, which provides a lower CD for DP, which in turn strengthens our T15 4-piece more (if you plan on using it). A final consideration (for me at least), is I frankly enjoy DiPurp more. There is something fun to me about adapting to my play-style based on procs sometimes, it keeps me on my toes.
So then, when does one use HA and when does one use DiPurp? Generally speaking, any time where you are tanking for nearly the entire fight (1 tank fights as an example, such as Wind-Lord or Stone Guard), I will go with DiPurp, for many of the reasons listed above. However, if there is a fight that you tank swap often for and during your off-tank period you are not tanking anything else for a while, then HA is the way to go, as it ensures that for the shorter amount of time that you are tanking, you can always have SotR active. A good example of this is P2 Heroic Sha of Fear.
A final note should be made about the DPS between the two talents. Generally it has been known that HA generally outputs more DPS. However, once you start to reach levels of 20%-25% Haste, DivPurp starts to overtake HA in terms of damage. However, with HA being controlled CD, you can opt to use it during trinket procs and Avenging Wrath, which may on average (based on use) bump up the Haste threshold at which DivPurp begins to output more damage, on average.
Q: Which is the best lvl 90 talent?
Short answer: they are all good (with maybe Hammer being the weakest), it all depends on the fight. A fight with adds, movement, and raid-healing necessary, Holy Prism is my go-to usually. It can help pick up adds, it can help heal, it does decent damage, it scales with Sanctity of Battle, and it is mobile. If there is a fight that requires a mass raid-healing group-up session, Light’s Hammer is a good call since with high Vengeance you can help heal the raid for quite a bit. Also if there are a ton of adds grouped up in one location for 14seconds+, it is also an ok choice. Execution Sentence is our big damage button for single target fights. I use it for the obvious usually, to help damage on whatever is needed single target. You need to figure out what the fight mechanics call for, and a talent accordingly.
Q: Will Purity be better than Unbreakable Spirit in 5.2?
Generally, if you don’t constantly have a DoT ticking on you for the boss encounter, stick with Unbreakable Spirit, regardless of the Purity buff. With Haste you will be getting DP at 30-40s regardless, it mitigates more, and it mitigates for a longer period (6s vs 10s). If you look at the time mitigated over 1 minute (the CD of a normal DP), you get ideally 20s with Unbreakable Spirit and 22s with Purity. However, with Unbreakable Spirit there is more mitigation during that time, not to mention again that our 4-piece T15 favors Unbreakable Spirit for more DP uptime.
Q: Will Kripp be raiding with you guys in 5.2?
No, Kripp will no longer be raiding with us. He is pretty exclusively playing PoE.