Who ever thought that any game would have a Rogue capable of main tanking any major content? Well RIFT has brought that to us. This build is made for end-gaming tanking of expert dungeons and raids. If you are interested in a build for lower level dungeons, you can use any combination of this build. You also might want to supplement some Blade Dancer at for some of the low level dungeons as well, however low level tanking is not the main point of this article.
The Riftstalker is a pretty hearty build. It might not have as many multi-target aggro controls as a Warrior, or the versatility of a Void Knight, but the Riftstalker can tank any content as long as the user knows what they are doing. The Riftstalker is also less gear dependent that a warrior. You can tank a few of the T1 Experts with just minimal gear levels. The main focus of the Riftstalker is hitpoints and absorption.
For the full spec layout, please keep reading, or join in the discussion on our forums.
The Build: 49 Riftstalker, 9 Bard and 8 Ranger
Why this build?
The main talent in the Riftstalker tree is Improved Guardian Phase which increases your endurance by 5% and 1% for every point after 26 in the tree. With 49 points in the soul you are receiving 5+23% endurance. This is coupled with Greater Fortitude, another 15% endurance increase. These percentages increase your total endurance number which includes additions from talents, gear, runes and any other buffs from spells or potions.
As you can see, we have chosen the Bard Soul which gives us 10% Health, which comes after the endurance increases and the Ranger Soul that increases it again for 5%.
What are you noticing? Massive amounts of hitpoints. With a newly leveled 50 Rogue with this spec and a few pieces of high endurance gear and raid buffs, you can easily obtain 8800 hit points, almost 400-1000 more than any equivalently geared Warrior.
Why the Bard and the Ranger?
There will be debate on why are you not using the Blade Dancer with all of their avoidance buffs. Well quite simply you would need at least 22 points into the Blade Dancer tree to gain Improved False Parry and you would lose a lot of hit points in the mean time. Raid and Expert Dungeon Bosses hit quite hard and you need enough hitpoints in order to cushion several large spikes in damage.
What you’re missing from Blade Dancer:
* 10% Dodge 6% Parry (buffed)
What you are gaining from Ranger:
* 5% Health
* 6% Damage Reduction
What you are gaining from Bard:
* 10% Health
* 3% Hit and Crit Reduction Chance from attackers
* Increase Armor Values* which helps boost Guarded Steel**
*It is important to note that, depending on Raid Setup, you will be getting this from a Bard in the raid already. However most raids only need one Bard due to stacking issues and other Anthems are more advantageous.
**Improved Guarded Steel is a Riftstalker finisher that increases your Armor Value by 40%.
Without extensive testing it will be difficult to see which leads to be a better soul to use. The point investment in the Bard and Ranger are minimal compared to the 22 point investment into Blade Dancer. Also, you are going to be losing at least 13% Endurance (13 points from RS to Blade Dancer) from the points taken out of Riftstalker as well as 6% damage absorption and 60% increase to absorption cap of Rift Guard. Perhaps at greater gear levels, you will be allowed more freedom of points.
Riftstalker Tools at Your Disposal
The Riftstalker has a lot of different tools at his disposal; three blinks, two teleports, two finishers, unbreakable short term crowd control on a short cooldown, a mass pull and lots of hitpoints. Let take a look at what we’re playing with.
* Shadow Assault – Appear behind the enemy and do damage.
* Shadow Blitz – Do damage to the enemy and enemies around them and create additional threat.
* Shadow Stalk – Appear behind the enemy.
The key to these abilities is not the damage or the movement, it’s the buff you get when you do it. You will absorb 15% of the incoming damage up to 60% of your maximum health; another reason for the need for more hitpoints. This buff lasts 10 seconds and with 5/5 Shadow Mastery, your cooldown for each ability is 30 seconds which means you can consistently have one ability available for this buff.
Things to be aware of:
* The buff from shifting and the absorption from Rift Guard do not stack.
* Two of these shifting abilities put you behind the enemy causing it to turn. This could potentially kill your melee members with cleaving mobs.
* Shadow Shift – Straight ahead teleport.
* Shadow Warp – Teleport to a specified location.
* Memory Capture/Flashback – Set a designated spot and teleport back at any time.
These abilities also trigger your shifting buffs. Memory Capture is incredibly useful for line of site pulling. You can set your recall spot behind a corner, run into a pack of mobs, gain aggro, and teleport back and let them come to you.
* Improved Guarded Steel – 40% Armor Value Increase and 40% Threat Increase
* Improved Rift Guard – Creates a shield that has base absorption of 17.5%, that increases by 0.5% per Riftstalker point, up to 50% of your current maximum health. That maximum figure increases by 25% with the Improved version and an additional 5% per point in Riftstalker.
* Annihilate – Increase attack power*
*Rifstalker damage is incredibly low that increased Attack Power doesn’t do much, but it gives you another button to push.
You will want both of these Finisher up at all times.
Crowd Control, Pulls, Taunts, and Magic:
* Phantom Blow – Applies 2% per stack, max 3, of flat damage reduction. 20 second duration.
* Planar Refuge – 30% Damage reduction for 10 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
* Rift Prison – 6 second CC, 20 second cooldown.
* Rift Disturbance – AOE Attack/Spell Power debuff, applied threat, 8 second cooldown.
* Instigate – Taunt. 8 second cooldown
* Planar Attraction – Take up to 5 surrounding enemies and places them in front of you.
* Defer Death – All incoming damage is not applied for 10 seconds.*
* Planar Switch – Applies all combo points for another target to your existing target. Applies 1 Combo Point. Not on the Global Cooldown.
*This ability will kill you. All damage will be applied in a single second after the duration runs out. Great for the last 10 seconds of a fight to save a wipe.
* Planebound Resilience – Increases endurance, stacks with other class buffs.
* Improved Guardian Phase – Increases Armor Value by 50%, All resistances by 50, Threat Generation by 100%, endurance by 30% and decreases your damage output by 30%. Improved version increases your endurance by 5% and 1% per point over 26.
* Anthem of Glory – Increase Armor Value
* Predatory Instincts – Increases Attack Power
How to play the Riftstalker Tank:
The most difficult time of the Riftstalker is at the beginning of any fight when you aren’t already buffed. You probably don’t have Guarded Steel, Rift Guard, or three stacks of Phantom Blow up. This will make you incredibly squishy for a short duration. So you will need to get Guarded Steel up ASAP.
Rotation at the beginning of a pull:
Rift Disturbance (if there are multiple targets)
This rotation will accomplish three things; the first is an immediate creation of two combo points so that you can guard Guarded Steel up for 24 seconds inside two global cooldowns (remember Planar Switch generates a CP and does not trigger the GCD). Shadow Blitz will apply a 15% damage reduction shield on you. You will be then buffed with 6% damage reduction with Phantom Blow and you will successfully have Rift Guard up.
You now have all of your tanking buffs up. Use Planar Strike as your main attack as it has a heavy threat modifier. Keep Phantom Blow’s duration topped off. Keep your finisher buffs always up. The most hectic time for a Riftstalker is the pull. Once you have your rotation going and your buffs rolling, you only have to worry about keeping aggro on multiple targets.
For large mob packs use Planar Attraction and Rift Disturbance. Use Rift Disturbance inside your rotation for the debuff if it isn’t applied by other classes. Make sure you use Planar Switch so you don’t waste combo points.
Tricks and Tips
1) If you’re fighting multiple large targets, like council fights, place your Memory Capture in a safe tanking spot and if you lose a mob due to aggro loss and your taunt is on cooldown, you can blink to that target, gain aggro, and Flashback to your previous spot, pulling mobs with you.
2) Have adds? Rift Prison is your friend. It doesn’t break on damage, and you can also use it to help with pulls with patrolling mobs.
3) You have a ranger soul so use Quick Shot to pull groups if you can’t blink in.
Stats and Gear
Without a list of available gear we won’t be able to put any exact list together.
* Endurance > Dex = Str
* Endurance gains hitpoints, Dex is all dodge, Strength is all Parry.
* Parry and Dodge cap are 20%. Monitor your Dex and Str levels based on this cap.
Typically at 50 you will find ranged weapons and necklaces with 22+ endurance on them. Use these. Ignore all Attack Power and Critical Hit gear as these stats do not help you.
Things to include later:
Stat conversions for Parry/Dodge/Hps
Rating conversions to percentage for Parry/Dodge