How well they can prevent themselves from being killed is based on two to three abilities, depending on spec, and the chosen tactics.
For Tanking both types of taunt are the most important tool for every tank.
Using Challenge, the AoE-Taunt, to generate thread from multiple enemies reduces the chances of over-confident dps-classes stealing the enemies by accident.
The single-target taunt is always the taunt of choice, if you have to choose which one to use later. The increase in damage, that it provides, will result in a related increase of aggression.
To keep alive, rotating through Eagle's Flight(+25% parry) and Dragon's Talon(-20% damage done) is the usual rotation.
The needed normal Balance attack is normally Graceful Strike, a damage+DoT ability of the Vaul-Mastery, that produces increased aggression.
If needed, the Khaine-ability Blurring Shock provides an unexpectedly high amount of thread, due to a high amount of damage-procs.
For any Tank Menance is a must-have, without that increase in thread-generation, there is no chance of holding aggression in anything but full-offensive equipment.
Swordmasters have an easier time to stack parry, therefore Greatweapon Mastery of the Khaine-Path and Perfect Defences of the Vaul Path are ususal choices.
Due to the inner cooldown, Impeccable Reactions is a way rarer choice, since it results in a smaller increase of defence then any of the previously mentioned tactics.
Isha's Protection and Vaul's Buffer are usual choices for free taktik slots, since they both reduce the amount of Healing, that is actually needed to keep the swordmaster alive.
The ususal Morales are selected for keeping yourself alive, therefore the following list would be a usual version for shield-tanks:
- Morale 1: Demolishing Strike
- Morale 2: Shield Wall
- Morale 3: Bladeshield
- Morale 4: Immaculate Defense
While Bladeshield has a low output, it does allow healers to bring you back to health with less trouble. Both Immaculate Defence and Shield Wall are for worst-case scenarios, while the DoT of Demolishing Strike, combined with it's armor-debuff, certainly won't hurt your group's dps.
Twohanded tanking will usually just skill Morale 2, reliing on Wall of Darting Steel for bad situations.
Who to guardEdit
All dps are valid targets for guard, so taking one of those is a good choice normally. There are a couple of special cases, where guarding someone else is way more important, either because they produce higher agression or because they'd die otherwise.
Melee warrior priests produce way more agression then their casting counterpart and they have no reasonable way of dealing with it. If you have one of those around, guarding this one is normally needed.
Witch Hunters are also a number one target for guard, if they are supplied with enough action points to keep their damage up. Since Swordmasters are also starved for action points, it would not be unusual to have a healer repleneshing those with a tactic or an ability. They also have no useful way of dealing with their high thread generation.
Last but not least, if a boss does hit hard, it might be a good idea to have a guard on the main tank, preventing him from dying to fast. Having 9k lifepoints doesn't always take care of that.
- Always take AP-Potions with you, especially at the times, where it is important to debuff the enemy and keep your own buffs up, Swordmasters tend to run out of AP, not only reducing their Parry by a large amount, but also removing the damage-decrease for the boss that should be tanked at that moment.
- Take a liniment, that increases strength, if you are low on strenght. I does make sure, you do actually hit your target and can keep (de)buffs and aggro.
- Try to get a banner with +parry, since it is way easier for swordmasters to stack parry then to stack block.
- Make sure, that you are not going to be crit by any boss in the instance, there is both a tool and a topic on the official boards.
- Try to share responsibilities, having someone to tell you when some event takes place reduces the load of responsibilities you have to carry, making PvE more enjoyable for you.
- Have a second tank with you for your first tries at least, he can give tipps and help if trouble arises.