Theorycrafting – make mage a tank spec


Does anyone remember that rogue that evasion tanked Gruul? Or when Shamans would off tank Karazhan? What about Warlocks tanking with Demonology and the shapeshift?

So, many years ago when I started playing World of Warcraft, back in The Burning Crusade, I saw someone looking for more members for a dungeon group, but they pointed out they had a mage tank.

Curious, I began to investigate, to find that if a mage was geared well enough, to do enough damage, thus keeping threat, they were able to tank using slows and mage armours.

Obviously, the talent system was more fluid then and you weren’t quite as locked in as you are now, but I found this incredible. I had hit level 70 close to the end of the expansion though, and before I knew it The Wrath the Lich King was upon us.

So, I rerolled as paladin (from my original rogue character). That paladin is still my main today, but one of my fondest memories was using Holy as a tank spec for a little while. It was easy, you contributed to the healing and you were able to keep threat because Righteous Fury was still a thing for holy paladins then. I continued this until the end of Pandaria. I was reasonably well geared at the end of Mists, and I was able to keep threat and keep the team alive by just healing myself. Of course, this was only dungeons due to being critically hit by bosses in raids, but it was something I always wondered about.

My paladin tank!

But, regardless – going back to Mage Tanking. I had this thought, based on the original concept I saw in trade chat those many years ago. Give mage two minor spell changes and a new spell, and you will grant them the ability to tank. Here we go; firstly, change counter spell to a taunt, similar to its previous feature (it used to cause high threat), secondly, make evanesce a 12 second cool down so it can be used as active mitigation, then finally add something like ‘Battle Mage Armour’ as a passive spell. It can function similarly to Righteous Fury in that it will increase threat generation of all the mage’s spells, but will also add some kind of damage mitigation and extra % stamina for the health increase. I’d apply these changes to Arcane and make it a tank spec, or create a fourth spec altogether, similar to how druid works.

What do you think? Say something in the comments and lets talk about it. But my real point is, I miss the fluidity of specialisations, and being able to take talents and use spells in a way that the game wasn’t meant to be played. I know its not really the point, but it definitely made me engross myself more and attempt to try new things.


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