Northrend Beasts are a notch on the bed post
It was a night of mixed emotions last night as we used up some more attempts in the Trial of the Grand Crusader. We walked in at the beginning of the night, after about 10 to 15 attempts the night before, with a sense of purpose. The dps was better, the positioning was cleaner, and the damn worms still were a pain in the butt. After about 10 more attempts, the beasts were slain, and in what our guild likes to call: true CF style. Our style goes back as far as I can remember being in the guild and has to do with the manner in which we get our first kill on a new encounter. Specifically in very difficult progression encounters (read sunwell, pre nerf Vashj, Kel’thalas, Illidan, etc), there are rarely more than 2-3 people left standing and that last 2 percent is gut wrenching.
Needless to say, everything was going well on the attempt in which we killed them, Gormok dropped like a fly in less than 2 minutes, the worms were pretty smooth, no one died during phase 2, and as icehowl came out we had a full raid up and dreadscale was dead by the time i got the big behemoth into place. We altered our strategy from the 10 mans for this because we read that too many guilds were having problems with the charge because they were clumping when they got nocked to the wall. We tanked him in the middle, which made dodging the charge a bit easier for our learning impaired, but dropped our dps time on target considerably.
I was having problems maintaining aggro during P3 because I seemed to always be all the way across the coliseum from where he landed on the wall. Finally, right before his last charge, he enraged and slammed into the wall at 16%. We got him all the way down to 4% before he came out of it, knocking me across the room and dropping my health to about 15%. Bubble wall was down, trinkets were down, ardent defender was down, and i died with about 15 people in the raid still standing. Dots ticking, healers dpsing, and a few mirror images taking one for the team were the last attempt at a kill, then all of a sudden he dropped and 258 loot was ours!
Lord Jaraxxus and his many adds
Everyone in guild was elated by the kill, and there was already talk of the next two bosses dropping like flies, however the officers were less convinced of the perceived difficulty to come, and in the end, we were right. The hot fix to Lord Jaraxxus’ portals, add spawns, and overall damage of the encounter made it MUCH more difficult than some of our raiders thought. Last week this guy was a kitten, this week he is a gigantic lion. The dps on the portals has to be impeccable, the adds need to be focused down quickly, and well their damage was quite a bit more than expected. The Maidens were one shotting people that were not fully topped off.
Tanking the boss was a cake walk compared to what the healers, dps, and off tanks needed to do. My gear set was, as always on progression encounters, my effective health set. And, as a result, I was a champ and conserving our healers mana. I rarely took a hit, and when I did, it was no where near anything that we saw in the previous encounter. The only things that I needed to focus on were initial aggro, helping dps the portals as they spawned with my awesome hand of reckoning, and kiting the boss and the melee away from infernals. In the end, the encounter was deemed to be a bit out of reach with our current set up and we called the raid. I feel that this is once again a dps and coordination check, and one more week of farming 10 mans, getting badges, and getting some more upgrades from 10 man heroic will be the difference in this fight, as it was for the beasts.
Threat issues, and how to manage your tanks
The biggest problem I ran into last night as the main tank of the encounters was the complaints that I received from our dps about our warriors threat. This has been a regular complaint for the past few weeks, and it is starting to concern me. Part of me thinks that the dps is just spoiled with having a paladin tank and not having to use aggro reducing abilities. Let’s be honest, we are monsters when it comes to threat in our current build. I am cranking out 13k plus tps for the beginning of our encounters when my wings are popped, and that is in my effective health set with 68 hit (yeah I know, it is embarrassing, but I mitigate damage like a champ and don’t have threat issues so who cares). Part of me knows that there are some issues with our warriors threat based on his rotation and skill priorities.
I am not warrior, and have not been for quite some time, however I still like to understand what my other tanks have in their toolbox so that I can assign them to the best job for their skill set. Since I am assuming that most of my readers are not warriors either, I will not go into a ton of detail on each of their abilities and the priority that they should be used, but I would like to touch a bit on the issue my warrior friend is having so that you can apply it in your own experiences, both as a paladin (LOL no, we have 969), and to help your fellow tanks out.
Our warrior was prioritizing devastate over revenge and concussion blow. Devastate should only be used (after its initial application of 5 sunders) to refresh sunders once every 30 seconds, or when all other abilities are on cool down. Revenge, for those of you who do not know, is an ability that becomes available after you block, dodge, or parry an attack and has 5 second cool down. This ability produces a GREAT amount of threat and should be used as much as possible. Our tank was not using this to the fullest. When I asked him about it, he said that he uses it on cool down, but the parses and the recount breakdown say otherwise. How can we fix this? Well, first I have to look at our parses and see what he is prioritizing ahead of revenge, and it was devastate. The easiest way to fix this is to ask him to try using a few macros for his abilities, namely a /cast revenge (rank 9), /cast Heroic Strike (rank 13) macro, as well as macroing it into his other abilities.
This will hopefully increase the amount of threat generated significantly. Why is this important for me? Well, firstly I am the tanking officer in our guild, but more importantly, since his threat has been sub par, I have had to tank the focus target for the hard mode northrend beasts encounter for all of the attempts, this means that I tank gormok first, to build the most aggro, i tank acidmaw until he is dead, both rooted to the ground and movable, and then I swap to dreadscale until Icehowl comes out, and I get to tank Icehowl. Having to shoulder more responsibility like this goes directly against my most coveted theory that “there is no main tank.”
In the end, if you can help your fellow tanks succeed, you in turn will succeed. It is important to understand their ability and skill and leverage that to the fullest.