Archive for September, 2009


Lord Jaraxxus and My Potting Methodology

Last night my guild embarked on another week of raiding adventures, and when I say adventures, I mean you never know what you are going to get. We started invites a bit early, went straight to vault and cleared the place with barely any benefit to the raid. Tons of PvP gear fell from the heavens and in the end we all got two Emblems of Triumph, a worthless instance lock out to say the least (For those of you that don’t know, my guild is a progression centered PvE guild, and most of us don’t care about PvP at all). After vault, we got straight to business. After plowing through the Normal version of the Trial of the Crusader, we took our 10 minute break to get gems, enchants, leg patches etc prior to starting our hard mode push for the night.

Our hard mode instance started off on a fairly great note, after wiping on the first attempt of Northrend Beasts to someone not getting out of the way of the charge during the Icehowl encounter, we quickly got our 258 loots from the NB encounter and moved on to Jaraxxus with 49 attempts remaining. Lord Jaraxxus has been a thorn in my side for a few weeks now. The problem with this encounter, and the topic for discussion of my blog today spawns from our many wipes on Jaraxxus. Jaraxxus is a test of skill, and mostly from your dps and healers. Tanks are at the mercy of the rest of the raid when it comes to this encounter, and it can be frustrating at times. The best thing you can do is to play at a high level and hope everyone else does the same.

Lord Jaraxxus – a test of skill for your DPS


In order for you to understand what I mean by a test of skill, you have to first take a look at the encounter. The difference between normal and hard mode, besides the increased damage output, is that the nether portals and volcanoes have health pools. These babies will continue to spawn adds until they are killed. This is one of the main focal points of the entire encounter. However, as this is on the forefront of everyones minds, they miss the little things.

Our guild has always been carried by the healers and the tanks. We are a guild that stresses main tank gearing, and all of our tanks have priority on loot over the rest of the raid. For most encounters, the survival of the tank is the main focal point of progressing and succeeding. However, we have seen that in Trial of the Grand Crusader, blizzard was very quick to drop a dps check into their instance. Hard Mode Northrend Beasts was by far a Tank competence and gear check, and as such our guild was the first on the server (horde side) to kill this boss. We have great tanks that are very skilled and very geared, and as such the encounter went fairly smoothly. Jaraxxus is another story. This big bad demon is 95% a dps competency test, and 10% a make your healers crap their pants test.

Between the incinerate flesh and the legion flame, there is quite a bit going on when the adds are not up. We were getting Jaraxxus down to the 20% range quite a few times, but some one would always mess up. The melee would not move when they had flame, they would run out of range of healers when they had incinerate flesh, and they would not switch to the adds because it “gimped their dps.” It was quite frustrating that we had to rely on the melee dps for this boss kill, because they are our weakest link when it comes to skill. Thats not to say that they all suck, we have some amazing melee dps, however there are a handful of them that are just a bit slower than the rest.

What do I do on this fight, and how do I set myself apart from your typical tank?

I was getting quite heated a few times last night when the encounter was not started when I asked. The problem with Lord Jaraxxus is that after the first wipe, when you say you are ready and start the encounter, he immediately pops out and aggros someone, there is no warning, no speech, nothing but instant aggro. On a few attempts, we were slow to start and I was getting very upset, and expressed this discontent in vent. Whey one of my fellow officers asked in vent, whats the big deal, why are you so upset, a fellow raid member (who I was very impressed to see that he noticed), mentioned that when I say start the encounter, I pot. I also pop Divine Plea and consecrate. All of these things, with global cool downs, take me about 5 seconds. So if someone lags in starting the encounter, I risk eating up a chunk of my pot timer as well as losing my DP buff (glyphed).

Indestructible Potion

If you pot prior to entering combat, you will have the buff for approximately 2 minutes at the beginning of the fight, and can pot again when it wears off. This is an extra 3500 armor for 4 minutes of a fight, and that is HUGE. This is one of the “little things” that separates the good tank from the great tank. Its not to say that a player that uses consumables in this manner is a great player, I am sure there could be some bad apples in the bunch, but for the most part anyone who does this is giving 110% and shows that regardless of cost of goods, they are looking to put their very best foot forward. After all 3500 armor is beastly.

The tanking strategy for Lord Jaraxxus is fairly simple for the main tank. There are only a few things that you need to know to do your job well on this fight. First off, as I mentioned before, I would consecrate prior to starting the encounter. This is a sure fire way that you are the first person that is hit by the boss. I am pounding my avenger’s shield button as well, but I found that before I was dropping consecrate at the foot of the boss, he would turn around and target some one else ever so often, and in turn, screwing up the positioning that I was so intent on mastering. As for positioning, there are a few things that we do. First off, I tank him facing the majority of our ranged. This is so that he is not turning around periodically to put legion flame on said ranged. Why is that important you ask? well when he turns around, he gimps melee dps, increases your chance for parry hasting, and its just not necessary.

As the first portal spawns, my avenger’s sheild is usually on cool down, so I usually immediately through a hand of reckoning at it, and do so again on cool down. Its only about 8k damage but it may be the difference. As the dps is blowing up the portal, I am strafing the boss towards the portal so that there is more time on target and i can get a few whacks on the portal if necessary. At this point, ONLY 1 mistress should have spawned, if you have two up, your dps isn’t switching fast enough, or you have people still on the boss. We focus down the mistress and then swap back to the boss to dps until the first volcano erupts. When the volcano appears, its a rinse and repeat of the portal, swap fast and blow it up. The magic number for infernals is 3. any more than three and your raid is not dpsing the volcano fast enough.

At this point, It is my job to kite the boss away from the hellfire that the infernals create. You have a few second between the time that a big grey and green ball flies towards you until the first tick, but you have to move fast, even if the boss does not. Other than that, the most crucial part of this phase is that when the next Nether portal is close to spawning you have to get Jaraxxus back to the middle so that the portal does not appear out of the range of your ranged dps.

Rinse, repeat, and for my guild, wipe! We will get this bad boy tonight, and my cape or legs WILL drop, I’m feelin’ it (as the loot gods have not been good to me lately, we have been 0 tanking drops).


Macros versus Individual Key Binds

As I was saying in my previous posts, I have been having some trouble lately with my guild’s DPS and their incessant complaints about our warriors threat and the fact that he does not use revenge. This got me to thinking, and I went into the handy dandy world of logs and took a look at his ability usage. There were some glaring issues from the combat log that shed some light on his lack of ability to hold threat over our top DPS. I would like to take a little time to discuss the issues, the break down of his skill usage, and my suggestions going forward on how to fix it. Enter a long digression on warrior tanking, turn back if you must…

Of Warriors and Threat…

His break down of abilities shows that he highly undervalues three of the most essential threat generating moves available to a warrior and in turn only truly uses 3 to 4 moves. His main rotation consists of Heroic strike and devastate spam with intermingled shield slams. The fact that our dps are bringing up lack of revenge as the culprit show that they are only looking for an excuse to bitch about his threat, and don’t truly understand a warriors priorities when it comes to threat. Part of their argument is that our warrior only used 12 revenges the entire night. Now while this is grossly over the top when it comes to the issue (as he only tanked 7 encounters and not the entire night), it is still abysmally low.

Looking at his parses, where none of them were less than three minutes long, the most he used the revenge ability was 4 times, equating to roughly 45 seconds in between revenges. There were two attempts around 3 minutes long where he did not use it ONCE. That is unacceptable. Now while he was only tanking a third of the time in Phase 1 and half the time in Phase 2, this still does not add up. During phase one he has 80 seconds of tank time, and during phase two he should have roughly half the time as the focused tank during the encounter (average 40 seconds). at 120 seconds, he should have theoretically used the ability 24 times. But this is only half the story of his poor threat.

When you look into the parses a bit more, you start to see why his threat is extremely poor. He undervalues concussion blow and shockwave as much as revenge. These three abilities combined make up the second, third and fourth priority in a warriors rotation. He uses all of them about once ever 50 seconds at the most, where as they should be used on cool down (20 and 30 seconds respectively) in place of devastate (which he spams constantly). His parses indicate that he uses three buttons, and usually nothing more during the course of a fight – Devastate, Heroic Strike, and Shield Slam. Even his Thunder Claps are sparse (although they are not needed for anything but threat, as I take care of that debuff, as does our dk).

My suggestions to him going forward are as such. Macro revenge into his heroic strike, devastate, and Shield slam abilities and use it on cool down (meaning if he is tanking he should use it every 5 seconds). Prioritize Concussion Blow and Shockwave WAY HIGHER than he currently is, and if he is rage starved (which he shouldn’t be due to the massive amounts of damage he is taking in hard modes) he should drop devastate for the former suggestions.

Macros and Pallys

While macros are a very easy way to ensure that your on use abilities are taken advantage of and kept on cool down, I highly disagree with using macros for our main paladin abilities. There are a lot of posts on different forums out there that tell young protadins that the 969 rotation is as easy as macroing your HoTR and SoR to one button, your HS, Judgement, and Consecrate to another and play chopsticks on your keyboard. The lack of flexibility that this provides for our class truly hinders your ability to tank effectively in a dynamic situation. What happens if you want to SoR something that is running away, or if you want to open up with a different rotation, starting with HoTR, then Consecrate as you are tanking an AoE pack?

The sad truth is that macroing most of our abilities is a crutch that any paladin should get away from. We have far fewer talents to worry about when tanking than do warriors or dks, and our tanking rotation really consists of five buttons that can, at times be substituted out. How can you work that into a macro? Now with that being said, there are some very useful macros that you should have on your action bars to assist you in your ability to react quickly.

The Cancel Aura Macro: the divine shield /cancelaura macro is a powerful one that has many applications. Since we have been discussing trial of the crusader so much in the past few weeks, the best examples of this are during the Northernd Beasts encounter when you have a too many stacks from Gormok, or when you are poisoned from Acidmaw, you cant move, and your guildy with the fire is an idiot. This macro also works wonders if you are an off tank on Anub’rakan and you have a dot ticking for 30k.

Focus Macros: Any macro that uses the /cast [target=focus] Hand of Protection (enter what ever spell you want there) is also a great macro that you should have somewhere on your bars. This macro allows you to continue to tank your mob, not drop target and instantly BoP your focus target. I use this during the last 10% of the Gormok stage of Northrend Beasts, to clear the stacks off my fellow off tanks. You can also use it on a ranged or healer that pulls aggro off you, you just have to modify your macro to assist your current target, being the boss.

Mouseover Macros: I healed all thorugh Sunwell, and I did a pretty good job. One of the things that made me and imensely better healer was mouseover macros. I carried this into my tanking days to help with Hands, Taunts, and Cleanses. The cleanse macro is especially helpful for the Faction Champions encounter, remember you are the most powerful “dispeller” in your raid because you can take off magic, disease, and poison with one click of a button. Here it is:

#showtooltip Cleanse
/cast [target=mouseover] Cleanse

There are many more ways that you can use macros to your benefit, but I am personally against string macros that limit your ability to select the skill that you mean for the instant it is needed. Having the freedom to chose will make you a better tank in the end. So macro till your heart’s content when it comes to your utility, but keep your bread and butter on your action bar, right out of the spell book.


Hard Mode Loot Shocker!

Two posts in one day?!?!?!?!

I wanted to drop a quick note on a mostly unrelated topic to my previous post. After killing the northrend beasts on hard mode last night, our officers were surprised and disappointed to see that there was no token of the grand crusader (e.g. t9 at iLevel 258), just another trophy. The rest of the loot that was on Icehowls body was sweet, sweet 258 loot, however the token was a normal 245 piece. I was truely unaware of this fact, and as such had not planned on picking up any more trophies or badges since I would be getting priority on the 258 tokens.

Alas, it will be back to badge farming for me, since I should finish out my T9 set. Legs, Chest, and Helm to go, I will be spending a lot of time in heroics in the coming weeks getting as many badges as I can. Since I only run the daily on the weekends due to my work and raid schedule, i will be getting 6 badges a week from heroics, 30 badges a week from the 10 man raids, and 18 plus badges from the 25 man, I will be just shy of a piece a week. It looks like I am going to have to do a heroic on a week night and sack it up.

Tier 9 Break down and my priorities

Let’s take a look at the remaining T9 pieces I have to get and what priority I should place on them. There is really no preference when it comes to ease of obtaining them, since they all cost a trophy and 75 badges, so the selection will be purely based on stat allocation and what I am looking to augment right now (survival). The three pieces are as follows:

Liadrin”s Faceguard of Triumph Liadrin”s Breastplate of Triumph Liadrin”s Legguards of Triumph

If you look at each of these pieces, you will notice that they each have a great strength to them. The chest is a direct upgrade from the T8 chest, and gives you quite a bit more stamina and avoidance. To me this is the nicest piece by itself, however when evaluating what I am lacking, this is tied for opportunity cost of upgrading the slot. The helm has the same stats as well, with a very nice change from Block Rating to Block value. The pants have a healthy amount of hit on them and are tied for the most stamina. They would be a no brainer if the saronite plated legguards did not have so much bonus armor on them and there wasn’t a great upgrade from Jaraxxus. In the end though, I would rather go for the four piece with the Helm, Shoulders, Chest, and gloves, so the pants are a no go other than a threat set, and as such will be my last pick up.

Looking at the helm and the chest then as my possible upgrades, there is a chest upgrade from Northrend Beasts Hard mode, and there really is not another option for a helm. In addition, the wasted itemization of shield block rating on the T8 helm, you are gaining more with the helm. So it goes, helm then chest.

In the end, its up to you to decide what is the next best piece of gear for your current gear sets to augment your stats, or fill a gap in stats.


Northrend Beasts down, Lord Jaraxxus and his many adds, and Devastate Spam

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.


Anub’arak in detail

Anub’arak is kind of a big deal…

Or so he thinks. But in all seriousness, In the Trial of the Grand Crusade, the difference in difficulty between Anub and the rest of the instance is substantial. The level of play that is required to down this boss is quite a step up from any of his previous loot pinatas. This encounter is all about execution, gear, and the race to kill him. There are a few rather large differences between the normal and hard mode versions of this little blue bug. First and foremost is the time you have to kill him. For multiple reasons, you only have two surface phases to get him to 30%. If you fail to do so, you will wipe. You also only have 6 permafrost’s to use during the duration of the fight, meaning that they should be spread out appropriately and they should be used wisely. Let’s get to the phases…


Phase 1 positioning and tactics

In phase one, I began by popping an Ironshield potion, wings and DP and then running in and turning him on a dime. We tanked him where he spawns until the first permafrost is dropped near him. At that point you should drag him to the permafrost and get his hit box on it. This is not to prevent him from burrowing, but to take advantage of melee splash damage. As your team of dps’ers focuses down the adds, they will be doing damage to Anub’arak as well. From the Main tank’s perspective, once you have positioned him with in splash damage range, this phase is a tank and spank. The off tanks job is to pick up the two adds and drag them to the permafrost. A freedom on your offtank makes positioning much easier as well, so lend your fellow tank a “hand.” Another very important change from Normal to Heroic Mode is that the adds have a cast that gives them a shadowstep ability. This cast is interruptible and must be stopped or the adds will one shot your clothies. Assign two melee dps to each be responsible for interrupting one of the two adds. Raid Icons help dramatically on this aspect of the fight.

While the first set of adds is on the permafrost and being killed, this is the time when one of your ranged dps should be strategically dropping all of the permafrost to the ground. You want them spread out all around the room as much as possible. We DPS down the first pair of adds and then switch all dps to the boss. When the second set of adds spawns, the off tank picks them up and pulls them to the permafrost, but the dps should stay on the boss. At the end of the first phase, you should have Anub’arak to about 55%. If you don’t, you are behind the dps marker that is required to defeat this fight. Once Anub’arak burrows, you want to finish off the two adds as soon as possible and prepare for the phase 2 positions.

Phase 2 is all about coordinated movement

During phase two, there are a few things that are going on all at once, and they are all very important to master. First and foremost, you should be kiting the spikes to a distant permafrost, but in hard mode, the spikes continually speed up so dont try to be a hero and kite them across the room unless you are a class that has a blink like ability. The key to the kiting is to spend the full duration of the burrowing phase kiting the spikes from permafrost to permafrost. There should be 6 permafrost’s down, and you can only use 5 during this phase, as you need the 6th to tank the adds on during the surface phase.

The second thing that is going on during the burrowing phase is that a ton of beetles surface and they have to be killed. These bad boys put a stacking debuf on their target that does periodic damage. This debuf can stack infinitely, and deals significant damage over time. These bugs should be dpsed down by ranged only if it is possible, as the debuf lasts for a minute and is quite nasty.

After your burrowing phase ends, all of the little adds should be dead, and Anub’arak will resurface. It is imperative that you drag him back to the permafrost that is left and tank him with his hit box overlapping again, so that you can take advantage of the splash damage.

Rinse and Repeat?

So when Anub’arak resurfaces you have 80 seconds to get him to 30% or its a guaranteed wipe. You should use the same strategy that you did on the P1 above, burn the first set of adds, tank them on the permafrost, take advantage of splash damage, and blow up the boss till 30%. At 30% you have to really get those adds down quick, because another twist that blizzard has added for hard mode is that the adds keep spawning. You will periodically have to switch to the adds and dps them down. Now that you have hit 30% though, you have leeching swarm ticking away at you. We originally only had an spriest to provide a 20% healing reduction debuff and found that it was not enough to counter the amount of healing anub receives from raid heals. Once you are at this point in the fight, its a race against the healers mana. You have to kill anub before your healers go oom or you hit the enrage timer (which ever comes first). Other than that, there is really nothing special about phase 3.

In the end this encounter is about DPS and proper execution. Good luck to all of you that are pushing this encounter…


A Tribute To Skill Breakdown

Trial of the Grand Crusader


Last night, a group of 10 of our raiders stepped into the 10 man hard mode Trial of the Grand Crusade to see what we could kill. Well needless to say, hard mode was a bit tougher than the regular mode, however it was nothing special. After wiping all night on Tuesday on Northrend Beasts in 25 man, I was expecting quite a bit more resistance by the best that The Argent Crusade had to offer, but alas, things just kept dying one after another. We pulled the Northrend Beasts and a few minutes later they were dead. Lord Jaraxxus proved to be our only wipe between the entrance of the instance and Anub’arak, and only because we didn’t switch fast enough to the portals. Faction Champions were a one shot, as was the Twins. Anub’arak proved to be the only challenge of the night, but I will get to that later. I thought I would take a bit of time to discuss the challenges and the differences in the bosses from normal mode to hard mode, and specifically what our guild had to focus on to one shot each of them.

Northrend Beasts Made Simple

From what we saw, the keys to Northrend Beasts was the coordination that it takes to kill the specific adds within the encounter. When it comes to Gormok, it is a fairly straight forward part of the encounter. From a tanks perspective, there are a few things that should be handled differently. First and foremost, your gear set should be a pure effective health set, as he hits considerably harder and having more armor will mitigate the amount of damage taken from the DoT. Also, you will want to taunt off your fellow tank at two stacks. I found that if you count to three after the other tank has 2 stacks, and then taunt, your debufs clear in perfect time to pick up Gormok when the other tank has two stacks. The fight should take no more than two rotations of the tanks. If you find that the first tank has to go through three full tanking cycles, your dps is not cutting it for the Worms, which is the true test of this fight.

Once Gormok is dead and Dreadscale comes out, the second phase of the encounter has begun. We found that it was most effective if both tanks start off on Dreadscale and you have a warlock or hunter on Acidmaw. As for positioning, you should pick up Dreadscale and tank him in place until he drops his first acid cloud. Once this happens back him up just enough to not stand in the cloud. The direction you will want to kite him is from the spawn point back towards the gate that he came from. By the time you get him to Acidmaw, he should burrow into the ground. During this time, ALL dps should be on Acidmaw. We burned down Acidmaw and tanked through the enrage on Dreadscale. This part of the fight is by far the most challenging part of this encounter, as it is the dps / gear check of the instance until Anub’arak.

Phase 3 is basically the same as normal mode with the exception that you do not get the speed debuf when he knocks you against the wall. Because of this, we positioned him a bit different to ensure that we had the most time on target during the stunned part of his phase. We tanked him towards the outside wall and ensured that every member of the raid was between the middle of the room and his tanking position. By utilizing this positioning, you can make sure that every raid member is clumped up on one side of the coliseum, so that they dont have to run as far to start dpsing once he is dazed. This will obviously only work if your entire raid is quick and moving out of the way. Other than that, it was a mirror of the Normal Mode, and an easy P3.

Lord Jaraxxus and his portals

Lord Jaraxxus gave us the only difficulty of the night (with the exception of Anub’arak). This fight is basically the same as the normal mode fight with one very important difference. The portals and volcanoes that he spawns have health bars, and as such should be DPSed down. The longer the portal or volcano is alive, the more adds it will spawn. It is imperative that ALL of your dps switches to the portal or volcano when it spawns. By doing this you can alleviate a lot of raid damage. Once we got the switches down, we only spawned one Mistress, and usually one to two elementals. The rest of this fight is about the same as the normal mode, just more health and more damage. Most of the damage from this fight is AoE damage on the raid, The tank is quite easy to heal, but it is still probably a good idea to save your healers some mana and wear your effective health set again.

The Faction Champions

The Faction Champions fight is the same as the normal mode in every way except for the fact that they hit harder, they have more heath, and they cannot be taunted. The strategy that we employed to beat them was to kill the mobs that would pressure our healers the most. We got a combo of Enhancement Shaman, Holy Paladin, Rogue, Priest, Boomkin, and Mage, and that was our kill order. It is essential that you cleanse as much as possible during this fight, use your Hammer and (if you have it) arcane torrent on cooldown, and freedom /BoP your clothies as much as possible. This encounter is all about focused dps, timely interrupts and crowd control, and focused dps. If you can combine all of those things, the fight should drop free epics for you.

The Twin Val’kyr fight

For the twins fight, we modified our Normal Mode strategy and positioning to take advantage of the damage and the orbs. We had all the of the raid except a tank and a dps get the light essence, and blow up Eydis Darkbane. The light tank and the one other raid member with the dark essence were in charge of absorbing the dark orbs, while the rest of the raid was on the white orbs. We focused down Eydis Darkbane and only swapped if the twins were channeling the light surge. Other than that, its a straight tank and spank. But I did get a juicy little BiS ring from the fight…


I will talk about Anub’Arak tomorrow, as I feel that the fight requires its own post. We had reached Anub’arak with 49 attempts remaining and it took us quite some time to learn the fight and understand the raid composition and mechanics that were necessary for a clean kill. After we got our legs underneath us, the fight is all about coordination and massive DPS. I did get a great little weapon from the tribute chest, however I am not sure how I feel about losing a lot of expertise off of Sorthalis. For now I don’t have any expertise on my gear, so when I have my threat and effective health sets on, I cannot wear my best weapon, however as soon as I pick up the T9 Shoulders, then I can swap back and have some great stats and a killer health pool.

P.S. yes I know I am missing an Enchant, but our guild enchanter’s computer died and he is putting it back together as we speak…


Good luck to all of you on your Trial of the Grand Crusade raids, and I hope to have some good information regarding Anub’arak tomorrow!


Min / Maxing and Socketing


It may come as a surprise to some of you but I have a rather geared alt. When I first started playing Wrath of the Lich King, I wanted to play a pure dps class, so that farming, questing, earning gold, and raiding were a bit more “fun.” So I took my little level 39 twink hunter and leveled her all they way to 80. As soon as I started gearing her, I was asked to tank as a protection paladin for my guild. So my stint as a dps’er lasted a total of one week at 80. However after naxx got boring, and ulduar got on farm, I was able to gear up my hunter. I leveled as beast mastery, was one of the server’s first hunters to have a spirit beast (for those of you who only care about tanking, its an extremely rare cat that requires the 51 point beast mastery to tame and use), and Loved BM. Well, BM got nerfed, Survival got a huge buff, and off i went into the world of explosive shot.

Well, when we were in full hard mode gear in Ulduar and ToTC and farming for Emblems of Triumph took away most of my attention, my poor little alt was gathering dust. Last night we ran an alt ToTC 10 man and I brought my hunter. Well I’m in a mix of Naxx Best in Slot, Ulduar Best in Slot, and ToTC welfare epics, and I had to switch again, this time to Marksmanship. Where is this story about a hunter on a prot pally site going?

Min/Maxing – To ArP or Agi for a hunter

I want to use my hunter as an analogy for our tanks and our constant struggle to try to maintain the balance of stam, avoidance, and mitigation. As a survival hunter, agility is king, you gem agility the way most tanks gem stam, e.g. all the sockets but the ones to activate your meta. ArP is the number one stat for MM hunters as most of their damage comes from physical attacks (most of SV is explosive shot, or fire damage). So I am sitting on my alt, newly learning the MM rotation, full of agility gems, with no armor penetration in sight.

I start up a conversation with our token “i pull 9k dps regularly” MM hunter and he starts talking about ArP and how I should totally regem my alt so that I can gain a couple hundred DPS. Don’t get me wrong, I always strive to do more damage, however, dropping 10 epic red gems on an alt to go from 6k dps to 6.5k dps really is NOT my idea of money well spent. For my hunter, I will slowly gem ArP as I pick up gear until i am in the 600s and then go back to Agility.

What does this have to do with tanks?

The great agility versus dodge debate is an ideal candidate for this type of philosophy. Now most of the more hard core WoW players regemed the first day 3.2 came out, myself included. That tuesday night, I was standing in front of the gem vendor ready to blow every badge I had on 20 new shiny epic gems so that each of my gear sets, Threat, Avoidance, Effective Health, and Overall were full of epic gems. But what of the rest of us? What of those of us who feel like I do on my hunter? That is where the upgrade gemming philosophy comes in.

In the end we are talking about Min/Maxing, and not requirements (save 540 minimum defense rating), and as such gemming is really a preference. You can be that tank that really, really, really loves Stamina, needs Stamina, and craves the largest health pool on the server. But thats not me. I love balance. So if you are not engaged in the great agility versus dodge debate, and you have not caught up onĀ Theck’s latests law of tank-ativity, Expertise, what do you do?

Well in my opinion you gem your upgrades, and you gem them according to your role, to augment your ability to do your job, and you gem them to enhance the piece to its fullest, and that is what I am going to do with my hunter. When it comes to the selection of gems for your tank, you have to take into account the benefit you will get from regemming. The dodge to agility switch is an expensive one if you gem like I do. If you are a stamina freak, then your gemming choices are simple and straight forward. In the end it all comes down to your desire to better your character, and how much you are willing to pay to get to that next level of stats.


  • What is this nonsense? HoPo and a total overhaul. It's going to be a long weekend of playing around.. 8 years ago