Archive for February, 2010


Threat Gear Breakdown

To follow up on the post which I wrote yesterday and add to it, I wanted to discuss our threat set, what I wear for that specific set, and a few modifications I make based on what I am tanking. Once again, I want to reiterate that the theory behind this set is universal, and may be applied to any level tank with any gear available to you , however for my example, I will be showing you what I wear based off of the gear which has dropped for me. Gear sets are going to be different for each person because each person has different options available to them.

The purpose of your threat set is two fold, to pump out as much damage as possible and to ensure snap and sustained threat for the duration of a fight. We achieve this by becoming hit capped, stacking expertise, and ensuring that we have as much attack power and crit as possible. In addition to that, we have to have a weapon which leverages our abilities to for the best outcome. The reasoning behind this is outlined by Theck on MainTankadin in his TPS thread, and reiterated in my weapon analysis post.

As I mentioned above, I make a few modifications to this set based off of what I am tanking. If it is a heroic, or trash in a raid, I replace my stamina trinket to enhance my gear set. If I am tanking a boss in ICC, I keep the stamina trinket to increase my survival and ease of healing. It is important to not lose sight of the fact that you are a tank first and foremost, and must gear yourself to survive the encounter and mitigate a significant amount of damage. You also must maintain the defense minimum and have a respectable health pool and armor.

Before I show you exactly what I wear as my threat set, I wanted to reiterate what was said in my gearing guide regarding threat sets. A Threat set is…

A set that is centered around maximum threat output while maintaining the ability to be a feasible tank. A threat set is used for three things, any trash that can not squash you like a bug, farmed bosses where your dps can let loose on auto pilot, and hard modes with time limits. The focal point of developing a threat set is your ability to produce the maximum amount of threat per second, and in turn damage per second, so that you can kill the boss in a set amount of time….

…start to look at your other priorities: 263 hit rating and 26 expertise. While you can stack as much strength and crit as you want, if you are missing the boss, you are not producing any threat. Your ability to land a successful hit is paramount to this set, and as such your first goal is to achieve 8% hit or 263 hit rating. Expertise will further your goal of landing hits, and you can stack this as much as you like once you have hit the soft cap of 26 expertise.

Once you have taken care of your first three stats, you can stack Strength, … and even … crit.

Now that we have gone over the theory, we can get into the specifics. Below are the screen shots to my threat set, and the link to the wowhead profile is here.

And, a recap of the basics of the set:

The basics of a threat set –
540 Defense
263 Hit Rating (no more than this, its wasted Itemization)
26 Expertise Minimum
3100 Block Value (no more than this, its wasted Itemization)
Stack Strength, Expertise, and Crit

The Gems and Enchants Specific to a Threat Set –
Hit Gems until you are at 263
Strength/Stam Gems
Agility/Stam Gems
Armsman or Agility to Gloves
Icewalker to Boots
Accuracy to Weapon

When to wear this set

As I touched on earlier, this set is specifically designed for maximum dps and threat out put, and does not stress survival as much as may be necessary for ICC bosses. I wear this set for all trash mobs in ICC, and heroics. For the lower spire bosses, and the non attempt counter bosses in the upper spire I swap out the Vengeance of the Forsaken for a stamina trinket and am good to go. Normally this set is something  that makes tanking quite fun. The numbers which come out of this set can make you giggle, because there is nothing quite like seeing 12k HoTR Crits on four mobs.

Special Considerations Sets

There are two more modified sets which I wear in ICC for different fights, and will swap out trinkets, rings, cloaks, and necks if I want to modify my stats to accommodate for any given encounter. The first specific set which I use for Sindragosa is my frost resist set. This set replaces five pieces of gear to boost you up to 485 frost resist, while maintaining the defense cap. I use my complete effective health set which was outlined yesterday, and incorporate four pieces of frost resist which are available from Blacksmiths and Jewelcrafters. I found that once I replaced four pieces of gear, I was under the defense cap, so I put my Ony trinket back on to push me over the top.

The second special set that I wear is a max armor set for blood queen. The concepts and mechanics of the fight make armor a very powerful mechanic for the Main tank. All damage which the main tank takes is transferred over to the off tank. So, any time you mitigate the amount of damage taken, it has a doubling effect. To do this, I only swap out my trinkets on my Effective Health set, to use the Glyph of Indomitability and the Unidentifiable organ. This boosts my armor up to just over 40k while maintaining respectable statistics.

Little tweaks to the core sets you build, based off of encounter mechanics, will make you a great tank from a gearing perspective. Understanding what is being thrown your way and manipulating your ability to combat that is powerful. Good luck on your gear selection and equipment set ups…


Effective Health Gear Breakdown

In response to a request I got, I wanted to take today to discuss gear sets. While I have long since wrapped up the posts on gear set theory, how to select the gear, gems and enchants, and when to use them here and here, I have never provided the specific gear which I use for any of these sets. The reasoning behind this is that each person has different gear to work with, and different chances at obtaining said gear. Also, the benefit of being general is that you can apply this theory to someone who is just getting gear via the emblems, and decked out in T9.232 and someone who has full 264 gear.

I wanted to start with the progression set, the set which strives for the most effective health possible, and will boost your stamina and armor up to the 44th floor while dropping your hit down to the basement. The concepts of the effective health set are simple and finite: Gear for as much survival as possible, ensuring that you can take the biggest hits possible and survive. To cheat and quote myself from my gearing post:

A set that is centered around the theory of effective health, and it’s main purpose is to ensure that you can take the most amount of damage possible with out heals or avoidance. Most of the population that come to Maintankadin understands the concept of effective health, however for the purpose of a complete guide, effective health:

“…is basically a measurement of how much raw damage a creature has to deal to kill you. It is a measurement of Armor and it’s relation to Stamina… Effective Health is the measurement of how much breathing room your healers have to keep you alive assuming all other factors fail — assuming you do not avoid or block attacks or have a mana shield active. Effective Health is important for tanking heavy hitting creatures because of Murphy’s Law — if you can have long strings of not Dodging an attack, it will definitely happen. Raid tanking, ultimately, is about stability”. – Ciderhelm

With that being said, Below is the compilation of my Effective Health gear set. I want to clarify up front that this set is the one which stresses overall effective health, so it is a stamina stacking set, and does not necessarily give you the most effective health for any given fight. I also have an armor set which buffs up to almost 42k armor pre pot. Here is the wowhead profile and below are screenshots to view for stats. The profiler looks a little off because of the fact that I have more armor than that by  a significant margin, and not that much health.

Now that you can see exactly what I wear for my max stamina effective health set, you can understand the correlation between the theory behind my gear sets, which I have listed below, and the application based off of the gear we have at our disposal in ICC.

The Basics of an Effective Health Set –
540 defense
Stack Stamina
Stack Armor
Stack Expertise
Shield Block Value (to a much lesser extent)

The Gems and Enchants Specific to an Effective Health Set –
Gem for Stamina
Enchant for Stamina
Armor to Cloak
Armor to Gloves (Alternate)
Mongoose to Weapon
Blood Draining to Weapon (Alternate)

I made some minor modifications to this based off of data which has been proven to be false with in the past few weeks in the theorycrafting community, namely that expertise can be considered a damage reducing ability in ICC. While Expertise does reduce the chance to parry, and as a result parry haste, it has been estabilished that parry hasting is not turned on for the vast majority of bosses in ICC.

As for the gearing, what you see is what you get when applying this theory to the gear which drops out of ICC. Now it goes with out saying that there may be upgrades to quite a few of the slots which I filled with non optimal gear, however I would like to reiterate that your gear sets are limited to the drops you can acquire, so you have to make do with what you have.

When do I wear this set?

I wanted to close the post by giving some perspective on when I wear this particular set. Now you have to understand that this is what I consider my general progression set, and I will wear this for first kills of ANY boss, or until it is identified that another gear set will better suit the encounter. Currently I wear this gear set in ICC 25 man for Festergut, Putricide, and Lich King. For the most part, the other fights are no longer considered progression, or have other sets which will benefit more based off of encounter mechanics.  In ICC 10 I wear this for every hard mode which we have killed in the past two weeks, and for Lich King on Normal.

I will hopefully follow up this post with one in which I outline what I wear for my Threat set, as well as the special consideration sets for Sindragosa and Blood Queen.


Hard Modes in the Upper Spire

This was written while I was sitting in Jury Duty yesterday, I was slow at uploading it…

More Hard Mode ICC!

Last night our 10 man finished up what was left of our 10 man ICC raid before the reset. While we only got a few more hard modes down, we decided that it would be better if we just cleared the instance to get the experience on the Lich King, as opposed to extending the raid lock out and going for more hard modes. When the night was over, we finished up 7/12 hard modes, tackling Festergut, Rotface, and Dreamwalker on top of the first four bosses in the Lower Spire. As I am performing my civic duty today and sitting in a waiting room for Jury Duty, I do not have that much time to discuss the intricacies of the encounters, but rather would like to provide some insight into a few small changes we made from normal mode to hard mode to ensure that it was easier on us.

Had Mode Festergut

Festergut and Rotface have the added pleasure of having to deal with Professor Putricide throwing stuff at you from his balcony. Festergut was the first boss which we pulled, and we actually hit the enrage timer because of the new mechanics. Professor throws goo from his balcony, which slows attack and cast speeds considerably. We countered this with a few simple tricks. Normally our guild tanks Festergut smack dab in the middle of the room. With the new additions on hard mode we found it easier if we tanked him away from the balcony. To initiate the pull I ran at him, HoR’ed, and ran to what would be the west point of the compass on the ground, pulling him to the other side of the room. Our ranged congregated by the runeforge, and our melee stacked at max attack distance. This meant that the tanks (both paladins) could keep Festergut in position and just eat the ooze. The nature of our threat makes it so that we don’t have to worry about the attack speed debuff. From there, Everyone should just position their cameras to line their characters up with Putricide so that you can see where the ooze is being thrown.

Hard Mode Rotface

For Rotface, it took us a few attempts to get the coordination down, as Putricide casts vile gas in this encounter. The ranged had to stay 8 yards apart, but still be in the same vicinity for heals. The kiting was about the same as normal mode, with the exception of the fact that the off tank will want to have the greatest distance possible in between him or her and the big ooze. Periodically the off tank will get vile gas, and if you are too close to the ooze, then you will die. Other than that, it was a fairly straight forward fight. The main tank should be able to take the ooze spray. I stood still and popped cool downs during sprays, usually rotating bubble wall and raid wall.

Raise your hand if you love being a Pally

The next hard mode we killed was Dreamwalker. I do not, for the life of me, know how other tanking classes handle add management on this fight. The worms are insane, and the add management is quite unique. Our first few pulls showed us that this was not a pushover of a fight. We were wiping with 1-3% healing done on the boss. The intersting twists to this fight are that Dreamwalker takes damage now, meaning that you have to ensure that you do as little damage as possible to her, while healing her up to full. The main sources of damage are orbs which are left over in the portal phase, and the exploding corpses. Our first couple attempts showed that we were having problems with add management. To combat this, we went back to tanking all of the adds in the middle to counter the running that our melee was having to do. Adds started dying faster, and we had better control over the encounter. In the end, as most of these fights are, it seemed easy enough once you got the hang of it.

Our AoE tanking skillz, as I would like to call it make this easy enough for us, between SoComm, Holy Wrath, AS, and HoTR, we have a powerful toolset. the only thing that we are lacking for this encounter is an interrupt off gcd, make sure you use them all to the best of your ability.

Good luck to all of you in your raiding this week…


Attitudes and Elitists

I was inspired by a post on my reader today, and so you get a double post! The Hunter’s Mark had a great post regarding hard core raid leaders, and I wanted to share it and some of my own insights with you. While it was a refreshing sight to see another perspective on my guilds style of raiding, and I have to agree that most hard core raiders are similar to the likes of what he described, you do not have to be that way.

The Knowledge of Leaders

One of the things that THM outlined as a reason behind the hard core raid leaders attitudes was the multitude of responsibilities which he or she juggles. While I agree that leaders in hard core, or progression centered, guilds have a lot on their plate, it is still the personality which decides how to deal with people who are not of like mind. While I am not the dedicated raid leader for our guild, it is still my responsibility as an officer and a Main Tank to understand all of the same things that THM outlined. I know what specs are best, and better yet, I know why they are best. I understand the mechanics of the fights, the group composition which is required for the best results, and the expectations of each classes performance metrics.

This is something that most end game leaders should know. They may not always know these things, but if they dont, there is someone behind them in /officer or a similar channel who does. I would not ever claim to know healing assignments for any given fight in ICC, as they are handled by our healing officers, however I completely understand what type of healers are needed and why. These understandings lead to better encounter progression and quicker kills.

Distractions and Responsibilities

One thing that most people do not see when it comes to raid leaders and officers is the massive amount of information they must process at any given time. While you are pleasantly plugging away with your rotation, watching out for fire, a leader is maintaining rotations, avoiding fires, and watching raiders and their peroformance, all while getting whispers from people out of the instance, out of the guild, and from complete randoms some times. At the same time, they are dealing with calls in vent, raider suggestions, and the constant stream of feedback from officer chat.

These things happen on a daily basis while raiding in a progression guild. If you are the best geared tank on the server, you have tanks from all over whispering you asking you about gearing, spec, glyphs, why this enchant, why that gem, etc. You also may have to be watching the newer recruits and judging their performance.

While most people watch a few vidoes, or even come completely unprepared to new progression encounters, leaders come with a very deep understanding of encounter mechanics, positioning, group composition and and overall strategy already planned out. These things are researched before hand and discussed in forums and in vent. All of this is going on at all times, and they are still topping the meters, or being the best they can be.

Elitists and Attitude

While many elitists and leaders have a lot on their plates, that does not excuse them from having the manners of a descent human being. There is a right way and a wrong way to manage a group of people. The problem with elitists is that you only remember the very bad and the very rare benevolent ones. Your gear does not make you a better person who is above someone else. The Caste system is not part of this game, and you are not entitled to treat people like they are inferior because of your gear or progression.

Just last night I had a random out of the blue whisper from a tank on our server who I had never talked to before in my life. He asked me about my weapon enchant and why I use mongoose. I took about 5 minutes of my time to talk to him, explain his options, and give him some reading material over at MainTankadin. I also explained to him that I have many different weapons for different purposes. I then tried to understand what he was going to use the weapon for and gave him my opinion. He replied with a thank you and a very nice comment that I was much nicer and more helpful than any other tank he had tried to get advice from.

Its the simple things in life. Be kind, and treat others as you want to be treated. We have plenty of people in my guild who do not understand this concept because they are either too young to learn how to deal with people, or they have too big of an internet ego. If you run into these types of people and they are frustrating you, leave. There are plenty of people out there in the game who are just as geared, just as skilled, and have more patience, or compassion to help someone out.

Herding Cats and Bottom Lines

THM compared leading raids to herding cats (or 5 year olds) and he is quite right. It is a juggling act of managing 24 people, each with their own agenda and motivations. This is something which you should think about before you start passing judgement on a leader. Do your goals and motivations align with theirs? If they do not, why is that and is there common ground that you can focus on? In the end you have to understand where the other person is coming from, and if you are willing to put aside the differences of opinions to play a game.

As for the bottom line, I will say that in my personal experience, that is exactly what this game is about to hard core raiders. We are all about the bottom line. You want to spec Beast mastery? Go ahead, just know that you will find yourself kicked from the raid. You want to be a shadow priest, but we gave you a ton of holy gear, tough cookies, your job is to heal and you will do it or we will find someone else who will. This game is about choices, and to progression guilds, the choice is simple, be the best you can or get out of the raid.

If this attitude carries over to a PUG or a 5 man, then there is an issue. This attitude should only be enforced in guild runs where progression is a factor. So, in a PUG, walk away if someone is too elitist, even if it means you dont get that shiny piece of gear you wanted.

/end rant


Heroic: Storming the Citadel

10 mans are serious business

While I have some great ideas for guild management posts regarding some of the things our guild has gone through in the past few weeks, I wanted to talk about hard modes while it was still fresh in my mind. There has been a lot of chatter going around the internet about blizzard and their lack of ability to create difficult content, and that the hard modes they have created are a joke. While I understand the elite complaining about the lack of a “challenge” because they still have Sunwell in their minds, my opinion is that blizzard did a good job of balancing difficult with obtainable and “working as intended.” The concept of wiping for weeks on a boss before getting it down is outdated and unnecessary.

My 10 man stepped into ICC last night, down one person from our Kingslayer run, so that we could run two groups this week. In the end, we are a 25 man guild, and the purpose of 10 mans is to learn the encounters and get gear to defeat 25 man encounters. With this goal in mind, 20 people in an instance is better than 10. I had read a lot of information on MainTankadin and other websites about the challenges of hard mode content, how this boss was a one shot, and that boss was kind of hard. Well I have to say that after last night, Crypt Friends or almost any other guild in the world, is not Exodus, Vodka, Blood Legion, or Paragon. We are a very talented bunch of players who is still sitting in the top tier of guilds around the world, however things dont seem to come as easy to us. These encounters are very, very challenging and should not be taken lightly.

For all of the fights I am about to talk about, in case you were wondering I was wearing a Full Effective Health set, buffed to 56k with 38k armor in a 10 man.

Hard Mode Lord Marrowgar

Facing our first hard mode of the new instance was exciting. Fortunately we are a week or two behind the best, so we knew a great deal about the fights and how we need to execute them. On the first pull, it was quite evident to me that I still out gear at least Lord Marrowgar Hard Mode. I was not getting hit that bad and saber lash tickled between me and the other tank. Furthermore, the flame patch damage was nothing that scared me or my counter part. The same cannot be said for our health challenged healers and dpsers.

We found early on what others have conveyed about this fight. The hardest part of the fight is surviving the Bone Whirl phase, including breaking out bone spikes as marrowgar flies at you like a Barbarian in Diablo II. For us, it took a few different attempts at positioning to figure out what we wanted to do. In the end we settled on a tactic for P2 and began to execute. We had a few sub 10% wipes which were frustrating, before finally killing him and collecting our first set of heroic epics.

As we were taking with two paladins, we had a distinct advantage with respect to cool downs. One of the things as a tank that you can do to help mitigate the damage during phase 2 is to save your DS/DG for when one of your healers gets spiked, and marrogar decides to whirl over that spike. When we started to mitigate that damage, as well as using every other trick in the book including BoP and Sac, we saw progress and proper execution. The key from a positioning stand point is to ensure that everyone is in range of everyone else, so that spikes can be dpsed down, and people can be healed by all your healers.

Hard Mode Lady Deathwhisper

One hard mode was down, and we had our game faces on. Lady Deathwhisper was a step up on normal from Marrowgar and we did not expect anything less from heroic. We were right. While it took us more time to do Marrowgar than it did to do deathwhisper, it was still a difficult fight and I think our raid was more prepared for some of the tweaks. We started off trying to do the Juggernaut strat (the video which was on MMO-champion), however we found that it was really unnecessary and not plausible to tank the adds on the boss with out death grips. Two pally tanks and long cooldown interrupts means casters stay put.

We settled on doing phase 1 exactly the same way we did it in normal. The next two surprises came with the mind controls and adds abilities. On our first attempt our ret paladin got mind controlled in the middle of the room and proceeded to one shot three people with a Wings / Divine Storm. CC on MCs was fixed real quick after that one. The second thing that we noticed was different was that when the adds transformed, some of them exploded for tons (read 35k) damage. We lost a few melee to this.

Once we got the adds under control and we transitioned to phase 2, we realized two things. First we now know why Juggernaut tanked her on the stairs. An add spawns periodically on the stairs and has to be tanked or it will run around killing people. Secondly the boss is taunt immune! Our strategy, which will more than likely not work for 99% of guilds was for me to start off on the boss and the first add. At three stacks our off tank started building threat. When I got five stacks, I bubbled them off and tanked for another minute or so. At which point the other tank overcame my threat and tanked the same manner, 5 stacks, bubble, 5 more stacks.

At this point we had such a threat lead that it was no longer an issue. All we had to do now was kill the boss and avoid the ghosts, which are on steroids compared to the normal mode. When the touch a player the explode for 15k AoE damage. We collected our shiny purples and proceeded to the “HARDEST” fight in the instance (dripping with sarcasm).

Is there such a thing as Hard Mode Gunship?

Honestly, I dont even think it warrants any discussion beyond this. Hard Mode gunship is a loot pinata, and is no more difficult than the normal one. The boss hits harder, and you should retreat after every mage is killed, however it is still a joke.

Hard Mode Deathbringer Saurfang

This was by far the most difficult fight so far in the instance, not because the mechanics were different or there were new and exciting elements to the fight, but simply because of the amazing amount of RNG that is thrown out on this fight. Ragingsoul said it best on the 10 man Deathbringer thread:

…we tried him too, and yes, it’s quite hard and inconsistent from try to try. some tries he had a mark really late, sometimes, even with everybody spread out, he gains 30 BP instantly. quite annoying.

The problem with this fight is that you can go into the soft enrage with one or two marks. In our experience, two marks is bad, one is good. We had attempts where our first mark was out at about 65%, and we had attempts where our first mark was out at 40%. Either way, the burn from 30% to 0% is a very tight dps and healing check. If you get someone with Blood Boil and Mark, they are going to drop fast and hard. We countered that with BoPs on anyone who got a Blood Boil in Phase 2. Other than that, it was a lot of RNG, and we had a lot of wipes due to a death in the sub 5% range where healing just gets too intense.

I don’t want to spoil this fight for too many of you, because I think it is something you should learn on your own, how to use your cooldowns and deal with the mechanics. Each raid will have different utilities which will benefit them, and they should use them to the best of their abilities. To all of you who are attempting hard modes this week, good luck and remember to have fun, because sometimes we forget its just a game.


Hail to the Kingslayer

A week behind…

The first week in which the Lich King was released, we had a very successful week as a guild, killing all the new bosses, and snagging a world 73rd kill on Sindragosa. While this was the highlight of the week, and we were done raiding on Wednesday afternoon for the entire week, we still had 10 mans to go. While we understand that 10 mans are an integral part of raiding progression for a 25 man guild, and that the gear out of the hard mode 10 man instances is very beneficial to the guild, we had some faults in our raiding design. Over the past few months we have picked up a handful of exceptional players, increasing out raiding corps well beyond 25. This led us to attempt 3 10 man raids with mains. We quickly found out that healing balance issues were hindering progression.

You are not seeing things, that is four paladins in the front!

Last week, the officers in my guild discussed a different path forward, and one which was inspired by the elitism of a few of our guildies. We have a small contingent of very talented players with quite elitist attitudes. They have, over the past few weeks, created a rift in the guild which needed to be stopped. With respect to 10 man raiding, the major problem was that we were missing specific healing and tanking classes to make 3 groups possible. The elitist group had these deficiencies in the form of extremely geared and talented alts. However, they were unwilling to help the guild by sacrificing their own personal ambitions to help out our main raiders. The officers decided as a result that we were going to drop 10 mans from the organized schedule.

Everyone was free to go as they pleased, forming their own 10 mans, and running in cliques and groups to kill the Lich King. Unfortunately, in their shortsighted thoughts of gearing their alts and getting titles and achievement points, the elitist group neglected to see that their mains would be left behind to fend for themselves. The officers arranged their own 10 man group and headed out to have some fun.

Raiding is Fun?!?

The thing that I neglected to mention about the 10 man that I ran with last week, which included some of our best raiders and all the officers, was that we took three of our best healers, and both our Main Tanks. What goes around comes around. Well I have to say that two bosses into the instance, I was having more fun than I have in a very long time raiding. No one was bitching and moaning, no one needed to be carried, and with the skill level of all of the players in the raid, no leadership was really needed beyond leading by example.

Our dps was stellar, our coordination was top notch, and bosses died hard and fast. Pretty soon, less than two hours after first pull, we were standing face to face with the Lich King. We knew what to expect out of the first three phases, as we had seen it in 10 mans the week before, and in 25 man that week. What we didnt have was a coordinated plan on how to deal with Defile and the Valks. That plan came quickly and decisively. Phase 1 was pretty easy, people learned how to move with Necrotic Plauge quite fast, the AoE damage on the adds was impressive, including a whopping 7k by yours truly in effective health gear. Phase 2 was also a simple exercise. The only thing we needed to fine tune is when the off tank peeled the Raging Spirits off of me so that I could re-engage the Lich King on the transition.

Defile and Valks

Defile was the thing which gave us the most trouble. We had a few wipes and we had a few completely covered platforms. After coordinating rotations and movement strategies, we came back with a vengeance, and plowed into phase 4. This is where the first bug happened. On our first glimpse of phase 4, our off tank, who was handling a few adds from the ledge phase, was ported into Frostmourne and the adds immediately aggroed our healers and one shot them. Since this happened, it is my understanding that blizzard hot fixed the issue, however it was very frustrating for us. After a few more learning attempts on Phase 4, figuring out how we were going to handle the vile spirits, and just suriving the damage, we found ourselves face to face with a boss at 11 percent.

We called for a burn, and I even popped wings and started hammering away as fast as I could, and instantly I was dead! The boss was at 10%, and the lore began. We had did it, we had killed (or almost killed) the lich king. A complementary free dps burn from 10% to 0 later and we had epics and a shiny new title.

Thoughts on The Lich King

I found the fight very fun, and quite challenging for a 10 man. I am curious to see how long it takes some strict 10 man guilds to kill him, because we were all decked out in 264, and still had quite a hard time with him. He was regularly hitting me for 35k plus during phase 1, and even more in P3 with his Soul Reaper ability, which leads me to believe that this fight is an everything check, tank check, dps check, healing check, and coordination check. All in all, a well designed fight. While about 1200 guilds have killed him as of today, he is not bleeding edge progression, however he is still quite the challenge.


The Long Vacation…

After three weeks of absolutely no contact in the blogging world, I feel it is time to jump back on that proverbial horse. My blogging all fell off with the push for hard modes, and the fact that my time and attention was needed elsewhere. Between my piles of electronic paper at work and the amount of effort I needed to put into our guild at home, I had no time for my blog. Well, as the storm has subsided, I have plenty of things on my mind which I want to talk about, and still not enough time to write it all down.

Where I have been

In the past three weeks, I have been swamped at work, Killed the Lich King, taught two new tanks some gearing philosophy which I hope sticks, and dealt with multiple different types of guild drama. To top that off, I also bought a new home, making my free time drop considerably. I feel that a few of these things deserve their own posts, so I will start with the topic for which I am the most known for throughout the community, gear.

Walk a mile in your shoes

Over the past few months I have been working with a new tanking corps, and they all came in with different levels of understanding, skill, and overall competency. It took me a month or so to understand exactly where each of our new tanks were coming from, and what they knew when it came to their roll in the guild. Only after I sat down with another prot paladin tank in our guild did I have a clearer understanding of how I needed to approach each of them, what they already knew, and what lessons I had to impart on them. My main off tank, who now happens to be a paladin, conveyed what one of the other officers said to him and it finally struck home.

As an off tank in our guild, I do not envy you, you have the hardest role of any person here. You have to fill Wrathy’s shoes, and those are very very big shoes to fill…

Now while I am very aware that I have many areas and skills sets for which I can improve upon, what did not occur to me is that I am a respected member of the theorycrafting community, an expert on gear, and a very, very knowledgeable player who always comes prepared. Only one of my three fellow tanks in the guild realized this, as he is a paladin and visits the same websites which I contribute to. Once I understood that the other two tanks which I recruited to help us in the final push of the expansion had no clue what type of resource I was, I was in a better position to help them.

Gearing questions and advice

One night in ICC, our other paladin tank asked me about a threat spec, and why my offspec was always prot but always different than the cookie cutter specs we are used to. I explained that over the past six months my offspec has always been there for one specific fight, Heroic Anub’arak. As we dropped ToTGC from our raiding calendar and began to solely run ICC, I changed my offspec one more time. This time, it looks like a spitting image of the SoComm cookie cutter, however I glyphed specifically for Lich King, increasing my AoE damage for P1, and decreasing my holy wrath cool down for P3.

After this short discussion, he asked about gear, threat sets, and what I was aiming for. This brings me to my main topic for discussion today. The threat set for ICC. While most of us will be pushing progression for some time to come, and wearing our effective health set all time time, it is still nice to have that threat set for farmed content, trash packs, and dps races. I went on to wowhead and created a profile for my ideal threat set, only to find out that after 30 minutes of tweaking, I never signed in. As a result, you will be left with stats and screenshots, but this is my ideal threat set for hard hitting bosses, where you still need the stamina to survive.

This is the simple list of what I will be wearing for my threat set. There are a few things that can easily be swapped out based on the situation, such as the libram (trash and SoComm vs. Boss and Vengeance), however it balances the stats which you want for increased threat quite nicely. As I screwed up a bit, there are a few ilevel 277 pieces in here, but you can easily use the 264 pieces for those slots. This gear set is something that I complied out of bosses which I can currently (or with in the next week) kill. Below are the statistics and outcome of this set with the cookie cutter 0/53/18 spec, and no buffs….

As you can see, you are sacrificing a bit of health, sitting a hair below 40k, however you are looking at hit cap (a few points over), 50 expertise, 4k plus attack power and 20% crit unbuffed. This set will crank out quite a bit of tps.

When to use this set

This is a set that I would consider using only on farmed content. The definition of farmed content will vary from guild to guild, so it is up to your best judgement when to use this. For my guild, we are working on the Lich King in 25 man currently, so I will wear this for all bosses except the end wing bosses of the upper spire. On 10 man, I  used this on every fight up to Sindragosa.

For those of you who have stuck around for my short absence, here are a few things that I have on the back burner for topics in the upcoming week. I have been developing a good post on educating tanks, the role of a mentor, and your job as the leader of a tanking corps, a post on guild drama which will be more of a rant than anything (but a good read none the less), and a post on the Lich King, and how we got our kill.

It is good to be back on the old blog, good luck this week in your raiding endeavors!


  • What is this nonsense? HoPo and a total overhaul. It's going to be a long weekend of playing around.. 6 years ago