Archive for the 'Tanking' Category


Hard Mode Lady Deathwhisper

Lightknight: You ask and you Shall Recieve

Hey Wrathy, i am a german Paladin Tank from Cologne. I enjoy reading your Blog and your Tips for the ICC25 Hard Mode Bosses. I am very interested in your Guilds Lady Deathwhisper Strat. We are at 7/12 Hardmodes. Can you write about it?

So, as promised I am going to have a double post today. Since Lightknight asked for some strategy regarding Lady Deathwhisper, I figured what better time than now to write a post about that specific encounter. I am going to assume that anyone who is reading this is deep into ICC hard modes and has the basic understanding of the encounter mechanics. I figure that since I am a tank, and I write a tank blog, I will touch specifically on the things that I do during the fight. I can comment on almost every aspect of the fight. The only thing that I do not have any experience on is tanking the adds in Phase 2, because our other tank does that. However, I have tanked both sides in phase 1, and since i’m not on adds in phase 2, obviously I have tanked the boss.

One more important thing of note is that because the most threatening attack to the MT during this fight is a frost bolt, Frost Resist gear is suggested. For this fight I use my progression gear set (double Stam trinkets) with three pieces of frost resist gear, the Belt, Chest, and Boots from the Naxx crafted set. This brings me up to 485 frost resist. Our other tank wears high health threat gear because he is dealing with snap threat on 3-4 adds at any time. It is also important to remember (because blizzard made us forget about it) that Lady Deathwhisper is one of the two bosses in Icecrown Citadel who has parry haste enabled.

Phase 1 positioning

For our guild we had to change up our positioning from normal mode. In normal mode, we all just stand in the middle section of the room, split up the melee and tanks to the right and left sides, and tank the adds by the cubbies. This is the first major change in hard mode. We place the whole raid behind the boss, as most guilds do. You can get behind the boss and stand there prior to the pull if you hug the wall, so positioning and raid placement is easily done with out worry of pulling the boss. We place all of our melee on the 2 caster side (right side looking at her from the front of the room), and spread our ranged out  along the middle to left side. This creates seperation between the melee and the ranged for mind controls, and ensures that we have a very nice area designated to cleave all the adds down near the boss.

We basically use the pillars as markers and line of sight for caster mobs. We tank all the adds in between the right hand pillar and the boss, so that cleaves and 8 yard AoE can hit all adds and the boss, while at the same time creating a LoS issue for NPC casters which will force them to run to you and join the pile. In order to get all the adds there, we employ the following tactics. The Tank on the two caster side picks up the melee add and positions himself in the correct place. One of the casters is gripped into the melee, and the other is MD / LoS’ed into position. Truthfully, as our dps got better, our hunters just killed the other caster before it ever got into position.

As for the left side (or the one caster side), There are two melee which you have to pick up and move into the AoE area. I can provide a bit more insight into this since this is the side that I tank. The caster that spawns on the left side is burst down by all of our ranged, and is usually dead before I can pick up and move both the melee adds. I hit the closer melee add (the cubby nearest LDW) with a HoR then SoR and use AS and Judgement to pick up the melee that spawns nearest the stairwell. Before they can hit me I have already begun to run back to the AoE area, and get a few more attacks on them. I swap between the two adds for the first 5 to 10 seconds to establish aggro on both and then allow the cleave damage to kill them.

If there is a melee add which spawns from the back of the room, our other tank just taunts it and pulls it into the pack, if there is a caster add, we have to get quick taunts and LoS on it so that it will run into the pack. Once the caster’s shield goes up its much harder to move them around. Finally the other thing which needs to happen very quickly is identifying when one of the adds gets empowered and focusing it down. If it is the caster add, you do not have to worry so much about moving around, but if you get a Deformed Fanatic, it is imperative that you move IMMEDIATELY because they will hit you for 40k. Begin to kite them away from the melee, as the deformed adds cleave.

Avoid killing your own

The first major problem we encountered was the fact that we were killing our own melee when the mind controls go out. This is combated by a few things. First and foremost people have to be cognizant of the boss timers, and their surroundings and stop any AoE abilities when the MCs go out. However the other thing that we can do as tanks is move the adds away from the group. I usually back them up another 10 yards towards the cubbies so that the melee can be closer to their CC’s when they get MCed. Lost dps because you wait for people to be cc’ed is less than lost dps because you killed your fellow raiders.

From here, it is basically rinse and repeat until about 10% mana. You want to bring the shield down when the adds that are out are at about 50% hp. This will allow for all of your dps (except rogues and hunters) to be on the adds when your MT establishes initial aggro on the boss. She is not tauntable in hard mode, and it provides for some sticky situations if there are a lot of dots and aoe from the melee on her. I usually swap over to her at 5% and start to attack her with the adds that I am tanking just beating on me. I use this time to swap my seal from Seal of Command to Seal of Vengance/Corruption to get a 5 stack up before she is released. Once her shield is depleted, she wipes aggro and starts moving. This is when you need to be getting some serious threat on her, from both your own abilities, as well as MD and tricks.

I usually hit her with a SoR, HotR and AS as I run away. We place her in the middle of the room, but I know there are guilds who put her on the stairs. Either place is fine but you have to place her in such a manner where people have room to move when the ghosts spawn.

Phase 2 Logistics

This has been said in many places and in many ways, but the frost bolts she does are much less threatening than ghosts blowing up. Any rogues who are on the boss for interrupts (and dps) should be aware of this fact. You can easily eat a frost bolt when wearing your frost resist gear, but a ghost blowing up has the ability to kill everyone around it. Phase two from the MT’s perspective is a tank and spank, where your only job is to avoid ghosts. You dont even have to produce threat, because after you hit 5 stacks you wont be. You will be doing marginal dps on the boss and helping her life go down, but you are in a great situation to call ghosts out around the melee and move accordingly to help them.

Other than that, the whole fight in phase two is a balance of avoiding ghosts, and ensuring that the adds are killed fast enough that your ranged can get some time on the boss. A few other things I do when I am tanking the boss that can help are throw hammers out on MCed people so that they dont kill your raid, or run into the AoE and get killed themselves, call out ghosts, move accordingly, and establish excellent initial aggro. If your dps is getting close to your threat, and they do not have a threat reducing ability, you can bubble /cancelaura macro off your stacks and establish some more threat, but threat should not be an issue because you should be getting tricks and misdirects on cooldown. I usually wait until I get to 5 stacks at the beginning of  phase 2, then bubble them off and get some more initial threat while I still can. But once into phase 2, as long as your dps can avoid ghosts, and your healers can keep people alive from the frost bolt volleys, you have a kill.

Good luck!


Suffer, mortals, as your pathetic magic betrays you!

Distractions, Obligations, and Absence

As some of you have noticed, I have been very bad at posting as of late. It has been a long month, with Elayn getting Married, work getting very busy, and progression in full swing. I honestly do not know where to begin with all of the things that have happened in the past month or so. After some contemplation, and the help of one of the hottest search engine topics that bring people here, as well as my fun instant gibs which have been happening as of late, I have settled on my first topic of discussion on my return from extended writers block!

Apparently my soul was consumed, multiple times

I think I have heard the following quote way too many times in the past few weeks, but all things considered this is one of the most fun fights I have had from a gear tweaking perspective in a long time…

You are fools who have come to this place! The icy winds of Northrend will consume your souls!

After looking back on the recent posts regarding content, I have been slacking quite a bit. It has been a few weeks since we hit 10/12 hard modes, and had killed both lady deathwhisper and sindragosa. However, that doesn’t mean that our guild doesn’t still find some difficulty in these attempts. We have gotten to the point where we can basically clear the entire instance on hard mode, save one or two bosses in a single day, however that doesn’t mean that we don’t have our issues with a certain angry female frostwyrm.

I wanted to take some time to discuss the 25 man version of  Sindragosa Hard Mode, including my thoughts on gearing, tanking, and some of the things that I have done to help make this encounter a bit easier. We probably spent two nights on this encounter in order to get it down, however for us it was not an issue of learning, but an issue of survival. After about 5 attempts we had gotten down the ice block positioning, line of sight issues, and overall strategy for phase 1/2. We were doing well but people were dying, including the tanks. I would say that about one in three wipes was due to my death.

This is the first time in a very, very, VERY long time that I have been a consistent cause of a wipe. I went into the encounter with the same philosophy as the 10 man when it came to survival. The frost breath was the major threat to my survival due to burst damage death, so I geared to combat that. I wore my full frost resist set, which had me sacrifice health and armor for 524 frost resistance.

A change in plans

It was apparent quite early on that this gear set was not going to cut it for this encounter. While the frost breaths hit very hard, the problem during the hard mode attempts is that her melee hit even harder. This was due to the lack of armor and mitigation that I had. As I slowly began to understand, something needed to be done. I initially swapped from a resistance flask to a health flask. This made a bit of a difference and I found that while I was still tap dancing the AD line frequently, I wasn’t dying as often. Who said 2,000 health wasn’t a make or break? (I’m an elixir spec’ed alchemist).

After swapping out one more pice of frost resist for my T10 277 chest, I was down to 370 frost resist and significantly more armor and health. This made quite the difference, and tank deaths dropped considerably in P1. In comes phase 3, out goes Wrathy. I was back to square one, and with the increased coordination and issues which present themselves in phase three, it was back to the drawing board, to squeeze a bit more survival out of my gear. I swapped a few things around and got to the point where I felt there was nothing else I could do to increase my survival. I was still at about 370 frost resist, and I now was trading some expertise on my weapon for blood draining and the Last Word proc.

After a few more attempts wearing said gear, we pulled, we executed, we conquered. Sindragosa was dead, and we were a 10/12 guild. It was a good feeling to get this boss down. The attempts which we did on sindragosa were for the first time, something to be proud of. Every boss which we have encountered has required a few hours of attempts and a handful of wipes in order to learn the execution and fine tune it enough to get a kill. This boss was a bit different. It was the first time where some of our newer (read non sunwell raider) members started to complain about how “hard” this was.

I for one welcomed the challenge and enjoyed the small step up in difficulty. It was the first time where we spent a significant amount of time on a boss in order to kill it since Anub’arak. And even then, anub was a special case because of holiday absences, and attendance issues. We ended up going very healing conservative with 8 healers, and 15 dps. It was something which stabilized the raid and allowed for the healers with Unchained magic to stop casting and just wait it out.

The second coming of Sindragosa

After the raid reset, we were hell bent on spending lots of time on putricide and getting that encounter in the books, but we wanted to clear the instance first in order to maximize the gear upgrades we could get before pulling the good doctor. We blazed through the instance, on shotting the lower spire, crimson hall, and Dreamwalker. In comes Sindragosa. While I was no where near as optimistic to say that we would one shot her, I was not prepared for what was about to take place.

With a new week, new challenges presented themselves. I was aware that frost resist was not as powerful on hard mode as it is on normal mode, simply because of the size of her melee and cleave swings, so I geared accordingly. I dropped all the way down to 270 or so frost resist, meaning that I was only wearing one piece of frost resist and the FR aura. I was sitting at about 61k hp, 39k armor, and 45 expertise, and we were running with 7 healers since we were missing one of our main healers for the day. That is when a long lost friend reached out and slapped me across the face…


I took a 32k hit, a little more than a second later a 29k hit, then less than a second later a 35k hit. 96k in two seconds. I was floored. I thought to myself, well that is what parry haste does, it is something I am going to have to deal with but I am doing my best with 45 expertise, its far more than my off tank has about 30 expertise, and I thought that it was going to be a little wake up call from the RNG gods. Boy I was wrong!

Two of the next three attempts were a result of parry haste gibs. It was time to do a bit more juggling of the gear set. I ended up with 52 expertise, trading about 1000 effective health for that extra little assurance that parry hasting was going to be a non issue. Although I have a few more points to go, it was enough to only see one more the rest of the night. After about 10 attempts, the boss was dead, and we were on to putricide with about an hour and a half left in the raid night.

Good News, Everyone!

NOT, well sort of…. We pulled putricide after discussing some strategy and as soon as the first plague went out, the entire melee bounced it around. We recovered from it and made it to the transition phase. It was sloppy, painful and over all our first major issue of the encounter. After a long but constructive discussion regarding positioning for the transition phase, we pulled again, and did much, much better! The good news was that we had made it to 50%, the bad news was that we had less than 2 minutes on the enrage timer.

The sustainability was there, but the dps was not. It was getting late and we had a few people that were not going to be able to make a Sunday raid, so we decided to do one last attempt on putricide, and then swap it to normal and clear the instance. On our last attempt, we tweaked yet a few more things, and got him to the second phase transition at 35% with 3 minutes to spare on the enrage timer. Unfortunately, our green ooze dps was lacking, people started blowing up and eventually we died. However, the silver lining to this is that after three attempts on hard mode putricide, we are already at Phase 3!

In the end we swapped the instance back to normal mode and cleared it in short order. Once again, a two day raiding week with 10/12 hard modes in the book….


Tanking the Lich King

The Little Things…

While I am aware that there are a few “Crib Sheets” out there on the intricacies of the Lich King fight, I wanted to dedicate a post to some of the more subtle things when it comes to tanking Arathas. Right off the bat, you will notice that he is one of the most painful bosses to tank from the perspective of keeping him in one place so that your melee can continually attack from behind. Since the advent of 3.3, mob patting has been very erratic and less than friendly to tanks. This definitely transfers over to the Lich King encounter. The reasoning behind this is because of the ghouls that he summons. Depending on your guild’s strat for killing the boss, you may just have to deal with this issue, but know that the smaller number of adds on the MT, the less time the boss will spend doing the truffle shuffle.

Positioning the Shambling Horror

While you may think I am referencing the off tank and their role in phase one, you would be mistaken. As the main tank there are a few things which you can do to ensure that you have clean Shambling horror pick ups by your off tank. No matter what your strategy is, you should have your off tank more than 8 yards away from the main tank, with the add facing away from the raid. On our first night of attempts we had some issues with picking up these adds, mainly because of missed taunts and times when the MT’s splash damage would pull off the OT right after the spawn. For our guild specifically we had these issues because between my HotR and SoComm splash, if the horror was on the other end of the room from the MT, and it had to walk through my path, I usually had enough aggro to pull off my OT.

To solve this issue, as the MT you can change your positioning to allow for simple and reliable pickups with out the need for a misdirect. The shambling horror spawns 10 yards in front of the lich king every single time. This means that when the cool down for shambling horror is up, you should put your back to your OT, and ensure that the LK is facing said OT. Sometimes you have issues with this because of the fact that the MT may have some drudge ghouls on him or her. This causes the truffle shuffle that I spoke of earlier. In addition, I have found that the LK usually summons three more ghouls about the time he wants to summon a shambling horror. You can combat the truffle shuffle by using your Holy Wrath just prior to summons, which will stun the ghouls outside of melee range and ensure stable boss positioning.

Positioning of the boss relative to the environment is something else that you can have a great influence on the raid. If your raid is having issues with phase 1 to transition phase (read Remorseless Winter)  it can help to tank him on the edge of the inner platform. This positioning ensures that the healers and ranged do not have to move too much to avoid remorseless winter.

The Transition Phase

While this phase is quite straight forward, it presents some unique challenges to a paladin in the form of a silencing frontal cone from the raging spirits. This debuf should be cleansed off you as soon as humanly possible. Beyond that, there are some positioning tips for you raid so that they make your job as easy as possible. The raging spirits are very hard to move, and periodically cast a frontal cone spell which silences everything in its path. We have found that the person who is afflicted with the raging spirit debuf should be about 6 yards away from the MT. The problem with this is that if the person with the debuf stands right on top of the tank, the spirit is spawned behind the tank and it immediately silences the raid with soul shriek.

We find that the first spirit is always picked up by the MT because the OT is still wrestling with the shambling horrors from P1. As soon as the horrors are dead, the OT taunts off the MT and picks up the rest of the spirits, giving the MT the freedom to pick up Arathas in the transition to P2 (valks phase) and position him for the first defile and summon Valk.

Managing Defile as a tank

From our guilds perspective, defile is the most difficult part of this encounter. It requires every person to be on their toes and environmentally conscious. Defile is a spell that is cast on a random member of the raid. Once the cast is complete it leaves a big black puddle of evil on the ground. If no one takes damage from it, and everyone avoids it, you will kill the lich king. If someone takes damage from it, the puddle grows in size and does more damage. One thing that you can do as a tank is control the general position of where the defile is going to occur. This is because of the other aspect of phase two, the summoning of Val’kyrs. When the valks or defile spells are on cooldown, every one in your raid should be stacked up directly behind the boss. Because of this, the positioning of the Lich King is very important.

You want to place your character directly in the center of the room, with the lich king slightly off center facing in specific direction of your chosing. This will ensure that defile will be behind him, and this will also ensure (when defile is not being cast) that the val’kyrs direction is predictable. On 10 man you have one valk, so there is not as much to worry about, however on 25 man, you will have three, and having them all go in different directions is very very bad. With this being said, you want to divide the circular room up into quarters. After you do this, you want to tank the LK with his back to the quarter of the room where you want the first defile to be dropped. Right before defile is cast, everyone in your raid should spread out with in that quarter of the room.

At this point its out of your hands, however you should already be planning on moving the boss to his new position, in the adjacent section of the circle. This gives you maximum distance between defiles. Rinse and repeat, and if everyone is good at defile, this phase can be executed with repeatability. Now keep in mind that in addition to defile, you have to manage two different things during this phase, the control of the Val’kyrs, and the ample usage of cool downs when Soul Reaper happens.

Controling the Val’kyrs

As a paladin tank we have a few indispensable tools in our arsenal when it comes to the val’kyrs. The specific tools are improved hammer of justice and glyphed holy wrath. I spec and glyph specifically for this fight, so that I can ensure maximum control on the valk’s in phase two. With one point in improved HoJ and glyphed Holy Wrath, you will have both abilities up for every Val’kyr summons. It is imperative that you use the Hammer of Justice ability first. This will ensure maximum stun time. If you use your HW first, you get 3 seconds of HW plus 3 seconds of DR HoJ, where as if you use your HoJ first you get 6 seconds of HoJ and 1.5 Seconds of HW, netting you a 1.5 second increase in stun time.

Soul Reaper hurts

Soul Reaper is an ability which the Lich King uses every 30 seconds, and it Inflicts 50,000 Shadow damage and increases the Lich King’s physical damage by 100% after 5 seconds. Used on the current tank. This means that you get hit hard and then 5 seconds later you get hit really hard. You will NEED to use cool downs on this in 25 man to survive. Not because the damage from the soul reaper is too much, but because of the fact that a melee swing lining up with the SR will one shot you. Since this ability is used ever 30 seconds, you will have to tank swap for this phase 2 and Phase 3.

The cool down rotation which I use is as follows – First Soul Reaper I use Divine Protection, as it will last the entire time. The second cool down I use is a very precisely timed DS/DG cancelaura macro. If the Raging Spirits are not down yet, and the OT can not taunt, then you need a HoSac and I blow both trinkets (skele key and Heroic Juggies, netting me a heath pool of 69k).

Vile Spirit control

The mechanics in Phase 2 and 3 are the same, and they are separated the same way as P1 and P2 are, with a Remorseless Winter transition phase. You have to deal with Soul Reaper, and you have to deal with defile. As an off tank there is a new responsibility which you should do to help with the phase mechanics. The vile spirits are a threat to raid survival, and as such should be taunted off of people and kited till they die. A tank can eat one or two on 25 man as long as they a long enough distance away from the raid, and on 10 man they can eat quite a few. Any help is good, so make sure you taunt a few off your squishy raiders and take the hit for the team.

Good luck to you all, and enjoy the 5% buff they implemented today!!!


10 man is serious business

I’m not kidding, the crimson hall is very challenging…

The Crimson Hall

Last night we decided that we needed to see the Blood Queen in 10 man before we pushed any more of our attempt counter. So, with that in mind, we split our raid up into three 10 mans and went into ICC 10 for a shot at the title. The first seven bosses died in quick succession, and we even picked up a few achievements on the way. I personally felt pretty good about our group, we had some solid players who really knew what they were doing. Each dps was averaging upwards of 7k minimum on most fights, our healers were some of our best, and I was tanking with our fury warrior in offspec tank gear that puts our new recruit main tanks’ loot to shame. Then the crimson hall hit us like a brick wall.

The Blood Princes

Yesterday, I did not have much to say about this trio of blood elves, as our 25 man made quick work of them. During the 25 man, I was concentrating so hard on avoiding stuff, cleansing off the spirit finger sparkles, and using all the utility I could muster between my hands spells and raid wall (DS/DG). Last night was another story. I had some quality time to analyze the fight and see it from every aspect as we wiped over and over again. All three of our 10 mans were having major issues with the princes, and were all stuck there for a very long time after plowing through the first seven bosses.

Our particular 10 man group was having problems with a few key issues of the fight. Namely, the empowered flames, the initial pull before our lock could get enough of the nuclei on him, and the nock backs from the shock vortex’s sacking on the raid. We tried a lot of things. And each time we tried something, a new issue creeped up and bit us.

We initially tried to two tank it with me on Valanar and Taldaram with our lock on Keleseth. With a priest and shaman as our healers, and the requirements of spreading out constantly, we found that there was way too much damage on the tanks. I was doing fine, but would every now and then drop to about 30% because I would take back to back hits from both princes. We decided that it would be easier on healers if we went to three tanks, so our fury warrior went back to tanking and we had one person per boss. At this point, we were running into issues with shock vortex.

While the issues with shock vortex’s knock back were short lived as people were good about spreading out, the shock vortex itself was a bit more problematic a few more times before we got our kill. There were plenty of times where our lock tank just dropped from the damage, and there were quite a few times when the empowered conjured flame was the source of our wipe. We were also victim to some unlucky combos of shock vortex and empowered flames. Finally we conceded that we needed three healers. So, our dk logged over to his disc priest, and we one shot it.

Apparently we should have thought about that earlier….

The Blood Queen Lana’thel

With a fresh set of attempts, and this time 15 and not the 10 we got in 25 man, we started in on the queen. Once again AoE damage was really plaguing us and our ability to sustain. We were watching people die to the first bite damage, Delirious slashes, and pact of the darkfallen. This fight seems pretty straight forward if you can heal through the raid damage. I was main tanking with our warrior OTing the mirror. The biggest hit I took was in the 11k range, and that is easily healed through when i have around 56k hp in 10 mans.

The encounter got me to thinking about the gear that you should wear for this fight to minimize the damage done to both the main tank and the off tank. I am conflicted in my opinions. Part of me wants to say that I should be stacking pure armor to mitigate the damage as much as possible. This will enable me to take less damage and as a result will double dip with the off tank taking less damage too. The other side of me is wondering if an avoidance set would be powerful. There were strings of 10 seconds where the MT/OT were taking 0 damage because I was avoiding all of the hits. While this is not a sound plan for surviving burst damage, that is not the concern of this fight.

We may have found our first fight where avoidance as a MT is truly rewarding. She does not hit that hard, and her swing timer is fairly slow, leading me to believe that avoidance is the best solution to damage prevention. I know that we have squashed the theory that avoidance is as good as stamina in ICC, however this may be one of those exceptions to the rule, and a fight where it may truly shine. Stacking stamina in this fight does nothing to prevent the incoming damage. We say that stamina is beneficial because it allows you to take more burst damage, of which there is none on this fight, as well as extending the range of Ardent Defender. Extending AD would be great if I got below 35% but I did not once drop below 50%, making more stamina worthless.

In the end, we called the raid with 9 attempts remaining because it was late and we all had work in the morning. I think I am going to give the avoidance set a shot when we get back in there for the last 9 attempts, and see what happens.

10 man difficulty

I know that there are quite a few people on the MainTankadin forums that are claiming that 10 man ICC is srs bsns and its a joke in terms of difficulty level, but they must be in a different instance than I am. I took a group of 10 people in 258 gear into the instance and spent three hours on the Crimson Hall. One of our three groups cleared the hall, but they did it with a Resto Shaman, Holy Priest, and Holy Paladin. In my opinion if you cant heal through any type of damage with those three, you should consider getting rid of your healers.

There is a known bug on the 10 man Blood Princes encounter which made me feel a bit better, and allowed me to congratulate our group after wiping for so long. The bosses hit as hard in 10 man as they do in 25 man. The damage was not scaled down, and as such your healers will be stressed to the max. For all of you who have cleared it, your healers are excellent players and deserve a pat on the back, I know ours do.


Bosses Who Parry Haste

I wanted to create an individual blog post about this, so that I can reference it later on. Below are the links to a few MainTankadin thread where we are discussing parry haste, and providing parse information as to whether or not a specific boss parry hastes. This is very important because, as I mentioned yesterday, expertise has moved way ahead on my priority list of stats to gear for inside ICC with the caveat that the boss must still have parry haste activated. There are a few bosses where it has been confirmed that blizzard has turned parry haste off, but for the rest of them, the majority of the tanking community seems to feel that it is still active and kicking.

From Theck’s post on Calculating the Avoidnace value of Expertise, which happened to be the source of inspiration for my blog post from yesterday, he mentions the following:

“Most bosses” is a bit of an exaggeration. Last I checked, it was only a few isolated hard-hitting slow-swinging bosses. So far on the compiled list, only Gormok, Jaraxxus (still no idea why they chose to do this on him), Ignis, Kologarn, and Patchwerk have it disabled. If anything, “most bosses” have parry-haste enabled, not disabled.

We’ll have to do some testing on ICC bosses to see for sure, but it’s unlikely they’d turn it off for the newer breed of weaker-hitting faster-swinging bosses. I could maybe see the Gunship captain and Festergut being ones that might have it turned off, since they can both hit pretty hard under the right conditions. Maybe marrowgar too, if his sabre lash is a special ability rather than a regular melee swing.

Now while the list is fairly incomplete, as it is a work in progress, we already see that some of the bosses in Trial of the (Grand) Crusade have parry haste turned on, and have been empirically proven to be able to parry haste. As we go through Icecrown Citadel and acquire more data from parses, we can start to understand which bosses parry haste in that instance. Once this is known, an Effective health set with expertise will be very valuable at preventing spike damage. For discussions sake, here is the list of bosses in ToTGC which we know about:

The List

Halion – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed here

Lord Marrowgar – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed here, here
Lady Deathwhisper – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed
here, here
Gunship (Saurfang/Bronzebeard) – –
Deathbringer Saurfang – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
Festergut – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
Rotface – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
Professor Putricide – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
here, here
Prince Taldaram – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
Prince Valanar – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
Blood-Queen Lana’thel – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed
Sindragosa – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed
The Lich King – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed

Onyxia’s Lair
Onyxia – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed here, here?

Crusader’s Coliseum
Gormok the Impaler – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed Here
Acidmaw – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed Here
Dreadscale – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed Here, here
Icehowl – Parry Haste Enabled – Confirmed Here, here
Lord Jaraxxus – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed Here, here
Faction Champions – Not looking for these as they’re not a tanking encounter
Fjola Lightbane – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed here
Eydis Darkbane – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed here
Anub’Arak – Parry Haste Disabled – Confirmed here, here

Since I am getting all of my values from the thread linked earlier on in this post, please reference that thread for all links to evidence.


The hidden value of expertise

Theck  has once again graced us with some stunning theorycraft regarding the value of expertise relative to dodge. For those of you who are unaware of this turn of events, or the common theory surrounding expertise and its ability to prevent damage, expertise has the ability to prevent parry hasting by pushing parries off the attack table. Now while most of us have never see a balanced set of gear with 56 expertise, every point over the soft cap of 26 gives us valuable damage prevention with a threat bonus, and it is very possible in this tier to get close to the cap.

Theck’s Conclusions are as follows:

Current conclusions:

  • For Icecrown Citadel, expertise is roughly 91% as effective as dodge rating for reducing incoming damage, assuming a boss swing speed of 1.4 seconds (after JotJ). It varies significantly with boss attack speed though, from 78% @ 1.2 to 154% @ 2.4 speed.
    • For Warriors, this range narrows to 52-102%, with an “average” of 60% at 1.4-speed.
    • For Druids, it’s 49-98%, with an “average” of 60%
    • For Death Knights, the range becomes 36-71%, with an “average” of 46%.
  • For bosses outside of Icecrown, we would use an average swing speed of around 2.0, giving average values of 87% for paladins (53%-104% range), 57% for warriors (30%-69%), 56% for druids (28%-68%), and 29%-45% for Death Knights (28%-52%).All of these can be seen in the plots in the “results” section.
  • Each point of expertise rating (above the soft-cap) also gives a Paladin about 60% the threat that a point of STR would.
  • What this means for us paladins

    Since I love gear sets, and optimizing my gear to be the best that it possibly can be, this means that I need to re-evaluate what I will be wearing when hard modes come out. The relative benefits of expertise seem too good to pass up. Now while I have not and will not gem expertise ever, I have been known to stack it on my gear. Because of the fact that we now benefit more from expertise than any other class, it is essential that we work with our other tanks to get the pieces of gear which will help us prevent parry hasting and incoming damage. According to this pretty graph that Theck has graciously put together for us, you can see that we already have a higher efficiency than any other tank. In addition to that, we scale better as the bosses swing timers get slower.

    As you can see, we benefit in multiple ways from expertise, and it scales better for us. Now that we all understand what it does, I wanted to talk a little bit about where we can get this lovely stat, and how I plan to create my hard mode progression gear set. I want to break down slot by slot our options, so that we understand where we can get the best bang for our buck, I have neglected mentioning any slot which doesnt have an expertise piece in the item levels of 264 to 277. First the off set pieces –

    The Cataclysmic Chestguard is drool worthy, it has three sockets, 207 stamina, tons of defense, and bonus armor to boot! This will be a guaranteed not tier piece of my gear set. The best part about the chest is the fact that it comes from the badge vendor. There is no need to hope for a drop, or not be able to get it because you haven’t been able to kill the boss that is selfishly holding on to this piece. The gloves are nice too, dropping from Blood-Queen Lana’thel in 10 man heroic. The Grinning Skull Greatboots drop off of Valithria Dreamwalker and have a 277 version as well! These will definitely be the boots i chose to wear over the crafted threat ones. As for the Tier gear, the only piece that has expertise on it, and one that I have always considered wearing are the legs. As you can see below, they are not the best for effective health, as the pillars of might have similar stamina at 207, but three sockets and a LOT of bonus armor and avoidance to boot. This is all a trade off of course because of the fact that they have no defense on them.

    What do these pieces get you?

    In the end you are going to have a total of 82+70+53+82 = 287 expertise rating or roughly 287/8.2 = 35 rating from gear. If you add this to the 10 rating from your Seal of Vengance Glyph and the 6 from Combat Expertise, you have 51 expertise. Now while this gear set may not be the best for every fight, being at 51 expertise with four pieces of gear is a great start to decreasing the damage you take and increasing your threat indirectly. There are other options for these slots, and the are very strong in their respective categories, however they are specialized. For instance, for the leg slot, you have the option of the aforementioned tier 10 pants, the bonus armor pillars of might or the legguards of lost hope for threat. To me, the decision on which pants to wear in what set is pretty cut and dry. I will wear the Tier legs for my balanced set (which I tank most non progression fights in), the pillars of might in my effective health set, and the legguards of lost hope in my threat set. You will see that there are similar results when you look at the other gear slots.

    In the end, you will have to decide how you want to gear for fights, however with the new data that Theck has provided us with, expertise is looking more and more attractive by the day for us.


    The good doctor is dead

    Fun, Fight is Fun!

    Honestly going into last night, I had very low expectations of what we needed to do. Both our 10 mans didn’t kill putricide last week, my group was 2% away from the feat, but still no kill. It seems that all I need to do to fix our attendance issues is talk about it here, because I logged on with 5 minutes before raid start time and there were 32 people in our raid, including one of our priests who left. I was happy to see that we had the “who do we sit” dilemma last night. Well the night was a productive one, and I was impressed with our guild to say the least, but once again that monkey on my back called attendance makes me wonder where we would be if we would have burned even a few attempts on putricide last week.

    Thoughts on Putricide

    The night started out pretty normal, we one shot every boss up to putricide, and even a ton of tank loot dropped, the threat pants, helm and chest dropped and even though these items were no where near BiS for progression sets, they were welcomed for our two new tanks who are considered undergeared when standing next to me. When we got to putricide at 8pm the officers had a little discussion, namely will we burn our attempts now on putricide or should we go to ToTGC and clear it first. In the end, it was my opinion that we had our A team in the raid and there was no reason to waste that on old content.

    We walked up to putricide, went over the strat and assigned our fury warrior to the Abom. I know, I know, why would we ever put a dps in the Abom when we need three tanks and that just gimps our dps so much. Well two of our tanks were underegeared and had not done the abom yet. On the other hand, our fury warrior has a full set of tank gear (which coincidently is better than our other new tanks) and did the abomination for my 10 man. We sat one of the tanks that had received an invite to the guild less than 24 hours earlier, made our Fury warrior go prot, and pulled….

    The fight was pretty much the same as 10 man, but the health pool on the slimes was much higher, and the first comment in vent was holy crap they have a lot of health. Our first attempt on 25 man got us to 63%. While no where near a kill shot, it was a very solid first attempt. The next few attempts saw us steadily progress from the 60’s to phase 3 and a new learning curve for healers and tanks. I suggested that we employ the same tactic for focusing our raid as we did on the night we killed Anub’arak. So, with half our attempts left, we gave our raid an ultimatum, get the boss to 20% or we are going to ToTGC. We got him to 10%, then, 10% or we go to ToTGC, and he was dead.

    The fight was one of the more fun fights I have had in a long time, lots of running around, kiting, environmental awareness, and strategy when it come to killing the slimes, positioning of the boss, etc. It was a nice feeling to kill a boss that was “challenging.” Now I will quote that because it only took us 7 attempts to kill the boss, making it no where near as tightly tuned and difficult as Sunwell or even Anub’arak hard mode, but it was definitely up there in the coordination skill-o-meter.

    Movin’ on up to the east side…

    With that kill we moved into the number 1 position on our server. Now while I do not think that most of us care too much about the position on the server, it is truly nice to take a server first. It’s a nice achievement that shows the talent of our raiding core. I don’t know exactly how it happens, but 2 minutes after we killed putricide, I had alliance whispering on alts asking if we killed him. It is amazing how fast news spreads. While notoriety and the prestige of killing him first is nice, I am already looking into the future, to the next wing and the next few bosses. The next wing opens up on this coming Tuesday, and I have yet to read up on any of these fights. I am sure there is a small amount of information which should help us in killing them next week, and I want to absorb all of it.


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