Posts Tagged ‘Awareness


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!!!


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).


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!


Northrend Beasts Hard Mode Revisited

Shame on me! Yesterday’s post was no where near the ‘less than concise’ rambling that I usually love to post. I promise that I will make up for it today and discuss the hard mode in a little bit more detail. Specifically what are the aspects of the fight that change from normal to hard mode and what can we do as tanks to improve our chances at success. The first thing that I noticed in my guild’s attempts is the token problems that you have on hard mode attempts and new encounters.

the pressure factor

A while back when my guild was attempting the Con-speed-atory achievement, I noticed something that I like to call the pressure factor. There are certain things that people do differently when they are placed under the added pressure of achievements, performance, and increased difficulty. Our guild chose to do one hard mode a week in ulduar when we were progressing through them, and blow through the rest of the “farmed” content. For the week in question, we were planning on doing General hard mode and as such did not want anything to do with Freya and her adds. The officers decided that we would give Con-speed-atory a shot.

The tanks were on it, the marks were up, and the pulls were clean. We got to Freya with 7 minutes to spare, fully buffed and ready to rock. This achievement was in the bag….

And then on the first detonating lashers pack, half the raid just forgot to move, they were so focused on dpsing Freya’s adds down as fast as possible they didnt bother to activate enemy face plates, or more simply move out of the way. Needless to say we wiped with the lack of dps after the next add spawned and the healers were overrun. We had lost the Con-speed-atory. Some people were consoling the raid by saying that we didnt have enough time to kill freya anyways, we wouldn’t have made it so it was not a big deal. Well we came back and killed her in 4 minutes. Needless to say, we would have made it just fine.

Northrend Beasts – a true gear check

In comes the opportunity to get some real challenging content (of course after we defeat the log in server boss) this past Tuesday. Our raid assembles and I talk to our tanking crew about the normal mode Trial of the Crusader. I stressed that we want to treat the normal mode like we will the hard mode so that we are prepared and in sync for the difficulties to come. We get our taunt rotation down for phase one, we get our taunt rotation and kiting down for phase two, we practice the routes we would have to take if we had the fire debuf, and we practiced the positioning of icehowl in phase three. We are ready, all the bosses are one shot and we regroup, set the instance to heroic and waltz in to the arena.

After the typical, buffs, strategy pep talk, and pre progression jitters, we start up our first attempt on Hard Mode. I have my progression gear set, purely focused on Effective Health, equipped and the boss hits hard, but nothing that we haven’t already seen in Ulduar. Two stacks and the first taunt lands on the boss with clear vent communication for all. Here is where things get a little messy.

Our other tanks do not have the Armor and Stamina that I have, and their survival is a bit more spotty. Tanks are periodically dropping like flies. Some of those hits are borderline insane, however I do not really take the type of incoming damage that they did. As we ironed out some details of the first phase of the fight it was apparent that the snowbolds are not going quietly into the night, and they must be dealt with. Our strategy with the snowbolds was based on priority of the raid member they attacked, we would have the ranged run to the hind legs of Gormok where they melee would focus them down. Healers were our top priority, tf they were on ranged they were less of a priority and if they were on melee, they were left until Gormok was dead.

As for the specifics of the tanks, we did a two stack rotation with three tanks, myself, a prot warrior, and a Blood DK. It got a bit complicated at the beginning because there were times that I would still have 5 seconds left on my 2 stack and our dk would get his second stack. I found that waiting for about 3 to 5 seconds to taunt off the tank that has two stacks evened out the rotation significantly and made everything nicer on the tanks. On our second round of tanking, I would bubble myself as soon as our warrior taunted, and BoP our warrior when his turn came. Our Holy Pally would BoP our DK when Gormok died. If you are still fighting after two full tank rotations, you dont have the dps for the fight yet.

This was really the first good gear check we have seen in a very very long time. I mean sure, Patchwerk was kind of a gear check but naxx really was a joke. The last gear check of this magnitude was Brutallus. The dps has to be stellar and the tanks really need to have the mitigation and health pool to survive the hits. Two minutes into the fight, the worms appear, whether or not you want them too, and they have to be picked up immediately. If Gormok and the snowbolds are dead at this point, you are doing pretty well.

Progression Pressure

When the worms come out, the tanking methods and responsibilities get a bit more complicated. With three tanks, we placed one tank on Acidmaw (who starts out tethered to the ground), and two on Dreadscale. The reason that we put two tanks on the worm that is being kited is so that if one of them gets a debuf, either poison or fire, the other should taunt immediately. I found that focusing the tank that you are working with on this phase is essential to seamless transitions. You want to taunt it off so that the tank has the freedom to run in the direction of the counter buff and not wipe the raid by turning the boss towards your ranged.

So, about those debufs…. The part of the fight where our guild was having the most problems was the debufs and positioning. If your ranged were too close together, they all eat the initial tick, making your healers crap themselves. If the melee gets the debuff, all the melee get the debuff. This poses some interesting positioning issues. Spreading out is paramount, for both your melee and your ranged. Clean communications on the poison’s location is also essential to success here. Let me repeat myself:

It is imperative that your raid stay spread out and the move as a team spread out during the duration of this phase.

This is where the progression pressure really takes its toll. From my experience, our raiders screwed up the most when blizzard introduced a new aspect into an old fight. hard modes in ulduar showed us that encounters like Thorim Hard Mode where you have to spread out and avoid sif’s wrath, or Hodir’s Hard Mode where everyone is focusing on their rotation so much that the miss the rest of the obstacles that the encounter throws at them. The fact that you are in a dps race that also requires excellent positioning is one of the hardest things to deal with in this fight. Not to mention, blizzard implemented the best distraction possible in the attempts remaining counter on your screen. Raiders are worried about more things and as a result, they screw up the easy stuff. Focusing on the fundamentals and getting used to the encounter are your largest roadblock if you already have the gear.

Once you get that all squared away, the worms should die and you should be on to icehowl. This phase is all about positioning and once again, being spread out. As long as your tanking crew works together to keep him in the middle, and your raid does their job, this is a no different than normal mode, just more damage. Manage your cool downs well, call out tank taunts, and get that positioning squared away and you will walk away with some shiny new epics, and the sense of satisfaction that you have killed a nicely tuned boss encounter.


Trial of the Grand Crusader Preparation

It is time!

After weeks of dealing with under-tuned bosses which drop huge upgrades from Ulduar, it is finally time to let the cream rise to the top. From the moment I heard about the concept of limiting the number of attempts on the Trial of the Grand Crusader, I was excited to see how much of an equalizer it would be. My initial thoughts on the concept of 50 tries and you are done is that this type of raiding will show a new side to progression guilds, one that may shift the balance of power when it comes to server firsts. One of the things that is most daunting when it comes to progression guilds, being part of an elite crew of raiders, and getting server firsts is the time commitment. When Ulduar first came out, there was a guild on our server that raided for a week straight, 13 hours a day, to get server firsts and come in very high on the world standings. This is a thing of the past.

It is time for the precision players to step forward and earn their day in the sun. If everything goes as it is assumed to, the raiders that have done their due diligence, studied the fights, prepared for the worst, and brought their A game will come out with ahead of the brute force guilds. You will see more casual guilds rise to the top as fast as the guilds that have 25 people that put in a full 40 hours a week. I believe that this is good news for most people. The fact that you can stay on par with out having to dedicate 5 nights a week to this game is a blessing in disguise.

Enough of the thoughts on progression, who knows, I may be back here tomorrow with my foot in my mouth, all 5 bosses down on hard mode and a ton of new shiny epics. Or I may be back with 500 less gold in my pockets and nothing to show for it. Only the next few hours of time in game will tell.

Northrend Beasts – The skinny

Here is some information that I found from MainTankadin that will help you in your preparation, gear selection and tanking strategy:

Courtesy of MainTankadin –
On Gormok the Impaller:
– Impale hits MUCH harder (150% weapon damage instead of 100%weapon). Also the dot is ticking for 80% more damage than normal 25 andlasts 5 seconds longer. You can only let the debuff stack to 2 before aswitch so you’ll need 3 tanks. It also means you get 2 tanks sittingthere with a massive DoT while a 3rd takes direct damage and a DoT.Even only stacking 2 debuffs in heroic mode, it will do more damagethan a 3-stack in normal mode.

– Snobolds increase his damage by 15% each time they go out, andhe has 5 to throw. The direct hit from Impale will be hitting for 35kat the end (after mitigation), and the dots will be ticking for hugeamounts of damage. You’ll want to start using abilities to remove theDoT after the 2nd round of tanks, and also have tanks using cooldownswhile they are on the boss towards the end.

On Acidmaw and Dreadscale:
– The stationary Jormungar is going to own the raid if peoplearen’t spread out. The acid will do about 5k every 2 seconds. If 1-2people have it, it’s healable. But if 5 people are grouped up and getit, healers are going to struggle keeping them up along with the tanks.The burn debuff is really an issue though, because multiple people inthe raid with it are going to blow each other up. Burning Bile is 9kdamage every 2 seconds to anyone within 10 yards. That is instant deathfor the raid if even a few people get this.

– Enrage: You could kill them kind of far apart in normal 25, butin heroic if one enrages I don’t think you’ll be able to heal throughit. They need to go down together.

On Icehowl:
– Everyone HAS to spread out for his arctic breath. Normal 25 itdid 20k damage over 5 seconds.. not enough to kill a raid member. Inheroic it does 30k damage over 5 seconds. If more than a few people gethit with this, a few of them will die. Healers especially need to bespread apart, since multiple healers getting stunned for that spellwill kill the raid.

From what we see here, there is no doubt that I will be geared in full effective health set. The incoming damage will be significantly higher than previous weeks and having as much stamina and armor as possible will be a great benefit to my healers. Now that it has been established that it is a survival fight and not a dps race (where I would wear my max threat gear), what should we do differently in this encounter than we do in the normal, and what should we do differently this week than any other.

With the advent of the 50 attempts and your gone instance, I would suggest that when you go do your normal Trial of the Crusader first, you use the encounter as an opportunity to practice positioning, strategy and overall mechanics of the fight. It will be crucial that you figure out where you want people standing for P2 and P3 during normal mode, because you do not want to waste any time during the Hard Mode on wipes. You should have each of your raiders make sure that they are performing to their fullest when they are facing this encounter so that you are prepared for what is to come on the Heroic version.

Phase 1

Quick transitions will be the key to the first “phase” of this encounter. The transitions between tanks will have to be clearly communicated as well as very quick swaps in dps to the Snowbolds will be key to survival. I would suggest that you set up your tank rotation ahead of time and focus the tank that will be on the boss before you so that you can see how many debuffs he or she has. Be prepared to taunt at a moments notice with cool downs up. I am entering the encounter with the intention of using my Bubble /cancelaura macro after the second tank rotation to save my healers some mana.

Phase 2

The worms phase of the encounter seems to be determined by a combination of the tanks ability to kite the mobs properly as well as positioning of the raid so that the people with debufs are easily accessible. Even distribution of all of your raid may be possible, and this would be the best idea to negate the acid, however the movement that is necessary to get the fire debuf to the poison debuf will be essential to this phase.

Phase 3

Icehowl should be a tank and spank and seems like you would want the same type of positioning you had in P2. I will be saving my forbearance  for Bubble wall and not wings on this phase for the heroic version, just in case he gets enraged and the tranq shot is slow. If you have made it this far and you have the raid and the mana to survive, you should have the encounter, however I may be wrong.  Only time will tell.

Good Luck everyone!


Back to Basics: The User Interface, aka UI…

So in my writers block this afternoon, I opened up my trusted google reader and started checking out all of the new posts that have popped up in the past day on the protadin blogging circuit. As I was reading a post by Rhidach titled Four Characteristics of a Great Tank, Part 1: A sense of ownership, I found my inspiration for my next senseless digression, the user interface or UI for short. A players UI is something that is unique and special to them, and for those of us that love to tweak the way our game looks, it is a passion and necessity.

When you first start out on your adventures in Azeroth, your UI is more often than not the standard Blizzard UI. A bar at the bottom that has (at the time) more buttons than you know what to do with, a few green and blue bars, and a map. Thats it! I really dont think that much more is needed to level all the way to level 80. Once you get there though, you have the opportunity to start custimizing your interface to provide you with pertinent information that will help you be a better tank, react quicker, and understand more mechanics of an encounter.

The Essential UI modifications

There are a few mods that every person should have if they ever want to set foot in a raid instance. The first and foremost is BigWigs or Deadly Boss Mods. These are mods that inform the player of specific abilities that the encounter is employing to try to get you to have a lovely run back from the graveyard. Another near essential mod is called Omen, or something similar if your guild uses a different threat meter. I as a tank rarely spend more than a split second looking over at omen, however the fact that I have it installed means that my threat is showing up on my DPS’es meter and they know where they are. It is also useful to understand who to salv and if you need to start concentrating more on your rotation and less on other things.

Other than that, you can probably get away with nothing more than the standard blizzard UI and be a sufficiently successful tank. But, what can you do to increase your knowledge of an encounter, enable better play, and become successfully as an all around player? There are a few mods that I use, that I cannot raid with out any more, and I will discuss them in a bit more detail later on in this post.

Your UI and your awareness – managing your Real Estate

One of the first things to consider when compiling a UI, or selecting a pre made one from someone who has much more experience making them than the normal player, is to understand what the purpose of your UI is. No matter who you are, and what you do, your UI is there to give you the important information that you need in order to do your job. Whether it be knowing what skills are on cool down and when they will be up next, if you have all of your buffs, how much health you have, who the boss is targeting, etc. However if you have too much information in front of you, you will not be able to see the most important part of what you are doing, the encounter.

I have seen too many tanks with UIs that have tons of bars, and scrolling combat text, and useless junk so close to where their character is positioned on the screen. The general philosophy is to arrange your most important information where you would find your eyes resting on the screen. For most of us that is the center, where our character is, however that doesn’t mean that you should ever obstruct the view of your character. You want to arrange things around your toon but at the same time, in a logical place.

What I use to keep me informed

Power Auras – this mod is handy little add on that allows you to fully customize a heads up display of sorts to let you know when a certain buff or debuff is active, in active, on cool down, ready for use, or anything else that you can think of. Personally have two things set up for this mod on my paladin, Holy shield, which is a gold glowing translucent shield in the bottom middle of my screen. And more importantly, Divine Plea, which is two blue crescents on either side of my character. If either of the buffs fall off the graphics are triggered and i have a visual cue that i have to refresh them.

Omni Cooldown Count – This is a simple mod that places a time value over the icons on your action bar that are on cooldown, so you know just how long you have until they are up again. nuff said…

Pitbull / Grid – This is a very customizable modification to your unit frames that allows you to color them, move them, alter their size, the information that the provide, etc. I believe this is almost as essential to a tank as omen, however you can very easily succeed with out them. One of the greatest benefits of having this mod is that you can move your player, target, and target of target bars so that you can see them at all times. Default position is way up in a corner where you would have look away from the action, this way you dont even have to glance away from what you are doing.

Bartender – This is also a highly customizable modification that removes the blizzard default action bar and replaces it with up to 10 bars that you can size and place anywhere on the screen you would like. In addition you have the option to have modifers, so if you hold down control, a new bar will appear, showing you a whole new set of 12 actions if you so choose to set it up that way.

Pally Power – This mod is also borderline essential. it tracks your blessings and with a click of the button buffs each class with their designated blessing.

In the end you want something that works well and provides all the information you need right at your fingertips at a moments notice. Below is a screenshot that I took in the middle of a yogg saron encounter about two months ago. I am of the mindset that you give credit where credit is due, and not claim that it is an adaptation or your own. My UI was created by Caith, is his and will always be, but I loved the organization, feel and simplicity. All I needed was a few tweaks and I made it my own, but I would never claim to have put a 1/10 the effort into it as he has.

Happy UI tweaking!



The Preamble and the Art of Trash Pulls…

Crack open a RockStar and Enjoy!

As my first post on the new blog I wanted to introduce myself, tell you all a little bit about my background, and why I started this. I have been playing World of Warcraft since June of 2005. I was never really into video games prior to WoW, aside from the occasional drinking game in college, so I was a bit lost when I first entered the world of Azeroth.
I play a Blood Elf Paladin on US Destromath. I was originally a Prot warrior and a MT for a progression guild, however when TBC came out and I started leveling, I rerolled to a paladin and healed all the way through pre nerf Sunwell. Once Wrath of the Lich King dropped, I was asked by the other officers in my guild to be our prot paladin, and at the same time, just a lowly off tank and Sacntuary Bitch.
It is so nice to be back to tanking, I always loved the responsibility and intelligence needed to be a MT in a guild. I found that when I was healing in TBC, I never really knew much about the instance, just where to stand on what fight, who to heal, and how. Now that I am back over 540 defense, I have been enjoying the instances so much more. As my role in the raid transformed from Sanctuary Bitch to Off tank to Main Tank, the time I spent researching every aspect of PvE I could think of grew exponentially.
One of the main reasons that I started this blog was because of the fact that I had a hard time finding some one that was running into the same issues I was and talking about it. At one point I created a hunter alt that I leveled up all the way to 80 and raided with quite often. I had no clue how to play a hunter, what spec to use, and how to use it. In comes Airman Howell, aka BigRedKitty. I became obsessed with his blog and even as I geared up and became fully proficient in the ways of the huntard, I still returned to read every post until he “retired” to Brain Needs Space. This is the source of my inspiration and Avenging Wrathy.

This brings me to my first of many digressions to come in the future:

Tanking responsibilities and the necessity for us to know more. As a tank, I have always felt that we have to prepare for new instances and new bosses more than any other role. Sure great healers want to know what the boss abilities are so that they can proactively heal according to the incoming damage, but lets face it, no one else knows how to mark trash, pick up bosses, and understand the need for spacial awareness like tanks do.
I was hoping that I would have some juicy topics to discuss with respect to the Coliseum and the new content that just came out this week, but alas it seems that the Northern Beasts were a joke, both our 10 and 25 man groups 1 shot them!
Luckily, my boss made me stay late at work the night my guild went to Ulduar so I have some new fuel for the rambling machine. This week, my best friend and fellow MT, although a death knight, was off in mexico celebrating his fiancé’s completion of the BAR and I was stuck at work leaving our guild with two newer but fully capable tanks to run all of Ulduar. This was the first time that I have missed a raid since Ulduar came out, and it was quite apparent that the MTs were not there.

Trash Mobs and Tanking:

Since the start of WotLK, trash has been a joke, in naxx, you threw a paladin and a druid at the trash and everyone AoE’ed from the first second they were placed into combat. Ulduar, on the other hand, required a bit more coordination. My favorite trash pull so far has been the trash to Ignis on patch day (pre nerf) warlocks, mages, and rogues alike were dropping like flies, as Naxx had really dulled the skills of even the most seasoned veteran. The era of the intricate trash pull was back! Sadly the trash was nerfed very quickly. Needless to say, many dps and healers think that trash is a joke and it magically marks it self and gets cleared with little to no coordination.
Boy were they wrong! With the absence of the two MTs, our guild had quite a bit of trouble marking, assigning targets and killing trash with out wasting time. A great tanking core will work together to mark, chain pull and assign on the fly and in tank chat. Our strategies are always the same, first one with out a mob starts marking the next pack. Second tank with out a mob pulls the next pack. The efficiency and speed that is a result of this philosophy is not noticeable until it is not there. Moreover, marking is not as simple as throwing marks up on each of the mobs and hoping that everyone does their job right.
Each tank in our guild has their own mark, each CC class has their own marks. Each mark has a DPS order. If your guild does not employ something like this, you should consider bringing it up to your officers, as it will help immensely. For us, tanking marks are Star, Circle, and Diamond (on occasion Triangle as well), Sheeps are Square and Moon and Banishes are X and skull. The dps order of the mobs works hand in hand with this pattern as we dps down the mark order, star, circle, diamond, triangle, square…etc.
Like I said earlier, just throwing your marks up does not make you more efficient. As a tank you must first properly understand what each of the mobs do, and derive the most logical kill order from that information. What should you sheep, any humanoid? the one that does the most damage, the one that can heal, the one that has an AoE effect. These are all questions that must be answered prior to assigning marks.
Most of the time, marking is simple or even not necessary, however when you get into complicated and dangerous trash packs, like the Freya trash or the large packs in General’s room, marking and control make all the difference in the world. If there is one take home message it is this: Know your opponent and set your self up for success by properly preparing and executing any pull with coordination and a plan


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