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).
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).