Posts Tagged ‘Tanking


Tanking the Twilight Realm

You spin me right round baby right round, Like a record baby right round round round

Phase two of the Halion hard mode encounter has provided tanks with a nice twist to the Wrath of the Lich King’s typical tank and spank mechanics. While most of the fights that we have come across over the past few instances have been as dry as a day in the sahara, this provides a little more interesting movement mechanics. The phase starts as soon as Hailon reaches 75% and will continue until 50%. To engage the boss you have to be the first one in the portal, and the first one to be with in melee to whack the boss and establish aggro, as there is a complete aggro drop as you enter the twilight realm.

What I have done to ensure that both of the above qualifications are met is that I will position myself in such a way that I have to look through halion to see the middle of the room. If you all positioned the boss the same way it would be much simpler to describe, but since there are many different positioning strategies, the most important thing to remember is that as you click the portal to the twilight realm, you want to appear with Halion in front of you. This will allow you to run straight to him and hit him with some snap threat. I personally start off with a hammer, judge, then shield to ensure that I have a good deal of threat. As soon as I have a 5 stack of vengeance, then I blow Avenging Wrath. This will ensure that your cool downs will be up by the time you enter your first spin. It is important to understand that cooldown usage will be different for hard modes, this is only a suggestion for normal mode.

I like to rotate the boss 90 degrees so that as the rest of the raid exits, they are in the perfect position to start dpsing. By rotating him 90 degrees, the side of the dragon will be at the portal’s exit point. It is essential that you create as much of a threat buffer as possible between you and your dps, because unless you have gotten comfortable with spinning and dpsing at the same time, it will be more important for you to focus on directing the raid and spinning the boss. After a few attempts you should get into a groove where you are used to the spin mechanics and you can continue to perform your 969 with out any hiccups. The first spin comes approximately 30 seconds after you have entered the twilight realm and it is important that you have your bearings set so that you can do your job perfectly.

The role of the Main Tank in this phase is essential to the survival of the raid, as you will be the conductor to this symphony of side stepping. What I found was most effective was to set my camera at max distance by using the macro:

/console CameraDistanceMaxFactor 9

This macro allows you to see the playing field, the boss, your raid and the two Shadow Pulsars or purple orbs which rotate around the room. While you have plenty of time to get everything in order before the first spinning cutter, it is important that you acclimate yourself with the room to ensure that you can see everything from a comfortable vantage point.

You can dance if you want to, you can leave your friends behind…

Do the Safety Dance! After you have established sufficent threat, and the beams are about to appear it is important that you line them up appropriately in order to ensure that the beams are no where near you. The idea is that you as the tank will be riding the left beam while you spin the boss on a dime, this allows your melee to be dpsing from his hind leg and eliminates any chance of them being in the 180 degree parry haste arc. You line yourself up so that you can see two orbs (on hard mode) or one orb (on normal mode) and the boss. For all intensive purposes, I am going to describe hard mode because it makes it easier to understand the positioning and movement. The orbs will be 90 degrees appart from each other on the circle which surrounds the room. it is important to see where they are when you have about 6 seconds left on the cutter cooldown.

When the cool down has come up and your boss mods tell you that the beams are coming, you want to line the orbs up in a specific manner. As you are looking down the back of the boss, the tail would be noon on a clock, you want to place the orbs at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions. This will ensure that you are directly in the middle of the void between two cutters. You want to start moving when you see this positioning, and not stop  even if the beams do not appear when the mod predicted. It is also helpful if you call out in vent that you are moving. This should give your healers adequate time to prepare for healing on the run.

It is important to remember that it is your responsibility to direct the raid in the twilight realm, and as such if you feel that you need to move early, by all means do so. The rest of the raid will be depending on you to direct them, most of the raid will just try to position themselves on the side of the boss.

Once you have this dance down, the rest is academic. A few more things to think about when it comes to tanking this phase and what you need to do. If you have a sufficient threat ceiling when the first beams appear, and you are not comfortable using your abilities and rotating, just rotate until you get comfortable. The number one thing to focus on is rotating the boss on his current position. This is very important because the Shadow Pulsars do not move relative to the boss, they move relative to the room, so if you move the boss from the center of the room you will be faced with rotating into a beam and dying. The rotation of the boss is very important to the success of phase 2 and phase 3.

Some more things to think about when it comes to tanking in the shadow realm is understanding physical markers which you can use to help manage the Shadow Pulsars, the beams, and the boss. What I do to ensure that my rotation does not move the boss off of his spot, and as a result have him pivot on the spot, is stand on the very outside of his hit box. When  you target mobs, there is a red circle on the ground that appears (simple i know, but just to make sure we are all on the same page) which you want to walk along. You just walk the line of the hit box and you will be rotating him on a dime. All you have to do to execute this is hit the strafe left button then the forward button, strafe left, move forward, rinse and repeat. You should use your mouse at the same time to ensure that you are always looking right down the back of Halion with the two orbs at 10 and 2. The coordination of using your mouse to change your camera angle to ensure that you are always on track with your movement, and using the keyboard to rotate independently is all that it takes to get the rotation on a dime movement.

Aside: I am working on fixing some bugs in my video recording software associated with wow so that I can take a movie of this to post, but im getting errors, so it may take some time. However, when I fix it, I will put up an informational video to see how I do it!


Tanking Caps and You

Gearing Philosophy and Necessities…

I received a tweet this morning regarding hit and expertise caps and what one should focus on first, and I thought that the 140 character limit of twitter was just not going to cut it for a proper response, so here is a more detailed and informational (hopefully) response to the question:

AndrewAnderson5 Wrote: @AvengingWrathy I got a question in regards to pally tanking. is it better to be hit capped, exp capped or both?

Well the short and simple answer is Neither. It depends on your gearing philosophy and goal of the gear set. Hit capping will help with your threat, and ensuring that your taunts land every time (if glyphed and melee hit capped). Expertise is a threat stat first, and on bosses where parry haste is enabled, a defensive stat as well.

Hit rating

With a hard melee cap of 263 hit rating or 8% hit, you will never miss a hit which you attempt. In addition, if you are glyphed for Righteous Defense, then you will never miss a taunt either, as your taunts are spells and the glyph will give you an extra 8% hit to get to the spell hit cap. With the advent of 3.3, we have new threat stats which sit at the top of the charts, and your question has some merit for the changes we have seen. First and foremost, it is important to understand that if you cap hit, you will remove the chance to miss from the attack table. What this means is that your swing is left with three options, land (hit or crit), dodge, or parry. In order to eliminate dodge from the attack table, you have to get to the soft cap of expertise, or 26 rating. This will leave only parry on the attack table. Parry is quite a bit more expensive to remove from the attack table because of its added threat of parry hasting.

While we have proven that all but two of the bosses in ICC have parry haste turned off, and the two that do are for the most part more threatening with their frost spells, it is still worthy of note to understand that there is a defensive characteristic to the stat. Theck has proven that Expertise is 83% as good as Dodge when it comes to pure avoidance. This only is applicable for bosses which parry haste. However there is always the added bonus of removing dodge and parry from the attack table. Once you have reached 56 expertise, you will land every hit you attempt on a boss.

Now on to the pretty pictures, because that is really what helps me understand things. Hit rating is something that will obviously help us with our threat, however it has no effect on our ability to mitigate damage. Hit is something that you want to start stacking if you are having problems with threat capping your dps . Hit has a great relationship with threat, and is the second best threat stat out there, and  is illustrated by this lovely graph I ninjaed from Theck over in the 3.3 Stat Threat Analysis thread at MainTankadin. If you observe the graph you will find the following:

No surprises here. Hit drops off when you reach the melee and spell hit caps. Everything else is pretty much the same, with slight scaling of damage-increasing stats until you reach the appropriate caps.

The interesting thing to note is that after about 50 hit rating, STR increases enough to equalize the two stats. Note that this is with 0 expertise rating from gear; at the expertise soft cap this number will go up. What this means is that if you’re really optimizing for threat on a limited budget, you’d want to balance hit, expertise, and STR. On the other hand, it’s hard to come up with a rule of thumb for this, since it will depend on your current STR, hit, and expertise values. In practice it will be more common to just gem STR if you want sustained TPS, and hit if you want snap threat. The difference in sustained will be small enough (~2-3 TPS per 10 points of rating or stat) that hit is probably the better choice. – Theck

Expertise Rating

As you can see, This graph is a great example of how hit is one of your best threat stats out there, and even better, a great seg-way into how great expertise is for threat! Expertise has long been established as a threat stat, and all of your melee have been soft capping since day one of Wrath of the Lich King. Why haven’t we really concerned ourselves with it as much though, is because until 3.3 ShoR was not able to be missed, parried, or dodged. And as it is one of our best snap threat generators, it was something we didn’t have to worry about. Now that it can be dodged, parried, and missed, expertise has shot up into the best threat stat out there. As you can see below, expertise is by far the best threat per second stat that we have out there.

…Expertise has risen to top dog status with the change to ShoR. As always, expertise loses effectiveness when you hit the soft and hard caps (82 and 328 rating or 26 and 56 skill after talents, respectively), and damage-increasing stats scale differently above and below those caps (see the different slopes on the STR and BV lines in the three regions).

Past the soft cap, expertise drops back down to be roughly equivalent to AP for threat purposes. That would put it at a “don’t gem” level as far as threat is concerned, though there are also avoidance benefits to consider. – Theck

So as you can see, both of these stats are valuable but the question still remains, which one first?

Hit or Expertise First?

This question has to only be answered after you have asked yourself another question, what am I trying to achieve? What I mean by this is that you have to ask yourself if you want to just increase your threat generation, do you want to ensure that your taunts never miss because you are tanking adds on LK or doing DBS, or is it that you are concerned about the stats from a survival stand point. Because the two stats bring two different benefits to your character, and remove specific things from the attack table, they have a situational purpose, and they are both powerful when employed properly. Hit capping your tank will ensure that you never miss a taunt. This would be something that is essential when taunt swapping is very, very important (such as Deathbring Saurfang), or if you need to pull adds off your main tank (as you would in the OT role of the first phase of the Lich King encounter).

If you are strictly trying to produce more threat because you are threat capping your dps, then it has been proven above by Theck that Expertise is now the number one threat stat for paladins until they reach the soft cap of 26 expertise rating. After that you would want to focus on Hit Rating to the 263 mark. If you take a look at the graph below, you will see that each of these is increasingly important as your strength gets higher.

The amazing news here is that STR has finally been un-seated from the top spot [with respect to TPS increase]. Above 1942 unbuffed character sheet STR, both Expertise (up to the soft-cap at 26) and Hit (up to the a few %, see hit graph) give better TPS per point of rating.
We had already expected this would occur for hit, but the real news is expertise. The ShoR change has drastically changed our reliance on expertise. Soft-capping expertise at 26 becomes highly recommended.- Theck

So, Theck has taught us that Expertise is now the most valuable threat stat up to the 26 rating soft cap. But it is also important to note that the more strength you have the more valuable your hit and expertise are. From a gearing stand point, you should probably try to get to the expertise and hit caps via gear itemization, and gem pure stamina if you want a kick butt threat set.

The third, and for the most part irrelevant (because parry hasting is turned off in most of ICC) option: if you are looking to increase your survival via one of these two stats, then you want to focus on hard capping your Expertise. This is possible in current gear levels, and is quite easy as a matter of fact. However, you will be sacrificing overall mitigation and effective health to reach the plateau of 56 expertise rating. I have two different options of gear sets when it comes to hard capping, however both of them sacrifice a lot of armor and health to get there. If you are looking for plain survival, I would stick to the effective health gearing philosophy of stamina and armor stacking.

Hope this helped!


Someone has Hard Mode Gas

Baby Steps

After tweeting to see what I should post about today, I remembered that Rhidach and Anafielle are tackling their first week of hard modes this Tuesday, and I thought it would be a good time for me to see if my memory can scrape together some tips and tricks of tanking some of the hard modes in ICC25 which I have not already covered. My earlier rant on the fact that Hard modes are Hard, and our first night of failure with Lord Marrowgar has that fight basically covered, so I thought I would delve into the plague wing and talk about some helpful things to make rotface and festergut a bit easier.

For the most part, these are two of the easier encounters in the instance, and aside from lootship, they have the smallest learning curve of any of the encounters. With that being said, lets not waste any more time!


From a tanking perspective, festergut is the same exact fight (at least for paladins). He employs some new tactics, but because of the fact that our threat is almost entirely based off of instant cast holy spells, one of his new abilities is negated. When hard mode is engaged, Professor Putricide shows up at the balcony to your right and begins to have some fun. He periodically throws malleable goo out which slows your casting and melee speed by 75%. As a paladin tank, this basically is a non issue, and I will never move out of it. Why can we get away with it? Well first things first, Festergut applies the same debuf to the tank as he does in normal mode, so your damage will be through the roof. I average around 8.5-9.5k dps for the duration of the fight, while I know tanks that break 10k.

So since threat is a non issue, what makes this hard? The raid damage from the gas cloud in the room is signficantly more potent, and the tank damage is nothing to laugh at when you get to the third enhale. For the most part this is a coordination fight and a healing check. Before there was a zone wide buff, it was also a dps check, as there is a tight enrage timer. With the 20% buff, the most important things to remember is that your dps and healers should avoid goo at all costs, and you have to work out a system to place the spores so that EVERYONE has three stacks when he exhales.

As a tank, you can afford to miss a spore or two, but that is because you have close to 70k HP. A dps with 20-25k will get one shot even with a hand of sacrafice. In order to do this, we used two warlock teleport portals and placed them at two key positions in the room, creating a triangle between the boss and the two portals. Once these markers are created, you place your dps and healers in a circle around the portals, preferablly with your holy paladins on the portal itself so that they do not have to move when a spore is called. This will give a predictable and visual collapse point for all spores. Spreading out around these circles and learning to collapse will be one of your first big hurdles.

The other thing that we do is have our melee constantly moving from hind leg to hind leg of the boss. Every time Putricide throws goo, it is called and the melee switch sides, left, right, left, right. This ensures that they are never standing in a green goo and get the debuf, which will decrease their dps througput considerablly. This bit of coordination seems very simple, but to get 7-10 people to move together is surprisingly hard.

Finally from a tank point of view, it is a fairly simple fight. You can skirt the edge of the room and I suggest that you do so before your pull so that you can position him correctly. I like to skirt to the right until you hit the first runeforge looking thing on the wall. This should put you in between the two balconies that are above you. When you pull run in about 4 steps to the grouping of three skulls on the ground and stop. This is where we position the boss, so that the melee has time to react to the goo being thrown at them, and the ranged has enough space to spread completely out. From here on out, it is a tank and spank, and the encounter is the same for us tanks as it is in normal mode. Just a quick side note, on normal mode, our guild tanked the boss in the middle of the room and had the dps spread out. For hard mode, that was not enough space for our portal strat, and as such we adopted the positioning that I described above.

With respect to cooldown usage, I saved my Wings for when I drop RF off, salv myself and see BIG NUMBERS! I also like to chain cooldowns for all of the third enhale portion of the fight. this means that I use bubble wall, get a HoSac from my other tank/healer, ensure my armor pot is still active or pop a new one at this time, and I also save my trinket use for this time. The one thing I will not use during the third enhale is DS/DG. I save that specifically for when he lets his nasty gas loose.  This will ensure that you take some of the raid damage away for the healers. Tomorrow I’ll see what I can do about those pretty pictures to help, and go over rotface as well….

Good luck everyone!


A breakdown of Professor Putricide

HARD MODE, that is…

After a long break which consisted of a almost two weeks in Europe and a week and a half of moving into my new house, I have finally settled back into the swing of things, both with respect to raiding, and hopefully blogging. I had been falling off the horse in April, while we were pushing hard modes and I was spending my free time dealing with an escrow account and lots of WoW in game time. Upon my return a few things had changed and I feel that this is the perfect opportunity to revisit some things that our guild tackled months ago but are seeing again. Namely some of the hard mode encounters, our strats, and some helpful tips from the tanking perspective.

While I am probably limiting my audience by starting with the hardest fight first (save Heroic LK), but it is the one that is freshest in my mind, as we wiped on it for about an hour Tuesday night. I want to break down the fight, the mechanics, and some helpful tips which helped our guild get our first kill. As I just got done with a whirl wind trip in Europe where I ate my way through three great countries, here is our menu for tonight: Professor Putricide, with a side of choking gas…

First Course, Whats different?

The first thing that you have to get used to is the new mechanics which are employed as part of the encounter. This is a big part of why this fight will be hard with the buff, and was excruciatingly hard with out it. If you knew nothing of the fight, the first change woudl happen at the 80% mark when we would expect him to throw some tear gas and go to his bench to contemplate grandeur. Instead of freezing you in place, he places a debuf on everyone in the raid. This debuf nullifies your damage to one of the two ooze colors that he is about to summon. Simply, if you have the green debuf you can only do your full damage to the green ooze, and if you have the orange debuff, you can only hurt the orange one. This presents your first challange, enormous amounts of raid damage in the form of the nockback from the green slime. The good doctor is released from his bench on a timer, and will chase after your main tank with or with out the oozes dead, so this is also a dps race to ensure that you maintain control over the fight.

As soon as you kill your first two oozes and you transition into phase two, you are faced with a new mechanic, a plague which increases in damage done exponentially and has to be pased by proximity contact. when you pass the plague, you get a debuf which increases the damage taken by said debuf by 250%. This will be the most difficult part of the fight for most of your raid, the management of the debuf is the make or break of the fight until the second phase transition. At 35%, you get both green and orange slimes again and you have less time before professor is transformed further and you begin phase three.

Phase three is a straight dps race, and you should be shooting to have the oozes dead when he runs across the room to your MT (who should be standing at the entrance to the room so that you maxmimze the time between his release and the application of the first debuf on the tank).

Positioning in Phase 1

I think this is where we have kind of diverted from the status quo and come up with something that is a little less conventional than the videos you see out there now a days, and it has worked wonders for us, from a stand point of passing the disease, and time on target for all phases and transitions. We tank the boss at the lab bench with the Main tank’s back to the bench. A select few melee who have ramp up or raid beneficial debufs will go in and spread themselves out to ensure that if one of them gets the plague that they can back away and transfer it to a ranged. The ranged create a chorus line across the room from wall to wall, so that we can easily spread the disease in a predictible fashion.

In phase 1, the boss is a tank and spank and you do not even need to move him at all, as he does not do anything to special. You should concentrate on building as much threat as possible because you will be kiting him in phase 2 and at least my dps ride my threat pretty well now. While phase 1 is going on, he will still cast unstable experiment, and oozes will appear, for us, there are two collapse points which our raid will have to huddle on when a color comes out. We collapse at NNW or NNE points of the compass on the ground (if you are looking at it from the entrance). This allows for a predictable pathing for all oozes and maximum time on target. These collapse positions will hold true for phase one, phase two, and the transition phases. With the 20% buff, you should only see one ooze before you get the boss below 80%, but if it is getting close, my rule of thumb is call dps off at 83% as the dots will tick him down quite a bit.

During transition, everyone of with the same debuf huddles at their designated points, and the melee waits to go in until a target is selected, while the ranged open up right away. I usually use an Exo, AS, Judge during this delay. While you can try and stay to do as much damage as possible to the ooze that you are assigned to, it is much more important that you are controling the fight from the stand point of being in position for the release of putricide. I usually get enough attacks off to get my 5 stack of vengeance/corruption up, and then get back to the boss to get my debufs up on him.

Positioning in Phase 2

At the start of phase two, according to how we set up the encounter, the tank should be back at the lab bench, ready to tank professor in the same position as phase 1. The new twist for the tanks in this phase is that you will have the Flasks of choking gas to manage, as well as the occasional malleable goo. The goo is something that will have to be dealt with on the fly, but the choking gas is predictable and can be managed in a way that everyone in the raid will know where it will be at all times. When the first choking gas cast is about 8 seconds away, you move the professor away from the bench to one of the points in the wall close to the orange or green orbs. When he drops his gas, you move him back to the bench.

This kiting back and forth provides maximum dps time for melee (because they can just turn around and walk less than three steps), and keeps him in range of all of the ranged dps. For the most part, as a tank this is the rinse and repeat of phase two. You create a triangle on the floor, and strafe to the right point, and then back to the middle; strafe to the left point, and then back to the middle. While this is going on, you also have the Unbound Plague and Plague Sickness to deal with. By spreading your ranged dps out in a zig zag line across the room, you have a linear transition for the unbound plauge, and people only have to move to their right or left (depending on the origination of the plague) to pass the disease.

While disease management is difficult, and the person with the disease has to be quick on their feet, it is probably not the most challenging part of the fight for most people. The oozes continue to spawn as professor putricide casts unstable experiment, and as the fight drags on, dps on the oozes will probably drop a bit due to the hectic nature of the fight. It is very important that the oozes are the number one dps priority throughout the fight because they are the difference between a very controlled fight, and one that is getting out of control.

Transitioning and Phase 3

The final transition, from phase two to phase three, is the most important part of the fight for your raid, because you want the oozes dead as putricide chases after your MT. During the transition phase, the tank will go to their assigned color and side, and dps the ooze for a while, once again getting a five stack of corruption/vengeance up and debuffing it. However, as soon as that is complete, you need to make sure that you run to the entrance of the room, and put your back to the gate. This is because professor putricide will place a debuf on you shortly after engaging in combat with you (aka hitting you). The longer you can prolong this, the more time you can give your raid to kill the boss.

In the hard mode version, the stacking debuf is a soft enrage timer, meaning that when you get to a fourth stack, your raid will be dead from the MASSIVE amount of aoe damage that is flying around. In order to take him from 35% to 0% in this short amount of time, four tanks are used to spread the debuff out. The main tank takes him back at the entrance of the room and holds him until he gets the first debuff, at which time the second tank will taunt off him and take it for one debuf as well. The third and fourth tanks will take him for two debuffs, ensuring that the diminishing returns on taunt are cleared, only to come back and have the third tank take it for one, the second tank take it for one, and then the third and fourth take it for one as well. So it goes, 1,1,1,2,2,2,3,3,3,4, 4. If he isn’t dead at this point, your raid will be.

Phase three is a straight dps race. The only things that require any coordination is the movement of the boss when he dropps choking gass, avoiding malleable goo, and placement of the raid so that you ensure that the ooze puddles are managed well. To do this, you want to keep the ranged spread out behind the tank on the compass on the ground, while you kite the boss around the very outside of the room (where the melee will be dropping their oozes. You only move the boss for choking gas, and ensure that the raid moves as one. After that, its just having everyone up to dps and enough mana to heal the raid, and you should have a kill. Although it is easier said that done when learning the encounter.

Good luck everyone!


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….


Thoughts on the All You Can Eat achievement

Close down the Buffet, I’m Full!

Last night our 10 man went back into ICC 10 with the intention of cleaning up all the achievements necessary to get our drakes. What we did not count on is the fact that we filled up on RNG and were not able to make a dent in the buffet, so to speak. Sindragosa is now the bane of my existence. The night started out great, we one shot full house, swapped people in and out for gear and achievements, and got everyone everything in their meta save All You Can Eat and Neck Deep in Vile. It was around 8pm server, three hours till the raid was to be called, and we were face to face with Sindragosa. No problem, the drake was so close I could feel the nasty frost breath on my skin.


The randomness of the fight was painful and reminded me why it is hard to get a drake such as this one. Our off tank got blocked, and blocked often, we had people breaking the blocks to early, we had problems with everything you could think of when it comes to dumb stupid luck, including the tank who was tanking her getting blocked. We brought in our Feral Druid to have a safety net with respect to the off tank getting blocked. This helped a little, and with the option to Bear Up when necessary we got her sub 10% a few times. But in the end, the RNG was the end of us. Tanks blocked, blocks dying, taunt immunity, and all that comes with this achievement sent us home empty handed after three hours of wipes.

Now while I am no stranger to wiping, and for the most part had an enjoyable night, the problem with this fight is that the real difficult and stressful part does not come until 5 minutes into the fight. So you sit there on auto pilot during P1 and P2, mashing away at buttons, waiting for 35%, so that you can do it ALL OVER AGAIN.

Some helpful Suggestions

We found certain things controllable, and the last problem we ran into was taunt immunity. If we can fix that problem, we will have the fight, before they nerf it. This achievement is truly left to the RNG gods though, as one wrong move and its over, wipe it, start over, and wait another 5 minutes of 100% to 35% to try again.

Three tanks:

We used two tanks and a feral druid who was mostly kitty, sometimes oh crap bear for when the OT gets blocked. This gave us a bit of wiggle room when it came to the RNG, because the OT will get blocked, and he may even get blocked while tanking the boss. This provides for an instant wipe, because the block is too close to the boss and the raid will still get hit by the pulse of Mystic Buffet.

Divine Shield over Hand of Protection:

While some people have suggested using BoP to drop aggro when you have the taunt immunity, we found that if she was in the process of queueing up a frost breath (aka magical damage), then you will not drop aggro as you are not immune from the Breath. We tried bubble/salv combos and it seemed to work a bit better. This is the second hardest part of this fight. Because of the fact that you can only have 4 stacks, and a stack happens every 6 seconds, you have very little time to tank the boss. Essentially the time between taunts is running time to and from the block plus less than 6 seconds to clear the stack. This means that you are taunting every 10-12 seconds, placing a DR on taunt till it hits immunity.

We found that we pre-bubble / salvation so that we avoid immunity all together. At approximately 20% health, we used a bubble / salv on the current tank to have him drop below the off tank and had the tank run out to get 10 yards distance. This made Sindragosa snap to the non bubbled tank. Taunt DR reset. Unfortunately, about 40 seconds later it will come back to the point where taunt immunity is a factor. At this point, because we have to use all the tools in our toolbox to be able to kill him, if our other paladin has forbearance or you do not have the luxury of two pally tanks, we Soul Stoned our Pally tank and he DIed one of our dps, and popped back up after the all clear.

Block Positioning and running in and out:

A few things which we found necessary from the stand point of clearing the tanks debufs had to do with positioning and movement. Because of the fact that frost breath slows you down considerably, we had a priest spec into body and soul (the run fast bubble). Freedom was usually up, and I used it liberally on our attempts when trying to get to the blocks, but you only have about 5 seconds to move from the boss to behind the block, and the sonic bubble helps.

We placed the blocks at the 1 o’clock and 3 o’clock position (if you consider Sindragosa’s head 12), rotating back and forth. Additionally the tanks communicated in vent which one they were going to and when it was clear to break them. A problem that we ran into is the fact that the melee assigned to break the blocks out are not aware of the tanks stacks and when they will be falling off. As a result, when I got behind a block I would say near block (or 1 o’clock block) 4 seconds till clear. This let our  ret pally know that he could not break the block for 4 seconds. We had quite a few times when a lucky crit would break the block and I would get the 5th stack.

Back to the Buffet Next Week…

After about three and a half hours of wiping on this achievement, we called it for the night. We had quite a few progressive attempts where we pushed her to sub 10%, and I can confidently say that unless we are doing something completely wrong, all the stars have to line up for this achievement. We were at the mercy of RNG last night, and it pounded us hard. We are going to go back next week and give it another shot, but this will be one of those fights which will haunt our raid for weeks to come as more and more people need the achievement. I personally can not wait until blizzard fixes this achievement.

You have to love that they do not test this stuff on their internal servers, because they would have seen that these issues would happen. That, or they are ok with making a very hard achievement in which you NEED paladins because of the taunt immunity. Hopefully I have some good news for you guys next week, but as for now I am at least 6 days away from my shiny frostwyrm mount.


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