Posts Tagged ‘Tanking


Thoughts on Rotface and Festergut

Time for fun?

After killing Rotface and Fetergut on both 10 and 25 man, I will have to say that so far so good in Icecrown. Blizzard has made some fun encounters and some brilliant art work and mechanics. Last night was void of any tank gear, and we actually disenchanted quite a bit of loot as well, which is always disappointing because upgrades are good, and if no one wants them, then we aren’t benefiting from the loot that is dropping as a raid. I always love new encounter nights, they are long and painful, but very much enjoyable. I was up well into the wee hours of the night raiding because of the server lag and its influence on the speed at which we could clear the instance. We walked into the instance at our usual raid time, and immediately began to pull trash. That is when it happened, the lag set in and before we knew it, we had all 6 packs on top of me. We called for the raid to reset the pulls through the door, and I stayed back to be the meat puppet.

All of a sudden, everyone is running away, and I am at 0 health. My Ardent Defender proc’ed but I didn’t die, and I didn’t get healed back up. I was standing there tanking, and I looked like I had just popped an Ironshield potion. I was all blacked out, and taking no damage, so I decided to run, to save my repair bill. Through the first archway I went, and as I passed under it, the heal from AD proc’ed twice, two more animations, and 60% hp on the health bar. This was a sign that it was going to be a beautiful evening of oddities.

To tank or to kite

We started the night clearing up to the new content, and then starting to pull the trash. Contrary to some reports out there, the trash is AoE’able. Now we didnt do this on purpose, however the lag on the night caused a few more careless pulls, netting us two abominations, and ALL the adds behind them. It was an AoE fest with a few deaths, but nothing too serious. The real fun came with Precious and Stinky. After a wipe on Precious due to the fact that we pulled him along with a few adds who seemed to buff his damage, we had no problem with him. His counterpart, stinky was another story. I am pretty sure our healers were not ready for the decimate plus poison pulse, and we ended up killing him with most of the raid dead.

We picked ourselves back up, walked over to Rotface, and I went over the information that was known about the fight. Since I didn’t know how hard the boss hit, I put myself on the boss on our warrior on the adds. That was my first mistake. Our warrior was trying his best to kite the oozes, but was getting hit like a truck and went down. He got a battle rez and went down again shortly thereafter. At this point we made a bit of a switch. I went on the adds and our warrior went on the boss. The adds were a bit easier for me to handle between pursuit of justice, avengers shield, and my cds. The most difficult part of the first few kites is getting the first two oozes together. This is where your trusty mage comes in…

PRO TIP – The small oozes can be frost nova’ed by mages, if you are having problems with the first two oozes merging into a Big ooze, have a mage follow out the first person who gets mutated infection. When you cleanse it off of the person, the mage frost novas and the ooze is rooted in place. All you have to do is have the second infected victim run on top of the frozen one, and you get an instant Big Ooze

Once I moved onto ooze duty, the fight got a lot smoother. There are still a few more things you have to know about the off tank job. First off, the ooze floods are not completely random. They will only happen in a section of the room that has not already had a flood. This means that you want to start away from the nearest ooze flood and run towards it. By the time you get there, it should have disappeared, the ooze should have about 3 to 4 stacks on it, and you should not have taken any damage. If you have a problem with the randomness of what corner of the room has an ooze flood, it is better to freedom yourself and run through the ooze than to take the big ooze into the raid (as they have a AoE damage aura). Thats about it, rinse and repeat for nice shiny epics.

Somebody light a match

Festergut took about the same learning curve and Rotface for us. A few wipes to clean it up, and then a kill. Because the room starts off with all of the gas in it, and the shadow damage is quite potent, we opted to Bloodlust off the bat to give the healers a bit of extra power for keeping the raid alive till the first round of spores showed up. It is important as a tank to get the spore debuff, but not vital. You should not run away from the boss to try to get to a spore at any time. For tanks this is a simple taunt when i have X stacks type fight (similar to gormok’s bleeds or gluth’s ms stacking debuff). After we worked out all the kinks in the plan, we sent our less geared tank in first to take the damage when Festergut hits the lightest. He starts out hitting quite soft, but quickly ramps up to taking 30k off your life every swing, so it is imperative to have your better geared tank taking the damage when he has done his last inhale.

This fight is pretty straight forward and is more of a dps check and coordination check. While I say that, it is just as much of a tank gear check with the damage numbers that were flying around for us last night. There are a few things that you can do to help your raid out if you are in trouble. On the 10 man that I ran later in the night, Our warrior got rocked and died and we did not have a battle rez. The stacking debuf that festergut puts on you is cleared by your bubble. When I was at 8 stacks, the spores spawned and I called for everyone to move to the ranged spores (as they were both out there). At that point, I quickly mashed my /cancelaura DS macro, and cleared the stacks. This allowed me to tank him for over two minutes straight, and enough time for our dps to kill him before the enrage timer went off. This is more of a last resort thing for now, but later I am sure that our guild, and many others, will try to single tank it to see how fast we can kill him.

Gear Sets for the fights

While a few of my colleagues at MainTankadin were fortunate enough to be able to wear their threat sets to these fights, I was in full effective health gear with a double pot of an Ironsheild potion. Unless you are in a cutting edge progression guild, I would suggest that you go into the fight in your full effective health set, to see if your healers can handle the damage, and then move on to your other sets if you feel that your survival is not in danger. I may be completely off in my estimations of survival from last night because our server was lagging a lot (and as a result our healers may have been slow to get heals off), but its always better to be safe than sorry.

On to Professor Putricide tonight, as the encounter is “working as intended…”


Rotface, Festergut, and the Good Doctor

The nerf bat is quick

I wanted to talk a bit about Rotface and Festergut because those are the two bosses we have the most information about in the upcoming wing of ICC which was released today, but I would like to start with another small rant pointed in the direction of blizzard. They have decided to nerf Lady Deathwhisper already and make her easier to kill. While I understand that not every guild is like ours, and some people struggle with this encounter every week, what is the point of creating any difficult content if you make it easier 4 weeks after it came out. There is no reason for a challenge if you remove the challenge so quickly.

1/5/10 The Lady Deathwhisper encounter has seen the following changes in the 25 player normal version: mana pool has been reduced, the health on all adds has been reduced, and Adherents will wait a little longer after spawning before they start casting.

This fight was never “hard.” It was challenging for the first few attempts and as you gained more perspective on the keys to killing the boss, it became much more trivial. Our alt raid usually gets overwhelmed once a week, however its nothing that we can not over come. Part of me can understand nerfing something like Lady Vashj or even KT back in the SSC/TK days, or nerfing Sunwell when 3.0 came out, but most of the nerfs in this expansion pack have not been that warranted. There are times where the community cries out that a nerf is necessary to kill a boss like Yogg +0, then Stars comes along and laughs at all of us with their kill shot. That is about as extreme as it got in Wrath of the Lich King. Most nerfs were too early.

Speculation on Rotface and Festergut

There is a very nice write up of the Rotface encounter over at StratFu, so I wont spend too much time doubling its efforts here. I will, once we get some kills in, add some information to the Icecrown Citadel section of the blog. From reading up on the fight, and understanding most of the encounter from a high level perspective, this fight should be quite straight forward for us as tanks. If you are the main tank, your job is about as easy as it gets. I would compare this fight to a combination of Lord Jaraxxus and Grobbulus. As the main tank you can stand still and build threat for most of the fight, occasionally moving the boss out of the Unstable Ooze Explosion.

As for gear for the Main Tank, we have yet to see how hard the bosses melee hits are, however with Slime Spray (Raining Green Ooze. Deals 6k Nature damage to enemies in cone in front of the caster every second for 5 seconds) there is a descent amount of nature damage being thrown around, so a full armor set will not be as beneficial as a max stamina set.

Festergut has some interesting mechanics which will make the fight a bit more than a tank and spank, but not by much. I see his mechanics aligning slightly with Algalon, minus the huge burst and the need to have a TON of health. He places a debuf on his current target called Gastric Bloat which Inflicts 12k damage and applies Gastric Bloat to the target, increasing damage done by 10% for 1.67 min (100 seconds) and will cause a Gastric Explosion at 10 stacks inflicting massive damage to nearby allies. This means that you will have to taunt before the stacks get too high. While most of the PTR videos I watched had tanks have much less than 10 stacks, this may be a change from the PTR to the Live version. Either way, you will want to watch your debufs when tanking this bad boy this week.

This fight seems more like a healer check than anything else, as the need for healing oscillates between a lot of raid damage and a lot of tank damage based on the number of breaths he has taken. Because of the ample amount of shadow damage that is flying around the room, you will once again see a mixture of magic and physical damage which will make a max hp set more viable for survival, and armor will be less of a benefit for preventing spikes which will cause tank deaths. This assumption is based off of Theck’s new formula which I talked about a while back. The reasoning behind this is that, unless the physical damage is substantial, more than a good percentage of your total damage taken will result in non physical damage, making stamina more powerful than armor.

Professor Putricide

Little is known about the good doctor, and I do not care to speculate too much about the mechanics of the fight, so I will leave all of my comments on this fight until after we have seen it. It is important to remember that there is an attempt counter for the encounter so It is advisable that you are putting your best foot forward when walking into this encounter. For those 25 man raiders, running your 10s first will give you a good idea if your 25 man can handle what he is throwing out there.

Good luck to everyone tonight, may the epics fall from the skies. I hope to see you with some fresh kill shots tomorrow!


Icecrown Trash Explained

I finally got to uploading Screenies!

I wanted to let everyone know that I finally uploaded the screen shots that I took in the last ICC and have a mini explaination for each of the trash packs so that you can better understand what to do when faced with problems. I will continue to improve upon the post and add difficult trash packs as they appear throughout the instance. Good luck!

Link to the Icecrown Trash Thread

P.S. I found this in my screen shot folder, and I just felt like saying what up! Brutallus on 5/13/2008. I’m the wings on the right hand side…


SoComm Versus Vengeance/Corruption

More numbers and graphs!

Just in time for the holidays, Theck has created more pretty colored graphs! This time we have some definitive information regarding Seal of Command, aka SoComm. The reason that there is so much buzz going around about this SoComm is because of the fact that Blizzard very stealthily put in a change to our biggest snap threat mechanic in the arsenal, Shield of Righteousness. ShoR now is considered melee damage, and can be dodge or parried, where as before that was not the case. While most of you sharpen the pitch forks to complain that we just had a threat loss, hold that thought. Because ShoR has been changed to become a melee attack, it now procs SoComm as well! What this means is that you have a seal of absolute crazy mad dps when tanking packs of three or more mobs, and should be using SoComm as your seal of choice.

SoCom, an Old Friend with Big Numbers!

What you see above is Thecks latest headache, a graph that illustrates the different dps disparities between Seal of Vengeance / Corruption, and Seal of Command. As you can see by the legend, he has four different graphs that show a mob with three stacks of Vengeance / blood corruption, with and with out the Libram of Valiance and a mob with five stacks of Vengeance / blood corruption, with and with out the Libram of Valiance. According to Theck, here are the particulars:

The vertical axis is the difference between SoV DPS and SoCom DPS, so a positive number means that SoV does more damage, and a negative number means SoCom does more damage.

The plot is pretty clear, but it’s also misleading. If you can maintain a 5-stack on every mob, then in the many-mob limit SoV is bound to win since SoC is limited to 3 procs. In that sense, the plot seems to reflect things accurately. As you drop to 3 stacks of HV, SoCom gains enough ground that it’s a better choice for 2-4 mobs.

What makes the graph misleading is that it ignores ramp time. It takes a few seconds to build a 5-stack on a mob, but it takes over 10 times as long to build and maintain a 5-stack on 10 mobs. For ballpark figures, if it takes 5 seconds to build your single-mob stack, it takes nearly a minute to build a 5-stack on 10 mobs with tab targeting. So if the mob pack dies before that minute is up, SoV’s value drops thanks to ramp-up effects. It also ignores fall-off, which is a distinct worry for large packs of 6 or more.

What this means is that unless you are the master of tab targeting constantly on mobs with very large health pools, SoComm will be your best bet for pulling large trash packs, and dealing with more than 2 mobs in any situation because of ramp up time. To sum up the rule of thumb, Theck gives us the lay mans term TLDR…

Rule of thumb for choosing seals:

  • SoV for 1-2 Mobs and bosses
  • SoV for AoE tanking things that live for 40+ seconds and that you can reasonably maintain a 5-stack on (so ~6 or fewer mobs at most)
  • SoCom for 3+ mobs that die in 30 seconds or less, and basically anything else

Alternatively, if you’re lazy and don’t feel like tab-targetting, you can simplify this to:

  • SoV for 1-2 mobs/bosses
  • SoCom for 3+

“I’m ok, my TPS is awesome” or “I dont know what to drop”

Oh contrare mo fraire! (sorry for the Van Wilder reference and spelling debacle) Firstly, you TPS may be just fine on trash, and you may be able to wrangle in those adds, but your snap threat is not as good as if you use SoComm, and your DPS and TPS are definitely less than what they could be if you respeced. In ICC this past tuesday, I was second on the dps meters on trash with a whopping 8.7k dps for a sustained fight of pulling the entire first room. Don’t ask me why the rest of our dps were sucking, they turned around and all broke 15k on the next round of trash, but I definitely woke them up when they realized that they were not going to pull off me.

SoComm is a great utility to use and it is not that hard to pick up. While I am a die hard tank at heart, and I have two protection specs as my dual spec options, each accompanied with different glyphs, you dont have to do the same thing. You can take the point out of Conviction (aka 1% crit) and place it into SoComm. For those of you who live a bit more on the edge and want to dual spec prot, I would suggest the following spec with glyphs to boot. This is what I use on our Hard Mode Anub’arak kills, and I usually pull 6k dps. While the Glyphs are specifically tailored for me to interrupt the mobs, you can remove the Glyph of Holy Wrath and replace it with HotR, giving you a nice dps boost.

All in all, I would suggest that any tank that ever ventures outside of Trial of the Crusader, and has a trash pack or two to deal with, pick up Seal of Command and use it. It works best on any trash pack, as well as tanking Lady Deathwhisper and your Ship’s portal on the Gunship Battle.


In response to Survey Link Love

For Rhidach and Honors –

I have seen these questionnaire throughout the blogging network over the past few weeks, and I am ashamed to say that I have half heartedly skimmed over the healing ones. Now that there is a tanking one, I actually read the whole thing, however as I expect most people to skim this one as well, this is for Rhidach and Honors…


What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?

Wrathy, Paladin, Protection dual spec (0/53/18 and 0/54/17). Yeah I know, I am a tank-a-holic. The secondary spec has always been saved for gimmick fights. It was originally my general spec with Benediction and a few other tricks up the sleeve, now it is for Anub’arak hard mode, with imp hammer, imp hands, and my Holy Wrath and HoTR glyphs.

What is your usual tanking environment?

25 man Trial of the Grand Crusade, however I run 10 man Ony, ToTC, and ToTGC, and 25 man Ony, and ToTC as well.

What is your favorite encounter to tank, and why?

This is a very tough question, and I am probably going to deviate from the true intention of this question, seeing as the question was written in the time of Wrath of the Lich King, however my favorite encounter of all time to tank was Huhuran. Call me Old School, and even call me a warrior at the time, but there was something about a non tauntable mob that you had to ping pong between two tanks that just screams pure professional execution. This was one of the most satisfying encounters to tank of all time when we were 60. I know that this is kind of cheating, and at the time, the Horde did not have paladins, so I was doing it all with Heroic Strike and Shield Slam, but it will always stick out in my mind.

If I am not allowed to cheat, then I would have to say add tank on sarth 3d. Really it came down to running around like a chicken with your head cut off, picking up adds. I did it better than any other tank we had, and I was proud of that.

What is your least favorite encounter to tank, and why?

Anub’arak 25 man Hard Mode, until he is dead. But in all honesty, something like main tanking XT, where all you do is stand there, and threat isn’t really an issue at all. Boring, not challenging, and overall underwhelming.

What do you think is the biggest strength of your class, and why?

“We’re pretty hard to kill. Between AD, our Guardian Spirit effect, LoH, DP, etc., I tend to be the last one standing during any wipe.” – Rhidach.

Yeah I cheated, but I did not get the rule book. I have to say that our ability to be unhittable with holy shield, combined with the ardent defender mechanics make us a very powerful effective health tank that can take one hell of a beating.

What do you think is the biggest weakness of your class, and why?

Lack of closure. The one thing that I do not like about our class is our lack of interrupt and ability to close the gap. Charge, Intercept, and Intervene are a very potent combination. Death Grip is similarly convenient when trying to close the gap on a mob that is running away or casting something nasty. The combination of some sort of interrupt or gap closure would make us complete in my eyes. I know that we have our Avenger’s Shield, but I don’t trust that nearly as much as I trust charge.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel is the best tanking assignment for you?

I feel that I can do anything in a 25 man raiding environment, and I actually have served as both main tank and off tank for all of the current encounters. If I had to chose one role, I truly enjoy being the main tank. The knowledge of the encounter coupled with a mastery of the abilities at hand are powerful tools, and the puzzle that you have to put together when it comes to what cool down for what ability is one of the most enjoyable experiences in the game for me.

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with the most?

Really I don’t think this question can be properly answered. I have preferences on the people that I would like to tank with, but what class they play is really irrelevant to my enjoyment. I have tanked progression fights next to all of the other three classes and enjoyed the experience equally. If I had to pick, I like having a warrior there for commanding shout, sunders, and demo shout on the adds as necessary, however those are more conveniences from a raid leader perspective.

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with the least?

See previous question.

What is your worst habit as a tank?

Clicking to pick up adds. I have always been a tank or a healer, and have never mastered the art of tab targeting. I use enemy face plates and I click them to pick them up. Two adds, no problem, three getting tough, four or more, not gonna happen, good luck with the mob in your face…

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?

This one is going to go back to the good old days once again. I am a pretty laid back guy on my paladin, and with respect to tanking, I don’t get frustrated easily, however when I was a warrior, I could not stand people thinking that they could tank something for me, or that a threat meter was simply a suggestion. When I was level 66 on my warrior, I was in a Setthek Halls, and there were two rogues that were pulling off me constantly. Their response to me requesting that they wait until I was done establishing aggro was: “Don’t worry dude, I can tank this one by myself.” Needless to say, the next day I had a level one Paladin Alt named Wrathy, and I was going to be a healer.

Do you feel your class/spec is balanced with respect to the other tanking classes?

Yes and No. Yes in the case that we each have our day in the sun, and we each bring a different strength to the table. If theses strengths are leveraged correctly, your tanking corps will be extremely powerful. I think that we are fairly well balanced, and we mitigate damage very well. No in the respect that we are not given enough control over our own cool downs. Ardent Defender is a passive effect that is considered a survival cool down. We do not have a last stand or a health regeneration talent like the other tanks. In the same respect, we have Ardent defender, and Lay on Hands, two very powerful but extremely situational tools. P.S. Blizzard, leave me the way I am, I like it here…

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?

World of Logs, Eavesdrop, and Recount. I use recount on a fight by fight basis to evaluate what is going on, as well as Eavsedrop (which is a modified combat log). I spend quite a bit of time analyzing World of Logs the day after a raid to see what I can do differently, and even modify gear sets based on the numbers.

What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have with your tanking class?

“It’s easy mode. While Paladins in general tend to require less effort (we have no equivalent of Revenge/Rune Strike, like I mentioned) to tank successfully, any form of tanking is still pretty hard. With Paladin tanking it may be easy to be mediocre, but the spec is difficult to master.” – Rhidach

I can’t say it any better. However, I feel that as long as an excellent tank can understand the mechanics of another class, they can tank just as well on any of the four. Tanking is more about situational or environmental awareness and not how to optimally use the 969 rotation. And with respect to Revenge and Runestrike, a DK or warrior is lying to you if they tell you that it is hard to use this ability. They should be bound  in macros to their most common ability. All the classes have pretty easy rotations when it comes to tanking, but the rotation is only a very small part of the whole picture of being a main tank.

What do you think is the toughest thing for new players of your class to learn about tanking?

The utility. Any tank can sit there and pound out a 969 rotation, any tank can hold threat with out even using that, however it takes a while to get used to your utility spells, hands, cleanse, etc. Holding aggro is not difficult, preventing damage, mitigating damage, and using your utility takes a lot of practice.

If someone were to evaluate your tanking ability via tools like fraps, recount, and World of Logs, what tendencies would they notice?

If they watched a fraps video of my tanking, they would probably get sick. I move the camera around A LOT to see what is going on in the encounter. They would also barely be able to see my toon, as I use a macro to zoom out a long distance to see more. I am a visual guy, and I love to know what is going on around me so that I can react to it. Recount would show them that even though i have 53 hit, sometimes even 25 (LOL accuracy enchant), I am still giving the dps a run for their money. And, World of Logs would show them I am an avoidance and mitigation junkie.

Stamina or Avoidance, and why?

Is this question even necessary? I would hope that everyone that this reaches knows my stance on the Great Debate of 2009. When the dust settled and Meloree walked away with a glistening trophy of victory called Chill of the Throne, I conceded. So the answer to this question is most definitely YES. Avoidance outside of ICC, Stamina on my progression set. I am going to spare everyone the long winded debate on the subject, but if you are craving more, and when I mean more, I mean you just got to work and want to kill 8 hours before you go home, then scroll down the blog and read away.

Which tanking class do you understand the least?

I am going to have to go with the Bear. As much as I wold like to think that I understand enough about all of the different tanking classes to be a good Tank leader in our guild, I am a bit fuzzy when it comes to the nuts and bolts of druid tanks. I believe that the reasoning behind this is two fold. I had a roommate that was one of our main tanks from SSC/TK days through Mu’ru, and I lean on him any time that we need to make decisions regarding the bear.

I currently play a paladin and consider myself fairly up to speed on the theory and practical application of our abilities and role, so that one is taken care of. I tanked on a warrior for all of pre-BC. Now while I know that most of you will say that warrior tanking has drastically changed since then, well you are right. And, when it came time to light a fire under one of our tanks that was, shall we politely say, less than qualified to be a MT, I hopped back on my warrior, beat on a target dummy for an hour and a half, and then tought our Warrior MT how to play his class. DK’s are half and half. I have a dk that I leveled to a whopping 77, however my best friend plays a DK tank and his computer screen is a solid 2 feet away from mine, so I see a lot and we discuss even more.

What addons or macros do you currently use to aid you in tanking?

I have recently switched from DBM to DXE, due to the shadow strike timers on P3 of Anub’arak being off on DBM, and I have liked what I see, so I use DXE. I also use recount, Eavesdrop (modified combat log), Satrina Buff Frames so that my debuffs are nice and central to my viewing pane, Power Auras, Class Timers, Omni CoolDown Count, Pitbull for focus and debuff clarifications, and most importantly now a blizzard staple, the equipment manager. If you ever raid with me, you can see me swap out gear for almost every pull. In Ulduar I probably switched gear sets no less that 15 to 20 times, now in ToTC, it is a bit different, but you will see me going back to acting like a girl trying to figure out what to wear on her first date when we hit Icecrown Citadel.

Do you strive for a balance in tanking stats, or do you stack some higher than others, and why?

Please reference the Stamina versus Avoidance debate once again. I am one of the most vocal supporters of balance over stamina. I love the fact that I can sit with a little less health and more mitigation and avoidance than the others. Once again, I will not beat a dead horse, balance over stacking any day of the week (minus ICC patch day).


What is a Main Tank?

As most of the Paladin community is up in arms about the Lay on Hands changes that have been announced by the devs, I want to take some time to discuss something a bit different today. However, I will add a short blurb on my opinions on the change, and even though I have my reservations I agree with adgamorix over at Divine Plea, here is my take on the issue of the week:

…Exo and LoH are icing on the cake for us, they are not core talents that we need to survive. They are not getting rid of holy shield because rogues cant kill us in BGs, they are taking a utility spell away from us. Where I do agree with the voice of the community is that i feel it is unfair for a holy paladin to be able to tamper with our use of cool downs. Healers do not manage our cool downs for us, we do that on our own, and if LoH gives us Forbearance, we are not able to manage our incoming damage any more.

Definition of a Main Tank

Clarification: After a few of you posted your thoughts on this, I waned to provide a clarification to the definition of Main Tank. This is a philosophy and not a specific person. Our guild has two main tanks, two off tanks (dps with full 245 tank gear), and a few more casual main spec tanks with 245/258 gear. Although I think that my perspective comes from a progression guild, I believe that a true “main tank” can have these qualities while being casual and just neglecting the attendance factor.

I’m stealin your pic Rhidach

Main Tanking Is Lonely

There is an interesting discussion up on the MainTankadin forums regarding tanking instances and content that you don’t want to do. The break down of the initial post, that has sparked quite a debate regarding the duties of a main tank, is that a tank was asked to do an Ulduar 10 to go do Algalon, and he did not want to do it. The short and sweet of his complaint is that he does not want to have to do old content on a non raid night, and as such refused to go. The more difficult part of his initial post was the fact that he said that he was willing to bring his alt in to do it, as his main did not need any gear.

While I agree and disagree with his initial statement regarding raiding on an off night, I also see the underlying issue with his offer to bring an alt to the Algalon encounter. By refusing to bring your main, who happens to be the main tank of the guild, and instead bringing your alt, you are forfeiting your right to the title of main tank. A few pages into the thread, there was an interesting post regarding the definition of main tank, and all of the lovely things that come along with it. I thought that I would provide my own insight into what it takes to be a main tank, and why only certain people have the attitude, personality and propensity to pull it off.

Main tanks are the focal point of a raid, and as such they are scrutinized under a magnifying glass from first pull to the end of the raid. We are responsible for the welfare of each and every person in the raid, and we are the type of person that must step up and take accountability for any and all actions. The main tank uses more consumables, flasks, elixirs, and personal food than any one else in the raid. Main tanks know more about each encounter and each ability with in that encounter than anyone else in the raid, because they are expected to learn the details of encounters ahead of time, so that they can react to the dynamic environment of a progression encounter. They are expected to have 100% raid attendance, and nothing less is acceptable.

While some of you may disagree with this statement, the opportunity to receive gear ahead of everyone else in the guild means that your toon is not your own, its the guilds, and they have the right to use it when ever they want. Main tanks should be the first person in the raid, and the last to leave, the first to pull and the last to die, and you need to do it with out ever complaining to the masses.

Zothor summed it up very eloquently as such:

…I read an excellent guide (that I wish i could find right now) that had the following advice for people thinking about becoming tanks: Don’t. Simply put, tanks have by far the most pressure on them of any raid role because they’re always pivotal to the action. A tank has more ways to screw up than any other role. A tank cannot, under any circumstances, be cheap about enchants, gems, or even the slightest upgrade if he wishes to get respect from his guild and not be replaced by someone who’s hungrier. To be a quality tank, you have to want to be the best. You have to have that bloodlust.

More will be expected of you as a tank than any other raider. Whether or not this is fair is entirely irrelevant; it is a fact of tanking…. If the tank dies, it will be assumed it is because he’s not geared enough, even if he went 10 seconds without a heal. It simply doesn’t matter. You will be blamed.

My personal motivation and last nights observations

I wanted to talk about this because I noticed some problems with our raid last night, and it dawned on me that even though I am in an excellent guild, I still do not raid with 25 people that share this mentality (sure the vast majority of our core raid does, but there are still outliers in any guild, save the best of the best). Our guild decided to skip out on everything but ToTGC last night. We set the raid to 25 man Heroic and that was the only thing we did for 4 hours last night. Through out the course of the raid, people were going afk, having quiet, and not so quiet breakdowns, and we were generally not the cohesive and elite guild that we usual were.

Northrend Beasts through Twins was business as usual, and save a very very unlucky mass disconnect of 6 dps right when the opposite color shield popped up at 25% on twins, we one shot everything. Smooth, easy, and predictable. One of our priests posted a suggestion to change up our positioning strategy on Anub’arak last night, and after some deliberation on the guild forums, I was convinced that the idea had merit. Honestly, we were not re-inventing the wheel, we were just using what most three tanks strats do, and moving form one permafrost to two.

This change was met with much resistance from our dps and the other off tank, and while it solved most of the problems we have been encountering it was not embraced by the other add tank or some of our top dps. In the end, after a few attempts, we reverted back to our old strat and we saw p3 consistently. However, as those of you who have seen p3 or killed Anub know, the fight is nothing until p3. Our problems were never the same, and as a result, peoples frustrations started rising to the top. I feel that as one of the off tanks and interrupters of shadow strike, I shoulder a great deal of the responsibility of this encounter. I was more than willing to take accountability for any wipe that was even remotely my fault, and I did so with a fair amount of restraint and honesty.

While the guild as a whole is progressing, and Anub’arak’s health is dropping lower and lower with each week of attempts, I feel that some people do not share the same sense of accountability. What it comes down to for us is as follows: people needed to step up, and most of them did. But for Anub’arak, it is not sufficient for most people to step up, everyone has to. I feel that I have the correct balance of confidence, accountability, and a bit of cockiness when it comes to my tanking, and it serves me well. I don’t, however, have the tools that are necessary to bring others to my level, and that is really what was missing last night. We are, close to the end of the road when it comes to this encounter, however all the pieces have not fallen into place, and as a main tank, it is my repsonsibilty to make up for others short comings. As of today, I have not made up enough for what is lacking. But every day I work to do more, and eventually we will succeed


Breaking Down Anub’arak Damage

Damage intake and what I can do

Since it seems as though most of my first time patrons are looking for information on Anub’arak unhittable sets and the ability to be the off tank for that fight, in conjunction with the massive amounts of discussion going on over at MainTankadin on the subject, I wanted to do a bit of out loud analysis on the gear set that I have chosen and the modifications I can make to decrease the amount of damage I take. As of our first week of real attempts, It has become glaringly obvious that I am taking significantly more damage than my warrior counterpart, and I feel that it is my duty to fix this issue, regardless of talents or disadvantages that we as paladins are faced with.

When you first analyze the differences in our gear, you see that we really are wearing almost the same set, and I actually have more block value than he does. The Critical Block talent that warriors have is more than likely accounting for most of his damage reduction, and seeing as I do not have the ability to spec into the warrior prot tree, I have to raise my block value enough to compensate. The best place I can see this happening is my helm slot. The helm has 43 block rating, which when all is said and done is a good chunk of percent block. I can swap that with the T9 helm to gain 189 block value plus a bit more from the strength on the helm. If i do this, I lose approximately 3% block rating for the ~200 block value.

This makes sense if I can stay near unhittable, however the problem is that I was using the cushion that I had with respect to the unhittable mark to gain more hit to ensure that Holy Wrath had a better chance of landing on each of the adds, and as a result stunning them when the Shadow Step cast is queued up. Below are some of the raw stats that came out of our last night of attempts:

  • I took 30% more damage when compared to my warrior counter part
  • I took 2381 blocked hits over the course of the night with an average damage intake of 2294
  • I avoided 4289 hits or 62.8% of all incoming attacks.

My warrior counterpart on the other had took the following:

  • He took 701 blocked hits over the course of the night with an average damage intake of 3179
  • He completely blocked (as a result of Critical Block) 2103 hits
  • He avoided 3964 hits or 57% of all incoming attacks

I am not sure what exact block value is required to completely block their incoming attacks, but I do know that when the Lavanthor’s trinket’s on use is activated, I take 0 damage from the adds. This means that if I can gain an extra 440 block value while still staying unhittable, I could completely avoid all damage. However, I do not have the ability to do that and stay unhittable. With that being said, if I can close that gap, I may be able to significantly decrease the amount of damage I take during the fight.

Leeching swarm and the healing factor

Why is this something that is worth dealing with if I have not died to add damage and all information suggests that taking damage in p3 to keep me low is a good thing? Well the problem is that if I am constantly taking a significant amount of damage, somewhere on the order of 12k damage taken per second, then I am receiving that as healing, and in turn so is anub’arak. By curbing the amount of damage that I take as a result of tanking the adds, I can effectively lower the amount of healing that anub’arak is healing in p3. Now as I have mentioned before, I pop the on use skill provided by Lavanthor’s trinket when we go to 30% however that only gives me 40 seconds to mitigate the damage completely at which time if Anub’arak is not dead, I start to significantly impede the progress we are making at getting Anub’arak’s health to 0 before ours.

In the end, I believe that if I can stay unhittable and get more block rating, then it is my duty to do so. Therefore, after one more trophy, and a bit more gemming and enchanting, I will be trying out a new piece in my unhittable set and we shall see where that takes me with respect to damage that I take from the adds.

My prediction

P.S. My prediction was not fulfilled (as I honestly expected) because of the fact that a significant number of our raid was not the same as it was on Wednesday, and the dps and execution was severely lacking in comparison to the first round of attempts. 40 attempts was not enough, but I am confident that 40-80 more will be regardless of who shows up.


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