Tanking for Dummies


Ulduar Journal: Two Days, Two Bosses
April 20, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Raiding, Strategy | Tags: , , , , ,

Like many Raid Guilds, Axiom cued up this past Tuesday to get a first crack at Ulduar.  Also, like many others, this was a first glimpse inside the instance for most of us having not engaged in the test realm shenanigans.  Over all it has been pretty exciting stuff that energizes rather than drains.  You can almost feel the engagement seeping back into things with long threads on the forums dedicated to bits we’ve had problems with.

Here is my initial impressions:

Day 1: What was that sound?  Oh, we killed the Flame Leviathan.

I was alted Tuesday so I didn’t get into the raid in person.  However, like a good alt I was there on Vent monitoring everything over Joveta’s shoulder.  Despite some initial confusion getting a handle on the vehicles, there were few problems – no one died and no vehicles got destroyed.  The biggest problem seemed to be not accidentally blowing up the towers, a feat that was managed with a lot of shouting on Vent.  No unintended hard modes for us.

It is worth noting, however, that there is a repair station right before you fight the Boss.  We wasted a good bit of time because we sent two people whose vehicles were low on health back to the start before realizing this.

Nevertheless, Flame Leviathan was engaged… and died like a chump.  We were late getting people on top of him and half of them were healers, not dps.  Completely unnecessary.  A Death Knight or any DPS that has any healing ability what-so-ever could have managed the pathetic damage the defense turrets put out.  Several of the people who were tossed up on the Leviathan even died on the ground before being picked up.  Yet, despite these things, Flame Leviathan still gave up the ghost pretty easily.

Lessons Learned: There is a repair station before the boss.  Stack self-healing DPS to take out the turrets.  Do a better job of picking up those who do get up on the back of the Leviathan.

…and I might add don’t get cocky.

Ignis was up next and, well, the trash is just fucking brutal.  The giants you first encounter hit like trucks (~20k on a tank) and their corpses put out what must be one of the worst debuffs I’ve ever seen.  The best way I can think of describing it is if you took Prayer of Mending, have it do 6k damage every jump, and gave it unlimited charges.  The only way to get rid of it is to jump into the pools at the bottom of the staircase which is itself guarded by Flame Revenants that spawn flame tornadoes that behave like the eagle phase of Zul’jin in Zul’Aman.  Save that they do around a lot more damage when you get hit.  A lot of Melee died to bring those down.  The Forge Constructs at the base of the stairs are also pretty deadly, they hit hard, and charge at random.  We were getting out wind back though.

Then came Ignis.  I’m somewhat relieved to say that we aren’t the only group that has had some… difficulty with this bastard.  The only way I can summarize is that there was too much Damage.  Too much tank damage, too much raid damage, the healers just could not keep up.  The general sense was that this was through no fault of our own and that led us to end the night on something of a down note.

Lessons Learned: Trash before Ignis cannot be done “Naxx Style.”  Melee need to GTFO when Flame Tornadoes are going to spawn.  Blizzard was right to nerf this encounter.

Day 2: Fucking servers crash

No fun Wednesday night.  There were a few attempts on Razorscale before the massive outage ended the raid after a 90 minute wait for servers to come back up.

Lessons Learned: A free day of playtime does not make up for dashed hopes and dreams.  QQ

Day 2, take two: Razorscale is shortsighted, and other important lessons.

I was actually here for this so you will pardon me if it feels, shall we say, more epic.  Once again, Razorscale was the target and the tone was definitely one of experimentation.  Which strategy would we choose?  Split into 3 groups?  2 groups?  How to manage the raid healing?  The first part of the fight is very add heavy with two flavors of Iron Dwarves and one Flavor of Iron Vrykul.  Of these, only two are really dangerous, the Dark Rune Watchers with their Chain Lightning and the Dark Rune Sentinel with his Whirlwind.  Our problems mainly came from managing the damage between Razorscale pelting us from above and the adds on the ground.  There was a lot of death to be sure, we had a hard time keeping enough people up to make an impact when she landed.  It was in this process of experimentation we decided to try to focus into two groups with a tank and a healer in the middle of the circle (there is a big circle on the ground) to try and catch the Vrykul add when he pops.  It was in this particular attempt that we noticed a particular proclivity of Razorscale to drop her most dangerous ability, Devouring Flames, on the two of us in the middle of the circle.  A few more attempts at this revealed the the truth of the matter:  Razorscale flaps around a certain portion of the sky and will target devouring flames on whichever player is closest to her!  This made it very simple to keep an eye on her and dodge out of the flames whenever she was about to spit them (there is a cast time, and she targets the player in question).  Once we had figured this out we nail her into the second phase (the ground phase) the very next attempt.  Though tanks were dropping like flies (I had to come in at the end even though I was in my threat gear not my boss gear) it was a frantic DPS race that we won – I am proud to say.

Lessons Learned: The strategy you read rarely has the key piece of information you need to turn a crazy death circus into a manageable fight.

The rest of the night was spent learning how much we had forgotten since Molten Core.

XT-002 Deconstructor is like a mad cross between Jedoga Shadowseeker and Baron Geddon.  Simply put, the Deconstructor has two “Bomb” debuffs: Light Bomb (which does produces an AoE around the target that ticks for around 3k per second) and Gravity Bomb (which will suck in everyone in 10 yards around the target and do around 20k to them).  The way to deal with both of these is simple, if you have either one of these debuffs, get away from everyone else.  It’s been a staple of raiding since Molten Core.  Nothing new here.

Then there are the adds, which are summoned in the second phase, only one type of which can be tanked.  The rest, like in the Jedoga fight, need to be killed or bad things happen.  Mainly the Deconstructor healing itself.

The add phase seemed manageable.  That is to say, manageable if we could get through the first phase.  Because damned if we could get through it without someone failing to move out of the raid.  We made progress in many areas of this fight: DPS output, healing management, add control – pretty much everything you need to kill him – save dealing with the bomb.

Lessons Learned: If you’re the bomb, GTFO.  Someone is always the bomb.  If you are running back from being the bomb, make sure you’re paying attention in case you become the bomb again.  Fucking bomb.

In Summary:

Getting your game back after you’ve been sailing through Naxx every week is harder than Ulduar.  How devious of Blizzard to lull us into a false sense of security before crushing our flabby bodies on the rough metal and stone of real bosses.  I am betting that Deconstructor will go down tonight, and Ignis probably as well (given the nerfs that have been applied).  Updates will be delivered soon!

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Flame tornadoes are for have good times.

True story.

Comment by Yuki

Good Read! I’m experience the same wake up after sleepwalking through Naxx. I remember T5 was this hard (well, possibly a little easier). But its a good hard, that’s going to provide lots of content-full nights.

Comment by Yakra

@ Yuki – I’ll take your word for it there.

@ Yakra – I think the thing that makes this seem invigorating is that applied strategy makes a noticeable difference. Not necessarily guaranteeing victory, but making a difference none-the-less.

Comment by Tarsus

We got Leviathan down last night, and then spent half an hour on the Ignis trash. Collossi went down in one go, but those tornado mobs… Probably because I was the only ranged dps (it was only 10-man). Thanks for the tips on Razorscale, good luck with XT ;)

Comment by Figworth

@ Figworth – I’m still anticipating XT and Ignis going down tonight, though from what was said in Ulduar 10 over the weekend, “brutal trash” seems to be a theme of the instance thus far.

Comment by Tarsus

Glad to see you’re enjoying the new content too =D. I haven’t spent this much time wiping/this much money on repair bills in a LONG time. I also don’t think I’ve had this much fun since BWL/AQ. Unfortunately, not everyone sees the difficulty as a good/fun thing and we’ve had our own fair share of Wrath-Babies who’ve never had to work hard to get loot before and whine about repairs/leave the raid early that I had to kick to the curb. Hopefully Blizz doesn’t end up nerfing anything that doesn’t absolutely require it because downing things has felt good again lately.

As for Ignis- Our OT bailed on us last night because he was sick of paying for repair bills after learning and killing the first 3 bosses (Lev/Raz/XT). No replacements were online so we came up with the following- Rather than using two tanks for the fight, just have the main tank on Ignis also taunt the constructs as they spawn. Since he’ll be standing next to the fires on the ground anyways it’s a lot easier for him to position the add in such a way that it gets the 20 stacks while not taking the fire damage himself. Once the add goes Molten you have a hunter stand in the water and distracting shot the add off of the MT. Construct runs to water, goes solid, gets blown up. We found this very beneficial to our particular style as it focused most of the healing on one single person instead of split between two. Keeping the add in the fire can be a little bit tricky at times with the flame jets knocking you in the air but with some sidestep dancing it’s relatively easy to only take a tick or two of fire and then stand still tanking Ignis while the add takes stacks to 20.

It took the hunter and I a few attempts to coordinate and figure out positioning and all that right but once we thought it was A LOT smoother of a fight overall.

Comment by kittoes




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