Tanking for Dummies

Ulduar Journal: 2 weeks later…
April 29, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Raiding, Strategy | Tags: ,

…and I still have yet to participate in a Flame Leviathan kill.  This is not looking good for getting my hands on a Titanguard.  I may have to pin my hopes on other weapons – or try to run Naxx 25 myself for the axe.  I’m now well behind the curve of the other tanks on threat comming from white damage.

But that is neither here nor there.  Our second week/lockout was quite eventful.

Week 2, Day 1 – It’s like a bicycle

Axiom cleared all three bosses that we had killed durring our first week in one night.  This is something I think of as being very promising for future content because it means we condensed three days of learning down to one day of sustained progress.  This is with the reintroduction of the XT-001 Deconstructor trash (and before they nerfed it), which is just as brutal is you have heard. It says something that the most effective method of dealing with it was a graveyard Zerg.

To understand what the big deal is with these things, they combine pretty much the worst of all worlds: They put out high amounts of damage, two out of four of the mobs (five if you count the “Sawblades” as a seperate mob) are essentially untankable, they’re mechanical so the crowd control that works on them is extremely limited, and they can heal.  For the record, you kill the Parts Recovery Technicians first (Healers, untankable), then the Salvage Bots (produces the “Sawblade” which is untankable), then the Compatctobots, then the Disposalbots (both tankable and not terribly dangerous if they’re being tanked).  Everything I’ve read indicates that a combination of roots, stuns, and Cyclone is the most effective at keeping them managable, but all else failing we’ve proved that graveyard zerging does work.

XT-001 went down much as you might expect, thanks to an increased amount of competence over last week.  No mystery there.

Week 2, Day 2 – Wait, they make these for Melee DPS now?

I have heard that the Trash leading up to Kologarn is supposedly much harder on the 10 man version of Ulduar, but I would simply call it “managable” on the 25 man, and by managable I mean it is straightforward if you use crowd control.  This is made much easier by the fact that the majority of the mobs are humanoid, and therefore succeptable to such essential basics as polymorph.  Our mages are so happy, but a couple are confused where they are going to find room for that spell on their action bars.  Who knew?

To draw a paralell, it’s much like the trash in Tempest Keep, large packs of crowd controlable mobs that are only dangerous when they get loose in large numbers.  I was good: despite deep wounds, I managed to avoid poping any sheep.

Kologarn’s entrance has got to be one of the cooler moments of Ulduar thus far.  I mean, you may have seen the videos, but you’ve never quite experienced it until you walk in there.  The conversation might go something like this:

Kologarn: “I’m huge!”

Raid: “My god!  He’s huge!”

Kologarn: “See how huge I am!”

Raid: “We see!”

Kologarn: <eyebeams>

Raid: <pain, death, etc.>

Tank: I see what you did there!

Kologarn: <stuffs tank in fist, crushes like popeye with a can of spinich>

Raid Leader: Okay, lets try that again.  This time, with less gawking.

You know Blizzard is at its best when the boss kills you because you’re too busy being amazed by how cool he looks.

The fight itself is about on the level of difficulty of Razorscale, but the really remarkable thing about the fight is that it is the only fight I can think of that is explicitly Melee DPS friendly.  If all the melee stand where the tanks do, in front of his torso, they cannot be targeted by his most dangerous abilty, namely the giant blue laserbeams that come out of his fucking eyes.  Do I need to repeat it?  Fucking eye lasers.  Pew Pew.  Ranged DPS and healers need to avoid these by, when they are targeted (you’ll know because the lasers start on either side of your character before they come together to concentrate on you) running away from them and not running them through anybody else.

Because the right arm (his giant popeye arms are targetable seperately) grabs people and crushes them (it’s about 4 people at a time on 25-man) it’s the obvious target for a DPS strategy, which involves swapping targets between the right arm and his torso.  Basically, you DPS the right arm until it is dead (this has the bonus of speeding up the freeing of people who have been grabbed) and that damage is then transfered to the torso which you DPS until the arm respawns.  Now, each time you kill an arm it spwans a bunch of little golems which put a debuff on anyone who gets in melee range of them that increases damage taken very rapidly.  These need to be AoE’d down promptly or they will flat out kill whomever is tanking them.  We used a Death Knight for this, but it seems to me, honestly, a Warrior with our great snap threat from Thunder Clap and Shockwave would be the best choice.  Faster DPS in this case is the safest route.

Lastly, there is the small matter of the Crunch Armor Debuff which he stacks on the Torso tank.  We found it best to have two tanks on the toroso, swapping off by taunting if one of them got stack of two or more of the debuff on them.  Fortunately, the ability that applies the debuff is subject to avoidance, so you can parry, dodge, and block it, avoiding the debuff entirely.  Because the DPS will primarily be focused on the Right Arm, this is a prime candidate for your Avoidance set.  Your healers will thank you, and the DPS won’t mind.

Kologarn did go down after a little more than an hour of work.  He gave me a nice and shiny Necklace of Unerring Mettle which nicely goes with my avoidance/mitigation set.  Between that and the Titanstone Pendant I got from his trash, it was a good day for neckpieces.

Comparatively speaking, the Iron Council was a lot more frustrating.  There are three guys, Steelbreaker, Runemaster Molgeim, and Stormcaller Brundir.  We used the “easy” approach, killing them in that order (hard mode is supposedly killing Steelbreaker last).  Each time you kill one of them, new abilities are granted that make things more difficult (and they get a general 25% damage buff to boot).  A couple things are important in the fight which I’ll lay out:

  • Molgeim will put Runes of Power on the ground under the feet of the councilmembers.  Tanks should move their target out of them as (especially with Steelbreaker) it’s easy to get killed by a standard hit when they’re on one.  Steelbreaker’s Tank is most at risk durring this first phase because he’ll whallop you for 38k+ while standing on one.
  • After Steelbreaker goes down, Molgeim will gain the ability to drop giant AoE Death Runes on the ground centered around a random raid member.  These are impossible to miss, but are massive.  A good guide for a tank is that they’re about the size of the circles on the floor, the big ones.  It’s easy to get backed into a corner with these so try to keep your eye open for an escape route if you get backed into a corner.
  • Brundir is all about interupting his abilities.  A tank can generally handle one of them but having another interupter (a mage or shaman ideally) there can be very helpful once Steelbreaker goes down to help cover other abilities.
  • Once Molgeim goes down, Brundir will start flying around shooting off sparks like Storm from the X-men.  He’ll chase around members of the raid and swap rapidly, so there is almost no point in trying to tank him while he is flying.  However, it is worth noting that tanks can try and steer him using Taunt, even if it is like playing Motorball.  When he lands, it should be easy to keep him interrupted with all hands on deck to help.
  • Despite rumors of a 10 minute enrage timer on the Council, we found this simply wasn’t the case.  No idea when it actually is, but don’t give up, you might make it.

So yeah, after about 90 minutes we managed to get them down in dragged out attempt (many of our DPS died to Brundir’s shenanigans), but it worked in the end.

We actually had time to make some attempts on Auriaya (how do you pronounce that anyway?) and, um, wow.  This fight seems to be all about the pull, much like King Mulgar in Grul’s Lair.  Well, like Mulgar if his adds instantly jumped to their agro target, stunned them, and then totally murderized them through Shield Wall.  Those Feral Defenders are not to be messed with.  Ow.  Any tips would be appreciated.

Week 2, Day 3

We were supposed to work on Ignis and Ariaya, but that totally didn’t happen because of last minute drop outs/conflicts.  We couldn’t make comp and so it was decided to take the night off instead of trying to pug it.  I blame the Swine Flu myself.


5 Comments so far
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Brundir 3: Electric Bugaloo functions almost identically to Sartura in AQ40: Random aggro drops while in death spin but can be chain-taunted, and can be kept in not-death-spin by chain stunning.

And hey, you can totally control Manbirdpig flu with Tamiflu! Just don’t ask about the side effects.

Comment by Yuki

Drop a fire trap in their path, then have the hunter book it to the far circle-area.

4 Tanks. Two take taunt a single panther each away from the boss. One tanks two of them with cooldowns, right on top of the boss around the corner, and one take the boss herself. Pop Heroism, focus one of the ones being duo-tanked, then the other, then go around and take off the other two.

Comment by Yakra

A single warrior can keep Brundir suppressed. When you get a stun on him back off so you can charge/intercept the next spell. Watch to see if you get a Revenge stun proc. Save Heroic Throw/Shield Bash if you can, you need the silences to move him out of the blue runes.

Do this right and you can be at the bottom of the Damage Out and Damage In charts. :)

Comment by Karl Gallagher

@ Yuki – The link with Satura is a good one. It wouldn’t have helped with that particular attempt (our rogue was already dead so the only stuns I think were the Paladin and myself), but it would be useful in the future.

@ Yakra – Amen for dual-speccing, I think all of our Death Knights have a tanking spec as an off spec so we should probably just have one of them swap to get four tanks. We generally run with just three.

@ Karl – I was pretty sure I could do that, but our Death Knight knight tank seemed to be doing a good job. It is always nice to have a back up (I was on the Runemaster at the time, so I couldn’t take over).

Comment by Tarsus

Auriaya- 3 or 4 tanks depending on gear, hunter helps. 1 tank on boss with 2 adds per tank in a 3 tank setup or just like Yakra posted with 2 on 1 and 1-1 for the other two tanks.

The trick with the adds is seperating them while not letting them pounce anyone in the raid (including the tank). This is accomplished by using 3 LoS positiones, one for the raid and 2 spots for the tanks. We use the left and right side of the stairs where you’d head to Hodir for the tanks and then the raid stands on the stairs where you came from Kologarn.

At the pull our hunter lays an explosive trap on the left side of the platform she’s about to pat to so that it hits her and the left 2 adds only, he misdirects the add tank on the left side of the stairs before she hits the trap and then feigns soon after (only the first tick generates threat for the tank, the other ticks will go to the hunter). The tank on the right side of the stairs should immediately bloodrage after the pull as it should generate enough threat to make the other 2 kitten move to him.

The hardest and most important part of the pull is when the adds get to the top of the stairs and come into LoS. The tanks need to be generating aggro on them IMMEDIATELY. TC, Consecrate, DnD, whatever to make sure that the adds you need to be tanking are focused on you. I cannot count how many times a healer’s shield, or HoT, or whatever has pulled aggro and the kitty pounces over to them and then back to the tank causing a wipe. Cooldowns should also be used during this period so that you can get the kittens seperated enough and healers can go a little bit easier to help you out with maintaining threat.

Basically as long as two adds go to the left, two go to the right, and your tank(s) assigned to tank them are generating threat as soon as they are in LoS, you win. Auriaya just needs to be picked off by whoever is assigned to tanking her and move her wherever you decide you need her.

Tip- Pounce range is about 20-25 yards as far as we’ve been able to tell so it is also possible to use Heroic Throw and other ranged instants to start the pull and get aggro where it needs to be as long as you throw as you’re moving out of LoS. The missle speed is slow enough to let you get to safety.

Comment by kittoes

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