Tanking for Dummies

Ulduar Journal: Stuck on Thorim and Freya
May 15, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Analysis, Raiding, Strategy | Tags: , , , ,

Welcome back to another addition to my growing Ulduar Journal.  Today’s subject is stumbling blocks, namely Thorim and Freya.  Tonight will mark the first night I have been in attendance where I will actually be fighting the same bosses I was fighting the previous week.  All together, we’ve been blocked by Thorim for three weeks and Freya for two by my count.

Freya – Stupid Snaplashers

By my understanding, Freya is a fight about killing adds quickly without dying.  For the first phase of the fight, Freya will be effectively invulnerable and will waves of adds in three different flavors.  Each wave you kill gets her closer to being attack-able, and is marked clearly by the stacks of Attuned to Nature on her.  Once these stacks have been removed, you enter phase two, which is effectively a tank and spank with no more adds.  There is also a tree which is summoned in a random location in an ~ 30 yard radius around her that needs to be killed.

Consistently, our problem was related to the Snaplasher add that is summoned as part of one o f the flavors of adds mentioned earlier.  Each time this bastard is attacked, it gains a buff that increases damage by 10%.  What you are supposed to do here is pause DPS for 4 seconds (allowing the buff to fall off) at around 50 stacks.  This has proved to be a challenge, generally one that ends up with dead tanks (and eventually dead everyone else).

Why this is a particular challenge for Axiom is no surprise.  Our DPS is spoiled by our high threat aggressive raiding style that I have mentioned so often.  This ain’t Naxxaramas anymore baby, it’s time for a little control.

Thorim – Balancing the Scales

Thorim should be called the raid leader sobriety check, because phase 1 is all about the fine tuning of the demographics of two groups.  One group must be able to nimbly navigate the gauntlet to Thorim without depriving the other group of the capacity to handle waves of dangerous Iron Dwarves and Vrykul in the arena.  You might read suggestions that recommend using ranged DPS in the gauntlet and melee DPS in the arena, but this assumes your raid is a perfectly balanced machine of death and destruction where the roster looks the same every week.

Needless to say, Axiom has not managed to square the circle on that piece of chicanery yet.

I feel somewhat satisfied to say that when I was the gauntlet tank, we made it through the gauntlet every time.  Sadly, we have yet to be able to get things to the point where the Arena group can survive.  While I feel confident that we could achieve the same results with fewer on the gauntlet team, I doubt we could do things faster at this point.  And that is the rub.

There is room for improvement in execution.  We have yet to try using crowd control in the gauntlet in seriousness as recommended in Yakra’s excellent post on this fight from last week.  The DPS in the arena has also been having some trouble with focus fire, so maybe a Main Assist (that’s a player who is designated as a /assist target for those of you new to the term) might help.  All in all though, this is a tough nut to crack – one that may be more about raid composition than anything else.

… that is, of course, something that we are trying to remedy at this very moment.

…a final word on failure.

One of the trickiest things about this is, in some ways, remembering what it is to use some of the most essential tools of raiding.  I’m talking about crowd control, focus fire, and the capacity to turn DPS on and off on a dime and swap targets faster than Trekies having nerdgasms during the new Star Trek film.  It’s amazing how much can be forgotten in a few months.

The tolerance for these wipes seem generally to be low, but I can’t help but think that this is also a symptom of the same conditions.  So what if we haven’t conquered two new bosses this week?  I remember Axiom failing for weeks to get passed Kalecgos when Sunwell first opened.  Compared to that, this is just a minor setback.

So, will wiping more on Thorim and Freya free us of this general malaise?  Maybe.  I think it is more likely though that we’ll remember skills we thought we’d forgotten and at the same time we’ll relearn the tolerance for wiping in time to work on hard modes.

That’s a plan anyway.

Update: Well, we owned these two last night despite previous difficulties.  Freya was a one shot (!) and Reweighting the groups in the arena and gauntlet proved to be just the medicine needed.

Next up, Mimiron!


4 Comments so far
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For Snaplashers you can try keeping the Snaplasher out of the pack until the other two mobs are at 10-15% and then nuke it down while keeping it stunned/popping a cooldown.

Comment by Myko

You need to update, dear. Your old habit is once again holding true. One-shotting Freya (that ass-pull when we were getting trash doesn’t count) and getting Thorim on the, what? 3rd? 4th attempt? Plus getting Mimiron consistantly through P2, even though no one knew what we were doing. Pretty boss.

Comment by Jov


Mimiron is fun stuff. Hopefully LOKI will get him Sunday, and I’ll be able to share some thoughts on p4 tanking *shudder*

Comment by Yakra

We only just downed these two as well. It turns out the trick for Freya was to scream “GET YOUR PETS OFF” at the death knights every time we wanted to stop DPS on the Snaplasher, and the trick for Thorim was to cuddle in the middle and have me maintain 15 separate Power Word: Shields. Go figure.

Comment by Dae

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