Tanking for Dummies

Wrangle-em Cowtank: Lady Deathwhisper 25-man Strategy
December 18, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Raiding, Strategy | Tags: , ,

While it is still fresh in my mind, I want to go a bit more in depth with my description of killing Lady Deathwhisper – more so than I did on Wednesday.  Of the fights available, Lady D is probably the most technical from a tanking perspective, so it wouldn’t hurt to touch on the strategy that Axiom used to take her down.

The important elements of this fight are as follows:

  • Appropriate division of Melee/Ranged DPS.
  • Focused DPS
  • Effective Crowd Control.
  • Quick mob recognition.

First off, we are talking about Phase 1 here, which I say with some confidence is the primary challenge to the fight.  So, let us review:

As you face Lady D, adds will spawn in the three alcoves on either side of her.  These come in two flavors, melee (Fanatics) and caster (Adherant).  On the left, you will get two melee and one caster (always with the melee in the sides, with the caster in the middle).  On the right, you will get the opposite.  Effective strategy point “the first” is there because these adds are best effected by DPS of the opposite type.  Fanatics by casters and Adherants by physical dps.  Hence, when you go into the fight, make sure you distribute your dps appropriately with a majority of your melee on the right, and casters on the left.  Since these adds are resistant to AoE damage, a focused DPS strategy was essential; to whit, kill the ones in the dresses first.

To add an element of control to this fight, we used crowd control on the pair of  adds that spawned closest to Lady D on each side (that would be a melee type on the left, and caster on the right).  Generally, if DPS is focused and divided correctly, the crowd controlled add will break well after the first two adds have died.  A side note to this is Lady D’s Mind Control ability, which requires you to crowd control members of your own raid periodically as well.  This can be especially messy if there are druids in your raid.  Make sure you assign your non-polymorph crowd control to prioritize raid members.

Now, if it were just this simple, nothing would stop you.  As you might expect, however, things are more complicated.  These adds get buffed regularly during the fight.  The most pressing of these is Empowerment which will make the Adherants effectively immune to magical DPS as their shields reflect magic.  Your physical DPS should make these adds a priority. For tanks, the most relevant things are whether or not Lady D is going to transform the Fanatics into Reanimated Fanatics or Deformed Fanatics.

Let me explain.

For add tanking, there is essentially no point to tanking the Adherants.  They’re going to target whomever, and there is little you can do as a tank to change that.  Let the melee DPS worry about them.  The Fanatics, however, are the tank’s job for two reasons: First, they do physical damage so armor actually matters.  If they hit anything but plate (or bear blubber) it’s going to die quickly. Second, they have a nasty frontal cleave so they need to be faced away from everyone else.  So, as a tank, you’re managing to generally wrangle one Fanatic at a time.  When they are transformed into Reanimated Fanatics, your strategy doesn’t change fundamentally other than you are taking more damage (disarm is helpful here).  Deformed Fanatics will wtfpwn you in the face no matter what you are wearing, so if you get one of those you will need to run.  They are fortunately slow, but you have only a few seconds to react, so your reaction is key.

In any case, the way you can determine the fate of the transformation is by whether or not the Fanatic explodes themselves before hand.  If yes, you’re fine, if no, you need to get out of there.  It should also help to notify the ranged DPS of Deformed Fanatics, as they will need to burn them down in time for you to get back into position for the next wave of adds.

That leaves only the matter of the add in the back.

Generally speaking, the type of add is random.  We found that we generally had time to burn this add down before the next wave if we positioned at either the bottom right or left of the stairs depending on its type (noting that moving the casters is difficult at best).  Melee types go to the left, casters go to the right.  The idea is to position them as close as possible to the side that has the weighted DPS of choice.  This is less to get the add down than it is to make sure the DPS are in position to start the new wave – otherwise you will slowly fall behind until you are overrun.

Some other tricks  I found out that can be helpful in a pinch:

  • Using Shockwave to stun Deformed fanatics from range can give you precious extra seconds of run-time.
  • As a warrior, being on the left is very handy because you can use Heroic Throw to quickly nab the second melee add when it breaks.  Also, should you be in a position where you get two Fanatics at the same time (when CC breaks early, or doesn’t work at all) use disarm on whichever one gets re-animated to mitigate the most damage.
  • Be mindful if you get two Fanatics and one is Deformed.  The non-deformed one will cleave his way through anyone in your kiting path.  Again, Disarm can really save you here.
  • We left three DPS on the boss full time to bring down the mana shield in predictable time.  For this task we chose three shadow priests because, well, their DPS is weak on targets that die quickly.  Another good choice might include an affliction warlock – but this will obviously change from raid to raid depending on class breakdown.

I’ll only touch on Phase 2 briefly to say that as long as your melee remembers to interrupt, and you move out of Death and Decay as well as away from ghosts, you should be fine.  Compared to Phase 1, it felt like a cake walk – I imagine your experience will be the same.


4 Comments so far
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We also found that an enhancement shaman was better left on the boss, because their damage was split between physical and magical. A frost death knight would be in this situation as well (speaking from having tanked it as such).

Comment by Figworth

Caveat – We have not downed her yet.

That said, we were using CC at first on the front fanatic and adherant, and both myself and our other main tank finally got sick of it. We asked our healers if they were having any trouble keeping us up, they said no, we said knock off the sheep and let us tank. As a warrior, working the 2 fanatics on the left is MUCH easier than trying to figure out if a sheep is going to break early, or if there is a dot on that target or whatever. Just heroic throw one, charge the other, line them up, melee cleaves them both down once they are done with the adherant. On the otherside it was basically the same thing with a dk deathgripping one adherant on top of the other. After we made that change, the adds died much faster and we pushed her into phase 2…. about 2 seconds after a new set of adds spawned, which didn’t work out so well. Live and learn, we’ll get her next time we go in.

At this point, we are usually fine unless we get the odd situation where 2 Fanatics get mutated at the same time on the same side.

Oh, and Mutated fanatics are immune to piercing howl, which is fail, improved disarm is pretty win though if you can have a second prot spec to use on this fight.

Comment by Kobeathris

We use crowd control mostly as a way to keep the pace predictable and the kill order clear. We actually use hunters for that purpose because their traps are effectively lay and forget, so we don’t loose DPS time to CC. As an interesting side note, deformed fanatics don’t break hunter traps like they do sheep.

That said, a few other things of note:
-Deformed Fanatics are immune to all effects that slow their movement. They are, however, 25% slowed to begin with anyway.
-Timing the transition to phase 2 can be difficult, it’s a good use of Bloodlust/Heroism to push her over while the adds are down.

Comment by Tarsus

Melee types go to the left, casters go to the right.

We tried that and promptly got a string of three or four casters who overwhelmed the right side. So we switched to alternating them. Holding aggro on the Adherents is useful as it lets you LOS them to one of the side nooks.

Comment by Karl Gallagher

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