Tanking for Dummies

Happy (Belated) New Year, with Deathbringer Saurfang!
January 4, 2010, 1:28 pm
Filed under: Raiding, Strategy | Tags: ,

Been a while, hasn’t it dear readers?

Last we left, Icecrown Citadel had all but just been breached.  And tomorrow, tomorrow, TOMORROW, the Upper Spire will be revealed at last.

But all that would be for naught should you be unable to conquer Deathbringer Saurfang.  It’s no surprise to anyone he’s one bad dude.  He is, after all, the son of the most bad dude (and who can blame him for not wanting to kill his own son, even in undeath?).  And, well, it’s not every day that you get a chance to step up to the plate and help your friendly High Overlord.

The key to this fight is all about reducing the amount of Blood Points he gets.  He gets them every time someone is hit by a special ability.  Axiom has downed him once so far, so I have a good sense of what works and a very good sense of what doesn’t.

So, for the record, the following does work:

  • Using an off tank (a Paladin or Death Knight would be good, if you have a spare) to kite the Blood Beasts and reduce the chance that people will get hit by them.
  • Spreading out the ranged DPS and Healers using a range finder in a boss mod (almost essential in 25 man). This avoids too many points from Blood Nova.
  • Using Hunter Traps to slow the progress of the Blood Beasts.  Cone of Cold can function as well.
  • Go into every taunt (as the two tanks on the boss) assuming that you are going to be resisted and readying your back-ups – just like on Gormok.

By contrast, the following we found to not work:

  • Frost Nova.  Tell your Mages to remove it from their bars.  The Blood Beasts will absolutely turn and nail anyone in range if they get stuck.  Getting them stuck in range of our Melee DPS made for very large blood point counts.
  • Relying on a boss mod to announce Mark of Blood on the tank.  Turn on Target of Target and watch your buddy’s portrait like a hawk.  It’s the only way to be sure. (and it’s not like you need to move much in this fight anyway)
  • Blowing cooldowns to max DPS before the First Mark of the Fallen Champion.  Yes, it gets a lot harder once that thing is up.  You need it a lot more once Frenzy hits, trust me on this.
  • Having more than three Marks of the Fallen Champion out before Frenzy is almost certainly going to result in failure.
  • Standing around like a post after the Blood Beasts phase and not moving back to your previous spot (see Blood Nova).
  • Stacking Avoidance.  He gets Blood Points when mark of the Fallen Champion is out, whether he hits you or not.

Also, for the record, these are the number of things we’ve observed that give him Blood Points:

  • Damage taken done by Blood Nova
  • Damage taken done by Blood Beasts
  • Damage taken done by Mark of the Fallen Champion
  • Damage done by Blood Boil
  • Healing done by Mark of Blood

The one thing we haven’t tried thus far is letting the recipient of the First Mark die.  I’ve heard this strategy a lot.  Frankly, I totally understand why this would work, but as a strategy it sucks because there are certain people (such as healers or tanks) that you can’t let die – so it blows to need to wipe your raid just so you can have it land on the right person.  I mean, in our raid comp, that’s almost a one in three chance.  Not my idea of a good time.

The funny thing is, in terms of strategy, Deathbringer Saurfang is very straightforward on paper.  You avoid blood points to delay getting Mark of the Fallen Champion as long as possible using the points I’ve mentioned above.  When he Frenzies, start DPSing like mad and don’t let the Marked people die.  The difficulty comes in the execution, and given that you can waste a lot of time (very long intro to the boss fight, can be difficult to tell when to wipe) the number of attempts you get on a given night is limited.  A little stupidity early on in the fight can have serious repercussions at the end, so this is not the fight to slack off on.  However, this isn’t Heroic Northrend Beasts, the thing that kills you isn’t a bad roll on the RNG.  What is needed is simply good execution, if you can get that, you’ll be dancing in the Fleshwerks in no time.


6 Comments so far
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What we found to be the best strat for Saurfang is to bring 4 healers, 2 tanks, and the rest DPS. Have only the ranged DPS assigned to kite out at range, plus however many other people you need to hit the 7 player minimum to ensure he doesn’t blood nova the melee clust. Have everyone else stand with the melee.

Blow all cooldowns, including heroism, as soon as the tanks have aggro. The idea isn’t to make this a stable healable fight, it’s to make the fight short enough that 4 healers can handle it. The more damage you do early on in the fight is less time your healers have to spend supporting multiple marks.

When we adopted this strategy, we went from having 7 marks when we downed him, to having 3.

Comment by The Renaissance Man

Some little tricks we use:

#1 Rogues use tricks of the trade on top dps. I, the warrior tank, puts glyphed vigilance on same target. Usually for us, the target is a mage. He’ll start with mirror images. Usually no threat problems and he gets a big dps boost from tricks.

#2 Let healers heal normally in phase 1. Don’t let the marks die. We tried that once and it didn’t work well, seemed a lot more chaotic. In phase 2, DI (Divine Intervention) anyone who gets marked. That takes a dps or healer out of the equation but no more marks to worry about. This may not be a viable strat for everyone but it seems like we always have around 5 pallies in our 25 mans.

#3 10 man tip…single heal it. We did it with 2 separate groups this week with no wipes. Have 2 tanks, 1 healer and 7 dps. We’re lucky enough to have had a Shammy in each group for bloodlust/heroism… Burn Burn Burn.

All in all, this fight is nothing more than a dps check. If you have the uber dps that’ll be needed later in the raid, this fight is easy.


Comment by Mandalus

Make sure your two tanks on Saurfang remove glyph of Maul/Devastate if warrior/druid, and paladins&deathknights should watch out with their concecration/d’n’d as you don’t want one of the Blood Beasts to latch on to a tank.

Spread ranged dps so they take one side each to burn down Blood Beasts as they spawn

And to recap the previous commenters, try to run with as few healers as possible as the raid itself shouldn’t be taking much damage, it’s more important to have higher DPS to burn down Blood Beasts and eventually Saurfang when he goes into frenzy

Comment by Meka

I’m not sure if it was nerfed or if we just got that much better at it, but last night we downed him (in 10 man, mind you) without a single mark going out. I don’t even know if he reached 80 RP, and that was with 2 tanks, 2 healers, and 6 dps. If you’re smart about kiting/stunning the adds, they shouldn’t hit anyone.

As for stacking avoidance, wouldn’t this still help to slow down how fast he gets RP before the first mark (which, in turn, slows down how fast the additional marks go out)? I didn’t really gear any differently than I normally do, but I equiped both the Heart of Iron and Glyph of Indomitability and used those dodge cooldowns whenever possible to help slow down how fast he got RP.

Comment by Llamaeggs

He doesn’t have any “specials” that attack the tank save for Mark of Blood, so if you tanks are up on their taunting he shouldn’t be getting blood points from the tank at all. I suppose you might count something like Blood Boil or Blood Nova, as those can effect the tank – but neither are subject to avoidance.

Comment by Tarsus

Ah, good to know. I suppose I should have researched that. Thanks for the solid info!

Comment by Llamaeggs

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