Tanking for Dummies

Rotface is one ugly fight
January 18, 2010, 12:38 pm
Filed under: Raiding, Strategy, Stupid Tanking | Tags: ,

We have been wiping on Rotface enough that I feel like I have a pretty good idea of the way this fight is supposed to work.  I will say, however, that I don’t feel like we’re particularly any closer to beating him because of it.  Let me tell you, tank boys and girls, Rotface is one ugly bastard.

In this drama, I play the tank with the easier job – actually tanking Rotface.  Now, he can melee pretty hard, but mainly My job is to keep him in the middle of the room, and play monkey in the middle with him and the DPS.  By that, I mean that when he sprays, the DPS runs behind him, and right before he goes back to melee I step in front of him.  It keeps the DPS up by making them move only the once.

The harder job in this fight goes to a Paladin tank, kiting the big slime around the room.  There are several reasons for this:  First and most importantly is it gives the kiting tank control of dispelling Mutated Infection.  Second, Paladins have quite good ranged threat capacity. And Third, should it be necessary, the Paladin can use Blessing of Freedom to run through the green slime pools without be slowed down.

We have this execution down really well, we on the tank team.  Yet, despite this, the following problems occur:

  • A shaman (generally) pulls healing threat on the small slime that spawns right after Mutated Infection is dispelled, resulting in a small slime in the raid.  Supposedly, this is impossible, but I’ve seen it often enough to know that this is not really true.
  • Same as above, but as the result of the mutated infection victim dying.
  • During the Unstable Ooze Explosion, we run out too early, spreading the explosion way too far and killing people.
  • Same as above, but too late and getting people with lag killed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we can execute this dance of death repeatedly without incident very very often.  However, the major block for us right now is the fact that each time the dance gets a little faster (and hence, the above conditions happen more often) and eventually it nails us.

And here is the clincher after a fashion:

In the weeks and months after all twelve encounters are unlocked, additional attempts against the final four boss encounters become available. This represents the Ashen Verdict growing more powerful and gaining a stronger foothold in Icecrown Citadel. To further help raids, Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream will begin to provide assistance by inspiring the armies attacking Icecrown Citadel. This is represented as an additional zone wide spell effect applied to all players that will increase their hit points, damage dealt, and healing done. This effect will also increase in effectiveness over time. Players may opt out of the spell’s effect if they so wish.(Source)

We have a limited time to do this with our pride as raiders intact.  Now, my understanding is that this won’t start up until after the Lich King is available – but if we’re stuck trying to get to Putricide until after that buff goes off – it is going to hurt.


Nerf News (or, in case you missed it)
January 13, 2010, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks, Analysis, News | Tags: , , ,


It should be noted that we have been warned about some potential in-coming nerfs to Protection Warriors.  You may read certain choice responses here, here, and here (reply #385).  In case you missed the information involved , allow me to get you up to date (from oldest to newest):

Continue reading

An Exciting Opportunity
January 11, 2010, 2:25 pm
Filed under: Humor | Tags: ,

Do you suffer from bouts of extreme anger?

Does your red meter feel bloated or full?

Does your usual regimen of Devastate or Shield Slam just not do it for you anymore?

If any of these symptoms describes you, or you have ever felt the sudden urge to crush the cell phone you have bought for your significant other*, you may suffer from a common Warrior condition known as WTMR°.  The causes for this condition vary, from glyphs to spec, to traumatic brain injury.  But no matter the cause of your WTMR, there is hope.

My name is Dr. Tarsus Grimtotem, and though I am not an actual doctor I play one on Television.  Actually, no, I don’t even play one on television, I am just wearing a white lab coat and appear trustworthy.  Either way, I am totally qualified to inform you about an exciting new treatment for WTMR: Heroicstrikacin¹.  Unlike other available treatments for WTMR, Heroicstrikacin doesn’t eat your global cooldown, so you will be ready for that taunt whenever the opportunity arises.  Better yet, Heroicstrikacin doesn’t require a prescription, meaning you can use it whenever the need arises.  It contains no harsh chemicals, and relies solely on wholesome natural processes to relieve your WTMR.  In clinical trials, Heroicstrikacin was show to reduce WTMR by up to 100%.  You can try Heroicstrikacin for free for up to 10 days by visiting this website.

You should not use Heroicstrikacin in low rage environments to avoid having dead healers.  Side effects include mood swings, inability to use other tanking abilities, and painful debilitating hand injuries.  Should you experience any of these effects under the influence of Heroicstrikacin, you should immediately seek medical attention.

If you cannot afford your medications, Blizzard Pharmaceuticals may be able to help.  Actually, no they won’t, but we can always hope they will pay for your subscription.  Er.  Prescription.

* Observed in clinical testing.

° Way Too Much Rage

¹ Generic Name: Heroic Strike

The next Stupid Tank could be you!
January 6, 2010, 2:29 pm
Filed under: News | Tags: , ,

Well, ladies and gentlemen of all shapes sizes and colors – I finally have the opportunity that you all have been waiting for:

Axiom needs a new Tank to add to the roster.

Continue reading

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.

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.

Continue reading

I <3 High Overlord Saurfang
December 16, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Raiding, Strategy, Stupid Tanking | Tags: , , , ,

Last night was the best night of raiding since 3.2 came out.

It didn’t start out seeming like it was going to be the win that it turned out to be.  We had some trouble with Lady Deathwhisper on Thursday, and we were coming at her again with an off-spec tank and only 5 healers.  But with some changes in strategy (using crowd control on the mobs closest to Lady Deathwhisper when they spawn, and keeping 3 shadow priests on the boss through the whole of phase 1), we brought her down the second time we made it to phase 2.

Which means we got to do the gunship battle.


Continue reading