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Tank Down! Tank Down!

September 16, 2013

Dear Reader,

So after our first two nights of flex raiding, we’ve had a lull until later tonight.  I’m looking forward to getting back in, but in the meantime, I’ve been a busy bee working on getting my tank up and running.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, the Timeless Isle, or Isle of Alts as it will eventually be known, did wonders for getting my gear score up.  In a single sitting, I went from sub-LFR score to ready for ToT LFR.

Still, a lot of other things needed doing, the most important of which was getting my confidence up.  That was helped by tanking heroic achievements with a group of friends, which was a largely successful endeavor, but heroics aren’t what they used to be, and raiding’s always harder than it might seem, anyway.

I waffled back and forth between doing a lower tier of LFR and just jumping into ToT, but eventually the decision was made partly for me.  My wife, apparently unaware of the valor cap, noticed she had 3000 valor – and nothing to spend it on.  Thanks to 5.4, the only valor dump is Shadow-Pan Assault, a faction that my wife was only vaguely familiar with due to being under the ilevel cap for ToT until last week.  

With that in mind, my wife, a healer, and I, a tank, queued for the first section of a weekend ToT LFR.

I was surprised first to see I had more hp than the other tank, but hp isn’t necessarily the best indicator; after all, I’ve heard that bear tanks – the hp kings – are by far the worst this expansion.  I whispered the other tank to let him know this was my first time tanking ToT, and asked him to clue me in on important tank-relevant boss mechanics.

He replied it was his first time, too.  Uh oh.

So while we pulled trash, I read up on the boss abilities in the dungeon journal.  The thing is, as we all know, reading or even watching a boss fight is in no way preparation for the fight.  As we got to Jin’rokh, I suspected we might have some tanking problems, but actually, things went relatively smoothly.  As the fight went on, I slowly began to suspect the tank actually hadn’t ever tanked anything ever before, as there were many basic things he was failing to do, like turn the boss away from the raid (when possible, of course, on that boss), taunt effectively, and use his cooldowns.

Still, after a wipe due to some idiot dps dragging a lighting leash into the water and dps so sluggish we got to a 4th electrified water puddle (there’s a tiny spot underneath him right in the middle where you can stand safely), we surged forward.  I was expecting problems due to the underwhelming dps, but we one-shotted Horridan with little trouble.  I told the other tank to follow my lead on positioning the boss (since that I was keenly aware of from my dpsing normal) and we figured out the switch-at-each-gate tank mechanic pretty quickly.

The council, well, was another story.  First, it started by a lock mis-pulling with his gate, which I’m so sick and tired of seeing in LFRs.  It needs to be in big, red letters on the ability description: “THIS ABILITY WILL CAUSE AGGRO!”  I quickly picked up my 2 dudes, having the other tank take care of Marli the priestess and her Loas.  I knew from hearing about it that there was a bad phase where I would be “frozen” and unable to defend myself, but i wasn’t sure what that really meant or when it would be.  By quickly reading my debuffs while establishing aggro and getting the bosses into position, I figured it out.

We ended up one-shotting that boss, too, even with the mispull, and so ended my first foray into ToT as a tank.  The primary question, “Can I handle it?” was answered with a resounding YES, and the smaller questions about cooldowns, rotations, and thinking like a tank were all affirmatives, too.

This week I’ll try to mop up ToT on both my toons and jump into SoO on my dpser to test the waters.  After that, we’ll see.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (and tanking)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2013 11:14 am

    Lock-gate pulling is super annoying but it’s so easy to stumble in to one nowadays because most Locks have the glyph that causes them to use a gate when they get within a few yards.. even if it’s another Warlock’s gate. It was a necessary glyph for their green fire quest. Still, it’s annoying and leads to many a premature pull.

    I tend to heal a bit on my Holy Paladin and I have had the best luck with Druid tanks at higher gear levels. Warrior tanks seem to be the worst for some reason. Warriors and Monks, really. Druids and DK’s seem to be able to live forever while Pallys hover somewhere in the middle.

  2. September 16, 2013 12:31 pm

    Nice work.

    If you’d like to try normal ToT on your new tank (with the 20% nerf so it’s going to be easier than your LFR group – particularly YOUR LFR group) potentially with your wife’s character as well, let me know if you see me in-game.

  3. September 17, 2013 9:50 am

    “Still, a lot of other things needed doing, the most important of which was getting my confidence up.”

    Proving Grounds. Seriously, try ‘em. That’s simply the BEST way to get some quick confidence in a role without risking the lives (/time/repair bills) of other people in the process. It won’t teach you fight mechanics but it’ll show you that you have class skills which, as you implied regarding the other tank, count for as much or more than fight mechanics. You can usually compensate for mechanic issues, you can’t really compensate for a tank DK who doesn’t use Death Strike. I’d love to see Proving Grounds: Bronze as a requirement to tank LFR. Let’s at least make sure they know what buttons to push when they tank.

    Yeah, I cringe every time I see LFR (or even normal) mode Warlocks putting a gate up beside a boss that has a proximity pull range. I’ve seen more mis-pulls from those than from hunters this expansion which, while probably a relief for hunters not being on the top of that list for once, isn’t good for my sanity.

    @CBA – Warriors do seem a bit squishy overall without there being much they can do about it but if you’re having issues with Monks it’s because they just aren’t great at it… Monks who don’t clear Stagger, who don’t use Elusive Brew (I think it’s called… the yellow potion button with the stacks :) ), who don’t keep Shuffle up… there’s more to it but any one of those can make a Monk tank squishier than you’d like. I’d argue that my Monk is able to survive things that even my DK couldn’t… does require a lot more effort to survive, though, DKs have less to deal with from a general survival standpoint.

    • September 18, 2013 10:36 am

      @R – Yeah, I have no doubt that it probably has more to do with the player’s inability to use their own class effectively rather than the classes being squishy as a whole. I’ve definitely had my fair share of DK tanks barely using Death Strike, as you mentioned, or Druid tanks with the wrong itemization, thus causing them to be the equivalent of wearing toilet paper and tanking with their backs or something. I also like your idea with the Proving Grounds. It’s like PVP in the sense where sometimes you get comfortable in your own shoes and forget about certain abilities that could otherwise save your hide at some point in PVE. It’s a good confidence builder =)

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