Yesterday there was no raid due to the lack of healers, so I’ve been kidnapped and forced to do PvP. Specifically, 2v2 Arenas with our resident holy pinkadin.
Hmmm. “Forced” sounds kind of wrong, like I didn’t like doing this, which is not true at all. Let’s try again.
Yesterday there was no raid due to the lack of healers, so our resident holy pinkadin Tuttebel invited me to have a lot of fun in 2v2 Arenas as a prot warrior – holy pala team.
Okay, this is a lot better and is at least honest, this can stay.
I’ve been already doing a lot of Battlegrounds on my warrior as prot, and I liked it a lot, so I agreed for doing some arenas to see if it would be fun as well. We started on Tuesday after the raid, just to get a few games done for her weekly points, but strangely enough we didn’t lose as much as we were expecting to.
During these few days I’ve tweaked my pvp spec a bit (note that I might not have it on armory currently, because at the point at which it was written I was respeccing my tanking spec for it – seriously Blizzard, make it cost another 1k or make it even 10k gold, but I really need a third spec) and got some better gear (and a little more resilience), so this time it went much better.
We did about 30 games of which we lost about 11, most of them at the beginning where I was still running around a bit like a headless chicken. Once I stopped that and got used to the arena maps and staying close enough to my healer to be able to Intervene her if needed, it went much better. Of course, we have a low rating of 1100 and something (especially me, since I’ve just started this week), so obviously the other teams aren’t the best either. Still, it was a lot of fun and you can expect some posts about it if we get somewhere with this.
There was a few noteworthy things this evening.
Facing a double rogue team was fun, but we won that one pretty fast – fortunately two plate users with a protection warrior, a rogue is not a big problem at all if you manage to survive the initial stunlock and burst, as I have just about the same amount of stuns availaible and an advantage of a ton (for pvp at least) of armor and avoidance.
We also faced one team of a cat druid and holy pala. That fight was… interesting, if that’s the right word. It lasted for 26 minutes, in which time I was trying to a) get the paladin healer low on mana (not an easy job when he has like 25k of it and I’m not a dps), b) get the kitty off Tuttebel’s face, while the other team was doing more or less the same. Fortunately the other healer went OOM faster, and then it was only a matter of silencing and stunlocking him and getting some lucky Shield Slam crits at the same time – and after the enemy paladin went down, finishing off the kitty was just a formality. Fortunately we only encountered them once in a whole evening, but I have to say that these were really cool and fun 26 minutes.
Speaking of Shield Slam crits – we had one team with a pve geared arcane mage. Have I mentioned already that I absolutely love low resilience targets? Here’s why.
That’s just a little over 11k in one hit, from defensive stance. Before you start thinking that protection warriors are overpowered, remember that a decent amount (700-900) of resilience reduces that to 5k on average, and on top of that I only have about 30% of crit chance on Shield Slam, and I really need to have procs, cooldowns and some setup in order to do so much damage. Still, seeing a mage’s health go down from 80% to 5% in one blow is just awesome.
I’ve also almost single-handedly killed a retri paladin and a deathknight. They both went for Tuttebel first and somehow bursted her down pretty fast, but I was able to dps down first the paladin, then finish off the deathknight with me having about 1k health left. Very lucky.
Of course this post would not be complete without mentioning the worst enemy you can ever encounter as a warrior – a discipline priest. If they’re any good, they will spam Power Word: Shield, making you unable to get any rage, and therefore unable to do any damage. If paired with a ranged dps class, like a hunter or a warlock, it’s not an easy team to deal with – unless you’re good at playing hide and seek with them. We didn’t manage that yet, but there’s always next time!
At least, that’s what Chronis of <Loot and Run> on Deathwing-EU says, so it must be true. Right?
I’ll show you the whole conversation, because I made me smile on an otherwise dull evening.
Chronis > logic.
Especially after I explicitely told him I was soloing stuff, yet he kept going, babbling something about HP reg not working in raids. Which it obviously does, because why wouldn’t it.
The ignore & insult at the end is also a classic.
A little something I’ve found, strangely enough, browsing around World of Matticus’ comments for some post. That pointed me towards Askevar’s post (I love that blog’s name. All tanks should.) and further towards Koriel of Whatisboom and Tarsus of Tanking For Dummies (who had two additional questions about encounters, so I grabbed them as well). Well, since lately the warrior is my most played character, I think I can join as well. So, here it goes.
What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?
Vrethir, protection warrior for life. I’m using a mixed 15/3/53 spec that includes both Deep Wounds (for threat) and Improved Disciplines (with glyphed Shield Wall, for our 10-man hard modes). It’s not the best choice, but it works and saves me gold I would have to use for respecs.
What is your primary tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
All of the above. Raids (10-mans and some more 25-mans recently) and five-man instances are what I do the most, since I’m mostly a PvE player. Running battlegrounds as a protection warrior is also very fun and enjoyable. No arenas yet though, maybe someday.
What is your favorite encounter to tank, and why?
Mimiron (including our tries of Firefighter). It’s a very varied fight, and you have lots of things to do, so you can’t be bored. Hard mode of Hodir is also not as boring as it might seem. Single-tanking the third phase of our Yogg-Saron fight was also very enjoyable.
What is your least favorite encounter to tank, and why?
Loatheb, Vezax (since I’m usually on boss duty due to cooldowns), Ignis (if we’re doing the speed kill and I’m on boss duty again) – from a tanks perspective they are both tank and spank fights that are simple and boring. I have to admit I like to do these once in a while for a change, but I prefer something where I can use more of my abilities.
What is your favorite tanking spell for your class and why?
That definitely must be Shield Slam. It combines a ton of aggro, dispels, and dps in one handy tool.
What tanking spell do you use least for your class and why?
A warrior uses pretty much everything he can, but if I have to choose one of the least used it would be probably Mocking Blow – it’s only useful once in a blue moon if my taunt misses and the boss absolutely needs to be on me right now.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?
Mobility, because the Warbringer talent is full of awesome, and I would not like a tanking spec that does not have it (which is also one of the reasons why I have an arms offspec, not a fury one – but that’s not really tanking related ;] ). Single-target tanking comes as a very close second, but none of the other tanks are as mobile as warriors are.
What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your tanking class and why?
AoE tanking. Yes, I can do it and not get the dps killed in a process, but it’s not what I like or what the warriors are good at. Sure, we can get some initial aggro with Thunderclap followed by Shockwave, but at that point we’re waiting till they come off cooldown, flailing wildly at both tab and the cleave button.
In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?
Facing the boss, introducing my big shield to his ugly face (or whatever he/she/it might have instead. I’m not picky). Or picking up the adds, if there aren’t too many of them.
What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?
I don’t mind tanking alongside any class at all, as long as there is a good player (with his brain mostly intact) behind it. I say mostly, because apparently if you’re tanking, you can’t be 100% normal. ;)
What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?
Just as I don’t have a preference, I don’t really have a least favourite co-tank. Do your job and you’re fine with me.
What is your worst habit as a tank?
Showing up to a heroic run in my block value gear (which is not bad in itself), and laughing at the DPS I’ve outdpsed afterwards. Usually when I’m looking for another pug DPS to a 5-man instance, I’ll put a message in /trade saying “LFM DPS <insert instance name>, must be able to outdps me” or something similar.
What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?
Non-tanks pulling stuff before me. Do that, and I will just stand there waiting for you to die, and pick it up afterwards. I’m the tank here, if I wanted you to pull something, I’d ask you.
Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other tanks?
Mostly yes, and the current expansion did a lot of good things for protection warriors. We still lack some more decent AoE tools – while Thunderclap and Shockwave are good, once they’re on cooldown we can only tab around the mobs wildly and spam Cleave, which is not cool at all.
What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?
Omen is obvious here. Also Recount is very useful, especially the Deaths part of it and the detailed information about what happened before I died – it helps me to quickly find out if it was my mistake or somebody elses. It could be a bit better though, as it doesn’t show the cooldowns I’ve used, only heals and incoming damage.
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your class?
It’s a bit hard to choose something, so I’ll go with Tarsus – we’re no longer THE main tank. I can do any job in a raid, and while I personally like tanking bosses (and adds to some extent), I’ll go and tank that 15 whelps that just showed up.
Also, there is that ganking thing, since Deathwing-EU is a PvP server. Oh look, a lone warrior, let’s gank him! Well, if I’m not afk, and you don’t have friends, there is a very high chance that this will not end well for you. A chance, because I am of course not invincible (and will most likely lose versus a good PvPer, which I’m not), but I’ve taught enough Hordies their lessons both during my leveling as protection and while running around as a level 80.
What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?
Use all of your availaible tools. Warriors have a tool for every occasion, learn how and when to use them.
If it can be disarmed, you should do it. If a spell can be interrupted, you should interrupt it. A warlock is doing a lot of threat? Put a Vigilance on him, and Intervene him if you have a chance. A Nerubian Burrower is trying to submerge and there is no blue stuff anywhere near? Stun it, you have 3 different stuns to use.
Don’t just stand there and mash Devastate.
Effective Health or Avoidance and why?
EH of course, but I like balance, so I’m not stacking it blindly. Still, it’s needed just to survive things like ToGC, and with the introduction of the Sunwell Radiance-like aura in Icecrown, that’s not going to change anytime soon.
What tanking class do you feel you understand least?
Druids. While I have a druid character, I’ve never really tried the feral playstyle on him – I’ve got a rogue and a warrior, why on Azeroth would I want another?
What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?
I use a lot of macros that combine different abilities in one button – and even then I’m running out of easy to reach keybinds. Other than that, I use Satrina Buff Frames to have a separate buff bars with important buffs and debuffs – important being the things I have to watch out for, like Sword and Board proc or Demoralizing Shout and Sunder Armor timers.
I also use Grid all the time, even in heroics – it’s much easier to see the healers mana on it, and much easier to choose a dps to Intervene or put Vigilance on it. This gets more tricky in 25-mans, but with enough practice you can do it quickly.
Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
My main gear set is mostly balanced – it has decent Stamina, not bad Avoidance values, almost capped Hit and Expertise. If I need to change something, I carry around other pieces of gear – like the Brewfest Stamina trinkets, which I will equip if the encounter is mostly about high unavoidable (or magical) damage that my dodge trinket will be useless on. If I need more threat, I can switch one ring back to the Emblem of Valor one at a cost of some health.
This is the second part of a soloing guide targeted at protection warriors. It focuses on raid and dungeon bosses that we can solo and that are either fun or drop valuable things such as rare mounts or pets. You can also read the first part of this guide, and I have at least one more part in writing – which will take us to Molten Core and maybe somewhere else. ;)
Since the 3.2.2 patch changed the old instance into an anniversary level 80 raid, it’s pretty obvious she can’t be soloed right now. I would still advise you to find a group for her and try to get two items which are absolutely awesome for soloing other bosses.
The trinkets in question are [Purified Shard of the Flame] (and its 25-man counterpart of the Shiny variety, which gives slightly more HP5 – you could get both for even better effect) and the [Purified Onyxia Blood Talisman] you can get as a reward for turning in the new Head of Onyxia quest. Of course, the Shard is part of a caster set, so be mindful and please don’t take it from a caster that would like to complete it. Fortunately my raid group had no issues when I told them I want it for soloing, since the only other roll was a shadow priest that maybe wanted it for PvP. :)
Worn together, that’s a decent boost in avoidance and, what’s important to us here, 611 HP5. This means you will regen 244 health every 2 seconds, because that’s how HP5 works. Unfortunately it doesn’t show at all in the combat log, so you have to believe me when I say so. To compare it to a glyphed Bloodthirst – it heals me for about 1600 health, over about 6 seconds. Unglyphed would have about the same regen value.
What it means is that on my gear level (ToC-10 stuff with some emblem and crafted pieces) I no longer need to change my spec for soloing most of the bosses, including Attumen the Huntsman in Karazhan. As said before, with a normal protection spec you are going to kill them before they kill you, and the steady health regen is really helpful.
Attumen, High Priest Thekal and Bloodlord Mandokir, we meet once again.
The first part of the guide was written when my warrior had much inferior gear than he has now – being mostly stuff from heroics and some entry raid epics. That was also before the emblems dropping in heroics changed from Heroism to Conquest.
With all the new gear, it becomes possible to kill these bosses with a standard Protection tanking spec. Having Devastate, Shockwave, Damage Shield and Sword and Board availaible means you’re simply going to try (and should be quite successful at it) killing them faster than they can kill you.
Even the raptor packs before Mandokir are not really a problem – sure, they stack their dot, but with over 30k health it’s gonna take a while before it kills you. It will deal about 1k damage per 3 seconds after it stacks high enough though, so don’t forget to bring some sort of food with you.
Equipped with the health regen trinkets I’ve tried my luck in getting the Phoenix Hatchling pet and another mount drop. First run was on normal difficulty to try and see how it goes.
Trash mobs weren’t really an issue anymore – the multitude of stuns and interrupts makes it pretty easy to deal with them. Remember to also use the Magic Dampening Field that the Sunblade Mage Guards are putting down to your advantage – your HP5 doesn’t care about it, but it reduces incoming magic damage by half, which can still be handy.
Before engaging the first boss, aggro all the adds and kill them – if you just engage the boss, they will join the fight as well. Selin Fireheart himself is easy – just ignore the crystals and keep beating on him. Remember that he can use Drain Life, so be sure to interrupt it as soon as he starts channeling it.
Vexallus, the second boss is right after Selin (well, after a bunch of wyrmlings which you can simply pull all and AoE down). On the normal mode he’s not really an issue – just dps him down, killing the appearing sparks with Devastates, as they can’t be damaged by any AoE. You will get low on health here due to the fight mechanics – just use Last Stand with Enraged Regen and continue dpsing the boss/sparks.
Next set of trash packs is a bit harder – more annoying casters, so keep your Spell Reflect up, use the Dampening Fields and just kill them. Remember that you can skip half of the first room and everything around Delrissa – they won’t join the fight unless you get feared into a pack.
Priestess Delrissa is a simple fight for a level 80, so I won’t write much about it – just look on the enemies, if it has a mana bar it probably does nasty things, so it needs to die first. If you made it so far, you probably won’t have any problems with them. After her it’s only one more trash pack before you meet a real zombie!
Now, you get to slap poor Kael’thas Sunstrider around. This is not as easy as it seems, but it’s mostly annoying. Be sure to kill the Phoenixes and their eggs when they spawn, avoid the Flamestrike Kael does once in a while, and keep dpsing.
After you get him to 50% health, he will start doing Gravity Lapse. If you get to this part of the fight, you have already won, as he stops doing anything else. There isn’t much you can do to him in this phase – just avoid the floating spheres, and when it ends, immediately charge the boss and do some damage. Repeat until he finally dies.
Magisters’ Terrace, heroic mode
Before entering, make sure that you’ve done the attunement quest in the normal mode of the instance. It just requires you to clear it once and loot Kael’thas’ head, so it’s not a big issue at all.
Up to Vexallus, nothing really changes from normal mode. Be aware that the trash casters can and will kill you if you’re not careful and quick enough, or pull too many of them at once. Selin Fireheart is still a pushover, he just has more health.
Vexallus is the first real challenge here. He has more health and will spawn two sparks instead of one – so you will stack the overload debuff twice as fast. The way I did it, I killed first 4 sparks and then popped all the cooldowns and tried to finish the boss before he and his arcane friends finish me. It was a successful tactic, but I ended with about 400 health out of 34k, so it might require a few tries to get some lucky Shield Slam crits.
The fight with Priestess Delrissa doesn’t change much when doing it on heroic mode – she and her adds hit for a bit more and heal for a bit more, but it’s still quite easy.
Kael’Thas is even more annoying than on normal mode. If it takes you too long to get him to second phase, he will cast a 10k shield on himself and start casting Pyroblast, which still does about 40k damage. He will also throw around a crazy amount of Fireballs, each taking about 4.5k of your health if they happen to hit you. None of this damage can be partially resisted by fire resistance, so forget about taking your MC gear and trying to do it slowly – it just won’t work.
What you should do instead, is ignore everything that happens around you (even the Phoenix that will spawn during the fight – leave it after you get to the second phase, as its damage is really low), keep Spell Reflect up, interrupt the Fireballs when the reflect is on cooldown, and hope that you can do enough damage to push him below 50% before he does the Pyroblast. If you manage to do that, you will probably win, unless you fail badly on the Gravity Lapse and dodging the spheres.
Good luck with the rare drops, and what’s most important – have fun while taking revenge on this annoying instance!
Faction Champions, ToC-10. I switch my warrior to Arms to provide MS debuff, since nobody else in the raid has it. We kill them pretty easily.
We group up for the Val’kyr, so I switch back to my tanking spec, one of the healers switches to dps in order to get the speed kill easier, ready check, we pull them.
I notice dps pulling aggro off me very early, which usually doesn’t happen. Oh well. Grab the boss, devastate it a few times so it doesn’t go off me again, pull it closer to the other one. Then I notice something weird – my shield slam button is greyed out and when I press it, it doesn’t do anything.
I look at the character tab and see that I’m still in my Arms gear. With a 2-hander and a blue pvp trinket.
“Guys you won’t like what I’m about to say.”
I quickly switch the weapons around, since that’s all I can do while in combat, and we proceed to kill it. Fortunately the normal mode Val’kyr hit like sissies, even with 418 defense + 20 resilience.
(And yes, I’m still alive and kicking.)