Speed Tanking

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It has been awhile since Svenn dug into some real tanking issues. Since the patch he has seen a gradual return to action, mostly in the "speed tank" department. It is all about the badges and so he has been helping farm heroics while FIST takes a break from raiding. The group he runs with consistently has great heals (ty Shadow:)), and usually 1 solid DPS and a couple under-geared Alts.


Outside of the Daily Heroic, we usually try to hit CoT4 (best Badge per minute yield at 5 badges in ~20mins), and one other Heroic. For CoT4 Svenn needs to keep the pace up to make the timer for the optional mount boss, while everyone has the mount by now, he still drops a badge and so is a must from an efficiency standpoint. For the other Heroics, Svenn keeps the speed up for other reasons; primarily because we have done these instance Sooo many times (still fun though), and also because the time spent in them may make the difference between tacking a quick VH run on the end of the night for 3 more badges or prolonging the "badge grind" another couple days.


That being said, Svenn has focused his tanking priorities along different lines than his raid priorities.


Total Health: For Heroics anything over 30k is overkill, therefore Svenn doesn't use any elixirs/flasks to boost his sta. He does still use Blessing of Sanctuary with the 10% stamina increase. While you could use Blessing of Might to further boost AP, as a pally tank, you really can't overlook the mana return from BoS, so Svenn will continue to self buff Sanctuary.


Total Armor: Armor as a mitigation stat is not all that impressive, so Svenn tanks heroics with Retribution Aura up (though he may switch to Devotion Aura on single target boss fights- it really depends on how much he wants to make Shadow sweat).

Total DPS: Svenn has switched out of some of his "better" tanking gear to ensure he is hit capped. Getting hit capped is the first step to more DPS, the second step is a bit trickier. Unlike normal melee DPS, the tank by definition stands in front of the mob, and thus suffers the full chance to be blocked/dodged/parried- all of which results in a loss of DPS. In order to mitigate this, Svenn has stacked Expertise where feasible. By no means is he expertise capped, and indeed you shouldn't go out of your way to get there, but every little bit helps. Furthermore, Svenn makes use of the Flask of Endless Rage or the less spendy Wrath Elixer to boost his AP/DPS. Additionally, the Glyph of Sense undead comes in handy in a place like CoT4.

Svenn is averaging 2k DPS as the tank with this setup, which is about right I think.

Gear/Buff selections aside, the other, and arguably more important part of speed tanking, is tempo. As the tank, you set the pace. These days, running a healer out of mana is a tough chore, one which you should undertake in speed tanking. The idea is to pull smoothly but continuously until you come to a boss or until somebody calls uncle. While this may seem reckless, remember, you are well past the requirements necessary for the encounters and time is of the essence.

That being said, when pulling, the bigger the better. Obviously you want to keep the pulls manageable, but if you can safely pull a group of 3-4 mobs plus the 2-3mob pat, go for it. Most AoE DPS are based on given area (Consecration) not a number of mobs in an area (Hammer of the Righteous), thus if you are going to be doing the damage to an area, may as well try and fill that area with mobs, rather than just empty floor space. If you are short on AoE DPS this is still the way to go, as you can keep the AoE up with Consecration and minimize the amount of repositioning DPS would otherwise need to do when running to the next pull.

Judge Wisdom! As a pally tank your mana pool is necessarily low ~6k, and you will be pulling continuously for effieciency sake. Even with the mana return from blocks (BoS) and Spiritual Attunement, you will consistently be low on mana. Judgeing Wisdom is key to keeping up the mana while spamming high cost abilities like Consecration. It should go without saying that your divine plea should always be on cooldown as well.

Don't freak out! If your healer is sitting down to take a drink between pulls, no prob. Top yourself off, its OK you're a pally- you can heal, and keep going. There are few pulls in any heroic that you can't tank for a few seconds on your own while your healer catches a breather. If it doesn't look like you are going to get that heal in time, use Lay on Hands or better yet, bubble and sick all those meanies on him- that will teach 'em to sleep on the job!

So, speed tanking- a great way to get badges fast. Using these steps, Svenn tanked through Nexus in ~30mins with a less than stellar DPS makeup. All in all, its about your confidence as the tank: make the pulls fast, clean, and continuous, push the pace, and provide your own DPS in as much as it is possible. You will find that speed tanking can make heroics fun again, so enjoy.

Comments

4 Responses to “Speed Tanking”
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Shadowbreeze said...

Sleep on the job indeed...

September 1, 2009 at 10:24 AM
Inno said...

Another thing that may be beneficial to speed tanking is that I get to flex this brain muscle that I'm not using all the time as DPS. I think that it can help us refine our skills to more efficiently dps in those odd situations. Since we're talking about speed tanking on heroics I'd like to plug the speed looting. Have somebody in the group that can d/e? Yes? Then roll need if you need something, pass on the loot if you don't need it. If you're not sure if something is an upgrade for you and you are opposed to addons loot the item, try it on...stats not better then trade to the group d/e'er. In the off chance you don't have somebody that can d/e then everyone select greed unless you need, then roll need and move out smartly. Keep the synergy going for the speed run.

September 1, 2009 at 4:30 PM
Svenn said...

@Shadow, hehe

@Inno, /agree

September 1, 2009 at 4:46 PM
Morgause said...

Oy! Who you calling an undergeared alt??

Oh, right. I am an undergeared alt.

Never mind.

September 8, 2009 at 7:11 AM

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