Svenn's Survival Guide to Alt Tanking

Monday, June 21, 2010

Svenn has been doing a fair bit of tanking on Gundther as of late. As a new "under-geared" tank, he has experienced tanking challenges Svenn never faced tanking back when Heroics were "hard". Here are a few of the observations garnered from his recent trials:

1. You are NOT on your main! Slow down, chain pulling is fine if your healer can keep up, but no amount of healing awesomeness will be able to save you if you have the entire instance beating on you at once (especially when the 6k gear-score mage has more health than you).

2. Don’t sweat the aggro. The same 6k gear-score mage that has more health than you, will also be able to pull threat off you at will. Well, maybe not at will, but certainly if he/she is doing massive AoE damage or hitting mobs at the same time you just hit charge. Now, if toons the same gear level as you are ripping threat or your healer is a favorite target for mobs, you may need to reevaluate your tanking.

3. Ninja happens. DPS (I’m looking at you DKs!) will roll on “your” tanking drops. Work it out if you can, vote kick if you feel that strongly about it, but don’t sweat it or let it discourage you too much. At the end of the day, you will get 2-3 times the runs per hour than some ninja DPS guy. More runs = more badges =better gear anyways.

4. When in doubt whip it out, kill order that is. If you are having troubles with AoE, marking a kill order can go a long way to keeping mobs attached to you. If the DPS is insistent on hitting everything around at least you will have the peace of mind that you tried and they just can’t follow instructions well. Which leads me to my next point…

5. Grab it back! If you lose a mob, taunt it back. Trying to teach DPS a lesson about ignoring kill orders is futile. Chances are they can kill the mob before it kills them, the healer won’t let them die anyways, and it will just starve you of rage/procs/mana/etc.- thus reinforcing their poor performance. Make an assist macro to quickly switch targets (invaluable with melee DPS who will start getting smacked as soon as they pull aggro and are often difficult to distinguish in a crowd). This may seem counter-intuitive, but it will save you headaches in the long run while making your run smoother.

6. You lead the charge so lead! To make it clear, Svenn is not advocating for the “gogogo” crowd- they can all go die in a fire. Rather, while there may be others in your group that feel they know better, the burden will most likely fall on your shoulders so you may as well take charge. Good tanking takes confidence; you pick the pulls, you decide the kill orders, you set the pace. If you cede that control early, you wind up just being the designated meat shield along for the ride and won't be able to establish a good flow, protect your healer’s time to drink between pulls, plan for achievements should you choose to go that route, etc.

In the end, as with all PuGs, patience is the order of the day. Take solace in the fact that you are taking the hard road, tanking for tanking gear as opposed to DPSing until your tank set is stacked. Take each PuG as a learning experience, enjoy the good groups, learn from the bad, and strive to emulate the great. Every DPS in the queue appreciates your decision to tank, whether they act like it or not!

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Inno said...

Seems I did the reverse ninja with Fuzzynip. I ninjaed my own motivation... I wanted to dps but chose to tank at 80 (read:"quick queue time")to get badges/gear. So I geared and gemmed for tanking so I was actually a contributing tank. I would then tank my way to badges to earn some dps stuff... Problem is that after only one week of heroics Fuzzy has fizzled.

June 21, 2010 at 7:28 PM

Nice post Svenn! I'm taking Shakha over to tanking in anticipation of the expansion, I'll probably try to tank with him this next time around.

June 23, 2010 at 3:53 PM

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