View Full Version : Miles to Go (Warrior Reference Guide, 1st Edition)

05-20-2007, 07:45 PM
Special thanks to Andstuffso (http://www.andstuffso.com/?page_id=114)for preserving the original tanking guide.

MAJOR editing still needs to be done. Just pointing out the obvious. :)

Miles to go and Dragons to kill; An Endgame Tanking Reference

I don’t deal with theory. I lead raids and I kill dragons. The following is a reference guide written to help those new to the endgame. This is not a replacement for guild strategy decisions, nor is it the end-all and be-all of tanking.
This guide should help those who need help with specific encounters. To that end, I have given detailed help for each encounter which can be implemented into a guild strategy if you choose. Ultimately, this is for warriors, not for walking people through the endgame; as such I have not provided details about encounters that do not directly affect how warriors play.
The guide also serves a secondary purpose. The difference between the 40-man dynamic and the 5 and 10-man dynamic is significant. If you are a warrior applying to a raiding guild that has seen a significant amount of endgame content, you are strongly encouraged to read this and familiarize yourself with the encounters.
Finally, I do not pretend this is a be-all or end-all reference guide. Your guild, your experience, and your intuition comes first. Our videos never attempt to show clean-cut kills where nothing has gone wrong; instead, they show the general reality of encounters, what can go wrong, and how you can recover. Details in this guide may be off; abilities may be misrepresented. I apologize.
Patrick O’Callahan, Ciderhelm, Guildmaster of Eventide
An Introduction to the Endgame
0.1 Raiding
Main Tanking
1.1 What is Main Tanking?
1.2 Time Commitment
1.3 Guild Loyalty and Guild Gearing
2.1 Pre-Molten Core
2.2 Blizzard’s Itemization Theory
2.3 Head, Legs, Breastplate, Shoulders and Shields
2.4 Stamina: Magic Armor
2.5 Resistance: Magic Defense
2.6 To every season: Defense vs Stamina in relation to Healing
2.7 Self Sustenance; Consumables
2.8 Aggro verse Mitigation Weapons, Enchants
3.1 Attack Power, Crits, and Steady/Irregular DPS
3.2 Talents, Skills
3.3 Positioning
3.4 Multi-tanking
The General Warrior’s Reference Guide
4.1 Encounters, by instance
4.2 Movie Listing (Page 2)
4.3 Dynamics of the Dragon
0.1 Raiding
You’ve been through 10-man pickup groups formed from Ironforge and Orgrimmar. Not all are successful; not all coordinate around teamplay. The irritating personalities and misdirection often bogs you down. To top it all off, you’ve run Blackrock 35 times, the Breastplate of Valor have finally dropped and you can complete your Dungeon Set 1, and you just got outrolled by a warrior in all greens.
Fair? Hardly.
40-man raiding is an entirely different experience. Guilds and coalitions that push through the endgame content are focused on team play, coordination, responsibility and fairness. Value to the raid and loot awarded is based on weeks, months, and years of investment.
When changing your mindset to the 40-man dynamic, you will need to keep some general principles in mind.
First, you are not there to be a hero; for example, never taunt off a main tank for any reason unless asked to. Conversely, if asked to do something, try to do it! If you showed an immediate reaction and effort, people will readily look past a mistake. Generally, any time the raid is relying on you as an undergeared app to tank it is because the raid group is on the verge of a wipe in a new encounter.
Second, pay attention to your surroundings and try to make sense of what people are doing. Sure, you can ask questions, but figuring out what’s going on from your own intuition will make you more readily prepared to handle future challenges. If everyone is standing behind or to the side of a certain mob or dragon, perhaps there is a cleave or AOE effect you are not aware of? If people are only assisting with ranged attacks, does it make sense to run in and melee a target? Take a few seconds before doing anything and make sure you aren’t about to do something crazy. Also, make absolutely sure you stay near your raid group; ideally, one or two yards behind a DPS warrior at all times will keep you in a safe place that you won’t aggro other mobs.
Third, don’t challenge the status quo. Understand that guilds that have been raiding for months do things for a reason; as a new raider, you will look arrogant if you offer unwarranted advice you heard from a friend or saw in a video (hey, this goes for our videos too!). Also understand that the guild is not there to provide you with loot; simply being on a raid gives you no right to epic gear made possible by the work of the veterans in that guild — if you would be offended by seeing loot disenchanted that you could equip, endgame may not be for you.
Ultimately, your raiding group is your family. While you are still trying to join with this family, keep in mind that they are fiercely protective of each other and showing arrogance or greed is a quick path to denial of your app or recruit status.
1.1 What is Main Tanking?
Main Tanking is the position of greatest responsibility in any raid; it is a natural position of leadership.
Personally, I classify several warriors as Main Tanks. In our case, Stag, Boyington, and Kharan are Main Tanks as of writing this. Among the Main Tanks, there is a Lead Tank, which is the position I generally take as it corresponds with guild leadership.
Main Tanking is taking absolute responsibility for raid mitigation through several methods: Funneling damage, removing damage, and controlling chaos. While each class has enjoyable and unique raid functions, from Hunter kiting to Rogue and DPS Warrior damage dealing, tanks take complete control of the actual battle. With the greatest risk comes the greatest reward — and glory.
Understand, however, that Main Tanking is the most stressful position. You will wipe raids many, many times due to mistakes in pulling, positioning, tanking, and any number of unexpected issues. You will often feel overwhelmed upon encountering a new boss fight such as Razorgore where the sheer complexity seems impossible to overcome.
You are also alone in this responsibility. You will rarely have right to blame others for failings, and as such, should never take a stance that it is someone else’s fault that you died.Indeed, this is very rarely the case: if you have any cooldown available on your hotbar, be it Shield Wall, Last Stand, or a Major Healing Potion, you are responsible for your own death.
You are not merely a warrior who carries a shield. You are a leader. Buck up, take the responsibility on yourself, take command.
1.2 Time Commitment
The second aspect to Main Tanking revolves around making a time commitment. There is no such thing as a casual Main Tank for a raiding guild; in our guild, our tanks are expected to be at every Blackwing and Ahn’Qiraj raid they can possibly be there for. Boyington is currently deployed to Iraq, USMC, and has scheduled his work shifts to our raid times; this is the dedication expected.
Real life very much factors into this. Are you single, or does your significant other play World of Warcraft with you? Do you have a schedule at work that can significantly change from week to week or month to month? Are you in college?
To make the fastest progression as a guild, you will need tanks with this particular time devotion. For almost any other class or balance you can compensate; for well-geared warriors, you cannot.
Afterlife (I hope they don’t mind me bringing this up), one of the top global raiding guilds and major Everquest guilds, happens to share the same server we do; because they lost several warriors after the release of Blackwing Lair, they lagged far behind the other guilds on our server (including Dawn Eternal, 5th global kill of Nefarian). With a solid grouping of warriors for their guild, they are back on top, having progressed to C’thun phase 2 almost immediately after the Ahn’Qiraj gates opened.
1.3 Guild Loyalty and Guild Gearing
As a Main Tank, your attitude towards your guild and your raid is not optional.
When is it ok to leave a guild as a geared main tank? It really isn’t. If you are a member of a cohesive, mobile, forward-moving guild and are performing in a tanking position, you have no in-game “right” to this. Loot was not given to you as payment of services. You are an investment in the raid and guild progression. As such, most raiding endgame raiding guilds will simply not consider people who deserted a position of tanking in a prior guild. However, issues related to real life and necessary circumstance do come up — this is only a game.
Why take this stance? The phrase, “never put all your eggs in one basket,” sums it up best. Unlike any other class, aspiring raiding guilds will gear Lead Tanks and Main Tanks with first choice on new gear.
This is commonly referred to as Main Tank gearing. It comes in many forms: voluntary from other warriors or hard-coded into a DKP system, for instance. In our case, I take a Lead Tank position and do receive first choice on gear; the other Main Tanks also have tank priority. Very occasionally, this steps into cross-class items such as Onyxia or Nefarian’s head or the Qiraji Armaments; for these items, we generally take an approach of every-other-drop so other classes get a chance at the items.
Why is Main Tank gearing important? Progression. That’s it. If you kill a boss to get the loot in the first place, you don’t need better geared tanks to finish that encounter again. But tell me, how many guilds do you know that go to Ragnaros and stop there? Or kill Vaelastrasz and say, “hey, let’s relax?”
Gearing a Lead Tank and Main Tanks is a mechanic designed to push guilds to the next level. With each new piece of gear, every raid encounter becomes easier and the 40-man dynamic becomes smoother. A tank wearing five or six pieces of Might on Golemagg could save the guild hundreds of gold in repair bills, as he will be able to survive the encounter with relative certainty - whereas a tank who was only able to get one piece of Might in a free market has a considerably higher chance of being unable to mitigate and survive.
Equal gearing does not help your raid. Five tanks with 1 or 2 pieces of Might or Wrath does not come near the benefit to the guild that one tank with 8 pieces does. This is true particularly in Molten Core. As you progress, the need to continue and expand your tanking ranks extends to more warriors; for certain fights like Chromaggus (sans Timelapse) and Nefarian, you are still dealing with a Lead Tank - although Blackwing Lair is the first of the multi-tank instances.
This is not without it’s restrictions! You are a main tank, not an Arms/Fury 2h warrior, not a dual wield Fury warrior. No matter what loot system you use, it is highly inappropriate (and offensive) to take gear not related to your role as a tank. In our guild, DPS warriors have first priority on all DPS platemail and 2h drops, Paladins take secondary priority, then Main Tanks take the last spot in line. Fortunately, there is enough DPS platemail in the game prior to Conqueror’s that there usually isn’t an issue with tank gearing for progressing guilds.
The reason it is particularly selfish to walk away from a guild that has geared you is that you have been geared by the work of 39 other players who have put in very real hours, both in instances and outside farming gold for repairs. In raiding guilds, taking real life into consideration is important, and as a main tank you have to tether your responsibilities to them as part of a solid team and family.
This leads to one final point: finding the right guild. Ideally, you will find a guild that fits your raiding time and will stick to that schedule to as much of a degree as possible. Having friends in a guild you are looking at is important; however, it is not necessarily the end-all. If you are very serious about tanking and the endgame, try to target the most mobile and active guilds on your server. Warriors applying to raiding guilds generally are expected to be under-par in gear because tank turnover in guilds is extremely low.
2.1 Pre-Molten Core
I don’t cover armor too heavily in this reference guide, as the endgame provides you with two amazing sets of armor, Might and Wrath. Also, there is such a wide variety of itemization being added to the pre-Molten Core game that providing a loot list may not be significantly helpful two months from now.
However, there are some basic principles to live by when finding pre-Molten Core gear, both as a Main Tank for a new guild and as a player hoping to get recruited to an established guild.
First: Stamina. I will cover each of the reasons why Stamina is your number one attribute in the following two sections. No matter what role, when I inspect a new warrior who is being considered to the guild I will relay any immediate concerns around the level of stamina a player has. Band of the Ogre King and Band of Flesh are two good blue items I remember farming for prior to Molten Core, for instance. I also wore Helm of Narv, an epic mail Stamina helm, all the way through to our first Helm of Might.
You don’t necessarily want balanced stats. A balance of Agility and Strength against your Stamina isn’t all that important or even helpful. In blue items, you will always be making a tradeoff if you find items that give you both Agility and Strength on top of Stamina. Holding aggro in a new group is not too terribly difficult early on; the game does a good job of scaling gear levels to tanking and experience.
Defense is one thing I advise new tanks to steer clear of when they first start farming for Main Tanking gear. The warrior community has long held that +Defense gear is godly; it isn’t. Yes, you will get a reduction of critical strikes, but almost no amount of pre-Molten Core gearing will keep you from getting critted multiple times during a battle from physical damage. The Block/Dodge/Parry are good too, but at the early stages of tanking, having a higher lifebar for when you do take that huge hit is simply more important.
Modifiers are helpful. Warmaster’s Legguards from Rend are the best pre-Might tanking legs in the game, in my opinion. Any modifier of 1-2% on Dodge or Parry can be taken as, literally, 1-2% damage reduction. I won’t get into a math thesis here, but I will say that modifier items are more useful to you than trying to get comparable +Defense; the way Blizzard levels their items, you will wind up with more Stamina on items with modifiers than with +Defense.
High armor ratings also help; with relatively few exceptions such as the Adamantium breastplate, the armor rating is mathematically matched to the level of gear you’ve found, so this usually isn’t too difficult.
All of this said, nothing helps more than simply having good gear. Just because I said Stamina is your main attribute doesn’t mean you can go pick up green “of Stamina” boots. After looking at Dungeon Set 2, Heroism, I’ve found it to be an excellent place to start for players new to the endgame. When applying to an established guild, having gear that takes alot of work to achieve will often do more for you than having optimal tanking gear you bought from the Auction House. Dire Maul still nets the best non-set items and Draconian Deflector from UBRS is still the best pre-Molten Core shield.
2.2 Blizzard’s Itemization Theory
Blizzard has slowly and, from my estimation, very purposefully been adjusting it’s warrior itemization theory. Also, from what I can see, this is definitely for the better.
Many classes can get away with balancing or powerhousing certain attributes. Main Tanks were originally gifted with a Might set that offered Stamina, Strength, and Agility; we also once could get 50% more Defense than we currently do off the same items.
Yet, what Blizzard was mistakenly doing at that time was creating a jack of all trades Warrior class. This class could not carry the absolute highest mitigation levels that it currently can, yet was overpowered and overcapable in certain encounters. As a result of the earlier Warrior design, the more dated encounters like Onyxia never properly scaled to player skill level but strictly to player gear: heavy magical fire attacks were the only balance against near-invulnerability to physical attacks that warriors initially had. Today, guilds with Tier 1 and Tier 2 gear are running 10-20 man raids of Onyxia without serious threat of failing the encounter — this, not losing our old defense levels of the past, is a gamebreaking issue.
Blizzard has defined our current Main Tanking role more specifically by giving us specific Mitigation and Aggro gear and encounters. This is further divided by Physical, Magical, and Mixed attacks. There is no longer list of items that will give you the best gear for every encounter, but instead certain gear that will place you in an powerful position per each encounter.
2.3 Head, Legs, Breastplate, Shoulders and Shields
This is to address a specific issue I see on many warriors new to endgame.
Your Head and Leg slots on your character are powerhouse items stats-wise. This is the reason they occur so early in the endgame for raiding armor; Magmadar, Garr, then the Tier 2 you get off Ragnaros and Onyxia before you head into Blackwing Lair.
On resistance fights this is particularly important. You will often be faced with the choice to wear a certain resistance or Legplates and Helm of Might/Wrath. Do not be foolish about your stats! Dropping these for blue items can often spell death. Take notice that epic geared resistance items in these slots, such as Dark Iron Helm and Legs, accurately reflect how good the stats should be for these slots.
Also, to get the most of these items, you absolutely must finish your Zul’Gurub enchants. Any serious tank has got to be constantly running Libram quests. Personally, I’ve applied the ZG Libram to Helm and Legplates of Might, even when I knew I would get the Wrath slots soon. I’ve also applied this libram to Cenarion Reservist Legplates.
Your Breastplate is the only slot item with better stats. For the most part, these are your rewards for making it to the end of an instance. For Main Tanks, the great breastplates in this game are Might, Wrath, and Breastplate of the Chromatic Flight. I have a friend who, after she reached 8/8 Wrath, continued to run UBRS for her Breastplate of the Chromatic Flight - Situationally, it really is that good.
On Breastplates, the sure fire bet is +100 health. Why? Because for whatever reason, Breastplates got the bad end of the stick in the enchanting world.
Shoulders are another powerhouse item, though in a different way. Shoulders will usually have unique stats to them. For instance, Wrath shoulders double as aerodynamic wings allowing you to Slowfall into Un’Goro crater. Ok, maybe not. In fact, Shoulder slot items will generally have attributes related to tanking. Both Might and Wrath carry shield block bonuses and high Stamina. Shoulder itemization is more important to pre-MC players, where items such as the Stockade Pauldrons carry abnormally high Defense on top of Stamina.
On shoulders, you need to work towards applying +30 Attack Power from Zul’Gurub Exalted status. This is a major boon in holding aggro in endgame; you can read more about why below. Also, any resistance shoulders should have +5 to that resistance applied from the Argent Dawn.
Shields actually have a wide variety and important differences. Unlike set armor from Might and Wrath, you will have to make significant decisions between them for most fights.
The two Bulwarks from Ahn’Qiraj and Blackwing Lair are essentially the top shields; until then, there are three non-resist shields you can choose between; Drillborer Disk, Aegis of the Blood God, and Buru’s Skull Fragment. Though there will be other shields down the road, I will outline these three to help give an understanding of why to make certain decisions when faced with shield choices.
The Drillborer Disk is generally your first tanking shield. Compared to either of the other two shields, it is inferior in all ratings; however, it gives an Arcane damage proc which is very rarely resisted which makes it a shield best suited to Aggro fights where you are unlikely to die. This has the added bonus of allowing you to scale in a bit more damage than the other two shields, thus giving you more rage in aggro fights.
The Aegis of the Blood God is your melee defense shield, and a fine one. Across the board, this gives better physical mitigation stats than either of the other shields. It is good in controlled damage mitigation fights that do not involve heavy magic damage.
Buru’s Skull Fragment is your most rounded defense shield, and the only shield capable of protecting you from magic damage (read the next section). The strength offers the aggro portion that Drillborer Disk does, the Armor and Defense offer a portion of the mitigation that the Aegis of the Blood God offer. The massive Stamina bonus is what makes this gem worth using above the other shields in Blackwing Lair and Ahn’Qiraj.
2.4 Stamina: Magic Armor
I’ve been emphasizing Stamina over Defense through this thread. To be fair, Defense is very good, but it comes naturally through normal raid gearing. Most tanking items you pick up along your 40-man raiding experience will have Defense already built in.
There are some noticeable places where you will have to make a decision. For instance, the Zul’Gurub ring set vs. Heavy Dark Iron Ring early on. Later, ring slots in Ahn’Qiraj will balance against the Signet of the Bronze Dragonflight and Archimtiros’ Ring of Reckoning.
It is in the smaller decisions such as this that I always opt for the high Stamina over the high Defense. Why is this? Because Stamina is, in a way, your only Magic armor rating.
Consider your health bar not as a number but as a percentage. At 7,800 health, Nefarian’s Shadow Flame does 80% damage to you during a Warrior class call. If your Stamina and health enchants, as well as flasks and consumables bring you up to 10,000 health (an achievable raid buffed health bar), suddenly that Shadow Flame is doing more recoverable damage to your percentage bar. Then, with 15% or even 30% more health by using Lifegiving Gem and Last Stand, 14,000 health during one of the later Warrior class calls on Nefarian will cement your survival. On our recorded Nefarian kill (see Movies listing), I did not raid buff with either a flask or consumables; I actually die as a result of his Shadow Flame bringing my health bar from a reasonably high ~75% to death. While unintentional and my own mistake, this is a good way of illustrating the emphasis I am placing on this.
Stamina is essentially a buffer. Like consumables and flasks, it creates breathing for your healers. Broodlord Lashslayer is known for one-shotting tanks that are new to him — his Mortal Strike ability is one of the physical abilities that does massive damage regardless of your Defense rating (it isn’t a critical strike).
Stamina also gives you the ability to gain more rage. Since a Stamina build does take more damage than a Defense build over the long run since you are avoiding fewer incoming attacks, you wind up with more overall rage to work with.
I believe Stamina is the key to guild and raid progression. I feel our healers can recover from regular, sustained damage on a high health bar and high AC rating moreso than they can handle massive damage from the crushing blows I didn’t quite parry on a lower health bar.
For purposes of endgame, this is, again, fairly small. However, when you are completely new to the endgame, Stamina lets you survive things you otherwise are not geared to survive. In our guild, we emphasize Stamina to be a primary attribute for every class for this reason — if you can take that whirlwind from Sartura once, you might have time to run away and bandage yourself.
My personal opinion is this: as you progress through the endgame and you are faced with decisions between Stamina and Defense on non-armor items, take the Stamina; the Defense you need will naturally fall into place through normal raid gearing.
2.5 To every season: Defense vs Stamina in relation to Healing
For the following, understand that when I use the term Defense I am also referring to static modifiers such as Dodge and Parry (but not Block, which will be explained later in this section).
As a leveling warrior, you may have wondered why you were forced to take 10% more damage for 3% crit; skills aside, this stance does not offer a fair give and take. Again, with Deathwish and Recklessness, you are forced to make a tradeoff that does not seem fair — particularly on a 30 minute cooldown.
Taking the path of a Stamina build warrior, you make a similar tradeoff — one I believe Lead Tanks and Main Tanks should make. As a Stamina warrior, you will give up between 5 and 10% Avoidance - that is, the chance at complete mitigation of an incoming phsyical attack. However, taken to the fullest extent, your final gear will realize itself as between 515 and 530 base Stamina (as of Blackwing Lair and Ahn’Qiraj) - which is up to 10% more Stamina from items than Defense or DPS warriors are capable of achieving.
Understand that the decisions to choose Stamina items are based on two things: first, a healing strategy which is more suited to this build, and second, the use of Stamina buffs to further your lifebar to a maximum amount in the 10,000+ range without the use of Last Stand or Lifegiving Gem. Not utilizing these buffs for new encounters negates the entire purpose of going to a Stamina build, because anyone wearing a full Defense suit can just pop those buffs on and be higher than you in terms of their healthbar anyway; good game.
At this point, you’ve probably realized this guide is about giving you tanking advice to further raiding progression; it has nothing to do with helping on fights you can already do, putting you on DPS meters, making you an uber tank. So, to illustrate how Stamina is particular to your Lead Tanks in a healing situation, I will share our own guild struggles in raiding and why we work around these theories.
From Lucifron to Razorgore, we had 3-4 regular raiding priests and 2 raiding druids. Paladins were in slightly greater supply — but our healing force was never large. Our first Ragnaros kill sported 3 priests, 3 druids, and 4 paladins. Needless to say, tanking was a struggle.
Healing: The 2.5 Second Struggle
The root of the healing issues we had all revolved around mana effectiveness.
Imagine for a moment that you are a healer. Your regular heals are a two and a half second cast; unfortunately, on new encounters, the boss may very well kill your undergeared Main Tank in that period of time. So you set up a healing rotation: you will begin your heal, then another healer will begin a heal, then another — maybe not so explicitly, but to the the effect that heals are landing every second or less on the Lead Tank.
As a healer, you don’t have a crystal ball. You know that not healing your tank could result in a raid wipe. Perhaps halfway through that heal, you notice the tank’s healthbar doesn’t seem to be dropping — he has been mitigating damage by good fortune of Defense statistics. However, you still cannot cancel that heal, because the next split second could very well see his lifebar fall drastically!
The 2.5 second heal is the root of the Stamina gearing theory. In almost every new boss encounter, before healers really get a chance to work out what’s going on and the ebb and flow of a battle, they are going to be slamming you with heals… Whether you avoid the damage or not has literally no bearing on whether you receive heals or not — you are still sapping the healers mana bars.
Defense only saves you in single-mob encounters when your life is critically low and you have to rely on the chance of dodges and parries to survive the encounter. The reality is, whether you avoid an attack has no bearing on your healthbar. Had you simply taken the damage and taken a percentage of your lifebar in damage before receiving a 3k heal is no different than parrying the same attack then taking a 3k overheal.
Defense is relying on good fortune in new encounters, where Stamina is a steady, reliable base.
Defense: When it really is better
(Preface: You naturally get a very high Defense rate through normal itemization; discussion of Critical Strike reduction is not included in this guide as a result.)
Most Lead Tanks and Main Tanks are not so gifted as to be able to carry Stamina and Defense sets; however, with the introduction of Ahn’Qiraj, the DPS warriors in your guild who normally offtank will have access to high Defense (including Dodge mitigation from high agility on Conqueror’s and non-set Plate). Rings give good Defense bonuses which can be brought in by DPS warriors for certain fights.
As I explain my view on the following, understand you can also gear one or two of your Main Tanks effectively with this type of gear; there is plenty of flexibility and room for choice; I would strongly discourage having either your Lead Tank or first Main Tank go for a non-Stamina build, per previous discussion.
The encounters where Defense and high Agility builds work are very common. This applies to almost every trash mob in the game; an exemplary Defense situation is Zul’Gurub or Ahn’Qiraj 20 man, where there are multiple melee-mobs being handled by multiple tanks. In these situations, Defense tanks will be considerably superior to Stamina tanks! Even your DPS warriors will be able to hold weight to your Lead Tank in terms of gear choices.
The reason is specific to healing. Multi-mob encounters very rarely do dramatic damage to warriors; instead, the large total incoming DPS on your raid is not being funneled through a single tank but multiple actors who can be independently healed.
Defense builds have another effective attribute in multi-tank scenarios. They offer you a chance-not-to-die, meaning you may very well parry that one last attack. This kind of chance play is much more readily acceptable when other warriors can pick up the slack in case you do go down.
It is next to impossible to die from not receiving heals in the course of 5-10 seconds in these situations, even on trash mobs in Blackwing Lair and Ahn’Qiraj. Naturally, your priests will be healing many more tanks, but they will be able to make decisions during this process. Every time you avoid damage from a Parry or Dodge, your health bar simply won’t go down. The healer in question doesn’t even need to begin a heal on you in this case. Also, if your health slips below a certain percentage, healers can choose to use slower, more mana efficient heals.
Also, mitigation will help a warrior who does not have the skill, talents, or enchants to solidly hold aggro. This is due to a dynamic in the healing process: overhealing does not cause aggro. If you do receive a large heal or multiple heals at the same time and it crosses above the 100% line of your healthbar, the amount of overhealing will have no affect on the healer’s aggro.
A note on Shield Block:
I consider Shield Block to be in the same league of mitigation as Armor and Stamina; when you wish to use it, you can guarantee a 100% block rate just due to itemization and your skill Shield Block. Shield block is a constant reduction of damage taken in, and for most Mixed boss fights — that is, Magic and Physical — it can be used on every physical attack. Note that the dynamic of Shield Block is unique to mitigation: it is added after all other mitigation is calculated, and it is not based on a percentage. If a mob does 500 damage to you, you mitigate 60% of it through armor (300 damage), your shield block of, say, 150 is then subtracted from the remaining 200 damage physical strike — bringing a 500 damage strike down to 50 damage.
In conclusion:
One thing I never suggest about being a Stamina build warrior is that you will take less damage than a Defense warrior; I readily accept the reality I am not the most efficient object in terms of avoidance — but I believe, for raid progression, simply having more health is more helpful when coming to new encounters. Remember to buff up to maximum hitpoints if you are going to take this path!
2.6 Resistance: Magic Defense
I’ve illustrated Stamina to be sort of the Magical armor rating of your character. Like your normal armor rating, it only acts as a reduction of damage taken; it cannot outright mitigate it the way Defense statistics can.
Consider resistance to be your Defense modifier in magical terms. This will make or break some encounters; if you do not have 165 Fire Resistance, you will often die in Molten Core on Baron Geddon; the Lava Packs will be a nightmare.
The primary issues regarding Resistance is how it is calculated and how much you need for mixed damage (physical and magical) encounters. As far as calculation goes, there are two schools of thought; first, that there are tiers of Resistance rates at intervals along the tree, the first being at 75 Resistance, the second at 150, and so on. The other school of thought is that there is a linear progression of Resistance, and being just short of the next ‘tier’ means you’ll resist only slightly less than you would at that next tier.
What should you choose? The more stringent of the two. Whether or not it’s based on tiers or on a mathematically scaling amount is not clear, and neither posters or Blizzard’s own description of resistance seems to confirm either way. Yet it is not your right as a Main Tank to gamble with your raid; choose the stricter path to be sure. If you 255 Nature Resist but the next supposed tier is at 265, it’s time you took a trip to Maraudon.
How do you calculate the resistance you need for a mob? The maximum resistance you can have is simply multiplying the mobs level by 5. For a 63 elite (most bosses are considered to be 63 elite), to maximize your resistance you will need 315 of that particular resistance.
Yet, after Molten Core the endgame resistance fights disappear (with the notable exceptions of Firemaw, Flamegor and Huhuran). Instead, they are replaced by mixed encounters where you will have to strike a balance between certain resistances. In Blackwing Lair and Ahn’Qiraj, for the most part, Blizzard has placed a bit more emphasis on the use of your class sets and they will do fine for your armor slots.
I will outline this in more detail in the encounters guide, but the general rule of thumb for me has been that for FR fights I wear Dark Iron Helm and Legs and for Green Dragon fights I wear only epic level NR in armor slots. This includes Vaelastrasz and Nefarian.
2.7 Self Sustenance; Consumables
It is your responsibility to keep yourself alive through whatever means possible. If you die at any point and had a cooldown available, it is generally your fault. If you die due to unexpected burst damage, it is again your fault if you did not utilize every constant effect buff prior to the fight.
Firstly, your skills: Shield Wall and Last Stand. I’m a big fan of Improved Shield Wall, because almost any time I use Shield Wall it’s because the healers have to recover from some tragedy or I want to cement a kill in stone; both of these times, the additional five seconds is a boon. Last Stand is the same way: if you are going to Main Tank, this ability is not necessary but it may be irresponsible to take new content without it.
Next, Healthstones. You can hold three healthstones at a time, a 1440, a 1320, and a 1200; this naturally requires 3 warlocks, one of whom is a raid build (1320 has to be a conscious decision while choosing talents). These will act as your Major Healing Potions, because unless you are on a pure melee fight, you won’t be touching Major Healing Potions.
Why not? Because you will have Greater Protection Potions. These are preventative potions that will not mitigate melee damage but will mitigate a very high amount of magical damage. Unless you are in the most dire cirucmstance where the melee damage is likely to kill you, you should be using these every 2 minutes or at intelligent intervals. For instance, Chromaggus does two types of fire breaths, an instant massive breath and a DOT breath; your healers can heal through a DOT much easier than they can heal a very large drop in health, so save your protection potion for the massive burst damage. The reason you use Protection Potions instead of Major Healing Potions is that the healing potions won’t save you after you die; the protection potions will prevent that death.
Finally, Lifegiving Gem. Wear it. Your Onyxia Tooth Pendant does not warrant removing what I consider to be the single best warrior trinket in this game. If you have it in your bags and you die, you have absolutely no right to complain to a healer.
Not everything is about health recovery; many of the buffs you will want for fights will extend your health bar, aggro, armor, defensive statistics. There are plenty of relatively easy to acquire buffs and consumables you can use through fights to ease progression through new content. The following is short checklist of constant effect buffs you can utilize:
Flask of the Titans
Flask of Chromatic Resistance - Resistance encounters
Lung Juice Cocktail - Mmm, tasty
Zanza’s Spirit
Elixir of Brute Force
Elixir of Strength
Elixir of Fortitude
Elixir of Superior Defense
Elixir of the Mongoose - Mitigation encounters
Dirge’s Kickin’ Chimaerok Chops - It’s epic
Tender Wolf Steaks
Major Troll’s Blood Potion
Gift of Arthas - Covered in section 3.1
2.8 Aggro verse Mitigation Weapons, Enchants
Weapon (AGGRO)
I am a Julie’s Dagger warrior; This means that my experience with tanking partially relies on the fastest 1h weapons, disregarding mitigation statistics. These weapons are used strictly for the adrenaline fights where everyone assists instantly and holding aggro takes priority above all other functions. Why? Heroic Strike (please read Attack Power, Crits, and Steady/Irregular DPS section). Also, since there are no mitigation characteristics on these weapons such as Parry, you will gain overall more rage when being attacked over the duration of a fight. On dragons that normally have a high parry rate, missing a single attack due to bad luck will not pull you down the way it can with slower weapons.
-Aggro Weapons are generally used for Onyxia, MC mobs, Baron Geddon, Shazzrah, Ragnaros, Vaelastrasz, BWL mobs, Broodlord, Firemaw, Ebonroc, Flamegor, AQ40 mobs, Skeram, Sartura, Huhuran. Also used for Green Dragons, Azuregos, and Kazzak.
There are two top-level endgame aggro weapons. Both are fist weapons.
Eskhandar’s Right claw:
Outdone only by the sexy Silithid Claw:
(Note: As with all weapons, but particularly for aggro weapons, make sure you are applying Dense Weighstones or equivalent to your weapon, popping a Gift of Arthas before tanking, and have a raid-build rogue applying Hemorrhage to the mob. This will pop up a healthy 23 extra damage per strike… which on the Silithid Claw pops it up to the ~70 dps range)
Mitigation weapons are weapons that provide bonuses to stamina, block/dodge/parry, defense, +weapon, or various other procs. Weapons in this category do not generally have the quickest attacks, which can be used to an advantage by Mortal Strike warriors who are put in a position to tank. The particular use of these weapons is for long, phased fights in which you are not likely to lose aggro- however, you may very well be taking large damage hits. A good example would be Chromaggus or Ossirian, where large amounts of time are dedicated to avoiding events and raid members are very unlikely to pull aggro.
-Mitigation weapons are generally used for Lucifron, Magmadar, Gehennas, Garr, Sulfuron, Golemagg, Majordomo, Razorgore, Chromaggus, Nefarian, Kri/Yauj/Vem, Fankriss.
Quel’Serrar (Read Below):
A great mitigation weapon available fairly early on, the Bloodlord’s Defender:
Ideal for 31/20 or 31/5/15 builds who happen to be tanking, the Spineshatter:
A good mid-range upgrade, Maladath:
The Granddaddy of mitigation weapons, the Crul’Shorukh also holds very high-threat:
A Note on Thunderfury
Thunderfury is, as might be suggested by it’s Legendary status, the best of both worlds. While it is neither the highest aggro or best mitigation weapon, it combines them so well that this is the gold standard.
A Note on Quel’Serrar
Quel’Serrar isn’t a godsend weapon. It’s fame is derived from availability, not superiority. A better alternative that doesn’t rely on a proc is the crafted Blackguard; this weapon can be interchanged as an Aggro or Mitigation weapon due to the 1.8 speed, and it’s parry is a static increase. Beware! It’s just as ugly as the Quel’Serrar!
Enchanting your weapon!
There is no magic pill in tanking for enchants. Each enchant offers something slightly different, and given the specific weapon you are enchanting you’ll have a variety of choices. Regardless of whether your mainhand slot is considered an Aggro or Mitigation, choose from the following based on what you generally have problems with.
Crusader - A good all-around enchant, this is a solid base for any tank. The healing, however, will grow relatively useless later in the game, where your health is precariously at 20% one second, the next your receiving 4k overheals. The additional strength? Forget about the minimal block increase of 5 damage, just enjoy your 200 attack power boost! Also, note that Crusader does give you a small amount of healing aggro.
Strength - This offers everything Crusader does, except without waiting on the proc. 30 attack power and 1 tiny mitigation point from a shield, this will actually average out to a better aggro lock than the Crusader would — even if it procced at the start of the fight. This will add about 2.15 Steady dps to your character (please read Attack Power, Crits, and Steady/Irregular DPS section).
Superior Striking - Among the less used enchants, +5 to damage can mark a significant DPS increase in particular situations. This enchant is a bit of a misnomer, as it does not add 5 damage to each attack. Instead, it adds 5 damage to the low end and top end of the damage spectrum. This is ideal for very quick weapons without a focused damage spectrum, where it will add a relatively stable and significant amount of DPS. On the Silithid Claw, this contributes 3.125 Steady dps.
Fiery - Another fairly uncommon but useful enchant for high speed weapons. Fiery is best used once you are past Molten Core and only on very fast weapons with large damage spectrums. The proc rate is high enough that it will out-DPS Superior Striking or Strength with relative certainty; however, take note that it will not have any affect on critical strikes, and any tank with higher than 8% crit should consider one of the other enchants.
Lifestealing - This is the more advanced version of Fiery. Rarely resisted and a common proc, Lifestealing will not only do 30 damage to your attacker, giving aggro, but will also heal you for 30 — also giving you aggro. Like Crusader, the healing eventually phases itself out, but the added damage is always nice!
Crusader - Again, the jack of all trades enchant. The 5 damage mitigation received during course of proc on all blocked attacks is helpful, and the attack power doesn’t hurt. The healing is very useful in early stages of raiding - but be warned, it does lose it’s usefulness as your raid progresses.
Agility - This enchant provides an odd set of mitigation statistics in spades. 0.75% Dodge as well as 44 Armor, this happens to also add 0.75% Crit in pure Irregular damage.
Unholy - Often inflicts a curse on target, reducing melee damage by 15. In all seriousness, the raid needs these, preferably on rogue offhand weapons. However, if you can’t convince them, then provide it yourself - only Agility is better for damage reduction.
Icy - This enchant adds a debuff to a target that slows their attack speed. While useful, Unholy will provide damage mitigation without the dirty feeling of running around with a lvl 30 enchant.
3.1 Attack Power, Crits, and Steady/Irregular DPS
There are two primary avenues of warrior damage: Irregular damage, revolving around critical strikes, burst damage, and spiked damage; and Steady damage, based on slowly driving your enemy to a certain doom. While irregular damage is the bread and butter of a Arms or Fury warrior and can be effectively combined with high attack power, it is next to useless to rely on for tanking.
Attack Power (STEADY)
Each Strength point gives an additional 2 attack power; to simplify, each Strength point gives you an additional 0.142 dps. This is the single most steady form of DPS, as the additional damage will be constant.
The Silithid Claw has a damage range of 64-120 damage- the first 20 seconds of a fight could realistically all be strikes for under 90 damage. This is your unmodified “white” damage. Adding significant attack power to this changes the ballgame entirely; with 1044 attack power (battle shout buffed), an additional 74.6dps boosts this up. Instead of 64-120 damage, the damage range on this weapon is 110-166. Raid buffed, this damage range increases more dramatically.
Attack Power is reliable; it is steady. It may not provide the glorious numbers or prolonged DPS that burst damage does, but it removes any short term chance play and you will never gamble with your raid. For this reason, Attack Power and Strength are a pillar of your character.
Heroic Strike (STEADY)
Heroic Strike is one of the gems in the tanking arena; often overlooked and forgotten about for characters leveling to 60, it quickly becomes the basis of tanking DPS.
First, as far as additional damage goes, the modifier is simple. Using my DPS example from the previous section we can modify the 110-166 damage one step further; with Heroic Strike rank 9 (157 additional damage), this damage range becomes 267-323.
Now take notice of how Heroic Strike changed those numbers- more than doubled my damage spectrum, even with attack power factored in. This weapon, like all Aggro weapons being utilized by a tank, has become a Heroic Strike delivery system. Note that this additional damage is not balanced by weapon speed; a much faster weapon really will bring far more of these high damage attacks to bear.
Next, look at the ability. It is not a normal ability; specifically, it is a NEXT MELEE ability. What this means is that the attack is applied to your weapon much the same way a weightstone or poison is applied to a weapon. This is important because it does not use any global cooldowns — all other abilities remain available to you while Heroic Strike is applied. This includes Shield Bash, a utility skill necessary for fights like Skeram and Yauj.
There is still more. Heroic Strike causes considerable additional threat on top of everything else. This makes quickly striking a mob with this ability applied to your weapon an incredibly good tanking maneuver that you can build your character around.
Yet, for all of this, Heroic Strike and Aggro weapons are not without their due consequence. To effectively use Heroic Strike, you need to have rage. Lots of it. Every attack you do now will suck rage away from you and you will be stunted from rage gain by your own action. Yet, you still want to use rage on other abilities like Revenge…
There is only one good solution: get used to the ebb and flow of the battle and consciously choose to take more damage from the mob you are fighting at specific times. How do you do this? It’s up to you. Stop using Shield Block. Stop placing demo shouts up. Spec for Deathwish (21/30 fury/protection) and you get the additional damage and 30 second fear immunity.
Or just take your shield off for for a couple seconds when your healers aren’t looking.
A Note on Cleave
All of the dynamics that apply to Heroic Strike apply on a lesser level to Cleave; the same modifiers come into play except for the innate threat generation. This is useful in very specific encounters.
Raid Buffing for DPS (STEADY)
There are plenty of great buffs that are tough to snag on a populated server such as ours. It’s very hard to get an Onyxia or Nefarian head buff, despite how much we’d all like free Attack Power. Instead, there are small things you can do to increase your aggro DPS as well as benefit the entire raid.
Dense Weightstone, lvl 35
Applying this to your weapon every 30 minutes will increase damage by 8. This is best used on high speed aggro weapons.
Gift of Arthas, lvl 38
You may have missed this beauty on the grind to 60. Pick it back up. This gives you a buff to Shadow resistance which helps in the better half of Blackwing Lair, it also places an infectious disease on the target which increases damage taken by 8. Not only will your own dps go up but every rogue and warrior in your raid will see an increase in DPS. This is best used with high speed aggro weapons.
Hemorrhage (Subtlety Build, Rogues)
This is similar to Gift of Arthas. The debuff will cause your attacks to do an additional 7 damage to that target. This must be constantly applied, as it runs out of charges in the span of seconds. This is best utilized by high speed aggro weapons.
Critical Strikes (IRREGULAR)
Per my belief, Aggro encounters go hand in hand with Steady DPS. Conversely, Mitigation encounters go with Irregular dps - the most notable of which are critical strikes.
Crit is the byproduct of the mitigation attribute Agility. Many of the top mitigation items carry Agility, not Strength in their tag. Master Dragonslayer’s Medallion and Archimtiros’ Ring of Reckoning. It isn’t coincidence that warrior crit percentage is based on the same attribute that gives us dodge and armor.
In prolonged encounters, you are unlikely to lose aggro. Generally these are endurance based fights meant to test a coordinated movement of events. Chromaggus, for instance, or Majordomo, the tanks will have time to build up aggro. It is because of this fact that warriors do not need immediate base DPS and do not need to build around it.
This is where crit damage really shines. You will, in the long run, build more solidified aggro with crits than you can in aggro fights, ironic as that is. This is because you are going to have several critical strikes with a higher damage weapon over the course of the downtime; these crits are enhanced by the use of a Mitigation weapon, which generally are much slower and provide more burst.
Critical strikes offer another advantage. Unlike Heroic Strike, you are not completely out of rage; instead, crits are giving you substantially more rage to work with. This rage can be used to put out your full array of abilities, from Rend to Demoralizing Shout to Thunder Clap. You can also effectively keep Shield Block up.
Even 10% crit base is enough to take advantage of this in most fights.
The general rule of thumb in tanking is to never rely on procs to hold aggro. The exception to this rule is for Mitigation encounters where you have time to wait on these abilities to pop up.
One example is the Quel’Serrar. This is probably about as bad a proc as you can get on a weapon. Not only are you relying on a proc, but your relying on a proc that gives you 13 defense — which in turn acts like a proc, as it merely raises your chance of block/dodge/parrying attacks. However, if you have no threat of losing aggro, this weapon is good through much of the endgame.
All proc-based enchants take advantage of this, also. Crusader is the best proc-based enchant utilized in these conditions.
The General Warrior’s Reference Guide
4.1 Encounters, by instance
In several encounters across the endgame the distinction between DPS warriors and tanks is blurred; for this reason, the following reference is written for all warriors. Note that many encounters can be done several different ways, and that developing a strategy around your guild makeup should take precedence over anything you read here. Also, note that the loot listing is applicable to tanking warriors.
The following guide assumes normal progression and gear as if your guild was fresh to the encounter.
Among the items not listed here are Heavy Dark Iron Ring and Flamewaker Legplates, as they have a chance of dropping off any boss. Also, the Belt and Bracers of Might are BOE drops off trash mobs in this zone.
Molten Core is the least complex of the 40-man raids for tanking.
Weapon: Mitigation Weapon for Lucifron, Aggro weapon for two adds
Gear: Full Tanking
Tactics:Lucifron brings with him two adds, making this an extended mitigation fight.
As the Lucifron tank, you want to position Luci physically as far away from the raid as possible with a small group of healers and decursers set up for you. If you have an extra protection warrior, this can help early on in case one of you goes down - just fight each other for aggro on Lucifron.
For either of the adds, you have a separate responsibility. The adds have a tendency to mind control, so we’ve generally let hunters pull and get the mind control. If you have had problems with it, try to burn your Intimidating Shout so it doesn’t lead to an uncomfortable encounter with nearby imps. Move towards the adds as they are pulled; try to position yourself on the run to them so the hunter maintains middle ground. Then, snag him. Taunt works here, as well as sunders. Once you have the mob, pull him backwards to the raid group and as far away from the Lucifron tank as possible. If you are comfortable with aggro, particularly if you have picked up Eskhandar’s from Magmadar, let the raid assist instantly on your target to speed the process.
For other warriors? Work out assist and positioning similar to rogues, and be ready to tank in case of something horrible. Make sure you can taunt any of the adds if a tank goes down or is mind controlled!
*When you are still not wearing Molten Core level gear, you never want to turn your back on a mob! This will negate your defense statistics. Instead, it is important to scoot mobs backwards by simply walking backwards.
Gauntlets of Might
Weapon: Mitigation Weapon
Gear: Full Tanking, Dark Iron Legs/Helm as available
Tactics: Magmadar is one of the big dogs in endgame, no pun intended. He is as punishing as any boss - but will solidify your newly formed raid group once you have him down. Don’t fret if your guild wipes on Magmadar!
For this boss you are going to need to learn stance dancing. Every 30 seconds he will do an AOE fear that will hit most of the raid; as a warrior, you are responsible for breaking this. When a fear is about to occur, go ahead and pop over to Berserker Stance and quickly hit Berserker Rage; this grants you 10 second fear immunity. After activating the ability, it will continue to work if you pop back to Defensive.
Damage mitigation is also a big key to this fight. When starting Magmadar, understand that unless you have a veteran healing force and veteran hunters, you will most likely die if you don’t employ the virtues of Self Sustenance. Last Stand and Improved Shield Wall show their first great usefulness on this fight, as well as well-timed Greater Fire Protection Potions.
Other warriors, build secondary aggro throughout the fight; DPS while in defensive stance if it helps. Early on in raiding, a little more DPS on this massive health bar won’t matter nearly as much as the ability to recover from a dead tank.
Eskhandar’s Right Claw
Medallion of Steadfast Might
Legplates of Might
Weapon: Mitigation Weapon for Gehennas, Aggro Weapon for two adds
Gear: Full Tanking.
Tactics: The tactics for this fight are actually identical to those for Lucifron, with some noticeable ability changes.
For this pull, again let the hunters absorb the add abilities; in this case, AOE stuns. Once they are stunned, run in and snag them.
When tanking Gehennas, he is similar to Lucifron. You will want available cooldowns for Self Sustenance. Also, you will want to be ready to move out of the Rain of Fire AOE that he casts in his lair; again, walking backwards as opposed to turning around and running is the safest maneuevering when new to this encounter. Also, be prepared to go through multiple tanks; if possible, have at least one available warrior building secondary aggro or fighting for aggro on Gehennas.
Sabatons of Might
Weapon: Mitigation Weapon for Garr, mini-Garrs, Main Assist warrior with Aggro Weapon
Gear: Full Tanking.
Tactics: Setting up the fight is a guild and raid function, not a tanking function.
As it relates to tanking, this is partly a mitigation fight and partly an aggro fight. When we first started Garr, the tanks would lose aggro on any of the mobs to nearby healers; on Garr this caused particular problems.
That said, you want to be wearing as much mitigation gear as possible early on. Each of the adds can still hit for a healthy amount of damage on new tanks and Garr himself can bash your main tank pretty bad. As a tank on one of the adds, you want to stay in between the mob and any healers, so you have some reaction time if you lose aggro early on. You also want to keep your mob away from Garr himself, as Garr can explode the mob on command. Further, when the raid moves to Garr himself, if some of the mobs are banished, you want to be ready to jump off in case they take down a warlock in the mean time.
Overall this fight is very controllable one. Though it has touchy initial aggro, primarily due to the number of people taking initial damage and heals and the number of adds involved, you should have no problem tanking a controlled takedown.
Bindings of the Windseeker
Drillborer Disk
Helm of Might
Baron Geddon
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: Full Fire Resist.
Tactics: There are several ways to handle Baron Geddon. One of the more traditional ones is to handle him in the same room you just took Garr; honestly, positioning only matters to you as a means of reducing fall damage (the nearby hallway will reduce your fall damage drastically if you are marked as the bomb).
Tank this fight in full Fire Resist gear. Once you see him, you’ll realize why. He has two primary abilities. First, he marks one person as the bomb. If you are the bomb and are also tanking Geddon, you must either move Geddon or the other melee must move away from you. This is entirely survivable, because while you are about to take fall damage, you have a window to get full heals mid-air and you are not being attacks.
His other primary ability is a fire nova that spreads from his focus center. This becomes successively stronger with each wave. Once he begins this, run out of his center to any point. If you have primary aggro, he will drift right back to you after he’s done with the final nova blasts. Reposition him as necessary.
Getting aggro? Our general rule of thumb when we began this fight was to wait through three full fire nova’s before calling assist. For refinement, you could probably cut this down significantly with specific itemiziation. However, beware that the fire resist you wear in Molten Core isn’t a whole lot different than the fire resist you wear on Flamegor at the end of Blackwing Lair. Aggro-wise, this means the rest of the raid is geared exponentially beyond you over the months since you start this encounter.
Bindings of the Windseeker
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: Full Tanking, and if your truly determined on farming resist gear, some Arcane Resist.
Tactics: Shazzrah is the Arcanist among the Shadow Naga. His abilities reflect this: a powerful Arcane Explosion and blink.
This is one of the fights that does not become harder or more difficult depending on gear. It is what it is. Conceivably, you could throw together an Arcane resist suit, but think about what you’d be giving up.
To tank this fight, you will want instant aggro attacks and taunts ready. Sunder will be more useful here than immediate Heroic Strike due to the instant application. After any blink, your aggro is lost on Shazzrah — go grab him, or approach him however your raid strategy is outlined. Some guilds use intercept (this requires 10 points in Arms to give you rage transfer between stances, otherwise you will only be able to intercept half of his blinks). Other guilds use hunters. Our guild generally adjusted the entire raid away from where he blinked.
The second you reach him after a blink, sunder him and let the raid assist. Aggro generally is not an issue on this fight, just alot of motion.
For mitigation, the only thing that really helps you here is a higher lifebar. The bulk of your serious damage is Arcane Explosions, though mixed with a few good whacks from him can take you down as you are new to this fight.
Weapon: Mitigation Weapon
Gear: Full Tanking.
Tactics: The key to this fight is understanding that the adds can heal each other if left too close. Your positioning and movement as tanks is crucial to this.
This is a mitigation fight for all of your tanks, including your Main Assist warrior. Generally we position Sulfuron where he is, three of his adds right next to him, and the add that everyone will kill is brought to where you entered the room from. Once fully across the room, we bring him down and then call for the next of the tanks to bring an add all the way back.
At this point in raiding, unless you’ve dealt with extremely bad luck, you may be safe in turning and running with the adds, despite the defense drop across the board for these five or ten seconds.
This is a simple mitigation-based fight where tank movement is the ability in question.
Pauldrons of Might
Weapon: Mitigation Weapon (Slowest available)
Gear: Full Tanking.
Tactics: Golemagg is similar to Magmadar, without the fear. He has a huge lifebar and can dish out alot of damage, so hopefully you’ve been focusing on Stamina.
There are two Core Ragers next to Golemagg. Early on, you can tank all three separately, keeping Golemagg where he starts or repositioning him to a place where you can recover from a wipe. Either way, your tanks will be handling fairly simple debuffs.
The Core Ragers will add a serrated bite to you, the tank. In some circumstances you will want to have last stand or even shield wall available; setup on Majordomo will take long enough that it will be available again.
Golemagg himself has a reactive proc. This means that every attack on Golemagg has a chance of putting a nasty debuff on yourself… that stacks. For this reason, you want the slowest weapon available. Can’t get a slow weapon? Two-tank him.
At 10%, Golemagg goes berserk. You will want to pop Improved Shield Wall at this time, jump to Berserker Stance, and go ahead and execute him through the end of the fight (unless this takes more than 15 seconds, at which point you should jump back to Defensive).
Want to flex your tanking muscle once you are much of the way through Blackwing Lair? Single tank all three mobs with a slower mitigation weapon that can effectively use Cleave and Whirlwind. Tab sundering (quickly switching mobs and hitting sunder armor) will solidify the aggro lock.
Breastplate of Might
Majordomo Executus
Weapon: Mitigation Weapon for adds, Aggro Weapon for Majordomo and Main Assist warrior
Gear: Full Tanking.
Tactics: The order and position of this is a raid and guild function, not a tanking function.
When tanking for this fight, you will want to wear your best Mitigation gear for all of the adds. They each do scaled down but still significant damage. Positioning them away from each other is also helpful, as they do a ground nova that can be dangerous when multiple are stacked near each other.
Self Sustenance is key to this fight. Last Stand, Shield Wall, health potions, just about anything you can get your hands on. When first doing this fight, staying alive through eight separate mobs will be the biggest problem.
Tanking Majordomo himself through this fight can be fairly difficult. Often it is best to have your three worst geared tanks handling Majordomo. The reason? He doesn’t hit for alot, but he’s very hard to control. He will port the nearest player straight into his pit’o'fire, and you’ll need to run out immediately if this happens. If you are one of the other tanks when the person with aggro is ported, immediately taunt and sunder him yourself! Make sure Majordomo stays away from all other tanks at all costs, as his port is not based on aggro but on the closest player… and it eventually will cause another tank to be ported while he’s tanking an add - possibly killed if unexpected or after unusual burst damage from that add.
Core Forged Greaves
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: Full Fire Resist (315).
Tactics: Ragnaros is one of the most difficult endgame encounters to pull together from a raid force.
First, itemization. You will want as many buffs and fire protection potions available for this fight as possible. Another appropriate avenue for a new raid force to get fire resist is by mind controlling the casters immediately inside Blackrock Spire.
Ragnaros can be single tanked, two-tanked, three-tanked, however you want and with whatever gear you have to accomodate it. Positioning is a little trickier. The inner circle of lava where Ragnaros emerges from sports two amazingly useful tank locations. The first is an indent of rock directly across from where Majordomo stands; the second is about 10 yards to the right of that location.
How to spot this location? It’s not what’s in front of you that is key to your position, it’s what’s behind you. From the center of the inner lava pool, imagine a line that goes directly out to the far cave walls. In these two positions, there will be stone spires reaching from the ground; when knocked back from either of these positions, you will not suffer significant fall damage if you land on the spires, and you will easily be able to return to the fight.
The fight itself? For phase 1, you are in a pure aggro battle. You must have aggro right off the bat, because you want the raid assisting right off the bat and bringing Ragnaros himself down as far as possible before phase 2.
During this, you will sustain heavy damage. Though defense statistics do come into play, this is primarily a test of simply having a whole lot of resist.
Ragnaros also does a binary knockback attack on you. Either you resist it or you don’t. This knockback is fire-based, and is the reason you want to cap out at a maximum resist of 315. Through the course of a Ragnaros fight, you will generally be knocked back between one and four times.
Any other tanks on Ragnaros need to taunt immediately in case you are knocked back; also, all tanks on Ragnaros need to taunt any time someone else pulls aggro.
Note that this is similar to Geddon: You will still be tanking in the same gear five months later while the rest of the raid will have far outclassed your own. This is the biggest drawback of resist-based fights.
Phase 2 is a separate matter. All tanks and warriors will have different responsibilities depending on how you raid chooses to handle the adds. In our case, we banish between one and three adds, tank the rest.
As Main Tank, you are also a good candidate for phase 2 Main Assist. This is because the Ragnaros fight is a fight of attrition, and anyone other than the main tanks could very easily have died before reaching this point. As Main Assist, you will need to quickly move from target to target and give vocal warning if you are switching off a target before it is dead.
Once you handle all eight adds, Ragnaros will re-emerge. Get in position immediately, treat this just like a stunted phase 1, and bring him down.
Legplates of Wrath
Dragon’s Blood Cape
Essence of the Pure Flame
*Ragnaros hits you for 3,000 fire damage. Your Essence of the Pure Flame hits Ragnaros for 0 fire damage (13 resisted). In all seriousness, don’t touch this.
Weapon: Mitigation Weapon
Gear: Orb Controlling Warrior, full Fire Resist. Kiting warriors, full Tanking.
Bracelets of Wrath
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: Tanking with moderate Fire Resist; I normally wear Dark Iron Leggings and Helm for this encounter.
Waistband of Wrath
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: Full Tanking.
Sabatons of Wrath
Lifegiving Gem
Maladath, Runed Blade of the Black Flight
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: Full Fire Resist. Onyxia Scale Cloak necessary.
Gauntlets of Wrath
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: Full Tanking; if Shadow Resist available, wear any achievable amount. Onyxia Scale Cloak necessary.
Gauntlets of Wrath
Dragonbreath Hand Cannon
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: Full Fire Resist. Onyxia Scale Cloak necessary.
Gauntlets of Wrath
Styleen’s Impeding Scarab
Weapon: Mitigation Weapon
Gear: This is unique in that you do not know what resist gear to wear. Personally, I wear Dark Iron Helm and Leggings as well as Acid Inscribed Pauldrons and Malfurion’s Signet Ring, and keep full tanking gear on all other slots.
Pauldrons of Wrath
Elementium Threaded Cloak
Elementium Reinforced Bulwark
Weapon: Mitigation Weapon
Gear: Full Tanking. Onyxia Scale Cloak necessary.
Breastplate of Wrath
Archimtiros’ Ring of Reckoning
Crul’Shorukh, Edge of Chaos
Master Dragonslayer’s Medallion
There are plenty of great drops in Ahn’Qiraj. However, the set bonus of Wrath as well as the tank orientation of Blackwing Lair phases most of it out. Among items not listed here are Imperial Qiraji Armaments, as they drop off most bosses; also, while the ring itemization in this zone is good, they are outdone by the faction-based Signet Ring of the Bronze Dragonflight and the Archimtiros’ Ring of Reckoning off Nefarian, per a pure Stamina build.
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: Full Tanking.
Amulet of Foul Warding
Weapon: Mitigation Weapon
Gear: Tanking with 190+ Nature Resist
Ooze-ridden Gauntlets.
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: Full Tanking.
Silithid Claw
Badge of the Swarmguard
*Note: Don’t skip rogues or hunters on this item; it appears to be great for aggro fights but the tradeoff for other tanking trinket and the reliance on a proc doesn’t make it priority.
Weapon: Mitigation Weapon
Gear: Full Tanking.
Tactics: The way our guild has handled this fight involves several separate tanking duties.
Similar to Majordomo, you don’t want to put your best-geared tanks on Fankriss himself. Instead, your least-geared tanks or DPS warriors should be handling Fankriss. He adds a stacking debuff which reduces incoming heals by 10% per debuff. Once this stacks high enough, you will need to lose aggro. How? Taunt works, and if the aggro lock is unusually strong, go ahead and pop a Limited Invulnerability Potion to temporarily negate aggro. Just make sure another tank is assigned to grab him.
Your top tanks have two separate responsibilities: handling snakes and handling silithid packs.
Snakes will spawn occasionally, sometimes up to three in succession, and your raid will have to instantly take them down; as such, you will want an aggro weapon for the tanks handling snakes. They also hit for a considerable amount of damage. Getting aggro is priority.
Silithid packs are handled in droves. Generally I personally handle the silithid packs, and I’ve found that I can hold these for about 20% of Fankriss’ lifebar. As such, at 80%, 60%, 40%, etc., or sooner or later depending on odd spawn rates, I will call for AOE on the silithids. Holding aggro is fairly easy on these by using Demoralizing Shout. Keep your Lifegiving Gem, Last Stand, and Shield Wall available for this tanking duty! You will need it! A note on Silithid packs: use “V” to show ID Tags to your advantage. While you may see only one silithid skittering towards you at any given time, they are often stacked in groups of 5. Also, during AOE, do not be bashful about calling AOE off if you see a pack spawning before all of yours are dead — if they reach the AOE area, your casters will gain aggro and you will not be able to get it off them without burning Challenging Shout.
Silithid Carapace Chestguard
Cloak of Untold Secrets
Not included in this list is Quel’Serrar (quest line finished at Onyxia) and Malfurion’s Signet Ring, the quest turn-in for the Nightmare Encrusted Object off any of the Green Dragons.
Weapon: Optional (Read Tactics)
Gear: Optional (Read Tactics)
Tactics: Onyxia is an encounter that evolves with your raid group. Be sure to read Dynamics of the Dragon for a clear idea on the standard markers of this fight.
The difference between an early strategy and an advanced strategy is in raid gear. Early on, you as a tank want to carry a mitigation weapon in, along with Dark Iron gear to put your Fire Resist significantly up; have Greater Fire Protection Potions available. The key here is in both phase 1 and 3 to wait about 1-2 full minutes before calling for assist. The reason? You are focused on mitigating what would otherwise be an overwhelming boss fight; you do not have the aggro capability to go berserk.
Our current Onyxia strategy works fairly well in 15-20 man raids; this can be effectively picked up once you, as a tank, have gotten at or near full Tier 1. For this, wear a full set of Tier 1 or Tier 2, an aggro weapon, and whatever the heck you want in your offhand. My personal favorite is the Ancient Runed Grimoire, because I get a free skeleton out of it. The reason? You don’t want to mitigate the relatively low damage Onyxia will be dealing to you; you just won’t have the rage to hold aggro if you try to.
When entering Onyxia’s lair, I will generally mark a straight line North that intersects her body. While crossing, I will get my initial Sunder and any other ability I can before I’ve ran through her focus point. I turn around once I’m at the North wall; normally she walks towards at this point. At this stage, the raid will either wait a couple minutes or assist immediately, depending on your strategy.
Positioning can be done several different ways. I personally use the north wall. There are two indents in the ground as you run in, however, that some guilds use to good effect. Used in phase 3, this prevents Whelp tragedies from people feared near Onyxia’s tail.
Phase 1 is general tanking and holding aggro. Phase 2, whelps will spawn from the caves. Demoralizing shout, cleave, and other moderate aggro attacks will be useful here; however, your Arms/Fury warriors will be able to do better on whelp control with their 2h weapons. As she comes near 40%, go ahead and use stored up rage to place Sunder Armors on her (she is susceptible to these despite her being 30 feet in the air, oddly). This will give you some temporary aggro as she moves into phase 3. The shift to phase 3 you will have to get used to yourself; generally, stay in Berserker Stance to break the first fear, and use Deathwish to your advantage if you have it available. Keep applying aggro attacks until Onyxia has aggro’d you. Since this fight is one of the entire raid controlling their aggro, you will have to work out the flow of this battle with the raid.
In Phase 3, Onyxia can fear as often as every 23 seconds. On notable occasions, she can fear within 10 seconds of a prior fear ending. Unless your guild is unusually gifted with a Dwarf Priest, you must either two-tank this encounter by switching Berserker Rage rotations or get a bit of attrition on the raid while you are feared. Either way will work.
This was a 25-man run we did to play around with some theories. You can get a fairly good observation of an entry and flipping Onyxia against the back wall because I’m not tanking her for the beginning of this fight. Instead, our tank-rogue (who has tanked the last 5% of Vaelastrasz!) pulls her into position. Like most knockbacks, When Nycthel is knocked back he loses a certain amount of aggro and eventually cannot regain aggro. Also, I played around with the position on one of the middle stones to see the advantages of it during phase 3; note that the tail cannot knock people into the whelp cave but the fear can be an issue. Note that, after removing a shield, I still had a relatively difficult time getting significant rage built up for holding aggro during this fight.
Onyxia Blood Talisman
Helm of Wrath
Ring of Binding
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: Full Tanking.
Tactics: This is one of the original raid bosses; as such, there’s little complexity. Run in, aggro, have everyone assist, and for heaven’s sakes don’t die - this will heal Kazzak in a big way. DPS warriors, lay into the DPS. He’ll be dead in three minutes.
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: Full Tanking, Frost Resistance as long as it doesn’t come at the cost of high-mitigation items such as leg, head, or chest slots.
Tactics: For this fight, see supplemental Dynamics of the Dragon. As far as warriors are concerned, there is nothing that sets this fight apart from other dragons; also, beware of Mark of Frost being placed upon you if you die; you will be unable to rejoin the fight.
Beware, there are adds in the region, and Azuregos raids have a tendency to drift. Warriors, it can be very helpful to jump off and handle giants or at least off-tank them through the fight.
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: 265 Nature Resist Ideal. All Green Dragons can be effectively killed with lower Nature Resist if there are enough healers to compensate, so don’t give up your major mitigation items like Helm and Legplates of Wrath.
Tactics: For this fight and the four Green Dragons, see supplemental Dynamics of the Dragon.
Each of the Green Dragons have two shared abilities and two unique abilities. The unique ability will occur at the 75%, 50% and 25% markers of the encounter.
Sleep Cloud (Shared): Each of the dragons spawns two sleep clouds occasionally. These clouds are homing devices; they will select and seek players at random, move to them, and put them to sleep. Within seconds, anyone nearby will be slept.
Warriors as well as rogues need to protect the raid from these sleep clouds. To do so, wear minimal Nature Resist unless you are Main Tanking. As you see each new cloud form at the base of the dragon, run immediately towards that cloud no matter where it is (even if it’s already back in the healers). If you resist it, keep chasing it until you don’t. This causes the Sleep Cloud to envelop you and soak into you and players nearby — which means if you are a melee class and another melee just got slept, try to get away from them quickly so you don’t also get slept.
Frantic as this sounds, it works. With melee classes soaking up these sleep clouds, healers and ranged classes have free reign. They have a limited number of charges before they dissipate, so you will not be permanently out of combat.
Also be aware that as a dragon tank, you will occasionally be slept. This is simply not avoidable, as each dragon has a chance of spawning his sleep cloud directly on top of you and you have a relatively small chance to not resist it. As such, your raid must be flexible to some very awkward positions you are going to put yourself in regarding Line of Sight; after coming out of a sleep and regaining aggro on the dragon, his entire body will shift erratically and to reposition him in line with the raid you could wind up with no line of sight on three sides of you for healers. Saving cooldowns for this is generally good practice.
Breath (Shared): Each of the dragons has another unique ability that (hopefully) only applies to you as a Main Tank. This is a stacking debuff which does large amounts of nature damage every few seconds but also slows all of your abilities down. This is specifically what you need Nature Resist for. You can two-tank dragons using Limited Invulnerability Potions to transfer aggro, or simply wear 265 Nature Resist to the fight and single-tank them. The key to this is, like all dragons, keep the dragon’s maw away from the raid.
One note: With all cooldowns reduced, I have no problem holding aggro on Green Dragons; I am not sure if this is a dynamic hard coded into the dragons or if it is because of the choice of a high speed Aggro Weapon.
Now, for the Druid Spawn (Ysondre): At every 25% marker, corrupted druids will spawn on your raid. Warriors need to still manage sleeps during these periods but also be running back to pull corrupted druids off the casters. Challenging Shout and Shield Wall works fine for this, as does pretty much anything else. If your guild is at the stage of Green Dragons, Ysondre’s corrupted druids will be a breeze.
Lightning Strike (Ysondre): Ysondre occasionally spams frost-shock. Go figure.
Acid Inscribed Pauldrons
Green Dragonskin Cloak
Acid Inscribed Greaves
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: 265 Nature Resist Ideal.
Tactics: As with Ysondre, Taerar shares the same breath and sleep cloud abilities. He, however, holds two other abilities.
AOE Fear (Taerar): This is an interesting fear from a tanking perspective. Learning it the hard way usually wipes your raid: attempting to stance dance can put your stance cooldowns to 45 seconds. Unless you have high nature resist and good luck, forget about stance dancing Taerar. Instead, totems and fear ward can help you with this. In our case, Fear Ward has not always been an option, so the ability Deathwish has come into play (30 seconds fear immunity, used in 21/30 Fury/Protection builds). You will take additional damage and a hit to your nature resist, but nowhere near as badly as being stuck in Berserker Stance. Two-tanking strategies work well here.
This fear is relatively innocuous, as is Taerar himself if he’s let loose on one side of the raid. The fear is short enough that you can run and pick aggro back up if you absolutely can’t break it. Also, it appears to be on a 30-35 second timer and, given a good raid force, will only occur four or five times during the course of the fight.
Nightmares (Taerar): At the 75%, 50%, and 25% markers, Taerar splits himself into three nightmares of himself. These shades are followed by high damage nature clouds, so you must constantly be moving them - preferably by walking, not running, backwards. Your Main Assist Warrior, Rogue or Hunter needs to pick a target immediately.
Tanking these shades is possible by quickly using your Tab key to shift targets when they pop up if you were tanking Taerar himself. Taerar has phased out of the world temporarily, making mouse-clicking through him a hassle. However, if you do tank, your Main Assist should make absolutely sure your shade is not the last killed and that you are ready to tank Taerar himself once he phases into the world.
Designating Shade tanks will vastly ease the encounter, particularly if your Main Tank does not need to deal with the nature breath of the mini-Taerars. If in this tanking role, you will want between 90 and 180 Nature Resist, but you shouldn’t give up any major tanking bonuses to achieve this.
Taerar is also unique in that he does a long-range knockback. In-game dynamics currently cause anyone with aggro that is knocked back to be instantly ported to the front of the boss; this will cause a brief stir in your computer.
Green Dragonskin Cloak
Acid Inscribed Greaves
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: 265 Nature Resist Ideal.
Tactics: Emeriss shares the Sleep Cloud and Breath abilities of Ysondre.
This fight is far more dependent on healing strategy than tanking strategy. At 75%, 50%, and 25%, Emeriss does an AOE DOT which deals 100% of a person’s lifebar in damage. If the person receives no heals in 10 seconds, they die. If they die, they become a noxious mushroom which does AOE damage to nearby players. If the other players are recently cursed and have minimal health, they die. Those players then become mushrooms. Et cetera. Once one player dies, the likelihood of everyone around them to die is very high.
This is handled completely differently by different guilds, and is a healing based strategy. Whatever you do, pay attention to how your guild handles this fight. If your guild strategy involves running out of the area of the AOE DOT, don’t stay behind and dps! If your guild strategy involves group heals, make sure you are near your priest.
No matter what your strategy is, Emeriss is the most punishing of the dragons. If you don’t soak up sleep clouds as a warrior, the raid will wipe.
Polished Ironwood Crossbow
Green Dragonskin Cloak
Acid Inscribed Greaves
Weapon: Aggro Weapon
Gear: 265 Nature Resist Ideal.
Tactics: Lethon shares the Sleep Cloud and Breath ability of Ysondre.
Lethon is singularly the most powerful and most controllable of the Green Dragon fights. Unlike each of the other fights, Lethon truly relies on you, the tank, to handle the most devastating abilities.
Shadow Whirl (Lethon): Every few seconds, Lethon casts a shadow storm on the raid. This shadow storm will quickly tear down the raid; after four strike the raid successively, you may have lost raid members.
It is your job to remove this Shadow Whirl effect from the raid. How? Move Lethon. Alot. The Shadow Whirl will be cast on either Lethon’s left or ride side, determined by the Dragon’s Center (see Dynamics of the Dragon). If the entire raid is on the right side, for instance, this means during the duration that Lethon is casting shadow storms on his left side no one is being touched.
The key to movement is this: Each time he casts the abilities, you will see the markings of a shadow spell being cast. Count them down from 4. When he has cast this four times, physically run through him at a slight angle until you reach the Dragon’s Center. If you are close to the focus point, the flip will happen so quickly that your raid will not have a chance to be tail swiped. Note that tail swipe is what you want to expose your raid to! When flipping Lethon, make sure his maw does not face the raid! A few people knocked back will do a whole lot less damage to your raid than hitting every healer with the breath. When flipping, be sure to avoid sleep clouds drifting near Lethon himself, even if it means a longer arc process.
In essence, when Shadow Whirl is being cast on your raid, or is about to be cast on you raid, flip Lethon to the other side. As a result, your raid can focus on the important duty: slaying the dragon.
Summon Souls (Lethon): At the 75%, 50%, and 25%, Lethon will summon a shade from the body of every member in the raid (and others who may not be in the raid but nearby). These shades will slowly walk towards Lethon and, if not killed, will heal Lethon for a significant amount of health. The tanks as well as the entire raid will be temporarily banished during this time.
As the tank on Lethon, make sure you’ve applied an available cooldown before being banished. My general order is Lifegiving Gem for the 75% marker, as it may be available again during the fight. During the 50% marker I burn Last Stand. Finally, at the 25% marker I burn Improved Shield Wall to cement the kill.
For other warriors: do everything you can to single target kill the shades. Before the percentage summons, try to back away from Lethon and give yourself room - your shade will have to travel farther to Lethon. Not every player can kill their own shade, so try to help with other nearby shades too.
Green Dragonskin Cloak
Acid Inscribed Greaves

4.2 Movie Listing
Here’s a current listing of encounter movies; specific notes about the circumstances of each movie can be found in their respective encounter guides.

4.3 Dynamics of the Dragon
One of the most complex and well programmed encounters, dragons have a wide range of destructive abilities. Dealing with them is something any raid group must learn together. However, there are some principles that apply to nearly every Dragon and drake fight across the endgame.
The Dragon’s Center
Of all of the things you need to know about dragon encounters, this is the single most important thing to understand when learning new encounters.
When you click on a dragon, you get a very wide underlying targetting reticule. This circle represents the dragons in-game circumference. Most of your abilities will work outside this circumference, and from a signficant distance away, so don’t rely on it too much for positioning. However, pay attention to this reticule and estimate where the center of it is. Using this, you can roughly determine the pinpoint focus center of the dragon.
This matters for one very specific reason: All Line of Sight (LOS) abilities stem from this point. Not your own, mind you - you do not need exact Line of Sight on any creature, you just need to be in range of the reticule itself.
Instead, the dragon’s own abilities that it would use to destroy come from it’s belly, not it’s head.
Why is this important? Firemaw. Chromaggus (dog-dragon!). Any strategy that relies on breaking line of sight relies on understanding this. Just because you can physically see and even attack the mob does not necessarily mean the mob can physically see and attack you with certain abilities.
As a tank, this is particularly important for positioning. It’s a way of saying, don’t stress yourself out too badly on certain pulls. Chances are, if you needed a specific position and you are off by a small amount, you are still fine.
Also, this is important for turning dragons or other mobs. This central point is also their spinning axis. To do a complete 180 degree flip of a dragon, you want to run through it — as long as you are still facing the center, the dragon will not change its position, except for the couple seconds in which you run past it’s axis and it flips with you.
The Dragon’s Maw
This is a dead zone that only your tank should be in at any given time for most dragons. Generally, the maw includes both the breath and cleave attacks from a dragon. This area is determined through the following geometry (I’m no math major, bear with me):
From the focus point of the dragon, a straight line to the tank represents the direction of the dragon. From this line, the maw is determined as a 30-90 degree arc extending from the focus point. Any attacks made in this arc, such as a 90 degree cleave, will then do a secondary check - anyone inside the targetting reticule (underneath the body) are not hit with the frontal cleave. Instead, the player will generally have to be in front of the actual flailing dragonlegs.
This really plays itself out on the Nefarian Rogue class call. While you may have saved all of the rogues from a 30-45 degree Shadow Flame, you may not have saved them from the 75 degree cleave that kills them.
On the other hand, letting your rogues die on Nefarian makes positioning really easy the rest of the fight.
The Dragon’s Tail
Normally this doesn’t matter all too much to a tank, but has some weight in where you position the dragon for the raid.
Dragon Tails don’t kill people; they just do weird things to them. Like, say, aggro a cave of whelps, aggro a pack of trash at green dragons, aggro giants, aggro… well, you get the idea.
The epitome of knockback, try to avoid putting a dragon tail in the middle of the raid.
The Dragon’s Defense
I haven’t done the math. I haven’t looked at DPS meters or spent 40 hours writing a thesis on exactly what level of defense a dragon has. I just know they have an incredibly high parry rate. So high that aggro fights such as Vaelastrasz can be sabotaged by a string of misses and parries.
This primarily has to do with bad luck, but the propensity towards parries adds alot of weight to tank rotations. Given the combination of possible missed attacks and the use of global cooldowns on Self Sustenance, make sure other tanks in rotation are not out-aggro’ing you.