Off-Tanks: What to do when you find a good one.

Posted On December 29, 2009

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Off-Tanks – What to do when you find a good one:

Keep them! Duh. Yes, I know, seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it? Buddy up with a good Off-Tank when you can, Main Tanks.  For serious.  

Main Tanking is, to be honest, for the most part, simple.  This is not to take away from any Main Tanks reading this, because my goal is to eventually become a Main Tank myself.  The job, like all Tanking positions, is: Aggro boss, no standing in fire, don’t let the Boss face Raid.  Get yourself a GOOD Off- Tanking Buddy and take them EVERYWHERE with you, Main Tanks.  It has been my experience Off-Tanking (and let’s face it, in the Plate-Centric World of Warcraft, Druids will NEVER be seen as anything other than Off-Tanks.  Paladins and Warriors and Death Knights are Main Tanks, Druids are not…) that we are the ones that make the Main Tank look good.  Seriously.  This is NOT taking anything away from some of the pro Main Tanks out there, but more of a reality than they’d like to admit. 

Yes, it’s true, the Main Tank gets the glory, and that’s fine by me.  You can have your shiny armor and your gear, but remember, it’s the shit you can’t do while you are tanking that the Off-Tank does that makes sure your Raid is successful.

What do I mean by this? Let me explain with some really basic examples:

Naxxramas: Anub’Rekhan.  Faerlina.  Razuvious.  Gothik.  The Four Horsemen.  Patchwerk.  Grobbulus.  Gluth.  Kel’Thuzad.

Ulduar: Ignis.  Razorscale.  XT-002.  Assembly of Iron.  Kologarn.  Auriaya.  Freya.  Mimoron.  Thorim.

Trial of the Crusader: Goromok.  Acidmaw AND Dreadscale.  Lord Jaraxxas.  The Faction Champions.  The Val’kyr Twins.  Anub’arak.

Ice Crown Citadel: Marrowgar.  Lady Deathwhisper.  The Airships.  Deathbringer Saurfang.

See where I’m going with all of this? Yes, you can Main Tank the FUCK outta some places, but you can’t take it all SOLO.  You need a good Off-Tank to round up the adds that you cannot and to share the Cleaves.  This makes the run go more smoothly and makes you, as the Main Tank, look better.  No one remembers the Off-Tank if a run is successful, and he’s not usually the first one to get the blame if something fails but he’ll tell his Main Tank if that’s the case.  Your Off-Tank can also be a really good source of information if things go “Kablooie!” because he may have caught something you didn’t.

There’s one major drawback to being a REALLY good Off-Tank: No one remembers you.  Sure, they’ll remember the Main Tank and next week when they run it again, he’ll get the invite, but you, as the Off-Tank won’t, unless the Main Tank’s your buddy…

Unless you do something flashy or daring, or you REALLY fuck up, no one remembers “the other tank” after Raids.  This is where my advice to Main Tanks applies.  The same goes for Guilds.  If you ever find a good Off-Tank, make sure to try to keep them.  Do everything in your power to keep that Off-Tank. 

NOTE: A Plate DPS who claims to have a “Tank Off-Spec” that is a hybrid-Tank-DPS build is not always an Off-Tank, and simply putting on Frost Presence on a DK is NOT an Off-Tank.  That is Plate DPS with wannabe-tank tendencies.  It will get you killed faster than you ever thought possible and wipe your Raid.  Being an Off-Tank is not simply throwing on some Tank Gear and/or throwing that Frost Presence up.  Being an Off-Tank is having a viable Tanking spec (for Warriors and Paladins it means speccing Protection, for Death Knights it means speccing Frost, and for Druids it means speccing Feral (Bear) – which is trickier than it sounds) and being geared, gemmed, enchanted and glyphed properly.  Not as easy as one might think.  I’m in the process of working up a new Tanking spec now and it’s costing me quite a bit of Gold in the process, but I’ll get it down pat before Raid.

Just remember: Those Off-Tanks are out there, you just have to make sure that once you find one, you keep it.

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