How I Tank…Don’t Be Scared.

Posted On January 11, 2010

Filed under Strategies

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Thank you, Miss Medicina! You have inspired me! And thank you, Angry Healers for linking me there!

I got asked that once…”Where’d you lear to tank?” OK, more than once. Mostly in that “WTF?” kind of tone through the earlier levels (think 16 to about 35) but more in the “Whoa, dude…” kind of way once I started getting to the higher levels. I use my Druid’s mobility to its fullest to get aggro, and while I’m sure it looks wierd as fuck to the DPS and Healers that are running with me, if nothing gets loose, then my job is done. I find I watch health bars almost as frequently when I Tank as when I Heal because usually when I tank, the first clue I’ll have that something is loose is someone’s health dropping radically. I can tell you that what appears like a Chinese Fire Drill-Style of Tanking, at first glance, is actually a very effective way to get and seal in aggro.

Now, let me preface by saying I’m not the greatest Tank you’ll ever come across, and I’m by far not the worst, but someone had it right: We are, more often than not, the unsung heroes. When we do seal in aggro, the DPS can AoE with impunity, knowing that a MoB isn’t going to run at them or shoot them and they can do their thing. What is talked about more often than not in Raids? The DPS, of course. No one counts the interrupts the Tank does with their various abilities, or their ability to lock a target down, it’s all about how fast a Boss gets burned down. In Raid make-up you are, more often than not, concerned with Gear Score and Spec and DPS. Trust me, I’ve led enough and tried to pug enough on my Hunter to realise that “4.2K DPS unbuffed, 46% Crit, 5.4K AP MM Hunter w/ 2777 WH Score” apparently isn’t enough for a lot of Raid Leaders. Nor is, for some reason, “37.9K HP unbuffed, 42% Dodge unbuffed Feral Tank w/ 2778 WH Score” This is NOT meant as me talking myself up as a Tank by any means, but I can say with a high degree of confidence that, if given the time required by my DPS, I can hold aggro pretty well for a Druid Tank.  It’s not all about gear, despite what some would have you think, and it’s not about Attack Power as others would have you think, but about target management and the type of fight. 

I don’t think I’ll get too much argument, at least not from my Tanking fraternity, when I say that Druid Tanks are some of the most maligned in the game.  We are often accused of not being able to hold aggro, of being too squishy, and of lacking the necessary AoE skills (like Consecrate and Death and Decay and even War Stomp) to Tank multiple MoBs.  This is true, to a certain extent, but with proper target management it can be done.

I always ask my DPS for a 3 second head-start and Misdirect and Tricks of the Trade if I’m pugging through the new LFG system. It’s not that I don’t think I can seal in aggro all on my own, it’s that I want no opportunity for anything to get away. The ToT and MD and the 3 second head start is usually enough time to Enrage, Charge and get the attention of the MoBs in question so that your Mages and Warlocks and Hunters and Rogues can all open up with whatever they’ve got and not be at risk of getting smacked. Some of you out there may view that as cheating, and that’s definitely your take on it, but seeing how fast my Hunter can pull off a tank with no Misdirect, even an uber-geared one like our Guild’s Main Tank, you’d be foolish not to use your aggro-dump abilities on the Tank, even in 5-mans. This goes doubly so for 10 and 25 man Raids.

Druids are some of the most mobile Tanks in the game. Death Knights and Paladins are limited by the fact that their Consecrates and Death and Decays are targeted AoE spells. Warriors and Druids both are highly mobile and, when required, can be everywhere they need to be. With the judicious use of Faerie Fire, Growl, Charge, and Mutilate the Druid tank has all sorts of CC that can be used to draw aggro off your DPS and make the Healer’s job easier by only having to heal one target (namely the Tank). Sometimes, damage to other party members is unavoidable (like Hellfires that melee decide to stand in, or random Fear) and as a Tank you are not responsible for the nastiness that Blizzard puts into a game, but if one of the things you are Tanking gets loose, that is on you, Tank, and you should own up. If something I’m tanking gets away, I do. I’ll admit when I fucked up, I’m no primadonna tank. I’m ALSO not the kind of tank to leave an instance because I don’t like it. I will gut it out to the bitter end if I have to.

Some of the instances that helped me learn the most: Oculus, Razorfen Downs, Razorfen Kraul, Nexus, AZN, Violet Hold.

In the mean time, keep pugging, and if you ever run into a Dreddnought from Mug’thol, Greetings! I’ll do what I can to keep ’em off ya. 😉

Next Post: What Instances can do for your tanking.

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