Main Tank vs. Off-Tank

Posted On July 13, 2010

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There are many that are split in the Main Tank vs. Off-Tank debate…or maybe there aren’t, I don’t really know, but it sounds good…lol. Common sense dictates that your Main Tank is the one with the most HP and the most damage mitigation stats and your Off-Tank is the “lesser” of the two. This may put some of y’alls noses out of joint, but let’s be fair here…how many times have you been in a VoA and looked at the “Main Tank” and the “Off-Tank”, compared HP and said to yourself: “WTF is THAT GUY main tanking?”

Basically it boils down to personal preference. Some Guilds prefer to roll with a Plate wearer as their main tank, others prefer the Bear. Neither choice is right or wrong, it’s really whatever floats your boat. Some will go with the Paladin as Main Tank, because Consecrate is an instant aggro grabber, whereas Warriors, DKs and Bears take a little while to build Threat. Some will go with the Warriors, DKs and Bears as mains because once they build Threat and seal in Aggro it’s almost impossible for trigger happy DPS to pull off the Main Tank. Me, I’ll fill any role that the Guild wants me to.

 Here’s the main thrust of this post though: it’s the distinction between Main Tanks and Off-Tanks.

 Usually on boss fights it’s the Main Tank’s job to pick up the boss, while the Off-Tank handles multiple mobs, yes? If we are agreed on THAT part, then I’ll move on to the second part.

 How does one define the Main Tank when it’s NOT a Boss Fight? For the most part, it seems to me, the Main Tank is really a Single Target kind of tank as opposed to an AoE Tank, whereas the Off-Tank is exactly the opposite. AoE more than Single Target. Bears are lucky in that we have enough tools in our arsenal that we can function as both. To be honest, when I Main Tank, my perception, when it’s not a Boss Fight is this: Off-Tank gets the bad-ass MoB, Main Tank gets everything else.

 They looked at me kinda funny in Raid the other night (I was on Charlton, not Dreddnought, raiding on another server) as I kept putting the Warrior Off-Tank I was with on Skull (usually the Main Tank’s target of choice) while I took X and the rest. But WHY? You may ask. Why are you flouting years of Tanking tradition? I shall explain.

 My thinking is this:

Skull dies first, X, Square, Moon, Triangle, Diamond die last. Put the “Off-Tank” (usually the Tank with less HP) on the Skull, which dies first, and the Main Tank (now with more HP!) takes on the rest of the MoBs until they are burned down in order. The reasoning for this is simple. Because the Off-Tank USUALLY has less HP than the Main Tank (that’s just the way it works), tossing them on a large group of MoBs while the Main Tank just takes one, is a recipe for disaster. They’ll go down faster than a Thai hooker on Toonie Tuesday. By allocating the Off-Tank to the Bad-Ass MoB, you can avoid something like that happening.

Pretty simple, no?

Let me know, avid readers. Opinions welcome, but please use complete sentences and proper English. 😀

3 Responses to “Main Tank vs. Off-Tank”

  1. Ohio Mortgage Refinance

    I like your blog, it’s very interesting. Goog job man.

  2. Jasyla

    That line of thinking makes sense to me.

    I’ve always found the concept of main tank vs. off tank a strange one. From the names, you’d assume that the main tank was the better tank (better geared, better skilled, whatever). However, on the raid fights where the MT and OT have siginificantly different jobs, I find the main tank usually gets the easier of the roles. For example, I would think tanking Rotface would be much easier than kiting the big ooze. And in my experience on Blood Princes the main tank handles a stationary mob, while the offtank runs around the room collecting shadow orbs (while Keeping aggro on Keleseth). Of course, this is from an outsiders perspective, I have no raid tanking experience myself.

    • dreddnought

      In all honesty, I’ve been calling myself an Off-Tank for the longest time for that very reason. I have pugged before and they’ve wanted to make me the Main Tank, but I’ve looked at the guy they’re bringing as the “Off-Tank” and said “Naw, he can Main it, I’ll OT,” and it’s usually gone pretty well. For some obvious reasons, though, on fights like Rotface, I’ve HAD TO be the tank on Rotface because it’s too much of a pain in the ass for me to drop Dire!Bear form, cleanse the Little Ooze off someone, shapeshift back to Dire!Bear and pick it up, so the lucky-lucky Paladin that I roll with gets to do that. On Blood Princes, we have a warlock Tank on Keleseth while the Paladin and I take the other two…the warlock is a really really off tank…lol

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