I’ll continue just where I left off last time, presenting you the medium to tough heroics. I am listing the ones that are a pleasant challenge to those who already have a few pieces of badge or Karazhan gear and are confident of their skills at tanking.
Update: Thanks to ARA’s suggestion, I have added Black Morass, it was an oversight not to include it.
5. The Botanica (3/5 for most, even if it will feel 1/5 for the really geared ones): Nowhere else will you get as much bang for your buck as in Heroic Bot, my heroic of choice. If it’s the daily, you’ll walk out with seven badges of justice, for about 90 minutes of work, not a bad deal whatsoever. And even when it’s not the daily, five badges is a top-deal. Trash mobs are almost all humanoids, but there are a bunch of AoE pulls plus satyrs. Bring a hunter or a warlock for the satyr pulls, or as alternative have an off-tank, because the two four satyr pulls can be tricky. For the third boss, less melee is more here. Note that everything I describe makes the instance sound really easy, but you need a top healer, and your DPS really must be on top of their game. Lacking in one department, and Heroic Botanica turns out to be excruciating.
Most difficult pull: There are several contenders. The highest death quota I usually find on all the pulls involving Bloodwarder Stewards. They do a whirlwind that’s called Arcane Flurry and hits random party members for much ouch. Your best bet here is a rogue’s kidney shot or your very own Concussion Blow if you’re a protection warrior. Stuns are the only way to interrupt the Flurry. There are about four pulls with Stewards in them. Strong contender for most difficult pull are the four satyrs by Thorngrim the Tender.
Other notable pulls: Ah, so many tricky ones here. Be careful with Greenkeepers, try to CC one of them. They use a spell that’s like druid Wrath on crack. Low cast-time, it’s like a green machine gun to the face. Spell-reflecting is a pleasure and a must here. Make sure not to lose aggro on them if multi-tanking, they kill healers for breakfast. For the dragonhawk pulls, CC the falconer, use Intimidating Shout for the birds, and focus fire them down, kill the falconer last. The Sunseeker Chemists use poison vials, move out immediately and tell everyone to move out, because that’s a lot of poison damage to absorb. The Sunseeker Channelers use an ability called Soul Channel, Shield Bash it, because it’s ouch for whoever is targetted by it. Last but not least, make sure to never stand in the Death&Decay of the Sunseeker Gene-Splicers. Last Bot run I did, it killed three party members who were careless, but not me, hee.
Bosses: Commander Sarannis is as unremarkable on heroic as she is on normal. If you burn her in under 60 seconds, she doesn’t even summon adds. And even if she does, no sweat, just kill the healer. High Botanist Freywin is equally trivial. He has no added perks whatsoever. Just be careful, as he’s a pansy, I end up completely rage-starved on him, and you must save up some rage for Thunderclap when he changes to tree-form. Thorngrim the Tender is by far the hardest boss in there. Same strategy as on normal, but he hits a lot harder, his fire burns more, his sacrifice is annoying. Big super-important trick to make this fight a lot easier and less frustrating for everyone: the moment you see him switch targets for his Sacrifice, use Taunt/Growl/Paladin taunt right then. It lasts six seconds, so by the time he’s done Sacrificing, you’ll be number one on his aggro list after the threat reset and can then build more threat. Rinse and repeat. This only fails when he sacrifices while you’re running back to him from a Hellfire. If you have problems with losing him at the threat reset, ask your healer to please heal you through hellfires. Laj, Warp Splinter, both are the same as on normal, tank and spank. If you have any decent DPS, this should not prove to be a problem.
6. The Steamvault (4/5 until the first boss, 2.5/5 after the first boss): I am very torn on this one. Like all Coilfang heroics, I want to love it, but the difficulty of the trash and the first boss make me not run it much. You will definitely want at least one warlock for the first boss, and some other solid form of CCing casters. The sirens and their fear cause quite a few wipes.
Most difficult pull: Anything with a siren in it, so basically the whole part to the first boss can be a wipe on every pull if you’re really unlucky. I normally always suggest the shortcut through the bushes, with the two Bog Lords, but not on heroic. On heroic it is safer if a lot more slow to take the long way around. Pull far back, keep casters CCd or kill them first, and pray that no one will be feared in an elemental pat or into a Bog Lord. Or the next group standing over there. Stunning the casters is very helpful.
Other notable pulls: Nada. Once you have survived the area of doom after the first boss, trash pulls are significantly easier. They’re not as tightly packed anymore, so the danger of adds is minimal.
Bosses: Hydromancer Thespia is a wicked witch and significantly more difficult on heroic. You really want to have one elemental banished here. Warn all your group members that there will be many storm clouds and make sure to always move out the moment you get the first tick from one above you. Mekgineer Steamrigger has no real perks, other than his continuous stream of leper gnomes trying to repair him. This is a veeeeeery long fight, dependant on your DPS, the faster the gnomes go down, the more DPS can actually be dedicated to the boss himself. Warlord Kalithresh is just the same as on normal, but his fish tanks have a lot more health. Burst them down, if he manages to enrage, you get to try again. It’s just a DPS race. Nothing special to look out for as tank.
7. Caverns of Time: The Dark Portal (3/5 to 4/5) More commonly known as Black Morass, this heroic can either be fairly easy on the group, or really hard. It all depends on a) the quality of your healer and b) more importantly on the quality of your DPS. The faster the Rift Lords go down, the less adds you will have to deal with. The better the DPS of the person who takes care of the adds, the easier that will go. As for who does adds, I have seen the best results from frost mages, destruction warlocks and BM hunters, but also fury warriors. In fact, I have specifically respecd to fury just to handle adds. The adds pack a punch on heroic, especially the executioners that will start coming out of the rifts after Chrono-Lord Deja is down.
As far as tanking goes, this is really easy. Single-mob tanking, nice and easy. If any of the caster rift lords want to cast at you, simply spell-reflect, as they are immune to interrupts. Save a Thunderclap for the annoying whelplings, whoever is doing adds will appreciate help with them. However, if you do try to bind adds on you, make sure you keep threat on them up until the adds-person takes care of them. If you just do one Thunderclap, you can rest assured that the adds will wander off towards the healer and will bite their face off.
The bosses have no special tricks either, everything just hits harder, and Temporus is just as dangerous as he is in the normal version. Really, as tank you have the easiest job here, tanking in BM is really pretty easy. Your healer and the DPS might scream in terror. Where you really place BM in terms of difficulty stands and falls with your group. If everything goes well, you will walk out with three badges in about 30 minutes.
8. Blood Furnace (3.5-4/5): One of the three Hellfire instances, this one is a step up in difficulty for two reasons. The trash in there hits incredibly hard. Remember Slave Pens when you thought Defenders were all evil? All the trash in there hits like that. Magtheridon’s blood is potent stuff, yo. Bring CC for humanoids, and you really do want a warlock along to make the last part of the instance a lot easier.
Most difficult pull: The felguards in the last part of the instance are extremely annoying and hit like trucks. They also pretty randomly charget at people, reset aggro, so if you have a rogue along, stunlock the crap out of them. Here’s where having a warlock along will really help you, because tanking two of those is painful.
Other notable pulls:: watch for stealthed rogues. There’s always two in the area with the stairs, one either on the left or the right hand side in the hall leading to Broggok, two in the room right after Broggok. Nothing is more fun than corpse-runs and then the ‘Oh shit, rogue, dead again’ effect after that really long corpse run. In the pulls with technicians watch for mines, make people aware of it that if you move the mob away, there’s mine danger, and to be careful. In the long hallway of doom towards Broggok, it is very easy to get adds. Line of sight is your friend here to pull the casters, I pull them into The Maker’s room a lot, or the niches in the hall. As always, warn your group that this is going to be a line of sight pull, so that people play along.
Bosses: The Maker is as simple as he’s on normal, though he does have a habit of MCing the tank, which usually means someone dies. Broggok however represents the nastiest, most unforgiving part of the instance that makes Blood Furnace fairly difficult. The prison cell event. You pull that lever and you get waves of mobs rushing at you. Everyone has to pull out all the stops here. CC is a great help, so is a rogue that knows how to stun and blind. Fear is awesome, but beware, some of those mobs are immune. This is one part where CC will really shine in making this encounter more trivial. Solid multi-tanking skills are a must. If you survive the four waves, you’re all set for Broggok who is really easy compared to the waves. Lead him around in a nice circle, don’t stand in the poison and only loot him once the poison is gone. Last but least we have Keli’dan the Breaker, and when he yells ‘Closer, come closer!’ you really want to run. As he does an Aran-like magnetic pull, this means everyone, and no backing up. I have had fights where the healer and I were the only ones up and it took forever to kill him. If you make it past Broggok and then later the felguards, you won’t have any problems though.
9. Sethekk Halls (3.5/5): If Botanica offers you the biggest bang for your buck, Sethekk Halls offers the lowest, with a piddly two badges to earn, unless you know a druid who can summon Anzu. It’s also filled with some of the most annoying trash, so it’s not one of the more popular heroics for me. CC you want to bring is someone for humanoids (I count off-tanks as CC), ideally a priest for shackles, and if you bring a druid for Anzu, Hibernate for the birdies are awesome.
Most difficult pull: The Ravenguards bring us back to the Defender pulls you might remember from Slave Pens. Two mobs that cannot be CCd at all and that hit very hard. To top it off, once you kill the first one, the other one enrages and hits even harder. Good times. Be on top of your game building threat on two mobs, if healer aggro peels one off, you have a problem. Stunlocking helps a lot, also make sure to use stuff like Concussion Blow and Disarm, they really help in minimizing damage.
Other notable pulls: Time-Lost Controllers will put down MC totems, kill that totem as quickly as possible. When tanking Sethekk Oracles, always have them with their back to the rest of the group so they will not be hit by the silence effect. Gnash your teeth once you reach the second floor of the instance, here’s where the pain begins. Sethekk Prophets are incredibly annoying. Always pull very far back, if you can get Fear Ward or Tremor Totem that’d be perfect, and run away from that annoying ghost that’s spawned when the prophets die that takes me right back in time to that annoying Prophet boss in Sunken Temple. Pulling far back until you end up with Ikiss is the key to success.
Bosses: Darkweaver Syth comes with elemental adds. TC and hold them as long as you can before your DPS burns them. Ignore the last wave. Win. It really helps if you can get initial aggro on the elementals to make life easier for everyone. Spell reflect all chain lightning. I am assuming you have no druid along. Anzu is crazy and annoying, but also sorta fun, especially if killing him means epic birdy for some happy druid. Tank him, in phase 2 try your best to bind the birds before you give up in frustration, pick up aggro when Anzu comes back, rinse and repeat. Long, crazy fight. Talon-King Ikiss is still much the same from normal, however, to make his Arcane Explosion even more fun, he puts a slow on everyone when he blinks. Stay close to the pillar, remind people to let you pick up Ikiss after every Explosion, and hope for the best. He drops fantastic tank shoulders, really good stuff, yet so fugly: Spaulders of Dementia
10. The Arcatraz (3.5/5): The jump in difficulty between normal and heroic Arcatraz is not huge. It’s one of the heroics you think is really extremely hardcore, but it’s actually not bad. If it wasn’t for the really aggravating first boss, I would have placed it at Botanica level. As tank, you get to tank a lot of single mobs, so it’s really quite easy to tank, and you need next to no CC. There are three pulls where CC helps (the three blood elves at the entrance plus the two Ethereal pulls at the end). The boss event at the end is challenging and requires people to be on their a-game, but I find it easier than the Blood Furnace Broggok event. H Arc is one of the trials of the Naaru, and pretty much the easiest one of the three.
Most difficult pull: If you don’t have a warlock along for Detect Invisibility, entering the room with bosses 2 and 3 can be tricky. There are stealthed succubi that have nasty abilities, if you pull more than one mob, it’s often a wipe. The felguard lookalikes silence and disarm. While you’re disarmed, Shield Slam and Thunderclap to continue building some threat, and block to minimize damage. The two different kinds of succubi have tricks up their sleave too. Gouge, Mind Control and a lovely debuff called Spiteful Fury that increases threat by 500%. Too bad they never put it on the tank.
Other notable trash: The Abyssals just before the end I thought would be more frustrating than they really are. If everyone stands on top of each other, right behind the tank (outside of fireshield range), then your healer should be fine healing through that. Other than the above-mentioned, none of the trash is any more difficult than on normal, they just hit harder.
Bosses: Zereketh the Unbound is nasty, frustrating, and most healers I know burst into tears when talking about him. He’s not particularly hard to tank, you just die a lot, because your healer will be overwhelmed by the massive damage everyone in the group is tanking. Prayer of Shadow Protection or Shadow Protection Aura are a must, and it actually helps if you have an offhealer for this fight who takes care of the group while the main healer keeps you up. Really unpleasant boss. Dalliah the Doomsayer is just about the same as on normal, with one very important difference: the cast time of her heal after the whirlwind is significantly shorter. Prepare to run back to her early enough so that you can interrupt her. Having additional interrupts along helps. Wrath-Scryer Soccothrates does more fire damage, but that’s the only difference from normal. As long as the group stays spread out and mobile, to avoid the flamewake, things will be fine. Last but not least, we have Harbinger Skyriss. He is not much harder than on normal, it’s the three mobs before him that can be rough. Watch out for the curse that you can get from the elemental, you want to be decursed when the drakonids show up.
This concludes part II of this guide, watch out for the terrifying heroics in the next part.