Tank like a girl
Dec 24 2009

Survival tips for fresh 80s tanks

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So now you’re a fresh 80, ready to jump into heroic content to get all the things from my shopping list.

First, the good thing: as tank you’ll get groups just about the moment you queue up. We’re still the least played role, even less so than healers, so groups will be all over you.

The bad thing: no one is under as much scrutiny as the tank. There will be times that you join a group and people will start bitching about your health pool, your blue gear, the speed of your pulls.

Here’s Kadomi’s survival tips for fresh tanks using LFD:

  • take a deep breath if people complain about your health/gear/skill. Remember that you will be able to find another group the moment you queue up, unlike the possibly bitching healer or DPS. DPS are looking at queue times of 10-30 minutes after all.
  • know your stuff. Being a fresh 80 is no excuse for ignorance. Know your rotation. Especially when it comes to building AoE threat. Your DPS will want to lay the smack down and focus fire is often a completely unknown method in PUGs, so AoE threat will be your game.
  • learn the pulls. There are no differences in trash pulls between regular and heroics. When in doubt, run them on regular first. Know which mobs are casters, which one are melee, what trash is problematic. Typical examples of trash mobs that you should know on sight and how to handle them: Anub’ar Skirmishers, Stormforged Runeshapers, Dark Rune Theurgist, Twilight Worshippers, etc. Understanding all pulls can make or break a run, especially in an instance like H OK where trash pulls can be somewhat unforgiving.
  • be polite. Egomaniac tank divas have a crappy reputation, well within reason. Just because you can get groups more easily than others, you’re not automatically a better player. You are not a special snowflake. You just chose to fill a role others didn’t want to play. Bonus points if you thank your healer for saving your butt on a bad pull. Allison Robert from the wow.com team wrote some choice words for tank divas as well, so I am only re-stating her point.
  • don’t rush it. There will be groups that will carry you to success. Overgeared DPS and healers with an endless mana pool make chainpulling easy. But wait a couple pulls into the instance to get a feel for your group. You gain absolutely nothing if you leave behind the fresh healer who’s drinking in the back. Learn to eye mana pools. Being considerate never hurts. As example, I had a newer paladin tank who decided he’d run to the end of the gauntlet in H CoS. Well, he forgot to pick up a couple elites who decided to eat my face off as his healer. He didn’t even notice that I was dead when he called for heals. Pay attention, tanks.
  • if you’re a warrior tank, watch the threat meter carefully at the start of an instance, to choose your Vigilance target. Especially if tanking heroics is still new to you, the 10% extra threat from a strong DPSer will be a great boon. Don’t forget to use Vigilance. 
  • above all, try to have fun. Gearing up and running instances has never been as accessible as it is today. Make the best of it!

Got your own tips for fresh tanks? Please share. :)

If you’re in battlegroup Cyclone and ever end up in a group with a female orc tank wearing a Red Winter Hat, don’t forget to say hi to me. ;) Happy holidays, all of you!

Filed under : guide, instances, patch | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Survival tips for fresh 80s tanks”

  1. Cadrol says:

    Very well done post and I ask that tanks pay very close atention to the speed of the group. Many times I have seen (and have) accidentally broken a group because I chain to fast etc. and we ended up wiping. A great survival guide for veteran and beginning tanks.
    P.S. Happy holidays, and a wonderful new year


  2. Tibbsy says:

    All great tips. A few ones that I might add to the list:
    - Amazing gear isn’t required, but do your healers a favor and gear to heroic minimums: 535 defense. Recently I landed a tank with 522 defense … for heroic Pit of Saron. Tyrannus destroyed the poor guy.
    - You don’t have to be right all the time, but at least be confident in your pulls. “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission” imo. Yes, be aware of your healer’s mana, but don’t take too long before pulls or do ready checks between every fight, or you’ll break the rhythm of the group.
    - Reiteration of Kadomi’s point: failing to plan is planning to fail. Know your fights.


  3. Will says:

    Merry Christmas to you as well, Kadomi. :) (Even though as I write this, Christmas technically ended here an hour ago, let alone where you are…)

    This is my first comment on your blog. I’ve been a silent reader for a while, though. I’ve never had anything to say, since I play a pure DPSer, and as such have absolutely nothing of value to add as far as Tanking. So I don’t know if I exactly fit into your target demographic…

    But all the same, I enjoy your blog, and so I read it anyway. :p


  4. Rumbla says:

    Don’t be afraid to ask for help establishing agro. Nothing starts a pull off better than a Hunter casting Misdirection on you followed by Volley.


  5. So I have a question for my now not so newish 80 death knight wannabe tank: How do you get there? I’ve run heroics now for several weeks as dps thinking I’d get “off spec” drops to build up an initial tanking set. But I’m still only at 449 defense which I know is nowhere close for heroics. But could I tank regulars at the defense and build up some skill, knowledge, and perhaps gear?


    Kadomi Reply:

    I definitely advise not setting foot into any heroic until you hit the heroic defense of 535. Check out the shopping list I made for warriors and adjust for DK tanks. Get the items at the top of the list for each slot. There’s a lot of rep gear, craftables. Especially the Tempered Titansteel is such a boon for new tanks, as it has heavy amounts of def and stamina.

    Test how much your defense is with the tanking rune on your weapon(s). If you’re a DW tank, you probably want to pick up 2 Peacekeeper’s Blades asap.

    Definitely run all the level 80 instances on normal, especially Halls of Lightning. That instance has the holy grail of all new tanks, a 65 def trinket that only drops on regular.

    Hope that helps.


    Avar Reply:

    Simplest way I’ve found is to run, run, run heroics as dps and respec when your def gets up. Running heroics using the random lfg tool will give you fast access to EoTs (currently) which will allow you to purchase the DK tanking set quickly from the plate vendor. Gem and enchant your gear with def and occasional stam where it gets you a nice bonus to get the defcap, and use the right weapon runes – stoneskin gargoyle is 25 def straight off, so only being at 449 after several weeks of running heroics is, tbh, strange or very unlucky.

    Get and check AtlasLoot for each instance and start choosing the ones you want to run for the kind of drops you can’t easily buy. Check AH regularly for decent deals on big upgrades.

    And as a DK tank, get the biggest, baddest weapon you can. A green +def axe is no replacement for the threat generation of a decent epic from ToC or PoS which will also allow you to hit mobs.

    For running normal instances, I still wouldn’t do that on 449 def for the 80 instances. VH, DTK etc. would be fine. I would recommend running almost exclusively ToC, FoS, PoS and HoR as dps until you get the drops that the tank doesn’t need. These are fast, good epics from these instances which will gear you up quickly. By the time you have about 510 def, you’re more likely to have the kind of gear that gives you enough stam and avoidance to tank these without killing your healer’s mana pool on every fight – just make sure you know your threat rotations, and probably best to avoid HoR until you’re competent and have a beautifully set up tanking screen ;)

    A tanking display makes life easy btw. I have Power Auras set up to give me a 5 sec countdown when I need to reapply diseases, which of my 2 main big hitters (heart strike/death strike) are available, death grip, dark command, Death and Decay etc. are all on there, along with the “reminder” boss talents such as Hysteria, Empower Rune Weapon, Vampiric Blood and Blood Tap, along with warnings when runic power is at 80 and 100% to let me know when to dump it. It also shows when I’m missing Horn of Winter or Strength of Earth (totem), which helps keep your threat and avoidance up that little bit higher.


  6. Everblue says:

    Some specifics for warriors – when some dpser pulls aggro from you make sure you taunt first before you use some other ability on the mob. If you use shield slam (for example) and then taunt, the threat from your shield slam will be wasted.

    Get a threat meter. Remember that melee pull aggro at 110% of your threat, while ranged pull aggro at 130% of threat. This means that when you lose aggro you will need to taunt to get it back (since for melee dps you will need to do 110% of the dpser’s threat to get aggro back, which is 121% of yours – you will need to increase your total threat by 21% to get aggro back without taunting) and it is melee that are more likely to pull aggro than ranged.

    Try retaliation before the pull, it works wonders. Remember to retaliate, thenswitch to defensive stance, then use bloodrage. If you use bloodrage before switching back to defensive stance you will waste some of your rage.

    For AoE pulls try cleave instead of heroic strike.
    .-= Everblue´s last blog ..Everblue the Not-So-Patient =-.


  7. Arencey says:

    Aye I know what you mean about people bitching at you for queuing as a tank when you have a toon new to 80. It’s a bloody pain, for example say I have a dps and healer toon in 2.5k gs, then I have a new 80 tank with 3.2k gs, I’ve always thought it to be unfair that I will receive less bitching if I queue as a dps or healer with said gear score vs a tank with a higher gscore, I haven’t even downed more than one raid boss due to all the gear nazis that play this game and me being a tank, I tried reg toc 10 in full ilvl232 t9 gear or better and I got booted for being “undergeared”.

    I’m at a gear stalemate here, I’ve gotten all I can from triumph emblems, when I ask my fellow guildys how I’m supposed to get into ICC 10 for some gear when I can’t even tank toc10 with my gear according to most players I’m told to farm dailys till I’m at 40k unbuffed, this seems really un fair to me and I’m wondering is this really what a tank is supposed to do?


    Kadomi Reply:

    If you’re all in Triumph gear, properly gemmed and enchanted, there is no way you cannot tank ToC 10. Our first clear I was in 4 pc T8 from Ulduar.

    It’s hard to advise you how to get into raids, I don’t know about your guild situation, or if you are only trying to pug raids. I always find the pug raid situation a bit rough. All I can say is keep at it, and get those few upgrades out of ToC to take you to ICC.


  8. Arencey says:

    Oh about the pulling too fast thing hehe I think we all know where tanks got that habbit from, does “GOGOGGOGO” ring any bells with any of you tanks?


    Asverze Reply:

    Yes I know all about that and it drives me against the wall everytime. First it let me speed up my pace and drove me into faults, errors and/or wipes. The bottom line was that I got kicked because I was #$%^& slow!
    Nowaday when I see GOGOGOGO.. I warn them twice to stop it and let me do it on my pace. The third time it’s “Byebye” and I quit.
    Personally I still hate to leave a group beforehand, it feels like treason to me, but I play to relax, not to get stressed.

    About the gear: 40k and full 232 gear as a minimum for ToC10 is indeed ridiculous. I’ve done it with my 31K and average 210 gear. I admin it was in guild, because with this you need a patient and dedicated group to succeed. I only doing raids inguild and I’m far from experienced, but I do a nice job if I may say so.
    I’m used to be the lowest geared in HC pugs the times I run them. When the rest take that in their account it isn’t a problem.


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