The Light and How to Swing It: Tanking tactics for the penultimate five bosses of Siege of Orgrimmar
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.
A little more than a month ago I wrote the second part in this series of tips and tricks for the boss fights of the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, and now (nearly three months after the raid was released) I think I've taken my sweet time enough in closing this enterprise out. Unfortunately the excitement of BlizzCon and the holiday prevented me from coming to a timelier conclusion here, but hopefully your guild was like mine and was stuck on Thok for a couple of weeks -- wait, that's awful -- and so perhaps this may still be somewhat relevant to you.
Anyway, there are six bosses to go in this pretty well populated raid, and while most are pushovers, some can present a significant challenge for most groups. Garrosh follows the fine tradition of end-of-raid bosses being multi-phase monstrosities and as a result he's going to get a post all his own -- there's a lot going on there. For the remaining five, because I'm pressed for space and I have to cover so much ground, I'm going to present my tips in more of a lightning round-type of format. Okay, let's do this!
Very simple fight to tank, once you understand what's going on with the Ancient Miasma/Ancient Barrier mechanic. There's a taunt switch due to a debuff (of course) which you usually don't want stacking higher than 12 or so.
- Eternal Flame is mandatory, as it will constantly assist in refreshing your Ancient Barrier.
- Unglyph Divine Protection and talent for Unbreakable Spirit, this will allow you (when off-tanking) to soak one of the Imploding Energy puddles every time they spawn, with no health loss.
- Speed of Light is a good idea, since you may need to quickly cross the room to get to a safe spot before a Breath of Y'shaarj occurs.
- During Blood Rage, the damage to the raid is physical (so no-go on Devotion Aura) but you can use Holy Avenger for constant Shield of the Righteous uptime to shrug off a chunk of the damage.
An all-add fight, and it's as wonderful as it sounds. The hardest part of this encounter is watching the other half of your raid go down in flames and knowing there's nothing you can do to save them short of abandoning your side and riding a lift hook over.
Second hardest is getting the "tempo" down of how best to open boxes so that you can finish before the timer is up, but not overwhelm the DPS or healers on your team. Personally, I usually open the Pandaren boxes first, then a large box with some surrounding small boxes (I usually don't open more than four boxes at a time, unless I'm showboating), then four mediums (one at a time, with any surrounding smalls as I go), then the last large. Usually after that I should be at the magic number of 50 energy.
- Small crates give one energy, medium crates give three, and larges give fourteen. The two larges are worth 28 total, and with four mediums that's 40, and ten smalls in between will finish you off at 50.
- Ultimately though, finding the pacing sweet spot for yourself and your group is the most critical part of this fight.
- Save cooldowns for when the big boxes are open, because those are the two toughest enemies per quadrant. The rest of the enemies really aren't terribly difficult.
- Most of the dangerous damage you'll be taking is melee, so reglyph Divine Protection.
- Watch out for pools of Crimson Reconstitution from the medium-spawned Anima Golems. You'll want to drag enemies out of them to avoid them getting healed.
- Consider Clemency so you can have extra Hands of Protection or Sacrifice for your smaller group. With only one healer you can take a bigger role in group survivability.
At least on 10s difficulty, this can be a one-tank fight, which my own guild has employed to great effect (something to bank if Thok gives you trouble). As for the tank, it's very much a straightforward encounter with nothing really crucial that needs to be done other than standing in the correct place, picking up a single add, and taunt-switching on a debuff.
- As a tank you cannot be targeted by Thok to be chased around. One less thing to worry about.
- At five stacks of Freezing Breath (during the Jinyu phase) you will be frozen in a block. This is the most critical taunt-switch. If one-tanking, you'll need to arrange for ranged to break you out ASAP or have raid health drop to initiate kite phase before you get frozen.
- I find Speed of Light the best tier one talent choice for this fight. You don't need to move quickly often, but when you do you want to cover as much ground as possible.
- As soon as the prisoners cast their Pustules spell and get Thok's attention, you can stand amongst them and allow the boss to position itself, without fear of getting chomped.
I really enjoy this fight, if only because it's one of the few encounters in SoO that gives the off-tank something to do when they are forced to swap out from tanking the boss.
- The Automated Shredder needs to be tanked far enough from Blackfuse that it won't get healed, and it needs to be positioned in one of the environmental hazards like the sawblades to make it take damage. Once it does Death from Above, you will be able to finish it off.
- This is a fight where tank DPS sorta matters, so Glyph of Focused Shield is useful. As is using the Avenging Wrath/Holy Avenger combo.
- There is technically a debuff you don't want to stack too much of, but with the regular timer governing the Automated Shredder spawn this should never be a problem.
- When tanking the boss, watch out for Shockwave Missile (aka, World in Drills) and how you position the boss when dodging that. Likewise when on the Shredder, you'll need to carefully dodge that.
Paragons of the Klaxxi
This fight is deceptive because it presents itself as far more complicated than it actually is (especially after the fixed-order hotfix). For the tanks, there isn't too much to concern yourself with outside out a few key points that you absolutely cannot mess up. Most of the difficulty of the fight is sitting on the DPS and heals to burn the correct add and to deal with Korven the Prime's amber nonsense properly.
- It is important to note that you absolutely cannot tank Skeer and Rik'kal or Xa'ril and Kil'ruk at the same time, or you will take unnecessary extra damage (and probably die in short order), thanks to abilities like Exposed Veins.
- Korven the Prime's Shield Bash/Vicious Assault combo becomes increasingly troublesome, and if he is allowed to live for a too long, a tank switch is an excellent idea. For the ones you have to take, make sure to have a glyphed Divine Protection ready to add to your cooldown toolbox. You cannot bubble off your Vicious Assault stacks.
- Do note that Korven also needs to be faced away from the raid as Vicious Assault is a cone attack.
- Kil'ruk has a similarly deadly attack combo in Gouge/Mutilate. Be sure to use cooldowns for this as well.
- Abilities like Caustic Blood and Injection require the correct use of active mitigation to avoid unnecessary raid damage. Just do your rotation normally and correctly and you'll have no problem with the debuffs.
- When Skeer summons Blood adds, the kill target needs to be kited away to avoid the target being healed.
- When Korven dies, you can grab the Master of Amber extra action/spell and use it like a free Hand of Protection. (Or to bother your co-tank at the end of the fight.) Having this extra ability also grants the awesome title "the Prime" temporarily.
The Light and How to Swing It shows paladin tanks how to combat the Sha in the strange new land of Pandaria. Try out the new control gearing strategy, learn how to make the most of the new active mitigation system on your tankadin, and check out how to deck out your fresh 90 tank to get ready for any raids!