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Padre’s Tips for Tanking: Threat at the start of the Pull.

by on November 12, 2012

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Here’s a picture of me when I first started tanking Cata Troll dungeons during 4.2, or maybe that’s just how I felt at the time.  Many people with whom I have spoken seem to regard tanking as a difficult and pressure filled role.  This need not be the case and if you can keep a few points in mind, you can easily be chaining instant 5 man queues while you wait six hours for your LFR to pop.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be covering some of the more basic issues to which new(ish) tanks should be concerned with. These are based on my belief that at the very basic level tanking comes down to three fundamental tasks (Listed here in no particular order):

  1. Maintain threat on all assigned mobs. (In a 5 man, your assigned mobs = any that are getting pulled)
  2. Mitigate damage to allow the healer to more easily succeed in their role.
  3. Maximize group DPS by positioning the mobs in such a way as to allow the deepsers maximum uptime without ignoring either of the above steps.

We’ll begin to day with threat management because if the mobs are chomping your healers it hardly matters how much damage you are avoiding.

Threat Generation

Step one to any decent pull is to get all the mobs attention so that the squishy deepsers don’t get one shot by the big bad’s.  We’ve already covered the appropriate way in which to generate the most threat as a paladin but what are your options if the Affliction Warlock continues to pull off of you while you are hitting all of the right buttons?

If you are having issues early in a pull I would recommend not to forget your cooldowns.  As far as Paladin go, Avenging Wrath is a spectacular button to push during the initial pull to assure an early threat lead.  Twenty percent more damage at the start of the pull will guarantee that you can hold threat and get smacked in the face long enough to generate some Vengeance (which should make holding threat laughably easy for the rest of the fight.)

I have also recently become a huge fan of the level 75 talent Holy Avenger. Cata Ret players will remember this as Zealotry, the ability that made all of you HPG’s generate three HP instead of one.  With this buff in place each press of CS, J or procced AS will result in one SotR.  These hits add up early in the pull and allow us to grab threat while also increasing mitigation.

When all else fails taunt.  Though do be careful that you don’t get into a taunting war with a hunter/lock pet with their auto taunt on.  If you run into this situation my advice is to LET THEIR PET DIE, it is not your responsibility to explain pet mechanics to these players and playing tug-o-war with their pets for aggro could result in you not having the tools you need when someone playing correctly draws aggro.

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