Tips for tankadins in the Walled City

I realize that I haven’t put anything up here for a good long while, and for that, I apologize.

While I’ve been slacking with the blogging side of things, over in the World of Warcraft, we’ve had a new expansion, and with it, new raids!  (Thank goodness for that; while Siege of Orgrimmar was a decent raid, we went way too long between the raid releasing and us heading off to Draenor.)  In the spirit of the old “The Light and How To Swing It” column on WoW Insider (may it rest in peace), I’ve put together some tips for tankadins that they might find useful when taking on Highmaul.

I’ll be grouping these posts as per Raid Finder Wings, so for now, I’ll be covering Kargath, The Butcher and Brackenspore (before people write in to tell me that you can go straight from Kar’gath to Twin Ogron and skip the bits in between if you really want to).  Don’t worry, these fights will be coming soon.

Kargath Bladefist

As per always, the first boss of the instance is a total pushover.  Simply tank him in the centre of the room so that the raid can easily manoeuvre around fire pillars and Traps of Death, and jump out of the way during Berserker Rush, as it’s a large chunk of avoidable damage that you really shouldn’t take (don’t worry about chasing him, let him come back to you).

Technically, there is a tank debuff (Impale) that you need to swap on (with one of the coolest animations that I’ve seen for a long while), but since one tank needs to get chucked into the stands, this really isn’t problematic.  Once Kar’gath starts casting Chain Hurl, make sure you’re one of the five closest players to him, and up you’ll be sent.  Have your co-tank taunt Kar’gath as soon as you get selected, and by the time the next Chain Hurl comes in, your Impale stacks would have dropped off, and you can take Kar’gath back while your co-tank takes his turn to deal with the unruly crowd.

As for dealing with said unruly crowd, you only have 45 seconds up there, so try to clear out as much as you can.  Pick a good AoE talent and glyph loadout, and you’ll be set.  The Drunken Bileslingers should be prioritised as they make life harder for the rest of the raid, and don’t forget to face them away as they do have a cone attack.  Also, once your DPS kills an Iron Bomber, move away from its rotting corpse before it blows up.

The Butcher

This is a bit of a Patchwerk fight and falls into the “tank and spank” category.  It’s a bit boring for a tank though: all you do is whack it and religiously taunt it, while the rest of your raid shows off with some synchronised stacking and spreading moves.  Don’t worry though, because after this fight, your role will definitely become more strenuous.

You won’t have any adds to worry about, so you can contribute to DPS and pick a strong single-target loadout: Focused Shield and Execution Sentence are strong here.  Also, this is a great fight for Seraphim: pool up Holy Power when you’re off-tanking, and pop it as soon as you taunt the boss.  It’s a nice extra contribution to DPS on the boss for what is essentially a gear-check fight, particularly if Holy Avenger is off cooldown as well.

For the tanks, there’s precious little to worry about, at least until the boss hits 30%.  Stack on top of your co-tank to deal with Heavy Handed, try to time Shield of the Righteous to avoid The Cleaver, and taunt whenever your stacks from The Tenderizer fall off.  Technically, you should avoid being near anyone else but your co-tank to avoid picking up Cleave, but since the Cleave groups are generally positioned behind the boss, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Once the boss hits 30%, he goes into a frenzy and damage will go through the roof.  Keep your defensive cooldowns for this, especially for the last 10% when your healers will be leaking sweat onto their keys.

Brackenspore

This can be a bit of a demoralizer, because you are very dependent on the ability of the flamethrower team to do their jobs correctly.  If they do everything just fine, you just need to tank-swap, play with an add and take the boss towards the shrooms.  If they don’t… well, let’s just say that I’ve been on the receiving end of a few wipes where we’ve had him on 2%, and then a resonance cascade of flamethrower errors resulted in Creeping Moss underneath the boss and nowhere to move him.

It goes without saying through: make sure both you and the boss are well clear of Creeping Moss (to the best ability of your flamethrower team).  Otherwise, the boss will be healed, and you’ll be slowed and taking ticking damage.  That will never end well.

Despite the fact that there’s an add that needs picking up, each tank will only be concerned with one target at a time, so keep your single-target loadout from The Butcher.  I tend to go back to Holy Shield though, as either a boss or an add is almost always beating down on me: while there are moments of respite when you’re off-tanking and the add isn’t around, those are few and far between.  Also, make sure you have Speed of Light, for quickly dragging things over to a newly-spawned shroom (your raid will likely be prioritising the blue ones over the green ones).

If you’re tanking the boss, make sure you have him near the designated shroom, and face him away from the raid (and your co-tank) as Necrotic Breath is a cone attack (and be particularly careful of showering the raid with Necrotic Breath if you’re moving the boss).  You can’t be healed when soaking this, so pop an unglyphed Divine Protection to shave off a decent chunk of the damage.  Growl at your healer if he didn’t top you off in time, as this is a rare case where Lay on Hands will not save you.

If you’re tanking the Fungal Flesh-Eater, drag him over to Brackenspore for some cleave damage, and interrupt Decay.  You won’t be able to get all of them, so ask melee to help out.

As for tank swapping, swap whenever Rot falls off the tank not on Brackenspore.  If the add is up at the time, you’ll need to both taunt off each other at the same time.

Once Brackenspore expires, that’s it for the Walled City.  Take a quick breath, because things ramp up quite considerably from here.  Nevertheless, if you have any interesting uses of talents or glyphs that I haven’t mentioned or just don’t know about, let me know in the comments below so that this can be shared.

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