Ulduar at 40% scale
So after a few days off to recharge the ol’ WoW batteries, I found myself in an interesting spot last night. See, there’s this 10-man Ulduar raid, called “No Bads,” that is made up mostly of folks that run with The Anvil’s 25-man Ulduar. I’ve run with No Bads once in the past as desperation oh-crap-we-need-a-warm-body-let’s-grab-Lin-nobody-else-is-on DPS, but earlier in the week, Haicu, the raidleader and DK offtank, approached me and asked me to offtank their Wednesday night run for the next two weeks while he’s out traveling on business. Of course, to help friends out, I said yes. (Oh, gee, tanking Ulduar, twist my arm.)
This left the raid in an interesting position, because it gave them what is no doubt a rarity nowadays: a 10-man raid with two warrior tanks. And, it was the first time I had tanked Ulduar in a 10-man as opposed to a 25.
Haicu has built his tank build specifically for AOE tanking as a death nugget, and he’s pretty scary good at it. I like to joke that he’s a seven-foot-tall troll Roach Motel for trash, because mobs get stuck to him and they just do not frigging come off. Now, this isn’t necessarily a rant about how a DK with good gear can tank their ass off while still doing well north of 2k dps, and then flop specs and do well north of double that on a boss fight where they aren’t tanking. (That’s a rant for another time, trust me.) But it did leave me wondering if I could fill his slot effectively. I have no doubt of my ability to tank anything in the front three-quarters of Ulduar on Linedan; over half his gear now is Ulduar 25-man stuff or equivalent, and I’m a competent enough player to take advantage of it. But let’s face it, we warriors can’t approach a paladin or death nugget at the fine art of AOE tanking. With Haicu in the raid, the DPS could go ape with their Blizzards and Hurricanes and Volleys right off the bat on a pull and never be in any danger. Not so with your friendly Panzercow.
Well, I’m pleased to say that overall, it went very well. Flame Leviathan +2 towers, XT on hard mode, Kologarn, Auriaya, Hodir, Thorim, Freya, and Iron Council, all fairly clean, in less than three hours. Yes, the DPS had to modify things a bit, and we were actually helped by the fact that we were a little short on AOE DPS (only one mage, no hunter). We only had a few agro problems, mainly on Conservatory trash (stupid little flowers) and Hodir trash (stupid little worms). I think I only got a few people killed, which is a distinct improvement over what I was fearing going in.
The interesting thing to me is how different the difficulty feels on some of the fights. Auriaya felt like an absolute pushover on 10 compared to 25; still long and arduous and frenetic, and I still hate the Feral Defender, but we were never in serious danger. Thorim, our current 25-man cockblock, was no sweat; the four of us assigned to the hallway gauntlet ripped it apart like nothing and the folks out in the arena had no worries. (And now I know what not to do as I run to pick up Thorim and pull him down on the 25 this week…or as our poor priest yelled into Vent right as I got paralyzed, “NOT THE MIDDLE, LIN! NOT THE MIDDLE!”) The stuff in the hallway has something like one-fifth the health on 10s that it does on 25s so it just dissolves.
On the other hand, Freya felt harder on 10 than 25, probably due to having one fewer tank for the triple-spawn adds, or maybe it was just me having trouble with the big tree add. (Hint: If the tank doesn’t have the big tree under control under a mushroom, DON’T ATTACK IT. And if you do, don’t run AWAY.) Kologarn felt harder but that may have been because I was tanking rubble, which is a notable fear of mine after I repeatedly cocked it up in the 25 a couple months ago. Then again, on 10-man, Kologarn never manages to put two stacks of his crushing debuff on the tank, so there’s no real need for tank-switching. Iron Council has the same two tanks/three mobs dynamic that makes things a bit more interesting (for one of the tanks, anyway) but it’s really no harder.
Now maybe some of the stuff last night felt easier because most of us are already geared in ilevel 226+ stuff, and not rocking our Naxx gear anymore. Maybe. But it was surprising to me that something like Auriaya, which is still a knife-edge dance with disaster for us in 25s, felt more like Anub’rekhan in the 10.
No loot for the Panzercow, but bah, who cares. I had fun. I learned some useful stuff for this week’s 25-man. And I got to work on my multiple-target agro, which I haven’t had to do in a while because we had such good AOE tanking with Haicu, there was no point. It’s easy to get sloppy with a good backstop like that, so it’s good to occasionally remember that yes, multi-target tanking as a warrior takes work.
Oh, and Fusion Punch still hurts like a bastard, I don’t care how big or small your raid is.