Monday, October 1, 2007

Dirty Tricks to Tanking?

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Tanks are hard to find. Sure we have tanks in our guild like Antipas, Beefshank, DevilCS, Semore, and even an excellent druid tank named Currant. However, sometimes you just can't find one — especially in the middle of an Alterac Valley weekend.

So, I've found myself tanking with surprisingly interesting results. So, I'm going to go into how to tank entire instances as ... a Rogue.

Now, you think I'm kidding, right? I'm not, but then again, I'm not talking about tanking Karazhan or Heroic instances ... yet. But I have successfully tanked Steamvault and Old Hillsbrad. Yesterday, I tanked Old Hillsbrad twice with only one death (but it was a Mage and they don't count!) The first time was with two resto Shamans, one with pre-Heroic gear and another with Karazhan gear. And the second time was with a pre-Karazhan geared Paladin and the same pre-Heroic geared Shaman. Old Hillsbrad is unique also in that Thrall joins you and tanks targets as well.

Steamvault was more of a result of our druid tank (not Currant) not being able to keep aggro against even my Auto Attack.

It's all about surviving and killing the mobs before you die. So go back and read my Dirty Tricks to Surviving if you haven't. Just remember you can't use the tricks that push your mob back onto your tank, because you are the tank and when you do, you push the mob onto your healers. 0_o

In Old Hillsbrad, our secret was that we had myself and a Karazhan geared wizard named Semoreo as DPS. As the "tank", I never had to hold back DPS or use Feint either. We also had my wife, a DPS warrior, who rounded up loose adds.

There is one major thing I left out of my previous post about surviving. Stamina means health and more health means living longer. A lot of rogues ignore this completely. Currently, I don't have a lot of stamina in my PvE gear, my unbuffed PvE health is only 8824. However, I swap out 6 pieces of my PvP gear and unbuffed I now have 10124 health, 3154 armor (23% reduction), 93 Resilence and 24.76% dodge.

As one of the five pieces, I found my PvP trinket, the Medallion of the Alliance, to be incredibly useful when faced against fears, stuns and Polymorphs. Like a Warrior's Berserker Stance, I use the Medallion with Sprint to get right back to my targets.

Medallion of the Alliance
Binds when picked up
Classes: Rogue
Requires Level 70
Equip: Improves your resilience rating by 20.
Use: Removes all movement impairing effects and all effects which cause loss of control of your character.

Next, I got this piece for the Stamina and the Resilience from Keepers of Time at Exalted:

Timelapse Shard
Binds when picked up
+27 Stamina
Requires Level 70
Requires Keepers of Time - Exalted
Equip: Improves your resilience rating by 24.
Use: Reduces your threat to enemy targets within 30 yards, making them less likely to attack you.

My strategy was pretty simple:

  • Use effective crowd control and mark your targets. In the first time we did Old Hillsbrad, I used Sap and the mage used Polymorph at every opporunity. We also focused our damage burning down our targets as quickly as possible.
  • Use your stuns. Like I've said before, if your target is stunned, you're not taking damage. Use Cheap Shot and Kidney Shot whenever you can.
  • Use your Evasion. Usually I saved Evasion for the bosses or way before I knew we'd be at a boss when I had multiple opponents as I was using Blade Flurry.
  • Attack multiple targets at once. Making sure you're not breaking crowd control, you should be using Blade Flurry and Adrenaline Rush to burn down multiple targets at once.
  • Use the right poison. As targets were going down so quickly, use Instant Poison rather than Deadly Poison. I also had the luxury of having Shaman on both runs, so I left my main hand open for Wind Fury which helped immensely.
  • Get back to the action! I saved Sprint to mimic Warrior's Charge ability, for after fears or knockback.
  • Don't let them escape. For those targets that try to run, I'd usually hit them with a Deadly Throw to finish them off or let myself catch up to them.

I asked some of the healers afterwards how they thought it went and we all agreed upon some things. First, it was awesome. I wasn't all that hard to keep alive even on the first two bosses. Second, I did have help. We had two warriors (albeit DPS Warriors) in each, a lot of crowd control and a lot of healing. Third, the biggest issue was that because I rely more on dodge than just armor or defense, I would go without getting hit for a while and then get large spikes of damage. However, with the pool of health I had available, it was fairly easy for the healers to keep up. We theorized that perhaps if I had a full set of PvP gear I might have enough armor, resilience and stamina to be even more effective.

This certainly didn't make me want to play a Warrior. It was fun and it is really just a novelty and something that can be done in a pinch. In the end game, gear plays a major role and it was obvious during these runs. Now, a lot of the normal BC instances give me that same feeling I had going back to Blackrock Depths when I hit 60. It's not a complete snoozefest, but it certainly makes you feel like you are a badass.


BigBearButt said...

You know, I love your writing, it's always fun. I could eprsonally wish you wrote more for utter nooblets, since my baby rogue is still under 15th :)

But I thought this one was funny, because I've 'tanked' in kitty form more than a few times... but only in underlevel instances like Blood Furnace.. never in a higher end one like Durnhold.

And my applause to you for successfully handling those end waves of dragonkin. Doing that without a tank must've been brutal.

Valenna said...

Honestly the waves of dragonkin wasn't hard at all. I wish I was a videophile and I'd make a video of it.

As for low-level rogues resources, I'm trying to wrap up two posts for them right now. =)

BigBearButt said...

On another topic, did you see that Phaelia ratted you out on a 'oops' moment in the comments of "Of Teeth and Claws"?

She stealth posted a comment under "Note to self: Slow Down".

I certainly lol'ed a great deal... but make sure you get her back just as sneaky, Rogue Leader!

It's a moral imperative!

Bendyr said...

Heh, I end up offtanking kara all the time, or if the tank dies while an instance boss is at 5%, evasion tanking is usually good enough to finish the job.

I've never thought of trying to tank an entire instance though... very interesting.

Inflamed said...

Heh... yeah I've done lots of BF tanking on my rogue helping friends get gear on their alts. I even off tanked Gruul recently after our main OT died, soaked 5 hatefulls (4 dodged last one killed me) keeping our MT alive long enough to down him. I had been wondering about rogue tanking as my avoidance in my PvE gear is up to almost 35%... Great post :D

howardchua said...

evasion tanking and stuns combine for some good tanking!

we sometimes have rogues OT mobs in kara that are stunnable

Scelerat said...

There's another important trick you forgot to mention about tanking as a rogue (I tank every chance I get as Scelerat, also on Scarlet Crusade) and that's Riposte. It's six seconds of fun where the mob doesn't have his big nasty sword or axe. It's saved my butt in the last few moments of the Prince fight before when the tank dies at 3-4% and I take over.

Anonymous said...

The prince shouldn't have a weapon in phase 3.

Kestrel said...

Great article, and congrats on the WoW Insider love!

Valenna said...

@WowInsider: Thanks for the link.

@All: Thanks for the comments and visits.

The Aegis Hestia Rogues have off-tanked a lot in Karazhan through stunlocks, Evasion, etc. On our first Gruul kill, the Rogues were the only melee still standing.

@Scelerat: I didn't mention Riposte, because I stopped using it a long time ago. =( I use to use Riposte a lot while leveling, but a raiding Rogue shouldn't require Riposte because you should almost never be directly engaging in an opponent in order to use it. So, honestly, during the end game, I didn't feel any Rogues would have Ripsote. I also doing see any need for Deflection for the same reason.

Auryann said...

Val, you did a wonderful rogue tanking the other night in Steamvaults. Thanks for helping me get keyed for heroics.

ordhor said...

i found your blog when i started my own in my old guild forum (in forum since i can link gear inside) and for quite some time i started to build my rogue to be a full tank machine. I finally think i found the best spec for it, still working on my gear, and experience tanking (as rogue) i already got quite a few. last thing i tanked was ZG a couple hours ago with a pug. FUN :D
btw, i can off-tank heroics :) working on been able to tank it as MT ^_^

almost forgot, here's my armory link: