Thursday, January 31, 2008

Holy Tanking Batman!

So I was approached by someone on my server about getting some tanking advice. He is a Holy Paladin for his guild, and they would like the option of having him offtank in Karazhan and possibly High King Maulgar.

The only piece of tanking gear he has if the Battlescar Boots from the Chess event in Kara.

How can he pick up some quick tanking gear?

At what point should be alter his spec?

When can he try tanking?

If you've been playing for a while as Holy, one advantage you will have is that you will have already gotten your reputations up with the various Outland groups.

Let's see what kind of quick tanking suit we can build for the Holy going Prot type.

It's time to go shopping.

Head = Felsteel Helm (BS crafted)

Neck = Strength of the Untamed (CE rep)

Shoulders = hope you didn't vendor or DE your Righteous shoulders. If you did look on the AH for a green "Of The Crusade" or "Of the Knight", or farm 5 Ethereum Prison Key ( http://www.wowhead.com/?item=29460 ), compose to Ethereum Stasis Chamber Key ( http://www.wowhead.com/?item=29750 ), open the prison in Blade Edge Mountain - Bash'ir Landing, kill the mob inside. Hope it drops a blue "Of the Knight" of "Of the Champion".

Back = Cloak of Eternity (crafted)

Chest = Chestguard of the Stoic Guardian (75 Badges) or Vindicator's Hauerbrek (Aldor rep)

Bracers = Bracer's of the Green Fortress (BS crafted, requires Primal Nether)

Hands = Felsteel Gloves (crafted)

Belt = Girdle of the Protector (60 Badges) or Starcaller's Plated Belt (from the quest Arconus the Insatiable in Netherstorm), Lightwarden's Girlde (from the quest Deathblow to the Legion), or if you have done all those quests farm Heroic Slave pens for Girdle of the Immovable

Legs = Unwavering Legguards (75 Badges) or Timewardens Leggins (Keepers of Time rep)

Feet = Sabatons of the Righteous Defender (60 Badges) or Battlescar Boots

Rings: Delicate Eternium Band (JC Crafted), Band of Inpenetrable Defenses (BoE Epic). The Wind Trader's Band (from the quest Dealing with the Overmaster). Also farm Mech for Dathomere's Ring of Defense

Trinkets: Darkmoon Card Vengence, Voilet Signet, Dabiri's Enigma (from the quest Dimensiu's the All Devouring), or farm Shatterd Halls for a Figurine of the Collosus

Shield: Crest of the Sha'tar (shield) from Sha'tar rep

Weapon: Gavel of Unearthed Secrets (mace) from Lower City rep or the Continuum Blade from Keepers of Time rep. Alternatively, troll the Auction House for a Crystalforge Sword.

Libram: Libram of Repentance (15 Badges)

Gems: Only 1 gem exists to you right now, Solid Star of Elune. It goes in all your sockets, regardless of color.

As far as changing your spec, it's going to be nessesary to tank anything more than trash mobs.

Paladin baseline Healing is much stronger than Paladin baseline tanking, so your tanking needs more of a boost.

I'd suggest a 20/41 spec. If you feel that is too much to give up, you could try a 30/31 spec.

I'd be very interested in feedback from people who try either build to see how well it works.

I'd suggest changing your spec as soon as you have a good bit of tanking gear and are going to start tanking.

As to when to start tanking?

For Normal mode dungeons, I'd suggest about 9k health unbuffed, and 485 Defense.

For Heroics, 10k health unbuffed, and 485 defense.

For Karazhan, 10k health, 490 defense and Uncrushable. Tankpoints is a great mod to help you calculate if you are uncrushable. Check out my posts "Tankpoints 101" for more informaiton on uncrushable and the Tankpoints mod.

Then get out there and start doing it. Tanking is a very different mindset than Healing or DPSing, and the best way to get into that mindset is practicing.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reflections on Lurker

Lurker is our 3rd Progression Kill in January. I love that.

My job on Lurker was to tank one of the Guardians that spawns when Lurker submerges. They don't hit very hard with their normal melee, but they have an Arcing Smash ability which can hit pretty hard. Their normal melee on me was around 2k, and the Arcing Smash got as high as 4300.

I'd drop a Consecrate as they were swimming up and hit them with a Judgement of Righteousness. One of the DPSers in my area was Trelic, our best geared Feral Druid. During our 2nd attempt, he ripped the Guardian right off of me, and got killed. After that I added in an Avengers Shield to my rotation to make sure I kept him up. Not only did I have Trelic, but I also had Raistilan, probably our best geared mage and one of the Raid Leaders.

I burst my threat hard when he spawned and my Guardian went down pretty fast. We usually had about 5 seconds to stand there and catch our breath while we waited for Lurker to emerge.

While Lurker was up banging away at Brindall (one of our Warrior Tanks), I was building a stack of Seal of Vengeance.

At first, I had been using Judgement of the Crusader on this fight. I am speced into Improved Crusader for the 3% raidwide crit. What I noticed was that we were losing melee to a combination of Whirl, Geyser, and Scalding Water. So I switched the Judgement from Crusader to Light. My Judgement was responsible for 35k effective healing on the fight. It helped keep the melee up and running and dpsing.

I've also decided to spec out of Improved Crusader. I'm serving the Raid just as much by having Wisdom or Light up, and those two are much more visible and measurable. If the Raid wants Improved Crusader, we'll have to start bringing a Retribution Paladin.

I also threw some heals if I saw someone near me getting low, especially while we were submerged during a Spout. We lost Raistilan in a couple of attempts, so I made sure to keep him up for both his incredible DPS and his Sheeping.

Using ItemRack I started switching between my Tanking Shield/Libram and my Healing Shield/Libram.

I really need to farm Kara for a better Healing weapon. The Hammer of the Penitent, while nice, just isn't getting the job done anymore.

My heals weren't anything to write home about. My Holy Light hits for about 3k and my Flash of Light hits for about 800, but they are essentially "free" heals because there is ton of collateral damage in this fight (Scalding Water, Geyser, Whirl), so I get healed and get mana regen from that.

This was the first 25 man fight where I really felt like a hybrid. One of the issues I had with the old endgame was that Paladins were healers and healers only. In Burning Crusade, we seem to have been given a choice. Be a Tank or Be a Healer, but pick one and specialize. In the Lurker fight, I really felt my ability to switch from Tank to Healer was an asset to the raid.

Would I have loved to Main Tank this fight? Sure, but I've reached the point where I'm not as concerned about my own personal glory as I am the Raid's success. I know I've proven myself to the point where no one in my guild would ask me to spec Holy. I'm free to spec how I feel and do what I enjoy, Tanking. In fact, I'm pretty sure they would feel like they lost a pretty good tank, despite the color of my rage bar.

My job as a Paladin is to save lives. In the Lurker fight, I used every tool at my disposal to do just that whether by taking the blows myself or by healing my teammates.

Fishie Chowder

Dis is how we make da Fishie Chowder.

First we take our ingredients:
3 Rogues, extra sharp
4 Mages, sheared
3 Priest, 2 light and 1 dark
2 Warlocks, extra dark
3 Hunters, frozen
3 Warriors, toughened
2 Druids, fury and 1 druid, leafy
5 Paladins, light and 1 Paladin toughened

Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Take 1 Warrior and beat on him constantly until well smoothed.

Add in 1 Extra Large Fish.

Fry, Freeze, Stab, Slice, Shoot and Drain Life well until Fish is a golden brown and quite dead.

Serve extra cold with purples.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What Might Have Been

I've often wondered what life would have been like if Paladins had been better tanks in the Pre-BC world.

I got a little bit of a chance to find out when I went to Molten Core on Saturday night. Our SSC raid was called because we lacked enough people.

Initially there were only about 4 or 5 of us but eventually we grew to 15.

I had done MC back in the day, but it was a 40 man raid back then. I was assigned a Warrior to heal and basically had to keep cleansing everyone constantly. Luckily, there was a mod called Decursive back then that figured out who needed to be cleansed and cast the spell for you. Just bind your Decursive to a button and spam away.

What I discovered was that MC would have been very hard on Paladin tanks, but with a couple of places where we would have really helped. First of all, there is a ton of magic damage flying around from nearly every mob. The Crushing Blow mechanic would have had to have been removed from most of the bosses for Paladins to be able to tank them.

In the trash pulls one of the mobs has a long silence that must be cleansed. This shut down my ability to produce threat. There were also mobs that dropped threat or had some odd aggro dynamic. The long cooldown on my taunt was not appreciated.

There were a couple of AoE trans pulls with a whole bunch of little dragonkins. I gathered up two groups and went to town. That was fun! The screenshot should have shown more but their bodies despawn rather quickly.

First up was Lucifron. The trash leading up to her would have been a dream spot for a Tankadin. You have 5 or 6 Core Hounds and they all have to die at the same time. AoE situation, AoE tank.
The only annoying thing about Lucifron was his curse that makes your abilities cost double. This could have actually played to the Paladins favor. Rage based tanks have a fixed resource, 100 rage. Mana based tanks can change the size of the resource pool. So if you have an ability that cost 10 Rage, against Luci it will cost 20. That means going from costing 10% of your resources to costing 20%. The equivalent example for a Paladin would be an ability that costs 500 mana, about 10% of a Tankadins mana pool. Now that ability costs 1000 mana or 20% of the pool, but the Paladin can now change his gear to have a 6000 mana pool instead of 5000. The ability cost is still doubled from 500 to 1000 mana but now it only takes 16% of the resource bar instead of 20%.

Next up was Magmadar. He possesses a spammable fear. With the changes to how fear works, this would be less of a problem but Paladins still find themselves disadvantaged in fear fights to stance dancing Warriors.

Next up was Gehennas. Gehennas would have been another fight that favored a Warrior as most of his damage is magical and he is casting about 50% of time and doesn't melee much.

Finally, we tried Garr. Garr is probably the boss that just screams "Paladins aren't meant to tank me". He has an aura that dispels your buffs. Bye bye Righteous Fury, bye bye Seal of Righteousness, bye bye Blessing of Kings.
The best part of the evening was that I got nearly all the Firey Cores and Lava Cores I need to craft a Nightfall Axe. Now if I can just find a crafter on AoS that can make one.

They Like Me, They Really Like Me

DING! Exalted Aldor. This is a goal I've been working on since my first day in Shattrah, but it seemed like there was always another goal that was more immediate and took precedance. In addition, getting Aldor rep could be gained almost as a side effect of other activities like questing to level 70, doing my dailies, or running Shadow Labs. It was never something I really went out of my way to get.

Until I got close to Exalted. Being so close, I wanted to see it completed. I flew out to Legion Hold, gathered up a bunch of the WraithWalkers and went to town. I couldn't take them in as large of packs as the Demon Hunter Supplicants because they were not as tightly packed and they have a magic damage attack which you have to run out of. With 3 or 4 of them doing it, it was hard to find a place to run out and not take fire damage.

Once I was Exalted, I went out and purchased my Greater Inscription of Warding and slapped that on my Justicar Shoulderguards. (wowhead photo)
Unfortunately, there is really nothing else from Aldor reputation rewards that I would use from reaching Exalted.

However, I now can use Marks of the Illidari which drop in SSC and TK to buy flasks since I am Exalted with Sha'tar, Aldor and Cenarion Expedition. These Marks will allow me to purchase Shattrah flask which should help ease the cost of raiding a bit.

Reputation Status:

Ashtongue Deathsworn: Neutral
Cenarion Expedition: Exalted
HonorHold: Exalted
Netherwing: Neutral
Ogri'la: Exalted
Sporegar: Honored
The Consortium: Revered
Lower City: Revered
Sha'tari Skyguard: Exalted
The Aldor: Exlated
Mana Addicted, Light Stealing Elves: Hated
The Sha'tar: Exalted
Keepers of Time: Revered
The Scale of Sands: Neutral
The Voilet Eye: Exalted

With one goal accomplished, a new one must take its place. That goal is now to finish off my reputation with The Consortium. There is a repeatable quest in Netherstorm which involves killiing humaniod mobs for a special drop. I am able to AoE groups of these "evil" Etherels and get the drop. There are also some quests in Netherstorm that I haven't completed yet which give Consortium rep. Finally, there is the option of running Heroic Mana Tombs, but I'd prefer to use that as a last resort.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Missing In Action

Friday night was Progression night. I was all excited. Then Mrs. Hammer informs me we are going out to dinner with a couple friend of ours.


See Hammer is a happily married guy, and one of things that makes Mrs. Hammer so incredible is she understands / puts up with my WoW addiction.

One of the things I do to keep it that way is to make sure WoW never interferes with our life. Basically, if she wants me at any time for any reason, she gets me. I don't tell her, "Not tonight, I've got to raid."

Because of that, she never gives me hard time about playing, and because she knows she takes priority over the game, she rarely feels the need to test it. The net result is I get nearly all the time I want to game.

Dinner was at 6:30pm. That gives me two hours to still be on at a reasonable time. Of course I didn't log in until almost 9pm.

To my great surprise, the Raid has not started yet. Not only was the Frost tank (me) a no show, but we needed a couple of healers. We finally do get the raid put together and head into SSC.

I got a disconnect on one of the trash pulls. It was an omen of ill for the night.

Instead of one shotting ole Hydross, we ended up wiping about 6 times. At least half of those were caused by me having some sort of connection issue during the fight. My guildies were somewhat amazed that I help aggro during the dc.

"You make one heck of an offline tank, lol." I suggested on more than one occasion that they replace me and go get some attempts on Lurker, but we hung with it. Finally, my connection held long enough for us to kill him, but by that point is was getting late and we didn't go to Lurker, but instead planned on trying him on Saturday. That would turn out to be a tactical error.

Saturday night we only had about 12-15 of our main people log on. We kept pushing the raid back and back and finally called it.

When I logged on Sunday, there were 2 Kara groups going and again no SSC.

I'm beginning to sense an undercurrent of discord among the members of the guild. It's like the guild is becoming cliquish and splintered. We don't Raid enough for some, we raid too much for others. The group that raids is too exclusive, the rest are too noobish. Guild chat has become more chippy.

I know we've got the people in MK to do really well and progress, at least through SSC/TK, but calling Raids because no body showed up stinks. The irony being that I nearly caused the Raid to be called on Friday.
Knology is sending a tech out on Monday to try to find out what's going on with my connection.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Honorshammer

Galoheart remembers the day the created his toon. I've long forgotten (sad I know).

Honors was my 2nd go at the Paladin class after creating a Human Paladin named Ittai on Rexxar (PVE) in March of 2006.

But we just passed a major moment in Honor's virtual life. The day he passed through the Dark Portal. A week ago Wednesday was the 1 year anniversary of the release of the Burning Crusade. How I missed it is beyond me.
It may not have been his Birthday but it signaled a rebirth. When Patch 2.0.1 hit on December 5, 2006 I threw off the chains of Holy, and changed my spec to Prot.

I transferred from Dark Iron to Altar of Storms and became part of the guild known as Heroes Inc.

When I stepped through the Dark Portal, I was wearing (as best as I can remember) : a Soulforge Belt, Soulforge Gloves, Zandalarian Bracers, PVP Shoudlers, a Briarwood Reed, a Lightforge Breastplate, and a Helm of the Holy Avenger. I had my trusty Immovable Object and my axe, Serathil along with the Libram of Fervor.
4200 Hit points (with Kings no less!). I wish I had screenshot my full paperdoll.

I was decked in Outland greens before I left Hellfire, well except for the Shoulders. It took until Zangarmarsh to replace those.

Rocked So Hard

"I'm sure you get this all the time but i could use some help. please tell me why i am getting rocked so hard in heroics http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Tortheldrin&n=Seik"

This was left as a comment on my post about hitting 375 Engineering and getting my ROFLcopter.

I don't mind helping people but I'd much prefer you email me a question of this type rather than leave it as a comment on a completely unrelated post. You will find my email address to the left side of the page.
Also the more specific you can be in a question, the better I feel I can offer some advice that might help like which Heroic or which mobs, etc.

That said, let me see what I can offer to assist this magic addicted, light stealing Blood Elf.

"rocked so hard in Heroics". So it seems the major concern is the incoming damage from Heroic mobs.

You are probably not going to dig my response, but here we go:

Welcome to Heroics. The fact is that Heroic mobs hit really hard. That was the mechanism that Blizzard chose to make those instances harder. As you run each Heroic you'll learn how each of them can put a hurting on you. I remember well. It's quite a shock the first time you take a 2k hit straight to the kisser.
Let me put this way. My gear is little better than yours at the moment and there are mobs in some Heroics that rock me hard, too. The 3 pulls at the end of Heroic Blood Furnace with one Warlock and 2 Demons. Those demons can cleave me (17k buffed armor) for 4k, plus a 2k normal. Ouch.

Be a bit choosy about which Heroics you run. I found Slave Pens and Botanica (skip the Satyr boss) to be the easiest Heroic to start out with. Mechanar is not too bad but be sure you have a class (or two) than can interrupt Charged Fist.

Your gear looks solid. 12.5k hit points should be enough for heroics (it's more than I had on my first Slave Pens run), but you and your team will need to be on your game.

I'd suggest using a different ring than the Ring of the Silver Hand. I can tell you are running Karazhan, so I'd recommend your Kara ring in that spot. Dathomere's Ring of Defense is also an excellent one for Heroics because of its block value.

I would consider some changes to your Talent spec.

I don't find points in Holy to be well spent.

Aura Mastery is for Holy Paladins so they can stand out of range of AoEs and still heal, but have their Aura affect melee.

Unyielding Faith, which I talked about in Fear Factor is also a poor choice as I evaluate talents. I prefer things I can control. The Prot tree is so bloated that I don't want to spend points on procs.

I feel you'll get more threat out of 1 hand specialization than you will out of Improved Seal of Righteousness. And if you are getting "rocked hard", mana certainly shouldn't be an issue so I don't think the points in Divine Intellect are well spent.

Head over to the Ret tree and pick up Benediction and Deflection. Deflection will give you some additional Pure Avoidance so some of those 2k and 3k hits will be parried instead of hit you. You will have a hard time reaching uncrushable without Deflection.
Now, mobs in Heroics can't Crush you but if you are running Karazhan, you are going to face down a boss at some point and they can crush you. You think you are getting rocked hard now, try eating a Crush.

The best thing you can do is keep gearing up and running Heroics and Karazhan.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Let's Go Shopping!!!

So I've been analyzing and analyzing Badge of Justice rewards because I've got a big ole pile of Badges sitting in my bank.

I've made posts, spreadsheets, Warcrafter profiles, argued on Maintankadin, and basically tried to make sure that I was making the best decision I could make.

In my indecision, I had accumulated over 100 Badges. I knew I was pretty much down to the Belt, Boot and Bracers. It was time to get off the proverbial pot.

I already had the 3 big upgrades I wanted from Badges: the Chest, Legs and Cloak. Nowhere in my gear was there a glaring weakness. I basically had good enough gear to tank anything Mal Katai is going to put me up against in SSC or TK as either the Main Tank or an Offtank. There was an upgrade/sidegrade to each Badge reward very close at my current level of progression.

All this made the decision very difficult. So here's what I bought and why.

First of all I bought the Girdle of the Protector
(cue screenshot!)


Numbers are compared to the Crimson Girdle of the Indomitable. Mods used are EQCompare and RatingsBuster.

I trade Block for Dodge (that is a Good Thing) and increase my health, armor and pure avoidance at the cost of some Defense.

So why this belt over the Iron-Tusk Girdle. Largely because the Girdle of the Protector increased everything I want in a tanking item. There are three components that I look at in my tanking gear, Mitigation or EH, Avoidance or EDF, and Threat. While the Iron-Tusk would increase my Mitigation and Avoidance more than the Protector would, it does nothing for threat. The Protector, on the other hand, increases all 3.

So why did I pass on the Sabatons of the Righteous Defender? The biggest reason was I really like the massive amount of Dodge on the Boots of Elusion. Until I can get my unbuffed Dodge over 20% without Elusion, they will stay my primary tanking boots.

Is it true that any day now the plans for the Belt of the Guardian could drop in SSC? Yes, that's true. It's also true that Wyrnn's could have dropped off Curator anytime in the past 4 months I've been killing him, but it hasn't. I can't control what drops. Plus not only do the plans have to drop, the Vortexes have to drop AND I have to get the Blacksmith to use the Vortexes for the Belt and not his leet Blacksmith weapon.

Plus, putting off an upgrade today with the hope of lucky roll tomorrow is not something I subscribe to.

I still had Badges left over, so I decided to pick up the Bracers of the Ancient Phalanx. (cue screenshot!)

What drew me to the Bracers was that it increased my armor, Defense, Uncrushability and Pure Avoidance with no loss of health. The only thing I give up is Block Value. Will I use Vambracers of Courage in a Block Value set. You're darn tootin' I will.

What I gain with Phalanx is Expertise, a truly beautiful double duty stat. Not only does it increase your threat (it's more powerful point for point than Hit) it also helps with mitigation by reducing the chance you will get a parry hasted attack. Parry hasted attacks are not something I can control so I don't worry about them too much, but reducing them with a piece of gear that also increases Armor and Avoidance, hey, I'm not going to turn that down.

The Boots are likely my next purchase, and I'd like to pickup the AutoBlocker at some point. I'm sure I'll get called upon to tank a Kara here and there so the Badges will come. I'll eventually have everything I need from Badges and either stockpile them again or buy Healing or Ret gear.

Liftoff

The grind is done. I finally hit 375 Engineering.

Of course this meant one thing. Time to build my helicopter! I had all the mats already purchased except for the Hula Doll. The Doll you buy from Grifthah. Now in patch 2.3, Griftah was banished from Shattrah and was hanging out just outside. I flew up and down the road looking for him. Then I remembered talking with Aoes who about the amulet vendor in Lower City.

Sure enough, somehow Griftah managed to swindle his way back inside the city. I bought the Hula Doll from him and headed to the forge.

You can actually see the Hula Doll on the dash. Nice touch, Blizzard!

One of our hunters had just finished his grind with Netherwing so we met in Shattrah for our new mount screenshot.

I like the copter so much better than the Gryphon. I appreciate its loyal service, but it will remain banked for the foreseeable future.So another big goal accomplished. I set the goal, put my mind to it and accomplished it.

Now the goal moves to paying back the guildy who loaned me the gold I needed to get Epic Flying. I'm about halfway done with paying him back.

Fear Factor

Hello, I've been reading your post for a few months now, and I really enjoy your posts. The information has been excellent, and has helped me in my pursuit to be a Tankadin. I had an issue the other day where I was running Heroic Steam Vaults with a pally healer. The issue was in pulling the oracles on the way to the first boss, we were consistently feared. The pally starts picking apart my talents and calling me a noob for not having Unyielding Faith, or the points from the holy tree leading up to it. Basically my build has 44 points in Prot, and 17 in Ret, with benediction, parry, improved judgment, pursuit of justice, and improved Ret aura. I guess I'm pretty confident in how my prot build sits, but it is still a little unnerving having another pally tell you to L2P pally. My question is what are your thoughts on putting your points in holy vice ret? My tankadin is Aarogan on Black Dragonflight if you want to see my toon. Thanks again for keeping your blog chocked full of useful information.Very Respectfully, Aarogan
It can be a bit unnerving to have your build or spec challenged. I remember well the night I was torn apart on a Heroic Bot run by a PuG Druid healer.

"Misunderstanding the Tankadin is forgivable. In many ways we are still learning to understand ourselves." - Joanadark of Spirestone

Holy, Ret, and Prot are very different specs to play. Just because you know one Path of the Paladin does not mean you know them all.

The Paladin Protection tree is bloated. We have too many talents and they cost too many points, so each choice of a talent is really important. It also makes it hard to create some flexibility in your build.

I am of the opinion that after spending the points to get the talents you need in the Prot tree, the best use of points is over in Retribution.

Let's look at a couple of specific things from your email. The first being Unyielding Faith.

Unyielding Faith
Rank 2
Increases your chance to resist Fear and Disorient effects by an additional 10%.

First of all, it's a proc, a roll, a chance. 10% to be exact, which means that 90% of the time, it will be no different that if you didn't have it. I would contend that it is not a strong talent even for a Holy Paladin and I generally skipped it during my Holy days.

The real issue was the fear. This is an area where we are at a clear disadvantage to our stance dancing Warrior brethren. However, fear no longer causes the mobs to come off of you, so the only issue would have been if you were feared into other groups causing you to have too many mobs to deal with at once.

The way we normally handled those pulls was to kill the two guards near the hallway that leads up to the 2nd and 3rd bosses and the patrol that is in that area. Now you have the bottom of the ramp clear. This is where you pull the mobs. Remember, you choose the kill zone not the mobs. Now even if you get feared you won't be pulling any additional mobs. Oracles are also a good choice for CC if any was available. I believe they can be mind controlled by a Priest.

Also, if you haven't seen it, there is a nice little macro that gives you a fear break if you Divine Shield is not on cooldown.

#showtooltip Divine Shield
#show Divine Shield
/cast Divine Shield
/cancelaura [modifier:alt] Divine Shield

If I spam it with alt down, it casts Divine Shield then cancels. With no alt down it stays up. Divine Shield will break the fear. I use this when I'm tanking Nightbane or one of the Ogril'la dragons.

I took a moment to Armory you, man that brings me back. There was a time when my Armory looked almost exactly the same as yours (except for Wyrnns, curse you Curator!! Curse you!!!)

Your build looks solid. I might have done something different with the last 5 points (PoJ, Imp. Ret Aura), but those last 5 points are generally flavor differences. I do feel that Improved Retribution Aura doesn't really shine until you have 2 pieces of Teir 5. You might want to consider swapping those out for One Handed Weapon Specialization. It might allow you to wear a Felsteel helm over your Righteous Helm, but you are probably going for 2 peice bonus. You should be taking enough damage to keep your threat cycle going without it, but experiment a bit and find out what works for you and your team. You should be getting an Eternium Greathelm off of Opera real soon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Early 60s Gear


Dear Honor’s Hammer:

Hello! I have a 61 Paladin who I’m leveling with the goal of main-tanking for my casual guild when he hits 70. As I work my way through the various quest chains in Hellfire Peninsula, I’m finding it difficult to choose my quest rewards. Potentially, nearly any item I pick up will help my Paladin—Strength lets me hit harder and block better, spelldamage gear will help me maximize my spells and hold aggro in instances, and Stamina and Intellect will both keep me up longer. All of the stats seem desirable (well, except Spirit), and I don’t know which drops to roll on or which quest rewards to pick. Do you think you could come up with an ordered list of preferred stats for the leveling Paladin? I’m earning most of my XP by either AoE-grinding my way through quests or tanking for 5-mans. Thanks for any assistance you can provide!

Svyetlii

In most cases what you want to do with quests is take the plate rewards. Any plate with spell damage, intellect or mana per 5 is made for Paladins. (Not nessessarily well made, though). You will likely use it in either a Tanking, Healing or DPS set.
Roll on the spell damage mace that the beholder looking boss in Blood Furance drops. Be sure you go for the Spellfire Longsword from the first boss in Slave Pens.
If you are the only plate wearer in a 5 man, roll on all the plate that drops.
If you have a Warrior with you (and you are tanking) pass on any clear melee DPS plate (it will have Strength, and Agility). Also, if you are tanking, all the Healing Plate belongs to that wonderful Holy Paladin keeping your sorry dwarf butt alive.
Strength is a pretty useless stat for a Tankadin once you hit Outland, but where you are at much of the tanking gear you will find will have some strength on it.
Be on the lookout for green "Of The Crusade" and "Of the Champion". I wore a green "Of the Crusade" belt for the longest time when I leveling up.
The first thing you want to do is go to MainTankadin and check out the gear section. 99% of the discussions are focused on "end game" gear. The thread you want is Pre-raid Tanking: Theories, Goals and the Gear to Get There. (Here, I"ll link it for you, since I'm a helpful dwarf).
"Tankadins are looking for three things in their gear: Threat, Stamina and Mitigation. This is the same for any tank, but Paladins do it in very different ways."
I refered to that article constantly as I was leveling up. You might also want to check out my post on Tankadin Weapons available from quests. http://honorscode.blogspot.com/2007/12/questable-tankadin-weapons.html
There are a couple of important quest reward items you should look at getting from Hellfire.

Regal Protectorate
Gilded Crimson Breastplate
Helm of Infinite Visions
Skyfire Greaves
Golden Cenarion Greaves
Charm of Alacrity

The Regal Protectorate and the Gilded Crimson Breastplate will last you a long time. In fact I wore Regal on my first trip into Karazhan, and I pulled it out again when I needed a defense trinket for Hydross. I still use the Gilded Crimson Breastplate in my healing set.

1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

Another less than completely successful night in Gruul's Lair last night.

The plan had been start SSC, kill Hydross and move on to attempts on Lurker. The problem was our Nature Tank was sick, so we couldn't do Lurker. We were also a bit thin on AoE classes. We lacked Crowd Control for Magtheridon. So we figured we get the farm instances out of the way and take care of Gruuls.

HKM was very messy. Hunter's didn't misdirect on the pull, and the Warlocks were slow controlling the Fel Puppies. I've never been a Warlock (not even level 1) so I have no clue how difficult it is for them, so I won't comment any further.

We got HKM down on the 2nd try but it was not what I would call a "clean" kill.

Then onto Gruul himself. People did not spread out well and we kept losing people to Shatter. Also, our DPS felt a bit low. We got Gruul to sub 10%, but then the tanks started going down because the healers were either dead from people Shattering on them or trying to heal too many people.

I know one wipe was caused when I was camped by a couple of melee DPS. Shatter takes me low and a 10k Hurtful Strike finishes the job.

Then our one of our Tanks has to go. We decide to give it one more try before respawns. I am put as Main Tank on Gruul himself.

I discovered Main Tanking him is very different from Offtanking. The main issue I ran into was repositioning him after a Shatter. Our healers are up in the north end of the room, so when I grab him, I have to walk back into range of our healers. After the first transition, the healers thought I was moving him too slowly, so the next transition, I turned and ran to the spot. Only I managed to turn my back on Gruul and he got a Crush in. Dead Hammer. Wipe.

The inconsistency in my guild is really amazing. We went from wiping in Gruul to one shotting Hydross to 24 manning Gruul and then back to wiping in Gruul.

I really think my guild needs to reconsider how we operate. We play the game to have fun and wiping on a farm boss is not fun.

Here are some things I think we should do.

1. Adopt a set raid schedule with both days and a start and stop time. Start on time, End on time.

2. Create a Core Raid Team of 25-35 Core Raiders. This would be the team we take on all Raids. Before someone is put on the Core team their gear and spec is analyzed to make sure they fit on the team. They should reasonably well-geared with proper enchants and blue-level gems. They should have vent (mic would be great!) and our standard mods.

Non Core Raiders would be invited to farming runs but we would limit the number of Non Core Raiders who come. As much as someone may think we are jerks for not taking them, we should be more concerned about the welfare of twenty-four people as opposed to one.

3. Make sure 90-95% of the Core Raid Team is available during the hours we schedule raids.

4. You know have both the carrot and the stick. The carrot is MKP and the Raids themselves (or it should be). The stick is now removal from the Core Team. Constant AFKs, or bailing after a couple of attempts would be grounds for removal from the Raid Team.

Maybe my guild thinks this would be too "Hardcore". I don't know.

I am only an sub offer in the guild. I can offer my suggestions but ultimately, the leadership of the guild must decide what if anything we need to change.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Looking In the Mirror


Last night was an interesting night for me in WoW. I'm starting to see some things in myself that I never thought I would I see.

I logged in and saw we had a group already in Gruul's. I asked how long they had been there and I get the idea from the response it had been about 10 minutes. I start to get a little upset because I had posted on our forums when I'd be on.

I basically expected them to hold me a spot. GG me.

When the group struggled to kill Gruul, they called me to come in. At first, I was going to turn them down. I was in a snit for lack of a better word. Sulking. Being real mature.

But I decide to go anyway.

On our first go, the Main Tank had him too far away from the healers so he was moving him around a bit which made it very hard to keep him in the Consecration. Then I lost #2 threat to a DPS Warrior. I blew my whole mana bar and a mana pot trying to get him back, but because the healers were trying to keep the DPS Warrior up, I got caught low right before a Shatter. My Pot was on cooldown.

I died. We wiped. Nice one there, Hammer.

We regroup. The Warrior apologizes for pulling. No worries, we'll get him next time.

We start rocking and rolling on him. The attempt is looking pretty good when the MT goes down. I pick him up and our Rogues pop Evasion. We get one lucky dodge from our Rogues, and we are able to get him down the final 5 or 6%.

It is mentioned that we don't have time for Mag because Gruul took too long. I quip that had they waited for me, Gruul would have been a one shot.

I sat staring at my screen for a minute, sort of in disbelief of what I was seeing coming out of my virtual mouth.

The pride and arrogance that I was displaying was awful.

Everything I hated in the Tanks back at level 60, I was seeing develop in myself. The Arrogance, the Pride, the whining about repair bills, the lust for gear.

WoW is a temporary thing, a game, a castle in the sand. Very soon, no one will remember or remark what happened in that virtual world. Yet, there I was, acting like I was the only toon in the server who could do right.

I know that's not like me, I'm not like that, but there it was.

I made an apology in Officer Chat, and on our forums.

Life has a funny way of knocking pride and arrogance off someone. I hope I recognized my folly before my fall.

Weapon Speed and Reck Bombs


Hello I really enjoy your blog and I have a question for you. What is the optimal speed weapon that I am looking for to use to get the full impact from reckoning? I am still leveling (lvl 33 as of this writing). Thanks - Paul

Ah, Reckoning. It has, in all its various forms and iterations, been one of my favorite Protection talents.

For those unfamiliar with Reckoning, here is the official description:

Reckoning
Rank 5
Gives you a 10% chance after being hit by any damaging attack that the next 4 weapon swings within 8 sec will generate an additional attack.


You see that 4 swings within 8 seconds (of course you did, I bolded it.) That would seem to lead to a straightforward conclusion that you need a 2.0 speed weapon to be able to use up all 4 charges of Reckoning. However, there is more to it than that.

Reckoning is a proc, and one that is triggered by damage you take. Now the complication arises with your swing timer. You don't know where in your swing timer you are going to be when Reckoning procs. For a 2.0 speed weapon to get to consume all 4 charges, Reckoning must proc just as your swing timer is finishing up. It's pretty unlikely that you will proc Reckoning at the exact moment you need.

If you weapon is faster than 2.0, then for every .1 seconds less than 2.0 it is, you have that much of a "window" between the proc and the swing for you to enjoy the full benefits of Reckoning. I roll with a 1.6 speed mace which means Reckoning can proc up to .4 seconds before my swing timer is up and I would still get all 4 charges used up.

But why not approach Reckoning from another angle. Instead of worrying about whether you are going to use up all the charges, look at trying to keep it active as much as possible.

It's a 10% proc chance and lasts 8 seconds. Playing the odds, if we can get hit 10 times in 8 seconds, there is a good chance we will get Reckoning to proc again, and give us another 4 charges (essentially, it refreshes, you can never have more than 4 charges).

There is not a mob or a boss in the game that attacks that fast (0.8 attack speed). The only opponent even capable might be a BM Hunter. But that assumes just one mob attacking you, but what about 2, or 4?

A standard 2.0 attack speed mob will attack you 4 times in 8 seconds. So you would need at a minimum 3 mobs banging on your to give you a good chance to proc Reckoning. This assumes that every attack will do some damage to you and we know that is not the case. You will Parry, you will Dodge or the mob will miss. In fact as you gear up in the end game, it becomes harder and harder to proc Reckoning. Many end game tanks skip the talent.

So we need to increase our attack party size to about 4 mobs. 4 mobs will attack 16 times over 8 seconds. Even if you Dodge/Parry/Miss 6 attacks, you still have a very good (statistically) chance to proc Reckoning.

When taking on these packs, the best possible outcome of an attack is a Block. You still take some damage (incoming hit - block value) so you get a chance to proc Reckoning but that damage is reduced. Therefore, prioritize your gear with Block Rating, Block Value and Stamina over Dodge, and Parry.

Taking on packs of this size synergies well with your other tools like Consecration, Improved Righteous Fury and Retribution Aura, as well as tools you get later on, like Holy Shield and Ardent Defender. And wouldn't it be great if we had a talent that greatly increased our chance to block while getting beat on by many mobs, perhas even another proc that could stay up constatly without wasting mana or a global cooldown? Look up Redoubt, you say. Excellent idea.

This leads to the AoE Grinding that Protection Paladins come to know and love as they level.

Remember as well that Reckoning is a proc, a roll, a chance. You can (and will) go stretches where it just won't proc, but those should be extreme cases.

When you hit level 35 or 36, take yourself to the northeast corner of Dustwallow Marsh. There are villages of Murlocs up there where you can learn, practice and fall in love with AoE grinding. Just be careful of the Oracles (prioritize killing them if you pull one).

Start slowly, 2 or 3, then work your way as you feel comfortable. My current record is 16, and I've geared up some since then so I'm sure I could increase that if I wanted.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Drama is FTL

After a wonderful afternoon of watching football, I got a call from my buddy Aoesrus. Raydz was looking for an offtank for ZA. I don't get many chances to run ZA, so I logged on and got into the raid.

I was in the back of the raid picking up the 2 trolls that spawn from that direction. Cellestia, our Holy Paladin was taking care of the birds at the front.

The trolls in the back are annoying because they spawn with aggro on a someone (generally a healer), and there first move is a Warrior like Charge which stuns you, leaving them free to go after the raid.

We cleared trash without much issue, although it got kind of tough towards the end.

As per usual, I slapped on my healing gear for the Boss fight. Eagle is very heal intensive, and it only requires 1 tank. Neither me or Raydz does much DPS and by having him tank and me heal with have 1 less in melee. We had two rogues in our party, so that would have been nearly half the raid in melee range. With Static Dispution flying around, you don't want too many in melee for it to chain off of.

I generally concentrate on keeping the real healers up.

We made 3 or 4 attempts at Eagle, but we never got him down.

During ZA, I found out that there had been some major drama in the guild early that day and that some people had left the guild.

I won't get into the details here but I'm saddened our community couldn't workout whatever differences arose. To sound horribly selfish, I really hope this doesn't set us back in progression too much. I'm finding I really enjoy raiding, and my favorite nights to log on are the nights we will be in SSC.

Hopefully everyone will cool off, people will return to our community, or we can quickly recruit replacments, and we can keep pwning bosses one by one.

Boss: Hydross, Status: Farm

My Internet connection decided to behave Friday night, and I was able to go raiding. I logged on around start time to discover we didn't have enough people online to get the group together. We waited for guys to log on to the game. It took a little over an hour but we finally got to 25 people with the right mix of Healers, Tanks and DPS.

We had a new guy in our raid, a Resto Shaman. This is unusual for my guild because we don't have many Shamans of any flavor that raid with us. Almost all our Shamans are alts of other players in the guild.

This Shaman was a "little" undergeared, or at least that what some who inspected him say. I think we as players are a little quick to judge someone based entirely on the color of the pixels on their gear. There are some really fine green and blue items in the game. Well despite this guy being "undergeared", he did a fantastic job.

We went into SSC looking at his Dukeness, Hydross. I used my invisiblity potion and crep up to the his platform. We began the dance of moving him in and out of his forms. The attempt was going well, and we were well ahead of the enrage timer.

Then near the end of the Frost phase, I died. I'm not sure exactly how at this point. We were around Mark#4, so the debuff was high but not anything we couldn't have dealt with.

We executed a quick phase shift, banish and feared the adds and threw everything we had at Hydross. There was no chance for another phase change, it was now or never.

Our DPS did a great job of pouring it on Hydross and we were able to finish him off.

We rezzed our dead and checked out the loots.

Hydross dropped a Scarab of Displacement. That's a massive amount of Defense on one item. So I decide to throw in my MKP (what we call DKP). One of the offtanks also throws in MKP for the item. Under our system, you have to be MKP cap to bid and you have to bid all your MKP. (It takes roughly 5 raids to reach the cap). The winner of the roll loses all his MKP, the loser of the roll plots his revenge, and remains capped.

I am a notoriously bad roller on these kind of things (see my roll on the Amain Punisher), and the offtank I was up against is known for his uncanny good luck.

86! Okay, I've at least given myself a chance. The offtanks roll couldn't beat it so know I am the proud owner of the trinket and my first piece of T5 loot.

Can I get a...... Woot!!

I thought so.

The irony of the Scarab is that it's best use is probably for Hydross himself, the very boss you have to beat to get it. My resist gear is very lacking in defense. In fact, I need the resilience from my Season 2 Gavel to stay uncrittable. The trinket allows for more flexibility in my resist gear, and also helps out if I want more Badge gear which seems to lack defense on whole.

With Hydross down quickly, we moved onto the Big Fish, Lurker Below.

Luker is easier than Hydross, and we just one shot Hydross, so Lurker is going down easy right?

*que Price is Right, you just lost music*

We make 1 attempt on Lurker, and then we begin the "I've got to go" chorus. We get replacements, run out, summon, and try to get back at it.

The raid seemed to lose momentum somewhere at that point. We made about 4 or 5 attempts at Lurker. Our main problem, as far as I could see, was during the Submerge phase. We just couldn't seem to get the adds under control and taken care of.

Hopefully we can get some work in on him before the reset. If we can get our 3rd new boss down in as many weeks, that would be quite an accomplishment for our "casual" guild.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Grouping with Friends

MK is a "casual" guild. I know that means different things to different people. For Mal Katai, it means we try to limit our exposure to 25 man Raiding to no more than 3 nights a week. We tried our hand at SSC on Tuesday, and we are planning our "big" raid for Friday, and we want a run at Gruul/Mag sometime this weekend as well.

To keep from getting too burned out on 25 mans, we decided last night would be for farming/Kara/Heroics whatever.

I started out 'doing my dailies' and made laps around Zangarmarsh looking for Water Clouds. The Primal Air market is collapsing on my server due to Engineers overfarming the Air Clouds in Nagrand. So I'm going to Zangarmarsh for the more stable, yet less abundant, Water Clouds. With my Epic Flyer, I can cover a good deal of ground pretty quickly.

While I'm out buzzing Zabra'jin and Swamprat Post (lol @ Guard's Mark), I get asked to tank a Kara.

I have to honest, Kara just doesn't get the juices flowing anymore. I would have much rather done SSC/TK/Mag/Gruul, heck, even a ZA, but then I see the group is Rob, Celoria, Lisa, and David (whom I knew from our Heroes days). Kara might not excite me. Hanging out with those guys on vent while we own every creep and mob in sight, sign me up!

We cleared everything up through the Curator (didn't do Nightbane though).

We got Romulo and Julienne for Opera. One of the drops is Despair. I decided to roll on it for my lolRet set, and I win it.

The sword is freaking huge! I'm thinking of putting Savagery on it because I'm too cheap to pay for Mongoose on my "off"set right now.

I also found out that Lisa has a complete Blessings Deck that she will sell me. Time to really crank up the Dailies and farming.

The night was pretty good. I made some gold, got a new epic and had fun hanging out with some buds in vent. The downer of the night was we had one open spot, but my buddy Aoesrus was at work so he couldn't join us. That would have been the topper.

We all started signing off and I got contacted by one of our Rogues (Deil) about cutting some gems. I get cut off in mid sentence and disconnect from WoW and Vent. I sometimes get DC'ed from WoW, we all do, but when I lost vent as well, I knew it was trouble.

My internet was down. I called Knology to put in a complaint. They said that they thought it might be an area wide outage and for me to try in the morning. Of course for me, in the morning will be tonight when I get home. They also scheduled a service tech to come out and the next available appointment was Wednesday! Nearly a week, FTL!

The officer's in MK know how to get in touch with me, so if I'm not on tonight, blame Knology. There are only two cable providers in my area, Knology and Comcast. I really don't want to go to Comcast because it would mean giving up the NFL Network (me love me some NFL, oh yeah!)

I've always heard that Cable > DSL, but now I guess it's time to really look into it. My DSL options would be Earthlink, or AT&T.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

One More Badge Analysis

I made this data into a (in my humble opinion) easier to read format here: http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pxRKUgjn9TRpechmWBPU_Xg&hl=en (also at the end of this post)

Belts!

I'll start by comparing each Badge Belt to it Kara counterpart:

Irontusk Girdle(60 Badges) versus Crimson Girdle of the Indomitable (own)For your 60 Badges you get: 88 Armor, 9 Stamina, 33 Dodge, and 1.6% more Pure Avoidance. You lose 3 defense, 20 Block Rating, and 1% less Uncrushability.

Girdle of the Protector(60 Badges) versus Crimson Girdle of the Indomitable (own) For your 60 Badges, you get: 88 Armor, 4 Stamina, 27 Dodge, 18 Spell Hit, 23 Spell Damage, and 0.78% more Pure Avoidance. You lose 13 Defense, 20 Block Rating, and less 1.98% Uncrushability.

Next I compare each belt to its SSC counterpart:

Girdle of the Protector(60 Badges) versus Belt of the Guardian (SSC Pattern)
Protector has less Stamina (-8), Defense (-8), Block Value (-33), Intellect (-13), Spell Damage (-2), but more Dodge (27), Spell Hit (18), Uncrushability (0.90%), and Pure Avoidance (1.03%)

Irontusk Girdle(60 Badges) versus Girdle of the Invulnerable (Leotheras)
Irontusk has less Defense (1), Parry (29), 0.24% less Uncrushability, and 0.23% less Pure Avoidance, but more Stamina (8), Dodge (14).

Finally, I compare the Badge Belts to each other.

Irontusk Girdle(60 Badges) versus Girdle of the Protector(60 Badges)
Protector has less Stamina (5), Defense (10), Dodge (6), 1% less Uncrushability, and 0.82% less Pure Avoidance, but more Spell Damage (23) and Spell Hit (18).

Boots!

First the Badge Boots against their Kara competition.

Sabatons of the Righteous Defender (60 Badges) versus Boots of Elusion (own)
For 60 Badges you gain 108 Armor, 11 Stam, 30 Block Value, and 23 spell damage, and two Gem Slots. You give up 5 Defense, and 38 dodge. You also lose 2.35% Uncrushability and 2.26% Pure Avoidance.

Sabatons of the Righteous Defender(60 Badges) veruss Battlescar Boots (own)
For 60 Badges you gain 108 Armor, 17 Stamina, 30 Block Value, and 23 Spell Damage. You give up 5 Defense, 21 Parry, 18 strength. You give up 1% Uncrushability and 0.92% Pure Avoidance.

Next I compare the Badge Boots to their ZA Counterparts.

Sabatons of the Righteous Defender(60 Badges) versus Jungle Stompers (ZA - Bear)
Jungle Stompers have 28 Block Rating, +2 Defense, +12 Block Value, -23 Spell Damage, 1 less Gem Slot, Stompers gain 3.69% Uncrushability, and 0.10% Pure Avoidance.

Bracers!!

Badges Bracers versus their Kara competition

Bracers of the Ancient Phalanx (35 Badges) versus Vanbracers of Courage (own)
Gain : 69 Armor / 12 Stamina / 8 Defense / 22 Expertise / 0.54% Uncrushability / 0.40% Pure Avoidance Lose: -33 Block Value, -1 Gem Slot

Bracers of the Ancient Phalanx (35 Badges) versus Bracers of the Green Fortress (own) Gain : 122 Armor / 6 Stamina / 22 Expertise Lose: 10 dodge / 0.13% Uncrushability / 0.23% Pure Avoidance

Bracers of the Ancient Phalanx (35 Badges) versus Wristguards of Determination (Void Reaver)
Gain : 8 Stamina 22 Expertise Lose: 1 Defense, 13 Block Rating, 19 Dodge 2.73% Uncrushability, 1.06% Pure Avoidance

Gloves!

I compare the Badge Gloves to their Kara competition.
Bonefist Guantlets(60 Badges) versus Iron Guantlets of the Maiden(own) For your 60 Badges, you get 99 Armor, 12 Stamina, 30 Parry, 21 Hit, and 0.15% more Pure Avoidance. You lose 16 defense, 17 Block Rating, 38 Block Value and 2.28% Uncrushability.

Bonefist Guantlets(60 Badges) versus Justicar Guantlets(own)
For your 60 Badges, you get 61 Armor, 17 Stamina, 30 Parry, 21 Hit Rating and 2 Gem Slots you lose 23 Defense, 35 Block Value, 24 Intellect, 27 Spell Damage, .59% Uncrushability, .20% Pure Avoidance

Here's the chart:

Not So Fast There, Pilgrim

The plan as usual was a good one. Return to SSC, kill Hydross again and proceed to Lurker. Good plan.

The execution left a little bit to be desired. First problem, I was late. I had a meeting at 6:30pm and I told the Raid Leader I wouldn't be online at 7:30pm when the invites went out. I figured I'd be home at 8:00pm at the latest.

Sorry, wrong answer. Thanks for playing, we've got some lovely parting gifts for you.

I roll in the house at 8:30pm. Ugh. I log in expecting to find them in SSC working on Lurker and me begging for a spot.

I get an invite as soon as I log in.

We form up the Raid and set off to do battle with the Duke, Duke, Duke,.... Duke of Currents......Duke, Duke. (my apologies to Gene Chandler).

We get one attempt in before we start losing people. This one has to go, so we get a replacement. Then the next one has to go. This leads to long breaks in between attempts as we have to stop, and summon, and get the raid going again.

We've only killed Hydross one time. He's not going from new kill to farm quite as fast as Mag. For Magtheridon, you basically need 10 people to get their role right, and even then you can have someone cover is a cube is not manned at the critical moment. With Hydross, a mistake by any of the 25 members of the Raid can doom your attempt.


We made 4 or 5 attempts on Hydross. The closest we got was around 19%. Coming out of a transition, I died. One of the druids Battlerezed me, but the healers were trying to get me back up and heal Brindall our Nature tank.


Thinking back on it after the fact, I should have never let myself get killed. This highlights to me one of the areas I need to work on as a tank. Panic buttons.


I can't tell you how many times I've died and looked at my screen only to see my Potion or my Healthstone or the Pocketwatch not on cooldown. And of course, there is the only real Panic Button that I have, Lay On Hands.


Lay On Hands is a bear because it has such a long cooldown, but we typically raid for 3 or 4 hours. That's 3 or 4 uses I should be getting out of Lay On Hands that I'm not.


I think part of this comes from the leveling up experience as a Paladin versus a Warrior.


When I got into trouble on my Paladin, I had an array of options: Heal, Bubble, Stun and Heal, etc. Each and every one of those options either doesn't work when I'm tanking or will do more harm than good.


Then I think about leveling up my Warrior (who is all of Level 33). When I get in trouble on him, I'm looking for consumables because that's all I've got. I'm much quicker to quaff a Health Pot on him because if I don't, I'm going to die.


So I'm really going to work on being more proactive in using my consumables and cooldowns. My UI has an audible Low Health and Low Mana warning. The moment I hear that, I'm going for cooldowns.


Pocketwatch, Healthstone, Health Pot, Lay On Hands.


Did I miss anything?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

General Thoughts on Badge Rewards

Posted on Maintankadin as a way to address the many Badge Reward posts.

Any discussion of Badge rewards must start with the Libram of Repentance. It is the essential purchase for any tank looking to reach uncruhsable.

After that, it is generally accepted that the Chest, Legs, and Cloak are very strong rewards for anyone at the T5 level and below. Order of acquisition of these rewards should be prioritized on which slot of yours needs upgrading the most and which slot can be most easily filled in the instances you are running.

After those three, there is not a strong consensus on which route to go, although the Boots, and both Belts are seen as strong options that are a tier below the Chest, Legs and Cloak. For both the Boots and Belts, there are numerous non Badge rewards that are competitive with the Badge rewards in the T4 and T5 instances.

The choice of which Badge Belt should largely be made depending on your expected role. Main Tanks tend to favor the heavy defense of the Iron Tusk while OffTanks tend to favor the spell damage Protector.

The Wrist and Hands are generally seen as a tier below these although they possess stats that some Tankadins favor such as Melee Hit, and Expertise.

It is generally accepted that the Badge Helm and Shield are the most easily replaceable at the T4 level and thus are not considered strong options for spending badges.

The Block Trinket can be very powerful situationally but as a situational item, it is not seem as a priority.

As with any upgrade, carefully consider all your gear and how each item fits into your sets.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mag Again

Last night Mal Katai had some unfinished business with Gruul the Dragonkiller. This time we brought our normal Raiders. I was in my normal offtank position eating Hurtful Strikes. About halfway through the fight, everything kind of stops, and I get disconnected. That is a bad thing. I alert the backup Tank, Radyz to get ready. I log back in as fast as I can and low and behold I still have 2nd hate. We finish up and one shot his sorry behind. Still no Aldori Legacy Defender. The Shield that no less than 4 of us all want, has never dropped, not one time. Boo!

Well that was a nice warm up but then it was on the main event.

Magtheridon.

We all set up in our positions. The first Warlock goes down and I aggro a couple of stray infernals before the Warlocks banish them. About 35 seconds before Mag spawns I get ready to go pick him up. Then I notice that I can't move, I can't cast and everyone is running in place. DC'ed again!! Raydz was able to pick him up but the attempt ended in a wipe. Given my connection issues, I agree that Lan should be put on MT on Mag and I should be put on one of the Warlocks. We make two more attempts but we killed him again. During our kill, I got DC'ed again!

Gruul dropped double Champion (won't see that happen again) and Mag dropped a Champion and a Defender. I've been passing on these T4 tokens. I have the Unwavering Legguards and the Chestguard of the Stoic Guardian, both from Badges and both are upgrades to T4. I should probably get one of the two to complete my 4 piece T4 bonus, but its rare for me to have more than the Justicar Shoulderplates equipped most of the time. I'd rather see the pieces go to people who need them for their main Raid set rather than a situation set like mine would be.

I contacted my ISP about the connection problems. According to Knology everything is working "within normal parameters". They suggested that I should upgrade to their Premium internet which is designed more for gamers like myself. This is the first time I've ever had a problem with my connection, and I have to say the answer I was given was not the one I had hoped to get.

They did say that if the problem continued, I should call for service call. The problem being that the connection issue is very intermittent. I'll run at 200ms sometimes and 1000ms at others. If I DC on our next Hydross attempt its game over for the raid.

Monday, January 14, 2008

In The Nick of Time

Friday night Mal Katai set our collective sites on Hydross the Unstable. About 30 minutes before start time, Doraelian, the Guild Master of Mal Katai whispers me to tell me they want to try me on Frost.

I hearthed to Shattrah where I was given the Iceguard Helm, Iceguard Breastplate, and the Iceguard Leggings. Guildies searched their banks, and their alts to provide me with the materials to make The Frozen Eye and the Pendent of Thawing.

The decision to give me this gear and use me as the Main Tank for Frost was never question once (at least where I could see it). Even if it had been questioned, Dora is the type that once she's made a decision, she's going to stick to it.

This is what my prepull paperdoll looked liked. I had 377 Frost Resist, and 473 Defense. This is well under the Defense cap, but I have the Resilence from my Merciless Gladiator's Gavel. According to the WWS Report, I only got Crit 1 time the entire night.
Since our initial attempt, I've obtained some defense kits so I can get my defense up a little bit in this gear.
I had 15k hit points in my gear fully buffed.
Of course, I looked rediculous!

The fight itself has to be the most technically challenging fight I've tried to tank thus far. I opened up on Hydross and tried to build as much threat as I could, as fast as I could so we could really burn him during the initial pull. This would be the only time we could DPS him without having to worry about adds.

Then came the transition to his Nature Phase. I would run towards the raid and Brindall, our Nature Tank, would pick him up.

Once Brindall had him and the offtanks had picked up the Adds, I would judge Crusader on Hydross and try to build a Seal Vengence stack. I've never been quite so accutely aware of how difficult it can be to get a stack up and maintain it.

During the next transition, I would walk with Brindall up to the platform where the fight started and Judge as soon as he changed color.

This is the most sensative point in the fight. If anyone pulls aggro before I establish it, he moves towards them, changes form again and we've got too many adds to deal with.

We made several very good attempts on Hydross, each time getting him down further and further. One attempt we even managed to hit the Enrage timer.

We had cleared trash twice, and we knew we weren't going to clear again. We wanted to make one more attempt but the respawn timer was very low. We ran in, and buffed up as much as we could. I quaffed my Invisibility Potion and moved into position. The conversation on vent was something to the effect of:


Me: "Ok, 15 seconds on invisibility"

Trelic: "Click that *bleep* off, we don't have 15 seconds on respawns!"

So I pulled. The attempt was going well, but we were just barely ahead of the Enrage timer.

We made a couple of nearly flawless transitions, and got him into single digits, but had less than a minute on the Enrage timer.

Then Brindall decided we would not try another transition. He blew everything he had. Last Stand, Shield Wall, Dodge Trinkets, everything. We called for all heals on him. I switched the Judgment from Crusader to Light to try to help out. It was now a race. Could we DPS Hydross down before the damage on Brindall became unhealable. By keeping him in Nature at least we had the "DoT 'em up and Run" strategy in our back pocket.

It wasn't needed. We won the race, with seconds to go on the Enrage timer.
Mal Katai was now an official Teir 5 guild!

Friday, January 11, 2008

For the Vials

Soridormi looked over the assembled heroes of Mal Katai before her. These creatures of Azeroth, dwarf, human, elf, gnome, and draenai had been sent to her from Andormu. They had been successful in stopping the Infinite Dragonflight from altering the timeline. The Dark Portal opened as it should have, as it did, as it always will.

She began her address to the mortals.

"Seven vials were drawn from the Well of Eternity by Illidan. He poured three into the lake on top of Mount Hyjal and a second Well of Eternity was created. For years the rest were believed lost.

With the opening of the Dark Portal, we've come to know that he gave one each to his lieutenants Kael'thas and Vashj. Retrieve what remains of them; we will need them as foci to open a gateway to any events tied to Mount Hyjal, recent or ancient. The outcome of the Battle of Mount Hyjal must be preserved."

"We understand, Soridormi. Mal Katai will not fail."

Mal Katai left the Caverns of Time and returned to Shattrah City.

From their early dealings with the Cenarion Expedition, they had learned that Lady Vashj was commanding the Naga forces in Coilfang Reservoir.

The leader of Mal Katai, Doraelian, sent teams of 5 adventures each into the Slave Pens, the Underbog, and finally the Steam Vaults.
It was in the Slave Pens that they discovered Skar'this the Heretic. He knew much of Vashj and the defenses surrounding her. But first, Mal Katai would have to do something for him.

"Burn it down. Burn it all down! They deserve nothing! Do you hear me! NOTHING! They must pay for what they have done. For what they continue to do.

I would kill Vashj myself if I could break free of these damned bindings.

Or maybe you seek to do the work of Neptulon? I will grant you the mark required to enter the Serpentshire Cavern, but first you must bring me the artifacts I need to form the sacred cudgel.

Do you agree?

Bring me the elemental signets that the cudgel requires!

The earthen signet is held by Gruul the Dragonkiller. Gruul can be found inside his lair in the Blade's Edge Mountains.

The second signet is the blazing heart of a creature known as Nightbane. This mythical beast is said to reside in the hallowed halls of the prophet, Medivh.

Make haste!"

Gruul and Nightbane were foes the heroes of Mal Katai knew well.

"Raistilan, Trelic, assemble the team together. We've got work to do."
Mal Katai defeated both of the monstrosities and returned to Skar'this.

"With the cudgel reformed, I shall break free of my bonds and return to Serpentshrine to exact vengeance on Vashj and her minions.
At last!

I have not forgotten our agreement, mortal. You too will now be able to enter the lair of Lady Vashj. We have much to plan.

As you fight your way to Lady Vashj, you will encounter five obstacles.

The first you will see is the Duke of Currents, Hydross the Unstable. He is being held captive by Lady Vashj, but he has gone mad and will seek to destroy you. And then, there is the great Kraken of Coilfang, the Lurker Below. If you can best those two, you will move on to Vashj's lieutenants, Leotheras the Blind, Fathom-Lord Karathress, and Morogrim Tidewalker. Only after defeating them, will you face Vashj, herself. And face her you will.

I've kept my part of the bargin. Leave me be."
Dora assembled her crack team of Druids and Rogues. There were to infiltrate Serpenshrine Cavern and learn all they could of the powers these foes possessed.

Once they were dispatched, she continued her orders.

"Celoria, Fireyes, you'll be in charge of gathering supplies. Sevenn, I need you to go to the Voilet Eye and Cenarion Expedition. Your skills as a blacksmith are unmatched. They will teach you how to make the armor we will need to survive in there. Everyone else should be helping Celoria and Fireyes gathering the supplies we'll need to lay siege to Serpentshrine Cavern, and preparing your own equipment. Devona is a Grand Master Jewelcrafter, he can help you get your sockets filled.

This is going to be a long and costly batter. Our fates and the fates of all those we love back on Azeroth depend on it. Now get going!"
A dwarf stood up from table, and raised his mace high above his head.

"IT'S HAMMER TIME!!"

What Time Is It?

Last night, Mal Katai had a couple of Kara groups going.

After our struggles in Gruul's, it was nice to go back and just own a place. Even going, as I did, with the "alt" team, we had little trouble. Our group consisted of 3 Paladins, 2 Priests, 1 Druid, 1 Warlock, 1 Warrior, and 2 Hunters.



Everyone was relaxed, and joking around. The pressure of 25 man raiding put aside for at least one night.



We killed Attumen, Moroes, Big Bad Wolf, Maiden, and Nightbane.



I tanked Nightbane with 2 Fear Wards and used my "flash" Divine Shield to break out of one fear. (Flash Divine Shield is where I bubble to clear the fear or any debuff and then immediately cancel it).



This run was especially rewarding for ole Hammer because Moroes finaly dropped the Pocketwatch.

This was the last upgrade I needed from Karazhan, and it's the only drop in there that I really can't replace. Curator was stingy with his Legs, no problem, Badge me baby. Nightbane like keeping his Chest all to himself. Badge me baby.


Moroes won't give up the best burst avoidance trinket until Black Temple.......well not much to be done.



I'm still 15k Honor short of the Battlemasters Audacity. I still want to get that, but even a "Last Stand" like trinket can't compete with Moroes Lucky Pocketwatch.



These stats are in my "Avoidance" gear. In that gear I have just over 15k hit points.

I can switch around a couple of slots (Bracers of the Green Fortress become Vambracers of Courage and Boots of Elusion become Battlescar Boots) to drop my dodge to around 20% but get my Hit Points up to 15.5k. I can also change out the Pocketwatch and go double stamina trinkets (Darkmoon Card and Kara Trinket).

So with the Pocketwatch, I have lots of options with my gear.

Honors is now completly "epic'ed" out, shiny from head to toe. You won't find any blue pixels on this dwarf.

I'll still run Kara if people need a tank. I don't care for the attitude of "I don't personally need any drops so I'm not coming".

That said, I would like to concentrate more of my efforts on ZA/Mag/SSC/TK now. Of course as I said at the beginning, it was really nice to be able to relax, hang with some friends on vent and just totally own a place that used to give us as much trouble as ZA/Mag/SSC/TK are now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Phenomenal Cosmic Powers

Phenomenal Cosmic Powers!!

Itty bitty Tankadin.


Gnomish Technology at its finest.

Zoom Zoom Zoom

So I broke down and borrowed 700g from a Guildy last night to buy my epic flying skill. We flew out to Shadowmoon Valley together and I laid down my 5000g.

Since my engineering is still at 368, I couldn't make my Epic Copter, so I'm back to a bird. My thinking is that I'll be able to do my Dailies faster, farm faster and basically make money faster with an Epic. The Epic Copter shall be mine!

Besides, going Zoom Zoom Zoom through Shadowmoon Valley is fun.

I picked the Purple one because I thought it looked the best on me.


Of course, the first thing I had to do was head up to Netherwing to check out the new quests I could do.

I gotta say I'm not a big fan of them. All of them require you to kill mobs, and hope for infrequent drops.

The little glob things run from you at half life and refuse to stay in my Consecrate like good little mobs and die. The flayers and the Ravagers are pretty easy but heavily farmed.

I don't skin, mine or herb so those quests are out.

The flying mobs you have to kill out on the 2 little floating islands constantly bugged out.

The Ogril'la & Skettis Dailies are much faster than the Netherwing ones.
I did get very luck and have a Netherwing Egg drop on my 3rd Flayer kill.
I'm not not crazy about being an Orc. An Orc with Justicar Shoulders just looks wrong.
After that I got invited to do ZA with my guild. The group was doing Eagle and having some problems with the Bird packs on the trash.
Of course, I made the problem go away. It took 3 attempts but we managed to down the Eagle. He dropped the Amani Punisher. It's an amazing tank weapon. Unfortunately, I lost the roll to a Shadow Priest, for whom it's also a very nice upgrade.
I was trying my best to be happy for him, but I was really disappointed. I know ZA is a short reset and I hope I'll get another shot at the Mace. The Random Number Generator can be a cruel mistress sometimes.

Auras and Blessings

Like so many things in the Tankadin world, which Aura and Blessing you should use are highly situational.

My main 2 Auras are Devotion Aura and Retribution Aura. In situation where I am going to get hit pretty hard, I use Devotion Aura. In situation where I'm not going to take a lot of damage or anytime I'm in AoE mode, it's Retribution Aura.

I also tend to switch Auras during a fight. Let's say I'm on a good run of bad luck and just had a series of Dodge, Parry, Miss, Miss, Dodge. My healers are probably wondering what is going on as my life bar isn't moving, but my Mana bar is. I see that I'm low on mana, but high on health, I'll switch to Retribution Aura for 1 hit and go back to Devo. Changing Auras only costs you Global Cooldown, there is no Mana involved.

I don't ever use Concentration Aura while tanking. Everything I cast as a Tank is an instant.

The Resist Auras, I try to get up any time I know that I'm going to take damage from that element. You need to be smart about what Auras stack and which ones don't.

Shadow Resist does not stack with the Priest's Prayer of Shadow Protection. If you've got the Priest buff, don't bother with your Aura.

Paladin Aura's do not stack with Shaman Resist Totems. Keep that in mind if you run with a Shaman.

The question of Blessings is going to depend on how many Paladins you have in your group. My first choice in Blessing is again situational based on how hard I'm going to get hit.

For heavy hitters, my favored Blessing is Kings. If we have more Paladins my order of preference would be Light, Wisdom, Sanctuary, and Might.

In situations where my damage intake is less, I want Wisdom above all else. These are typically smaller groups, but after Wisdom, I want Kings. If there are enough Paladins that I can get Light in these situations, that's cool.

Keep in mind, this is just 1 Dwarfs opinion.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This Is Farm?

(Somewhat grumpy, emotional, and ranting text to follow. I'll have a nice Auras and Blessings post later)


Last night was awful. The plan was great. One shot High King Maulgar and Gruul and then hopefully get Magtheridon down again. Then we'd be open to SSC on Friday.


I logged out right at Gruul's Lair because I knew I wasn't going to be logging on until basically start time (8:00pm). I log on and get an invite and see only 15 or so in the Raid. I did notice some new faces like my buddy Aoesrus.


We couldn't summon people in because 2 different Horde guilds were outside. We don't start pulling until almost 9pm.

We wiped 3 times on High King before we finally got him down. Some of it was bad luck (Mage Tank getting his Spell Steal resisted), and some of it was poor execution (not getting Fel Hunters under control, dispelling the Spell Shield before our Mage Tank could steal it).

We took several attempts at Gruul, but to no avail. The closest we got him was 10%.

Why did we have so many new people/alts in the raid?

I know we've been killing Gruul for a couple of weeks now but we were going to do Mag after that, so shouldn't we have brought a better group?

Which leads me to believe that either people were on and declined invites or people were not on. If you are online and are asked to come to a Raid, the answer is Yes, plain and simple.

Trying to gear people up is fine but we didn't do much of that with bosses not dying.

Maybe it's that Tuesday is a bad night and Wednesday works better for our "core" people (which would kind of stink for me, but it is what is, I'll survive).

I'm amazed how we don't seem to have a clue what we really want. Sometimes it just feels like a gathering of random people put together , some pvp , some pve , some hardcore ,some just for fun.

I want to have fun, but for me, most of the fun for me and my raid team is to down new bosses , and you can't do that without 100% dedicated people. We might have 15 of those but I'm not sure we have 25.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Got Some 'Splainin To Do

If you talk to me for any length of time you will undoubtedly hear me talk about ways that Protection Paladins can be improved (buffed).

Some people interpert this as me thinking that Prot Paladins can't do the job.

There is a big difference between thinking a class needs a buff and thinking its broken.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Paladin Threat Cycle

Perhaps I should have entitled this "My Threat Cycle" as this post will only cover what I do to generate threat.

Many of my tools are situational, so each situation is a little different. First you have to think about the basic questions that come up every time you endeavor to top the threat table.

Which Seal? Which Judgement? What Rank of Consecrate?

An as Alliance Paladin, I have two seals to choose from: Seal of Vengeance and Seal of Righteousness.

My preference is going to be Seal of Vengeance, but I have to examine the dynamics of the fight and think about how easy it will be to maintain stacks. If the fight is fairly stationary, and doesn't involve any prolonged time away from the boss, I want to be building and Judging full Seal of Vengeance stacks. Over time, Seal of Vengeance will do more Threat than Seal of Righteousness.

Seal of Righteousness is a better Seal when you need to burst your TPS (generally at the beginning of a fight). With my spell damage (around 300-350 buffed), it takes a 3 stack of Vengeance to get a bigger Judgement than a Judgement of Righteousness. Righteousness is my Seal of choice for all trash fights, and the early part of all Boss fights. It's also the Seal I want up on transition phases that wipe DoTs.

As to what Rank of Consecrate to use, I generally use Max Rank. Instead of having all those ranks on my hotbar, I just have 1 button that gives me two different ranks. Rank 1 if I Control Click it and max rank for a normal click. If I'm running a bit low on Mana, I will just not use Consecrate as it requires a good bit of mana each cast. Consecrate is usually my #1 threat ability in terms of TPS.

There is also the question of which Debuff Judgement I want up on the mob. There are the times I really wish I had Sevenn, our resident Retribution Paladin. With Crusader Strike, he can keep all the Judgement debuffs up at once.

When thinking about Judgements, I just look at what I need most for that fight. Do I need more mana (Judge Wisdom), or Threat (Judge Crusader) or Healing (Judge Light).

As to the cycle of abilities themselves it usually goes like this:

Seal Righteousness.
Open with Avenger's Shield.
Activate Holy Shield.
Judge Righteousness. Reseal.
Consecrate.
Judge Righteousness again. Reseal.
Keep HS and Consecrate going.
When the Judgement timer is up, Seal up the Debuff I want, and Judge. Reseal Vengeance (or Righteousness)
Alternate Holy Shield refresh, Judging/Resealing, and Consecrate.

For Mag specifically, I was able to go with Seal of Vengeance, and I choose to Judge Light on him, as I always had plenty of mana from his incoming damage and I thought it would help ease the load a bit on our healers.

Tanking Magtheridon


Magtheridon has been defeated by my Guild, Mal Katai. I was given the privilege and responsibility of being Main Tank for this fight.

I started the fight out in my max Effective Health gear. All the stamina, block value and armor I could muster. This was my paper doll before our first pull. After a couple of attempts, I decided to make one change.
I swapped out my Battlescar for the Boots of Elusion. My dodge had been under 20%, but with this change, I was able to bump it up to almost 22%. It only cost me about 700hp.

Fully buffed, I was sitting at 21k hit points. We had 5 Paladins in the raid so I was able to get everything except Salvation which I didn't want anyway.

We only had one wipe that I can fully attribute to my class being Paladin rather than Warrior. Holy Shield has a cooldown equal to its duration. That means that even though I'm spamming my Holy Shield button, there is a time equal to my latency (300ms to 500ms) where I am crushable. Mag happened to nail me during one of those windows for an 11k Crush. The healers reacted by queuing up big heals but I was dead before they could land.

The first thing I had to figure out was how I was going to get the Commanding Shout buff. The Warrior in my group was on Channeler#4. I was on Channeler#1. After Channeler#1 was dead, I moved with the DPS to Channeler#2 just long enough to get my Judgement of the Crusader (3% crit) on him. Then I started looking around for Infernals while keeping my eye on the Phase 2 timer.

Basically, I would try to aggro an infernal from range until it could be feared, trapped, or banished.

With 30 seconds to go on the timer, I moved over to Channeler#4 and alerted Raydz that I was in range. He would buff me with Commanding Shout, while tanking his mob, and I went and parked myself under Magtheridon.

With 5 seconds to go on the timer, I would activate Holy Shield, then Consecrate. This way Consecrate would be ticking as soon as Mag was active. Once I got Mag's attention, I would move him to the tanking spot.

We tanked him in between where Channeler#1 and #2 had been. The danger in tanking him near a wall is that you risk your clicker getting bounced into a cleave. If you tank him in the center you run the risk of the tank getting bounced around and Mag cleaving all your melee dps.

The cleave hits me for around 9k, I can't imagine what it would hit the leather users for.

Once I had him positioned, I would back myself up into a wall everytime he did his ground shake, then walk back out once it was over. Other than that wrinkle, it was fairly simple to tank. I just kept up my threat rotation. The fight was much more about whether or not the clickers would stop the blastwave.

The part of the fight that I was most concerned about was the 30% Cave In. At 30%, Mag does a Cave In that hits the entire raid for 6k and stuns everyone. Your healers are stunned and even when they come out, everyone in the raid needs heals.
Most every strat calls for the use of Shield Wall and Last Stand to survive this part. Being a Paladin, I have a hard time finding these abilities on my hot bar.

So what to do. We followed the strat that called for dps to stop at 32% to handle the next blastwave. As soon as that blastwave was done, I popped an Ironshield pot. Shield Wall it is not, but it was still a nice damage reduction. I carefully watched Mag's health. As he hit 30%, I activated my Dawnstone Crab (dodge trinket), and a Nightmare Seed. Not exactly Last Stand, but a decent temporary Hit Point boost. I also used Stoneform which gives extra armor. I figured it couldn't hurt.

We got through the 30% transition and I was never in any real danger of dying.