The Tank is Dead, Now What?

Morynne —  January 6, 2011 — 6 Comments

It’s story time!

Over the last couple days I’ve been very sick, so about the only thing I could do was sit at my computer and play WoW, so I’ve been focusing on getting into more heroics.  By the way, the state of PUGging is terrible right now, and I’ll likely have a bigger opinion on that later.

Last night, I ran a Heroic: Shadowfang Keep.  We were having some issues, not from a DPS perspective, certainly not from a healing perspective, but just a “tank staying alive” issue whether it be from cool downs missed or just bad handling of the fight mechanics.  To be honest, we went through three tanks in this one instance, evidently tanks are having a chronic disconnection issue on my battlegroup.  The group was as follows:

  • Survival Hunter (me, and running with my wolf or cat for the instance)
  • Resto Shaman (my husband)
  • Druid Tank
  • Boomkin
  • Rogue

Now why the boomkin never used his battle rez, I’ll never know.  The tank was dying nearly every boss fight with less than 10% to go.  I was bound and determined to finish this instance, so I wanted to see that boss go down.  So what’s a resourceful hunter to do?

In that “OH NO” moment, I somehow managed to think enough to turn on growl, quickly distracting shot, MD to my pet and kite the boss until my pet took aggro.  Then the boomkin died.  Then the rogue died.  Me and the healer. “Heal my pet!” I tell my husband.  He does.  Healing rain is pretty amazing.  We manage to down the boss.  Not just for one fight, but I did it three times in the same heroic.  Before we start analyzing what the tank wasn’t doing (or not doing enough), why the Balance druid didn’t use their battle rez, or the rogue didn’t potion, the point I’m trying to prove is a resourceful hunter should be able to step in and save a boss kill on a 5-man fight.

So in that case where you’re looking at a wipe, or do it yourself, why not just save the day?

Here’s some things you can do to save a boss fight:

  1. If you have enough time (like have a DK or another melee dps that can take a little bit of damage) dismiss your Ferocity pet and grab your Tenacity pet.  The whole process is quick, just have to be able to think on your feet.
  2. Turn on Growl, and quickly Misdirect to your pet.  Glyphing for Misdirection in this situation is a winner, because it lets you chain MD to your pet.
  3. Make sure you tell your healer to heal your pet! A lot of healers downright won’t heal pets.  If they don’t know you’re trying to tank this, they might not, and you’ll still wipe.
  4. Don’t forget the importance of kiting.  If you have to, frost trap and kite until your pet takes threat.
  5. Blow your cooldowns! (Rapid Fire, trinkets, etc.)  If you’ve got the “umph” to do more DPS, now is the time.  Your pet likely won’t stay up very long.

The more you use these tactics, the more you’ll be comfortable to step in and save a fight — keep in mind, there is a point of no return.  There is a point where there’s just no more mana to heal with, no more pots to burn, and no way to rez your pet.  If you do get into that situation, if you try to save the fight, at least you’ll know you gave it everything.

Good luck!


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Morynne is an avid hunter, and prefers Marksmanship. She has co-hosted the Hunting Party Podcast, and appeared on the Twisted Nether Blogcast. For more information, click here.

6 responses to The Tank is Dead, Now What?

  1. It's amazing that you posted on this. I have been experiencing the exact same issue of "squishy" tanks for a while now. It's come to the point that I observe the first trash pull or so and then often switch to BM and pull out my turtle ( Harry) for the rest of the instance. I would estimate that for 25 to 30% of the bosses, the tank goes down, I pop growl, BR, intimidation, kill command, thunderstomp etc and tank the boss. So far Harry is doing fine and I generally have no issue getting agg or having enough time to ask the healer to heal Harry along with me. It's a very strange situation.

    • I haven't been running with a BM offspec, otherwise I would. I just grabbed a little bit heartier pet, so Ferocity vs my typical Cunning pet. I can honestly say that being able to save a group and trudge through a dungeon without fully relying on the tank feels good.

  2. I've had the same issues with tanks in some 5mans. Instead of tanking with the pet however I will distracting shot and deterance tank when the actual tank is lwo on health to give the heals a chance to top off or get ahead of the damage on the tank. One thing that you have to do for this is to let the tank know whats going on or they will prolly taunt back out of reflex.

    • That will also work. I tend to like to let my pet tank though, and this was written assuming the tank is already dead and all battle-rez abilities have been used. That "last ditch effort"

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