Since I have been back raiding with my guild, I have taken up a tanking role instead of a DPS role like I was last expansion. I would like to share my experiences as a Guardian from the first two encounters in Throne of Thunder.
This boss didn’t pose much of an issue for our raid, mainly because we have 5 really geared DPS, allowing for some leeway. The debuff placed on tanks (Static Wound) won’t drop off before the tank swap from Thundering Throw. It is important to bank rage while the boss is casting Thundering Throw on the other tank in order to have 1-2 Savage Defense charges ready after the tank swap. I would recommend saving a rage cool down for this as well, either Berserk or Incarnation. With their 3 minute cool downs, one will be available each phase. There is little movement for tanks during the fight, making Feline Swiftness less appealing. I found Wild Charge was good to get back to the boss after being targeted by Thundering Throw.
The Lightning Storm phase requires a number of raid cool downs to cope with the high damage. As a Guardian you have two options depending on which tier 6 talent you have chosen.
Heart of the Wild gives chargers your Tranquility. However you will only be able to use it once and most guilds will encounter at least 3 of these phases. It is best to use it in conjunction with another raid CD. The timing of the spell is an important factor. The phase lasts 15 secs and Tranquility is an 8 second channeled spell. You want to be finished your channel at or before the phase ends, especially if you are tanking the boss first. Being caught out of Bear Form is a recipe for a wipe.
The 5.1 changes to Nature’s Vigil, the cool down being reduced to 1.5 minutes, means that the spell will be off cool down for EACH of these phases. Nature’s Vigil on its own isn’t overly powerful but still noticeable and best used with other raid cool downs. Choosing Nature’s Vigil gives you an extra option in addition to Tranquility (don’t forget about it). Remember that the healing generated by Nature’s Vigil is based of your damage output.
There is only magic damage during this phase so don’t be afraid to push out some Mauls as there should be raid cool downs going on. However, if you see your health dropping too low, switch to Frenzied Regeneration. Glyphing Survival Instincts will reduce the cool down from 3 minutess to 1.5 minutes allowing it to be used for each phase like Nature’s Vigil. Finally I would also recommend applying a Tooth and Claw to the boss at the beginning of phases to reduce damage e.g. coming out of a Lightning Storm phase. The debuff that’s applied to the boss lasts for 15 secs. If you apply it early enough you will generate enough rage to have a Savage Defense ready as well.
Reducing spikey damage intake is important and is what separates a good tank from a bad tank. This is achieved by using cool downs to “smooth out” damage. On Horridon there are several ways to do this. Horridon will always do a Triple Puncture attack after the Double Swipe attack from a charge. Use this time to place a Tooth and Claw on Horridon to reduce the Triple Puncture damage. When your stacks start getting around 3-5 the damage is quite high. Bone Shield from a Symbiosis Death Knight is good for reducing Triple Puncture damage. With its 1 minute cool down, it means you will usually either have it or Barkskin up to deal with it. You can also generate and bank rage by still attacking from the side during Double Swipe to have Savage Defense charges ready.
When tanking the adds don’t forget your utility. As a Guardian you have a 15 sec interrupt. There are adds on every door that can be interrupted. Druids Remove Corruption spell can remove Poison and Curse effects, found on the second and forth doors. You are able cleanse yourself and others if you are not tanking the boss, however timing your cleanse very important as you don’t want to be caught taking damage out of Bear Form. I’ve found the best time to cleanse is between doors or waves of adds. Using Typhoon and/or Ursol’s Vortex are good ways to get adds off you. Ultimately it depends on the DPS of your raid. If you are having trouble with the adds you can Symbiosis a Paladin for Consecration for some extra area of effect damage / threat as well as glyphing Maul, allowing you to cleave an extra target. The small adds from the third door have no aggro table, creating havoc for your raid. Using Ursol’s Vortex can help keeping them under control. This may be difficult if you are the Horridon tank at the time, but as long as you avoid Double Swipe you should be fine.
My final piece of advice is not to forget to use Stampeding Roar. It is really great for moving between doors. Be mindful that you may need to glyph it as some of the doors require your raid to be spread out. Every GCD counts and you want to make the spell worth while.
What are you thoughts on the Throne of Thunder? Have there been any times where you have been asked to go Guardian to the help the raid? Have the bosses been kind to Ferals? You can let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment on the post, sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, following me on twitter @Elamari_ or you can like the File Under Feral Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FileUnderFeral.
<Naenae> Proudmoore, US