Friday, March 6, 2015

Blackrock Tank Trinket Choices

Progression. It is like oxygen to the raid guild. Sometimes progression is taking down a new boss, but sometimes progression takes another form as Dirty Casuals learned on Tuesday night.

The night started on a positive note as a new Hunter, Savvy Mark, joined the raid. I always think of Jack Sparrow when I see his name, savvy? Mark responded to my recruitment post and it was great to have him aboard. I loved that he played the night as Beast Mastery. When I mained my hunter for a while at the beginning of Cataclysm, Beast Mastery was my favorite spec. I really need to go level that guy again. Ah well, one day.

We've anchored ourselves in Blackrock Foundry for a while. The Bosses of Highmaul had begged for mercy. Steel and I took the tanking duties. A one shot of Gruul made for a great start. We headed over to Oregorger already set to four healers. We are getting better about watching how much ore he has already gorged and we moved into position a little faster. The attempt went well. Boxes died, people avoided getting bowling balled for the most part. When he toppled over 2 seconds into enrage, I looked at the screen in stunned silence. Did we really just one-shot Oregorger?

Yes, yes we did.

A quick ride down the elevator brought us to Beast Lord. I use Glyph of Consecration for the fight but it makes Consecration feel quite clunky. I have to cast, then place the graphic on the ground. Steel and I traded off and Beast Lord toppled over without much fuss. Next up was Hans and Franz. Even though we really don't need our Holy Paladin to BoP one of us for the final Suplex, but he still does, mostly because he enjoys killing whichever hunter is slower on his Feign Death button. I wouldn't want to take that fun away from him.

Hans and Frans dropped a tanking ring and the trinket, Table of Turnbuckle Teamwork. We generally don't like to award two pieces of loot from the same boss to one person but Steel didn't need either piece and my other ring was a tank ring so I got them both.

4 bosses, 4 one-shots. Next up was Flamebender. We had a couple of people new to the fight and we had our first wipe of the night. It seems that as the fight wears on, I get further and further back toward the little fire pool thing in her room. It makes positioning tough for melee, plays havoc with out cameras and actually led to the line of sight errors on taunts I got last week. We made a concerted effort to move her back to the original starting position after each Firestorm AoE phase and that helped everyone with positioning.

In one night, we managed to down all of the bosses we previously killed. That leaves Thursday wide open to work on Kromog and/or Operator Thogar.

I now have to decide between the three trinkets I have: Tablet of Turnbuckle Teamwork, Heroic Pillar of Earth, and Stage 2 Knight's Badge.

Trinkets are not as straightforward as other item comparisons. You've got Mastery with a Bonus Armor on use (Tablet), Static stamina, versatility, and Bonus Armor (Pillar) and Bonus Armor with a Critical Strike (Parry) proc.

I asked Rhidach on Twitter


While the Badge has more Bonus Armor, would the static Stamina and Versatility on the Pillar make up for that? The crit on the Badge becomes Parry and while that is nice, wouldn't the Stamina and Vers give better TMI? The other angle is I only have the Stage 2 Badge so I'd have to use my bloods (thank you Ore Trader) to upgrade the Badge to Stage 3.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

6.1 First Raids

Sometimes you'll hear a commentator on a baseball talking about how the starting pitcher just doesn't "have their stuff" on a particular day. It must be weird being a profession baseball pitcher and knowing some days you will just not have it.

That's sort of how I felt on raid night. I just didn't have it. I don't know if I was tired or what and I was having a little bit of lag. My ping was around 230ms where usually its sub 100ms. That extra quarter second delay made everything feel off. I thought that maybe the lag was caused by the new patch and I turned off as many addons as I could spare as well as the new Twitter integration. That seemed to help a little bit.

There wasn't any discussion this time, I simply showed up Prot spec and we went to town. Gruul went down fairly quickly without any heroics needed. We banged our head on Oregorger for a bit. People were really starting to get frustrated. The positioning is so key, especially as everyone regroups from the rolling phase. If you get one DPS hanging out by himself, you just know Oregorger is going to Acid Torrent him and it will be nighty night for the raid. Our Boomkin switched over to Resto and we 4 healed it. He was dead the next pull.

Oregorger dropped the plate shoulders which I had chosen as my 'wish list' item. Each week, we can designate one piece of loot as a 'wish list' item. If the wish list item drops, it goes to the person that person. It's an interesting decision each week and its gotten even more interesting since I've been tanking. Originally, I wished listed weapons, rings, necks and trinkets. These were items I thought would be in high competition. Then when I started tanking, I wasn't sure which weapons, rings, necks and trinkets to be targeting (tank or DPS) so I switched to armor for my wish list. Those pieces would work for either spec. Oregorger's shoulders were about a 25 item level jump from my 640 LFR ones. Helm, cloak, shield and my Ret two hander are my only sub 655 items left.

We had a nice one shot of Beast Lord but we actually had a couple of wipes on Hanz and Franz as we got used to handling Suplex ourselves. I kept looking for the animation of being picked up, but only one tank gets picked up so a couple of times I didn't use my cooldowns and died.

All four bosses we killed had a chance to drop a cape I could use but none of them gave one up. This is reminding me of my Devilshark Cape saga. Before the next raid, I went out and bought the Apexis Crystal cape and upgraded it to 645 to replace the 630 blue I had been running around with. Now one will drop for sure!

The next raid night Gore couldn't make it so Steel stepped up to tank along with me. We started on Flamebender. We had a couple of new people in the raid and it took us a couple of attempts but we got her down without too much fuss. She actually dropped the Tier token but I passed for our Holy Paladin. While I do have 670 chest, our Holy Paladin has been with the raid team longer than I have and I felt like he should get the first token.

Speaking of the pantsless wonder*, we opted to try him next. To me, he looked like an easier fight than Thogar. Steel and I seemed to be having problems juggling the debuff. One of us would get a third stack while the other one still had 30 seconds or more to go on his stacks. I had been doing a Stupid Paladin Trick to avoid the 'hands' phase. I wondered if that was confusing Kromog and messing up the debuff application, but even after doing the fight 'properly', one of us got to three stacks.

I started doing some research around the web including talking to one of my frequent commentators, Michael Green. The consensus seems to be we are going to get three stacks sometimes. Michael had a good suggestion of having the first tank only take one stack and I think we should try that.

This makes the second week I've spent the entire raid in Tank spec. It feels great to be a tank again.

*If you fall off the edge of the Kromag's platform, you will see that he is not, in fact, wearing any pants.

Monday, March 2, 2015

US Hyjal [H] - Dirty Casuals - 5/10N T/Th/Sa

The Dirty Casual Nation

INFO: We are an Adult GAMING GROUP (18 and up) that is currently recruiting for our Warcraft Branch on Hyjal US Horde Side AND our Twink Guild on Burning Blade Alliance! We play multiple games together, have a closed facebook page, and are currently progressive raiding Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 9:30pm EST.

CONTACT INFO: For More information and easy contact info Tweet us @TDCasuals or go to www.TheDirtyCasuals.com

Contact EsmeraldaSky, Kreelix, Byjaxx, Tachinori In game on Hyjal US HORDE for more info! 

Apply quickly on the forums to join the gaming group 
WHISPER any Guild Member for an invite!

WHO ARE WE?

We are a gaming group for DIRTY CASUALS! (or dirty casuals disguised as hard-core's or hard-cores disguised as dirty casuals....)

WHAT DO WE VALUE?

A sense of humor. A sense of community. Gaming with like minded people!

RECRUITING:

Guild : " DIRTY CASUALS NATION" US, Hyjal Horde Progressive Raid Team : We are looking for DPS with a MIN 640 Item level for our progressive raid team that runs 3 nights a week T, Th, Sat at 9:30 pm We usually go for 2 to 2.5 hours. We have new players, returning players, and current players with raiding knowledge filling our ranks on Hyjal and across many servers!

ALL PLAY STYLES WELCOME

Burning Crusde Legacy "TWINK" Guild "Little Dirtys" US, Burning Blade Alliance

We are currently running our twinks as a group every friday night @ 11 pm EST and setting a level cap each week so that by Friday we can all roll together! Adult Beverages welcomed! This is a great way to end the week! Come join us!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Tankadin Glyphs and Talents for Blackrock Foundry (Part 1)

This post will cover Gruul, Oregorger, Hans'gor and Franz'gar, Beast Lord Darmac, and Flamebender Kagraz. I'll do another on the other bosses once I get some more experience with them. This is based upon my experiences in Normal Blackrock Foundry. If there's stuff on higher difficulties that would alter the choices I've made here let me know in the comments and I'll edit the entry (and credit you). If you think there are better choices, let me know and we can discuss it. I'm always ready to learn.

I also wanted to address the idea of 'its Normal mode, do whatever you want.' We all have our own experiences and its easy to think that our experience is the typical one. It leads to comments like the one I saw on Twitter recently "Oh the ilvl 645 and lower things? Do they even matter?" Yes, they do matter. Plenty of people are still LFR 640 geared or worse and the 645 tokens represent a small or maybe even a large upgrade. In the same way, there are real players in real guilds doing progression in Normal Blackrock Foundry. The choices their players make matter and affect the outcome of fights they are doing.

Universal choices for Talents:

Speed of Light, Fist of Justice, Sacred Shield

I've also made Unbreakable Spirit the choice for each of these fights. None of them really has a strong DoT component for Hand of Purity to shine nor are there any mechanics we can overcome for our raid by abusing a double Hand of Protection/Freedom from Clemency.

Gruul

Tankadin Tips and Tricks:

You can solo soak an Inferno Slash with Ardent Defender. You can solo soak a second slash if you use the old Burning Crusade Bubble Taunt Remove Bubble. It clears your debuffs as well. If you've never done the Bubble Taunt trick before you may need a pull to practice it.

Here's a macro for it:

#showtooltip Divine Shield
/stopcasting /cancelaura Divine Shield
/cast Divine Shield
/cast Hand of Reckoning

Talents and Glyphs:

Focused Shield, Consecrator, Divine Protection
Unbreakable Spirit, Sanctified Wrath, Execution Sentence, Holy Shield

The DoT left by Inferno Slice is ideal for Holy Shield procs. The DoT isn't so dangerous as to indicate Hand of Purity but its an option if the DoT becomes problematic on higher difficulties.

Oregorger

Tankadin Tips and Tricks:

Save up 5 Holy Power for each time you have to soak Acid Torrent. As he is casting, you cast Shield of the Righteous, then Judgement, and then another Shield of the Righteous. This will give you a nice damage reduction for Acid Torrent in addition to whatever cooldown you are using. I like to start with Divine Protection since early on in the fight is when our healers can recover the easiest. If you can stack Glyphed Divine Protection with the 5 Holy Power Shield of the Righteous and an external cooldown, you can almost eliminate the damage. Save Hand of Sacrifice for your cotank if he gets to a spot where he doesn't have a cooldown ready.

Talents and Glyphs:

Focused Shield, Final Wrath, Divine Protection - I like Final Wrath to help finish off a box and by not using Consecrator I can drop a Consecration on a box and move away. Consecration will continue to tick and do damage.

Unbreakable Spirit, Execution Sentence, Holy Avenger, Seraphim or Empowered Seals

Because of the rolling phase, you lose a ton of Holy Shield procs. The fight seems ideal for Empowered Seals. Drop in Insight when you are tanking and soaking an Acid Torent and switch to Righteousness for when you cotank has him and the boxes. Holy Avenger can be a sort of extra cooldown if you have to soak an Acid Torrent and don't have something off cooldown.

Hans'gar and Franz'gor

Tankadin Tips and Tricks:

Save Ardent Defender for the final Suplex. It's the most dangerous and Ardent Defender guarantees you will not die.

Talents and Glyphs:

Divine Protection, Consecrator, Double Jeopardy
Unbreakable Spirit, Divine Purpose, Execution Sentence, Empowered Seals

If you can cycle between the two bosses when both are down Double Jeopardy is a nice DPS gain.

You have to move so much that having Consecrator helps. You Consecration moves with you and always ticks. You spend a lot of time in this fight either running around or with only one boss down. When you actively tanking, be in Insight and if you aren't actively tanking drop into Righteousness.

UPDATE: As JalmĂȘ the Kingslayer, correctly points out, if you run Empowered Seals, you should have both buffs always up.

Beast Lord Darmac

Tankadin Tips and Tricks:

You can leave a Glyph of Consecration ticking right by the door where the animals come out. A 5 target Avenger's Shield will pick up most of the beast.

Talents and Glyphs:

Consecration, Final Wrath, Divine Protection
Unbreakable Spirit, Sanctified Wrath, Light's Hammer, Holy Shield,

Holy Shield really shines when you AoE tank the beasts. Holy Wrath buffed by Sanctified Wrath is nice for snap aggro on the packs. Final Wrath gets more use because the beasts will be in Final Wrath range often when Holy Wrath comes off cooldown. I also like Final Wrath in general to push out that last bit of execute range DPS that might just turn a 1% wipe into a kill. Be sure you don't have the Focus Shield Glyph because you really want Avenger's Shield to hit as many beasts as you can.


Flamebender Ka'graz

Tankadin Tips and Tricks:

You've got to be spot on the tanks swaps for the Cinder Wolves and on the initial pickup of the Overheated Cinder Wolf which can be complicated by the Summoned Enchanted Armaments.  Use Ardent Defender if you think there aren't enough people to soak the Molten Torrent meteor when it comes to melee. You can help the healers Cleanse any Singe debuffs players (including yourself) might have. You can Bubble Taunt off the Charring Breaths debuffs if they have gotten too high. Just be careful of your timing so you don't get anyone else (especially the other tank) breathed on while you remove your debuffs. You can toss a Hammer of Wrath to help finish off a Cinder Wolf that is low and needs to die before Rekindle or Firestorm is cast.

Talents and Glyphs:

Consecrator, Focused Shield, Divine Protection
Unbreakable Spirit, Sanctified Wrath, Light's Hammer, Holy Shield

Between the boss and the dogs you are pretty much always tanking. The only respite is when she does her Firestorm. Light's Hammer will be up for every one of them. It can really relieve some stress on your healers as a health buffer to everyone who groups up.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Flame on

We decided to continue our efforts in Blackrock Foundry. Our officers want everyone to hit the threshold of 15 bosses so that when the new Blackrock Foundry Garrison missions come out, we will be able to get Heroic gear from them. I'm not sure if its 15 or 21. Highmaul had 14 bosses and that's where people are getting the 15. I don't know if its higher because BRF has more bosses.

When I got invited to the raid, the game labeled me as a Tank since I was in my Prot spec. I typically run around with my Prot spec on. It's my favorite spec and if I'm not in a raid or heading out to do a daily or something, it doesn't matter what spec I'm in. In addition, having the shield on my back gives me one more open bag space.

I wonder how it works with Gladiator Warriors. I guess it is smart enough to know they are in Gladiator stance and label them correctly.

I saw that both of our regular tanks, who I will call Mr. G and Mr. S, were on and in the raid so as soon as I landed, I switched my spec and my gear over to Ret. I made sure we still had people at the stone to summon and zoned into the instance. As we gathered up for the first trash pull, our raid leader asked everyone if I should tank and have Mr. S go DPS. Although he had never been DPS in a raid with me (I always saw him tanking), he had a reputation in the guild for being a very good DPS player.

I basically recused myself from the discussion. I wanted them to pick me, but I didn't feel it would be right for me to say anything. This had to be their decision.

I don't recall there being much actual discussion. It was as if everyone pretty much shrugged their shoulders. Next thing I know, Mr. S has switched to DPS (Fury I think) and I frantically switched over to Prot before Mr. G could begin the pulls. Just like the previous raid, I hung back and let Mr.G set the pace and picked up anything I could. We had already killed Hanz and Franz, Gruul, and Oregorger so our next target would be Beast Lord.

I was a little nervous about handling the adds on Beast Lord. Paladins don't have a spell like Black Ox Statue or Mocking Banner. I talked to @Rhidach on Twitter and he confirmed my thought that Glyphed Consecrate was the way to go. The Glyph lets Consecrate be placed anywhere within 20 yards sort of like Death and Decay. In addition to Consecrate, if we don't glyph Focused Shield, we have a five target Avenger's Shield. As an added snap aggro tool, I speced into Sanctified Wrath.

The pulls didn't start out great. The first couple of times Beast Lord did Rend and Tear, I tried to move, forgetting that now I was tanking and he would be landing back on me regardless. That put a bleed on a couple of our melee, but I was lucky in that our healers were able to heal through it. We managed to push him all the way to final chimera stage but two of our healers got pinned and we ended up wiping.

We pulled again and got a couple of great breaths when we went into the chimera stage. He literally turned and breathed into a wall. Between that and our ranged doing better dodging spears, we put the Beast Lord down. Glyphed Consecrate, Avenger's Shield and Sanctified Wrath did a great job picking up the adds.


Everything else in Blackrock was progression. We had made some previous attempts on Flamebender so the officers decided she would be our next target. I was going to keep tanking until someone told me to switch to DPS.

At one point clearing Flamebender's trash, we overpulled and got two groups. My old Paladin instincts kicked in. When in doubt, round them up and Consecrate. That worked great until they started disorienting me. If I wanted to be CC'ed that much, I'd PVP and you know I don't PVP. Mr. G found that if we kited a little bit we didn't get disoriented. Still the pull wasn't looking great, in fact, one of our hunters started scouting out a good place to feign, but our healers were fantastic and we made it through without wiping. Just to prove it was no fluke, we accidentally double pulled the next group as well.

That certainly got the heartrate going. We got into position to start working on Flamebender again. Our major problem was the dogs. People would kite the fire chains through the raid or the dogs wouldn't die together. I also had some problems with my taunts. One time I hit my Sacred Shield keybind (shift+5) instead of my Reckoning keybind (shift+4). Another time, I got a line of site error when I tried to taunt Flamebender which made no sense to me. A couple of times ranged would blow us up with the meteor. I did my best to tank my dog near the boss for so melee could get some cleaves in but my main goal was keeping him pointed away so nobody but me got breathed on.

The most infuriating part of the fight to me was the spinning weapons she calls. One attempt, every single one of them appeared in melee. It felt a bit like the old Prince Malchezar fight from Karazhan. Sometimes we get good weapon placements (Infernal drops) and sometimes we get bad ones. Somewhere around the 4th or 5th pull, we starting making major progression. We went from wiping at 70% to wiping at 50% and getting through two puppy phases. When we had a 7% wipe, we knew we had it. But the next attempt was more a regression (a 60% wipe) than progression.

We were getting short on time.

We buckled down and pulled. Kiters kited. We got great weapon placement. Dogs went down. We knew we had to survive one more dog phase, and I dropped the Light's Hammer to help get us through the AoE. It was all mop up from there.


The Dirty Casuals had their 5th boss kill in Normal Blackrock Foundry. Between drops and bonus rolls I think about 3 or 4 of our team got their first Tier 17 piece. This would not include me. The tier piece wasn't Paladin and my bonus roll was gold. He also dropped a neck. It had bonus armor which meant tanks and Glad Warriors only.

I was a bit torn. Our loot council addon has each player roll MainSpec, Offspec, Minor Upgrade or Pass on each piece of loot. But was I now Main spec on Tanking gear or still offspec? I had spent the better part of the last two raids in Prot spec. I had been the tank for our last two progression kills (Oregorger and now Flamebender). I basically passed the buck, rolled Need/Main Spec and left it up to the Loot Council. If I messed up, they could simply tell me I should still roll offspec on tanking gear.

They awarded the drop to me. Of course, I had just put a 50 mastery gem in my old neck. That's the way it works. I know I'll have my blue 630 cape until I buy the Apexis one or spend the 10k gold for a 655 BoE off the AH! Then one will drop for sure.

We had a couple of minutes so we decided to go look at Kromog. He reminds me of Kologran from Ulduar.


It will be interesting to see what happens next raid. For now, I'm just trying to enjoy every minute I get to be a tank for this group.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Called Up

Update: Dr. Theck has published his "How to Prot in 6.1". It's fantastic and well worth the read. I'll do a summary post on it tomorrow.

When I logged on Tuesday night, I got a Facebook notification from the guild. Our guild communicates mostly through a closed Facebook group. We do have public facing website with forums but they aren't used nearly to the extent the Facebook group is. While I resisted the idea at first, I really like the Facebook group as a way of communicating within the guild especially one like ours that spans many games. You see people's real names, real faces and often their profile pictures contain family members. It helps translate our fellow guild mates from pixels to people. The only problem is learning to connect the real person to their in game persona. I usually tag my posts with 'Honors' so people know who I am.

Its also great for those times when players change their focus. One of our DPS Warriors really got into Secret World recently. Not only does the Facebook group give us a way to keep in touch but other guild members can join him in Secret World as well. Our guild can and does exist across the pixel boundaries between games. We even have a Boom Beach group.


The notification was for a post from one of our two main tanks stating he wouldn't be able to make it but that he had every confidence in me and other usual tank to carry the night.

Game on.

We started with Hanz and Franz. I was nervous about the stamping phase. In our attempts on Hanz and Franz, I've survived one of four attempts. The one I did survive was our kill. Now the stakes would be raised. Its one thing to die as a melee DPS. It's a whole 'nother ball of wax to die as a tank. I also wouldn't have the luxury of popping my Divine Shield if I got into trouble because that would mean dropping threat and killing one of our poor hunters.

I don't know what it is about tanking with me. It's the same basic thing as melee DPS. Do your rotation. Avoid the bad. But when I'm tanking, I'm more focused and I feel like I react faster. It's weird. I survived the first stamping phase with only one close call. When it came time to Suplex I mashed my Ardent Defender button, but nothing happened. I vaguely remember reading about a bug where tanks couldn't use their cool downs while Suplexed. Luckily the Holy Paladin threw a BoP on me and I survived. We did one more stamping phase and that was all it took.


Next up we went over to my old pal Gruul. This was my first time handling the Inferno Slash and the very first one I didn't react quickly enough to and I went squish like a grape. We regrouped and tried again. I did better on the next attempt but the group got a little spread out on one of the Inferno Slashes and I went squish again. The next attempt the same thing happened to my cotank. I managed to hang on for a while and then I used one of my Stupid Paladin tricks. As Gruul wound up his Inferno Slash, I hit Ardent Defender. Inferno Slash 'killed' me and AD brought me back with the heal. I love being a Paladin. I was ready with the old Burning Crusade Bubble Taunt click off Bubble trick to clear my stacks for the next Inferno Slash but we managed to kill him before I needed that.



Did I mention I love being a Paladin?

We had a little time left and we thought about knocking over Beast Lord but a hotfix had been rolled out that nerfed Oregorger and we thought we might give him a try. We cleared the trash over to him. For each Acid Torrent, I would cycle through Glyphed Divine Protection, Ardent Defender and Guardian of Ancient Kings. I also made sure that I had a 5 Holy Power Shield of Righteousness ready to go.

We made several attempts and it was pretty clear that the rolling damage had been nerfed. We survived that phase much easier. Our major problem was getting back in position after the rolling phase. The tanks have to be between Oregorger and the ranged. Oregorger Tank Ranged - good. Tank Oregorger Ranged - bad. It doesn't matter if the tank is the closest person to Oregorger. The Acid Torent projectile is fired at Ranged. Oregorger will literally turn around to fire it. If you aren't between it and the Ranged, it will hit them unmitigated and the splash will fairly well wipe you.

We kept making progress each attempt. 60%, then 50% then 35%. Then we started reaching enrage. That's always the first hurdle in learning a tough boss. That meant we were surviving, we just had to concentrate on upping the DPS. We had a heartbreaking 7% attempt.

We debated going over to BeastLord to finish on a high note but we were so close, we wanted this overgrown bowling ball dead. The next attempt was a 'last attempt of the night'. People were fading fast. We poured everything had into him. He was low but we were only seconds from enrage. I got ready to do the bubble Hammer of Wrath and hope they didn't code his enrage to bypass bubble.

But with milliseconds to go, Oregorger keeled over. The Dirty Cs had given him a permanent dirt nap. Well permanent until reset. But still. He be dead. I haven't had a boss that felt so satisfying to kill in a long, long time. Nerf or no nerf.



It felt great to be tanking again. I'll have to send our regular MT a thank you note for giving me the opportunity.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Flamebender and Tanking

I noticed that one of our regular tanks wasn't online yet. When we reached start time, he was still no where to be seen. We had our full group ready to go except for this one player. I thought about how I should handle it. I feel like I handled myself poorly in Dominion and I wanted to be more mature and generally handle myself better this time around. The night of my interview with the Dirty Casuals, I didn't know voices yet and since I was multitasking in game I didn't have Team Speak up to see who was talking, I didn't know if our raid leader had been part of that interview where they asked me what I wanted to do for an offset and I got to express my preference for Prot over Holy (or Ret to be honest).

I decided to whisper the raid leader what my Tanking gear iLevel was (655) and told him I was ready if they needed me. I figured that was the best way of making myself available without it seemingly like I was politicking for a tank spot. He could opt to use me or decide to wait or decide to go with someone else. At least he knew I was an option.

After a few more minutes, the raid leader says we'll start clearing trash and asks me to switch to my Prot spec. We proceeded to clear trash with little difficulty. I let the other usual main tank Warrior initiate pulls and grabbed what I could.

We cleared all the way up to Flamebender and started assessing the strategy when the other main tank logged on. We didn't have a Warlock in the group so he started flying out to Iron Docks. The raid leader asked if any of the three us would prefer to go DPS for the night. When they didn't express an interest in going DPS I went back to Ret. These two are the regular main tanks for the raid. It was fun to put the shield back on again and I felt like I helped out the raid by getting the trash cleared while we waited for the second main tank to log on.

Now it was time to get down to killing Internet Orcs.

There's a fiery theme to Blackrock Foundry and Flamebender, as her name might imply, keeps up with that theme well. The fight seems fairly straight forward. Flamebender shoots fire trails out that hurt, and there's a meteor type mechanic that ranged players handle by running to melee. The big thing seems to be the Cinder Wolves. He summons two of them. One fixates on a target and the other get big and breathes fire. The big guy needs a tank and the little guy needs to be kited. After a while the two Wolves trade roles and they both have to die before Flamebender goes into his AoE mode.

We made several solid attempts but the Cinder Wolves weren't dying fast enough. Originally, we only had Ranged on the wolves thinking melee would lose too much chasing them around. We decided to have melee work on the wolf being tanked and Ranged to work on the one being kited. That helped but we were still killing the wolves with seconds to spare before the AoE phase.

Flamebender prevailed this night, but as Hans'gar and Franz'gor might say, we'll be back!