High DPS Tanking – Heroic Alysrazor
Heroic Alysrazor is hands down my favorite fight of the tier. Not only does it test all sorts of tank skills like good positioning, awareness and cooldown use, but the tank also has to put out a high amount of DPS at the same time. For any tankadins struggling with this fight, hopefully this blog article will help you out a bit!
What to Wear
The Voracious Hatchlings are level 87, and so you need 6% Hit and 24 Expertise to be completely capped against them. It is very important that you reach these caps so that you have a reliable steady DPS output.
I strongly recommend wearing 2pc T12 if you have it, as that set bonus provides an enormous boost to your DPS. Other pieces of gear that are worthwhile are 2pc T11 and the PvP gloves. I wear the T11 helm and chest, the T12 shoulders and legs, and the PvP gloves. Whether or not to drop T11 depends on the item level gap with the pieces you are replacing. If the delta is just 372->378 then keep using T11. If you have two 391 pieces though, then it’s more of a wash. Similarly if you would be using 359 and have 378 pieces available, you could probably just ditch T11 at that point and go up to 378. This will only be a gain though if you can get a big ilvl jump for both pieces. Just one and T11 will definitely still win.
This is a ways off for most tankadins obviously, but eventually you will want to replace 2pc T11 with 2pc T12 Ret. Again I would recommend the Ret helm and the chest, since they provide both Hit and Expertise, and they will easily outperform any 391 pieces you could get in those slots even at the 378 ilvl.
For trinkets, the Heart of Rage is huge because it will get you the Expertise you need to cap. I do not recommend using License to Slay. The stats on License to Slay are likely going to be wasted (you’ll already have the Hit and Expertise you need), and in addition having to try to keep the Slayer stacks from falling off will actually cause you to proc Rageheart at bad times. These two trinkets don’t have good synergy on this fight.
You should be shooting for about 180k health unbuffed and somewhere in the vicinity of 4000 Strength unbuffed. These stats combined with 2pc T12 should be more than enough to take down your bird in time.
You have to deal with three birds per phase on Heroic. It’s very important not to waste your DPS on Alysrazor at the start or on the first set of Initiates that land. If you hit Alysrazor with any melee attacks, you will proc Rageheart off your trinket and completely waste it. If you want to use Judgement or Avenger’s Shield that’s fine, but don’t use any melee attacks. This applies to Initiates as well that spawn in between birds one/two and birds two/three.
Divine Plea can be up for the first bird and the third bird, so use it right before those birds hatch to get three Holy Power. I usually just pop Inquisition right before the bird hatches, although sometimes I’ll use Judgement or Avenger’s Shield on the Initiate while waiting to fish for a Sacred Duty proc that will let me use a Shield of the Righteous right up front. I don’t think it matters all that much as long as you take advantage of the three Holy Power at the start.
Like Divine Plea, Avenging Wrath can be used on the first bird and the third bird of each phase. Do not use Avenging Wrath right as the hatchlings spawn. With zero Vengeance you’ll just be wasting it. Wait until your Vengeance has spiked somewhat (or until you estimate that the bird has only 20 seconds to live). I highly recommend installing a Vengeance monitoring add-on so that you can see when your Vengeance gets to decent enough levels to make popping Avenging Wrath worthwhile. An exception where you may want to pop Avenging Wrath earlier is the fourth bird, since the timeline is truncated on that bird. More on that in a bit.
Make sure that debuffs are up on your hatchling. The most important debuffs to have up are Faerie Fire/Sunder Armor and Curse of Elements. Have that coordinated in advance to make sure both hatchlings are receiving those debuffs. Remember that there are three birds per phase, so make sure these debuffs are being applied for each bird that spawns.
The Fourth Bird
The fourth bird poses an interesting challenge. The Firestorm on the fourth bird comes about 10 seconds faster, so try not to get caught off guard here. It’s possible your bird will still be alive at the time the Firestorm comes for the fourth bird. Try to save major CDs for if you have run to a meteor while the bird is throwing a Tantrum. I typically use a potion on this bird, since it’s the one that needs to die the fastest. You should have Avenging Wrath and Divine Plea for this bird as well.
E-peen and World of Logs
One thing you may be confused by (I know I was at first) is that you keep gearing up, you get your two piece, you come back week after week, and your DPS numbers according to World of Logs actually go down! At first I was scratching my head trying to figure out why, although my birds were dying faster, I could never beat the parse I got on my initial kill.
The reason for this is pretty obvious, but only once you stop and think about it. World of Logs measures parses according to your effective DPS. This is basically your DPS over the course of the entire fight, including all the dead time. Although there are times where you do 200-300k DPS on the birds, there are also times where you’re doing no DPS at all.
As long as you’re killing your bird before the next one spawns, your effective DPS is unchanged. A tank that kills his bird in 30 seconds and then stands around for 20 seconds does the same effective DPS as a tank that kills his bird in 50 seconds. The former is obviously much better for the tank in terms of survivability (less opportunity for Tantrums), but from an effective DPS perspective nothing has changed.
So then what produces the variance on World of Logs if any tanks that kill their birds before the next one spawns have the same effective DPS? The answer is pretty simple. Your performance level on Alysazor is measured entirely by how much damage other members of your raid do to the birds. In other words if you do 80% of the damage to your birds, you can expect to get about 85k DPS(e) on the fight. If you do 87% of the damage to your birds, that number will shoot up to about 95k DPS(e). The more your raid helps you kill those birds (which is obviously a good thing), the lower your DPS(e) will actually be.
It’s a bit of a contradiction that the one fight in the tier that should have been about DPS e-peen is set up in such a way that better performance isn’t reflected in rankings. The best way to measure your performance on this fight, therefore, is simply to look at how long your birds are taking to die rather than at DPS numbers.
I imagine we will eventually see goofy parses where tanks solo the hatchlings with no help from the rest of the raid, but for now that’s a pretty stupid thing to do. :)