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High DPS Tanking – Maloriak

June 9, 2011

"Stop trying to tank me and tank me!"

Maloriak is a fun fight to DPS, since you can put out an amazing amount of hurt on the Vile Swill with Vengeance fully stacked. On this fight you do the most DPS when tanking the Vile Swills and Aberrations with Debilitating Slime up, and so you should glyph Hammer of the Righteous and unglyph Focused Shield.

There are four different possible targets on this fight. Maloriak, Vile Swills, Aberrations and Prime Subjects. Your goal for maximizing DPS should be to tank the correct target in a given phase that will both maximize your own Vengeance and also maximize your personal DPS. Let’s analyze each phase of the fight in order to see what target you should be on at each step.

I’m going to focus on the 25 Heroic strategy when describing this fight, but most of the principles should carry over to 10-man. The ability to use three tanks on 25-man helps immensely if going either for an overall raid speed kill or for your own personal parse. I do not recommend using only two tanks on 25-man Heroic.

The Pull

When you begin the fight, you get some free time on Maloriak before he unleashes the Vile Swill. You obviously want to be tanking during this period, since you get Vengeance and will do more damage while under the effects of your pre-pull potion. If Maloriak tries to Release Aberrations, let the cast go through and have another tank pick them up.

Before Maloriak goes to the cauldron to begin the black phase, your co-tank needs to taunt him. This is very important, since Maloriak will go taunt immune. Make absolutely sure Maloriak is off you by the time the Vile Swill start spawning.

The Black Phase

You want to tank the Vile Swill during the Black Phase. Note that by tanking Maloriak on the pull, you have a nice chunk of Vengeance, and this actually makes Vile Swill pickup easier. If your raid leader balks at the idea of a tank swap before the black phase, point this fact out.

Ideally you will also have three Aberrations moving with the swill. In 25 Heroic, you should be using three tanks, and you can let the third tank handle the Aberrations to help reduce your incoming damage. You’ll still have Vengeance maxed out just from being hit by the Vile Swills.

It is very important that the Vile Swills not be slowed. If any of them lag behind the pack, then your Hammer of the Righteous might not be hitting all the targets. With such a small number of targets, this is a great example of a pack where Shield of the Righteous can and should be used if you can weave it in with minimal Inquisition downtime. Make sure your target has enough health to eat the full Shield damage though. You should also pay attention when targets are low and use Hammer of Wrath instead of other weaker fillers like Judgement or Holy Wrath.

If you are not Hit/Expertise capped, consider using Hammer on the Aberrations. Since they are level 87, you don’t need as much Expertise for your primary Hammer attack to connect. Your primary hit will obviously do more damage on a Vile Swill, so it’s better to target a Swill if you *are* Hit/Exp capped against level 88 mobs.

The Red and Blue Phases

After all of the Vile Swill have died, wait until the black phase ends and then taunt Maloriak. You will tank him for the entirety of the red and blue phases. Even though Aberrations supply decent Vengeance, they have a buff called Growth Catalyst that reduces the damage they take by 20% for each nearby Aberration. This means that for a group of n Aberrations, you are only doing 0.8^(n-1) damage.

Even with just three Aberrations, using a Hammer of the Righteous on them would be like Hammering 0.8*0.8*3 = 1.92 targets instead. This is about the same as doing a Crusader Strike on Maloriak, except Maloriak is also fully debuffed and giving you much better Vengeance. Once you start tanking more than three Aberrations, your damage output quickly falls far below what you can do if you stay on Maloriak.

During these phases you should release twelve Aberrations split among the other two tanks.

The Green Phase

When the green phase starts, position yourself so that you will be tossed back into the pile of Aberrations. Make sure Inquisition is up before you get tossed and be ready to Hammer the twelve Aberrations that are up. The Aberrations gain a debuff called Debilitating Slime that causes them to take double damage, so this phase is an opportunity to do extremely high DPS for about ten seconds. It’s like you are using Hammer on twenty-four targets instead of just twelve.

Make sure you get Maloriak out of the Aberration clump before the Growth Catalyst buff returns. If your raid can’t kill the Aberrations fast enough, it’s very important to move Maloriak away. Don’t die chasing Aberration DPS.

It’s ok to let the last three Aberrations out at this point. One of the other tanks should pick them up.

Now What?

Now we hit the point where as a raid you need to decide between parsing as individuals or parsing as a raid. If your raid has the DPS to push Maloriak before the second Black Phase, then you can do so and go for a fast kill. This will cost everyone individual parses however, since without the high sustained DPS of a second Black Phase, your overall DPS for the fight will be much lower.

If you do want to go for parses as individuals, then the best strategy is to deliberately delay pushing Maloriak until right after the second Black Phase ends. That way you still kill all Vile Swills and fifteen to eighteen Aberrations (depending on whether you had any during the first Black Phase).

When to Use Avenging Wrath and Potions

I like to use Avenging Wrath and my potion for Vile Swill, since holding threat on those is really important. Your other option is to use them during the twelve Aberration burn. It’s a choice between doing ten seconds of high damage to the equivalent of twenty-four targets or doing twenty-five full seconds of damage to five targets (~seven targets if you count the three Aberrations as 1.92 extra targets).

I found that it was difficult to really contribute as much as I’d like to the Aberrations, because they can still be coming together when you get thrown back, you don’t necessarily Hammer them all, and then you also have to move the boss out early if three new Aberrations get let out. On top of that your Vengeance may not be fully stacked while hitting the Aberrations. With the Vile Swill you’re virtually guaranteed to have Vengeance stacked.

I don’t think it’s that much of a difference either way, but I choose to err on the side of helping to hold threat on the targets I actually have to tank.

The Final Phase

In the final phase, there are three possible tanking targets. There are three Aberrations (assuming you didn’t get any during the first Black Phase), two Prime Subjects or Maloriak himself. The best choice is the Prime Subjects. Even though they have Growth Catalyst, there are only two of them, and so the damage is only reduced by 20% on each. It’s like your Hammer is hitting 1.6 targets. Normally this would be worse than staying on Maloriak, but the Vengeance you get from Maloriak is actually really low because he stops to cast the flames so often.

All in all this phase is so short it doesn’t much affect the outcome of your parse, but letting the Prime Subjects’ Rend stack up (don’t use Hand of Protection to clear it) and allowing them to keep hitting you gives you more Vengeance and lets you make up for the slight damage deficiency when compared to Maloriak.

Cheesing the Aberrations

The ideal scenario from a DPS perspective is that you have two Black Phases and kill all eighteen Aberrations. If you kill only fifteen, it’s going to weaken DPS parses. What you can do is reset Maloriak over and over again until he finally decides to cast a Release Aberrations before the first Black Phase. It’s a cheesy tactic, but it’s the best way to ensure that you’ll kill all eighteen in your parse. If your raid is using potions before the pull, this can be very wasteful, so in all likelihood you’ll just have to hope for good RNG.

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