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High DPS Tanking – Nefarian

June 12, 2011

"Play like an idiot against my skeletal minions. Go on. I dare you."

There are three possible tanking roles on the Nefarian fight: tanking Onyxia, tanking Animated Bone Warriors and tanking Nefarian himself. While all three roles give great Vengeance, it should be obvious that tanking the adds allows you to do far more DPS since you can hit so many more targets at once.

I would not recommend wearing a full threat set when tanking the adds, as the incoming damage is high enough that survivability is very much a concern. The requirements to be capped against Animated Bone Warriors are very low, since they are only level 85. You only need only 5% Hit and 20 Expertise in order for your attacks to always connect. This is good news, since it means you can meet those caps fairly easily and still gear mostly for survivability.

You should glyph Hammer of the Righteous and unglyph Focused Shield for this fight, since you will be primarily tanking the Animated Bone Warriors.

Phase One

In order to maximize DPS across the entire fight, P1 should be kept as short as possible. In 10-man Heroic, it’s possible to tank Nefarian and the adds together and just burn Onyxia down immediately. This is the highest DPS strategy for P1 for 10-man. On 25-man Heroic you should be in the dedicated add tank role and just pick up and take the adds to the edge. You want to make sure the phase ends just after the adds die (or even before the adds die, since Nefarian will kill them when he takes off anyway). So even in 25-man, I would recommend simply burning Onyxia and not pushing Electrocutes in P1. If you stop to push a couple of Electrocutes, then there will be a period of time where you’re doing nothing but attacking Onyxia or Nefarian with very little Vengeance after the adds die. You want to avoid situations where you’re not tanking, since it wrecks your DPS, so ideally you want your raid to just burn Onyxia down.

In order to maximize your DPS on the adds you have to play like an idiot. Normally when add tanking, you’d be using Word of Glory for heals and absorbs as well as Seal of Insight, since damage on them is largely irrelevant. However, since we’re specifically trying to do maximum damage, you should stick with Seal of Vengeance and always use Inquisition or Shield of the Righteous.

Refer to my original article for the rules about when to use Shield of the Righteous while tanking these adds. On 25-man you’ll largely want to stick to only Sacred Duty-backed Shields, but on 10-man, even just an Inquisition-backed Shield of the Righteous will often be worth it. You’ll also want to use Holy Wrath when it’s your only available filler as well, but be aware of your position when you stun the adds, and don’t just use it blindly.

Phase Two

There’s not much to say about P2 other than stick with Seal of Vengeance and try to get the Chromatic Prototypes burned down as quickly as possible. This is a horrible phase for your DPS, so you should support any strategies that shorten the entire phase. Don’t worry too much if you have to help interrupt or even have to switch to Seal of Insight, as this is such a low overall percentage of the fight length that it won’t hurt your DPS too badly.

Phase Three

Phase Three is where you have the opportunity to do really stellar DPS, so it’s in your interest for this phase to last as long as possible. I do not recommend going for a parse on this fight unless you are a God of Nefarian Add Tanking. Doing great DPS here requires you to (in my opinion) just deliberately be bad, and so I would not recommend doing this unless you are an expert at the fight.

The rules of P1 apply, namely that you should always stick with Seal of Vengeance, and use Inquisition and Shield of the Righteous intelligently. Don’t ever use Word of Glory. You will want to use Holy Wrath as much as possible, but it’s important to only use it when you know a Shadowblaze isn’t coming. The best time to stun once you’re down to 10-second intervals between blazes is just after you’ve moved the adds to avoid the previous blaze. When Nefarian is close to death, don’t worry so much about avoiding the fire and just start Holy Wrathing with impunity.

Final Thoughts

I’ve never seriously gone for a parse on this fight, since I typically tank Onyxia in P1 and the adds in P3. My co-tank is a warrior, and the warrior is better for add pickup in P1 (because of Vigilance), and a paladin is better on Onyxia (because of Divine Protection, etc.). I do tank the adds in P3, since the warrior can Intervene me for every Electrocute and I can stack that with alternated Divine Protection and Mirror of Broken Images.

This is not a fight where I would recommend switching roles just to go for a parse, but if you are fortunate enough to be the add tank in both P1 and P3, then I would recommend just trying to meet the minimum Hit/Expertise cap, glyphing properly for the fight, sticking with SoV, and then weaving in a few more Holy Wraths when you can. If you can keep the Word of Glory use to a minimum and stay alive, you will rank on the fight.

I tried playing this way on one pull, even with tanking Onyxia in P1 and the adds in P3, and I still managed to rank #13 on the fight, which just goes to show that nobody is really chasing parses on this one. You can do very well if you’re willing to get a little risky with the adds, but you don’t have to go completely nuts in order to rank.

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