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High DPS Tanking – Sinestra

June 16, 2011

"It's the whelps you want... not me!"

Sinestra is a fun fight to go for parses on, since (for once) doing good DPS on this fight means you and your raid are playing well. For this fight you will predominantly be tanking the Twilight Whelps, and so you should glyph Hammer of the Righteous and unglyph Focused Shield. Shoot for 5.5% Hit and 21 Expertise. I don’t recommend wearing a full threat set, since survivability is a concern, but you should be able to at least hit those caps and wear a DPS trinket.

Phase One

During the first phase you should be on the whelps. Ideally your raid is saving Heroism until P3. This is not only better for the raid if you can meet the DPS check in P1 without Heroism, but it’s also better for your personal DPS. Since you aren’t tanking anything while waiting for the first set of whelps to come in, the Heroism is largely wasted on you in P1, but if it’s saved for after Essence of the Red fades, it will help you a lot more.

The trick with the whelps in P1 is to do excellent DPS without killing the whelps too quickly. You need to pay attention to the health of the whelp you’re currently meleeing, and tab target to a different one before it gets too low. Keep the DPS controlled and even. Use Shield of the Righteous over Inquisition if you need to in order to keep the entire pack from dipping too low.

It’s very important that you beat the third whelp pack in P1. Even though a third whelp pack carried into P2 inflates your DPS for the second phase, you would still have the debuff when the whelps come out in P3. Make sure to beat the third whelp pack spawn so that you’ll be able to tank the whelps for the entirety of P3.

Phase Two

You should tank the Spitecallers in the back, since one will likely be coming out shortly after the whelps die. Although it’s lower DPS, you could also help DPS one of the eggs. You lose DPS from the travel time over to the egg though.

Whatever your choice of target, remember that your DPS is lowest during this phase, so it’s important to end the phase quickly. The eggs need to die in one pass, so do whatever you can to help your raid achieve that goal, even if it costs you personal DPS in this phase. The alternative is that the phase drags out, and your overall DPS suffers.

Phase Three

You should position yourself to tank whelps for the entirety of P3. While there are many different possible whelp killing strategies, the one that will net you the most DPS is somewhat unusual. Your goal should be to maintain a more or less constant 10 whelps from the time the second whelp pack spawns until the end of the fight.

Pick up the first five whelps and hold them. It’s ok to go all out on them. They won’t be in danger of dying by the time the next five whelps spawn. At this point you’ll have ten whelps, and you should get DPS to help kill some. Ideally the first five die for good as the next pack is coming. You then want the second set of whelps to be dying by the time the fourth set come out. By following this pattern you end up tanking 10 whelps all the way to the end of the fight, and this inflates your DPS significantly.

That said, this is not the preferred strategy for most guilds, since it involves the whelp tank taking more damage than is strictly necessary. Your raid leader is probably not going to be interested in different whelp killing strategies once this fight is on farm, so make do with what you’re given. Other strategies that work well are to kill the first two packs of whelps and then offtank the rest. If you kill them five at a time, you’ll take far less damage, but then your tanking pattern as each whelp wave spawns will be 5, 5, 5, 10.  You’ll do slightly better killing the first 10 whelps together, since your tanking pattern then will be 5, 10, 5, 10. However if you can do 5, 10, 10, 10, then you’ll have a much higher rate of DPS.

After killing either two or three waves of whelps you’ll end up offtanking the rest. Try to hold them in a place where it’s ok if they die and drop pools, since you want to be able to do your maximum DPS on them without worrying about some dying.

When to use Divine Shield to clear your stacks will depend on which strategy you are pursuing, but it’s pretty safe to let the stacks get very high during Essence of the Red. I typically use my bubble when the fourth whelp wave is coming out.

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