Offtank fights and You: your role as OT

In my last column for pwnwear, I discussed the mindset of the DPS DK stepping into the role of OT. Today, I wanted to follow that up with a simple summary of fights that require offtanks, and what your role will be. I won’t review Naxx, as that content is being pugged on most servers and isn’t really a ‘serious’ raid any more, but Ulduar and T9 content certainly is. I’ve offtanked (25 man) and/or maintanked (10-man) almost all of these fights (except Algalon – we haven’t faced him, and some heroic fights), so let’s take a look and see what we have!

If you get called on to OT in Ulduar/TOC/Ony, what will you be doing? Often fights have several viable strats and I won’t be covering them all. I’ll mention the main adds that need to be OT’d and what to expect. Variations are up to your raid leader. I’ll often skip hard modes as you’ll likely know the fights well if working on those. I also assume some familiarity with these fights from a dps perspective. Warning! This is a fairly long post. :)


resist gear is not needed in Ulduar, so OTs should concentrate on the best mix of survivability and threat stats/gear. Exceptions – maybe – would be frost resist on Hodir or Thorim hard mode.

1. Flame Leviathan: no tanks

2. Razorscale: Three tanks typically. Usually, the MT will pull the Sentinels off to the side for range to kill. OTs gather the other Dark Rune dwarves together for aoe, making sure to stay out of fire. As OT, you’ll need to be ready to taunt Razorscale when she stays on the ground and the other tank gets 2 stacks of Fused Armor. Kite her facing away from the raid and out of flame patches.

3. Ignis: We do the burn method of tanking Ignis in the water and kill him fast, but in any case 1-2 OTs should grab the constructs when they spawn and kite them through scorched areas, then to water when they turn molten (10 stacks). Be careful, they hit hard, which is why some guilds use a hunter to ‘tank’ the constructs. If you’re within 10 yards when the construct is blown up, you may die to the aoe.

4. XT Deconstructor: grab the pummelers when they spawn and tank them.

5. Kologarn: two MTs, switch when reaching 2 stacks of crunch armor. 1 or 2 offtanks need to pick up the rubble. Rubble spawns need to be tanked off to the side to keep their aoe from killing melee.

6. Iron Council: Three tanks. As OT, you may be asked to tank the first boss to be killed, Steelbreaker in normal mode. Know the abilities of each. Steelbreaker (well all of them) needs to be kited out of runes of power and use your cds when he fusion punches.

7. Auriaya: tank one or more of Auriaya’s sentries in the pack until all are dead, then dps. Feral defender can sort of be taunted to you, so stay on them while up (unless your guild ignores them) but they can’t really be tanked.

8. Hodir: Your guild may keep one extra tank in tank spec/gear in case the MT dies. We don’t.

9. Thorim: MTs will probably be: one in the hallway, and one in the center of the arena picking up most of the adds. May use one or two OTs. Dark Rune Champions should be pulled out of the pack by one OT and tanked just outside the pack so their whirlwind doesn’t kill everybody. Another OT may be employed to control warbringers in the pack. In P2, OTs get ready to taunt Thorim immediately after he unbalancing strikes the tank.

10. Freya: You can have multiple tanks grab the trash elites and face them different ways. We just have the MT face the whole group away and aoe them down. For the flower trash packs, pull the big one away from the group, tank it for the few seconds it takes to kill it, then dps the pack (or conversely, tank the pack while the other tank pulls the big flower out). Each of the three Elders will need to be taunted by an OT when they do their debuff ability – but the fights should be very short. For the main fight, the MT just stands and tanks Freya for all the add phases, so the OTs have a very important role. For the three adds, we kite the snaplasher with hunters, so OT isn’t that useful. You can tank the water spirit facing away from the raid. For the Detonating lashers, OT shouldn’t worry too much about aggro as everyone should be grouped up, then split up (and take a few lashers with them) when the lashers’ health is low. We pull out at 40% because they die so fast. For the conservator, the OT pulls him to mushrooms and stands under one mushroom, then the next one, and so on. In P2, MT kites Freya around the room, OT dps.

11. Mimiron: P1 – no OT. P2 – no tank. P3 – tank the various bots where indicated. We tank them off to the side and aoe them down. Range tank does the aerial unit so not you as OT. This fight has been nerfed to hell.

12. Vezax, OT should help with the trash, tanking one or more elites. There is no OT in normal mode, on hard mode the Saronite Animus needs to be tanked.

13. Yogg-Saron: P1 – several ways to do this, but in any case, several tanks are useful for tanking guardians. You may have one with the raid and one at Sara, or you can tank-kite them alternately from the raid to Sara. In P3 the OT tanks guardians.

14. Algalon: Algalon switchs targets at 5 stacks of phase punch, so OT needs to maintain high threat to get Algalon back when he switches again.

Trial of the Crusader/Trial of the Grand Crusader

no resistance gear required.

1. Northrend Beasts: on normal mode, two tanks are suffcient. Tank Gormok, and when you have three stacks of impale, the next tank taunts. On heroic, this is possible, but only with significant cd usage and bubbles etc. A three tank rotation may be better for most guilds. On the Jormungar, for normal we have a ranged – hunter or lock- tank acidmaw and dps both worms at about the same rate. On heroic most guilds use a tank on both worms and burn acidmaw as quickly as possible. OT must pick up their worm when emerging from the ground immediately and face them away from the raid or people will die. OT is not needed on Icehowl unless someome misses a charge and the MT dies.

2. Lord Jaraxxus: OT will pick up Mistresses and doomguards, preferably close enough to Jaraxxus for splash/aoe on adds. On heroic, even OTs need to dps portals and volcanoes.

3. Faction Champs: tanks may be switched out for dps but often can harass the faction dps with taunts, slows, interrupts and death grips out of the raid to keep dps from being too high on your raid. Recently nerfed, hard, so should be less of a problem, and less need for anyone in tank spec. I’ve played the ‘harasser’ role in frost presence, but never in tank spec.

4. Twin Valkyr: if called to tank (one of your MTs is out), you may ‘MT’ a Twin. We prefer to tank the Twins within 10 yards of each other so aoe hits both. As tank, judicious use of cds is all that matters. Keep threat, stay alive. We don’t have tanks switch colors.

5. Anub’Arak: OTs grab the Burrowers and tank them on permafrost, preferably one (or two on heroic) on each of Anub’s hips. During P2, try to keep swarm scarabs off healers, but it’s not crucial.

Onyxia’s Lair

no resist gear needed; no heroic mode for this fight.

1. Onyxia: pick up whelp packs on either side as they come down the ‘tunnel.’ We prefer to tank them right at each entrance, as it makes avoiding Deep Breaths easier. Be sure to pick up Lair Guards which emerge from the tunnel you came down to approach Onyxia. They can’t be death gripped to you (although DG does aggro them), so warn dps to leave them alone until they reach you and you have them securely. We have no disarm, so ask for a dispel/purge of Ignite Weapon. Preferably, move out of Blast Nova although AMS can keep you up.

Written by Hinenuitepo

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6 comments to Offtank fights: your role as OT (Ulduar & ToC guide)

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    Great post Hinen!

    I also back-linked here from the Ulduar and Coliseum guides.

  • Khordam

    One little mistake slipped in on Onyxia: Ignite Weapon is a physical buff and can’t be purged or dispelled. The only way to avoid the additional damage is to disarm/dismantle the guard and/or have melee DPS stand at the tail end instead of anywhere near the tank.

  • Offtank is more fun than MT imo. You have to be on your toes all the time

  • LexyDK

    after re-rolling a dk to tank from my main dps (rogue) role, i have found your site invaluable in regards to the simple basics to the advanced techniques and theroy….going from a rogue to a DK tank is a world of difference and a bit of an adjustment to say the least….i rely ALOT on what i read and watch….your site has been a daily for me for the last month or so now and i wanted to thank u for doing such a great job in creating something that can appeal to the whole community not just the ToGC group….

    this is yet another fantastic resource for me as my guild has asked me to step in as an OT for thier core raiding group (were a casual guild so were just now into ToC)…im finding that the life of an OT can be a bit lonely as most everything online in regards to strats and approach’s apply to MT’s and the OT is metioned in passing….thx again for taking the time to put this together :) …i have been activly looking up ToC alot these last 2 weeks and this pretty much summed up most of what i had found over that time :P

    Thx again and keep up the good work !!

  • Sweet!
    I agree, Pwnwear is an excellent site, and I look forward to seeing what Gravity has for us all the time!

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