In previous columns, I've talked about how to tank Shannox and Baleroc, two of the early bosses of Firelands. Three bosses remain before you can cross the bridge to the Sulfuron Keep: Beth'tilac, Rhyolith, and Alysrazor.
That latter of the three demands a column of her own, considering the nuances of that fight and the special requirements and responsibilities one assumes when tanking it. But the first two -- a walk in the park, comparatively speaking. Despite the general breeziness when tanking them, they still have their own slate of nuances. Allow me to offer a raft of tips to make your tanking duties as breezy as they should be.
I'm reasonably certain that my guild does this fight wrong. Perhaps horribly wrong. Nonetheless, it's also markedly easier this way, in the sense that it's much easier to change a tire if you don't go to the trouble of screwing the lug nuts back onto the new one. You might run into trouble if the wheel decides to pop off, but that's tomorrow's problem!
Basically, we decline to put any DPS up on the top web and instead just keep everyone downstairs. Makes add management much easier, considering the extra firepower. The flipside of this is when phase 2 hits, Beth'tilac will descend at around 90%+ health and will have to be zerged down that much more intensely before the soft enrage rears its ugly head.
So keep in mind when I discuss the two tanking responsibilities that you and I may be approaching this fight differently! Now, those two responsibilities are as follows: One tank is the downstairs tank, and the other is the upstairs tank. I'll cover the upstairs tank first because his job is pretty much a cakewalk.
When the pull occurs, taunt a Cinderweb Spinner dangling on a string and force it to descend. Click on the little puddle under the web on the floor and ride it up to the top. Make sure to announce your ascent so the healers can soon follow. Alternatively, you can get marked by the raid leader, making your climb glaringly obvious. Either/or.
Once at the top, quickly pop Divine Protection and Holy Shield to cover you the few seconds before the healers are up and situated. Beth'tilac will begin pounding your face in in earnest. She hits somewhat hard, so don't get cocky. She'll also occasionally summon meteors to strike one of the players up there, which should be you or one of the healers who went up with you. Be prepared to do some shuffling out of the flaming puddles that herald the coming meteor. Moreover, they'll punch a hole in the web, and that's a good way to buy a one-way ticket downstairs and get your healer killed while you eat some delicious fall damage.
On a set timer, she'll cast Smoldering Devastation, and after the timer elapses, you'll want to beat feet and jump down that hole to the ground floor. If you fail to do so, you'll get one-shot, so move fast! And no, you can't Divine Shield the Smoldering Devastation; it will still one-shot you.
While you're waiting for more web elevators to appear, help kill the Spiderlings that run past you. As more spinners spawn, rinse and repeat. Beth'tilac will do three Smoldering Devastations before descending.
As for the downstairs tank, the name of your game is add tanking. You'll be picking up the Cinderweb Drone and facing it away from the raid, to avoid tagging anyone with the Boiling Spatter. If the DPS fails to keep the Cinderweb Spiderlings away from the Drone, you'll have to attempt to drag it away. Every Spiderling the Drone Consumes is health restored. Not good!
With all the DPS downstairs and sitting on their thumbs, you shouldn't have trouble getting the various degrees of spiders cleaned out.
Once the third Smoldering Devastation occurs, phase 3 begins and Beth'tilac comes down prepared to do the job herself. When she's down, pick her up and spin around so you're standing away from the raid. The arrangement should be you, the other tank, and the rest of the raid all standing at three equidistant points around Beth'tilac's hitbox. The raid will be stacking to make healing easier as Frenzy ramps up and to maximize raid cooldowns. The tanks stand apart so they won't have to run when The Widow's Kiss is applied.
The Widow's Kiss is a debuff Beth'tilac applies on the person currently tanking her. It'll reduce your healing taken, as it automatically stacks up on its own accord, from 10% at stack 1 to 100% at stack 10. The tank with The Widow's Kiss will also do a damage fire aura to those within 10 yards.
So, when applied, call for the other tank to pull off you, and be extra careful that you're at least 10 yards away from everyone. Continue to DPS to your heart's content while your debuff boils itself up to 10 and then promptly falls off. Wait for the second tank to get the debuff, and then yank it off. Rinse and repeat.
As Beth'tilac's health descends, her Frenzy buff will stack higher and higher, making the kill that much tougher. Chain raid cooldowns (Divine Guardian!) and your own cooldowns in the home stretch to make the healers' lives easier.
After some scraping, Beth'tilac should keel over and cough up her purples, of which are three amazing tank pieces: the Carapace of Imbibed Flame, Mandible of Beth'tilac, and Spidersilk Spindle. With usual tank loot odds, though, despite Beth'tilac's having three pieces for you, you'll likely never see them. Sorry.
Left foot, right foot, left foot ...
Whenever I do this fight, I can't help but think of Randy Newman's song in that Family Guy apocalypse episode. It's a curse.
Equally mindless is tanking this fight. You're basically on add duty for one of two types of adds, either Fragments of Rhyolith or Sparks of Rhyolith. Meanwhile, the raid runs around and has fun. It's one of those fights.
If you're the Fragment tank, don't bother glyphing Holy Wrath. The adds are immune to stuns, alas. However, Glyph of Dazing Shield works, which might help you pick them up before they get to a healer, feasibly. Try to bank Holy Power so when they spawn, you can pop Inquisition and then spam Hammer of the Righteous in earnest. With Inquisition up and the adds gathered around you, you can drop Consecration and pop Holy Shield to keep the twin threats of mages riding your butt on Omen and adds pummeling you to death.
Moreover, try to tank the Fragments away from the legs. While the ranged players are furiously nuking them down, it won't help your appointed Rhyolith driver if you're standing next to a leg and screwing with their calls on which direction to turn the boss.
As for the Spark tank, your add comes up slightly less frequently, so you'll have the downtime to help get the Fragments down more quickly. When your quarry is up, you'll need to drag it away at least 15 yards to avoid hitting anyone with Immolation. Ranged will then burn your add down. Keep in mind the Spark will be stacking Infernal Rage on itself, increasing damage dealt as well as damage taken. Despite that second half, you still want it to die ASAP.
For glyphs for either job, you'll want to consider the Glyph of Divine Protection. There is a ton of fire damage in this fight, and the glyph will help ameliorate that a bit. Lastly, for the Spark tank, since you're dealing with one guy and you'll have the casters chomping at the bit and right behind you in Omen, Glyph of Focused Shield is the way to go.
When the DPS has managed to reduce Rhyolith's armor enough and pushed the legs' health to 25%, phase 2 begins.
Quickly pick up Rhyolith, away from the lava's edge, and begin running through your rotation. Get cooldowns up, starting with Divine Protection and then Guardian of Ancient Kings as you reach the end of the boss' health bar. Divine Guardian is also an excellent choice at this time, as raid damage ramps up.
All in all, he melts away pretty quickly, so it won't be too long before he topples over. Cross those fingers for the terrible dodge/expertise boots!
The Light and How to Swing It tries to help paladins cope with the dark times brought by Cataclysm. Check out our protection 101 guide and our suggestions for protection paladin addons.