You know those awful kids in your neighborhood who, on a hot summer's day, would find an ant hill and roast the little suckers inside with their grandmother's magnifying glass, or push rocks and sticks in the hole in an attempt to starve the inhabitants? That's how raiding the Heart of Fear feels for me sometime. It's a hive of six-legged-pants-wetting terror and we're just adding onto the troubles of those poor insects. It's a little cruel, really -- kicking them when they're down.
Incidentally, you know what class that awful kid grew up to play? A warrior; it's a fact of behavioral science. (OK, probably a rogue. But I have to get my shots in.)
Anyway, when it comes to demolishing your way through piles and piles of exoskeleton-clad fanatics and extremists, sworn to protect the only female they have ever known, you'll need every tool and trick at your disposal. Much like in Mogu'shan Vaults, this expansion's iteration of talents and glyphs gives us a wide amount of latitude in how we approach a fight, and can provide some decisive advantages. Let's talk about how!
Imperial Vizier Zor'lok
Zor'lok is a great entry fight for the raid, chock full of mechanics, but easily toppled when executed correctly. Because there are so many mechanics, as you can imagine, this means that there are a wide array of excellent talenting/glyphing choices you can make.
For starters, for maneuvering between platforms, you absolutely want to use Speed of Light. It's your fastest way for getting to the boss' next position.
With regards to the Force and Verve platform, you want an array of abilities that will help with mitigating the massive amount of damage going out. Especially the first few pulls you'll ever do of this fight, you'll find the healers getting overwhelmed. Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated. Do so by talenting Clemency, allowing you to toss out two Hands of Protection (preferably on casters so you don't hurt a melee's DPS). Pop a glyphed Divine Protection yourself, for 20% physical reduction. Likewise, using Battle Healer to spread free heals to those sharing your bubble, and toss a Light's Hammer to hopefully cover two bubble's worth of people for some free (yet tiny) heals. Every bit helps!
When on the Convert platform, you really want to have Fist of Justice talented. This will allow you to stun one of the two Converted folks every time the mind controls go out.
These glyphs and talents will, of course, also help with the final phase in the middle of the room.
Blade Master Tay'ak
Make sure to keep Divine Protection glyphed, as most of the damage you'll be facing (outside of the last phase) is physical. Even though the nature damage ramps up in that last phase, the stuff that's most dangerous to you will be in the first 80% of the fight when you're eating the Blade Master's attacks.
Clemency is amazing for this fight. This will allow you to toss Hands of Protection on raid members afflicted with Wind Step, which completely negates the damage of that ability. This is crucial for any Wind Steps going into an Unseen Strike collapse.
Lastly, in the final phase when you're piled up on the boss with the rest of the raid, Battle Healer and Light's Hammer can help with the healers' burden.
In what you might find to be a continuing theme, you want to keep Divine Protection glyphed. Especially so you can cooldown through any Furious Swipes he tosses out. This is a very simplistic tank fight, so you'll really need to only focus on sporadically mitigating your damage intake.
A note: despite Pheromones being what appears to be a DOT, Hand of Purity does not work on it. Probably for the same reason that immunities don't work on Unseen Strike on Tay'ak -- it'd be encounter breaking if they did. (h/t to Bossy Pally for that tip!)
Wind Lord Mel'jarak
Another Clemency fight for sure. Using Hand of Protection to mitigate any Kor'thik Strike targets. Your healers will thank you.
Divine Protection -- you guessed it! -- is the tops on this fight. Lots of melee damage from all the adds piles up, and you'll really be happy you have the extra physical damage mitigation.
Lastly, because this is just a massive pile of damage, you'll want to emphasize your AOE. Battle Healer is a must, for the good of the melee that'll be with you. And Light's Hammer will complement nicely the massive piles of damage that you'll be churning out on your Vengeance-high.
Amber Shaper Un'sok
The biggest talenting suggestion I can offer is to go for Hand of Purity on this fight. Used in the last few seconds of someone's Parasitic Growth, it can make a huge difference with getting that person back in fighting trim after their bout with worms.
Divine Protection is a good choice as well. You're going to be taking a good beating from both Unsok and the Amber Monstrosity over the course of the fight, and you'll want to shave some damage of those painful melees in tight spots.
Grand Empress Shek'zeer
You'd think there'd be more to this fight, but there really doesn't seem to be, at least for tanks. One major part you can play to help with damage mitigation is to talent for Clemency, and use Hands of Protection to help mitigate the damage from the Sonic Discharge. You can keep two people from eating the blast, which will make the healer's job easier.
Leave DP glyphed, since the majority of the damage you'll be taking will be really painful melees. Especially from the Reavers in the add phase.
Good luck with Heart of Fear, all in all. It's a step up from Mogu'shan Vaults for sure, and will require a lot more "oomph" to surmount. With the tools at your disposal, you're well positioned to overcome any challenges those bugs throw at you!
The Light and How to Swing It shows paladin tanks how to combat the Sha in the strange new land of Pandaria. Try out the new control gearing strategy, learn how to make the most of the new active mitigation system on your tankadin, and check out how to deck out your fresh 90 tank to get ready for any raids!