Paladin Tanks and Crowd Control

The BRK has a post about using crowd control with a Paladin Tank, and while I posted my response over there, I feel it should also be made public in my own blog too.

He presents a reader email who is asking about Paladin Tanks who like to use CC like traps, etc. The community response is just annoying, and demonstrates why so many people keep using the phrase Huntard.

The email goes:

BRK … I have a question related to trapping on a three-man pull when the tank is a paladin. I would usually pull my mob off to the side where my trap has been set but I really struggle to pull aggro off the tank in this scenario due to the Tankadin pulling with Avenger’s Shield, which hits all three mobs. Is there a different strategy to be used when trapping with a tankadin? Waynebow & Cuddles

And the response from BRK is:

Yes, there is absolutely a different paradigm about crowd-control with a Paladin tank: Don’t.

Tankadins believe crowd control is a waste of time.

Tankadins relish tanking multiple mobs.

Tankadins break crowd-controls as a matter of personal honor.

Tankadins think you and your silly trapping should just shut the F-up about him using his Avenger’s Shield and just kill stuff like you’re designed to do.

Our recommendation? Oblige him.

Sorry BRK, you just made my job as a Paladin tank harder. Every quasi-bad hunter and new player just got a single, simple to apply rule that is totally misleading. This appears initially right, pallys love threat, love getting hit, and don’t need as much CC as other tanks – all true.

And yes, you should always follow the instructions of a Tank when doing a run, its the markers job, and that’s usually the Tank.

However CC is critical to a fast, effective, and efficient run. Its the skill of knowing when to use it and how that matters. Its the same as learning how to pull; its a long time before you do it right, and sometimes you’ll see something new that makes you really stop and think.

My advice to Hunters and requests for their CC is: Stop and Think. In fact that is my advice to everyone, but especially Hunters after the BRK article does the rounds.

You might still need CC as a Prot Pally, if there are too many mobs in the pull to survive the inbound damage until the mobs start dying. Mgt is a good example of this, or while you’re tanking your way to 70, or when a player disconnects, or when somebody does something stupid, etc….

CC is a must for everyone to learn, not just the CC’ers, not just the Tanks; everyone.

Juniper said in reponse to BRK’s post:

If a paladin demands that you do CC, you’re in a party with a bad paladin.

No, just No! I’d like to take that player out to the woodshed and hit him with some 2×4.

How/when/why takes a lot of explaining, and is often altered by the group composition. A pally tank might order traps if the healer’s gear is not up to the task. Or if the group lacks a wide composition of classes, in which case your buff options are reduced and therefore you need to be careful about how you do the instance.

eg. I did a run with myself as Pally Tank, x3 Hunters, and a pally healer. I insisted on a few traps every now and then, especially when one pull could easily grab the next set due to runners. We went smothly through that run; no deaths, no bad pulls, and a lot of happy chat in /P.

Contrary had another gem of gross generalisation:

Ugh…I have grouped with tankadins who demanded me to trap. I explain to them that I cannot pull aggro and they turn it around and insult me saying ‘No other hunter has ever had that problem’, (I guess they don’t group with many hunters!). My usual response is to ask them if they’ve ever played a hunter, their answer is silence.

No Contrary, I don’t play a Hunter, but I play a 70 paladin, 70 warlock, 60s druid, 40s mage rogue warrior, and have experimented with shaman priest past 25s. Why not find out the Paladin’s strat, and see if you learn something.

Lerta did raise something that some tanks don’t know:

I was on my alt healing a group in Sethekk Halls. The pally, a guildie, was marking and we had a rogue and a mage to CC. After the pally marked to two cc targets, he tossed his shield and it hit all the targets not marked for CC.

At first I thought he was just getting lucky or throwing at the right mob to bounce the right way. But every time he threw that shield it never touched the two CC targets.

I asked him afterward how he was able to be so exact with his shield and all he told me was that it did it by itself. I don’t know if this was some pally trick that the keep among themselves or if it was just luck.

The Tank Frisbee will chain between targets in a semi-reliable way. This means that if you target the foremost target, it will link to the next nearest 2 mobs. This means that you can designate a trap target who will not be damaged by the shield. It will now not break Sap, so you can use a Rogue to shutdown a mob (casters) and then burn through the melee.

This means that their is a dangerous art to picking your targets, and most of the time you’ll get it spot on after a lot of practice.

Edit: A poster on BRK named Harmun helped me realise that I wasn’t altogether clear on how CC and marking works.

Are you forgetting something from the typhoonandrew response BRK? If you mark a target for CC, avenger’s shield will skip it.

Nope, marking a target does nothing more than just pop a symbol above the monster’s head. I wish it were true that a mark had influence, but alas we still must do it the old fashioned way.

However some CC will skip, others will break instantly when hit by the Shield. Sap or Sheep will not break, but a trap would. That only helps too if the Sap or Sheep is already in place when you use the Avengers Shield. Typically a AvShield will be used to initiate the pull.

In Mgt I can see a use, Sap a caster, Sheep pull with the mage who runs like heck behind the Paladin. Pally Consecrates and AvShields which loads up on threat, but does not break the Sap or Sheep.

Edit: For more great stuff that I’d shamefully rip off if my morals were a bit slacker; read Evilsheep’s post on Tanks, DPS, and Healers.

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16 thoughts on “Paladin Tanks and Crowd Control

  1. I suppose the sad thing is… just as I am sure it is rare for you to run into a skilled hunter who can trap… it is rare for me to run into a skilled paladin who can let me trap without insisting I have Salv and AoEing everything. So… we’re in this together? XD

  2. I’m going to preface this by saying that I am not a pallytank… but I spend 90% of my in game time sitting within 5 feet of one. My husband has been a pallytank for… uh… well since before it was cool, and I really appreciate this post.

    It is frustrating that advice, if given in a tongue in cheek way to people that know better, isn’t a problem – but to have it delivered in a way that makes people that DON’T know better think that it’s right just makes it more difficult for everyone.

    ANYway – I agree with you, think this is a solid post, and hadn’t seen your blog before. Good to see another feathermoon blogger (even if they’re alts!)!

  3. To be fair the initial email question was about 3 mob pulls – which in a 5 man party should mean quickly burnable, assuming everyone knows how to play their class and is geared appropriately to the instance is the caveat I suppose.

    I think I am a reasonable hunter but I have little to no chance of pulling mobs off of our uber tankadin, I mean our uber geared MT can’t generally pull mobs off him hehe.

    I think you make a good point though – ultimately the question of when to use CC is entirely situational – regarding both the type of pull and the party make up.

    Another option for trapping when with a pally tank when the circumstances are right could be for the hunter to do a trap pull from max range and the pally consecrating once the initial trap target has moved out of range of it. If the hunter knows their stuff they can trap and start focus firing skull within seconds.

    I wouldn’t judge a tankadin who asked for CC as a bad player, I’d rather that than one who thinks he can handle tanking all mobs and causes the healer to break their keyboard trying to keep him up.

  4. As the tip on the loadingscreen for WoW says, everything in moderation (can’t remember it outright now :)).

    Pallytanks generally doesn’t mean no CC, but it means a lot less, and in case of a wellgeared pally, mostly none.

    Traps being the way they are, and groups being the way THEY are, chances are that a Hunter won’t be that critical CCer in a pallytank group. Obviously it happens though.

    In any case BRK said in other words “listen to the pallytank and CC only when asked to.” If the tank does ask for traps and dies because there were too many mobs for the healer to handle, then that isn’t the Hunter’s fault. I think you know where it lies.

  5. Whoa, responses! Thanks folks, good points from everyone. Its also not my intention to defame or bugger with BRK’s (much respect!) rep, just saw something that needed clarification.

    @Pike, yup we certainly are in this together; hopefully chatting about it in the corner of the internet will get some understanding.

    @Felandra, those tips fly by without me reading them. They could be demonic back-masked messages, or be personal to me and I’d dount I’d read them.

    I have heard that you can edit the file where they are, and add your own for laughs.

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  7. Well written post, and good job explaining how pally tanks work. I’ve yet to level a tankadin up to 70, but my main is a level 70 BM hunter and my usual alt is a level 68 warrior (prot-fury hybrid). The difference between a tankadin and a tankadummy is usually apparent in the first 3 pulls of any given instance.

    I agree with BRK on this though. If the tankadin doesn’t ask for CC, I won’t argue with him. It’s a waste of time to try to pull mobs off a well-geared pally, so just burn the mobs down and let Mr. Aggro do his thing. In some cases, it’s quite a bit of fun not to worry about CC.

    If, on the other hand, the pally wants me to CC and knows how to help me do my job, I’ll chain trap mobs through the instance if that is his desire.

    For all dps out there, from someone who plays both dps and tank, follow the instructions the tank gives you. Especially at higher levels, there is a good chance he’s run the instance before and knows what pulls are tricky or need some extra time. Don’t rush him, don’t try to tell him how to do his job, and whatever you do, don’t pull unless he specifically tells you to. The tank’s job is to keep the party safe by being a meat shield. Your job is to keep the tank alive by not letting the mobs that are hitting him get out of hand. IF everyone does their job, the run will go smoothly.

    Out of curiosity, am I the only one who, when tanking, has the following rule? “The first time you pull aggro off of me, run towards me, and I will get it back. If you run away from me or pull aggro a second time, you get to tank the mob.” I don’t always enforce the rule, according to the players I’m with, but for the most part that’s my theory. If you haven’t learned how to watch your aggro and adjust it according to need by level 60, maybe groups aren’t your thing…

  8. Heya Evil Sheep, nope you’re no t the only one who will let a dps tank if they pull aggro. Most of the time I will grab back the threat, but being as pally taunt only lasts 3 secs, it takes a smart player to then run toward the pally and stop friggin dps.

    If they do that a few times, I let them try it out and see how it goes. Some dps players will actually do ok when pulling aggro. Ret Pallys and Warriors can survive short periods, and even a Warlock might survive if they play smart against a fear-able mob.

    However for the players who do it, and do it badly I’ll usually stop and talk about it afterward, just so that we all get on the same page. If they prove to be a dickhead, they get booted.

  9. My girlfriend has just specced prot on her pally, and my hunter has been running instances with her, so I’ve really enjoyed this post and the one from BRK. Between the two of you (and the helpful comments) we have both learnt a lot.

    Oh, and my feral tank has a macro to hit at the beginning of instances giving out the kill order and the rule: You spank it, you tank it. I’ll help out the first time it happens, the second time the rule comes into play and the third time its generally a kick. Harsh? I don’t think so, if the healer pulls aggro because they have to heal what is essentially an undergeared, non crit-immune off-tank, that means we all die pretty swiftly.

  10. Heya Unglar, glad it helped. BRK and the posters also helped me learn a lot too.

    I’ll have to create a warning macro for that, and might create another for the loot rules. That’ll get any arguments in the open early in the run.

    What I didn’t count on was the hatred that a lot of Hunters had for Salvation. I guess I assumed that every Hunter would need it, or at least want it. To try this out I offered a few Hunters that I grouped with the choice, and most chose Salv. Odd, but then these guys were really well geared, so I guess they needed it so that my tanking would work.

  11. @ Typhoonandrew -firstly, I think a lot of hunters are under the impression that Salv is the best for them.

    Secondly, I do think it really depends. When I run with paladin tanks who do not know me, most ask for what Blessing I want (or assume I want Salv). What I usually tell them is: “If I am going to be any doing pulling and/or trapping, then please give me Might. If you are just going to be AoE pulling everything and want a super quick run, then Salv is fine.”

    I don’t HATE Salv, in fact, it makes my job pretty dang easy cause then I don’t have to worry about my Feign Death (which resists all the time anyway, so it’s not quite as reliable as it is often made out to be), and lets me just unload the DPS without having to worry about the threat meter because I am invariably riding the tank’s coattails no matter what.

    But on the other hand, I CAN manage my aggro with something like Might instead… it’s a little harder, but it’s certainly possible. And of course, it makes trapping tons easier.

  12. I usually decide what blessing I want after I check out the gear of the party members. My guild has Kara on farm and is working through ZA, so I’m mostly in low purples on my hunter. If I’m grouped with my guildies, I’ll usually ask for might, as most of them are much better geared than I am (worked nights for a while and fell behind on raids). If I’m running with a pug that is mostly in blues and greens, I’ll always go for salv, since if I unload full bore there is a really good chance I’m gonna blow past the tank on the threat table, even if I’m watching Omen.

    On a side note, I ran Old Hillsbrad today on my warrior. Two mages in the group, a resto shaman, a holy/disc priest, and myself (now specced prot – I’m close enough to 70 that I’ll probably tank the rest of the way through).

    One mage decided to start pulling, so I let him do that a couple of times while I sat and watched. Then I asked what his armor was, he said it was around 3k. My answer “Really? Mine’s over 11k, so I guess I’m the tank. But if you pull before me again, you can have the job and I’ll dps.” Solved that problem. However, the group still fell apart when the shaman released Thrall before anyone else could talk to him and turn in the quest….

  13. @ Evilsheep – that Shammy and Mage pug sounds like just the right reason to be a mean and surly tank.

    @ Pike – You’re spot on, and checking against gear is something I should have mentioned in hindsight. My gear is still not ideal, so I play a very conservative Tank.

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  15. Gee, I didn’t expect leaving a quick reply in BRK’s blog would get me quoted here.

    Obviously there are good paladin tanks who know how to throw their shield so that a hunter can trap. My reply was more a frustration at certain instance runs in particular that had me /facepalm’ing with every pull. These are the tankadins that Salv the whole group, hit our trap target with Avenger’s Shield, and expect us to miraculously drag the mob off of them. These are paladins that obviously don’t understand how trapping works. It’s not polymorph…we’re not mages.

    “Why not find out the Paladin’s strat, and see if you learn something.”

    FYI, I also play a Prot paladin.

  16. Heya Contrary, I just wanted to debunk the stereotypes that BRK initially raised. As a ranter from way back I get how frustrating it can be. We’ve seen prot pallys who did stupid things, or at the very least didn’t explain why they took a really risky actions. The pally you mention sounds like a right jackass.

    I took the opportunity to quote you so I could illustrate that the Hunter view was initially a tad two dimensional. BRK followed it up with a great post that really helped establish a balance.

    Some of my best rants would probably get me arrested if taken out of context, so if this upset you then I apologise. No harm meant.

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