Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Art of the Pull

With the new heroics leaning more towards controlling adds and using CC it's important to know how to setup a pull correctly as a tank. This can almost be as important as the pull itself. Sometimes when I'm on my warlock, I'll even volunteer to setup the pulls if the tank hasn't been to the dungeon before. Nothing beats pure experience but Blizzard always gives you hints with their naming conventions.

I'll use The Vortex Pinnacle as an example;

The Vortex Pinnacle has a variety of creatures and pulls which makes it very good for learning the different types of pulls and when to use them. I break down the way I pull into these categories:

1) Straight Pull - Straight pull is your basic mark them up, set targets, then pull.
2) LOS (Line of Sight) Pull - Line of sight means hitting them and running behind something so they can't cast at you.  This is most commonly used against casters, or pulls with a lot of CC.
3) CC (Crowd Control) Pull - CC Pull is having the party CC their targets to start the pull.  This is used when the CC targets are often ones you do not want moving when the pull happens.(examples of this are mobs that instantly cast buffs or debuffs when they enter combat)

The Basics
Make sure you use Skull and Cross(X) to mark kill order.  Use marks that may relate to people or let them know what mark they are responsible for. For instance sometimes I use the following;

Blue Square - Hunter Ice trap
Yellow Star - Paladin Repentance \ Priest Shackle
Purple Diamond - Warlock Fear (glyphed)
Moon - Mage Sheep
Orange Circle - Shaman Hex / Bind
Green Triangle - Druid Root / Hybernate

Make sure you know how often a class can use their CC abilities.  If you have a Rogue sap, they cannot sap again so that target should be the next kill target. If a mage is sheeping a humanoid, they can keep it locked down the entire fight and it should be the last target.

Inside the Vortex Pinnacle
Section 1: Elementals
The start of Vortex Pinnacle is pretty easy.  Your options for CC are limited because of elementals. Shaman can bind elementals, warlocks can banish, and paladins can repent them if glyphed. Melee units can also be rooted by a druid, hunters can icetrap.

Looking at the first few pulls you will see a couple types of elementals.

Smaller ones called Wild Vortexes.
Larger ones called Gust Soldiers.

After doing the first pull I realized that Wild Vortexes can cast Cyclone so they become my CC target whenever they appear. I mark them up depending on my group.  CC the Wild Vortexes, Root a Gust Soldier and leave yourself with one target to fight. With pulls involving wild vortexes I do one of two pulls. I either use a straight pull (because Gust Soldiers can charge any caster) or a LOS pull where I use my Avenger's Shield (with Daze on it) cast at the CC mobs so they don't move fast and can be CC'd with ease.

Section 2:  Humanoids in the middle.
This is where the LOS pull becomes your best friend. To properly pull off a line of sight pull you need to set it up correctly. Let your party know it is a LoS pull, so anyone not involved in CC should be back where the mobs will be tanked. Move forward with the party members who are going to CC and decide if it is a CC pull or a Straight pull to start. I tend to do more straight pulls if possible so I get initial aggro and not a caster.

Make the pull, lay down concecration about half way to your LoS position and wait for the mobs. Sometimes I have to Hand of Salvation the Healer to make sure aggro is not pulled if they dropped a heal on the pull. Once aggro is established, any party member who will have to keep CC up can then move back out to re-apply CC.

Special notes about the humanoid section: Blizzard is nice and friendly in their naming conventions. Temple Adepts heal, Ministers of Air are ranged. There is a trick I figured out with Ministers of Air, if no one is in their Line of sight they do not move, they stand there because they have no melee attack. So for all the humanoid pulls, I CC the Adepts, kill the Executor of the Caliph first because they stun the tank, kill the Servant of the Asaad Second, and using Line of sight kill one adept at a time because they like to haste themselves then heal crazy fast.

Section 3:  Dragons and Elementals
Section 3 is a pretty quick section.  Most of the pulls are pretty straight forward.  Don't tank the dragon in the healing circle and kill the little Skyfall stars fast. The issue comes with two mobs called Turbulent Squalls and Cloud Princes. Cloud Princes cannot be CC'd and summon adds. Turbulent Squalls are ranged and cast hurricane on the group.

Also there is almost no place to LoS pull the Turbulent squalls so they have to be CC'd. Empyrean Assassins do not do much so they can just be tanked, using Hand of Freedom on yourself clears the Lethargic Poison. Cloud Princes summon wipping winds, they are small adds, but hit pretty hard.  Make sure you use a tanking cooldown when they are spawned just to be kind to your healer.

Final Thoughts
The more you run an instance the more tricks you can figure out.  For example there is a pull with two Ministers of Air at the end of section 2.  If you manage to pull everything through line of sight, and CC the adept on the stairs, you can kill everything but the ministers of air.  At that point you can run past them and stand in the giant lightning pyramid zone and their attacks are all grounded. Then you can just go to sleep while any ranged class burns them down. The Lurking mobs can be killed by any Ranged at max range, or just have the healer face them as you tank the instance.

Always try to bring one other person with you into any PuG that you can trust to do a job. I personally try to either bring a healer I know, or a reliable CC class that I can talk to on vent while we do the pulls. Doing a full PuG can be a frustrating experience for all, wrong mobs get CC'd, LoS pulls are DPS'd before they get into position, etc. A friend to talk to through all that "fun" makes it a much more enjoyable experience. Besides, everyone wants to queue with a tank right?

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