What is your favorite boss to tank?

Illidan is cool and so is Reliquary of Souls. Kael’thas is maybe the most epic feeling fight in the game. But in my opinion, the most intense and most fun fight for a tank has got to be Gurtogg Bloodboil.

The boss has an ability called Bloodboil that will put a DoT on the 5 people farthest away from him which does 600 damage every second for 24 seconds and he does it every 10 seconds and it will stack if the same people get it every time. So for all of phase 1 there are 3 groups of 5 people rotating so that there are new people getting Bloodboil every time and nobody gets more than 1 stack.

And in the front of the raid the boss tries to apply a debuff to the tank every 2 seconds. The debuff reduces your armor by 500 and has a DoT component that does 300-350 damage. That doesn’t sound too bad but of course it stacks up to 99 times. So the idea is to make sure it doesn’t stack too many times on the tank. Since there is no way to remove it and it lasts for 60 seconds, the only way to get rid of it is to let it wear off and that means you need two tanks trading aggro. But of course the boss is immune to taunt so you have to do it the old fashioned way. He also Ejects the current tank which is a knockback and a small threat reduction and he can disorient the tank for 8 seconds and go attack #2 on threat.

Every 60 seconds it goes to phase 2 when he casts an ability called Fel Rage on himself and on one person in the raid who isn’t a warrior and a debuff called Insignificance on everyone else. The Insignificance debuff makes it so that nothing you do will generate any threat.

Fel Rage increases your armor by 15,000 and your health by 30,000 and it increase healing done by 100% and damage done by 300%. Gurtogg will only attack the person with Fel Rage until that person is dead or the debuff wears off after 30 seconds. Remember Gurtogg casts that buff on himself too (except he doesn’t get the armor bonus) so he is going to be beating the crap out of the Fel Rage target. So healers need to heal that person like maniacs while healing the people with the Bloodboil debuff and healing the tanks with the Acidic Wound debuff.

After Fel Rage it goes back to phase 1 for another 60 seconds of aggro trading fun.

It is obviously a dps race because if you can’t kill him fast enough the healers will run out of mana because of the massive raid wide damage. There is an enrage timer at 7 minutes but I can’t imagine how you would run into it before the healers were all OOM.

As a tank you have to generate enough threat that the dps can kill him before the healers are OOM but you can’t generate too much threat or the other tank won’t be able to keep up. And you have to stack the crap out of avoidance stats so that you don’t take too many stacks of the Acidic Wound debuff. I think that when we were first learning the fight I had a ludicrous amount of avoidance – 36% dodge, 22% parry and 7.5% miss on top of the base 4.4% chance to be missed. Of course that kind of avoidance doesn’t help much with threat generation.

The key to this fight is finding a balance in everything. Finding a balance in the gear to keep you alive and generate threat, balance between enough threat to get the kill and not outpace the other tank, a balance between bringing enough healers and enough dps, a balance between squishies to stand in the back but who can easily die to Fel Rage or melee who can’t soak a bloodboil but tear the boss apart during Fel Rage. There are two different fights going on in the front and in the back and then it all crashes together in phase 2. There is just so much going on and I love it. I look forward to this fight every week.


  1. Sounds like a very intense encounter, it’s unfortunate for me that I’ll likely never be able to experience it – in fact I highly doubt being able to experience all of SSC and TK, let alone Hyjal and BT.

    On another note, very good post. I enjoy reading about these types of things and hopefully I’ll be seeing more in the future.

  2. Don’t expect to tank in BT on my alt tank either, our guild is nearly entering that instance but a Karazhan geared alt has better places to visit first :)
    Most tank fights i’ve done are basicly tank and spank with its only challenge to keep shield block up while staying nr1 in the aggro race, perhaps the use of an emergency button now and then.