The Assassin Tank

This is a guest post from Xterminatz over at Xterminatz Gaming. Enjoy!

Ever since SWTOR has been released I’ve been playing multiple roles and characters at the high end-game level. My primary role is Ranged DPS on my Sith Sorceror however I do play other roles such as Assassin Tank and Bounty Hunter Healer during the alt/casual runs to give other non-hardcore players opportunity to see end-game.

Midian was in the race for Warlord Kephess Oceanic First kill several weeks ago however we choked horribly to say the least and there was some major changes that needed to happen if the guild was going to stay together especially with Diablo 3 coming soon.

Prior to last week we had a good few weeks of wiping on Warlord Kephess and being the GM sitting in a leadership role you can’t help but feel that It’s your fault the guild is not progressing as well as the amount of responsibility that’s on your shoulders as a leader.

You ask yourself how do I fix this?

We killed Colonel Vorgath before the 01/05 reset and had at least a few attempts on Kephess, but the problem didn’t start happening until 03/05 and from there it was just constant wipes. The raid would progress and manage to get to the transition phase at 58% majority of the time but once below that all hell broke loose.

Once you pass the transition phase sucessfully and you reach below 58% It’s no longer the “main” responsibility of the DPS or Healers for what happens next. Watching other videos and guilds killing on live stream the tanks play the vital role in the end it all comes down to positioning, timing and kiting Kephess correctly with the final mechanics of the fight and this is what we struggled with.

After watching our tanks a few times it was clear that they didn’t have a real understanding of how these mechanics worked or what exactly they had to do for the final phase, we had them watch multiple videos and we discussed endlessly the different ways to approach it but none of them worked.

What to do now?

So after 6 raiding nights of wiping as the GM and the leader I made the decision to stop 16HM raiding on Sunday 13/05 as players started to burn out and people just didn’t want to turn up for progression anymore. From a DPS/Healer point of view you can point the finger endlessly at the tank but until you’re actually playing a tank you don’t understand what’s happening in the raid.

The following night Monday 14/05 I decided we would do 8HM instead and bring our best players from the team, I also switched to play my assassin tank so I could feel and see what our tanks were doing, it allowed me to have a 1-to-1 perspective to see if it was the tanks having the problem or maybe just the strat we where using.

First problem; Positioning – After the transition phase we found that the positioning used for Kephess was slightly incorrect and we saw within a few attempts DPS/Heals would get gimped because Kephess or the raid was in the wrong spot and he would cleave (arcing slash) players.

When you enter Kephess room you’ll notice 3 doors/gates one to the left, one to the right facing Kephess and obviously the third is the one you entered the room via. We positioned Kephess at the right door/gate and had the raid DPS/Heals stack at the entry gate to maximize the distance for any possible issues we would encounter, we also had a specific tank on Kephess for the transition phase.

The offtank (myself) who was not tanking in the transition phase positioned himself at the boxes to the left entry door so that when Kephess finished the transition he would immediately taunt, then get knocked back to start dropping purple circles and the original tank would pickup again and continue tanking as normal.

We did this a few times and it worked great!

Second problem; Timing and Kiting – We found our first problem and fixed it relatively quickly however the second problem now boiled down to timing of the tanks taunting at the correct times for BoTM (Breathe of The Masters) and being able to kite Kephess without getting hit by him, or getting knocked into a purple circle which would result into the tank getting one shot.

The key to this problem was communicaion between the tanks which we previously never saw in any of our 16HM attempts and I think this is one of the major key points that turned it around for us. After deciding we would kite Kephess clockwise starting from the boxes it all boiled down to the tanks communicating with each other and letting one another know when to taunt (as a verbal warning) for BoTM.

I’ll admit that when I was kiting Kephess I made a few bad decisions with the kite path and got myself knocked into the purple circles, tanks for this phase will always need to be on the ball.

The end result – make or break?

With all phases now sorted out it came down to the entire raid perfecting the execution of the strat and this is pretty much where exceptional gamers are either made, or broken and I can happily say that with the amount of time and effort we’ve put into Warlord Kephess we killed him 8HM re-assuring our players for 16HM.

Here’s the live stream unedited 8HM kill:

Following the reset our 16HM raid visited Warlord Kephess on Wednesday 16/05. We used the exact same strat as our 8HM kill and with much suprised we managed to kill Kephess & clear Explosive Conflict within one raiding night. Unfortunately I don’t have video/fraps recorded from my POV however I plan to have a 1080p HD video up soon from my tanking perspective to help with other guilds.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article It’s not easy being a top raiding guild but I thought I would share my experience as this was the birth of The Assassin Tank for me.