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Guide to Pet Tanking Heroic Morchok

Just over a week ago the video above appeared on YouTube showing Lazyguide of Ner’zhul pet tanking 10-man Heroic Morchok. I already had an inkling this is possible after the Warcraft Hunters Union on Icecrown took down Morchok on normal mode with a 10-man hunter group in July, but I never researched it any further at the time.

Because the video appeared after my guild’s weekly Dragon Soul run, I had to make my own attempt a week later on the next lockout. We had already planned to try new things on this raid because our paladin healer wanted to try single healing Heroic Ultraxion (which was also successful), so convincing them that Heroic Morchok can be pet-tanked was not difficult. After all, I already had a reputation on my server as the hunter who tanked Argaloth back in tier 11. (At one point I pet-tanked Argaloth every week for over a month.)

Our kill took five attempts or so after playing around with group arrangements and positioning and improvising pulling strategies, but it was successful. With one lockout remaining before Dragon Soul is no longer considered “current”, this guide should help anyone wants to try out this encounter for the final week of Cataclysm.

Before we start, I do want to make one disclaimer:

You do not have to choose the Beast Mastery specialization to tank Heroic Morchok.

I personally pet-tanked with a Marksmanship specialization because I can use the hard-hitting combination of Aimed Shot and Chimera Shot to generate more Misdirection threat to my pet.

Preparation

Although all pets can now be a tenacity pet, I would still recommend using a turtle or a beetle because of their respective abilities Shell Shield and Harden Carapace, which can reduce damage taken by 50 percent for 12 seconds.

One talent is required in pet tanking this encounter: Spirit Bond, which gives the hunter and his/her pet passive healing. Blink Strike can also be useful for your pet’s quick positioning, but is optional if you are already comfortable with pet management.

Three major glyphs are also required: Glyph of Misdirection, Glyph of Animal Bond, and Glyph of Mending (not to be confused with Glyph of Mend Pet).

Finally, you will want to create a Misdirection macro to go along with your glyph. A simple example is below. (Nanghul is the name of my beetle, so you will want to change that.)

#showtooltip Misdirection
/castrandom [target=Nanghul] Misdirection
/yell Misdirecting to Nanghul!

If you would like to create a safety margin for your pet’s health, bringing along a Flask of Steelskin might not be a bad idea.

Encounter

This encounter can be done with two or three healers, depending on how comfortable your healers are with healing your pet. You will want an additional tank to pick up Morchok’s twin Kohcrom.

The pet should make the initial pull with Misdirection from the hunter. The other tank should not use taunt abilities for the first phase of the fight. This is because once Morchok splits into two, he seems to maintain the aggro table from the first phase. We would like to avoid an accident where the other tank finds himself tanking Kohcrom and Morchok at the same time.

Because Morchok splits to the right, the hunter (blue circle in the blueprint above, with the pet marked in orange) should be positioned to the group on the right. One healer should be assigned to each group. The third person in the hunter group can be another healer or a DPS which can drop his own aggro table (I will explain why later).

Once the other tank has stabilized Kohcrom’s position, the remainder of the encounter can now begin. Stomp does not affect the hunter pet, thus it can be entirely avoided with everyone in the hunter group staying at least 25 yards away from Morchok. Additionally, with more people on the left group, the damage from Stomp can be split across more people.

Two people must remain with the hunter because Resonating Crystal splits damage among three people in 10-man. (Damage is split among seven people on 25-man difficulty, so at least a 19–6 group split will be necessary in that encounter.)

The tricky portion of the encounter begins when Morchok and Kohcrom draws everyone in with Earthen Vortex. When this happens, the hunter pet appears to despawn and drop all aggro from the boss, thus prompt reapplication of Misdirection toward the pet is necessary. This is when the other DPS with the hunter should use his aggro reset ability to make it easier for the hunter pet to regain aggro. Not doing so may result in chaos.

Pets are also not affected by Black Blood of the Earth, so send it toward Morchok immediately after Earthen Vortex is over. This and prompt reapplication of Misdirection will help the pet gain aggro quicker.

Once Black Blood of the Earth is over, the encounter repeats itself. As long as no one in the hunter group is within range of Morchok to take damage from Stomp, the encounter should go on without a problem.

Occasionally you may find that Resonating Crystal is placed within the Stomp range. If that is the case, you will want to either reposition your pet quickly or stay away from the Resonating Crystal until after Stomp has finished casting.

Afterthoughts

It is theoretically possible for two hunters to individually pet tank Morchok and Kohcrom if Kohcrom can be immediately picked up once he is summoned. Because their mechanics are identical, it might also be possible for a 10-man all-hunter group to defeat the encounter using the principles I described above.

If an all-hunter group is not possible, bringing along two healers (one for each group) should suffice, with an even 5–5 group split between Morchok and Kohcrom.


Updates from the Front

It looks like the pre-reset daily reset was indeed a bug. I was still able to gain a few extra marks on Wednesday night, but no longer on Thursday. Blizzard probably admits among themselves they made a mistake on this bug, but reverting tames and Marks on the numerous people who unknowingly stumbled upon this bug would cause a giant mess.

It is no longer possible to complete some daily quests more than once a day by turning them in during a small window before the standard reset time.

When I returned to the Molten Front the afternoon after I got in early, I went back to see which beasts were still up. Skarr had respawned, and Deth’tilac seemed to have been tamed. However, I returned again about an hour before the rush began when everyone would arrive at the Front. Immediately, someone beckons me over to the Forlorn Spire area, where Deth’tilac had respawned. Initially, I was hesitant to take the effort to kite him for so long in order to tame him, but when I started, it seems that person called over his friends to help me kite the spider. What ensued was 10 minutes back and forth with Deth’tilac, getting rooted, trapped, etc.

I’m still waiting on Karkin to spawn whenever I’m at the Front, but I think having three of the five spiders is enough. I don’t have room in my stable anymore.

Firelands has been fun, though I’ve only been doing trash runs and not bosses. Last night, I managed to hit honored with the Avengers of Hyjal, so a nifty new cloak and belt were in order for me. No epics have dropped from trash for me yet, though.

If you have not already, you should try getting to the top of this spider hill. This is probably one of the most fun achievements in the game right now. I bet you could even make some sort of game out of this.

How have the Molten Front and Firelands been treating you?


Server First Tames: Anthriss, Solix, Skarr

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you some server first tames from the Molten Front!

Anthriss

Solix

Skarr

This is not a joke. As proof, here is the direct link to Skarr in my stable. Anthriss and Solix models have not been uploaded into the Armory yet. For more details on my taming, head over to the Petopia forums where I summarized how I went about taming them.

How did this happen you ask? It was nothing short of a miracle.

Eredar is an Eastern time zone server, whose dailies are supposed to reset at 4 a.m. I returned to the Sanctuary of Malorne at 3:30 intending to wait for the daily reset, except I found out that it had already reset, so I actually managed to get 16 Marks of the World Tree on the first day. At 4 a.m., the dailies reset again, giving me another 4 Marks of the World Tree, thus completing the 20 I needed to turn in to get into the Molten Front. I was one of only a handful of people who discovered this, so the Molten Front was very sparsely populated.

This is not the only reported case of a double daily reset, as several people on the Petopia forums have also gotten server first tames.

I am requesting name suggestions for these three pets!

Best of luck to everyone hunting them and the other new rare pets.

P.S. Deth’tilac is scary!


Patch 4.2: Small Changes, Big Impact

Here we are, 9 weeks after the last content update. Patch 4.2 is rolling out on the live realms as we speak. For hunters, our changes are actually limited compared to several other classes. Sometimes I’m surprised that every major patch, the mechanics of other classes seem to change so much that I can never keep up with the latest play style. For hunters however, we usually get a few changes, yet these changes make such a big impact in the way we play.

(Hey, at the very least, hunter challenges have returned, for pet taming that is. This brings back the spirit of classic World of Warcraft when hunters would go on an epic quest across the world to assemble powerful weapons. Petopia has the latest.)

Let’s give some examples.

Crowd Control

Many crowd control abilities no longer cause creatures to attack players when they are cast. The creature will not attack the player when the crowd control wears off, and nearby creatures will not become hostile to the player either. However, if a visible player gets too close to the target creature, the creature will remember and attack the player when the crowd control effect wears off. The intent is to make it easier for dungeon groups to manage crowd control assignments and pulling packs of hostile NPCs. The abilities affected by this change are: […] Wyvern Sting (will still cause hostility when it begins to deal damage), Freezing Trap […].

Misdirecting to a tank prior to trap-pulling has become second nature for quite some time, to the point that I’ve become very efficient with it. Even with the simple removal of aggro, old habits die hard. It’s likely that I will find myself continue to misdirect to the tank prior to placing a trap. After all, not all our traps are for crowd control. I find myself using Explosive Trap lately for speedier runs through the Troll heroic dungeons.

Pet Behavior

The Aggressive pet stance has been removed and replaced with the Assist stance. This stance will cause the player’s pet to attack the player’s target. The pet will not change targets unless the master attacks a new target for a few seconds.

The Defensive pet stance will now only cause the player’s pet to attack enemies which attack the pet or the master.

Stances remain confusing. The change may seem simple, but this will initially cause some confusion among inexperienced hunters. I imagine during the first few hours of the patch going live, every hunter will have to get used to these new stances. The old descriptions sounded much clearer.

Numbers, numbers, numbers

Careful Aim now grants additional critical strike chance against targets over 90% health, up from 80% health.

Black Arrow damage done has been increased by roughly 40%.

On the surface, these are merely numerical changes, yet they make all the difference. Careful Aim, which has been the sole reason the current Marksmanship shot rotation is designed the way it is, gets a significant beating. On the other hand, a simple numerical change to Black Arrow makes it more powerful. Hopefully,  it will also bring Survival back near the top of the charts.

Multi-shot damage has been reduced. It now deals 120% weapon damage at level 80 or higher, down from 137%.

Multi Shot, however, will probably go down in history as the ability with a series of indecisive changes that seemed like a trial-and-error work-in-progress. Hunter area damage has not been consistent at all in this expansion.

Patch 4.2 Roundup

And since tier 11 content has not been kind to me with regards to a ranged weapon, it’s time for me to stop being bitter and move on to the [Extreme-Impact Hole Puncher].


PTR 4.2: Mounts and Pets

Ground mounts just might become more fashionable among hunters in patch 4.2. The reason is because our pets will now remain at our side while mounted. Here’s the latest screenshot from the PTR using [Reins of the Spotted Frostsaber] and Duskstalker.

There are a number of mount/pet combinations that will appeal to hunters. Some combinations even have an appropriate non-combat companion to go along with them, including [Reins of the Golden King] with Sambas for Alliance and [Horn of the Brown Wolf] with Deathmaw and the brown [Worg Carrier] pup for Horde.

Here are a couple more appealing combinations (not necessarily an exhaustive list):

Pets will automatically go into passive stance when the player is mounted, and the pet ability bar will be turn grey. If you fly away on a flying mount, your pet will disappear and will not reappear again when you land until fully dismounted.


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