Prot Warrior Tanking: How to Tank UK, Nexus and AN

In this post and more to follow, I’ll go over everything you need to know to tank the various 5-man dungeons of Wrath without endangering your group or making the Hunter who’s main is a tank think “Oh my god, what the hell is that tank doing?” before feigning death as the group is slaughtered by the tank’s mistake.

No, of course I’ve never been that Hunter… *never*.

I’ll go over these in the order that you generally face them as you level, but this writing is for the Heroic versions. Most of the information still applies to normal, however the placement of some pulls (There’s more trash in Nexus N than Nexus H) and of course Heroic-only bosses (Dwarf/Orc boss in Nexus) will differ from the Normal runs.

Utgarde Keep:

The first batch of pulls can actually be deadly. These mobs can all enrage, and if you pull them all, and enough of them enrage at the same time, even a T10 tank can be beat up pretty bad. A tank just starting out has little to no change. Therefore, pull them carefully. The first pull is an easy one with no risk of adds. Past them, you have a large number of mobs spread out from left to right with several pathing mobs (pats) going between the left and right stationary groups. Pull either the left or the right first when the pats are in a position as to not cause the other group to add as well.

The dragon room is the next place where people make mistakes, take too many risks, or pull more mobs than needed. Most people I see go to the left and ignore the right. This is more risky, as many folks who do this expect group members to thread the needle between pulls in order to skip them. Going to the right is a total of three pulls and offers a much safer passage. The first two pulls are Handler/Dragon duos. I prefer to kill the Handlers first, and make sure the dragon is facing away from the group (frontal cone fire) and make sure you don’t have your back to the next pull as they have a knockback. The third pull has two Handlers, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

Now you’re going to start seeing a mix of mobs for the rest of the zone. Runecasters should be dealt with first, and any protection runes should be interrupted or dispelled. Mobs with a protection rune on them are immune to damage and, thus, immune to threat buildup too. A protection rune on pull is very dangerous as you will not be able to generate any real threat on that mob until the rune falls off or is dispelled. They’ll go right for your healer in other words. Taunting works, but only as long as the taunt’s forced targeting is active.

The other types to worry about are Spiritualists and Heartsplitters. Spiritualists are healers and will nuke from range, and Heartsplitters don’t like to be pulled either. If both of these mobs are in a pull, then use your Heroic Throw to silence the Spiritualist and pull her to the Heartsplitter. Remember, the Heartsplitter is using physical attacks from range. If you have two ranged attackers and one silence, pick the one that’s using spells.

This brings us to the first boss, Prince Keleseth. He’s not much a big deal, but you will see him again in ICC raids. Just start off with laying threat on him directly. The DPS should be responsible for breaking people out when he ice tombs them, but in case they flake out, you may need to help out as well. Give them a three count to see if they’re going to do their job. If they don’t, then do it for them.

The only other trick to this fight is that he summons a bunch of skeletal warriors who run in from the exit of the room. These do not share their master’s agro, and will go right for your healer. If your healer’s smart, they’ll stand next to you to make your life easy. Most, however, don’t do this. Make sure your Thunder Clap and Shockwave are ready, and then charge the mass of skeletons when they get within range. Clap, Shockwave, and then Intercept back to a melee DPS working on the boss. The skeletons should die to AOE, and will rise throughout the fight, but will rise where they died. They shouldn’t be any sort of challenge to keep under control from this point.

Next up, you enter the first of the “mine” type areas. The Overseers in this area will charge you and stun you if you pull them from ranged or run in at normal speed. While you’re stunned, the ghouls are probably going to be after your healer. To counter this, make sure you charge the Overseer first. Just like you, he needs range to charge, and if you charge first you won’t be stunned and can control the pull better.

There are pats on the stairs in this place. Be aware of where the pat is before fighting at the base of the stairs, and be prepared to pick up the possible add.

Next, Dalronn the Controller and Skarvald the Constructor. The trick here is that when one of them dies, they come back as a ghost with no threat table. They’re going to run amuck and beat people up, and the least dangerous one to have doing this is Dalronn. Therefore, he should die first. However, the fight isn’t over till they are both dead. If your group will listen to you, you can completely trivialize this fight by taking Skarvald down to about 20%, killing Dalronn, and then killing Skarvald. Be aware regardless of what tactic you pick, Dalronn will summon two skeletons from time to time whether he’s alive or dead, and you will need to Thunder Clap to pick these up or interrupt his cast (if he’s still alive and attackable).

The last pull at the base of the next set of stairs if avoidable if people hug the stair railing. It’s a pretty easy avoidance, and even pets shouldn’t have a problem with this one.

Finally, after some more trash, we come to Ingvar the Plunderer. Ingvar comes back as an undead after you kill him once, so you need to fight him twice.

Phase 1:
He has a cleave, so face him away from the group. The only ability that you, as a tank, need to worry about is Smash. It hits like a trick and can kill a new 80 very easily. When you see him casting Smash, run through him so you’re at his back when he finishes. The Smash will go off harmlessly, and you can turn him back to the original facing. How important is this? Well, before mitigation with armor, Smash deals about 40K physical damage in the frontal cone. I’ve seen so many new tanks complain that they die on this fight, and come to find out they haven’t been moving out of Smash. Well no crap you died!

Phase 2:
Dark Smash doesn’t hit for as much in the frontal cone, but you should still avoid it the same as way as Smash. You’ll still be hit for damage from Dark Smash’s 360 degree component, but you will take about 2K damage instead of 12K. Do you HAVE to move? No. Should you get use to it because it’s a vital part of being a skilled tank? Yes.

You’ll also need to watch for Shadow Axe. He’ll throw his axe at someone, and it’ll whirlwind there for 10 seconds hitting everyone within range of it for about 4K per second. If this lands in melee, move the boss away to encourage your melee DPS to move out of it as well. Sometimes the poor dears need to be lead out of danger by the nose after all.

The Nexus:

The Nexus trash is not horrible complicated. When you first enter the zone, you’ll probably head to the left. That’s where everyone seems to go. This path takes you by some dragonkin, and down a tunnel that leads to humanoids encased in ice which aggro when you get too close to attack them. The healers are generally your first targets for obvious reasons.

The boss, half way through the iced humanoid pulls, is a Dwarf if you’re Horde and an Orc if you’re Alliance. He has a nasty Whirlwind that melee DPS will want to get out of. You’ll probably be OK even as a fresh 80 tank though. Just make sure you don’t park him on top of a healer or ranged DPS as they will surely die should he Whirlwind on top of them.

His other main ability is an AOE fear. This will cause you or your party members to run into adds if you don’t pull the boss back to the tunnel you just came down. Lots of people like to fight him right where he stands, but this if foolish. Pull him back…

The only other thing of note is that he comes with two healers. If your group’s DPS is good, just burn the boss. If they’re mostly fresh-ish 80s, kill the healers first. They have to die either way, so whatever is easiest for your group.

Moving on, you’ll go through another tunnel and encounter more mobs. The mobs on the far side of the tunnel can silence, and while this is mostly a problem for DK tanks, it’s still something to be aware of. The group at the far end of this area does not need to be pulled. The group in the room with the boss must be pulled out of the room to kill. If you rush in, you’ll likely aggro the boss too.

Now you’re going to fight Grand Magus Telestra. She’s pretty easy. She’ll split into three copies of herself twice during the fight, so save your AOE threat abilities for picking up these copies when they spawn. Kill order doesn’t matter a whole lot, but the purple one likes to CC the party (Time Spot) and individuals (Sheep/Critter), so it’s best to kill that one first.

Once all of the copies are down, she merges back into one being, and it’s Phase 1 all over again. It is possible to kill her before the second split if DPS is high enough, but in a normal case the fight looks like this.

Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 1

Phase 2 being her splitting into three copies.

Once she’s down, it’s time to continue toward the Rift area. Trash here is simple… kill the rifts first as they spawn adds, then the female dragonkin as they heal, then the males last. If you have a pull with one female and a rift, silence her with Heroic Throw and move her to the rift. If you have multiple female dragonkin, charge one, Shield Bash to silence, drag her to the rift, and then Heroic Throw to silence the second and bring her into the stack of mobs.

If you do not have a pet class with you, just off the second platform rather than take the ramp. It’ll save you one pull. If you do have a pet class, just make it easy on them and do the pull.

Heading to the next platform, there will be pulls on your left you can skip. Take the ramp up to the platform, kill the rift and the mana creatures. The next platform is Anomalus, the third boss.

Anomalus is also very easy. Just DPS him down. If your DPS is low, you may need to have them switch to and kill rifts as he opens them. Once he hits 50%, he’ll become immune to attack and shrink. He’ll also open a rift at this time which when killed will make him attackable again. This is the only rift in the encounter you HAVE to kill. Once it’s down, just finish him off and any remaining rifts will despawn when he dies. Do be mindful that if DPS is low, these rifts do spawn adds as well as nuke the group, so it’s best to kill them if you start to get overwhelmed.

Next, you head back the way you came and go South toward the Grove area. This area is full of plant elementals that cannot be killed. They go inert at 1 HP and revive a short while later. Head down the left branch, gather up the plants, and AOE to shut them down. Your first mandatory pull is a pat of one Tender and two Keepers. The Tender is usually my first kill target. Your next target is a Protector that can’t be avoided. The next Protector on the left can be skipped, as you follow the path around to the right. You’ll encounter another pat of a Tender and two Keepers, another Protector, and then another pat of two Tenders and two Keepers. Then it’s time for the boss…

Ormorok the Tree-Shaper is easily the hardest boss in this place so far. He’s still easy, but people can die stupidly with great ease and his damage on tank after he enrages is actually pretty respectable for a newer 80. The biggest thing to watch out for would be his crystal spike attack. He’ll send spiked out in an X pattern centered on himself. A couple of seconds later, these will jut out of the ground and cause a good amount of damage to anyone standing on them. It’ll also throw you in the air and cause falling damage. These should not be hard to avoid.

As mentioned, he does enrage. This happens at 25% and it boosts his damage output by 100%. If you’re a brand new 80, you may need to use a cooldown here. Most likely Shield Wall.

He also does a spell reflect which bounces the next four spells back to the caster, but as a Prot Warrior you need not worry about this. If you notice a silly nuker killing themselves though, be sure to inform them of the spell reflect mechanic.

Past this boss is a tunnel that leads to a slight drop. There is a pat down there, so wait till everyone’s with you and then jump and engage them. At the end of the path next to the exit, you’ll see a Protector. It IS possible to get by this guy without aggroing, but most people can’t seem to manage it so I don’t even try. Just kill it. It’s one mob for crying out loud.

So, now you’re back in the hub of the zone. There will be pats to the left and right, but most likely they won’t be close enough in their patrol to aggro. If they are, kill them. If not, then just run to the middle of the hub. There will be one mob in there to kill, and then it’s time for the final boss of the zone.

Keristraza eats a lot of noobs… To start the fight, just click each of the three orbs in her room. Be aware that silly DPS will often click these for you, providing a nice surprise when the fight starts before you expected it to. Aren’t they helpful? No. No they are not.

The main key to this fight is to simply keep moving. For a tank, this means you stand in front of her, keep her deadly bits away from the group (she’s a dragon. Head and tail are the deadly bits), and hop constantly as you do your tanky thing. Really not hard.

Like the last boss, she’ll enrage at 25% and boost her speed by 30% and her damage by 10%. Again, if you’re a fresh 80, or if your healer sucks the pipe, you may need to use a cooldown at this point.

Fun note: Intense Cold, the stacking DoT that is removed when you move, stays on you after the boss dies. I’ve often see newbies not realize this, and they’ll stand there with 10 stacks of the stuff (since they didn’t move during the fight either) and slowly die as they roll for loot. If this is happening, don’t put in your loot roll till they’re dead or move. Death is the greatest teacher.


This instance is the shortest in Wrath, and also one of the easiest. However, there are still critical mistakes that people make.

The first pull is easy. Two mobs, nothing special. The next pull has a mob type called a Skirmisher. These mobs will “fixate” on a target and cannot be taunted off of that target. It is therefore extremely important that these be killed first. I rarely ever see PUG tanks actually get this right, so please… don’t be like them. Skirmishers die first. Always.

After that pull, you’re at the first boss, Krik’thir the Gatewatcher. This boss is actually made of four pulls. Three are trash, and the last one is the boss itself. The event starts when you pull one of the three trash groups. When that group dies, the next group (randomly chosen) will come out automatically. It’s best to wait and let this happen. If you pull the second group, but the one you didn’t pull was going to be picked to aggro next, you’ll end up with both pulls. If the tank is a fresh 80 or if DPS is low, this could be deadly. It’s simply not worth the risk to rush the encounter by five seconds.

Of the three trash groups, each has a Watcher, and two of them have a Skirmisher. Kill the Skirmisher first, then the Watcher, then the other mob. If it’s the pull with no Skirmisher, then kill the Watcher first and then the other two.

When the three trash groups are down, pull the boss. He’ll summons a swarm of little adds from time to time, so use your AOE threat gains on those. He’ll also use a Mind Flay that you can reflect if you have Spell Reflect up in advance of the cast. On the pull, count off five seconds, and then pop Spell Reflect. This usually catches the first Mind Flay and makes the boss use it on himself for quite a bit of damage. From that point on, use Spell Reflect every time it’s available and you should catch all the Mind Flay attacks. If you miss the first one, then try to adjust your timing. If you catch one, you can catch them all.

The boss does Frenzy at 20%, so if you need it, use a cooldown.

Move along, you come to the next group of trash. It’s a three mob pull, consisting of a crypt lord (the big guy in the middle) and two other mobs. Pull them back and kill the crypt lord first. Once this happens, two more groups exactly like this one will spawn and wait to be pulled. Also, single adds will come toward your party from time to time, so be ready to catch those.

Pull the two new groups one at a time and kill the crypt lords first while continuing to catch and deal with the random adds. Once both of these groups are down, the second boss, Hadronox, will start to walk up from below to the room you’re in. Stay back, and let her kill all the adds around her. She’ll shut off the flow of random adds in the process, and heal herself up as she kills the swarm of adds. When they’re down, engage the boss. This fight is very simple… just stay out of the green patches of poison she’ll put under random people, and she’ll die in no time.

Alternate Method:
This is the alternate method of doing Hadronox. Please note, this does assume a minimum amount of DPS. Unless your DPS are all fresh 80s, this should not be a problem.

1)      Have a Rogue, Hunter, or Mage pull the first group. Make sure you’re not using Vigilance on whoever is doing this.

2)      The puller then vanishes, feigns death, or uses invisibility to reset the pull. Note that Hunter pets need to be on passive and Mages need a lot of room to make sure they get fully invis before the pull reaches them.

This will reset the encounter and despawn all of the adds and Hadronox. The group then runs immediately down the path to where Hadronox spawn, and waits for her to repop. When she does, burn her down. Not only did you bypass some pulls by doing this, but you also get the Hadronox Denied achievement.

Either way, once Hadronox is dead, you need to hop down a hole and take a very long fall into a pond of water. Be wary of prankster Shaman and DKs who may want to try and kill people for kicks with Water Walking or Path of Frost. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, point your camera down and hold the W key down like you’re trying to swim down as you fall. This way, even if you have one of these spells on you, you’ll go into the water normally and not splat on top.

Your last pull before the boss is actually a group wiper. They’ll use Drain Power to boost their own damage while lowering your party’s damage, which prolongs the fight and increases the damage the tank takes. The real killer though is Mark of Darkness. This is a debuff placed on a party member which deals 1500 Shadow damage per second to that person. If that person gets any healing, then they and everyone near them is nuked for roughly 4000 damage per heal they get.

So, basically, if your DPS is horrible and your healer isn’t paying attention, this pull can be ugly. I’ve seen plenty of people die here.

Lastly, we come to Anub’arak. You’ll be seeing him again in ToC raids should you choose to take your tanking career that far.

First and foremost, make sure everyone is on his platform before you pull. A gate of webbing goes up that’ll cut off any party members who were still on the path leading to the platform. Anub goes through two phases which he visits multiple times based on his HP total. It’ll go like this…

Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 1

Yes… it’s that annoying.

Phase 1:
Anub will occasionally summon a swarm of adds that aren’t a big deal. Gather what you can with Thunder Clap but don’t worry too much about them. The biggest deal is Pound which deals roughly 50,000 physical damage (before mitigation from armor) to everyone in a frontal cone. Obviously, you need to keep him turned away from the group. You’ll also want to run through him when he starts to cast Pound, because you don’t want to be hit by it either.

Note: As of late, he seems to bug a little when he Pounds and may turn to face a direction other than the tank. This seems to happen most if the tank is inside his hit box. Try to tank him at max melee range to cut down on this and the possible DPS deaths that could follow.

After his HP hit 75%, he’ll burrow and Phase 2 starts for the first time. He’ll summon non-elite mobs, elite mobs, and do a “don’t stand in that” attack. The non-elite mobs spawn throughout the phase, and can easily be dealt with by DPS classes with AOEs. Keep an eye out, however, to make sure this is happening and the healer isn’t in danger. The elite mobs spawn in waves of two from the direction the group came from and walk down the ramp and into the boss area. The first wave is made up of two melee types. The second wave is made up of two caster types who will randomly poison people in your group. The very first Phase 2 is a little different, in that the second wave of elite mobs doesn’t happen.

All through Phase 2, you’ll see the ground start to move under a random group member. They need to move out of this to avoid the spikes that shoot up through the ground. These spikes cause damage, as well as knock the player (or players if more than one is caught) into the air. The height is sufficient enough to cause fall damage on top of the damage the spikes themselves do, so a character at low health when the spikes hit them could very likely die from fall damage.

As the tank, simply catch the elite mobs as they enter the boss area and the DPS will burn them down. Try and save stuns for the second wave, as keeping both mobs locked down and unable to poison is a real help for fresh 80 groups. Also, note that if the mob is only partially inside the boss area, ranged DPS will get a “no line of sight” error and be unable to attack them. Make sure they’re fully on the platform.

Once the elites are dead (2 melee for Phase 2a, 2 melee and 2 casters for Phase 2b and 2c), Anub will come back up and Phase 1 starts again with no changes. Be especially careful, though, if he uses Pound as soon as he emerges. Sometimes the direction he’s facing is not always the direction the Pound is going to go in this case.

This concludes my first installment of 5-man heroics and how to tank them. If you have any questions, please leave a reply and I’ll get right to them. I’ll also try not to take so long to make the next installment. 😉


~ by Udiyvli on 08/11/2010.

4 Responses to “Prot Warrior Tanking: How to Tank UK, Nexus and AN”

  1. I’ve been that mage. “What the f—! /invisibility”

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing these! I love them, just like the last two how-to-tank postings. It’s so great to see it broken down into relatively plain language! This should be required reading when someone selects “tank” in the LFD.

    • Thanks 🙂 The next post will cover Old Kingdom… perhaps I can get people to start killing and/or interrupting Spell Flingers for a change.

      • I’ve been in a group with an ICC geared healer, and a too-bold tank. The tank pulls two groups (maybe three, it was hectic), and does -nothing- about the flingers. It was a wipe. The tank then blames the healer. “You’re even in good gear and your healing sucks.” Knowing the healer’s skill first-hand, I can say she does not suck. That group ended with the tank leaving after I pointed out that it was obvious he hadn’t tanked this before, or else he’d know that the spellflingers need to be priority and if anyone was to blame, it was him.

        tldr: I’ll be looking forward to your Tanking-OK entry!

  2. haha, ive had plenty of dks put on PoF and make the rest of the grp go splat. Thanks for showing how to avoid it:)

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