Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Leatherbelly Tank Techniques, Vol 2: Flying Bear Maneuver

Despite my recent emphasis on ranged AoE burst damage and threat generation using engineering tools, current changes to Swipe in the 3.1 PTR warrant an article one of my favorite techniques for starting off a fight.

The "Flying Bear" Maneuver:

This technique probably results from some long-buried memory of watching professional wrestling at my grandparents' house as a child, but that doesn't detract from its inherent mystique. Bears are not supposed to fly in WoW. But they can, with some fancy keystroke combos on the player's behalf. And here's how.

Step I:
/castsequence reset=2 Rejuvenation, Cat Form, Mangle, Mangle, Mangle, Mangle, Shred

Step II:
/castsequence reset=3 Feral Charge - Cat, Dire Bear Form, Swipe, Swipe, Swipe, Swipe, Swipe

Form changes can occur once per macro, so this combo needs to be broken down into at least two.

The first macro casts Rejuvenation to drop you into caster stance, then flips you back into Cat Form. The sequence of Mangle attacks is a "landing pad" to make sure you don't flip right back into caster form if you accidentally click the macro button a third time in panic.

The second macro assumes that you're in Cat Form already, grabs a target, casts Feral Charge, and while you're flying through the air in cat form, you can press it again to instantly transform into Dire Bear Form.

The effect is both comical and deadly:

Upon landing you've got 10 rage already saved up for that first swipe. Again, I dropped in a "landing pad" of various Swipes that would protect me from pressing the button too many times in case of panic.

This "Flying Bear" Technique will work wonders when 3.1 comes out, permitting you to drop a big 360ยบ Swipe attack right in the middle of a room full of mobs, immediately helping you establish aggro versus the whole lot of them. No Engineering required.

By contrast, Feral Charge - Bear actually costs you 5 rage, so cannot be used as an opening move from a cold start. The Flying Bear Maneuver will let you save reserve your Feral Charge - Bear for those meddlesome caster mobs that always seem to take interest in your healer and ranged death dealers.


  1. Haha Great idea!
    The heal also gives you extra agro. On tanking Tenebron I always cast a regrowth before I go in bearform and enrage.
    Though I'm thinking swipe will loose it's value in Ulduar.

  2. I don't think Cat Charge triggers the GCD, wouldn't a conditional macro be safer and only requires one button push?

    /cast [stance:cat] Cat Charge
    /cast [stance:cat] Dire Bear Form

  3. I bet this trick is awesome against Grand Magus Telestra in Nexus.

  4. Nice. I am a Warrior tank myself, but it is always fun to see ANY tank using a bit of creativity.

  5. The benefit of doing this seems to decrease if you don't have 5/5 Furor, which many ferals will not after 3.1. I've already gone 3/5 to prepare myself.

  6. Ok, what am I missing here. In the video you leap in and immediately start swiping. I tried this today but swipe costs 20 rage (15 with 5/5 Ferocity) and Furor only gives you 10 rage. I jump in but can't start swiping because I don't have enough rage.

  7. You said " Flying Bear Maneuver will let you save your Feral Charge - Bear" but I don't think that's quite true. I tried your flying bear macros tonight, and it seems like both Feral Charges share a cooldown.

  8. Marino: The ticks of HoTs casted before entering combat with an enemy don't count towards the caster's aggro - just imagine how often the tank is "hotted up" before engaging a hard-hitting boss, or how rolling HoTs don't aggro an add that the tank/a melee pulled during combat with another group, especially accidentally.

  9. @nathanyel, hot ticks do indeed count towards aggro. the reason that a hotted up tank never loses aggro is due to the amount of aggro created by both the heals, and the pull. and yes this includes accidental trash pulls. and in that situation, if your tank loses aggro after touching a mob once, then your entire group is overgeared to run with him imo... any tank worth running with won't have any aggro issues after the first one or 2 hits

  10. Hmm I remember something about someone saying they changed it. But I do remember overagroing on Nightbane when my lifebloom on the tank healed him. But that was TBC. Would like to see some blue post or patchnote stating it has changed.

    Anyway, the idea of hotting yourself before you enter combat is not a bad one.

  11. I have independently tested, with the priceless assistance of Miss Manners, whether another party member's HoT can land them in Agg soup on a body pull. The short answer is "maybe". The long answer is "no, if they are not on the mob's threat table, and yes if they are." In a normal fight, say, in the wild, this doesn't happen unless the healer also attacks the mob. I have video footage to this effect and I'll post it in the third installment of the tank tips.

    HOWEVER, the healer WILL be on the mob's threat table in the case of a raid boss, since everyone present in the dungeon at the time of the pull automatically ends up on the threat table.

    I'll try to post a video about the difference between HoT behavior "in the wild" versus in a raid. Clearly, I'll have to level to 80 first =)

    Excellent comments, all! Thank you very much for your attention.

  12. Also, regarding Josh's salient comment earlier, I've changed the wording from "save", to "reserve", as it carries the point more clearly. Thank you for the observation, Josh!

  13. Christopher: I did some work this morning to further test and try to reproduce the situation you described. It is abolutely true that Furor only gives you 10 rage and Swipe costs 20 before talents. I'm spec'd into Ferocity 5/5, and Natural Reaction 3/3, and pushing about 30%/30% crit/dodge while in Bear Form. The best I can figure out is that on landing I'm either landing a crit, landing an auto attack, dodging, or some combination of the above. In the videos above, if you comb through them frame by frame, there's usually a brief pause before the Swipe, while an autoattack or some such takes place. It seems instantaneous, though. Excellent observation, thanks for the feedback.

  14. This is an awesome technique. It's like the new Rawr Bomb!

    One comment on the cat macro: The "Mangle, Mangle" padding can be replaced with "null". It'll keep the macro from progressing--a common trick for hunter "Mend Pet" macros to prevent early recasting.

  15. Kiirl: This looks like a very helpful tip. Thank you very much!

  16. ROFL I love this!
    Thanks for the macro.
    -Nyt 80 Feral on Crushridge