Hana is a bear! And I'm tanking Lord Jaraxxus!
It's not exactly what I expected for my raid tanking debut (not counting the time I bear-tanked Gluth in my moonkin spec/gear). After I made my decision to go feral for my off-spec I made some heroic attempts, figuring that I would pinch tank as an OT if one was needed, but by and large my guild wound its way through Ulduar without me needing to go bear. We had enough backup OTs that we generally got by, and besides, I'd never raid tanked before. Well, I had as Gillien in 10-man Naxx, but never as a bear. I only had a half dozen heroics under my belt; if that.
Thursday night was not a good night. We were short several people due to various circumstances that all decided to converge on one day (and a few people who professed to burnout as well) so our usual 25-man turned into a 10-man Trial of the Champion run for those people who did want to run. Problem was, both our MTs were feeling the burnout and our usual OT didn't have any interest in 10-man. Several people wanted to run though, including me, so I said, "I've never tanked this before, but I think I have the gear."
35k health unbuffed. It seemed like a healthy number. I had two piece T8.5 for my feral set, BIS bear boots from Ulduar (according to Rawr), and other leather pieces I'd picked up in 10 and 25-man Ulduar.
One of our ret pallies said he had a decent tank set, and he did. It was also T8 and Ulduar off-set pieces he'd picked up. He was geared and enchanted. 31k health. I'd never seen him tank before, ever, but evidently he took it seriously enough to put a set together.
The healers said let's give it a shot.
So we did.
With two off-spec tanks and some sloppy deaths we still got Icehowl down to 3% on our first attempt. Even then we probably would've killed him if someone hadn't died to his charge, causing him to enrage and then slay me so fast the release button came up before my brain registered what had happened. We beat him though, unlocking the next boss for us, which no one in guild had seen yet; Lord Jaxxarus.
I watched the Tankspot video for this fight a bit nervously. There had never been a boss I'd tanked that I hadn't participated in as a dps or healer first. This was brand new to me. Progression. I like tanking, but it's a high stakes job. Obviously it's easier for me if I have first-hand experience regarding what happens, even if it's from a different point of view. When my raid started discussing whether we stay in for the fire or we kite I didn't know what to say. I just said something to the effect of doing what I saw in the video, which looked like some modest kiting, presumably away from the green fire and volcanoes on the ground.
I was still feeling a bit hazy on what I had to do (even after watching the video), but decided I would just do what I knew to be most important; hold aggro on the boss, blow cooldowns if needed, and don't stand in the green stuff. Surprisingly, that strategy was enough from a MT standpoint. Our pally was the add tank because paladins have far more ways to get snap aggro on recently spawned mobs than a bear (Avenger's Shield, Hand of Reckoning, Righteous Defense…) and he did a fine job picking up adds. Most of the problem seemed to be with the heal team actually. The shaman we semi-pugged (friend of a guildie) kept dying early, leaving us short a healer for the majority of the fight.
Even so, we beat him on our second try. There were only three of us alive at that point, and I was dead after having blown every cooldown I had on top of a healthstone and health pot. If you're gonna die as a tank, that's the way to do it. We were down to a single healer in the final moments of the fight so I really can't blame him for not being able to keep me up, and in any case I held on long enough that the dps was able to finish him in the few seconds that the raid was without a tank.
It felt good.
Maybe we didn't do 25-man, but at least the people who wanted to raid had a good time and got to down a new boss. And I finally got to try out my bear tanking set and see how it held up. I'd have to say I'm relieved to know that I can tank 10-man ToC, because it probably means I'm good for pinch tanking in 25-man Ulduar. Once I was raid buffed I was breaking 45k, which is pretty nice!