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[Guide] to Tanking: Raid Boss Strategy


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Here's a quick and dirty breakdown of the tanks and their raid tanking abilities.


Temple Knights: For raid bosses, an HP weapon is needed, but the TK can handle it in general with gusto. They don’t have as high con as the human tanks, but have Guard Stance and significantly more CON than the Dark Elf tanks. That combination makes them very useful under most situations.


Paladins: For undead raid bosses, there are none better: high HP and extra resistance to undead give the Paladin the decided advantage as the tank of choice. They have a 360 degree shield blocking toggle, which makes them very useful at fighting raid bosses with minions.


Dark Avengers: In raids, you can’t really go wrong picking a DA to tank for your group. They’re the only pure tank that doesn’t get 360 degree shield blocking of any kind, so the DA must either rely on his skill or luck to keep his shield between him and the gobs of mobs. The Damage Reflect self buff can add a significant amount of extra hate from the high powered hits given by the raid boss, but any tank can get a similar buf from a Sorcerer, Spellsinger, or Warcryer nearby.


Shillien Knights: With an 11 point less base CON than human tanks, SKs usually need to either outlevel all other alliance tanks by a lot, or use your clout in the alliance to have a turn to tank. Generally, the raid party is a lot safer and much easier to keep alive if the main tank is …well, not you. Low HP means the all important Bishop heal--Restore Life--will be the weakest in your case. When you are at 6000 HP and the raid boss is doing 500-1000 a hit while mana draining you at the same time, you and the healers will be sweating for the entire ordeal. While the very high P. Def obtained from Guard Stance helps, the low HP and constant Guard Stance use is a considerable mana drain on the tank and the tank party. However, with a health weapon, +CON, and +HP/CON armor, you can mitigate this issue.


Raid Tank Group Setup


The raid tank group is the most important group to put together well. If it's not, no matter the number of nukers you have, you're all going to die. My personal favorite setup is a tank, two Bishops, two Shillien Elders, two Elven Elders, a Swordsinger, and a Warcryer. With this setup, you have plenty of MP regen for the Bishops (your main healer) and rechargers for the tank. Plus, you have two people with a 30% heal, and now in Chronicle 4, Balance Life. When the raid boss does 300-1000 damage a hit to a tank AFTER the shield block (damage depending on your level and level of the boss, of course) several 30% heals are very important. Alternatively, you could swap out one of the rechargers for a Bladedancer for Dance of Concentration. Alternatively, swap out one of the healers for another tank. At the very bare minimum, I would recommend two Bishops and two rechargers on the healer side. A Swordsinger is NOT optional: Song of Earth, Warding, and (at higher levels) Vitality are a must. Because the 30% heal is so important for raids, having a tank with the most HP is usually more useful than one with a slightly better armor set.


A tank, even with Ultimate Defense and Swordsinger buffs, should always max out at about 17 buffs. This is due to many raid boss' lovely desire to debuff everyone near it. If even one or two of the tank's buffs roll off, everyone is in trouble. Keeping three spots for safety pretty much guarantees the buffs won't roll off.


For tank buffs, give only defensive buffs and haste. If the tank has to be smacking on the mob, you've already failed the raid. Try to keep the tank at under 12 buffs before you start. Shield, Majesty, Magic Defense, Arrow Deflect (if the mob has archer minions), a damage-reflection buff, Bless Shield, Advanced Block, Evasion (every little bit helps, even more so on Elves), Haste, Prayer (the higher the better), Body of Avatar/Bless the Body, and Bless the Soul (for more hates, if you have room) are all very important. Alternatively, Resist Stun, Resist Poison, or Mental Shield could be added based on the mob. The low number of starting buffs is important because the tank is going to need 1 more spot for Ultimate Defense, three to four more for songs and 1 more for a dance, sometimes.


For songs and dances, the songs Warding, Earth, and Vitality should be at the top of your list. Song of Revenge, coupled with a reflect damage buff, helps immensely in maintaining aggro on the raid boss. Alternatively, Dance of Concentration helps your healer party recharge and cast their heals faster.


Personally, I like the Warcryer for my tank group buffer. This is because in raids where the raid boss has an AoE cancel, I can ensure that everyone in the tank party has buffs within about three seconds of the raid boss canceling, ensuring the raid’s survival. Their Chant of Life is immensely useful for countering poisons and bleeds the boss might put on the tank, and gives the healers a moment or two to cure the tank’s debuffs.


During The Raid


One of the biggest problems with raids is a person accidentally aggroing the raid boss before the raid starts. If someone accidentally hits the boss, the boss will kill every person in that party before it stops again. To ensure that doesn’t happen, make sure that no one targets the boss until it’s actually time to go.


Buffing should be done in unison. Many high level alliances do this anyway, but it’s extremely important for raids. Each party should rebuff right before the raid starts. That way, one party doesn’t start loosing buffs mid-fight, and reduce the raid overall damage output for too long--the time it takes a Prophet to rebuff a party can take about the same time a raid needs to kill a boss!


The lead tank should be coordinating with the alliance leaders and the Damage Dealing (DD) groups. The alliance leader should be managing the raid, but the tank is the one that should be calling the shots of when to start. If a DD group isn't perfectly ready when the raid starts, the raid is still recoverable. If a tank group isn't ready, the raid will be a disaster. The tank himself should count down for the 'go'. I use the same general form of starting for each boss I go to. First, I say out loud, in a voice-chat program, and in raid party chat "EVERYONE GOES ON MY COUNT". I count down slowly from 5, and everyone goes on "Go". On 5, the utility song/dance (if any) goes up, on 4, Song of Vitality goes up, on 3, Song of Earth, and on 2, Song of Warding. On 1, I Ultimate Defense (occasionally optional) and Hate the mob to me. Then, I say "GO", for everyone starts attacking. This tactic has a few advantages: you get extra hate on all the mobs before anyone even starts hitting it, your Swordsinger knows what dances to do when, and the thin line between death and reward has complete control over the situation.


How to hate is important. For single bosses, single target hate will keep the boss on you. However, bosses with minions behave like group mobs: hating the minions attracts the leader, and attacking the leader attracts the minions. Starting with a single hate and an AoE hate will pull the mobs to you, and then keep them on you. AoE hating builds a little more hate overall while the raid boss minions are around, but consumes much more mana over time. Conserve your AoE hates, and experiment with your timing. Make sure that if there are ranged minions, they stay in your hate radius. Nothing causes more trouble than a rogue archer minion that decides the squishies are more fun to attack than you.


Raid Monster PingolpinPositioning is essential in raid tanking. For Dark Avengers and lower level tanks of all kinds, you will want to ensure that the raid boss and all its minions are in front of you, or you won’t be able to shield block. Use the terrain to your advantage: pull up to a wall or a corner to ensure that the raid boss and his minions will be in front of you. With the addition of buffs in Chronicle 4 that increase critical hit damage and chance when behind, make sure the rest of your raid is always facing the back of the raid boss to significantly improve the damage the raid can do. Make sure that all the minions are hated, and continue to be in your hate range.


When you are doing multiple raids at once and you’re the only tank, I recommend saving Ultimate Defense for bosses that have minions. If a raid boss has minions, it generally has a weaker attack than if it’s a solo raid boss, and makes up for it with many extra attacks. Alliance leaders should make sure to have people kill all the minions first, and then go after the Boss. If you’ve got a decent raid party, all or most of the minions should be dead before Ultimate Defense fades. If you’re fighting a solo boss, and you expect to rely on Ultimate Defense to survive the boss, you may be fighting something too high for your raid.


The tank should be doing nothing but hating the raid boss the entire time. As such, he must be kept recharged by the Elf and Dark Elf healers in his party. His job is to keep the boss on him, and nothing more. Discovering a good timing between hates that keeps the boss on you (quick re-hate time) and conserving mana (long re-hate time) is one of the biggest challenges to the inexperienced tank. If you hate too often, you’ll run out of mana, but if you don’t hate enough, someone (or multiple people) in the raid party will die. Rechargers, make sure the tank always has mana. Even a three or four second lack of MP is enough for a nuker to draw agro and get killed.


Properly buffed, your tank will have between 6000 and 12000 HP, depending on tattoos, songs, and set bonuses. Make sure that you work out among the healers who will heal when. It’s OKAY for the tank to not be at full health. Keeping him at around 50-70% HP means he’ll have about a 4500-7000 reserve. If you’re really into a risky proposition, you can attempt to keep the tank at about 30% health, allowing Final Fortress to dramatically increase the tank’s P. Def. The tank should report to his healers about how much he’s being hit for, and the healers should know how much they heal the tank for. If the tank is decently high, and has good Elven Elder shield block buffs, he’ll be blocking every hit, and taking between 300 and 1000 damage a hit from the raid boss or minions. If a raid is taking a long time, or you have a smaller raid, how the healers conserve their mana while healing will be the difference between success and alliance wipe.


Sometimes, “it” hits the fan. The raid boss gets a lucky hit off, one of the healers disconnects, the nukers run out of mana, or the tank dies. How you recover from this is very important to the success (or even just survival) of the raid. If your tank dies, the first obvious solution is your backup tank to start using hate on the boss. It may take quite a bit of hate to get the boss to attack him, but if the tank is persistent, he will get the boss back. If the tank no longer has mana to hate, the boss will go on other people very shortly. Make sure to announce this, and have the nukers attempt to slow the raid boss, allowing people time to get away.


If the damage dealers are all out of mana and there’s no hope in sight of defeating the boss, the tank can sacrifice himself for the raid. The tank (and perhaps a healer) if timed right can stay live long enough for everyone to fall out of combat, allowing them to log out to loose aggro from the Boss. The tank group should inform the leaders of the raid when the tank party’s mana is getting low, or loss of aggro is imminent. Knowing when to give up gracefully will save lots of people experience, time, and perhaps, gear.




For human tanks, raid tanking is generally more about the HP and shield blocking ability, not the fraction of extra damage you can absorb from a hit. For SKs and TKs, additional HP is very important, but your extra P. Def you gain from Guard Stance and having the highest P. Def you can muster is vital to make up for your lower base CON. For 52+ raids, the primary raid tank armor is the Doom Set with its +3 CON, +HP bonus, and shield blocking bonus. The extra 24% shield block chance means with proper buffs, every tank will never fail a shield block. Shield blocks are critical raid tanking, allowing him to deflect a significantly higher portion of the damage than he would otherwise. Dark Crystal or Nightmare might be okay, but neither gives as good shield blocking rate increase or static HP bonuses. I wouldn't recommend wearing anything less than top B grade for 55+ raid bosses. For lower level ones, the Full Plate set will work for 40+ raid bosses, and a Brigandine set for 20+ raid bosses should suffice.


Which Tank to Choose?


You have two tanks, standing next to each other, and both are eager to take on the Big Nasty White Elpy King standing beside you. Who should you choose?


First, consider levels. All tanks will work for most raid bosses, as long as they are close in levels and have decent gear, but some are better suited for certain bosses than others. A higher level tank will work better than a lower level tank in almost every situation. Next, consider the tank’s tattoos. If a tank has gone +CON, that tank will be much more useful than someone who doesn’t have tattoos or (much worse!) gone -CON. Next, consider raid boss itself. If the boss has stuns, a human tank with a high base CON will help the most. If the boss has many minions, a tank with 360 degree shield blocking may be your best choice. Finally, consider the person behind the tank. A tank’s job is a rough one in Lineage II, and for many tanks, facing a raid boss or getting a chance to sacrifice themselves in the pursuit of Antharas is one of their biggest goals. Most of the time if the tank is in the level range of the boss, you’ll be fine. If they’ve been patient, had some experience watching other tanks, and they’re ready to face the dangers, have them go for it!



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