An Ex-Gnome Tank's World

DPS, How Not To Do It: #2 (Mages)

June 16th, 2008 Posted in Class Discussion

Today’s DPS, How Not To Do It feature is for everyone’s favourite crowd control class, the Mage. Much like the Hunter article that preceded it last week, I’m going to go through some common actions performed by some mages, some of which can be rookie mistakes, and some of which I’ve done by people who really should know better. Of course I won’t name names in order to protect the not-so innocent.


Polymorph early, polymorph often are my most important words of advice to you. Most often in a 5-man instance I’ll be pulling myself, and my gun has a nice long shot time that gives you ample opportunity to poly just after I’ve pulled. Although I’ll be keeping an eye out on the sheep, if you always poly a few seconds before it’s up you’ll be dong the entire group a favour. Similarly in raids, learn to time your poly so it happens just after a pull and we’ll all be laughing. If it breaks prematurely I’ll have time to get to it, you’ll have time to react and reapply, and I won’t break it accidentally using thunderclap.

And while I’m on the subject, if I’ve broken the sheep, and I’m laying into it with my sword, unless I ask for it to be re-sheeped, don’t bother. If I’m laying into it and buildng threat, you can be reasonably sure that it’ll stick to me like glue if I turn my attention elsewhere for a second or two. That’s your cue to try for the top of the dps meter. Go on, I know you want to.

Frost Nova

Frost Nova kills. That’s all there is to it. You’ll be used to soloing, where if it looks like you might be overwhelmed you can frost nova, back off a bit, and hopefully carry on long enough to survive. That won’t work in a 5-man group, and especially won’t work in a raid. The frost nova that will, no doubt save you if you pull aggro for some reason, will just lock the adversary in place long enough to chomp through whatever’s nearest to you – most likely a healer. It also means I can’t taunt the mob and pull it back to the tanking spot – lethal if there’s a cleave involved. I’ve seen more bad pulls wipe thanks to a frost nova than have been saved by one, probably by a factor of ten. Think of your fellow adventurers and take one for the team if you pull aggro, don’t just blindly frost nova and blink away leaving your party to deal with the wrath of the angry Murloc on their own.

AoE Pulls

Please, please, please let me get solid aggro on at least four of the things that are trying to zerg us before you go all-out. Bear in mind that I’m not a paladin and I don’t have and solid AoE aggro moves. What I do have, though, is the ability to reduce the incoming attack power and speed of what’s rushing us, and if I really think you need it, an AoE taunt that will concentrate then on me for a few seconds. However…

Opening up straight away is a surefire recipe for death. Even allowing me to hold a couple of things off you is going to help the healer keep you up. Also, please remember I’m not a paladin. If you go mad straight out with a protection paladin, you’ll probably survive through the paladin’s fantastic AoE tanking abilities suce as Conescration and Retribution Aura. I don’t have those luxuries, so please, rein it in a bit, at least to start with, and we’ll get through it just fine.

So, again, that’s all I can think of for now. As usual, if you as a mage have any issue with what I’m saying, or if you see a common issue with tanking that would make your life much easier if we did things a different way, then please do drop me a comment.

  1. 2 Responses to “DPS, How Not To Do It: #2 (Mages)”

  2. By Tankette on Jun 17, 2008

    I have a pocket mage so I’m used to grouping with them. My son’s main is a mage and he sits in the same room with me so we have our timing down on pulls. Sometimes that means sheepage on moon right as my bullet hits skull. Sometimes that means sheepage just a split second after my Tclap went off for a charge in

  3. By Kadomi on Jul 2, 2008

    Yay for another great tanking blog to read. And a fantastic idea for a series. I’ve dealt with both problematic hunters and mages. Wise words.

    Now if only you weren’t a gnome. ;)

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