Healing for Tenacity Pets

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Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Durante on Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:46 am

The style of healing that is required for pet tanking can differ greatly from the normal style of healing than your healers are used to. You and your healer understanding the difference between a pet tank and a normal tank can easily spell the difference between success and failure. This guide will be from the perspective of healing a pet which is tanking endgame heroics or raids.

Healing Traditional Tanks:
Traditional tanks will possess high avoidance percentages, meaning that the majority of attacks against them will either be avoided entirely or reduced as the result of a block. Traditional tanks all have a number of "Emergency buttons", abilities or trinkets that either greatly increase their avoidance or reduce damage taken by a given percentage. Because of this when a traditional tank drops dangerously low in health, they're able to avoid taking much damage for a few moments, so healers will typically cast their high value, long cast time heals such Greater Heal in order to get the tank back to full health. For normal healing many classes won't necessarily cast their HoTs on the tank and will just use either their standard large or small heal with AoE healing as necessary.

Healing Pet Tanks:
Pet tanks have much lower avoidance percentages than normal tanks do and as such are hit by the majority of attacks; depending on buffs and talents your pet will be hit by anywhere from ~60% to 85% off all attacks against it. On top of this our pets are capable of being crit for huge damage spikes. As such pets will take very large amounts of damage, will take damage very often and can take huge spikes of damage with little to no warning. Because of this our pets will require a steady stream of healing even when at full health. Fortunately, our pets will receive 54% more healing than any other tank through Spirit Bond and Blood of the Rhino. This means that healers will be able to spam their fastest heals or in the case of druids apply every HoT possible so that there is a fast yet substantial heal between each attack against your pet. Healers trying to heal pets with their large heals will mostly result in wasted mana or untimely death as a pet at moderate to high heath will probably be overhealed by a large heal after its healing bonus, and a pet with low health will probably be hit again and possibly die while waiting for large slow heals to cast.

Druids: Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Regrowth, Nourish. Keeping up the full trio of HoTs is pivotal. This will ensure that HoTs will constantly be ticking and your pet should rarely go without a heal for more than .5-1 second at a time. Nourish should be used after huge spikes and whenever no HoTs need to be renewed.

Paladins: Flash of Light, Holy Shock. No one MT heals like a Holy Pally, and its no different with a pet MT. Two holy paladins spamming Flash of Light on a pet can keep up through absurd amounts of incoming damage. If your holy pally is able to keep up with the damage with FoL alone, they'd do well to not rotate in Holy Shock and save it for after a crit or similar large spike. Since Holy Shock heals immediately upon casting and Flash of Light's healing is done at the end of a cast, a FoL followed by a Holy Shock can heal for 15k or more without crits in about 1.5 seconds.

Priest, Disc: Penance, Power Word: Shield, Flash Heal, Prayer of Mending. While this is a fairly typical healing technique for a PvE Disc. priest, it would be worth mention that the Shields will get used up much faster than your priest will be used to since damage absorbtion by PW:S is applied to the damage let through after avoidance rolls. With pets having half or less the avoidance of normal tanks, those shield will get eaten up quickly without any benefit from our pets' + Healing talents.

Priest, Holy: Flash Heal, Prayer of Mending, Renew. Your holy priests will mostly be pretending that they're paladins and will be spamming Flash of Light the majority of the time. If you have a few different HoTs on your pet from other other priests, shaman or druids them try to keep up a Renew but don't try to force it if the pet isn't at full, just keep spamming Flash until you get a good opportunity.

Shaman: Earth Shield, Riptide, Healing Stream Totem, Lesser Healing Wave. Don't let the tooltips for Earth Shield and Healing Stream fool you; with full Naxx-25 geared Resto Shaman Earth Shield will heal a pet for over 3k per proc, and Healing Stream Totem can pulse for ~750 every 2 seconds with talents and glyph. Just make sure that you put your resto shaman in the same group as your pet as the totem is only party wide, and make sure your shaman knows to use it; until the 3.1 patch Mana Stream stacked with Blessing of Wisdom so most shaman aren't in the habit of using Healing Stream.

Putting it all together: When setting up healing in the multi-healer environment of a raid, there's two different ways to set up healing on your pet: Stacking direct heals or stacking HoTs. Its best to try to stack one type of heal or the other instead of mixing them since your direct healers will be spam healing for the entire duration of the fight. This means that if you have only a few HoTs up while another player is spam healing, then the majority of the time the pet should be at full health and HoT ticks will only overheal. If your raid has holy pallys or disc. priests, its best to let them MT heal stacking direct heals so that the other classes with better AoE healing can heal the raid. If your raid has one or more resto druids but no holy pallys or disc priests, it'd probably be best to have the druid(s) MT heal with any priests and shaman in the raid keeping their HoTs on the pet.

Remember that these are only guide lines, and that your run's makeup and specifics to each encounter may require some changes to these strategies.

Most Importantly respect your healers: make sure you're working with them and that you listen to their input. As we push the limits in what is possible with tanking, they're also pushing the limits in what is possible in healing.


Last edited by Durante on Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Nordh on Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:54 am

Really good topic. I'm going to repost it on my guilds forum and put a link back here. =)

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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  shaox on Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:01 am

As a player with a holy priest main, two things to correct:

1) The priest fast heal is called "Flash Heal", not "Flash of Light"
2) You can include Prayer of Mending into both specs of Priests as something to keep up on the pet =)

Other than that it's a great article Smile

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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Kurasu on Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:31 am

Wow. Awesome topic that I would never have thought to add. This is big. Thanks, Durante! Very Happy
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Zwicky on Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:44 am

Hmm seems as tho this should get itself a nice sticky, Ihlos your going to run out of them so use em wisely.

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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  jfragment on Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:00 am

It's funny, when my pet fails at tanking it's usually the healer not healing him properly ie: waiting to cast that big ol' heal that ends up wiping us.

I usually tell healers to just keep hots up on the pet and he should be fine. Those that listen love the pet tanks! Those that don't blame my poor turtle Sad

I, at least until I decide how cognizant the healer is, put up mend pet infinitely until I trust the healer's skills.
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Durante on Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:11 am

Fixed the typo and added Prayer of Mending to the priest spells. I had left it out before because I had thought that in terms of single target healing it was less Healing/Sec and Healing/Mana, but after Shaox's suggestion I did a little digging and apparently I was wrong. Hopefully I'll be a little less fail myself on my Holy priest alt. Smile
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Bear behind on Fri May 08, 2009 5:31 am

I was tanking a Heroic the other day (Utgarde Pinnacle) and had alot of problems tanking trash.

I could hold the pet target in place happily enough, but the additional mobs were being aggroed by the healer far to easily.

I was auto casting TS and swipe on the mobs but just couldnt hold em. Is it necessary for healers to spam heal the pet for trash mobs? can the pace be slowed at all?

We got halfway through to boss#2 when we called it.
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Kurasu on Fri May 08, 2009 1:16 pm

There's a couple ways that you can slow the rate.

1) Downrank. The more healing done, the more aggro taken by the healer. Downranking costs more mana, but might help with your aggro a bit. Not ideal, but it's a suggestion.

2) Tank less. Use CC. Freeze trap a mob, pick them up away from the trapped one so your swipe and/or TS don't break the trap.
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Doug on Sat May 09, 2009 2:07 am

Unfortunately you can't downrank spells anymore Sad

But pulling with freezing arrow works a charm, so you can freeze one, let them get close then charge/intimidate another and then move to the main dps target. Make sure you re-freeze the frozen one or get your pet to nuke aggro on him otherwise he will most likely make a bee-line for your healer after breaking. If you take a stamina build getting trap mastery is useful for this, just use the old distracting shot technique from BC, but remember again that if you distract too early the effect will wear off before the trap is reached and the healer will get it it. Trap resists are overcome with deterrence.

This requires a fair bit of discipline from your healers/dps to not jump the gun, something which may be difficult to instill in the AoE fest that is Heroics these days. Ironically if heroics were somewhat harder they might have been easier to pet tank lol.
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Kurasu on Sat May 09, 2009 4:10 am

Doug wrote:Unfortunately you can't downrank spells anymore Sad

I have a pullshot macro that casts Arcane Shot rank 1 and then untargets (thus pulling the enemy with minimum aggro). It still works just fine; I tried it just five minutes ago and pulled with 19 damage.

I pulled Arcane Shot 1 to my bar and shot an enemy with that. The enemy took 16 damage.

Arcane Shot 1: 353 mana
Arcane Shot 11: 252

Thus, I repeat myself: you can downrank, but it'll cost more mana. Wink
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Doug on Sat May 09, 2009 5:09 am

Ah, I must have misinterpreted what the healers were saying.

Not sure if it is worthwhile to do this, I am not very up-to date on heal mechanics but isn't it better to use shorter cast/lower impact heals instead of downranked ones in that case (I am thinking specifically of druid hots here)? I can see a very limited application for downranking in pulls like you describe but remember that distracting shot achieves the same effect (if not a bit better) because it no longer generates threat. I think it would be hard to convince healers to do it when there are better solutions available though.

If your pet cannot generate enough aggro to be healed sufficiently it cannot multi-target tank, I suggest Silverback again because it helps with both survivability and threat.

[Edit: Just tested this, Distracting shot does in fact generate about 200 threat while rank 1 arcane generates something like 18, so there may indeed be a very limited application for downranking pulls somewhere]
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Bear behind on Mon May 11, 2009 5:42 am

Not sure i see the point of downranking - wouldnt it be more beneficial to simply slow the rate of healing?

If you pull with Freezetrap would you not get the pull aggro? Surely you want the pet to have this...

Or do you mean pull with an MD freezetrap?

I was using the bear for this attempt -and thinking back I was not repositioning for swipe -is this necessary or was it fixed in 3.1 does anyone know?

I wish they would restore Thunderstomp to its original AOE threat. - even at the sacrafice of more volley damage to stop the farmers- hell we are not AOE dpsers anyhow :/

But then we're not supoosed to tank either Very Happy
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Doug on Mon May 11, 2009 7:11 am

Yes you do get substantial aggro if you pull with Freeze trap, especially if you do it multiple times, but it isn't anything an FD can't solve. In party this may become a bit more tricky because your FD would likely send the mob straight to your healer. Best to have the pet manually extract aggro from you even if you have to pop Deterrence.

But I never though of MD'ing a freeze trap lol, might be an idea now you mention it.

While we are talking about bears, how does swipe do for aggro, I must say I am bit disappointed with Percival the croc's threat.
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Kurasu on Mon May 11, 2009 7:27 am

Well, pulling with freeze trap does give you aggro, but it also controls the mob you've frozen so your pet doesn't have to take the extra damage of it. It's CC; something that hunters have been using in instances for a very long time. It's only recently that 'tank all' has become a big tactic. Just freeze one and let the pet pick up the rest coming at you; the only aggro they'll have on you is, basically, proximity.

The idea is to keep one of the many mobs from being on your pet, so your pet can control the rest more easily and your healer isn't swiftly endangered by potentially pulling the mobs.
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Bear behind on Mon May 11, 2009 7:51 am

I appreciate that FD will clear the aggro - but i was thinking that I want that aggro on the pet to boost his threat above the other players - rather than taking it on me and 'wasting' it with an FD...

Gonna try a Freeze trap pull tonight
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Durante on Mon May 11, 2009 8:14 am

Not sure i see the point of downranking - wouldnt it be more beneficial to simply slow the rate of healing?
For the most part you healer could slow the rate of healing instead of down ranking if he so chose. Down ranking would allow for the healer to heal more frequently for less health each if he wanted to still heal slowly, but wanted a more consistent rate of healing. In trade it will cost him extra mana.

Depending on the type of damage your pet has coming in your healer may have to adjust his healing strategy. I wrote this guide for the MTing raids and heroics meaning bit hits at a quick rate. If your pet isn't taking large spikes your healer may be able to hold of off healing for a few moments to let your pet build aggro. Using Last Stand at the beginning of a pull will also increase the amount of time your healer will be able to wait before casting.
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Doug on Mon May 11, 2009 11:54 am

My major concern with downranking is that the number one issue facing healers on pets is likely to be mana and a close second would be the generally frenetic pace.

Downranking would exacerbate both of these for very little benefit in return.

As far as I am aware most healers have slow cast big heals and fast cast small heals with the mana cost/heal being higher for the small fast casts. Downranking will not speed up the fast casts so it will not help with damage spikes. The only possible application I can envision is for keeping the pet topped off when mana is plentiful and RNG damage spikes is expected, but since RNG damage types is expected at all times because of the crit issue it is not clear to me that the mana issue can be circumvented.
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Nordh on Tue May 12, 2009 12:20 am

Overhealing gives 0 threat anyhow, so this is a moot discussion. There's 0 reasons to downrank a heal. If your pet can't handle the healing aggro, then you're not meant to tank, simple as that.

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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Bear behind on Tue May 12, 2009 2:16 am

Nordh wrote:If your pet can't handle the healing aggro, then you're not meant to tank, simple as that.

Thats a particularly blind comment on a site to discuss and encourage pet tanking.

Many of us are learning tanking and overcoming these obstacles is the reason I visit this site - and im not the only one.

Saying - 'you cant do that so you shouldn't' is pretty much the complete opporsite of what everyone here hopes to achieve in some way. Neutral
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Nordh on Tue May 12, 2009 8:02 am

I'm just stating a fact. If you can't hold aggro from healing, you have too little AoE tps and it can't be avoided by lesser heals or any of the kind. The only thing you can do to avoid it is to either be better at doing tps (ie higher RAP/hit/etc and/or micromanaging) or not tank. The discussion was based on wrong facts and encouraged people to "blame" healing when it can't be blamed.

I can discuss how to tank all day long, but this discussion was about losing aggro to healers.

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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Bear behind on Tue May 12, 2009 9:14 am

I am not blaming healing...

I have played a hunter for a long time, and tanked here and there with it.

Its only with the recent implimentation of Dual specs that i have been looking to take tanking further, so it is fair to say i am fairly new to tanking. Ive managed to tank normals and Heroic UK - ive tanked the 4 horses at the back and feel progress is fairly good. I am now looking for advice as to why i had a bum run and problems with healer aggro which i have not had before and expecting some useful advise - not being told I shouldnt be tanking.

It may well be that my problems stem not enough RAP, poor micro management etc that are not generating enough threat. Or possibly just a lack of basic tanking know-how. I could go to other tanking sites- but they don't take hunter tanks too seriously. The members on this forum should - and telling anyone to basically give it up as there is an aspect they are struggling with is just wrong imo.

Dont get me wrong nord - ive a truckful of respect for what you have achieved, but please dont put down those who are still getting to grips with what is a very new way of playing.
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Kheldul on Tue May 12, 2009 9:37 am

I can see how the comments could be taken personally. Don't take them that way.

Blizz doesn't want Hunters tanking in general. How do we know this?
  1. Threat generation is slow. Sure we have MDs, but that's not going to hold a soap bubble against normal DPS. We should be able to hold healing aggro. If we can't -- and can't find a way -- then yes, we're SOL.
  2. We can't check "Tank" in the LFG tool.
  3. We specifically can't taunt some bosses.

But just because Blizz doesn't want us to tank doesn't mean that we aren't interested in sliding in, filling the cracks, and up to a challenge.
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Ihlos on Tue May 12, 2009 10:19 am

I wouldn't worry too much about it bear. Having issues with healing aggro in a run isn't the end of tanking. Its an obstacle to be overcome, and like any obstacle, it's not important how long it takes to overcome it as long as it is worth it to you.

It's also certain that one bum run isn't cause to give up on a problem, and I don't think that's what nordh is saying. In fact, you are just begining to figure out the problem. If I quit after some of my bad experiences with pet tanking I wouldn't still be at it. That goes for the game at large, but it goes double for players pushing the envelope of what's possible.

Not that im saying that you intend to give up on pet tanking, and I certainly hope that you don't! Smile

I've run into problems with initial healing aggro before as well and I hope that I learned how to avoid it but i'm not completely certain that I have. Anyways, I hope that you can work this issue out and if you have any questions lets have them, and I'll do my very best to help you out.
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Re: Healing for Tenacity Pets

Post  Nordh on Wed May 13, 2009 12:09 am

It's nothing personal or anything against you as tank. But remember, healer(s) can keep your pet up through immense damage and if the damage incoming to your pet is so high that the healers get aggro when healing it, you've faced a brick wall, a limit of what you can tank, it goes for everyone.

If I'm in a raid and I can't hold aggro from a healer, then I won't be tanking there because I'm the one responsible for making it go wrong. Remember though, that's not the same thing as saying that an already lose mob will go for a healer.

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