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Seeking tanking pointers on HM Kephess the Undying

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Flashpoints, Operations, and Heroic Missions
Seeking tanking pointers on HM Kephess the Undying

KPureblade's Avatar


KPureblade
12.13.2012 , 11:55 AM | #1
Hey everyone!

I recently joined a guild that has already been doing HM TFB for awhile. I joined up as a Powertech tank for them, and I had experience up to SM EC. They quickly ran me through HM EC to gear me up for the higher content. For the last couple days, I tanked HM TFB for the first time, and this was also my first experience with a 16man raid. The guild was very patient with me and we managed to clear the operation (let's just ignore the whole final boss being bugged for now...), but I had a hell of a time with Kephess the Undying. We probably wiped 5 times because of me not being able to keep up with what was going on. I was getting increasingly frustrated with the encounter and really didn't enjoy it, mainly because I kept losing track of what was going on.

First off, does anyone have a good video of tanking Kephess the Undying from a tank perspective on hard mode?

From my understanding of last night, for phase 1 my job is to tank swap with the other tank whenever one of us gets the lightning distortion thing on us, because that causes us to lose aggro and do area damage. To clear it, you run into the little lightning pits.

The first problem I was running into is I was making a beeline for the lightning pits to clear the debuffs, and then all those little orbs would drop down right on top of me and I'd get aggro on them. After a few attempts someone informed me that by running out there I was forcing the balls to spawn so I should wait a couple seconds after getting the lightning debuff before running into the middle.

Second, I was having a heck of a time watching in all directions trying to figure out which tower I need to drag him to. Sometimes it seemed like the lightning graphic wasn't even showing up right. And THEN as I would be pulling him to the tower, all the stupid balls would spawn again and I'd have to try my best to weave around them.

Phase 2 they had the other tank take control of since he's more experienced. I felt like a liability at that point because I don't do much damage as a tank and the nanites mechanic just leaves me more room to screw up.

Really I'm just looking for as many tanking pointers on this encounter as possible, because I was really frustrated with myself that I was causing so many screw ups for my new guild. Any pointers or videos would be appreciated!

Beyond this one fight I didn't have any problems with the rest of the operation, all the fights are pretty fun!

KeyboardNinja's Avatar


KeyboardNinja
12.13.2012 , 12:29 PM | #2
Quote: Originally Posted by KPureblade View Post
First off, does anyone have a good video of tanking Kephess the Undying from a tank perspective on hard mode?
I wish. I should just record all the current content, because I never seem to have the video I want…

Quote: Originally Posted by KPureblade View Post
From my understanding of last night, for phase 1 my job is to tank swap with the other tank whenever one of us gets the lightning distortion thing on us, because that causes us to lose aggro and do area damage. To clear it, you run into the little lightning pits.
Yep.

Quote: Originally Posted by KPureblade View Post
The first problem I was running into is I was making a beeline for the lightning pits to clear the debuffs, and then all those little orbs would drop down right on top of me and I'd get aggro on them. After a few attempts someone informed me that by running out there I was forcing the balls to spawn so I should wait a couple seconds after getting the lightning debuff before running into the middle.
This isn't true, actually. The orbs spawn regardless of where you are. You should cleanse the lightning debuff as soon as possible, because it does damage to you *and* to those around you, and you're making a hard healing fight even harder. The good news is that if you get an orb, you can easily cleanse it by simply getting the lightning. My group has two DPS who are designated orb killers, but sometimes they slip up and orbs end up on the tanks. When that happens, we call it out and taunt the boss, ensuring we get the next lightning. Now and again, this isn't practical and I just kill the orb (it doesn't take that long), but usually it's easiest to take the boss.

Quote: Originally Posted by KPureblade View Post
Second, I was having a heck of a time watching in all directions trying to figure out which tower I need to drag him to. Sometimes it seemed like the lightning graphic wasn't even showing up right. And THEN as I would be pulling him to the tower, all the stupid balls would spawn again and I'd have to try my best to weave around them.
So, this is one of those parts where I'm glad I'm a shadow tank. Sprint is wonderful. I keep my camera fairly far zoomed out (I think around 60%), which helps a lot for figuring out which pillar the lightning is attached to. As soon as the lightning connects, I turn and run. The tanks have so much threat built up that you don't have to worry about holding agro. Just high-tail it to the appropriate pillar and hang out. If you're quick, you'll have enough time to adjust and reposition if necessary.

Quote: Originally Posted by KPureblade View Post
Phase 2 they had the other tank take control of since he's more experienced. I felt like a liability at that point because I don't do much damage as a tank and the nanites mechanic just leaves me more room to screw up.
Yeah, Phase 2 is kinda stupid since you don't really need more than one tank. My group still does tank swaps during phase 2, but only as an emergency mechanism to deal with extremely spiky tank damage. We run two shadows, so the damage we take on this fight is extremely, extremely spiky. Tank swapping helps.

In general, you are correct though that your job in phase 2 is primarily "don't screw up". If you time it right, you will do a heck of a lot of damage (e.g. http://www.torparse.com/a/72126/28), but mostly you're just there to take over for the other tank in case of emergencies and dispel nanites on cue.

Quote: Originally Posted by KPureblade View Post
Really I'm just looking for as many tanking pointers on this encounter as possible, because I was really frustrated with myself that I was causing so many screw ups for my new guild. Any pointers or videos would be appreciated!
First off, props for asking! I'm sure the L2P crowd is going to descend on this thread any minute now, but I just wanted to mention how admirable it is that you're trying to improve and asking for help.

Here's a random collection of thoughts I have on how I approach the fight as a shadow tank:
  • When in doubt, center the boss in the room
  • Lightning below means move. Lightning above means move. Basically, lightning is a giant, flashing (literally) tanking cue
  • Kephess moves really, really fast and you have an insane amount of threat due to incessant tank swaps. Don't be afraid to just run someplace and let him come to you.
  • Proc up your burst damage for when the pillars break
  • Don't be afraid to just take the boss at any point, as long as you're not out of position
  • Communicate with your co-tank (duh)
  • Be pro-active about cooldown usage (not as relevant to a powertech, but super-important for a shadow)
  • If you get an orb, take the boss. If you can't take the boss at that moment (for whatever reason), just burst it down
  • During Phase 2, Kephess jumps on a timer. Know the timing so you don't miss pillars when cleansing nanites
  • Always be aware of where your healers are and which direction they are moving (also, ideally, what ability they are casting and how far into the cast they are)

I can't think of anything else off the top of my head. For the most part, this fight is just a lot of running around. The hardest part of it is nanite coordination. If your group can nail that aspect of the fight, you should start seeing much, much smoother runs in future.
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. Streaming Dilettante on The Ebon Hawk.
Tam (shadow tank) Tov-ren (commando healer) Aveo (retired sentinel) Nimri (ruffian scoundrel)
Averith (marksman sniper) Alish (lightning sorcerer) Aresham (vengeance jugg) Effek (pyro pt)

KPureblade's Avatar


KPureblade
12.13.2012 , 12:52 PM | #3
So that's interesting that the lightning puddle will dis-spell an orb. Does that effectively mean kill it or does that just mean he de-aggros off of me? If it kills it, would this be a good/bad idea?

1. I get lightning debuff and need to cleanse it.
2. As I'm running to the puddle, some orbs spawn and haven't attached to anyone.
3. Intentionally aggro one of the orbs and drag it to the puddle, killing it?

Or is that too risky/unhelpful?

Edit: Okay I think I misread. What you're saying is the debuff that Kephess gives me makes the orb drop aggro on me, leaving it so someone else could grab it?

namesaretough's Avatar


namesaretough
12.13.2012 , 01:06 PM | #4
When you're reading this
Quote: Originally Posted by KeyboardNinja View Post
As soon as the lightning connects, I turn and run. The tanks have so much threat built up that you don't have to worry about holding agro. Just high-tail it to the appropriate pillar and hang out. If you're quick, you'll have enough time to adjust and reposition if necessary.
Remember this
Quote: Originally Posted by KeyboardNinja View Post
[*] Always be aware of where your healers are and which direction they are moving (also, ideally, what ability they are casting and how far into the cast they are
As a healer, nothing is more annoying than a tank sprinting off in the other direction at half health while I'm trying to get them back up. In my experience it doesn't often cause wipes, but it sure is aggravating.
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jamescloutier's Avatar


jamescloutier
12.13.2012 , 01:15 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by KPureblade View Post
So that's interesting that the lightning puddle will dis-spell an orb. Does that effectively mean kill it or does that just mean he de-aggros off of me? If it kills it, would this be a good/bad idea?

1. I get lightning debuff and need to cleanse it.
2. As I'm running to the puddle, some orbs spawn and haven't attached to anyone.
3. Intentionally aggro one of the orbs and drag it to the puddle, killing it?

Or is that too risky/unhelpful?

Edit: Okay I think I misread. What you're saying is the debuff that Kephess gives me makes the orb drop aggro on me, leaving it so someone else could grab it?
If you have an orb and you get the lightning puddle it will distroy the orb. So if you get an orb just taunt the boss back and take the next puddle. What you discribed is what the tanks on the TFB clears I've been on will do if they can. We still have dps go out too and try to pick them up just in case as tanks do have a lot on their plate as is. Basically keep the orbs off the healers and everything will work out fine.

KeyboardNinja's Avatar


KeyboardNinja
12.13.2012 , 01:25 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by jamescloutier View Post
If you have an orb and you get the lightning puddle it will distroy the orb. So if you get an orb just taunt the boss back and take the next puddle. What you discribed is what the tanks on the TFB clears I've been on will do if they can. We still have dps go out too and try to pick them up just in case as tanks do have a lot on their plate as is. Basically keep the orbs off the healers and everything will work out fine.
This is the important thing to remember. If a healer gets an orb, it's usually an auto-wipe. If I see an orb with no gray circle that hasn't agro'd on someone, I'll generally give it a whack just to ensure it doesn't wander over to the healers.
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. Streaming Dilettante on The Ebon Hawk.
Tam (shadow tank) Tov-ren (commando healer) Aveo (retired sentinel) Nimri (ruffian scoundrel)
Averith (marksman sniper) Alish (lightning sorcerer) Aresham (vengeance jugg) Effek (pyro pt)

Chaqen's Avatar


Chaqen
12.13.2012 , 02:03 PM | #7
The biggest gripe i have about tanks on this encounter is them thinking they need to get kephess directly under a pillar in phase one. His wrist laser has about a 20m range to the pillars, so if you keep him in center of the room, you should never have to move him more then 5 to 10m to be in range of a pillar.

Another note that wasnt mention by Keyboardninja, was the fact that you should be taunting (or the other tank) after kephess gets up from a face-plant, due to the fact that is very easy for a dps to pull more threat then you if they are getting the benefit from any short term dps CDs (which they should be).
-La'Mis Legacy- Proud Member of Hatred and PUGS

Biskibis-Operative -- Kemenotic-Marauder -- Chaqen-Darksin -- Wallabe-Sniper -- Belsapher-Mercenary

KeyboardNinja's Avatar


KeyboardNinja
12.13.2012 , 02:44 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Chaqen View Post
The biggest gripe i have about tanks on this encounter is them thinking they need to get kephess directly under a pillar in phase one. His wrist laser has about a 20m range to the pillars, so if you keep him in center of the room, you should never have to move him more then 5 to 10m to be in range of a pillar.
That's true, but the wrist laser is a) an expanding cone, and b) deals higher damage at longer range. Moving him close to the pillar makes positioning easier, since you have a much smaller segment of the room which becomes off limits, and reduces the overall damage taken by the person being targeted.

Quote: Originally Posted by Chaqen View Post
Another note that wasnt mention by Keyboardninja, was the fact that you should be taunting (or the other tank) after kephess gets up from a face-plant, due to the fact that is very easy for a dps to pull more threat then you if they are getting the benefit from any short term dps CDs (which they should be).
Actually, if you time your burst (as a tank) to coincide with the pillars, this isn't an issue. I almost always pull off my co-tank during the pillar bits if he has agro and I'm just DPSing. 3k DPS from a shadow tank during a burst works out to nearly 7k TPS, once you include threat multipliers and stance buffs. If my procs and cooldowns are up, I can actually top 6.5k DPS (thus, 14.5k TPS). Our DPS are silly good, but even they aren't going to be able to top that number once you factor in the base threat we've already built due to the incessant tank swapping.
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. Streaming Dilettante on The Ebon Hawk.
Tam (shadow tank) Tov-ren (commando healer) Aveo (retired sentinel) Nimri (ruffian scoundrel)
Averith (marksman sniper) Alish (lightning sorcerer) Aresham (vengeance jugg) Effek (pyro pt)

Chaqen's Avatar


Chaqen
12.13.2012 , 04:58 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by KeyboardNinja View Post
That's true, but the wrist laser is a) an expanding cone, and b) deals higher damage at longer range. Moving him close to the pillar makes positioning easier, since you have a much smaller segment of the room which becomes off limits, and reduces the overall damage taken by the person being targeted.
The person can/should be standing right in front of him (melee range) when being targeted by the wrist laser, if he is on top of the pillar or at 20m away, the wrist laser will shoot the person he has targeted and will still hit the pillar. When employing this strat you usually have the majority of the raid focusing around the center of the field, and never have to worry about wrist laser hitting anyone it shouldnt, as long as the person who is targeted beelines straight through kephess.


Quote: Originally Posted by KeyboardNinja View Post
Actually, if you time your burst (as a tank) to coincide with the pillars, this isn't an issue. I almost always pull off my co-tank during the pillar bits if he has agro and I'm just DPSing. 3k DPS from a shadow tank during a burst works out to nearly 7k TPS, once you include threat multipliers and stance buffs. If my procs and cooldowns are up, I can actually top 6.5k DPS (thus, 14.5k TPS). Our DPS are silly good, but even they aren't going to be able to top that number once you factor in the base threat we've already built due to the incessant tank swapping.
It really dependent on the tank and how much burst they can push compared to their dps, my carnage marauder hits about 3k TPS (with guard) on the first face-plant, then up to 7k tps on the longer face plants in phase 2. I usually run with a Jugg and a PT, so they usually have to blow a taunt to be on the safe side, and honestly there is no reason to not blow a taunt during those phases to be on the safe side always.
-La'Mis Legacy- Proud Member of Hatred and PUGS

Biskibis-Operative -- Kemenotic-Marauder -- Chaqen-Darksin -- Wallabe-Sniper -- Belsapher-Mercenary