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Trenchcutters and Shadow/Assassin Tanks


KeyboardNinja's Avatar


KeyboardNinja
12.05.2012 , 11:01 AM | #1
(quick preface before anyone "L2Ps" me: my group reliably clears the trenchcutters in nightmare mode. This is an informational/discussion post, not a nerf/buff request)

For those of you who don't know, the trenchcutters in EC Nightmare are beastly. Utterly painful. They're bad enough in 8 man, I can't even *imagine* what they must be like on 16 man. The biggest problem I have is that they require some extremely cheesy tactics to clear if you have the "wrong" tank composition.

My group runs two shadow tanks. This wasn't actually by design, but it works out quite well. We also have some incredibly good healers. Our scoundrel generally puts up numbers between 2.2k and 2.3k HPS. Our sage is no slouch either. On nearly any content, we're checked by mechanics, not by healing, DPS or tanking issues.

At least, that's how it was before Nightmare Kephess. The trenchcutters pose a really serious problem for shadow/assassin tanks simply because of all the "little" hits. This is a problem in hard mode too, except they don't hit very hard. In Nightmare mode, the trenchcutters hit *me* (in nearly full, optimized Dread Guard) for 1.3k per hit if my shield doesn't proc. And there's five of them. And they hit once per second. Needless to say, I go down really, really fast, and my shadow co-tank doesn't fare much better. Even with adrenal and relic popped, our scoundrel can't heal us us through it, particularly not with the damage being taken by the DPS kiting the two warriors.

(random note: we have a gunnery commando and a TK sage, for maximum AoE DPS)

So we tried a different strategy: having one of the tanks kite the two warriors so that we can kill the trenchcutters faster. Unfortunately, the moment I use an attack any attack on the warriors, the whole pack comes for me due to healing threat (yay combat technique). I can resolve this on the first pack by combat stealthing after they spawn (to drop their pre-spawn agro), but that only works once. There are three groups. We tried a whole bunch of different tricks to try to make this strategy work, and all of them failed.

In the end, the only strategy we found that works reliably is *immensely* cheesy. (note: we didn't actually invent this strategy; we found it in a video walkthrough from a guild I can't remember. Feel free to take credit if it was you!) What we do is burn the first and third trenchcutters in the corner behind the walker while two DPS and a healer run around and kill the warriors. My co-tank deals with both groups. Meanwhile, I combat stealth right after the first group spawns and help kill the first two warriors. When the third group spawns, I hit Resilience immediately followed by Force Wave (an AoE with no upper-limit) and run like mad clockwise around the room. Sprint -> Transcendence gives me a decent head start. I sprint again after passing behind the walker, and then I get my second transcendence about a quarter of a way through my second circuit. I stop running once the third group of trenchcutters is down, pop Deflection and an AoE taunt and everyone burns hard. My co-tank pulls one trenchcutter so we can delay the phase, and that's it.

I would consider this strategy to be inelegant, to say the least. Unfortunately, I just don't see a way around it due to the way that shadow mitigation works. The amount of damage from the trenchcutters is absolutely obscene, but manageable if you have a tank with a lot of static mitigation. Shadows rely very heavily on active mitigation, which doesn't work well on the trenchcutters. We can't stop to get our self-heal off (because we have to hold AoE threat or our DPS die), we can't hit things as frequently as we normally would (reducing the value of Combat Technique), and Kinetic Ward evaporates literally in the first hit (when the trenchcutters briefly catch up to me, I watch 5 charges vanish simultaneously).

Honestly, I feel like this is a mechanic which unfairly penalizes shadow/assassin tanks. Vanguard/powertechs can just sit there and take it like a man. Guardians can nearly do the same, and they have more cooldowns that they can stagger for when they can't. Only shadows/assassins would have these kinds of issues. Granted, shadow/assassin tanks are also the only ones that are capable of hitting the entire second group under the shield (thanks to Resilience) and also the only ones with a reverse gap closer to sprint away, but as I said, I consider this strategy to be more a cheesy workaround than a solution.

I'm curious as to what other people have been doing in this phase with shadow/assassin tanks. Are there any other groups clearing NiM EC with two shadow tanks? Do you kite like us, or have you found a way to deal with the damage reliably?
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. 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
12.05.2012 , 11:35 AM | #2
We do it normally do the fight with sin tank, and usually one PT or Jugg.... but either way it doesnt matter what tank is tanking, they are getting hit like a fright train and need to mange CD's.

Like the poster above stated, there are a lot of aspects in this fight, that favor shadows/assassins over the other tanks.

On a side note we have found that a arsenal merc doesnt bring as much aoe dps as a few other classes (you would be surprised by what classes can burst out the most aoe). Also only 2 dps aoeing is a bit light and will cause some issues.
-La'Mis Legacy- Proud Member of Hatred and PUGS

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

Azaranth's Avatar


Azaranth
12.05.2012 , 12:02 PM | #3
In our kills, a shadow tanks the trenchcutters just fine with a single healer on him. We have our gunslinger pop the big dome shield thing during the second pack, and the shadow just spaces out his defensive cooldowns for the other two packs. It hasn't been a problem for us at all.

Azaranth's Avatar


Azaranth
12.05.2012 , 12:11 PM | #4
I also want to add that while shadows have situations where they're more vulnerable than other tanks, you can't ignore the points where they're superior too. There appears to be a hearty amount of grass-is-greener going on in this thread.

FWIW - while they might have their shield drop fast to all the trenchcutters... they can also pop Resilience and use an AoE (ignoring the warrior shield feedback damage), acting as a sort of second AoE taunt every minute.... something the other tanking classes can't do. That's a pretty useful tool during this specific portion of the fight.

All classes have their upsides and downsides. We clear NiM Kephess with a Shadow just fine.

Aurojiin's Avatar


Aurojiin
12.05.2012 , 12:20 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by KeyboardNinja View Post
He was able to *solo* heal Dread Guard HM through the entire third phase.
I know this is a very irrelevant thing to pick on, but the third phase of Dread Guard is an absolute yawn for healing. Not trying to take away from your scoundrel, who I'm sure is very good, but that example ranks extremely low on the totem pole of healing achievements.
Aisev -:- Seer Sage Si'ki -:- Darkness Assassin

Chaqen's Avatar


Chaqen
12.05.2012 , 12:34 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Azaranth View Post
FWIW - while they might have their shield drop fast to all the trenchcutters... they can also pop Resilience and use an AoE (ignoring the warrior shield feedback damage), acting as a sort of second AoE taunt every minute.... something the other tanking classes can't do. That's a pretty useful tool during this specific portion of the fight.

All classes have their upsides and downsides. We clear NiM Kephess with a Shadow just fine.
This allows healers to start heal bombing the tank at a far quicker rate without worrying about pulling agro in 6 seconds and going splat.

Also since it hasnt been mention empowered slash hits for ~18-19k i think... really nasty for healers to deal with when the walker is still up, and you're finishing off the last bomber... a Sin/Shadow negating the hit through force shroud is a god send and relieves a great deal of stress off of the healers.

There are multiple kill videos on youtube with shadows/sins in them, the only one that i remember watching where they kited warriors, was Tempest who also used an exploit to avoid saturation fire... probably not the best video to mimic.
-La'Mis Legacy- Proud Member of Hatred and PUGS

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

TheMarmalade's Avatar


TheMarmalade
12.05.2012 , 12:41 PM | #7
Gotta agree with most everyone here. Each fight in this game has parts that are easier for some classes than others. And complaining about one part that is difficult for you is acceptable, but most people I know find shadows OP and that this fight is easier for them. My particular shadow tank thinks the last part is the hardest part.

And tbh coming I here and tooting your own horn like that repeatedly isn't helping your case and getting you sympathy.

KeyboardNinja's Avatar


KeyboardNinja
12.05.2012 , 12:42 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Chaqen View Post
There are multiple kill videos on youtube with shadows/sins in them, the only one that i remember watching where they kited warriors, was Tempest who also used an exploit to avoid saturation fire... probably not the best video to mimic.
Actually, I have yet to see a video with *two* assassin/shadow tanks. Groups which run shadow tanks usually seem to rely on the other tank (a vanguard or a guardian) to eat most of the damage.
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. 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)

Gashe's Avatar


Gashe
12.05.2012 , 01:02 PM | #9
Pretty sure this video uses two Shadow tanks. I'm going off of memory though so I might be wrong. Can't play the video on my PC at work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RliGwB5lwg

KeyboardNinja's Avatar


KeyboardNinja
12.05.2012 , 01:08 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Gashe View Post
Pretty sure this video uses two Shadow tanks. I'm going off of memory though so I might be wrong. Can't play the video on my PC at work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RliGwB5lwg
It is two assassin tanks. Interesting. I saw this video before I actually did the fight for the first time, and haven't gone back to watch it since. They appear to resolve the issues by splitting the damage between the tanks. They're also running operative/merc healers, which has the advantage of stronger single-target heals than a scoundrel/sage combo.
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. 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)