Hello and welcome to my first blog. Ever. I hope you all enjoy the writing and the posts, I’ll try to keep ’em short and interesting (except for when they’re long and boring).

Even though I plan on keeping this mainly about Death Knights (tanking mostly, though the odd dps / PvP post could show up), you will probably see my guild,<The Noodles Factory>, mentioned a couple of times as well as my restoration shaman, plus the odd rant regarding almost anything in WoW. And, as promised, I will start with what should’ve been a post on my realms’ forums but instead turned into this blog.

When to use Army of the Dead…effectively!

Sometimes that ability is a life saver. Honest, it’s happened! However, some moments are just the worst moments to pull your little army of brainmunchers out. Now, we’ve all had our bad moments and I’m here to share the knowledge of past experiences.

First of all, every Death Knight should understand what the Army does and why it can go from angel to demon during an encounter.

  • This is a dps ability as much as it is a tanking ability. For the duration of the summoning (six seconds) the Death Knight casting it will take reduced damage, which in the case of tanks pans out to about 50% dmg reduction. This is why a tank will benefit a bit more from it than dps DKs.
  • The ghouls taunt. They don’t taunt raid bosses, but they taunt everything beneath their level (83).
  • They last for about 30 seconds (maybe even more), so if you screw up, no matter how much you pray for them to go away, they won’t.
  • If you reconsider and you realise you’ve done a mistake that could wipe your group, keep yourself out of combat, they disappear in about 60 seconds.
  • They have pathing issues sometimes (to be read as – most times). Because of the way that mobs are scripted to position themselves when they are attacked – they have a smart script that tells them where you will be, based on the direction you are currently moving – mobs will get taunted, run off to wherever they thing the ghoul is going, then the ghoul will try to head them off, and so on and so forth. That raises many problems: the ghoul could pull another pack, or it could die/expire and let the mob aggro a clothie/healer.
  • But what happens most of the time is that they simply taunt the adds that spawn during an encounter and cause a wipe.
  • In some cases, the mobs they are taunting do some sort of AoE in a frontal cone that’s supposed to only hit the tank (if that). Because all the ghouls are chain taunting, and because they are spread in a circle around the mob, it will most likely rotate in an aggressive manner, thus hitting most of your part/raid with its cone AoE.

And because sometimes you just forget an encounter will have an add phasse I’ll try to make a short list:

  • Deathbringer Saurfang – this is where most people choke to the pressure of the moment and pull Army in an effort to speed up the kill. However, if you feel that the outcome of the fight  is uncertain, do your raid a favor and use your 3 runes in a better way. What the ghouls will do here is taunt the mobs, get hit, and generate enough Blood Power for Saurfang to have for years to come. Using Army here should be completely avoided even if your brain, caught in the pressure of the moment, will think that it’s a dps gain.  It’s not, the ghouls will stop attacking Saurfang as soon as the bloodbeasts spawn.
  • Rotface – using Army here is just about as devastating as it is on Saurfang. Scenario: ghouls will taunt the little blobs and two things will happen; the blobs will come within melee range of the boss and kill everyone with their aoe or they will prevent the merging with another small blob. This generally leads to having two or more big blobs walking around uncontrollably(which is also a wipe).
  • Lord Jaraxxus – there are two types of adds that come here, the mistresses and the infernals. While it doesn’t affect the fight much, it can still cause the death of a few unfocused players.
  • Halls of Reflection – the bit where you run from Arthas has wiped a lot of people, even myself. What happened to me was that the ghouls taunted the big abominations that do a disease aoe. The healer wasn’t fast on his toes so we wiped.
  • Onyxia’s lair – onto more important matters now! What most people don’t remember is that the elites that join the fight from the back of the room are not level “??”. Thus, using Army on them can lead to a lot of dead melee dps’ers, and even some ranged, due to the pathing problems mentioned above and the sensless turning around, thus exposing players to their special attack – Ignite Weapon.
  • The last boss in Violet Hold – although this is minor difficulty right now, a wipe in VH stings harder than a scorpion’s bite. “Why?”, you ask?It’s simple, if you wipe on Keristrasza, you have to re-do all of the portals. So pulling AotD here is a big no-no because the dragon does an “Unstable Energy” attack that could easily wipe you, should the party get hit by it.

While the Army provides nice mitigation and some good burst dps on fights like Gormok or Twins, it should always be used with care because it has no cancel button. The ghouls stay there until they die. Death Pact works, but only on one of them, of course.

I hope this guide helped you a bit. Trust me, using your brains before summoning the ghouls will save you from a lot of shouts on vent or party/raid chat. Army is a great ability nonetheless, and I myself have switched to dps gear on some ocasions while letting the ghouls tank a heroic boss. However, I was sure that my party’s dps was enough to kill the boss before it killed the ghouls.

Good luck and cya around!

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