Sunday, 6 May 2012

PvP Tank Basics: Using your AoE Taunt Effectively

PvP Tank Basics is a series of articles in which I'll examine the baseline PvP tank abilities and discuss strategies for maximizing their effectiveness. I will keep these articles up to date, so that they can be referenced at any time by new PvP tanks. Today, we're looking at your AoE taunt.

Your AoE taunt is a highly effective tool for turning the tide in a heavy pressure situation. The word "game-changer" literally applies here. Here's the ability for Juggernauts:

Threatening Scream
Taunts all enemies within 15 meters, forcing them to attack the Warrior for 6 seconds. Player targets deal 30% less damage when attacking anyone other than you. Lasts 6 seconds.

This ability is named Challenging Call for Jedi Guardians. For Sith Assassins and Jedi Shadows, it is called Mass Mind Control. For Powertechs it is named Sonic Missile, and for Vanguards it is called Sonic Round. All these abilities function identically, except that Sonic Missile and Sonic Round are targeted on an enemy instead of being centered on you. You do not need to be in your "Defensive Stance" to use your AoE taunt ability (see the section below called "What if I'm not a tank?").

The ability is useless if used on someone who is attacking you. It has a fairly long cooldown compared to your other damage-reducing abilties, so it's important to use it appropriately.

AoE Taunt Usage

My personal guidelines for using an AoE taunt are as follows:

1. Is heavy pressure being applied to a healer or ball carrier? If so, get into a position to hit as many of the attackers as possible with your AoE taunt. You can easily save a healer's life with this ability while racking up a lot of protection.

2. Does stalling here make sense? If one of your allies is being attacked in a position which is advantageous for your team, you can use your AoE taunt to stall them, keeping them in this position longer. A good example is in Voidstar - you want to keep enemies away from the doors. If multiple enemies pile on one of your teammates in a bad position, it usually makes sense to use your AoE taunt.

3. Are more enemies about to join the fight? For example, maybe you're defending a turret on Alderaan Civil War. You and a healer are fighting two enemies, but you see another enemy inbound as well. As long as your healer is okay, it makes sense to wait until the third enemy joins the fight to use your AoE taunt, to cut down on potential burst.

4. Are enemies likely to be attacking me right now? For example, if you have the huttball and are carrying it across the middle, you likely are being attacked by almost everyone on the other team, so your AoE taunt could just be wasted.

The Psychology of your AoE Taunt

Your AoE taunt only lasts 6 seconds, and few opponents will be perceptive enough to see that they've been taunted and switch to you. It does happen sometimes, so have those defensive cooldowns ready.

Using your AoE taunt at the right time can literally save your team. The damage reduction can give your healers time to catch up or at least stall long enough for your DPS to win the day. If enemies notice you taunting repeatedly, you could find yourself the target of focus fire. Don't be afraid to break line of sight to enemies trying to focus you - it buys your healers even more time.

What if I'm not a tank?

Not primarily a tank, but your advanced class has access to an AoE taunt ability? No problem. I'd recommend you still use it.

If you are DPSing in PvP, you often find yourself in the thick of combat. Feel free to throw out your AoE taunt during a big pile-up: you'll be helping your team and getting free medals, assuming you aren't being attacked by everyone on the other team. I would argue that if you play an advanced class that has access to an AoE taunt, even if focused on damage, you should be using it. It is a unique and highly-effective part of your toolbox which often becomes forgotten. It is part of what separates a good DPS-specced Juggernaut/Powertech/Assassin from a great one.

What now?

Check out my PvP Tank Video Guide on using your AoE Taunt:

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