It's time for Winter's Veil! There's a few changes to this annual event, one of which is the fact that we can now get a daily quest, You're a Mean One..., to save Metzen the reindeer from The Abominable Greench.
The daily quest rewards a Stolen Present, which has a chance at dropping the new holiday pet, Lumpy! It can also drop a very cool BoE epic dagger, the Miniature Winter Veil Tree. And yes, it looks like a little metal Christmas Tree!
As for the Greench? He's gotten a MAJOR facelift - he's no longer just a random yeti, but has been buffed up to YETIMUS (boss) level size and strength! He's quite tough, and the daily quest is a group quest, so he's clearly intended for a few people to tackle together.
So of course, I had to try him solo.
- PVE Beast Mastery spec (Talents, Gear - just eligible for LFR)
- a Tenacity pet (Worm), though it was specced for PVE DPS, not tanking (Talents)
- 2/2 Spirit Bond (Beast Mastery talent)
- 2/3 Great Stamina (Pet talent)
My pet didn't have any points in the usual pet tanking talents - Natural Armor, Pet Barding, Blood of the Rhino, or Guard Dog. I also didn't have the very useful Glyph of Mending, nor Glyph of Misdirect (although Glyph of Misdirect probably isn't necessary.)
If you don't have a suitable pet for this task, just head down to Hillsbrad and tame a turtle from the river. Spec it into all survival talents, and you'll be golden.
Send your pet in, keep Mend Pet rolling, and start DPSing. The Greench will eventually throw two objects out at you - a snowball, and then a Christmas tree. As soon as you see either of these headed your way, run away.
The snowball will turn into a snowman, who after a few moments, will freeze anyone nearby in place. This is really bad when combined with the tree, which marks the Greench's Stomp location. About five seconds after he tosses the tree, he'll charge over to where it landed and do an AoE Stomp there, sending anyone he hits (such as players who got frozen by the snowman) flying up into the air, resulting in heavy damage plus fall damage.
Aside from dodging these two objects, the most important thing in this fight is keeping Mend Pet ticking on your pet, because the Greench hits pretty hard. In fact, he'll likely hit harder than Mend Pet is able to keep up with (without the Glyph of Mending, anyway), and your pet will start dropping dangerously low in health.
When this happens, make sure you have some distance, refresh Mend Pet, then Distracting Shot the Greench. Immediately start running away, as the Greench will forget all about your pet and head your way. The Distracting Shot effect will only keep him fixated on you for 6 seconds, at which point he'll go back to his highest aggro target (your pet). So you're going to kite or Deterrence-tank him until he loses interest, all the while your Mend Pet is ticking away and getting your pet back up to healthy condition.
That's basically it! You just repeat this process as needed. You can stand there and Deterrence the Greench's attacks, you can run and kite him for a bit, or you can even Feign Death when he reaches you to send him back to your pet. It's okay if you get hit once or twice, he won't kill you that quickly.
If you Distracting Shot him after he's already tossed the tree down, he'll usually start coming after you, then change his mind and go charge the tree, using up the Distracting Shot duration. This makes it even easier!
Here's a demonstration of how it works. A few other players join in near the end, but the basic process is there. And remember, this ia a pet not talented for tanking. If you bring a tanking pet with better armor/health/healing talents, it'll only be easier!
This "aggro tennis" method is a great way to tackle enemies that are too lethal to simply pet tank-and-spank. Distracting Shot + kiting/Deterrence nets your pet those precious seconds of undisturbed Mend Pet healing, and because the taunt is only temporary, the enemy will go back to your pet all on its own. It's a very useful trick.
You can even use it in PVE encounters, with a real tank, though I wouldn't advise it unless the rest of your group knows what you're doing. For example, I've taunted/kited raid bosses for a few seconds to give our Druid tank enough time to shift out of bear form and battle rez someone. Then I just Feign and the boss goes right back to the Druid, who's back in bear form.
On an unrelated note, MMO Melting Pot is accepting nominations for the Piggies, a continuation of the very nice blogosphere tradition Larisa of Pink Pigtail Inn started back in 2008! Larisa has retired from WoW blogging, but the Pot is carrying on the tradition, so head on over and check out their nomination categories, and leave them some suggestions!