This is a guide to pet tanking in Mists of Pandaria. It is not intended for advice on soloing, PvP, PvE, leveling, etc.
Turtle or Beetle. Simple stuff. You need the damage mitigation more than any other pet ability.
This is really at the heart of tanking. What the hunter does with his regular dps shots is secondary. Below I go through each ability and stance to highlight their use in tanking.
- Growl -THIS IS NOW A TAUNT. Which is probably good news for instances, and bad for raids where the taunt will likely be ignored by bosses.
- Bite – On auto-cast, regardless of situation
- Charge – On auto-cast
- Thunderstomp – Serviceable but not great AoE threat. Turn off for single target encounters.
- Last Stand – A glorious ability for when there are damage spikes on your pet.
- Cower – Should be macro’d to Mend Pet for mitigation.
- Blink Strike – A fantastic ability. Use liberally.
- Lynx Rush – Taken in place of Blink Strike when you’ll need to hold numerous mobs at once.
- Move To – Generally an awful ability. Our pets stop attacking during this, will turn in odd directions, and depending on their stance they often stop moving to their destination to begin attacking again. Use for minor positioning only.
- Assist – A tricky stance for tanking, because we don’t always want our pet to follow our targeting. Use sparingly.
- Defensive – My default stance, it’s useful for the many fights where we need to keep our pets on a boss but switch to dps an add ourselves (or vice-versa)
- Passive – Instead of “Move To” for moving a boss quickly (which almost always takes too much time), I’ve found it far easier to be near where I want my pet to be, then switch him to passive to pull the boss back. Inelegant, but effective.
- Stay – Worth mentioning only because casting abilities like Blink Strike or Kill Command will break the “Stay” command, regardless of stance. If you MD a mob or boss to your pet at a specific spot, make sure they’re in place before casting those abilities.
Rather than build a priority list from scratch, I’ll say this: Do your BM dps rotation with the following exceptions:
- You do not want to cast Focus Fire. This increases our overall dps but hurts our pet’s dps.
- Mend Pet should be cast every 10 seconds, to maintain uptime. This ability is modified by various glyphs to tick for more than it would at its base value.
- Macro Mend Pet to Shell Shield or Cower, or both (though some mitigation is lost when the two abilities overlap)
- When you have multiple mobs up, your rotation is often a literal rotation between targets, leaving your pet on each only long enough to get a few attacks or a Kill Command. During such target switching, you should not be concerned with your personal dps.