After a great deal of testing and strategizing, we finally managed to complete The Traitor King achievement, which appears to be the first 10-man Strict completion worldwide! Well done Vox!

Anub is getting annngrryyy...

After a harrowing attempt at Earth, Wind, & Fire last week and missing the timer by 10 seconds, it felt great to finally put this one to rest.

Tactically for Traitor King, we ended up settling on a method that can be safely assumed not to be the intended way to do this achievement, but proved much more reliable in the end (and was virtually required since we had no method of removing Determination from the Scarabs without a Rogue or Hunter in our raid.)

Our first strategy was the 'intended' method -- knocking down frost patches all around the outside of the room as we ran circles as a group forcing scarabs to chase us. We had our Rogue at the time in a full stamina/no attack power set with Brass Knuckles on both hands using removing Determination as needed, but otherwise unable to deal enough damage to risk killing anything.

However, even on our best attempts we could only get into the third Burrow phase, and barely, before any number of things that could go wrong would go wrong and after one mistake, the system would collapse quickly onto itself and we'd have to wipe.

Instead, we started gearing up our Warrior and Paladin tanks with Nature Protection equipment and tried a "tanking" method: Instead of kiting, we had our Paladin spec fairly deep into protection with some Holy and use a PVP gearset plus NR pieces to clear 400+ NR while maintaining 35,000+ HP. With the extra Protection talents his damage intake from both melee and Acid-Drenched Mandibles was drastically reduced. He'd also use Righteous Fury and as stand still, spamming himself with heals to try to out-agro the other healers and help keep his health up.

Meanwhile, our Warrior was in full tank gear/spec (except no points in Damage Shield) keeping Vigilance on our Paladin tank, so each time the Paladin took damage from a Scarab, the Warrior had a fresh taunt, which is vital to the strategy.

Since we knew this was about survival and control rather than DPS, we used every possible healer we could, which ended up being: 1xProt/Holy Paladin, 1xHoly Paladin, 3xResto Druid, 1xResto Shaman. We also used one full-tank gear/spec DK for Anub tanking and one DPS-gear/spec DK for Burrower tanking.

Healers were all positioned against the middle of the north wall. Warrior/Paladin were tanking Scarabs just south near Anub's spawn point. Anub was tanked on the NE wall away from the raid, and Burrowers tanked on the NW wall. With that setup, our only other DPS was a Fire Mage, who killed Burrowers with our DK OT when they were up and otherwise dropped frost around the room as much as possible.

Once a Burrow phase would begin, Scarabs would make their way to the raid as usual. We'd let our Paladin taunt the first few to get him taking damage, which would ensure nearly instant Taunt refreshing for our Warrior via Vigilance. Once 2 or 3 initial Scarabs were on the Paladin, tanked just south of the healer group, the Warrior would then Taunt each subsequent Scarab that was agroed on a raid member other than the Warrior or Paladin, prioritizing Scarabs agroed on our Mage first, then healers second, then OTs third. Each Scarab taunt required 2 GCDs; the first to Taunt, and the second to Battle or Demo Shout before Taunt wore off to provide that threat buffer.

Generally, once the Scarab is on a tank, it is unlikely it will randomly add threat to another player often enough to bypass that tank's current agro. However, the exception is when Scarabs would enrage via Determination. For a non-enraged Scarab, having Determination triggered on it would randomly agro a new target, and each time it's a 88.9% chance that target is not a tank, so the Warrior or Paladin would have to quickly target and re-taunt that Scarab. In some cases, especially during the third Burrow Phase and into the fourth, random agro was occuring extremely fast so re-taunting was exceptionally frantic lest Scarabs be left stacking DoTs on someone else for far too long. By this point in the fight as well, Healing threat is easily bypassing Tank generated threat so even non-enraging Scarabs were sliding over that threat barrier and agroing healers.

As for damage and healing, with both tanks wearing 400+ NR, the maximum stack of 40 for Acid-Drenched Mandibles is quickly reached, which deals 40,000 damage every 3 seconds before resists or reduction. However, as a Warrior I was only taking 16-19k a tick and our Prot/Holy Paladin tank was taking slightly more but not enough to outright kill him, as he had ~7-8k HP after each tick. The only additional damage on the tanks is the melee damage from Scarabs, which is virtually zero for the Warrior but slightly higher for the Paladin since he cannot use his Holy Shield due to damage output and is wearing healing gear rather than tank gear. With that info, our healer team was able to get into a decent rhythm even though both tanks are maxed out at 40 stacks very shortly into the first burrow phase. The only danger at that point for the Scarab tanks is standing in Anub's spike trail when he's chasing someone or turning your back to the Scarabs for too long.

The final piece of the puzzle is the pursuit by Anub during Burrows, but we tried to cover this issue by stacking healers so while one person is chased, the others can continue staying north and keeping everyone up.

Once we had our tactic down and everyone was acquainted with the setup and his role, it only took about a half dozen attempts to get it down and would've been less if I'd been paying attention to the Scarab count in an earlier attempt when we hit 40+ and people are asking in Vent if we should kill and I'm shouting back, "We don't have enough yet!" like a tard.

All in all, it's difficult to rate this achievement compared to others. Like so many things of late, this achievement is much more difficult in 10-man than in 25-man. This is solely due to the fact the Scarab kill requirement is the same for both 10 and 25 (40 scarabs) but the Scarab health pools on 10 man are drastically lower than 25-man. 10-man Scarabs have 18,900 HP, while 25-man Scarabs have 113,400 HP, a difference of 94,500 HP! Obviously, this HP difference is logical in terms of the normal fight mechanics where the raid usually kills Scarabs ASAP, and a 10-man Scarab with 113,400 HP would be incredibly difficult to kill quickly.

However, that health difference when doing this achievement makes a world of difference for controlling threat and agro targets of Scarabs. In 10-man, once I, as a tank, Taunt a Scarab off another player who has the initial 20k threat, the only thing I can afford to do to push my threat past the Taunt-equivalent value is a non-damaging ability such as Commanding or Demo Shout. I simply cannot afford to attack the Scarab in any meaningful way, as one critical Shield Slam + auto-attack would take 40-50% of the Scarab's health away.

Conversely, with a tank-threat modifier of 2.0735, a 25-man tank can easily afford to do a great deal of additional damage/threat attacks before coming close to killing the Scarab. Taking just the difference in health from 10 to 25 man at 94,500 HP, assuming no threat bonus abilities used (which is near impossible and would increase this threat more but simplifies the math in this example), a tank could build 195,945 additional threat (94,500 * 2.0735) on any given Scarab after a Taunt before it would reach the 18,900 HP of a 10-man Scarab and be at risk of being killed early. That's an insane threat margin compared to what 10-man tanks can do, which is a non-threat buff, which for a Warrior is generally doing 80-81 Threat per GCD divided by all threat targets. Therefore, with 20+ Scarabs and the like up, each GCD after a Taunt adds ~4 Threat to the Scarab. FOUR!

That kind of huge margin for threat (or 'error' to put it differently), means even with the seemingly "intended" strategy of a raid-wide kite, keeping the Scarabs on one or two particular individuals is incredibly easy, as damage output from tanks is not an issue. It's even worse when using a 'tank strategy' as we finally settled upon. A single tank could very easily hold all 40 Scarabs by using any number of AE attacks (Thunder Clap, Shockwave, Consecration, Blood Boil, Swipe, etc.) without fear of killing anything too early. This means healing only has to focus one 40-stack target and threat is only an issue when Determination is cast, which can be managed with Taunts quite easily.

So what is the solution? How do you solve the HP difference when a normal strategy requires killing Scarabs with 10 or 25 people and thus HP pools must be different? There are a few methods. The simplest is probably a form of regeneration on Scarabs. Have each Scarab spawn with a buff that self-heals 5 or 10% of the Scarab's total health every tick. This would still allow the same low HP pool values and allow normal killing of Scarabs, but when doing this achievement, would allow both 10- and 25- man tanks to have the option to damage Scarabs without risking their death later on. It would still favor 25-man tanks with the higher HP pool, but if Scarabs were regenning health, even 10-man tanks could land a few high threat blows and swap to a new target while the Scarab regens back up.

At any rate, I think I can speak for all of Vox when I say we're very happy to see this achievement in the bag and not have to revisit it. It's exciting to complete it after so much effort and we're looking forward to hopefully getting the last few achievements we need before 3.3 hits!