Monday, 30 April 2012

PvP Tank Basics: Using 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 Taunt.

Taunt is a great way to cut down burst damage, which is one of the prime killers of healers in PvP combat. The ability itself is fairly simple:

InstantCooldown: 15s
 30 m
Taunts the target, forcing it to attack the Warrior for 6 seconds. Player targets deal 30% less damage when attacking anyone other than you. Lasts 6 seco

This ability is named Taunt for Jedi Guardians, also. For Sith Assassins and Jedi Shadows, it is called Mind Control. For Powertechs it is named Neural Dart, and for Vanguards it is called Neural Jolt. All these abilities function identically. You do not need to be in your "Defensive Stance" to use your Taunt ability (see the section below called "What if I'm not a tank?").

The ability is of course useless if used on someone who is attacking you. It has a fairly short cooldown, which means that you can (and should) use it often.

Taunt Priority

My priority for using taunt is as follows:

1. Any class capable of heavy burst damage who is currently attacking a healer. Good examples are Operatives/Scoundrels who have just opened on a healer; Marauders/Sentinels who have just charged a healer; Rage/Focus-specced Juggernauts/Guardians; Gunslingers/Snipers.

2. Any damage class attacking a healer. This is fairly self-explanatory. The less healing healers need to use on themselves to stay alive, the more they will be throwing on your team, including you.

3. Burst damage-capable enemies focus-firing friendly DPS. Again, self-explanatory. Give your healers a chance to save this person. There are better abilities to use in this situation, but if none of them were available and Taunt was, I'd at least use it.

4. Any enemy DPS focus-firing friendly DPS.

As a side note, never Taunt an enemy healer. They aren't doing damage, so the ability has no effect.

The Psychology of Taunt

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.

If Taunt is used at the right moment, it may demoralize an enemy and get them to switch targets, especially when combined with other abilities. A good example are Operatives/Scoundrels who open from stealth on a healer. If you taunt them, you are going to be reducing their burst damage significantly, and they may give up or vanish in an attempt to re-open. Burst damage is one of their primary strengths; you are drastically decreasing their effectiveness by taunting them and they don't have a great way to adapt to that.

What if I'm not a tank?

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

If you are primarily dealing damage in PvP, you often find yourself attacking enemies who are attacking your healer. Obviously, enemy healers are the highest priority and there is little point to taunting a healer, but once they are defeated your enemies are often stuck to your healers.

Spend the global cooldown to throw your Taunt on one of them. Not only will you get free medals, but you'll  be helping your healer out. You may be primarily a damage dealer, but you can still save someone's life. I would argue that if you play an advanced class that has access to taunt, even if focused on damage, you should be taunting often. 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.

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