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Heroic Ultraxion

Posted by Malevica on January - 24 - 2012
Ultraxion

NB: This guide will assume you’ve already read my normal Ultraxion strategy, or otherwise know the details of the fight on normal mode.

Fight Summary

The Ultraxion fight on heroic is pretty much the same as the normal, the difference are fairly small.

The main change you’ll notice as a healer is that the AoE damage is a lot higher, as befits a heroic encounter. The timing intervals remain the same but the hits are higher: 400,000 Shadow damage on 10-heroic vs 300,000 Shadow damage on 10-normal. What’s more, you’ll be going with 2 healers in order to make the enrage timer, so it’s a lot more work than normal mode is.

The second change is that Fading Light is cast on two raid members plus his current tank, as opposed to tank plus one on normal mode. This makes the healing a bit more tricky because the damage will be spikier as more people use Heroic Will and don’t split the damage. Fading Light also leaves a debuff on the tank; unlike on normal, where the debuff leaves the tank unable to generate threat for a few seconds, the heroic debuff increases physical damage taken for 10 seconds. This is a very good way of forcing you to take two proper tanks, but shouldn’t impact on the healing as long as the tanks swap immediately when the debuffs go out.

The final changes are to Hour of Twilight. The small change is that the cast is shorter, 3 seconds instead of 5 seconds. That sounds small, but it matters if you’re used to squeezing an extra round of heals in and you’ll need to carefully adjust your timing.
The big change is that you need two people to soak each Hour instead of just one, and your tanks will not have major cooldowns available often enough for them both to take every single one. You need other people, DPS and healers, to pick up the difference.

I’ll focus on the Hour of Twilight changes, and on handling the increased damage, particularly towards the end of the fight.

Hour of Twilight

As I’ve said, the important change is that you now need two soakers per Hour instead of one. Hour of Twilight happens every 45 seconds, and once you’ve soaked an Hour you get a debuff which prevents you from taking another for 2 minutes. If you try, you die instantly. So you need 6 people to soak the Hour of Twilight, working in three pairs.

But you have other ways to survive this:

  • Shadowpriests have Dispersion every 2 minutes (75 seconds with the glyph)
  • Fire Mages can use Cauterize once a minute to survive, as long as they get healed up quickly afterwards
  • All Mages can Ice Block to avoid the damage, and Paladins can Divine Shield one as well
  • Rogues can use Cloak of Shadows every 2 minutes, preventing all magical damage taken
  • Hunters can use Deterrence to deflect the spell and take no damage
  • Holy Priests can use Guardian Spirit to help someone survive
  • Discipline Priests can use Pain Suppression in combination with a minor cooldown such as Barkskin or Anti-Magic Shell. These cooldowns are good, but not good enough on their own

There may be more abilities I’ve missed, I’d be glad to add them to the list!

Healing the last 30 seconds

At 5 minutes in Ultraxion becomes more Unstable for the final time. He goes from casting every 2 seconds to every 1 second, which effectively doubles his damage done. At this point, it’s a race against time to kill him before your healers run out of cooldowns or you’ve used up all your Timeloop charges.

The trick to surviving this is to start rotating raid cooldowns and healing cooldowns from 5 minutes onwards, anyone with a spare personal cooldown should use it, and ideally you get a kill before 5:30 or 5:40. Remember that your tanks will be getting their 4-piece bonuses, which give them an extra raid cooldown to play with. (See Grav’s comment for a great tip for using a Warrior tank’s 4-piece for both Hour and general damage soaking).
Start with passive abilities like Divine Guardian and Power Word: Barrier, and end with Divine Hymn and Tranquility because these synergise better with Bloodlust.

Speaking of which, there’s a little trick with Bloodlust…

The double-lust trick

You have a dilemma: you really want to give the healers the Bloodlust or Heroism or Time Warp for the end of the fight, but the best time to use it is the very start, where you can line up BL with trinkets, pre-pots and DPS cooldowns.

But you can have your cake and eat it too! Heroic Will takes you into a different realm, so you can’t be affected by buffs or debuffs, including BL and Heroism.

So here’s how to use this to your advantage:

  1. Have a countdown timer for pulls. (You already have this though for timing pre-pots, right?)
  2. 2 seconds before the pull, have your healers hit Heroic Will
  3. Just as the pull is made, pop BL/Heroism/Time Warp. Your healers won’t get the buff but they don’t need it, and crucially they also won’t get the associated debuff
  4. At the 5-minute mark, pop a second BL/Heroism/Time Warp so the healers can benefit from it

Spec and Glyphs

The glyphs of Prayer of Healing and Power Word: Barrier are essential. I tend to take the Penance glyph as well, but this is as much for DPS as anything else.

I take an Atonement build for this fight because in the early stages the damage is pretty low so I spend quite a bit of time DPSing. I can put out about 1.8million damage per attempt, which is only 2% of the raid’s damage but makes a huge difference when you’re looking at taking 5-10 valuable seconds off the length of the fight.

Consider taking an extra point in Veiled Shadows so you can get an extra Shadowfiend in, because the default cooldown of 5 minutes makes it tricky to use it twice when you really need it, before you get the Blue buff. See how you go, you may not need it.

Cooldown Usage

PW:B is best used at the start, right at the 5 minute mark, because it doesn’t depend on the Bloodlust being cast immediately. Once the Barrier runs out you should have Bloodlust and can throw Divine Hymn into the mix whenever it fits in your team’s rotation.

Pain Suppression can be used to keep a tank stable if you’re busy regenning mana, but I tend to hold it in case we need a backup for an Hour-soaking team.

Life Grip is fairly useless on this fight, sadly, unless you have an annoying person standing way out at the back and not benefiting from AoE healing.

You’ll only get to use one Hymn of Hope in the fight. The few seconds after an Hour of Twilight are fairly quiet, just warn your fellow healer so they can cover. The same applies to Concentration Potions.

Other Tips

Atonement healing is buffed by the Red buff, and will proc the Green buff as well, so don’t be afraid to use Smite and Holy Fire it if you get either of these buffs. Do look and make sure your raid is getting Atonement heals though, and move them forward or back if not.

The fight doesn’t require much special from you, so as a Discipline Priest your biggest contribution to damage reduction and to the raid comes from using your DPS.
Keep an eye on the raid’s health bars, but go nuts with Smite and Holy Fire in the early days. Just before the first buff is available the damage tends to ramp up and you’ll need to heal for a bit, then you can go back to DPSing because the buff will settle things down for a while.
Shortly before the second buff you’ll probably want to switch to healing full-time, but judge it for yourself.

If you’re not stacking Mastery PoH spam is probably the most effective approach to healing the fight as opposed to heavy PW:S usage. Given this, Discipline Priests benefit roughly equally from Red and Blue (Red doubles PoH and the resulting DA, while Blue doubles the number of PoH casts per unit time), although the Green is less effective because it doesn’t affect Divine Aegis procs. Resto Druids and Holy Priests really shine with the Red buff while Holy Paladins love the Blue buff, so take and then one which is left over and make it work for you. If you’re on Blue, get the Green first of course.

Good luck, and have fun!

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Categories: Advice and Strategy, Featured

11 Responses so far.

  1. Grav says:

    Few little extra tidbits:

    1 – The reason you need 6 people minimum to eat Hour of Twilight is because you get a 2min debuff after taking it. If you take another Hour with the debuff on you, you instantly die. Hour every 45 secs = 3 groups of 6.

    2 – Rogues soak best with Cloak of Shadows (every 2 mins). DKs can soak with AMS + external CD (Pain Sup, Icebound Fortitude, Safeguard, etc). Guardian Spirit also works on people. Paladins can Bubble in a pinch.

    3 – 4-piece tank bonus is amazing on this fight. If you have 3 groups soaking, I recommend assigning a tank with their 4piece to soak in Group One as they will soak the last Hour at 5:15 with their 4-piece CD and help out incoming damage bigtime (24 seconds of 20% damage reduction from Shield Wall, or Raid Vamp Blood, or Raid Frenzied Regen etc is money in the bank late in the fight).

    4 – Boomkins sadly don’t benefit from Owlkin Frenzy on this fight so they aren’t stellar DPSwise or soaking-wise :(
    Kitties also can’t Shred (balls), and rogues can’t backstab (ie. make them play Combat).

    • Malevica says:

      Thanks for the additions/corrections Grav! I hadn’t noticed the debuff from soaking Hours, it doesn’t show up in WoL (at least for me, I’m in a different phase when you gain the debuff) so I didn’t spot the reason for that.

      Couple of questions for you: do full immunities like Divine Shield, Iceblock etc? I know in some cases they can be problematic, not counting towards the number of soakers or something.
      Also, presumably if you’re soaking with your 4-piece you hit it when the Hour is due, right? Or the people who click quickly might miss out on it if you pop it once they’re phased out.

      • Grav says:

        Iceblock works fine, as does Divine Shield. Our Fire Mage in Group 3 uses Ice Block for the second soak so he doesn’t have to get healed up afterwards.

        I use my Shield Wall before the cast starts. How much before depends on when the raid needs the damage reduction – with a 24 second duration I’m not afraid to use it early.

        Also if you’re doing the double-Lust trick, first tank should blow his big CDs right off the bat since they all reset when Thrall gives you the Defender buff about 5 seconds into the fight.

  2. Minstrel says:

    A minor note–discipline priests benefit most from the blue buff, because PW:S doesn’t derive any benefit from the red and green buffs (last I checked, anyway), but mana reduction is obviously very valuable for shields.

    However, if you don’t tend to use many shields, then it really doesn’t matter…all three are good for PoH spam or Atonement.

    Great piece, though. I like the double-lust trick.

    • Malevica says:

      Depends very much on how you’re geared, but I find heavy PW:S use less effective than PoH spam in the later stages of the fight, and under the PoH-spam scenario we benefit similarly from Red and Blue, but less from the Green.

      Since I don’t stack mastery, my shields have a 1.15s GCD and land for maybe 33k, which works out at ~29kHPS. With Blue I’m GCD-capped at 1s anyway, so that’s only 33kHPS. The benefit is small for heavy shield use. The real benefit of the Blue buff is that it doubles PoH output, letting it float around 70-80kHPS (before DA goes on top). Borrowed Time is of no value under the Blue buff, you’re GCD-capped even without it, and you don’t need the mana from Rapture any more. Even PoM doesn’t hold up HPS/HPCT-wise, again because of the GCD-capping.

      The Red buff doubles PoH output and with it the DA procs, so that’s very tasty. Arguably Blue is better at the end because you’re spreading the heals out more evenly and so the damage is less spiky on each group, but in raw HPS terms the effect is the same.

      Green is less effective because it doesn’t do anything for the DA procs, so it’s probably the least desirable for us. But it does work with Atonement so it’s useful for the rest of the fight.

      I’ll edit the post to clarify this, I realise it would benefit from a bit more discussion. Thanks for your input!

      • Minstrel says:

        Right now I’ve been mostly going holy, since I currently have a fellow priest healer who’s discipline. In the past (i.e. Firelands), I went heavy mastery and biased my spellcasting toward shielding, because I felt that that complemented other healers (holy paladin, resto druid) better.

        Getting a lot of shields out, during a low-stress period, just before a high-stress period essentially increased the “clutch HPS” of the raid, because you were essentially borrowing time (no pun intended!) from an “easy phase” to help with a “hard phase” with preventative healing (shields). Plus it gets Renewed Hope out on everyone if you need to single target heal during that tough stretch.

        So I’ll admit that I haven’t actually disc’d heroic Ultraxion (only heroic Morchok and Yor’sahj, since I’m either on a healing island against Morchok or else two-healing with a holy paladin on heroic Yor’sahj). If you find that shield spam towards the end doesn’t help, that’s fair. I can’t argue from experience, since I’m holy on that fight.

        I should also mention I only do 10m raids, to clarify my healing environment.

        I always love talking priest, though. ;)

        • Minstrel says:

          I also meant to mention, but cannot edit my post to say, that your argument for why PoH is more effective than shielding for that makes plenty of sense.

        • Malevica says:

          I always appreciate questions and comments because they make me think. Yours made me go back to the maths to check I wasn’t wandering down the wrong path, because I’d wondered myself about the value of shields with the blue buff.

          I use a lot of shields on Morchok and Yorsahj, doing exactly what you say and “borrowing” from the light phases such as when the slimes come in to prepare. But Ultraxion doesn’t have ups and downs so much, and each tick is a 40k hit at least, so you’re not able to buffer or prepare much.

  3. Gary Kid says:

    That was a wonderful summary. And thank to Grav for those extra tidbits. Can’t wait to start.

    Thanks for sharing.

    -Gary

  4. Herschelle Roy says:

    This is such a wonderful post. I only knew the details of the fight in normal mode. But thanks to your post, I can be better at this now. I also liked Grav’s comment.
    Thanks for these information.

    -Herschelle

  5. […] About heroism there is a nice trick quoting Malevica from Type H for […]

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