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Healing Heroic Professor Putricide

Posted by Malevica on June - 15 - 2010

For the last couple of weeks my guild has been working on Heroic Professor Putricide, and I thought I would share some of the lessons we’ve learned over the nights.

I’ll assume that you’ve seen the normal mode of this fight, so if you haven’t then the mechanics might be unfamiliar.

Phase 1

The big differences between normal and heroic here is that the Volatile Ooze (green) and Gas Cloud (orange/brown) hurt more and move faster, and the addition of the Unbound Plague.

The Ooze and Cloud are easy enough to deal with, you just pull out the strategy you used initially, and possibly stopped bothering with once the buffs began ratcheting up:

  • When the green Volatile Ooze is spawning, we have all the melee DPS gather next to its spawn point, aiming to be knocked back to the table (all in the same direction is important, and towards the table is a good habit for transitions), and the ranged and healers all stand well away so the Ooze has a long way to run. The biggest problem people are those who don’t get in quickly enough and are therefore not knocked back. If you don’t think you’re going to make it, back out again rather than standing at 10 yards, your raid will thank you.
  • When the Gas Cloud is spawning, everyone should stay at range until it has got a target. If it’s not killed in time and is going to pick a different target, everyone should run away from it. A melee getting hit by it immediately has a fair chance of killing raiders, and is not recommended.

If you get your positioning sorted out, and people are quick on their feet, these shouldn’t pose many problems.
As a bonus tip, having a Holy Priest specced for Body and Soul is not essential but extremely handy to save a Gas Cloud target who finds themselves trapped or unable to escape.

From a healing perspective, the melee will be taking the brunt of the damage in this phase, along with the tank who will be taking 30-40k blows from the Professor. An Ooze exploding on a typical melee complement will be landing for around half their health each, a bit more if people are slow. This is not hugely dangerous unless they get an unfortunate hit again shortly afterwards, in which case you need to have words about positioning.

It should also be noted that the person with Volatile Ooze Adhesive or Gas Bloat will be taking 10-14k ticks, so they do need some focused healing.

The fight as a whole is extremely mobile, so healers can help themselves by assigning people to sectors of the room. You will need to move throughout the fight, but having somewhere to gravitate back to helps to ensure that everyone is in range of someone.

The extra wrinkle in Heroic mode, which begins in Phase 1 and continues to the end of the fight, is the Unbound Plague. This is an undispellable debuff placed on a random player every 60 seconds (although he seems to delay casting in at the start of each phase). The plague has a 60 second duration, but the damage done increases with every 1s tick, as illustrated in the table below, until it gets passed on to another person by running into them. That person keeps the duration the plague had when it was passed, but the damage starts low again.
(Edit: I’ve corrected an anomaly in the table at stack 14, which was due to an absorb being credited fully and artificially raising the number to 17338).

Tick Damage Increase
1 932
2 1164 1.25
3 1455 1.25
4 1819 1.25
5 2273 1.25
6 2842 1.25
7 3552 1.25
8 4441 1.25
9 5551 1.25
10 6938 1.25
11 8673 1.25
12 10840 1.25
13 13551 1.25
14 16938 1.25
15 21173 1.25
16 26466 1.25
17 33083 1.25
18 41354 1.25

The upshot of all this is that the plague needs to be passed off at around the 10-11 second mark. It’s theoretically possible to hold it for longer, but with latency, the risk of an extra tick, people running out of range, and all manner of other unforeseen problems, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Vent/TS help a lot with this. When you get the plague, look around you for someone to pass it on to. Avoid people who’ve already had the plague, identified by a green haze around them (or the Plague Sickness debuff on Vuhdo/Grid), because Plague Sickness increases the damage the plague does to you by 250% per stack, and you gain a stack when the plague leaves you (60s duration). Once you’ve identified your target, tell them on Vent or whisper them (%t macros can be handy, think back to Lady Vashj), so they know not to run off at the wrong moment. We found it somewhat helpful to make /say macros with something like “I’m free” or “WTB plague” to let people nearby know you’re available to pass plague to.
Healers need to remember that the person with plague will need dedicated healing, preferably from more than one person, and that if a healer gets it they will not be able to heal themselves as effectively if they’re moving to pass it on, so be sure to cover for your fellow healers!

A refinement you can use is to look at the duration of the plague. If it has 10 or fewer seconds left you can keep it until it fades. This minimises the number of passes, and thus keeps more people without Plague Sickness. It helps if you announce your intention to keep it, so healers can keep a close eye on you and people know not to try and take the plague off you.

Finally on this phase, what to do if the plague gets into the melee? Well, the simplest thing to do is to just let it bounce around. It only does damage when it ticks, and it’s often passed on before it can tick. But this can’t carry on forever, because with high stacks a slow pass could mean a one-shot for your melee, so you do need to pass this off eventually.
The easiest way to pass it off is when the Volatile Ooze is exploding and the melee get knocked out to range. If you have the plague when you get knocked back, just pass it to a nearby ranged player. But please, make sure you actually have got rid of it before running back in.
If this isn’t convenient, have your spare tank(s) stand slightly further out from the melee group. When they get the plague they can quickly step away from the melee cluster and out of passing range, and then hand it off to a ranged player. Warriors with Intervene work well for this role.


Timing of the transitions is a huge deal in Heroic mode. Because Putricide will spawn 2 additional adds in this phase, one Volatile Ooze and one Gas Cloud, having another add up at the same time will probably lead to a wipe because they can’t all be slowed. Stop DPS fully at 82% (DoTs will tick him down to 81%), and be sure to burn him under once the previous add is dead, before he can spawn another one.

Where in Normal mode Putricide would stun the raid with Tear Gas, in Heroic he runs to the table and spawns a Volatile Ooze and a Gas Cloud simultaneously from their usual positions. What’s more, half of the raid will gain Ooze Variable, making them only able to attack (and according to the tooltip, only able to be targeted by) the Volatile Ooze, and the other half will gain Gas Variable, making them only able to attack (and be targeted by) the Gas Cloud.

Positioning is everything here.

Everyone with the Ooze Variable should gather up under the Volatile Ooze, standing on the table side of it so they will all be knocked in the same direction. Everyone with the Gas Variable should run away from the Gas Cloud’s spawn point, and stay away from the Ooze spawn point as well since sometimes they seem to target the “wrong” people.
The reason for this grouping is that you maximise your chances of having enough people gathered on the Ooze when it explodes, and you can DPS it while it is spawning and acquiring a target.

Bear in mind that the Variable debuffs seem to be random, so you can get more healers in one team compared to another. Healers can and should do some DPS here, as getting the adds down quickly is extremely important.

The Abomination should be able to apply three slows in this phase, one to the Ooze and two to the Gas Cloud is recommended. To do this the Abomination needs to leave a pool or two intact in order to suck them dry during the transition. They do not grow while the Professor is at his table, so this cannot be relied on for energy generation.

Phase 2

A bit of an anticlimax after the fun of Phase 1, there’s not much different here. The Unbound Plague continues (after a delay at the start before the first plague is introduced), the Ooze/Gas still spawn, and the Malleable Goo works the same as it does in Normal mode.

The only real difference is that there are three Malleable Goos on Heroic, rather than two on Normal. This makes it a bit trickier to avoid them, especially if several are launched in roughly the same direction, but if you’re attempting Heroic Putricide you should be able to cope.

Don’t worry though, things get more exciting at 35% when Phase 3 starts, initially with a transition like the one at 80%. Stop DPS at 37%, kill off the previous add and then burn him down to under 35% quickly.

Phase 3

Unlike the Phase 1 – Phase 2 transition, I’ve not given this a separate section. This is because it helps to think of Phase 3 as one long DPS burn phase, rather than a transition followed by a burn.

At 35% Putricide again runs to the table and again spawns one of each type of add, which should be handled as you did for the Phase 1/2 transition. Once he’s finished at the table he will become active and begin stacking Mutated Plague on his current tank every 10 seconds or so (later if he’s casting at the time).

Just like Normal mode the Malleable Goo and Choking Gas Bombs will continue, and the slime puddles will continue to grow, blocking your path. This burn phase will last longer on Heroic though, so you need to be more careful where you place the slime puddles. Being ahead of the boss is a big no-no. Also, because DPS is so crucial, it is vital for ranged and healers to stay at range so that you always have 8 or more, meaning Malleable Goo won’t target melee. If this happens the DPS loss is crippling.

The big damage source is the Mutated Plague mentioned earlier. This is applied to Putricide’s current tank every 10s, roughly, and deals raid-wide shadow damage dependent on the number of stacks, increasing faster than linearly with stacks so a 2-stack does more than twice the damage of a 1-stack.

To keep stacks as low as possible, tanks will be rotating every one or two stacks. We use a rotation which means our tanks get to 2 stacks initially, then take one more at a time after that, i.e. 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-3-3-3-3-4-4-4-4. The discussion that follows will assume this rotation, so if you use something different you may need to readjust the figures.

For healers, it’s vitally important to understand the damage profile here. Just watching the healthbars last night, once we got a couple of tanks on 3 stacks the bars just start to plummet and very quickly we were down half a raid.

I went through the logs and plotted out the damage profile, because it’s useful to see this. For reference, we’re wiping at around 90-100s, when 3 tanks have got 3 stacks on them. Times are from the first stack application on the first tank, which is pretty much immediately once he mutates. We use a 4-tank strategy. The 3-tank approach is frankly terrifying!

Heroic Putricide-25 Damage Profile

An illustration of the damage taken per player per second due to the Mutated Plague. This chart compares a 3-tank an 4-tank strategy.

At the point we’re wiping, each raider is taking an average of 6-7k damage per second (the ticks are every 3s, so there’s 4 ticks spread over a 3s window), so without heals we’re talking about 4-5 seconds time to live. At 70s (when the last of the 2-stacks is going on, before we hit the 3-stack regime) the TTL is over 10s. I’m assuming 30kHP, since that’s basically what I have in a raid, and I’m important!

Those numbers are pretty scary, especially when expressed in TTL terms, and when you look at how quickly the raid damage ramps up. The proportion of damage shifts dramatically towards the raid in the end of Phase 3, so healers need to be prepared, and assigned, to break off the tanks and start healing the raid. You’re only needing to buy maybe 10-15 seconds, but that’s crucial.
Healers need to be fully aware of the stacks on the tanks in order to know when to switch from tank-healing to raid-healing. Tanks can help out by saving their shiniest (damage-reducing) cooldowns for that point. Bonus healing isn’t as useful as a damage reduction when healing’s at a premium.

Things like Divine Sacrifice are amazing, but need to be saved for a very late in the fight. They’re needed when the 3-stacks start to go down (Paladins can use their judgement (see what I did there?) about the exact timing) to flatten the curve and buy a few more seconds. Your Paladins might be using them to save people from Goo, but people really need to be dodging that, not using cooldowns for it.

Also remember that Mutated Plague is shadow, so an Aura Mastery on Shadow Resistance Aura could be awesome too.

Saving this for last, because it’s often out of the healers’ control, but the best way of getting round the problem of wiping late in Phase 3 is simply to get it over quicker. Do it in 80 seconds and life’s easy; need 100 seconds and it’s a real struggle. The gradient of that curve turns into a pretty hard Enrage once there are 2-3 3-stacks active. Actually it’s easily arguable that dropping a healer might be a good way to go: it sounds counter-intuitive, but killing him in 90s compared to 100s lightens the healing demand by a full 20%, and might be enough.

One huge tip is to try blowing Bloodlust as soon as the adds are active in the transition, once debuffs are up. Here’s the logic:
Looking at Phase 3 as a single burn of adds plus boss, the logical thing is to use Bloodlust where you can do the most effective damage. In the transition, there are dangerous Oozes and Gas Clouds active which would be much better dead, and if they die early then you get uninterrupted, movement-free DPS time on the boss while he’s still at his table and in his initial tanking position before he throws out the Goo, or drops the bombs, or the slime puddles have grown too much, etc.

And healers can also help out with the DPS, especially early in the phase when healing’s light, by adding DPS. Pop Shadowfiends and Fire Elementals, lay DoTs or other damaging spells down when you have spare GCDs, it all helps.

Good luck!

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Categories: Advice and Strategy

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