Subscribe to this blog by RSS Follow me on Twitter
Subscribe to this blog by RSS

Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Heroic Hagara the Stormbinder

Posted by Malevica on March - 29 - 2012

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

Fight Summary

The heroic version of the Hagara encounter shares the same mechanics as normal mode, but how you approach them needs to be a lot more coordinated in order to get through the fight safely. I’ll break down the differences by phase: normal, Frost and Lightning, and explain how we handle each phase.

Normal Phase

As I’ve said, there’s no new mechanics here, but you do need to be a lot more careful.

The biggest change, which I’ll mention first because it affects everything that follows, is that we choose to tank Hagara near the edge of the platform, by the portal, instead of in the middle, or wherever she happens to be. This is for two reasons: it reduces the risk of Shattered Ice landing on a ranged DPS, and it keeps the tank and melee near where they need to be for Phase 2.

The whole raid needs to be aware that the Ice Lances are a little different on heroic, because the stacking debuff they apply increases Frost damage taken, rather than slowing attack speed. That means you need to share the soaking duty around so that people aren’t taking excessive damage. With strong healing and/or cooldowns someone can survive solo-soaking at a push, but it’s better to share. Also remember that there is a short (3 yard) splash, so don’t get too up-close and personal with your soak-mate. This stacking debuff also makes Shattered Ice a potential one-shot ability, so it’s important to say well behind Hagara at all times as she prefers targets in front of her.
Assigning fixed positions is tricky here because there’s some randomness in who gets targeted and where the orbs spawn, so all of your ranged players (DPS and healers) will need to use their initiative and be actively soaking. We did find it helpful to have people generally hang to one side or the other though, so you don’t end up all clumping at one side. We also avoid crossing the beams by having people move around so that they’re on the appropriate side of the boss, and get targeted ranged to move in close to the melee pack (but not splashing close, of course). The aim here is to make soaking as simple and predictable as possible.

Ice Tombs are still cast on two random players and operate the same way as on normal. It’s a good idea to assign a spot for these part-way between the boss and the middle of the room so that you don’t risk blocking the healers’ line of sight to the tank if they appear in an unfortunate location.

The other big difference concerns Focused Assault. On normal you can just strafe away and she’ll not chase you, but this doesn’t work on heroic where she will merrily follow you. There are two ways to avoid this.
At the start of the fight, and after a Frost or Lightning phase, she will try and cast Focused Assault quickly, so the tank should stand near the edge of the platform and wait for her, so she wastes most of the channel time moving to you. Healers will still need to work hard to keep the tank up if he does get hit though, 50k per 0.5 sec still hurts! At other times, pop a tank or healer cooldown when it’s due, and have another player stand at range and taunt Hagara once she’s casting Focused Assault, with the MT taunting back again before she reaches the ranged. A Holy Pally works well because they have plenty of self-defence, but anyone with a real taunt will do (unfortunately Hunter taunts do not work, it does need to be a “tank” taunt from a Warrior, Druid, DK or Paladin).
In theory Focused Assault can be handled with just cooldowns and heavy healing, but with soaking and possibly Ice Tombs for healers to deal with it’s best to play it safe and minimise your exposure to the damage.

Frozen Tempest

OK, this phase does have one new mechanic to deal Frostflake. This is a magical debuff placed on a random player which slows their movement speed by 10% a stack, stacking every 1 sec up to 10 stacks. When this is dispelled it leaves a patch of frost on the ground that slows movement speed for 50% for anyone inside it. This is rather detrimental to staying out of Ice Waves, so dropping one is to be avoided.
Luckily, dispelling it while the person is inside the bubble prevents the Frostflake Snare from going down; so anyone who gets the Frostflake debuff should immediately step inside the bubble and stay there until they are dispelled, then move out again.
If this is your job, make sure that you have Watery Entrenchment as a custom debuff so you can tell when it’s safe to dispel someone.

Because of the need for dispels it’s best to all move around as a group during this phase, taking out each crystal one at a time, as opposed to just spreading out into smaller teams. We use a raid marker, the purple on the screenshot in the next section, to mark the Crystal where we all start.

Big Note! Hand of Freedom, Cloak of Shadows, Druid shapeshifting and any other effect which removes snares or magic will count as a dispel, so these must be avoided unless you know you’re safely inside the bubble. Your team mates will not thank you if you try and be clever!

Pro tip from Grav: it’s pretty safe to use Aspect of the Pack in this phase and the 30% movement speed boost is a big help to stay ahead of Ice Waves, get into the bubble, and dodge the falling ice things. The falling ice will daze you though, so don’t get hit by it!

I should also address an alternative strategy, which is to have your ranged and healers group up in the middle of the platform while your melee run around the edge. This lets the ranged DPS have free rein to DPS any crystal, and negates the need for them to move if they get Frostflake. The damage is fairly high but at high enough gear levels and with three healers it is possible to heal through this damage. However this strategy is designed as a DPS boost at the expense of healer sanity and it’s probably not going to be necessary now we’re at the 15% nerf point, but it is an option if you’re really struggling with DPS.

Lightning Storm

The main difference in this phase is that there’s twice as many Lightning Pillars as on normal (8, up from 4) and the damage from the chain lightning is a lot higher than on normal and gets higher as the phase goes on, so you really need this phase over as quickly as possible so people take as few ticks as possible. Doing that requires quite a bit of coordination, and a battle plan.

Have a look at the diagram and screenshot below. I’ll point out a few of the important features and what the markers mean.

Hagara Lighting Positions

Hagara Lighting phase positions. Blue markers are Lightning Pillars, Numbers are raid members, Raid marks are to help line up the diagram with the screenshot below

Heroic Hagara Lightning Phase Positioning

Heroic Hagara Lightning Phase Positioning

In the diagram the Pillars are the blue markers, numbers refer to raid members and the raid markers line up with the screenshot.
Also, Boss Blueprint needs to go to eleven!

When the phase starts the tank grabs the add and positions it on the yellow marker, labelled “1”. As it begins to die, people should break off and get into their assigned positions before the tank and players 2 and 8 finish it off and start the chain. The add’s death should activate the southern-most pillar, then the Chain Lightning will jump to player 1, then to 2 and 8, and will continue from there.

The more eagle-eyed of you will have spotted a mathematical conundrum: there are eleven spots, but only ten raid members. This is where you’ll need to be clever and use your raid’s tricks to fill the spots. You’ll need to at least get all the spots covered, but if you can reuse more people then then you can free up a healer or two to stand centrally and focus on healing through the damage, which helps massively.

The first trick is to use a permanent pet (e.g. Warlocks, Hunters and presumably Frost mages and one flavour of DK) to occupy a spot because Lightning will happily chain through them and they can be positioned in advance. On the screenshot above you can see a wolf in position in the upper right; on the diagram that’s position 7, and our hunter occupies position 6. NB pets can aggro the boss, so remember to run them carefully around the outside!

The other trick is to make the most of mobility abilities. Hunters have disengage, Mages have Blink, Warriors have Heroic Leap or Intervene and Warlocks have Demonic Teleport. They can easily cover a position early in the chain and then quickly change position and slot in later in the chain as well. For example in our particular case we have a Warrior take position 2 and then leap out to take position 4.

Even if you don’t need to reuse people, those movement abilities should also be considered when assigning people, so that you assign people with movement abilities to the furthest positions.

The other thing to stress which helps a lot with reducing damage taken is to move into the middle of the room when you’ve done your job as a link in the chain so you don’t take any more damage than is absolutely necessary.

Spec and Glyphs

This isn’t really a demanding fight, healing-wise. It can get intense during the lightning phase if your coordination is less than ideal, but otherwise the healing is fairly pedestrian.

I’d recommend taking Soul Warding to help spread bubbles around to buffer people during the Lightning phase, and because the damage is in waves there’s good opportunities to make the most of an AA spec as well. If you go that route you’ll want to pop your wings for the the Lightning phase, which is where the raid damage gets really high.

If you’re on dispelling duty for Frostflake then you should pick up the Glyph of Dispel for some free healing. I’d also recommend the Glyph of Prayer of Mending, since you’ll get good uptime on PoM on this fight, especially in the Lighting phase.

If you’re the only Priest and confident at both specs, this is a reasonably good fight to switch to Holy for utility: Body and Soul is handy for getting people with Frostflake to safety quickly and HW:S can heal people in Ice Tombs.

Cooldown Usage

There’s not really a great time or place to use PW:B on this fight, because it’s pretty spread out. You could use it at the start of the Lighting phase, which will save some mana, or perhaps to provide a safe spot for some Ice Lance soakers.

PW:B can also be used as a weaker replacement for Pain Suppression on the tank for Focused Assault. Either hold tank cooldowns until asked, or use them proactively if a healer or especially if your Focused Assault taunter gets Tombed.

As I mentioned earlier you can use leaps/teleports/blinks to move people around the chain in the Lightning phase. Life Grip is another trick you can use, although if you use it to bring someone to you you’ll increase their total damage taken as lightning bounces between you and them until they get to their assigned spot. Give them a bubble and PoM to help out.

Although it’s more risky you could also LG the tank away from a Focused Assault if you have no taunter available, but you might also upset your melee DPS and risk hitting the wrong people with Shattered Ice, so use this as a last resort.

The Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope used together should be used after the first Lightning or Frost phase, because the boss will be taking increased damage and not dealing any. Almost like that downtime was made for us! You can use a Concentration potion on the next one, if you need to.

Other Tips

Atonement has no line of sight requirement, so if the Ice Tombs go down near to the boss you can get heals on the frozen people to buy some time. The same applies for ground-based heals like HW:Sanctuary, Efflorescence and Healing Rain.

Good luck, and have fun!

Possibly Related Posts:

Reasons To Look Forward To Mists

Posted by Malevica on March - 20 - 2012

Last week, under a non-disclosure agreement, Blizzard was briefing the press and major fansites on Mists of Pandaria, particularly teasing the new features and systems. Now that the NDA is over, that information has hit the internet in a big way. As usual, places like WoW Insider, MMO-Champion and Wowhead News have got mountains of information in one place, so those should be your main reference.

Obviously the blogosphere has been analysing this as well and rather than linking to every post, I’ll just refer you to MMO Melting Pot who have posted a couple of excellent round-ups with enough links to keep you going until the beta arrives.

Here are the things that jumped out at me most, and the reasons I’m looking forward to Mists.

Priestly Things

There wasn’t a lot of focus on classes specifically at the press event, but they have recently been drip-feeding information in the form of talent “trees” and a recent update on the Priest class design.

When the trees were first released a lot of people noticed that Discipline had lost quite of few of the abilities we currently enjoy, and were understandably a bit apprehensive about losing some of our trademark flexibility. Originally they said:

Our intent is to make the healing styles between the two as different as possible, while cutting down on the number of rarely-used-yet-core spells that each spec has

A perfectly reasonable position; Discipline rarely uses Renew and neither spec uses Holy Nova much. As much as we like to talk about picking the right tool for the job, when one tool can do every job pretty well the others will tend to get left in the metaphorical shed to go rusty. In theory we can use Holy Nova while running as a group, but in practice it’s usually easier to just run first and then throw out an extra Prayer of Healing instead, and even heroic encounters generally aren’t tuned quite tightly enough that you need to heal that quickly to save a wipe.

As it turned out though the change, at least for Prayer of Healing, has been reverted. Quoting CM Kaivax again:

Prayer of Healing can be used by Holy and Discipline once again. We realized that the goal of making Holy Nova an effective AE healing tool was problematic. It meant that we would have to change Holy Nova so thoroughly, that it was becoming a second Prayer of Healing.

In the current spell design paradigm, instant-cast AoE tends to come with a cooldown or high mana cost as a penalty (see: Wild Growth and Circle of Healing or Healing Rain), and it also has to be flexible enough to be a staple AoE heal for Disc Priests instead of a situational ability (caster-centred counts as situational because it requires control over positioning and its value varies strongly from fight to fight). Put those constraints together and you’re left with either a Circle of Healing lookalike (instant but with a cooldown) or, well, Prayer of Healing. One alternative would be for Disc to only have a situational AoE heal; for a discussion of why that wouldn’t fit too well into the current game, see Holy Paladins in WotLK.

I applaud the aim of the developers to further distinguish Holy and Discipline. I love that each spec gets its own way of going about things and attacks the healing problem from a different direction, and on the whole I’m encouraged by what I’m hearing. I like the sound of Discipline swapping Heal for Spirit Shell (a single-target, medium cast-time, fairly small bubble; what I’ve taken so far is that Spirit Shell is to Power Word: Shield what Heal is to Flash Heal) and I’m looking forward to playing the beta and getting my hands on the talents and new abilities and seeing what I really make of them in practice, rather than just speculating based on tooltips.

Talents and Glyphs

The big news, which isn’t really news but is worth bringing up again, is the removal of the Prime glyph slot. Basically the job done by Prime glyphs is now done by talents instead. Apparently Blizzard intend to expand the range of cosmetic effects offered by the Minor glyphs to compensate.

In Mists, both glyphs and talents are changeable using a new reagent, the Tome of the Clear Mind. If you want to change a talent, you consume one reagent to ‘forget’ one row of the talent tree and you can make that selection again; you clear talents one row at a time, you don’t have to respec entirely just to swap one level of talents.

According to MMO-Champion, Blizzard will “also chang[e] major glyphs in a way they think will surprise and amaze players.” I stand prepared to be surprised and amazed…


Only dungeons since there wasn’t much about raids, except to tell us who the end boss of the final raid will be. I won’t spoil it, for the handful of people who haven’t already been spoiled.
They did also say that Tier 14 will feature 14 bosses split into three instances, which is a pretty good way to start the expansion. I’m actually OK with funnelling players down into one final raid at the end of the expansion, but at the start it’s important to have a good range of equivalent difficulty places to see, especially when you’re gearing up your raid team and you can’t assume a certain gear level like you can in later tiers. Getting stuck on an early gearcheck boss would be a real turn-off, but this way you can swap around and try each of the entry-level bosses and get some gear into the raid.

On the subject of gearing up, they’re talking about a revamp of Valor Points as well. Again, according to Wowhead News, the idea at the moment is to use them like the Crystallised Firestones from Firelands as a way to upgrade the item level of gear. Presumably, instead of saving up 2200 VP for some new legs, you just upgrade your old legs to the current item level. It’s not clear if you can get more than one tier of upgrade out of an item, or if any item will be upgradeable or if there will be limitations by slot (in the same way VP gear has not covered every slot thus far); either way, if the drop rates are kept similar to the current rate, gearing up this way will take a while so you’ll still want drops rather than just getting BiS T14 and waiting to upgrade it.
It’s an interesting change, although I don’t know if it’s as big a gain as it sounds. Under the Cataclysm system you might be looking at a new VP item with an inferior stat mix and that obviously won’t be the case under the Mists system, but on the other hand in Mists if you have a suboptimal piece you won’t be able to replace it with a better VP set, you’re stuck upgrading your existing item or waiting for a raid drop.

At the moment we know about three 5-man dungeons. Scholomance appears to have been given a revamp to bring it up to end-game level and streamline it a bit. Presumably like Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep it will have a low-level normal mode and a high level heroic mode, but it’s not clear. There’s also the Stormstout Brewery and the Temple of the Jade Serpent. For details on those, WoW Insider has a good preview.

Challenge Modes

Something that was promised to us a while ago is the Challenge Modes, which aim to give experienced players a reason to get back into the 5-man instances and challenge themselves, similarly to the way ZA bear runs were aimed. You are also ranked against your server and your guild, so you can get some friendly competition going (although Wowhead News says this only opens up once you’ve completed all the gold medals).

The “Challenge” in the name is all about speed. The faster you complete the run, the better the reward:

  • Bronze – Is worth an achievement. Most decent groups with a bit of coordination and practice should be able to reach this level.
  • Silver – Gets you transmoggable vanity items with no stats but with a vanity set bonus to encourage you to complete the set. This is new gear, not old sets, and you don’t (as far as I can tell) get a free choice. The fact that it’s stat-free stops this system feeling mandatory, something you have to do to get raiding gear.
  • Gold – Gives you access to a nifty mount.

I quite like the idea of challenge modes and I’ll definitely be taking part in them and trying to grab a good haul of gold medals. The only thing that bothers me a bit about them is that the challenge is all about speed, rather than some other measure of skill. In theory speed is a measure of the whole group’s skill: you need a strong tank to chain-pull, an efficient healer to limit deaths and drinking time, and obviously good DPS to kill the packs quickly; in practice I find that the pressure tends to fall more heavily on the tank to keep the pace high. And if someone disconnects, there goes your gold medal.

I’d have preferred to see some sort of measure based on execution rather than pure speed, like the way some of the dungeon achievements work at the moment. Perhaps a combination score based on interrupts, damage taken (avoiding the bad), as well as the speed of the kill and probably other factors as well. Then again, if you’re pushing for Challenge Modes then I guess it’s assumed you already know those things and don’t need the extra training.


Something I’d not really heard much about before is the Scenario system. These sound like expanded versions of events like the Flamegate area in Hyjal where you get to defeat Ragnaros while questing, the Wrathgate event or the Crucible of Carnage, but with a stronger group focus and with the tasty carrot of Valor Points. They’re also level 90 only, and not quest based. Given that they reward Valor Points, will they become effectively lightweight instances with a different focus or will they be limited to once-through special events?

An example is described by Wowhead News:

Players are tasked to help a Brewmaster find a spice that’s only useful when it rains. At first, players save some villages and buildings. You then help the Brewmaster create the lager as it’s raining, while she’s besieged by Sauroc. In the final phase, you defend the brewery while putting out fires – a giant Sauroc with a huge sword is trying to destroy the building.

Unlike old-style group quests where you had to ask the zone for help; this time there’s a Scenario Finder tool to help you automatically get a group together for a Scenario. The group you make does not depend on having a tank and healer so you can tackle them with whatever players are queueing for the Scenario at that time. I wonder how flexible the group size is, because the numbers of people can vary massively at different times. It’s also not clear if this system is cross-realm, but since it uses instancing there’s no reason why it couldn’t be.

If they can be differentiated sufficiently from dungeons I think this is quite a neat approach to group questing, although I think that not scattering them throughout the levelling process misses an opportunity to get some handy practice at group interaction before the level cap.


I’m quite a fan of professions, and I’m always interested in seeing what we’re getting in the future. Unfortunately the main professions weren’t really covered at this recent event, although there were some interesting teasers for the secondary professions.

Archaeology is getting new items, but it is also getting a faction associated with it, the Lorewalkers. When you turn in Pandaren artefacts you get snippets of lore and cut-scenes. The point, apparently, is to provide a stronger grounding for the profession within the game. Personally I’d also like to see the items either be upgradeable (maybe even through archaeology itself) or new items added as tiers are added to the game. In Cataclysm the equippable items stopped at level 359.

For the chefs, there are four specialisations to work on, and you’re able to work on all of them eventually. Each specialisation is related to a primary stat and presumably opens up recipes that grant that stat. Priests would probably go down the Intellect or Spirit route, depending on what’s available.

On a related note, Fox van Allen at WoW Insider recently penned an open letter to Blizzard describing his views on professions in Cataclysm and what improvements he’d like to see in Mists. It’s an excellent read but way too long to discuss in detail here so I’ll just recommend you read it instead.)

Odds and Ends

On the quality of life front, we’re apparently getting AoE looting. This is something that we’ve been waiting patiently for for quite some time. Apparently Star Wars included it, and magically it turns up in Mists. Still, I shouldn’t complain, it’s a handy feature whatever prompted its inclusion.

There will not be any revisiting of item levels in 5.x. In the past the developers talked about a possible “item squish” because numbers were beginning to grow a little too big to be easily handled: six-figure damage numbers popping up, four-figure stat values on gear and so on. Instead, they’re going with compressing numbers of five or more figures using “k” or “M”. For example, a 120 000 healing crit would display as 120k instead. Similarly a boss might have 435M health.

Something that has a lot of people relieved is the addition of an extra character slot. For some it still won’t be enough, but for the rest of us the eleventh slot is a nice gesture, letting us have a new Pandaren or a new Monk without having to select an existing character to let go.


Obviously at this point it’s impossible to call the expansion a hit or a miss. I’ve skipped over quite a few of the more well-known new features because they don’t interest me much; but just like I don’t feel threatened by the game’s inclusion of Arena, I doubt “my WoW” will be ruined by the addition of Pet Battles. I will say that the addition of challenge modes should give me something new to do outside raiding, and multiple raids per tier along with the possible return of world bosses could provide some well-needed variety to the raiding scene.

Blizzard also hinted that the beta is pretty close, so hopefully I’ll be able to get stuck in very soon and help them make the game as polished as we expect, and of course to report back on how I feel the features are working.

Possibly Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts

Heroic Ultraxion

Posted by Malevica on January - 24 - 2012

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!

Possibly Related Posts:

Heroic Warlord Zon’ozz

Posted by Malevica on January - 3 - 2012

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

Fight Summary

Moving from normal to heroic mode there are three big changes. The first is that Zon’ozz has an increased health pool but a very tight 6 minute berserk timer, so you need to bounce the ball more times to stack Void Diffusion higher on the boss so you can beat it. The second big difference is that during the Black Blood of Go’rath phase 8 tentacle adds will spawn around the room, and the damage dealt by the Black Blood of Go’rath is multiplied by the number of tentacles still alive. The third is that the Disrupting Shadows debuff he casts on 3 random players in your raid will deal AoE damage and and AoE knockback when dispelled, so you have to take great care with dispelling it.

Let’s go through the more straightforward two first, then we’ll come to the tentacles.

Void Diffusion

As a reminder, every time you bounce the Void of the Unmaking it gains a stack of Void Diffusion, causing it to do 20% more damage on the next bounce. It also gives Zon’ozz a stack of Focused Anger, increasing his physical damage by 20% and his attack speed by 5%. When the Void is allowed to hit Zon’ozz, he gains Void Diffusion instead, increasing all damage he takes by 5%, and his Focused Anger stacks reset. This also triggers the Black Blood phase, which we’ll deal with later.

The Void Diffusion debuff is the key to beating his berserk timer. The debuff lasts 2 minutes, so you are able to stack it up progressively over the course of the fight every time you let the Void hit him. However, in order to beat the berserk you’ll need quite a few stacks. A typical bounce strategy is to go with 7 each time, and 5 on the fourth round. After the fourth set of bounces, you ignore the Black Blood phase adds entirely, pop Bloodlust and hope to burn him down before he reaches Berserk or your healers run out of cooldowns/mana/will to live.

If your DPS is low, you might want to push an extra pair of bounces, either on the first or last sets. 7 bounces shouldn’t require cooldowns to survive (and you’ll need them later, so try and save them) but the damage will be pretty high by the end. 9 may require special treatment, perhaps a PW:B if you have one spare, or you can use tricks like having a Mage with Cauterise or a Shadow Priest with Dispersion solo one bounce.

Disrupting Shadows

On 10-man heroic Zon’ozz will cast this on 3 random players at a time. Before resistances it deals 35,000 Shadow damage per 2s, but the real danger it poses is that when it gets dispelled it deals 60,000 Shadow damage to, and knocks back, everyone within 10 yards.

Because of the significant AoE damage the dispel causes, usually no one should be dispelled before they’ve run out of their cluster. On the other hand, you don’t want too many people running out before the Void reaches your group either or the damage won’t be split widely enough and people are liable to die. So when the Void is on its way to your group, you need to heal the debuffed people through the damage, and only when you’ve split the Void damage should they run out and be dispelled. This will stretch healing, but is manageable; Disc priests can help a lot here with absorbs acting as an extra buffer.

Getting this right is one of the biggest challenges in the encounter. You need to watch the game space as well as your healthbars so you can see where people are and when they’re 10 yards away. It’s also worth coordinating who will do the dispelling so you don’t get two dispels at the same time or waste mana. We assign one healer to the ranged and one to the melee and they dispel their own clusters only.

Black Blood of Go’rath

On normal difficulty, Black Blood of Go’rath is just a raid-wide AoE, you group up and heal through it and get back to bouncing the Void again. On Heroic the Black Blood of Go’rath deals 3,795 Shadow damage per 2 sec for every one of the freshly-spawned 8 tentacle adds (one Claw, two Flails and five Eyes) still alive. What this means is that the AoE damage at the start of the fight is pretty intense, but becomes manageable once 2-3 of the tentacles have died.

The way to deal with this is to have everyone group up at the start of the phase, throw out heavy AoE healing along with a raid cooldown, and have your DPS quickly take out the nearest three tentacles. (I’ll describe our assignments in a moment). The timing is such that you will be able to use 3-minute cooldowns every other Black Blood phase, so plan accordingly; remember that if you’re going to go for a burn after the fourth round of bounces, you’ll need to save your best cooldowns for that phase, which might affect which you choose to start with.

The tentacles spawn in predictable places, which makes planning for them easier:

Heroic Warlord Zon'ozz Positioning Diagram - Screenshot with Raid Markers

Heroic Warlord Zon'ozz Positioning Diagram. Boss position is the red cross; Black Blood phase group-up spot is the blue square; the green triangle and purple diamond are the two Flail spawn positions

We split the raid into three teams at this point:

  • Left: 2 ranged + 1 healer
  • Right: 2 ranged + 1 healer
  • Middle: 3 melee

Here’s how we handle this phase:

  1. Everyone groups up on the blue marker, right underneath the Claw. The claw needs to be tanked or it’ll do substantial raid-wide AoE Shadow damage and people have a bad habit of getting owned by this.
  2. Left group takes out the nearby Flail (spawns on the green triangle marker) while the Right group takes the right-hand nearby Eye (number 4) and the Middle group kills another nearby Eye (number 3). Except for the melee everyone should be stacked up at this point to help with the healing
  3. Once these first three tentacles are dead, the Left group heads out to deal with their two assigned Eyes (numbers 1 and 2), the Right group kills their Eye (number 5) and Flail (spawns on the purple diamond marker), and the Middle group switches to the boss, cleaving the Claw down at the same time.

After this phase ends the boss continues to be tanked on the Blue marker while the ranged position shifts to the centre of the room. This positioning then remains until the end of the fight.

Spec and Glyphs

The damage is quite high, so you don’t get the natural lulls you get elsewhere, but Smiting can be very useful for helping your team kill their tentacles in time, and you can build up Evangelism stacks during the early bounces in preparation for either the later few bounces or the beginning of the Black Blood phase.

In terms of Glyphs, it’s again all about the output. Prayer of Healing and Power Word Barrier are must-haves here, and I’d be inclined to take Penance for spot-healing; towards the end of each light phase Zon’ozz will be meleeing the tank pretty hard, and people may also be low from having Disrupting Shadoew dispelled.

Prayer of Mending is a very strong Major glyph here, because of the long periods of sustained raid damage.

Cooldown Usage

PW:B should be alternated with another raid cooldown at the start of each Black Blood phase to keep the raid alive until a couple of tentacles are down. Once everyone’s grouped up you can throw it down and it makes a big difference. I’d recommend saving Divine Hymn for the final burn phase, since you’ll only get one chance to use it and that’s when you’ll need a second cooldown up your sleeve.

Pain Suppression has two uses. First, you can use it to keep the tank alive when Zon’ozz is at >5 stacks of Focused Anger (or whenever else they need it). Especially if your assigned tank healer has to run out because they were unlucky enough to get Disrupting Shadows. The other use for it is if the ranged DPS are slow to return to the middle after killing their tentacles, you can save someone who will find themselves taking a larger share of the damage.

Life Grip can be used to get people to cluster points quickly, but shouldn’t be relied upon.

The Berserk timer on the fight is 7 minutes, so if you want a second Hymn of Hope you’ll have to use it very early in the fight, pretty much just after the pull. You could spam bubbles like crazy before the first bounce and then regen all that mana, but this might not pay off. The best time to pop this, if you’re only going once, is just after everyone’s got back in position after the Black Blood phase, but not when there’s a round of debuffs coming out. The damage is relatively low at this time.

You should be able to get a second Shadowfiend cast in though, so use it early and have it ready for near the end of the fight to allow you to spam like crazy.

Other Tips

Not too much besides what I’ve already touched on. The damage profile is more ramped than spiky, so if you can build up Evangelism before the high-damage portions you’ll be in a strong position. Clever, sparing use of PW:S as a buffer can be really helpful here too, because raid members will be taking some pretty large hits from time to time. In particular, bubbling the people with the debuff is a great way of buying time to allow them to run out and be dispelled safely.

The other thing of note is that Smite and Holy Fire are affected by Zon’ozz’s Void Diffusion buff. Especially in the nuke phase at the end you can get a lot of mileage out of Smite healing. At 45k per Smite your HPS will approximate that of PoH-spamming, plus Atonement stacks DA when it crits and is smart-targeting; not to mention you could also be pushing out 50k+ DPS at a time when, especially on early kills, you’ll be right up against the berserk timer.

Possibly Related Posts:

Heroic Yorsahj the Unsleeping

Posted by Malevica on December - 15 - 2011

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

Fight Summary

The key difference between normal and heroic mode is that Yorsahj spawns four slimes instead of three, dramatically increasing the damage and meaning that you have some more difficult choices to make about which add to kill.

What this means in practice is that you’ll have to deal with the Purple debuff a lot more often, about half of the combinations will include a Purple, and your DPS will need to be much more on the ball to kill the double spawn of adds that comes from a Black/Yellow combination.

There’s also a trick to using the Blue Mana Void to your advantage, which I’ll talk about later.

First though, those combinations. There are in fact only 6 combinations that come up. I’ll list them all, along with a recommended kill target (underlined), and then talk about them all in detail.

These are listed in the order that the current version of DBM reads them out so you can use this as a quick reference if need be. I’ve left Black as white, for obvious reasons.




GreenYellow – Black – Red

Blue – Black – PurpleYellow


Combinations in detail


This is just nasty. Kill the Yellow to keep the damage in check, and then go easy on the heals. You may blow one or two people up, but keep your head and plan ahead and this one is manageable.

If you have a surfeit of cooldowns, you could consider killing Purple, but you’ll need your cooldowns for a later combination so I’d recommend going with Yellow initially and learning to handle it.

The rest of the damage is pretty rough though, so blow those cooldowns and crank out the AoE heals.


By contrast, this is one of the easiest combinations to deal with. We kill the Black here to allow ourselves some solid distraction-free DPS time on the boss, but you could go with Green instead for a real healing chillout.

GreenRedBlue – Black

You have to pick between Red and Green and since you want to stack to kill Black adds, pick Green to kill. There’s a fair amount of raid damage out there, but there’s no Purple to worry about so go to town with the heals and you should be fine.

GreenYellow – Black – Red

This is another really rough one. Whichever way you slice it you’ll end up with 3 AoE damage abilities to deal with, so you’re going to need to pop some raid cooldowns and AoE heal your heart out to get through it. If there are no cooldowns available pop a Bloodlust instead, which will also help with the Black adds.

You’re pretty much forced to kill the Green so you can stand in to reduce the damage from the Red.

Blue – Black – PurpleYellow

An easy one. You need to kill the Yellow, because if you don’t the AoE it does will overwhelm you and you can’t heal enough because of the Purple, leaving you with just the damage from the adds to handle, which is manageable.


Here you’re picking between Yellow and Green to kill, and as with the previous combination you should kill the Yellow for the same reason.

That leaves Green and Purple, which is healable.

Handling the Mana Void

The trouble with the Mana Void is that when you get your mana stolen you really need it back immediately to deal with the silly damage, and because four combinations include a Cobalt Blood you won’t have mana cooldowns available every time. You don’t have time to wait while the Mana Void is taken down from full HP, people will be dead by then.

So, when the first Mana Void spawns you should pop your raid mana cooldowns (Mana Tide, Hymn of Hope) and get by without killing the Mana Void at that time. Then either throw spare DPS on it or assign one person to it specifically while the next slimes are coming in; either way, get it down to around 10% then leave it alone.

Now, when the next Mana Void spawns and you have no mana and no cooldowns left, quickly kill off the old Mana Void for a free full mana bar. DPS the new Mana Void down to 10% again, rinse and repeat.

The advantage of this, despite being a bit more complicated, is that you’re always only a few seconds away from a replenished mana bar whenever you need it.

Deep Corruption

Here’s a full list of abilities that stack Deep Corruption.

Highlights for Discipline Priests:

  • Atonement – 1 stack
  • Binding Heal – 1 stack to the person you heal. NO STACKS for yourself.
  • Divine Hymn – 1 stack per tick (i.e. will wipe your raid)
  • Holy Fire (with Atonement) – 1 stack per tick. Do not use if you have atonement.
  • Penance – 1 stack for the whole channeled cast (i.e. not 1 per tick)
  • Power Word: Shield – 1 stack (even when glyphed)
  • Prayer of Healing – 1 stack
  • Prayer of Mending – NO STACKS
  • Renew – 1 stack on initial application

Binding Heal is a useful spell, because it doesn’t add stacks to you. The downside is that it doesn’t heal for as much as Greater Heal, so if the target is taking big damage and you’re not in danger GH is still favoured.

Do not try and use Atonement here, especially not with Holy Fire. Atonement in general is bad because you can’t plan where it’ll go and it’s fairly weak healing anyway, and especially not Holy Fire because every tick adds another stack.

Penance, Greater Heal and Power Word: Shield are your staples depending on what’s needed most, and because it doesn’t generate stacks, keep PoM bouncing at all times for stack-free healing.

PW:B doesn’t do anything here, so use it if you need it, although it’s better to save it for the evil combinations with 3 AoE damage abilities.

Spec and Glyphs

This fight requires really high output, and is a great example of a time when Archangel shines. You can DPS the boss or the incoming slime to stack Evangelism, then pop it for a healing boost when things get rough later on. It’s also a fantastic boost just after the Mana Void has spawned.

In terms of Glyphs, it’s again all about the output. Prayer of Healing and Power Word Barrier are must-haves here. Pick between PW:S or Penance depending on your usage. I went with PW:S, but there’s a case for both.

Because of no dispels and high raid damage, Prayer of Mending is the Major top pick here.

Cooldown Usage

PW:B and Divine Hymn should be kept for the Yellow – Black – Red combinations. You’ll need them to survive the damage.

Pain Suppression should likewise be use on the nasty AoE healing combinations to keep the tank relatively out of trouble while you focus on the raid. Anything with Yellow up will do that.

Life Grip is useful either to get people in on the Red or out to the incoming slime to get it killed in time.

I’ve touched on Hymn of Hope before, it can be used just after the Mana Void spawns to get your raid some mana back up. Remember that the buff grants a chunk of free mana while it lasts, so even if you have to break off to heal after only a couple of seconds chanelling it’s still worth it. If you’ve got your raid pre-shielded, this ought to buy you enough time to get a few ticks off.
Ideally though, you’d like a non-healing Priest to pop HoH if you have one, so you don’t need to take time out from healing.

I’d suggest saving Shadowfiend for another Mana Void phase. Although you’ll get mana back soon from the Mana Void, there may be times when you need it sooner. Because of the effect of the Mana Void, there’s no point holding more mana than you need throughout the fight, it’s better to have it in reserve.

Other Tips

As I’ve mentioned previously, Archangel from DPSing the adds or boss is very useful for AoE damage phases. Just don’t Holy Fire the boss for a Purple phase, because each tick of Atonement adds a stack of Deep Corruption. he fight on normal mode.

You can prepare for either a Blue or Purple (or both) phase by throwing as many heals and particularly PW:S around the raid as possible before the Deep Corruption buff comes up, to get some stack-free healing and protection out there. You’re going to lose your mana or be limited in your healing ability anyway, so you might as well get a head-start even at high cost.

Possibly Related Posts: