Case Study: Anub’arak 10 Heroic Featuring a Priest and Druid


This was a post I’ve been debating myself repeatedly on whether or not to trash because I wasn’t sure if it was worth it. Comments from the recent survey asked for more case studies and as a result, I’ve decided to revisit and polish this up some more.

Note: This post was written several weeks ago so the time context may be off.

Quite frankly, Anub’arak 10 scares the crap out of me.

Tonight, we were planning to zip through ToGC 10 and get it down in order to acquire additional gear and tokens. Up to this point, we had been running with 3 healers: 2 Resto Druids and myself on my Priest.

Heading into the fight, we knew we’d have to drop down to 2 healers for the extra DPS on the boss. We drew straws. Syd and I lost (actually, of the 3 healers, our DPS alternates weren’t as good compared to his). This was the first time either of us would be healing this encounter.

First attempts

The first several attempts were designed to get our feet wet with managing surface phases and burrow phases. I decided to give this fight a crack with me opening as Discipline. I would cover the tanks and Syd would take the rest of the raid. We both cover Penetrating Cold between my shields and her HoTs.

Both of the tanks I kept alive through a combination of Shields and Improved Renews. Yes, a Discipline Priest who uses Renew is a rarity, but I wasn’t going to debate on right or wrong ways. I had a job that involved keeping up 2 tanks alive at all costs. When that happens, you use every spell in the book regardless of your spec. Penetrating Cold seemed to hit me more often than not. I was reminded why Binding Heal was in the game.

Syd and I stood on the tail end of Anub for most of the night. Made the job easier for our tank if the Burrowers locked onto us before he could get to them. If I had the opportunity (which was rare), I’d sneak in a Shadow Word: Pain or Death once in a while.

The basic game plan was to overpower the initial 70%. If we hit two burrow phases, it would be game over.


At 5 seconds to burrow, we’d yank Anub from his ice patch and drag him off to the side. This way, if melee players get focused while beating on ads, they’d have enough clearance to jet to point 1 (actually, any player that gets focused goes to point 1). The next person that gets it shoots up to way point 2. The last person heads down to way point 3.

If the timer isn’t up by then, we play it by ear and bring down another orb.

Meanwhile, our players were kiting Anub to his designated spot. Players being pursued by scarabs were shielded and renew’d immediately. In the event I had nothing to do, I’d chip on scarabs with a Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death nuke (just like Arena).

I remember one time watching Anub getting perilously close to Syd and she managed to break into Cat form and sprint, which brought us a few precious seconds before he resurfaced.

The second surface phase was a basic repeat of the first. Once we tipped him over, everything changed and this is where it got really interesting.

Note: This is where you want to start reading

My mana was at the point where it was time to break out the Shadowfiend. How convenient Heroism was used after he had spawned! I made sure the tanks were properly shielded and HoTTed at all times. Penance, Greater Heal and Flash Heal were cycled among the two tanks. I heard the distinctive cue of Tranquility firing off. I did my best to balance shields on Penetrating Cold targets as well.

Try as I might, I couldn’t do it. Our Anub tank died while the beetle was at 17% or so.

The next attempts were more of the same.

Main tank dead at 12%.
Main tank dead at 15%.

This was true triage.

Whatever I was doing, it wasn’t enough. Frustration, anger, you name it, I felt it. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the Disc Priest class.

There was something wrong with me.

Syd, with her uncanny knack of detecting my mood (must be a girl thing) suggested the brilliant idea of me going Holy and her looking after tanks instead.

Structured cooldowns

Before I forget, I wanted to mention that we became more disciplined in our cooldown use. We decided to script our cooldowns in advance. We had a Prot Paladin, 2 Druids (Boomkin and Resto) and a Priest. In other words, we had 3 outs. The Druids were placed in separate groups for Tranquility.

We had no troubles adjusting to surface or submerged phases. We hit the 30% mark again and it was do or die time.

For group healing, I kept a hasted Prayer of Healing ready for the second group while a glyphed Holy Nova was reserved for mine.

The players were lowered to 50-60% ranges before firing off heals. Empowered Renews were placed on Penetrating Cold targets at all times and the tanks if they were getting too low.  We were all within close proximity of each other. Surge of Light activations were held for sudden Penetrating Cold victims (like if they were at medium health and gained the debuff).

Once I felt we were about to get overwhelmed, I called out for a Tranquility. Syd lit hers while our Boomkin shifted out and casted his well.

I started to run low on mana. I brought everyone back up before a Divine Sacrifice was called and gambled Hymn of Hope. In hindsight, I should have Hymned during the Tranquilities (again, learn from my mistakes).

It must have felt like an eternity. I wasn’t sure how much further we could go. I shot off an Inner Focused Divine Hymn in desperation on the final stretch. We had nothing else left. Heal after heal was cycled while I was inwardly praying for him to fall over. Last ditch Desperate Prayer saved me after another nasty Penetrating Cold.

Our Mage died. It looked like the raid was about to buckle, but Anub managed to fall over first before we did.

In recent weeks, we’ve used two groups to successfully bring down Anub that featured Holy Paladin/Resto Shaman and Disc Priest/Resto Shaman healers. I hope you’ve taken something away from the post and I’ll see if I can do more case studies in the future.

19 thoughts on “Case Study: Anub’arak 10 Heroic Featuring a Priest and Druid”

  1. Funny thing 😉 We had a similar story only we ended up with a Disc priest and Resto Shaman in the end. The disc priest on tanks and resto shaman on raid for P1 & P2. The Disc priest was put on the raid in P3 though. The goal was for the shaman to get his best rotation out on the tanks, with the final hops of chainheal assisting the melee healing. The ranged dps, in the group of the disc, could, if needed, be healed with holy nova. The reason to put the disc priest on the raid was also because of Borrowed Time which effectively allows 1 priest to put 2 shields on both PC targets in about 1s time. This requires no coordination and buys more than enough time to get some heals done on both targets and support heal the tanks. Basically, by avoiding to heal the raid using shields, anub heals for less.

    In our earlier attempts, we tried a Disc + Holy priest combo. This worked quite well though we never got into P3 properly (lack of training and dps), which I still consider the real benchmark. Never the less… the combo Disc+Holy worked well enough in P1 to let me (the holy priest) handle the orbs. This buys a tiny bit of time for the dps to get anub.

    Ohh, and.. considering mana could be an issue.. in P1 you can heal PC with only PoM and a Renew per target. The PoM will bounce between the PC targets and renew will keep their healthbars stable enough. A very mana efficient way to heal them both, in my experience 🙂

  2. Do you have WWS parses available? My (very casual raid-once-a-week) guild is preparing for this fight, and I’ve been trying to find some decent logs to look at.

    – Malekk (Disc/Holy Priest).

  3. My guild recently took down Anub on 10 man heroic and I think you guys panicked a bit too much when leeching swarm began.

    Now, granted, I did this as a Holy Priest with a Holy Paladin partner. Holy Paladins are ridiculously good at this phase because you simply don’t have to worry about helping to heal tanks.

    As a Holy Priest I found this phase very easy, though I think a Disc Priest could do it as a raid healer as well. Your first mistake was healing people when they hit 50%. Let Leeching Swarm take them lower..they won’t die. I know your first reaction as a healer when everybody in the raid has an 18k+ health deficit is to panic and hit your cooldowns but that’s exactly what you should NOT do.

    The strategy I use as a Holy Priest is simple. CoH on occasion (downranking helps avoid overhealing) to keep people from dying to leeching swarm. Skip CoH if you have Healing Stream Totems or Vampiric Embrace to cover that. When PC hits, toss PoM on one and shield the other. Then alternate flash heals between the two. If you are one of the PC targets just use binding heal instead.

    …and that’s it. Simple. CoH and PoM cover leeching swarm and the strategy above easily keeps PC targets alive. The one downfall is that PoM tends to heal for too much. If you think you have time it’s better to use Flash Heal + Shield on PC targets.

    The less you heal the less Anub heals. The less Anub heals, the faster he dies and the smoother phase 3 goes. It feels very wrong at first, but once you get the hang of it the fight is dead simple.

  4. At first, we tried in disc+druid combination as well and it was tough like hell, but we finished with Tribute to Skill anyway. The problem with disc is, that keeping both tanks up at the same time is a bit insane. At first, I (disc) tried to keep both tanks and raid (with Novas) up, plus shields on those with PC. It’s a no-go. Then, we divided into groups, a tank for each heal + 3 dpses to keep up on 3rd. Went much smoothier, with some help from me on the second tank. Now, we’ll be trying with specced tank healing on druid, so he could keep both tanks on P3, with disc on the raid. I think it will be smoothier.

    However, bringing a pala – it’s like a fairy tale, killed by second attempt (first one left 24k hp on Anub cause add killed the pala). So if you want to make a tribute to mad skill, i wouln’t recommend disc+druid. Pala’s beacon is just way too helpful on P3.

  5. We used to drop from three healers to two healers for this fight now we just run with three and it makes phase three that much easier to manage. The DPS requirement jumps quiet a bit but you can have one healer bring down your first three or four orbs that leaves dps to go balls to the walls the boss.

    Another thing we do is only kill the first set of adds for that phase, let the OT keep the second set until anub submerges, takes a little longer to deal with adds into phase 2 but if your dps is on the ball he should be between 65 and 60%, preferably 60% or lower.

    We generally do this with a shield wearing tank that has a decent a block set made. They take very minimal damage from the adds on the fight which helps the healers a ton. (we started work on the sets for Anub25Hard, still not to him yet)

  6. I love being a holy paladin in this fight. I feel like I make this fight for my group.

    We have a DK for our MT and a pally for our OT.

    Resto shaman goes ele for this so it’s me and a holy priest. I cover tanks while tossing the occassional heal on the raid. I sit on Anub’s butt any time he’s up for extra SoW procs, as well as Holy Wrath and Consecration for the big adds and Anub. Holy Wrath is nice to have for the adds so you can stun when they use Shadowstrike (or whatever it’s called) if your tank needs help or uses his stun prematurely.

    P2 I just run around with everyone else and toss heals.

    P3 I wait a few seconds then pop DivSac. I want to get the full use out of my shield to mitigate as much damage which is why I wait. I then call out to our MT to start popping CD’s. SS on MT, Beacon MT, FoL those with Penetrating Cold and OT while keeping my FoL HoT on the MT. (God this is a lot of abbreviations).

    We just got Tribute to Insanity last week.

    A note worth mentioning, if you’re aware in P3, turn off any health buffs (fort, etc). He leeches from your current health so obviously, if you have less, the less he gets. There is an option in DBM to automatically turn them off once you hit P3.

  7. Nice post. I find it interesting how there’s many different approaches to this encounter and how bipolar the healing for the encounter is. Provided the ranged dps kills the swarm scarabs before they can stack dots up on people, phase 1 and 2 are very easy to heal. But then when phase 3 hits, it’s quickly turns into a nightmare to keep the tanks alive, and to heal people up before that first tick of penetrating cold kills them. We tend to keep people very low on health, such that a tick from PC will usually kill someone if they don’t get some sort of heal before the first tick.

    The way we usually do this fight is we have 2 dedicated healers, and have a hybrid dps (Moonkin, Elemental Shaman, S. Priest) begin healing full time on the leech phase. We found we needed the extra dps to skip the 2nd submerge, but then during the leech phase 2 healing with our set-up just didn’t seem possible.

    We’ve done this with a Resto Shaman, Holy Priest and Moonkin (me) off-healer; a Resto druid (me again), Resto Shaman, and Elemental Shaman off healer; and Resto Shaman, Holy Priest, and Ele shaman combination. Elemental shamans, while obviously not as strong as a Resto Shaman, make an excellent off healer. I had a hard time off healing in my Moonkin spec. We rarely have a shadow priest in our raids, but I would imaging they would also be well suited for this type of thing.

  8. We run with a Disc priest and Resto Druid (myself) on this fight.

    Right before phase 3 hits our priest bubbles the entire raid. The only people with HoTs on them are the tanks.

    For the rest of phase 3:
    -The priest heals the Tank and OT
    -I keep HoTs on the tanks and heal the 2 PC targets (they get Rejuvs on them after the initial Nourish)
    -Our OT lets the 4th set of adds burrow when they reach 75% and he helps dps Anub… this also lessens the amount of healing needed to be done.
    -I throw 1 or 2 Wild Growths on the raid if they get rediculously low < 2k.. but for the most part they are kept up by Judgement of Light, Vampiric Embrace, ILotP, or
    a Healing Stream totem. Less healing on the raid = less damage taken + less healing to Anub.

    I feel AoE heals just prolong the fight and aren't anymore effective as 1-2 Wild Growths on non-tank, non-PC targets.

  9. For the rest of phase 3:
    -The priest heals the Tank and OT
    -I keep HoTs on the tanks and heal the 2 PC targets (they get Rejuvs on them after the initial Nourish)
    -Our OT lets the 4th set of adds burrow when they reach 75% and he helps dps Anub… this also lessens the amount of healing needed to be done.
    -I throw 1 or 2 Wild Growths on the raid if they get rediculously low < 2k.. but for the most part they are kept up by

  10. I do a ToGC10 weekly with a disc priest and a resto druid as our healers, and this week after a slight change in healing strategy for P3 we managed to pull off Insanity for the first time. 🙂

    We split our raid so that our shadow priest is in one group and our shaman is in the other (with healers). Between healing stream, VE and JoL, our healers don’t need to pay attention to health bars of folks who aren’t tanks and don’t have penetrating cold. Our disc priest focuses solely on the Anub tank while our resto druid flails wildly tossing hots out onto our OT and penetrating cold folks.

    Initially we had thought that it was too hard to heal when we had our priest trying to cover both tanks, our druid HoTing everyone and our shadow priest switching to healing during P3, but as soon as we changed strategies things got -much- easier. The DPS increase from the 6th dps plus the decreased healing done to Anub meant that he went down much more quickly.

    Also, here’s a WoL parse from our run on Monday:

  11. Wow… thats making an interesting fight much more complicated.

    The description of p3 features just insanely overboard amounts of healing and far too much panic. Apparently this is an old post so hopefully you’ve since figured out how to heal the fight. The idea is to have targeted healing on the people who need it with very minor healing on everyone else to keep them at about ~1k hp. Other comments detailed how this can be achieved.

    In 10 man you can get away with blowing everything and hoping for the best, so you get the false idea that its “right”. In 25 man this would be suicide.

  12. Nice post. It is interesting you guys used a tranq to balance damage. Our first kill was a holy priest and resto druid combo. We did pretty much the same as you guys minus the tranqs and Holy Novas and with CoH on every cooldown for good measure.
    .-= Napaeae´s last blog ..The Bench: Our Saviour =-.

  13. Again, great read!

    Coincidentally, I just downed 10totgc Anub with a 2-healer setup for the first time last night. We usually go with 3 healers, but my group was confident that me (disc priest) and our resto druid could 2-heal the whole instance, which was a nice compliment.

    Anyway, there was no super secret strategy to how we handled phase 3. Basically, the druid continues to do what he normally does (hot the raid), I focus on the Anub tank and the off tank when adds are up, and I shield+renew people with penetrating cold. Really, the key is not to panic at the start of phase 3. Let everyone’s health plummet and then control health pools. With bloodlust/heroism, phase 3 shouldn’t take longer than a minute or so if dps is up to par.

  14. Certainly not ToGC Anub, but I solo healed normal Anub 10 as a paladin. With Vamp Embrace and Judgement of Wisdom there were no problems. PC doesn’t tick for much and the Beacon is love.

    ToGC Anub? Remind your priests not to fade while kiting near other people… 🙂


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