Healing Ulduar: Freya

Healing Ulduar: Freya

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For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing Strategy Page

Freya offers everything a healing druid could ever want: pretty flowers, sparkly green trees, gnarled ents, angry seed bombs, and even friendly mushrooms of safety. This boss fight is a colorful, chaotic miscellany that asks healers to use all of their skills without overtaxing them in any one area. When you take on Freya, be prepared to react to whatever her tree-friends throw at you next. Keep reading for a healing-oriented rundown of her abilities.

The Pull

Conquest wiped this weekend in our 10 man because Yogi Ragadast, our bear tank, decided to eat a pickinick right in the middle of Freya’s patrol path. Beware that this guardian of the forest ranges far. Ideally, you want your tank to charge in and keep Freya occupied by the creek while the raid stands toward the center of the room awaiting adds. Note that attacking Freya before taking care of her trash waves does exactly nothing.

Phase 1:The Trash Roulette

In Phase 1, you cannot damage the boss and must instead deal with waves of adds. Freya will summon three separate trash events to keep raiders’ nasty paws out of her vegetable garden. Waves will spawn once per minute, and it’s possible to have more than one wave active at a time if your DPS is slow. They can appear in any order, and some will repeat during your encounter. I will explain in brief how to deal with each.

Type 1: Snaplashers, Ancient Water Spirits, and Storm Lashers
This wave is the most dangerous. Each mob type has a different amount of health, and all three must die at the same time or they will be rezzed. The Snaplashers have a stacking buff that makes them hit harder when they receive damage, so your dps will have to periodically switch away from them. In 25-man raids, two tanks may be used to deal with this phase. If that is the case, healers must keep an eye (or two) on the Snaplasher tank. In 10-man raids, one tank will take care of all these adds.

Type 2: Detonating Lasher
These little flowers may look sweet, but don’t be fooled. They’re rotten little skunkflowers at the core. These guys can attach themselves a healer very easily, and they’ll blow up when killed. If I attract too many four-petaled friends, I use Shadowmeld or Barkskin until they make like a tree and leaf. The Detonating Lashers are not particularly dangerous, though raid healers may have to clean up the mess that results if someone’s too close when one of these little suckers blows up.

Type 3: Ancient Conservator
This is essentially a tank and spank add. However, he spawns fun happy mushrooms that you absolutely must stand under in order to avoid his silence. Remember, mushrooms are a good thing.

Miscellaneous Phase 1 abilities:
During phase 1, Freya will also summon a glowing green tree, the Lifebinder. When it appears, the raid must kill it immediately in order to avoid its healing effect.

Healers must also be aware of the debuff Sunbeam. Freya will target a player and cast this ability, which does a weak AoE. It’s not disastrous in regular mode, but I expect that with hard mode it’s a different story.

Phase 2: Goddess on the Move

Phase 1 serves to wear down Freya’s HoTs and allow her to take damage. In Phase 2, your tank will need to kite her in a circle around the room. Why? You’ve heard of the druid spell Living Seed. Freya, the druid goddess, casts seeds of evil. These are small glowing seed pods that appear on the ground and then detonate after a few seconds. The raid will need to stay ahead of the chlorophyllic explosions. Aside from the Bad Seeds, the spawns of the Lifebinder tree, and the Sunbeam effect, Phase 2 is a tank and spank.

Healing Assignments

Much of the healing in this boss encounter is reactive, and it can either feel like catch-as-catch can chaos or like a perfectly orchestrated minuet. It all depends on the skill of your individual raid members at their jobs. A knowledge of movement and the basic raid mechanics like target-switching on demand will lead to a win. Everything might be messy, but it’s not difficult. Healing assignments can be fairly loose here, but we assign one specific healer to the main tank and one to each of two offtanks. Beyond that, healers work their magic on the move and cover players in their area. I’d say this is one of the least demanding fights healing-wise in Ulduar. Even though the adds phase can be hectic, it’s nothing like Thorim’s arena. I’d also say this boss is slightly more difficult on 10-man because there’s less redundancy in raid roles. In 25-man, you can still eke out a kill if, say, your players execute the different movements with something less than precision.
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Paladin Healing in 10 man Ulduar

This is a guest post by Adgamorix, who’s launched his own blog: Divine Plea.

So last week I wrote a post talking about Paladin healing in Heroic Ulduar, and voicing my opinion that I thought Paladin healing was spot on. I was open about my lack of 10 man Ulduar experience, and was told to come back when I’d experienced that pain – with the expectation that my opinion would change.

Taking that to heart, the next day I rounded up nine of my fellow guild mates and began my assault. This week has been an absolute blood-bath of raiding, seeing me log six days of straight raiding (no less than three hours a day) when I normally log two or three. Why did I throw my schedule to the side and perform this atrocious attack on my sanity you ask? Simple. I thought maybe I was missing something.

So 9 hours of 10 man raiding later and we’re staring at General Vezax and laughing at how the trash was essentially mini-bosses. We’re now one boss away from Yarg himself, and of course a whole slew of bosses on hard mode to go. I believe that I’ve tasted the cool-aid, and I have a response for those who still say Paladin healing is broken.

What’s the fuss?

Yeah, it’s not a real adult reaction, but it fits in my opinion. Our raid makeup was fairly balanced, with a Resto shaman, and the Holy/Disc priest from my 25 man group. We used a Druid/DK tanking combo, two rogues (our hunter is suffering from severe wife agro), ret paladin, a shadow priest, and a balance druid. Yes, we could have had a better raid makeup for buff purposes, but this group is a solid core of players and we did our 10 man Naxx together.

We had our share of wipes and pain (Mimiron alone took 2 or 3 hours), but the overall experience was enjoyable. We learned new bosses, we got to hear the “I thought the button started the encounter!” cry from a curious rogue, and we learned some things to help with our 25 man raid. I learned that more than ever, I have to trust my fellow healers, and trust my raid mates to know when to use cool-downs and consumables. I felt the agony of no mana return with Illumination on Vezax, and I may have actually shed a tear the first time I tried casting a Holy Light while under the effects of Thorim’s Defaning Thunder (75% increased cast time). Overall though I felt like the raid was tuned beautifully, and it was a lot of fun actually being challenged.

So what’s different between me and those that think we’re broken?

I will concede that our group is the x factor in this equation. Are the healing problems coming from Paladins in unbalanced groups? Are they trying to two heal, or heal content beyond their gear/experience level? Maybe it’s the synergy between the healers, in that we know the role we play, and can accurately predict the actions of our fellow healers. For example, I know that on Mimiron while I’m healing the MT through the Plasma Blast, if someone gets Napalm Shelled I can toss them a quick Holy Shock to absorb the base damage while the tree HoTs them up and the Disc priest keeps the MT alive. We don’t have to talk about it, it just happens. Would it be awesome if I could still throw a Sacred Shield on them to help with the damage absorption? Of course it would, but we seem to be making it through ok as it is.

Canceling out the X factor

So after healing a lot of 10 man (and more 25 man), I decided to take the x factor out of the equation. I couldn’t down rank my gear (short of taking a piece off) to simulate healing in blues , but I could put myself in the LFG channel and heal any PUG that came along. I tossed aside any gear/instance standards I had, and went willy-nilly into the groups. After getting through Gun’Drak, VH, UK, and UP – I decided Paladin healing still isn’t broken. Yes it’s slightly tougher, the lack of multiple SS and Glyph crits huts some, but it’s still doable (and fun).

I’m going to stick by original statement that Holy Paladins are in great shape right now, and while we could use another tool in our kit, or maybe some kind of decent raid heal, we’re still really strong.

Two Ways to Approach Ulduar’s Hard Modes

Two Ways to Approach Ulduar’s Hard Modes

While patrolling the Plus Heal forums earlier, I ran into this thread. In it, the original poster laments the reduced healer requirement in order to achieve Ulduar’s hard modes. And why not? Let’s take a quick look at some of Ulduar’s heroic hard modes.

  • Hodir – 32.5 million health, 2 minutes. 270834 DPS required
  • Thorim – Running the gauntlet in 3 minutes after the snake and the ads are eliminated
  • Deconstructor – Bringing the heart from full health to zero in 20 seconds

The DPS requirements for the average raid is simply inconceivable. Honestly, there’s just no way to whip out DPS of that magnitude. The only way to even come close to doing that is to sit healers and tanks and go with the bare bones minimum.

Now let’s stop and think about this for a second. Take a deep breath. More importantly, let’s take a step back.

Hard mode is hard

When Ulduar came out, Blizzard released it with the intention of offering multiple variations of different encounters. The strategy here is to cater towards as many players as possible. The more dedicated raiders could feel good about themselves going after hard modes and earning the higher level of loot. Players that wanted to take it a little easier could take on the bosses in their base form.

Everyone wins.

Hard mode is designed to separate guilds and spread them even further in what I like to call the progression gap. The higher you are on the curve, the better stuff you get and you can scale your guild’s difficulty accordingly. Not every guild is capable of doing hard mode for whatever reason. It’s not meant to be easy. It’s not meant for every guild.

When making the decision to jump to hard mode, there are two possible methods to go at it.

Method 1: High octane DPS right now

seinfeldCurrent DPS output for everyone has a limit: Your guild’s gear. In order to increase DPS, you either switch out tanks or healers and replace them with DPS. Every player added is another 4000-7000 DPS depending on the class.

You saw Hodir’s requirements above.

A little over 270000 DPS.

Obviously the risk here is that you lose raid stability. As in, the lower the amount of healers the higher the risk of not being able to stabilize and recover.

The tradeoff is that you have a chance at accomplishing hard mode right now.

Method 2: High octane DPS later

You continue to work on Ulduar and upgrade your raid’s gear as much as possible.

Even on the test realms when Hard Modes were enabled, Ursula McWeaksauce had to dispense the Shirt of Uber. It’s an increase in the overall raid’s stats by 8% and ratings by 130 assuming we’re decked in full Naxx gear.

For example, the raid DPS output of 4 healers, 20 DPS, and 1 tank right now could be the same as 6 healers, 18 DPS, and 1 tank 8 weeks later.

You don’t have to stack raids with with DPS unless you fully intend to do hard modes right now. You can farm easy mode Ulduar for a few weeks and gear out the players accordingly to raise the overall gear contribution gradually from your players.

To finalize

Jerry Seinfeld ran into a similar problem. In his words:

I was in the drug store the other day trying to get a cold medication…

Not easy. There’s an entire wall of products you need. You stand there going, Well, this one is quick acting but this is long lasting… Which is more important, the present or the future?

How fitting.

In order to meet the requirements for hard mode, you can either raise the quantity of DPS or raise the quality of DPS. Either way, your raid group will reach that minimal floor that hard mode demands. All this does now is determine when your guild can do hard modes.

Do it now with a stacked configuration.

Do it later with the same configuration.

The choice is yours.

Frustrated by Ulduar? Here’s Why

Frustrated by Ulduar? Here’s Why

Guys, I have a theory. I want to write about the perceived “easiness” of Ulduar. Random conversations with other WoW players on Twitter and reading of blogs inspired today’s post.

Here’s the theory.

“Ulduar’s easy mode wasn’t cleared because it was easy. It was cleared because the top guilds raid way more than you and I.”

No really?

But let me explain further to the guilds, leaders and raiders who appear to be frustrated by their guild;s lack of progress. Many guilds have forgotten what it’s like to hit a progression wall. Raiders who felt good about themselves and their abilities started having doubts about themselves. More on this later.

Don’t compare your guild to Ensidia or Vodka. Don’t use them as benchmarks to your guild’s success. They are the top guilds in the world for a reason (One of the raid leaders likes to occasionally remind players of this fact). They’re on a completely different level.

It boils down to hard work.

These are guilds that spent extensive time on the PTR. Every time a new boss was active, raids were already in and ready to engage. They would spend hours in there wiping relentlessly experimenting and trying new things and making strategy adjustments.

Sounds like your guild right now, doesn’t it?

The learning process that guilds are going through right now have already been experienced by top guilds on the PTR already.

Don’t be ashamed of yourselves or disappointed. Flashes of sadness, anger, and determination (in that order) routinely flood through me during raids. I’m disappointed at myself for not executing. I become angry because I know I can do better. I’m then determined to prove myself right.

It’s called challenge.

And here’s where the payoff lies. It’s the steadily ticking down of boss health. As it counts down from 10% to 9% all the way down to 1%, the adrenaline is still pumping. The euphoric feeling that courses through your body after a kill? That’s what accomplishment feels like. It feels good doesn’t it?

When I measure and compare progress with other players or guilds, one question I like to ask is their hours spent raiding. The problem with using weeks is that the range which guilds can raid vary tremendously. Some guilds log 6 hours a week. Others log 18+. As an example, it took Conquest troopers around 7 hours to get from the start of Ulduar to the kill of Deconstructor. If a progression guild takes down Kologarn after a 16 hour raid week and a progression guild knocks out Kologarn after two 8 hour raid weeks, then I’d say they’re about on par because it took both guilds the same amount of time to get there (16 hours).

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You know this. I know this. I’ve talked to players both in different guilds and abroad on Twitter. Everyone knows this. It’s still a difficult and bitter pill to swallow. Like the great Morpheus once said, “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” The average time it takes for a typical heroic raid to learn and kill a new boss is around 2 hours. Shorten that time if players watched videos or read strategy or have done the 10 man versions.

Even now, we start seeing progression gaps among the different guilds. The spread from first, to tenth, to twenty-fifth is increasing. It’s becoming increasingly visible to separate the “pretenders” from the “contenders” (Hockey playoffs still in my head).

To the guilds leading the progression charge, I salute you. I’m always interested in reading what guilds like Fusion are up to (especially with their popular StratFu blog) and how they handled particular challenges. I’ve heard stories of how some guilds prefer to keep their raid secrets a secret. Never really bought into that policy. Always preferred to teach players and learn from others.

Healing Ulduar: Ignis the Furnace Master

Healing Ulduar: Ignis the Furnace Master

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For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing strategy page.

Here’s a rather unconventional approach to killing Ignis which utilizes the side of the instance. Using this method does appear to be rather cheesy, but it takes a lot of pressure off many players. Credit this to Kimbo for figuring this out. Ignis is one of the early optional bosses you’ll encounter first in Ulduar. I recommend working on Razorscale first before doubling back to the Furnace Master.

Quick notes

  • Standard tank and spank
  • Periodic Constructs will activate

Abilities

Scorch – All enemies in front of Ignis will take quick dot damage for 3 seconds (ticks every half-a-second). Constructs within the area will start to heat up and become Molten.

Flame Jets – Geysers of flame shoot up from the ground and throw raid members up into the air. If the Flame Jets connect while a player is casting, they’ll be interrupted for 8 seconds. Targets take fire damage over 8 seconds.

Slag Pot – Ignis will charge a player and grab them tossing them into his Slag Pot (the pot hanging around his waist).

Activate Construct – Activates a Construct with 3.8 million health.

Strength of the Creator – When a Construct is active, damage done by Ignis is increased by 15%. It’s a stacking buff. When a Construct is taken out, the stack is removed.

Ability examples

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Scorch on the ground

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Construct

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Here’s a shot of some of the melee players in the air after a Flame Jet.

Setup

Here’s our non-conventional setup. If you look to your left and right, you’ll see two pools of water that are surrounded by a ledge. Start heading for the one on the left (facing Ignis) that’s nearest the entrance ramp. All ranged DPS and healers should stand on the ledge.

The reason you want to set up in this position is to think back to the days of Starcraft where players set up choke points for enemies to go through. Constructs that spawn, if their aggro is gained by a ranged player, will have to run all the way into the pool and then up the ramp in order to take out a player (green path). The extra distance the Construct has to run should be more than enough time for your off tank to attract the Construct’s attention.

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Main tank

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Your tank’s going to be running laps along the red path. The ranged group should not be affected by Scorches. Your healers are going to have to strafe along the blue arrow to maintain range with the tank. The upper line is a little under 40 yards.

Execution

Once Ignis is engaged, your main tank will pick him up and start keeping him moving in a roundabout fashion pictured above. After a period of time has passed, Ignis will begin to activate Constructs. Off tanks need to snatch them up and bring them into Scorched areas and hold them in there until they turn Molten. When it hits 20 stacks, it becomes Brittle.

What do you get when you combine something incredibly hot with something incredibly cold? The object becomes extremely brittle. Same thing applies here. The chance to crit the Construct increases. Damage done over 5000 will effectively kill it. Be sure to target Brittle’d Constructs with your ranged players as they explode dealing damage to players in close proximity.

Have players keep an eye on Flame Jets. If spellcasters are caught casting when Flame Jet connects, they’re locked out of casting for 8 seconds. Not good if you’re a healer.

Healing

There are four healing areas to cover in this fight:

Main tank – One healer should be enough but other healers will need to keep HoTs as active as possible especially with numerous Constructs.

Off tank – If there are Constructs up, your off tank is going to need heals as well.

Slag Pot – Ignis is going to charge and pick up a player and toss them into his sack. While in his sack, they will take 5000 damage every second for 10 seconds. Keep a dedicated raid healer on Slag Pot duty. If there’s no one in there, that healer then returns back to healing the raid.

Healers won’t be able to cast too many spells in there. But healers with instant spells should be able to cast them as much as they can. Priests, for example, can Holy Nova while inside the pot.

Raid – Flame Jet and Scorched melee players are going to involve the bulk of the healing here. Chain Healing Shamans will be at their finest especially since ranged players will be strafing along the ledge. After getting hit by a Flame Jet, I will personally light up a few Holy Novas while I’m in the air.

Healing loot

Flamewrought Cinch – Leather

Lifeforge Breastplate – Plate

Pyrelight Circle – Ring

Scepter of Creation – Wand

Paladin Healing in Heroic Ulduar

This is a guest post by Adgamorix with some tips for Holy Paladins working their way through Ulduar.

3.1 and Ulduar are upon us, and the tears of Healadins fill the forums, feeding Yarg-Saron and keeping XT’s joints lubed. Bloggers and forum goers alike lament the death of Flash of Light as a useful heal, and wonder if the new Infusion is even worth it. 10% extra crit on a Holy Light? I want my haste back! I need to raid heal!

Can you taste the tears?

My question is what is the real issue? Granted, my guild hasn’t cleared Ulduar yet, but we did get six bosses down in the first week (no hard modes), and I haven’t seen the problem. As we’re a 25 man raid guild, we typically run with seven healers: two Paladins, Disc priest (dual spec’d for Holy which some Priests just aren’t good enough to do *wink*), Holy Priest, two trees, and a Resto Shaman. Our tanks are a mix of all the tank classes, and we run a fairly balanced mix of melee vs. ranged (though we do have a lot of hunters – fortunately no huntards).

Given a balanced raid makeup, I’m very happy with where paladin healing is right now. On any boss fight that we’ve done so far, I’m confident in putting my paladin partner and I on the tank and letting the other healers take care of the raid, off tanks, etc. Between Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield, we can run a steady rotation on the tanks, and it hasn’t failed us yet. Granted, I haven’t seen the fights in 10 man yet, but I’m confident that it’ll be ok.

Note that I’ve said ‘balanced raid makeup’ a couple of times here. Even though we’ve been told to “bring the player and not the class”, I don’t think anyone would reasonably expect to waltz through Ulduar with nothing but a pocket-full of rogues and no ranged DPS… at least not for a while anyway. Having a mix of buffs and abilities is part of what makes raiding so much fun. It’d be boring if any 25 people (regardless of class/spec) could walk in and down the content during the first week.

I think the problems being experienced by some paladins can be explained with the same explanation we had when our MT pulled XT with his face the first time, leaving all his healers 40 yards behind him.

“You’re doing it wrong!”

Ulduar isn’t Naxx, and I’m glad. The trash is harder than most Naxx bosses, and “gasp” we have to use crowd control again. XT’s trash brought back nightmares of old Kael’Thas trash (with a mix of Void Reaver), and it takes some getting used to. Healers can’t snipe any more, and target assignments are crucial. Trusting your raid mates to do their assigned task, and focusing on yours, keeps the raid alive. I generally can’t spare the GCD to hit someone else, and I count on the raid healers to cover me when I’m not beaconed. Sure, I’m lower on the meters than I used to be, but our strategy works and bosses die.

I won’t disagree that it would be nice to have another tool in my box, but I love the healing aspect of my paladin so much that my Resto Shaman has been collecting dust for two months. I like the challenge of healing without a designated ‘raid heal’, and learning new ways to cope with the incoming damage.

Here’s how we’ve pulled off each boss so far

Healing rotation: This healing rotation is similar to what we use for every boss we two heal. My partner will spam HL while I run FoL/HS rotations. I generally keep my SS up on the tank, and we beacon an OT if they are close, our we just beacon ourselves. After about one minute of this, we switch roles, and she hits DP to start her regen (I usually hit Illumination right at the start – I also pop my haste gloves). This continues for one minute, and then we switch again (this time I Plea). With this rotation the MT is getting around 30k in healing every 2 – 2.5 sec (lag depending), and there is always a heal landing.

Flame Leviathan: All I can say is, flying through the air with a boom-chicken by your side is worth it. I beacon the boom-chicken and unleash my holy DPS on the turrets. Instant FoLs on myself are enough to keep us both alive without any stress (hard mode may be different).

Ignis: Pallies beacon themselves and do nothing but roll heals on the MT. We have our Disc priest on the OTs, with the druids dropping HOTs on them as they race by with the constructs. Raid healing is covered with the shaman and holy priest, and the druids kicking in after a flame jet.

Razorscale: This fight is a lot less coordinated. Generally I sit on our DK who picks up the whirlwinders and also stays closest to Razor so he gets her fire patches. I beacon myself, and just roll FoL on him until the fight ends. I’ll also run in and hit the boss a few times while she’s harpooned, that way I have a full mana bar at the start of phase 3 (phase 2 if you don’t count the chained phase) so I can just bomb the tanks with HL.

XT-002 Deconstructor: We handle this fight just like Ignis. Prot pallies on the tank, Disc Priest on the add tank, and the rest of the healers on the raid. The only change up is during the earthquake/pound one of us will switch off the MT and drop HL bombs on the melee to help with the damage.

Kologarn: See previous strategies. I usually beacon the add tank on this one, since he’s close enough to always receive my heals. Only one of the tanks holding Kologarn should be taking a significant amount of damage, so we focus on them individually. A Resto shaman is also amazing for the folks caught in the grip.

Assembly of Iron: This one we switch up just a touch. We’ve only downed this once, and that was in the ‘easy’ mode. Here we flip the disc priest and a holy paladin, beaconing the off tanks and healing through the damage. A shaman is an ideal healer for the tank on Stormcaller, as they can interrupt the chain lightning and the lightning whirl.

Healing Ulduar: XT-002 Deconstructor

Healing Ulduar: XT-002 Deconstructor

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Welcome to Ulduar folks. If you made it past the lag, the vehicles, and the guard-dragon, and you didn’t get sidetracked by Ignis’ Hot Pockets, chances are you’ll soon find yourself standing in front of my favorite shiny robot in the game, the XT-002 Deconstructor. She just wants to give everyone a big hug . . . a spine-cracking hug, that is. She reminds me of eeeevil pet collector Elmyra from the Animaniacs. In all seriousness, Blizzard outdid themselves here. The boss’s animations and voice are oh-so-entertaining, and this fight provides a juicy-yet-manageable challenge for healers. Conquest downed XT on 4/21 using this strategy.

Essential Abilities

To effectively heal this boss, all healers need to make sure that their unit frames show the following three abilities. If you are a Grid or Pitbull user, add these to your custom debuffs.

Gravity Bomb
This ability places a debuff on a player. They need to move away from others to avoid causing AoE damage. This debuff does not tick immediately but rather does a significant chunk of damage at the delay of a few seconds. A player with Gravity Bomb will need a large heal once the ability triggers.

Light Bomb
This ability places a debuff on a player, and as with Gravity Bomb, the player must move away from others to avoid causing AoE Damage. This debuff is a strong, fast-ticking dot, and it lasts 9 seconds, dealing 3500 damage each tick. A player with Light Bomb needs immediate and steady attention.

Tympanic Tantrum
Of the three abilities, this one is the most dangerous. Tympanic Tantrum deals damage equal to 10% of each player’s maximum health every 1 sec for 12 sec. Nearby enemies are also dazed for the duration. Every player in the raid needs to receive a medium amount of healing in order to survive this ability. AoE and group heals (Divine Hymn, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Healing, Wild Growth, Tranquility) are good solutions.

Healing Assignments

In order to meet the dps minimum for the boss, you will probably need either 6 or 7 healers. These assignments will assume 6. Consult the following diagram for the optimum positioning of your 6 healers.
xt-healing1

As always, the diagram is coded by class color. Our favorite arrangement uses a paladin and a tank healing-specced druid on the MT. On the raid, we have had good luck with using two priests, one shaman, and one raid-healing specced druid. In this diagram, you’ll notice that H3 and H4 are standing together, as are H5 and H6. The raid splits into two groups, and ranged dps stacks with raid healers. This grouping makes it easier for the person with Light Bomb or Gravity Bomb to run away. Your MT healers will have to cheat forward a bit of the pile of players in order to be in range of the tank. XT is big–approximately 10 yards across–and your tank will be on the far side.

Techniques

I’ve had the pleasure to both MT and raid heal for this fight, so I can share with you my top strategies for both positions. The key to this fight is using your abilities wisely.

MT healing
Two healers are necessary because this bot hits hard! Damage is spiky because the boss hits hard but swings slowly. We found a combination of a Resto Druid and a Holy Paladin to be very successful. The druid can keep some HoTs on the MT even through the Exposed Heart phase, in which there is no damage to the tank. We’ve lost the tank before when XT has come back with a vengeance, so be prepared with some HoTs or shields. Throughout the fight, the druid will probably be able to make a small contribution to raid healing. During Tympanic Tantrum, both MT healers will raid heal, and during the Heart phase, the paladin can probably dps, with the druid contributing as well if she is able to afford the mana hit.

Raid Healing
I learned the hard way that HoTs won’t cut it for Gravity Bomb and Light Bomb. For Gravity Bomb, have raid healers shield or pre-HoT and then time a big nuke heal to land as the bomb explodes. For Light Bomb, the player will need a series of quick heals (Flash of Light, Flash Heal, Lesser Healing Wave) or a combination of HoTs and direct heals. A Rejuv+Swiftmend is not enough. With my raid healing build, I was using HoTs + glyphed Healing Touch to good effect. Light Bomb is the more dangerous of the two bombs because it hits fast and hard.

For Tympanic Tantrum, HoTs and AoE heals are king. I was having great luck with Tranquility, Wild Growth, and Lifebloom during this phase. When you assign raid healers, make sure you distribute your AoE healers evenly on both sides.

Melee and Offtanks
There’s no way to get around doing double duty on this fight. At least one offtank will assist a couple of ranged dps with controlling the adds. Specific Raid Healers (perhaps H4 and H5) should be assigned to keeping the adds team alive.

Melee will need some attention, but Judgement of Light, if you have it, goes a long way towards keeping them healthy. We assigned our Resto Shaman to chain heal the melee group when she could.

DPS the heart!

All of the non-tree healers in your raid should switch to dps-ing the heart when it is exposed. Every little bit helps you meet the very high dps demand! I also recommend that any raid-healing druids switch forms and dps the heart. However, the MT healing druid should keep her HoTs on the tank, because XT returns suddenly and with a vengeance. If she can sneak a Moonfire in there too, by all means.

Mana Control

This fight has a few moments that will allow for OOFSR regen. It’s fairly tough on mana, and you will probably use a potion and your mana-restoration abilities (Innervate, Shadowfiend) if you are only carrying six healers. The fight is short with a 6 min enrage timer, but it’s fast and furious, so you can blow your mana if you’re not careful. If you find yourself running out, take a break instead of using your mana for offensive spells when the heart is exposed.

A Healer Check?

This boss tests healers in more ways than one. I like to think of it as a healing assignment check. Everyone has to do his or her specific job, and there’s no time for sniping. Moreover, you need a good balance of single-target and AoE heals to pull this off with 6 healers. There is both heavy Main Tank damage and extensive raid damage. Expect to use all of your skills.

sydsignature

Healing Ulduar: Razorscale

Healing Ulduar: Razorscale

razorscale

For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing strategy page.

Conquest was able to clear out Razorscale on day 2 of Ulduar. It’s a fun encounter and places a lot of emphasis on ad control.

Quick notes

  • 3 phase encounter
  • Repeated waves of incoming trash

Pre-boss preparation

Suggested makeup

  • 3 tanks
  • 7 healers
  • 15 DPS

As raid leader, I like to split my raid into groups that have meaning in the raid frames. In other words, I set aside groups 1 and 2 to deal with trash ads coming in from the left side. Groups 4 and 5 would take care of the right. I made sure there was 1 tank and 3 healers in each ad control team. Try to split up interrupters as best as you can since you’ll want them to disrupt as many chain lightning casts as possible. It’s difficult to evenly split the DPS so use your discretion there accordingly.

Group 3 consists of your third tank and the 4 healers that were unable to fit into either teams.

Warrior tank Hunter Druid tank Hunter Paladin tank
Resto Shaman Rogue Disc Priest Rogue Resto Shaman
Mage Death Knight Resto Druid Death Knight Warlock
Mage Balance Druid Holy Paladin Ret Paladin Mage
Shadow Priest Resto Druid Holy Priest DPS Feral Druid Hunter

That’s a rough visual representation of how I split my groups. Dark blue team on the left, light blue team on the right. Gold team is responsible for big, bad whirlwind titan’s which I’ll elaborate on in a moment.

Process

Phase 1

On the ground, the things you have to worry about are the incoming mobs that spawn from the different drill-shaped ground pods. Meanwhile, Dwarven expedition teams will be repairing the four harpoons.

Razor’s attacks

Fireball: Fire damage to players

Flame buffet: Increases fire damage taken by players. I believe this ability stacks. It’s duration is ~1 minute.

Devouring Flame: Spits a Lava Bomb at a player inflicting fire damage and leaves a fiery patch on the ground dealing fire damage to everyone within 6 yards.

She enrages after 10 minutes.

Add attacks

Dark Rune Guardian: Puts a magical debuff on your raid. Dispelable. Will go after your friendly expedition dwarves. 

Dark Rune Sentinel: Whirlwind. These guys typically spawn in the middle.

Dark Rune Watcher: Interrupt their Chain Lightning when possible. Their Chains can hit up to 5 targets.

razor-process

Adds will show up from the left and right. Dark blue and light blue teams will have to take care of them via DPS and CC’s if necessary.

Now gold team gets to have some fun here. That Devouring Flame ability I mentioned above? Here’s a hint I found out from the Plusheal forums. Devouring Flame can be predicted and controlled. Razor shoots Devouring Flames at the player closest to it. So all gold team has to do is stay under the boss as much as possible and soak up incoming flames. The Disc Priest in that group (me) just heals him. At the same time, gold team needs to pick up Dark Rune Sentinels that show up in the middle.

devo-flame

Gold team in action

The tanking Druid played first person and looked up. I stayed within range in support. When I see a Sentinel spawn, I’ll cue him and let him know there’s a sentinel and he’ll pick it up right away. Once gold team establishes aggro, he calls for ranged DPS to focus and nuke. Once the sentinel is down, it’s back to add control.

There are four harpoons. When they’re all repaired and fired, Razorscale is brought down to the ground. Get three harpoons fired and hold on the fourth one. You fire them by having a player from either blue teams right click on the turrets. Your raid leader should call when to fire the fourth one. When most of the ads are dead, cue the fourth turret call.

When a Harpoon is fixed, it will flash on your screen. I personally like to say things like “harpoon 1 fired, harpoon 2 fired, harpoon 3 fired, harpoon 4 standing by” so that the entire raid knows where we’re at.

turrets

Phase 2

When the raid leader calls for harpoon 4 to be hit, all DPS should be switching off ads. Anything extra should be CC’d in the process. Razor will fall to the ground and remain stunned for seconds. Full DPS on Razor at this point. Stay away from the front of this boss. After time is up, Razor will do a wing buffet knocking everyone back and light a conical flame breath. She’s facing the entrance into this area while she’s stunned.

After the stun wears off, the turrets will explode and have to be repaired again. Razor flies back into the air and triggers phase 1 again.

This would be the phase to hit Heroism or Bloodlust to push Razor into phase 3. If Razor’s health isn’t low enough then you have to do phase 1 all over again.

Phase 3

Have your main tank of choice pick up Razor and immediately face her away from the raid. A good position would have Razor face the entrance just past the turrets. She’s going to continue to do AoE knockbacks (Wind Buffet), Devouring Flame, and Flame Buffets. The Flame Buffet debuffs will continue to stack. If it reaches a certain point, it’s going to insta-kill your tank.

Fused Armor is another debuff your tank will take. When it reaches 5 stacks, your tank is not going to be able to move, use skills or taunt. You’ll have to change tanks before it reaches 5 to buy enough time for your raid to finish her off.

Your raid positions themselves and spreads out behind the boss during this part.

Healing strategy

For both blue teams, you’ll want 2 raid healers and 1 tank healer on each side. You’ll also want 1 tank healer in the gold team. Stay as far back as possible to avoid any chain lightnings that manage to get through. Use strong AoE heals to mitigate them as well. During phase 2 when DPS switches over, the tank healers need to remain on the tank if they’re on any ads. Any idle healers are encouraged to jump up into the play and DPS the boss during phase 2.

Healer drops

Belt of the Fallen Wyrm – Mail

Bracers of the Broodmother – Leather

Guiding Star – Mace

Razorscale Shoulderguards – Plate

Shackles of the Odalisque – Wrists

Healing Ulduar: Flame Leviathan

Healing Ulduar: Flame Leviathan

flame-leviathan

For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing strategy page.

I managed to squeeze some PTR time on this boss earlier in the weeks before. But here’s a step-by-step break down of what you need to do in order to get through the encounter.

Quick notes

  • Vehicular fight
  • Trash should be cleared using your vehicles
  • After ~two attempts on the boss, trash will respawn (not sure if there’s a link to time)
  • Four towers control the difficulty of the boss
  • Vehicle health is based on item level not stats

Map

fl-map 

Trash phase

This is not a Hyjal style waves encounter. Your raid group will have access to vehicles first. When your raid is ready to move out, speak to Brann Bronzebeard to engage the Iron army.

bronzebeard-thumb

(Click image for dialogue)

Tower information

Your targets are the four towers throughout the area. The difficulty level of Flame Leviathan can be controlled based on which towers you leave up. Towers are easily identifiable because of the color of their glow. Location of the towers are shown in the map above. Use your vehicles to bring them down.

Storm beacons will summon additional units. Destroy them to stem the tide of incoming spawning mobs.

Roles and vehicular abilities

There are different roles that each vehicle plays. I’ll break them down below.

Carrying capacities

Chopper: 1 driver + 1 passenger
Demolisher: 1 driver + 2 passengers
Siege engine: 1 driver + 1 turret + 2 passengers

Chopper abilities

Sonic horn (20 energy): Conical DPS within 35 yards to all enemies
Tar: 10 yard pool of tar that slows down enemies by 75% (important)
Speed boost (50 energy): Increases vehicle’s movement speed by 100% for 5s

Demolisher abilities

Driver

Hurl boulder: Throws a really big rock at variable range. Think Wintergrasp or Strands type. Ignites Tar upon impact.
Hurl pyrite barrel: Using 5 pyrite, will do ~30000 damage
Ram: Damage and knockback effect
Throw passenger: Used only when the passenger is in the catapult. Dwarf tossing is finally a reality (important)

Passenger

Cannon: Fires a missile. Upon impact, deals damage to enemies within 10 yards. 50 yard range.
Grab crate: Uses a hook and chain to grab crates. Lets you pick up pyrite off the ground.
Increase speed: Uses pyrite to add extra speed to the demolisher. Lasts 1 minute.
Load into catapult: Self explanatory. Passenger gets into the catapult. (important)

Siege engine abilities

Driver

Ram (40 energy): Damage and knock back effect
Electroshock (38 energy): 25 yard conical, interrupts spells, and 4 seconds of locking out the magic school (important)
Steam Rush (40 energy): Sort of like a sprint effect.

Turret

Anti-Air launcher (10 energy): Fires missiles at aerial targets.
Cannon (20 energy): Up to 70 yard range. It’s a gun that shoots stuff.

Siege Engines

The Flame Leviathan will only lock on to one siege engine at a team. The targeted engine must kite the boss around.

Non-kiting siege engines will have to stay close to the rear of the Leviathan as much as possible and should interrupt Flame Jets. After 30 seconds, Flame Leviathan will switch and target a different Siege Engine and chase after that. Use Steam Rush to build up some distance.

Here’s a kite path you can try out.

kite-path

Blue line: Opening route. The boss will be weapons free at this time (as in engage-able).

Siege engine passengers should be targeting pyrite ammo that’s floating in the air. If there aren’t any available, switch fire to the boss.

If you’re out of siege engines, FL will go after demolishers or choppers.

Choppers

There should be 1 chopper following the targeted siege engine. Choppers will be laying down tar directly in front of the Flame Leviathan to slow him down and the tar can be ignited by Boulders from demolishers.

Choppers also have to extract the FL Unit (explained further).

Demolishers

Stay as far away as you can. DPS with Hurl Boulder. Firing Pyrite Barrels should be held off until FL is stunned.

Demo passengers not being thrown up will need to work the catapult to load up Pyrite.

Flame Leviathan stun unit

Your demolishers have the capability to launch players onto the Flame Leviathan. The FL unit is going to comprise of:

  • 3 DPS (Suggest Druid, Death Knight, Rogue)
  • 1 Healer (Suggest Paladin or Druid)

I suggested those classes because they’re going to be under fire from various guns while up there. You’ll want maximum survivability.

Both players must be in the passenger seat of the demolisher. There’s an ability called “Load into Catapult” which places them in the throwing arm of the demo as a projectile. When it’s called for, your demo’s close in. The driver then hits “Throw passenger” which launches the passengers on top of the Flame Leviathan.

When the FL unit is on the back of the boss, they will be able to take out all 4 turrets. When the turrets explode, there’s a button. You hit the button which starts a 10 second channel resulting in a stunned boss and a damage taken by Flame Leviathan by 50% and resetting his speed.

The FL unit will then be ejected and parachuted off the boss. Your choppers must swoop in and extract them back to the demolishers. You’ll want to stun Leviathan while he’s in a tar’d area.

Video

For a visual “how to”, see this video below. Actual encounter starts around 20 seconds or so in. Note the positioning of siege engines and how the tar is laid out.

Healer drops

Heroic

Constructor’s Handwraps – Cloth gloves

Embrace of the Leviathan – Cloth belt

Freya’s Choker of Warding – Necklace

Glowing Ring of Reclamation – Ring

Steamcaller’s Totem – Ranged slot

Steamworker’s Goggles – Mail Helm

Boots of Fiery Resolution – Cloth feet – (Hard mode only)

Shoulderpads of Dormant Energies – Leather shoulders – (Hard mode only)

Ulduar Caster Weapons and Tier Gear: A Primer

Here’s a list of all spellcaster related weapons that drop from Ulduar. Items are sorted in the rough order of progression that raiding groups will be going in. I linked all currently known spellpower weapons and off hands so that your raid group can get a general idea of what item to go for and what items are better off in the hands of other players along with the rough order they will appear in. It seems heroic mode drops slightly more weapons. Loot tables for some of the bosses are still unknown at this time (like Yogg-Saron and Algalon). Read the bottom of the post for a theory of tier gear drops.

Heroic Mode weapons

Weapon Weapon Type Source
Overcharged Fuel Rod OH (Spell hit) Flame Leviathan
Intensity 2H Staff (Spell hit) Ignis the Furnace Master
Scepter of Creation Wand (Spirit) Ignis the Furnace Master
Guiding Star 1H Mace (MP5/Haste) Razorscale
Quartz Crystal Wand Wand (Spell hit) XT-002 Deconstructor (Hard mode)
     
Rapture 2H Staff (Spirit) Iron Council
Ironmender OH (Spirit) Kologarn
Runescribed Blade 1H Sword Auriaya
The Lifebinder 2H Staff (Spirit) Freya
Staff of Endless Winter 2H Staff (Spirit) Hodir (Hard mode)
Scepter of Lost Souls Wand (Haste/Crit) General Vezax

 

Normal Mode Weapons

Weapon Weapon Type Source
Firesoul MH Sword (Spell hit) Flame Leviathan
Plasma Foil 1H Dagger (Spirit) XT-002 Deconstructor
Pulsing Spellshield OH (Shield) XT-002 Deconstructor
Stormtip 1H Dagger (Spirit) The Iron Council
Nurturing Touch Wand (Spirit) Auriaya
Pulse Baton 1H Mace (MP5) Mimiron
Unraveling Reach 2H Staff (Hit) Freya
Icecore Staff 2H Staff (Spirit) Hodir
Ice Layered Barrier OH Shield (MP5/Haste) Hodir (Hard mode)
Pillar of Fortitude 2H Staff General Vezax

Tier gear

All we know right now is that Mimiron drops tier 8 gloves. I’m assuming Yogg-Saron either drops the chest or the helm. I have a sneaking suspicion the other 3 Titans (Freya, Hodir, Thorim) drop the other 3 tier 8 pieces. My theory is unconfirmed, however. But I think it’s a decent assumption that the 4 titans along with the “end” boss of the instance are the ones that drop the tier pieces.