Healer 101: How To Storm Citadels More Smoothly

Healer 101: How To Storm Citadels More Smoothly


Say you’re storming the Citadel on a fairly regular basis, massacring the Lich King’s advance nasties from Lord Marrowgar right up – literally – to Deathbringer Saurfang. You might be progressing through it at your own pace, or you might have it on farm and are running through weekly as a warm-up to pick up gear. Well, either way. Here are some general and some shaman-specific tips from my own experience on how to healing can help your group steamroller the nasties.

Lord Marrowgar:

1. Bone Spike Graveyard: Pain. In. The. There are two things you can do to mitigate its effect on your healing. Firstly, make sure you remind your healing  Marrowgar diagram 3teammates to watch out for bonespike on each other. For example, if your tank healer is spiked then you need to pick up the slack for him and heal the tanks. Just til he gets back on his feet. Secondly, standing behind Marrowgar as shown in the diagram will help your DPS get you un-spiked as quickly and safely as  possible.

2. Coldflame is not cool. Really. Move out of the fire before it gets to you. Yep, I know it’s a pain and it seems to as soon as a healer has moved there’s more coldflame racing towards you. Standing at range will give you time to see it and move.

3. One shaman to another: people stand in fire. Us healers know it like we know the sky is (sometimes) blue. Bone Storm and Bone Spike Graveyard do damage. There’s a lot of it going round. So consider dropping mana tide early to have it ready again later if needed and using bloodlust after the first Bone Storm so that DPS get time to use it when Marrowgar’s not doing the tango.


Lady Deathwhisper:

1. Spread out. At least a bit. Deathwhisper’s room is just big enough that if you stand too far to either side you won’t be able to reach the people on the other side. Spread your healer team out so that tank healer A is covering the tank on the left, tank healer B on the right and raid healer in the middle. If you’re running two healers then they’ll need to be a bit closer to the middle for raid coverage. There’s also less chance you’ll all get caught in death and decay if you spread out.

2. Healer, cleanse… everything. This fight has some status changes which give Deathwhisper and her crew an edge. If Curse of Torpor is running amok on your raid then cleanse it, first on you then on other targets. If a Cult Fanatic casts Vampiric Might (magic effect) on itself then cleanse it in order to down it quicker. Or tell your mages to spellsteal it: they’ll love you.

3. Shamanic wisdoms: think about your totem placement; you might want to manually place them rather than drop all four in one place. Personally I drop stoneskin and healing stream well to the left with the tank I watch over. I then separately drop Flametongue and Wrath of Air nearer the middle/mid-back, depending on whether it’s 10 or 25 man. I re-place totems at Deathwhisper when phase 2 hits.


Gunship battle:

1. Welcome returning soldiers back. With a lot of healing. When the boarding party returns Muradin might well still be trying to kill at least one of them, probably with rending throw. In my opinion it’s best to play it safe: overheal them all as they come back over rather than waiting for them to take an unexpected damage spike they might not survive. If at all possible have one member of the boarding party announce when they’re returning.

2. You’re a field medic, not a pirate. I think healers should stay on their ship rather than boarding. Healing on the Edge ™ of the ship works just fine. Yes, you have to move out of the cannon fire patches but at least there is ample time to do that. Things can and do go wrong for the boarding party and the chance of that goes up exponentially according to how many people jet over. You don’t need to.

3. Shaman talk: Consider earthshielding a different target, particularly a DPS on the boarding party. My 10 man run usually has an enhancement shammy swinging over to swash some buckles, and full of health they’re not. If Muradin/Saurfang decides he doesn’t like her she’s the most likely to go splat quickly and she is aware of it. I put earthshield on her for this fight: not only might it help in a pinch but it also makes her feel a tad bit safer when jetting off to hostile territory. She hasn’t died here since I made that change.


Deathbringer Saurfang:

1. Healers need time to breathe. Mark of the Fallen Champion can make things hectic if everyone’s trying to deal with everything on this fight. Arrange for one person to deal solely with victims of the mark when it starts hitting. Personally I have our disc priest doing that while our shamans chain heal around the rest of the group. It just gives everyone enough slack to not turn into headless chickens.

2. Be prepared. You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a healing-easy fight based on the first couple of minutes of it. Remember that the longer it goes on the more healing-intensive it gets, and its length is dependent on your group’s general level of kit and knowledge of the fight. Don’t let boredom tempt you into overhealing early on. Manage mana well and be ready for it to be challenged.

3. If you’re a shaman: Earth bind is your friend. Place it near-ish the platform to catch blood beasts as they spawn. It’ll just give the ranged DPS some breathing time, which should give you breathing time with less potential for blood beasts tearing up your warlock. Keep it refreshed. If you have more than one shaman co-ordinate to have your earthbinds cover a greater area.


World of Matticus: helping healers storm their local citadels since 2010. As with many fights at present the thing to remember above all else is to be mobile and flexible if the situation requires. I’ll also briefly be extolling the virtues and citing an example of shamans retreating to advance, later in the week.

How about you – are you a healer with any tips to add for the first wing? Any widely held tactics you’d particularly like to discredit? Any questions been troubling you about the healing on wing the first, whether or not you’re a healer? Comments are very welcome!

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  1. I only have one thing to say: if you’re getting more than 5-6 marks on 25-man, with the current gear, you won’t be able to heal through. This is the point where you blame the DPS for messing up the beasts kiting/killing. Really, there’s simply too much damage, especially if a mark happens to fall on a healer.

  2. On Morrowgar we all stand behind him but in his hit box, this pretty much negates Coldflame except during the whirlwind . It also makes getting the spiked people free really easy.

    As a pally healer on 25man Deathwhisper Beacon is awesome. 60 yard range. You can Beacon the left side tank, then stand behind the right side and rear tank and effectively heal all three tanks.

    Gunship, again Beacon rocks. Beacon the tank on the other ship and you don’t even have to stand on the ledge of your ship.

    Saurfang’s energy really starts to climb from the damaged the Marked take, the more you have up with the Mark the quicker the next Mark comes. So our healers are instructed to let the first person die. Depending on his health % when the second person gets it they get to take one for the team as well.

  3. Great write-up. Can’t wait for a healing write-up of Rotface. We’ve been bashing our heads on him on 10 and 25 and I think the heal team is just missing something (not co-ordinating enough between themselves to cover for healers getting mutated infection is my current suspicion) but it is hard to tell exactly when you are DPS-ing. Guess I might have to don the old healing togs again and get into the thick of things. 🙂

  4. Take a disc priest on Saurfang : bubbles prevent him from gaining runic power, that makes it so easy !
    .-= Alehann´s last blog ..Arbres de talents pour la spécialisation sacré =-.

  5. On Deathbringer Saurfang, get your disc priest to bubble anything that looks like it might take some damage. Blood boil targets, ranged blood beast kiters, etc. Any damage that would normaly give blood power doesn’t if it’s fully absorbed.
    In 10-man yesterday, we killed him before the first mark, and that was on an alt run with dps between 3 and 4k, so far from overpowered.

  6. @Tufva–Sounds like the more likely scenario is you have DPS who do not move to avoid spray and other DPS moving problems

    @Oktrag–Your correct, Disc should bubble everyone who gets a mark (Healbot will show them as X or Square or Moon)…Just slap a bubble and renew on em..DPS needs to do their job though, and kite

  7. With the talent that causes earthbind totem to root your targets, placement is very important in the Deathbringer fight. Placing the totem at a place where it roots the adds near a tank or meele will cause them to attack these people, independent from the threat level.

  8. I agree with Mike about Marrowgar. Everyone can stand in his hitbox (except hunters) to negate most raid damage from Coldflame and increase damage output becuase no one has to worry about moving.

    On Saurfang, my guild also allows the first mark to die. If it’s a melee it really helps if they run out of the group when they get it so they’re not kept alive longer than neccessary by AoE heals and Judgement of Light. There are a lot of good options for healing the other marks. Beacons work great. So do druid HoTs. If a healing priest gets the mark they can spam Binding Heal on themselves and the tank (or another person with Mark), which also works nicely.
    .-= Jasyla´s last blog ..Raid Buffs and Debuffs – Part 2 =-.

  9. Good solid post! And I like the Coldflame info, that will be helpful.

    What we do for Deathwhisper is park the entire raid behind her starting position. This way, all the adds come to you, and the tanks can use the pillars to LOS-pull the caster adds. Her platform is spacious enough to dodge the Death and Decay, and you can even all walk to the back of it before pulling her. It made the fight MUCH simpler for us.
    .-= Wikwocket´s last blog ..Disc tips: Lady Deathwhisper =-.

  10. Fiendishthingy says:

    One trick we used on 10 man version of Deathbringer Saurfang was to have our Pally tank use divine intervention on on the player with Mark of the Fallen Champion then use a soulstone to pop back up and continue tanking. Negates the need to heal the player with the Mark and keeps Saurfang from getting the 5% health from the player dying. Works great as long as long as it’s not one of the healers marked.

  11. Graam (VeCo) says:

    Our guild 10 is consistently downing the first 4 bosses, although we hit a rather silly snag on the Gunship recently. Maybe the boarding party tank was a little trigger happy coming back, or maybe we’d just been lucky in the past, but the Rending Trow DoT kept landing on a dps that week. Even with vent, this unexpected turn led to three dead DPS at the foot of one cannon by the time we’d won since I couldn’t target players in cannons to heal. Tried telling them to dismount so I could toss em a heal, but they didn’t get it in time. Anyone know if some other interface (or even a /tar macro) would let you heal someone in a cannon, or do I just have to watch them bleed to death if they’re unwilling to dismount?

  12. Great summary as always, Mimetir; /agree on all points.

    To reinforce some of the great observations.
    – Marrowgar: Ditto on what Mike mentioned; stack in his hit-box. This strat makes the fight much easier since everyone but a hunter will be located right underneath him. Also, since getting hit by bonestorm is almost a certainty, I generally stay right where I am when Marrowgar starts whirling, and simply heal through the incoming damage with CH (while also avoiding fires).
    – Deathwhisper: Curse of Torpor needs to be removed immediately; its effects are too great to let it stay on any caster for longer than a second.
    – Deathbringer: Spreading out is absolutely key here, as the energy he gains will increase significantly if multiple players are getting hit by Blood Nova. If you’re getting 3+ marks in this fight, you need to look to your dps to step up their game, spread out, and prioritize adds. And it’s mind-boggling that people still think it’s a viable tactic in a dps race to let players die; what else are your healers there for?
    .-= Vixsin´s last blog ..A Brief Foray into the Crimson Halls =-.

  13. Hola! I, as a Rogue, must ask one thing of you. Offhand, I do not know the range on Earthbind Totem, but I would suggest, for the sake of my behind, not dropping it close enough on Saurfang that Beasts get rooted right behind me and my melee brothers. Otherwise, my butt disappears one bite at a time, and Mr. Cleave gets more “rage.”

    Other than that, pro writeup!

  14. @Tufva – Thanks! And well, your wish… 🙂 I hope today’s post on Plagueworks, including healing tips for Rotface, helps somehow!

    @Oktrag – Aye, discy priests are invaluable in the Saurfang fight. Bet Saurfang didn’t count on bubbles when he decided how he’d gather blood power!

    @Cloee + @Matt – Good point on the shammies (and boomkins) earthbinding and rooting. Midfield is best, in order to avoid blood beasts being in range of either melee or stationary healers.

    @Wikwocket – Thank you! As to the Deathwhisper tactic – I’ve heard variants of that before, but the LoS pillar pulling sounds like the key. We’ll have to give that a shot.

    @Graam – I don’t know if there’s such a macro or addon. I do know that we’ve also had that problem before. However, since then I adopted a spam-heal tactic on DPS *as they return* from boarding, and for a couple of seconds afterwards. Haven’t had anyone bleeding to death in a cannon since, don’t know if it’s just luck or for some reason Muradin stops rending throwing them now. Also, be sure that your tank is the last one jetting back over.

    @Vixsin – Salient points of all three fights. Nail on head 🙂

    Also, thanks for the recommendation on stacking up in Marrowgar’s hitbox, folks. I’d heard that works but not had a chance to try it yet. Sounds like it’s becoming an ol’ faithful among tactics, good to know it’s reliable.

    Thanks for the comments, folks. Some great tips here and such a variety of topics! Keep em coming, they’ll all help someone out there!

  15. AnotherMatt says:


    My guild solo heals 10-man Deathbringer so the DPS kinda dies out of necessity; that is just way too much damage for one person to manage at our gear levels. However, the extra DPS provided by only using one healer makes up for the loss.

  16. As a tree raid healing Deathwhisper – with a Priest healing tanks – I found I was consistently running out of mana and wiping our raid. The Priest wasn’t up to keeping the raid up when I was oom, and I was consistently pulling 4k+ heals per second on that fight, and sometimes double the healing the priest was doing.

    I changed my trinkets around to be MP5 trinkets instead of my spellpower ones, but that didn’t help enough.

    What I ended up doing was getting rid of my Glyph of Rapid Rejuvination. Because rejuv ticks in 10 seconds instead of 15 with GoRR I was spamming it a LOT to keep the raid heals going. By removing the glyph it meant I was casting it less often, and thus wasting less mana on keeping it rolling. That way I was spending less GCDs hittng rapid rejuv, and had more mana when I needed to spam a few nourishes on someone who’s taking damage.

    I now have a small stock of glyphs in my inventory for when I go to that fight, just in case I need to swap around.
    .-= Brandi Bear´s last blog ..How To Bear Tank =-.

  17. tip for putricide. (ok not first wing)

    pick a healer, or the offtank pally to dispell. personally I handle it in my tens, dbm puts a cozy little mark on their heads, when I see them running out of the raid they get a bubble a pom and a dispell.

    in 25 usually I go holy and body and soul them, if the pally tank is slow on getting it off them again i’m aware of where they are and dispell them to drop the lil slime.

    just that alone will make this fight alot easier. mmm healy / raid communication.

  18. sorry I had putricide on the brain. … back to body and soul lol

    I meant rotface on the above post 😉

  19. The Marrowgar strategy of stacking everyone in his hitbox indeed works, but as I’m usually on the other end of the boss, I’ll add a little bit to it.

    If you decide to do that, please warn your tanks that they will be targeted with Coldflame. Very often. Almost all the time.

    Make them aware of it, so they won’t panic and run out of the fires in different directions, as the Saber Lash the boss does has a limited range and it’s possible that they will go splat. Or just make them stand in his hitbox as well.

    The reason behind this is that stacking everyone in melee range somehow messes with Marrowgar’s script, and he starts casting the flame at melees since there’s not enough ranged targets (or at all). I haven’t tested how many ranged is enough (betting on 2 for 10-man seeing that’s how Festergut works), but I did my share of dancing around flames as a tank on quite a few raids now.
    .-= Saithir´s last blog ..Dear very patient individual, =-.


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