Healing Crusader’s Coliseum: Faction Champions

faction-champions

Back from Blizzcon and now well rested. Got some pretty cool announcements coming up. I’m working on a very special project right now that I’ll disclose later.

Anyway, I’ve gotten several requests for tips on Faction Champions.

And it’s just going to be that: Tips. The same day I touched down at Vancouver, it was back to business in the raid machine. After blitzing through Northrend Beasts and Lord Jaraxxus, it’s time to check out Faction Champions from a healer perspective.

Not a traditional fight

This is the key. There is no such thing as aggro management or threat on this encounter. This is an extremely chaotic, fast paced, arena-esque fight. Players that dual spec into PvP may even wish to consider doing so for extra survival or abilities. Your raid group is going to be facing off against 10 champions of the opposing faction (6 on normal). They’re selected from a random pool of NPCs.

  • Death Knight
  • Balance Druid
  • Resto Druid
  • Hunter
  • Mage
  • Holy Paladin
  • Retribution Paladin
  • Healing Priest
  • Shadow Priest
  • Rogue
  • Caster/Healing Shaman
  • Enhancement Shaman
  • Warlock
  • Warrior

Ones in bold are your raid’s targets of interest. Isn’t it rather odd that they’re all healers?

Execution

It’s difficult to provide an exact outline of what your group has to do. The best I can provide is a general guideline. Go ahead and move your group under the Alliance (or Horde) section first before activating the NPC. It’s a good idea to take stock of what class combination you’re group is going to be facing so that crowd control can be used accordingly.

In most cases, our raid group initially crowd controls every NPC as much as possible other than healers. For example, this week we had a healing Priest, the caster Shaman along with the Holy Paladin. We opted to zero in on the Shaman first. Our Warrior tank started working on the Holy Paladin just by keeping him locked down and interrupted. Placing a Rogue or 3 on the Priest is also a nice idea.

Our basic mentality is that if we run down the healers first, then the other NPC’s are a cake walk. The next dangerous Champion after healers is the Rogue based on the speed at which it can kill a target.

This is an endurance fight. Expect to invest around 10 minutes from start to finish. Each NPC has around 2.4 million health (some have 1.9 million).

Communication is extremely important here. If you’re being pursued, say something. Someone might be able to jump in and snare or CC a Champion.

General class tips

  1. Keep the melee NPC’s busy as much as possible.
  2. Death Knights should defensive Death Grip Rogues, Warriors, Ret Paladins, and Death Knights away from the raid and slow them down. Minimize their movement with slows and stuns
  3. Typhoon and Thunderstorm intelligently. Again, use them defensively to keep NPCs away from your healers.
  4. Drop a Fear Bomb if multiple NPCs are closing in on someone.
  5. Crowd control incurs diminishing returns. Example, after casting 3 Polymorphs on one Champion, it’ll become immune to Polymorph. Spread that CC out.
  6. Offensive Dispels are a virtual requirement. Shamans should be Purging, Priests should be Dispelling. Things you want to get rid of are Druid HoTs and Shaman Earth Shields.
  7. If you have a PvP Trinket, consider equipping it for the fight.
  8. Heroism/Bloodlust on the initial pull. The sooner you kill an NPC or 2, the easier it becomes.

For Priests

As a Priest, my limited arena training has taught me two important skills: Running and healing. If you can manage to run and heal at the same time, you’ll be in good condition. I mainly stuck to firing off blind Mass Dispels (targeting an area with a lot of traffic and hoping it connects) and specific single target Dispels. Keep Shields active on players who get focused and are soft. Don’t bother with mana burning or mind controlling.

Use Psychic Scream everytime it’s available. Just run into a crowd and drop the fear bomb.

Your first priority is to keep yourself alive. If you have to run, drop what you’re doing and run. This isn’t exactly a fight where you can sit there and just grind heal your way through.

Use your defensive cooldowns liberally. Pain Suppression and Guardian Spirit will save lives. After I see a big spike on someone, I’ll drop a cooldown on them. If I see 3 Champions close in on a player, I’ll drop a cooldown on them. If I get death gripped, I’ll crap my pants then use a cooldown on myself (No joke. That Death Knight is a pain).

For Druids

This is just from me watching Sydera. Hopefully she’ll chime in here at some point. I’ve seen Druids use their Cyclone in between healing on various NPCs. Reserve Roots for melee NPCs if they’re chasing after people. Go cat form to put distance between you and Champions. If you’re out of tricks, it’s bear form until the Champion gets peeled off you.

For Paladins

Platewearers are usually durable in this one. Have the Hammer stun ready and use it when the cooldown is up. Hand of Sacrifice or Divine Sacrifice and follow it up with a Paladin bubble to help out the raid. The Champions are smart enough to occasionally focus fire on one target.

For Shamans

I reconfigured my totem setup to include Earthbind, Cleansing, and Grounding totem. Every so often, I’d run into a crowd and drop them all down again. Really aware Shamans will know to keep a healer focused and Wind Shear to help with the interrupting process. Bonus points if you can squeeze off Frost Shocks on a Champion who is chasing someone. Do all that while healing, and your raiding group will love you.

Hope this helps! Feel free to comment below with any extra tips or tricks in general or against specific Champions.

Good luck!

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. Being one of the only three people in my guild with decent arena rating I love this fight. I get to flex my pvp muscles ánd make fun of my fellow healers when they cleanse unstable affliction at the same time.

    Basically, what we do is put a single interrupter on each healer, except the one that’s going down first. If there’s a warlock he gets a dedicated interrupter as well, while and high burst caster, such as the arcane mage gets a lock and a mage assigned to it to rotate cc on it, avoiding diminishing returns.

    The key to dealing with the melee is simply to have your death knights spam coi on them, if someone gets aggro they should kite. In case of an emergency (rogue shadowstepping to your healer), hunters can use distracting shot to get the mob off. Taunt is on DR though, so use this wisely.

    The most important thing though is to dispel constantly, and dispel before healing. CC has priority, then any kind of MS effect (wound poison), then dots and everything else, but be careful not to dispel UA. On our first kill I had 230 dispels alone.

    Offensive dispels also help a lot. If you don’t have a shadowpriest or a dps shaman, it is completely worth assigning on of your healing priests or shamans to keep the kill target stripped of debuffs. This is literally the single biggest dps increase you can give yourself on this fight, and makes i go by a lot faster.

  2. Great post. When I summarize this fight to anyone, I break it down to a few critial points:

    * CC any chance you get
    * Dispel like a mad man
    * Save your butt by running and healing
    * If anyone takes more than 2-3k dmg, assume they’re about to get their smashed and heal like crazy.

    You got all those bases covered 🙂

    We usually kill in this order: healers, plate, other. The plate sometimes runs around together and can almost one shat a clothie so it is safe to take those out quick.

  3. I strongly disagree with randomly ccing. Assign your cc and make sure there’s no DR conflicts.

    • @Tarqon: Assigned CC’s should be setup on the initial pull. That, I agree with.

      After that, it’s just going to be a big mess of a free for all. My raid ended up rotating different CC’s on the same targets to help spread them out. After sheeping one target several times, we’d Hex it a few more times before rooting it another half a dozen times and finishing it with several stunlocks or fear bombs. It’s going to be fairly chaotic to organize explicit CC targets after the fact. Better off playing it by ear.

  4. Never heard of this before but it looks very fun and those tips sound excellent. I really feel like I ought to get my main character up to 80 and try engaging in some decent raiding. I feel like I’m missing out on so much!
    .-= We Fly Spitfires´s last blog ..The Sexy Ladies Of Blizzcon ‘09 =-.

  5. Every raid is different, of course, but we’ve found it much easier to CC the healers and burn the melee Champions first. We’ll put an interrupter on the paladin, priest and shaman healers and actually ignore — that’s right, ignore! — the resto druid. (As long as your shaman is on top of her game, she can purge HoTs off the kill target as soon as they come up.)

    We initially struggled with the fight on both 10- and 25-man, but once we moved the healers from the beginning to the end of our kill order, the entire fight became almost trivial.
    .-= Elleiras´s last blog ..Introducing: Elam! =-.

  6. As a resto shammy, I have found that me spending my time purging, shocking and utilising my totems goes far more towards keeping the group alive than outright healing so I definitely agree that a well played resto shaman here will have the love of their raid team!

    /hug
    Aurk
    .-= Aurik´s last blog ../wave =-.

  7. We just had our priests blowing cooldowns on everyone and massdispelling like mad and leaving the rest of the healing to the other healers. As soon as the opposing healers went down we’d ease up on the massdispelling and and drop our fear bombs in chains. I wore my “twisting nether” card for shits and giggles during one attempt, ended up being taken down by the rogue and was able to use it to get back up and continue my dispels.

    One tip that made this an easy fight was we made sure the opposing shammy healer goes down first and spammed purges on it like crazy. Other healer HoTs made this NPC the hardest of all to kill.
    .-= Napaeae´s last blog ..How Guild Recruiting Helped My Career =-.

  8. that’s soooo 2 weeks ago Matt 😛
    .-= Upyursh´s last blog ..Quick Tips: Coliseum – Anub’arak =-.

  9. im just jealous really 🙁
    .-= Upyursh´s last blog ..Comment on Lowering Your Wow Latency by upyursh =-.

  10. Don’t forget that as a Priest you can Fade to drop agro if a DK or whatever is coming after you. This does really work.

    I would also recommend getting your dps to kill off the Hunter (and maybe even the Warlock) pets after the first couple targets goes down. These can be really nasty if left until the end and really don’t take long to kill.
    .-= Cassandri´s last blog ..The Prince and the Army of the Damned =-.

  11. I only did this on 10 man, so I dont know if it works on 25, but what we did was having our two tanks play around with the melee. When u see them running to a clothie or healer, just taunt them, they will start running towards you for a bit before they drop aggro, enough to keep your fellow guildies alive.
    As a warrior, I just stayed on the edge of the arena, peeling those melee away from the group – and keeping them busy. It worked much better for us than me switching to dps and trying to add some damage into the mix.
    My last blog post is exactly about this fight.
    .-= Wangari´s last blog ..Does it burn when you PVP? =-.

  12. I’ve done this fight on 10 and 25 man on my druid and on 10 man on my priest. I don’t think anyone mentioned that even when targeting the shaman first, the faction champions are likely to get a heroism/bloodlust of their own off and it will make them hit even harder than they are already hitting. It can be dispelled! The priest in the group should be mass dispelling like crazy when it goes off until they all shrink back down to normal size.

    Other than that…I actually thought this was easier to heal on my druid than on my priest. I usually hit barkskin when I got targeted plus nature’s grasp when something was on me to root it momentarily. Then a ton of cleansing poisons and dispelling curses, lots of rejuvenations and wild growths. Didn’t really get targeted a lot except by all the pets (warlock, hunter, boomkin). When I did I could shout out to someone that a melee was on me and kite it around until they got it off. Shadowmeld also works for night elves to get a Champion (or pet) to drop aggro on them for a moment.

    On my priest, I felt like I was doing more mass dispelling, dispelling and power word shielding than actual healing. Psychic scream when anything got on me or when the Champions got bunched up and the raid needed to separate them a bit.

    Usually our groups killed the shaman first, the healing priest second, and CC’d the resto druid unti the end. Warlocks are great for keeping the druid CC’d with banishes and fears.

  13. For druids in this fight, I suggest staying in tree form in the initial part of the fight when damage is highest (maybe opening with a Cyclone on someone if you’re assigned to that) and then using your pvp trinket and nature’s grasp to help kite the inevitable melee dps that will follow you. If the treants get after me, I shadowmeld and they bother someone else. If it’s the warlock pet, I kite him and hope he notices someone else. I actually did a lot of rejuvs and nourishes in the fight, making use of the frost trap to help kite anything that aggroed me.

    I did toss off some cyclones in the last half of the fight–we were going to win anyway, and all extra cc did is keep more of us alive to see it. For us, the ret pally was always relatively uncontrolled, basically being kited by one person and then another, so he was a good target. I also hit the death knight a few times with cyclone.

    I find it a bad idea, though, to try to cyclone someone who’s actively targeting me. It’s usually better to stay in tree form for the armor bonus and kite through a frost trap.

  14. as a resto shaman I also found that using tremor totem when the warlock is present useful and use of earth shield on myself rather than the usual water shield helped my survivability especially when the balance druid sent the ents to attack me, But I do have a high mana reserve and could afford to do this I also like to keep pots on me for emergency use and for a shaman who is concerned about going out of mana probably a flask of mojo would also be of use. I have done this on 10 and 25 man but am not a pvp’er and not a lover of the fight I can see the benifit of having raid members watch the backs of the healers because it looks like the NPC’s are programmed to take the healers out first.

  15. >There is no such thing as aggro management or threat on this encounter

    Not quite true. The champions can be taunted or even kited around with distracting shot. Fade works for priests and I’d imagine soulshatter does for locks.

    For us the trick was to separate their healers so they couldnt heal each other then focus fire on one.

  16. Loved this fight! Okay, well, hated it the first time we tried it with no locks, DKs, or rogues and ended up wiping… oh jeez, I don’t know, 11 times? 140G in repair bills as a priest?

    It’s been a while since I’ve had fun on EVERY fight in a raid though, and this was super exciting. I love that, as a priest, I get to employ literally every heal and tool I have. I was running around hola nova-ing (for my happy little crit bubbles), fear bombing, mass dispelling, silencing. I was in heaven.

    And what’s better, no lame trash pulls! Just boss after boss! Yeee-eeesss.

    /dance

  17. We focus down the DPS first (usually the warrior then the rogue) and CC or ignore the healers mostly. First few attempts at focusing the healers didn’t get us very far, the resto druid giving us the most problems so when we did beat the encounter and only the resto druid was left I felt sorry for my compatriot as the rest of the raid toyed with him in revenge.

    As a resto druid with a resto shammy and holy priest I seem to end up with the primary healing load since the other two are focused on purging/dispelling, however this seems to work quite well especially at nullifying the resto druid.

    Interestingly the last two weeks I ended up being the heal tank (most damage taken and healing done) with the ret pally and enchance shammy seemingly two manning me after only about 30-60 seconds into the fight. Not sure if this is blind luck or its part of their mechanics but after two weeks I’m leaning away from luck. To combat this I’ve just been heal tanking it (full HoTs on myself ASAP, swiftmend and nourish as a last resort to keep my mobility as high as possible), barkskin as often as possible (usually just before I stop moving to start using direct heals on myself) and using nature’s grasp to get at least one of them off my back for a few second. Nature’s Swiftness+ Healing Touch and Barkskin + Tranquility so far have been kept in reserve. I’m not sure that I’d be able to keep pace with the self healing on hardmode in the same circumstances so time will tell if it still works. Keeping my distance from the group also gives me a little bit of time to react since I can usually see them coming which gives me time to ensure I’ve got full HoTs rolling on myself. I’ve also been thinking that would be a good time to try bear form + bash to give me a little more space/time as well.

    When I’m not getting attacked I generally try and keep moving as much as possible as far away from the “group” as my healing range will let me keep rejuv on everyone. Obviously responding to anyone who takes damage (usually with Regrowth as my first option after rejuv). Once I get attacked I generally run an orbit around the group so that I’m still in range of the other two healers as much as possible.

    I tried keeping Cyclone going for a while but found that it took up too much healing time and people were dying as a result of me being the primary healer for the encounter by default. Added to the need for healing my Cyclone/Thorns focus macro seems to have issues with the faction champs for some reason but seems fine otherwise. With the macro problems and the healing demands I’ve pretty much ignored it so far since we aren’t having issues and don’t need to look for other answers at the moment. I’m hoping I’ve got my Thorns/Cyclone macro sorted now so that I can use the distance from the group as time to keep them away from me.

    I’ve only been able to try it out on 10 man due to scheduling problems. 25man might give me some more leeway to help CC and/or it might result in the healing tanking strategy failing.

    Anyway you have to love an encounter that gives the chance for Thorns on everyone to shine. But perhaps that’s just my own inside joke…hmmmm next time I’m looking at recount I’ll have to see how much damage Thorn’s does, perhaps I’m top of the DPS as well as damage taken and healing done. 😉

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