Last Sunday, we took down Reliquary of Souls but it was not without it’s challenges. Bosses come in multiple flavors. If you take a step back and examine it from a wider angle, you start spotting patterns. Blizzard starts recycling certain mechanics and everything becomes more apparent.
In the case of RoS, identify with the fact that it is a 3-stage process.
Now, the typical step for a raiding Guild when working through a multi stage process is to attack each phase individually. Our Guild explains the strategy and plan of attack for the first phase, then we go in and grind our way through it until the 1st phase is relatively mastered (minimal losses).
We expect wipes.
Once we get the initial step done, we outline the second phase and conduct a differential of our own: Identify the abilities of the boss, and how to counteract them. Now we have the information we need to battle through phases 1 and 2.
But the unexpected happens
What do you do in the unlikely event that the phases go through flawlessly and you’re left walking into phase 3 completely blind?
This is the raiding version of the hail Mary for healers, their coordinators, and the raid leader. If executed, you will look brilliant. If you fail, you have nothing to lose because you can claim you didn’t know what to expect.
How do you handle the unexpected?
I can only think of 2 cases where you can go into an encounter healer blind.
- The raid hasn’t been briefed
- You’ve sustained losses but there are enough healers or utility players to deliver a serious attempt
I don’t care what your title is. You can be the raid leader, the healing leader, coordinator, administrator, class leader, or whatever. Personally, I’ve assumed the title of Grand Master Matticus of Healonomics, 1st class.
But you share one common trait: The organization and setup of your healers.
Here are the facts
Since you’re reading this, you will have more time to make a decision than I will. I had exactly 2 seconds to issue instructions but I knew the following facts:
- Paladin tank is main tanking
- All healers are alive and accounted for
- Healer loadout consists of 1 Resto Druid, 1 Resto Shaman, 3 Holy Paladins, 2 Holy Priests (1 CoH, 1 Imp. DS)
- Group 3 consists of Shadow Priest, 2 Holy Paladins, and the 2 Holy Priests
- Resto Druid in MT’s group
- Gradually increasing shadow damage to the raid over time
- 3 players randomly chosen will take nature damage spikes of ~7000 periodically
- Forgot to buff Shadow Resist
Our raid group never even discussed the possibility of entering phase 3 at this point but no players were dead at this point.
The thought process
As healers, you know what the first priority of the raid is: The main tank. I don’t know what kind of damage our Prot. Pally was going to take so I fell back to tried and true methods. I assigned the Resto Druid and 2 Holy Pallies onto the main tank.
Second order of business is to ensure that the supply of life to the raid doesn’t get cut off. Since both Holy Priests were in group 3, it would make sense for the Imp. DS Priest to use their downranked Prayer of Healing before switching to the bigger guns. Doing that ensures the healer group stays alive because all they are doing is spamming Prayers.
The last job is the rest of the raid. I had 1 Paladin, myself, and a Resto Shaman left over and assigned them to the raid. Circle of Healing and Chain Heal tag team pretty well. Whatever CoH misses, Chain Heal latches on to.
The orders ensue
That entire step of recognizing the jobs that need to be done and figuring out which healers should take no more than a few seconds.
The trick here is to stay firm and don’t change anything. Don’t second guess yourself. Once you’ve decided on a course of action, stay true to it.
I barked out over vent quite clearly and named healers individually and their targets. Make sure you don’t rush and babble and risk your players not being able to understand what you are saying. Be loud. It’s important to assert everyone’s attention as this is a critical moment. There is no time to type this stuff out and spam it in your healer chat. Once you go into a situation like this, you’re on the clock.
So how did I do?
On this particular attempt, I failed. Our first try at the third phase of RoS resulted in a 3% wipe.
Because I forgot to buff Shadow Resist.
But you learn something from every failure and every success. You learn what worked and what didn’t. I used the exact same setup on the subsequent attempt resulting in the first kill. Build upon your previous results. If it’s not broke, don’t try and fix it and muddle it further.