Ulduar Fights Where It’s Just Not the Healer’s Fault

I’ve experienced just about type of death in Ulduar. I’d die to Constrictor tentacles. Early on, I’d get rocked by Hodir’s Flash Freeze. Sometimes I’d get unlucky with a Rocket Strike.

Today’s post is designed to help you identify under what situations a healer is at fault and when it is simply out of their hands. Keep in mind there are several exceptions. In most cases, tanks are the one that will be bearing the brunt of these abilities. If they die, odds are good they weren’t at full health. If it were any other player, well let’s take a look shall we?

This is a really long post. I’d consider using it as a reference when trying to troubleshoot your raid to see if there really was anything that could have been done to keep players alive.

Flame Leviathan

Nothing much here. I don’t send healers onboard the tank. I usually send up hybrid DPS who are able to heal in addition to DPS.

Razorscale

You died because of:

  • Devouring Flame – Your fault. Should not have been standing in them. It’s the blue stuff on the ground.
  • Flame Breath – Your fault. Don’t stand in front of Razor when this happens. Tanks are an exception.
  • Fireball – Our fault. It’s only 11000 damage or so. However, there are times when a player does get gibbed by these. I’ve been hit by this twice in a row in the span of a half second. I happened to have a shield up which saved me with a 15% health left.

Ignis

You died because of:

  • Scorch – Your fault. Why on earth would you stand on a big giant tower of fire?
  • Flame Jets – Our fault. Players should be in the green when Flame Jets connect.
  • Slag pot – Our fault. You can help even more though if you can. I cast Lesser Healing Wave on myself when I play my Elemental Shaman to help the heals out.
  • Construct explosion – Your fault. Run the heck out before it gets detonated.

Deconstructor

You died because of:

  • Gravity Bomb – Neither. It’s the job of the guy who got Gravity Bomb to get clear. If he’s too close, he pulls you in and detonates. Bomb guy’s fault.
  • Light Bomb – Both. It’s the Light bomb’s duty to also get clear. But the raid will take 2 or 3 ticks of Light Bomb damage. Our job is to heal that up. Requires effort on both parts.
  • Tympanic Tantrum – Our fault. We should be able to outheal the damage done by Tympanic Tantrum.
  • Bomb bot – Your fault. Should not be within proximity of these things when they explode.

Iron Council

You died because of:

  • Fusion Punch – Our fault. Unless none of the healers are dispellers. Then it’s the dispeller’s fault. That debuff has to come off quick.
  • High Voltage – Our fault. Steelbreaker’s aura. Everyone gets hit by it no matter what. It just has to be out healed.
  • Rune of Death – Your fault. Shouldn’t be standing in it.
  • Chain Lightning – Both. It depends on how much damage you take. If you die to a chain lightning, check to see if you were properly spaced up. You can stay with 1 or maybe 2 other players nearby. That type of damage is survivable. If your health was too low for a period of time, then its our fault for not getting you back in the green quick enough.
  • Lightning Whirl – Both. It should be interrupted. It’s normal to see 1 or 2 ticks slip through. Most players should be able to survive that. If you didn’t survive it, then chances are you weren’t topped either.
  • Overload – Your fault. When the little guy stops moving and starts doing his Kamehameha move, run out of the blast zone.
  • Lightning Tendrils – Both. It’s difficult to outrun this. Some players are going to get caught in them. At the same time, a concerted effort should be made by those not being focused to run away from it, not run towards it. Focused players are taking 3000 – 5000 damage per second. It’s possible if its one or two players. It’s a nightmare if it’s five or so.
  • Melee hit for 30000 – Not our fault. Ideally a cooldown will be popped. I know when I see Steelbreaker on the tank, I’ll drop a Pain Suppression reflexively on the tank to buy some extra time to get him repositioned. Sometimes Murphy likes to come along and crap on your raid with a Rune of Powered up Fusion Punch. One word: Screwed.

Kologarn

You died because of:

  • Shockwave – Our fault. No player should be that low when Shockwave connects. Otherwise they’re dead.
  • Stone Grip – Our fault. Gripped players just have to be kept alive until the arm takes enough damage.
  • Focused Eyebeam – Your fault. On the one hand, your health should be high enough to eat a tick or two if necessary. On the other hand, if you have several seconds to run and kite the beam before you start registering damage.

Auriaya

You died because of:

  • Seeping Feral Essence – Your fault. It’s basically a void zone. Get out of it.
  • Sonic Screech – Neither. Some players weren’t stacking up when it went off. Obviously if you’re at 5% health when it hits, you’re probably going to die. Should be in the green as much as possible.
  • Sentinel Blast – Our fault. It’s healer duty to heal up the initial parts of the blast. The faster the interrupts, the less we have to worry about it.

Hodir

You died because of:

  • Biting Cold – Your fault. Keep jumping. Keep strafing. Keep dancing and moving.
  • Flash Freeze – Your fault. Weren’t fast enough getting into a snow drift.
  • Icicles – Your fault. You can see the blue runes on the ground. You know where they’re coming from.
  • Frozen Blows – Our fault. There’s nothing you can really do to avoid it. It’s up to us healers to play triage on the whole raid.

Thorim

You died because of:

  • Charge Orb – Your fault. Should be standing near the center of the room to avoid this when in the arena.
  • Smash – Your fault. Should not be standing in front of the Rune Giant in the gauntlet.
  • Shockwave-like ability – Your fault. Dodge them.
  • Rune Detonation – Your fault. You see the fire shield above the target, get clear of them.
  • Chain Lightning – Both. Don’t stand with more than 2 other people. There’s only so much space in the room and you do have to dodge Lightnign Charges.
  • Lightning Charge – Your fault. When you see the streams coming from the wall towards Thorim, break off quickly.

Freya

You died because of:

  • Detonating Lashers – Our fault. Unless your raid manages to precisely kill all of them at the same time.
  • Nature Bomb – Your fault. When you see these big green balls on the ground, that’s your cue to move.

Mimiron

You died because of:

  • Napalm Shell – Our fault. We have to be able to heal this through.
  • Plasma Burst – Our fault. Tanks and healing cooldowns must be used so that they can live.
  • Shock Blast – Your fault. We can’t outheal 100000 damage all at once.
  • Proximity Mine – Your fault. No comment.
  • Heat Wave – Our fault. Shouldn’t be a problem healing this up.
  • Rapid Burst – Out fault. No good reason why we’d die to this either.
  • Rocket Strike – Your fault. Stand out of the red stuff on the ground.
  • Laser Barrage – Your fault. Nothing we can do about this either. Up to you to make a run for it.
  • Bomb bot – Neither. These things do a lot of damage when they explode. By now, your raiders should be able to survive at least one of these with you at full health. Hopefully the rest of your raid can kill these before they become an issue.

General Vezax

You died because of:

  • Shadow Crash – Your fault. Outrun these. We’ll do what we can to heal up the player or two that gets hit by it.
  • Searing Flames – Neither. Someone missed an interrupt. This should not be going off at all.
  • Surge of Darkness – Neither. Depends on the strategy. With defensive cooldowns, it shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Mark of the Faceless – Neither. Again, this requires the efforts of both. The target has to run out fast. Those nearby need to be healed up quickly.
  • Saronite Vapors – Your fault. Be very careful about staying in too late. As a Priest, I Prayer of Mending on stack 6, and Shield myself on 7 and escape with about half my health. Others may not be as lucky.

Yogg-Saron

You died because of:

  • Shadow Nova – Our fault. Unless your raid killed like 5 guardians at the same time.
  • Death Ray – Your fault. These green beams start off harmless at first and don’t move. When you see them, get clear. It amazes me how many players still stand there after it’s been there for several seconds. Drop what you’re doing and move.
  • Crusher Tentacles – Your fault. Shouldn’t be in melee range of these. They will kill with one blow.
  • Brain Link – Technically our fault. But run towards each other quick!
  • Squeeze – Our fault. We have to keep you alive long enough for the DPS to break you out.
  • Sanity – Your fault. There is nothing we can do if your sanity reaches zero.

And there you have it! Use this list only as a rough guideline. There are always exceptions to everything. Look into the context of what happened before making a judgment. You don’t always have to assign fault. But it is important to find out what happened so you can make sure it doesn’t happen again. You’ll notice that a lof of these deaths are easily preventable by healers. But there are some rare cases where there’s just nothing we can do short of a psychic Guardian Spirit on a player.

Yes, you’ll notice I didn’t add any comments on Algalon. I haven’t engaged him and it won’t be for a while.

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: 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