Healing Ulduar: Thorim

thorim_31_phixr

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

“Interlopers! You mortals who dare to interfere with my sport will pay… Wait–you… I remember you… In the mountains… But you… what is this? Where am–“

Thorim is the lord of storms, and brother to Loken. He is one of the Keepers of Ulduar.

The fight  is broken down into 3 phases, with phase 2 having two parts. First, lets see what Thorim can do.

Abilities

Sheath of Lightning – When the encounter begins, Thorim will coat himself in an almost impregnable sheet of lightning.

Charged Orb – Charges an orb in the arena with the power of storms. The tower will discharge Lightning Shock which can chain to multiple people in close range to eachother.

Lightning Shock / charged Orb Example:

lightning_phixr2

Storm Hammer – Thorim throws his hammer into the arena causing Deafening Thunder. It can interrupt your casting and places a debuff that increased casting times by 75% for 8 seconds

Summon Lightning Orb – Sends a ball of lightning down the corridor towards the players, laying waste to everything in it’s path.

Chain Lightning – Thorim casts a lightning bolt into the party that increases in damage the further it jumps.

Lightning Charge – Thorim absorbs the power of a nearby lightning orb and then discharges it in a cone back towards the orb he siphoned the power from. After the charge Thorim will hit faster and harder. This is a stacking buff, and acts as a passive enrage in phase 3

Lightning Charge example:

lightning-charge_phixr

Unbalancing Strike – Reduces the tanks defense by 200.

Enrage – When you start phase 2 you have 5 minutes to reach him before he enrages and clears the raid out.

Adds

Thorim has a lot of friends who want to play with you.

Runic Colossus

Ancient Rune Giant

Those two are like mini bosses. They don’t hit too hard.

Dark Rune Warbringer

Dark Rune Evoker

Dark Rune Champion

Dark Rune Commoner

Waves of trash will consist of these mobs.

Execution

The fight itself has 3 phased, with phase 2 having two parts.

Phase 1:

You enter the arena to see a giant Jormungur facing off against opponents of the opposite faction.

thorim_phixr

They are easily dispatched and don’t really hit hard on tanks. Clean them up and get ready for phase 2.

Phase 2:

Phase 2 is split into two sections, a Ramp/Gauntlet group and an Arena / pit group. We’ll talk about the ramp group first.

The Ramp group will normally consist of one tank, seven DPS and two healers. Speed is the biggest factor here. The faster you get to the end of the hallway, the sooner you can start phase 3. For healers you want someone who can snap big heals, or heals on the move. We found that druids and holy paladins work incredibly well for the ramp group. Large effective heals and lots of mobility.

There will be three groups of Warbringers along your way and a giant golem at the end of the hall that sends death down one side at a time. We assigned someone to call out which side to move to. As a healer, don’t worry about keeping someone who stands in the line of fire from the golem alive, they’re going to die. It’s pretty easy to heal the Gauntlet, just keep the tank alive and burn through as fast as possible.

The Arena group has a it’s own tree of woe to deal with. The aforementioned adds will be flooding into the arena to get a piece of us would-be adventurers for ruining their entertainment. Easiest way to do it is have tanks set up an AoE pit in the center of the arena. We use three tanks (bear , paladin and warrior just for reference). The druid and the paladin tank the vast majority of the mobs while the warrior pulls the champions off to the side slightly (see triangle on the diagram) to keep them from whirlwinding the dps.

arena

Healers (blue circles) should spread out around the AoE pit to minimize the impact of the Storm Hammers. Priests should be ready to mass disspell the Runic Shield from the evokers. Group healing helps a lot in this part of the fight.  CoH, Chain heal, glyphed Holy Light and even Wildgrowth will help keep the dps in the AoE pit up. Just keep an eye on aggro happy AoE damage dealers though, sometimes warlocks like to explode without warning here. Healers that are spread out should watch for Lightning Orbs and be ready to move quickly, least they chain the damage to other players. If you get snap aggro from adds through healing, you should run through the AoE pit to give your tanks a chance to snag them with a taunt or even just Consecrate / Death and Decay to grab them. Continue to burn down the pit, picking off Evokers and Champions as you can until your ramp group reaches Thorim and starts phase 3. Name of the game is survival. Heal your rear off! keep everyone up, especially tanks and you’ll be good to go.

Phase 3:

Once you reach Thorim’s platform he jumps down into the arena. A tank has to pick him up right away while everyone else works on adds. Thorim hits reasonably hard when he connects so it is suggested to have a few healers on the tanks. Normally We put 3 healers on the two Thorim tanks, Druid, Paladin and a Disc priest have been wonderful for evening out damage and making Unbalanced Strike transitions easier.  As the fight goes on, Thorim hits harder and harder, much in the way of Gruul the Dragonslayer, but three healers should be enough to keep the tanks alive. The rest of the raid and healers need to be spread out around the room, more then 10 yard away from someone if you can. When Thorim Chain Lightnings, it can have disastrous results.

While you’re healing keep your eyes peeled for a white pulsing line going between him and one of the pillars. At this point, you want to run away from that line as quickly as possible. After the line is done energizing him, he will cast an arch of lightning in a 60 degree cone  towards wherever he pulled the power from. If you’re caught in it it will hurt. Stop your casting and move fast and then resume healing. The tanks will keep rotating so make sure they are topped off while your raid healers keep track of everyone else. Tank healers have to be careful to make sure they switch to the new tank quickly otherwise you run the risk of the new tank eating two large strikes back to back later in the fight.

In my opinion the hardest part of this encounter is phase 2 for arena healers. There is just a lot going on. There’s a ton of movement, a ton of raid damage and a ton of situational awareness needed to make it through. Heads up Healing comes in very handy in the arena as it lets you move before you’re splatted. It also helps you when you can see the mobs turn to go take out that AoEing warlock before they actually hit her (looking at you Jahadura!) and splatter their remains all over the arena floor. Once you get this part down, the rest of the encounter is no harder then anything else you’ve faced so far. Now for the good stuff.

Healer Items:

Once you free Thorim and he’ll leave behind the Cache of Storms, here’s some goodies he has

T8 Helm token

Scale of Fates – Trinket (Haste/Spellpower)

Pauldrons of the Combatant -Shoulders (Shamans)

Wisdom’s Hold – Shield (Paladins, Shamans)

Leggings of Lost Love – Legs (Priest, Druid)

Also a little poll here. My guild leader things Thorim sounds like Patrick Stewart, I think my guild leader is very mistaken. What do you guys think? Does Thorim sound like Patrick Stewart?

Until next time, Happy Healing

sig3

Healing Ulduar: Kologarn

kologarn

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

Kologarn is the sentinel that stands in the way between your raid group and the rest of Ulduear. He is a challenging boss guilds that are new to raiding. Like Deconstructor, victory lies in the ultimate ability of individual players.

Abilities

Eyebeams: Two ways to handle this. Run out the door or run circles on the right side of the platform. More on this later.

Stone grip: He’s going to pluck three players in to the palm of his hand and attempt to squeeze them to death until they get broken out. The only way to break players out is by DPSing the arm. Once it takes 380000 damage, the players are released.

Execution

DPS priority is going to approach the boss in this order: Right arm, Elementals, torso. When any arm is destroyed, the torso loses the same amount of health.

It’s best to call out right arm health at 5% intervals starting from 20 so your tanks know when to switch. After the right arm falls, elementals will spawn.

Two tanks are needed to hold Kologarn’s attention. He’s got a Gluth-like debuff that requires two tanks to taunt off each other. Otherwise, the debuff becomes flat out unbearable.

kolo-beams

Dodging eye beams

When you get focused by twin green beams, you have around 2 seconds to start hustling before you get rocked. There’s two ways to handle avoiding them:

Out the door

Make a beeline for the door and down the stairs. The upside is that it presents minimal risk to the players in your raid group. The down side is if the player is too slow, they might die due to line of sight issues. As healers, we don’t have to worry about this.

Laps on the right side

Have beam focused players run circles along the right side of the room. The pros and cons are the exact inverse of the bailing-out-the-door method. Focused players are well within range of healers. But poor kiting can lead to multiple casualties.

Whatever solution you choose, drill it in the heads of the rest of the raid to immediately get out of the green. The beams are extremely hard to miss. Keep your head up.

The Elemental Tank

It’s happened before. I’ve seen the off tank gain aggo of all ads and get focused by beams at the exact same time. As a tank, he’ll live for a few extra seconds but not anymore after that. Use whatever saves you can on him to help lessen the blow. Pain Suppression, Guardian Spirit and Blessing of Sacrifice work admirably.

Healing strategy

Around 6-7 healers is a good number to start with. Expect an enormous amount of raid damage being doled out. His left arm sweeps the entire raid for around 15000+. Pick two of your strongest tank healers and assign them to the main tank (this will vary as they’re taunting off each other). Be sure to have Kologarn’s target up so you can see which tank he’s presently on.

If you have access to two Resto Shamans, they can anchor the Stone Grips quite easily.

Healer items

Ironmender – OH (Priests, Druids)

Gloves of the Pythonic Guardian – Gloves (Paladin)

Robes of the Umbral Brute – Chest (Priests)

Unfaltering Armguards – Wrists (Paladin)

Abusing General Vezax as Discipline

The Conquest strike team reached General V on Monday evening. In the final hour remaining in our raid night, we spent most of the time identifying the environmental elements of the fight.

What did the Saronite Vapors look like?

What’s Shadow Crash?

How do we deal with Mark of the Faceless?

More importantly for healers, how do we manage our mana while being truly unable to gain it back unless it’s from said Vapors?

One of the aspects of the fight that I noticed early on is Shadow Crash.

"”Fires a shadow missile at a target. Upon impact, it leaves an energy field that lingers for 20 seconds, increases magical damage dealt by 100%, increasing casting speed by 100%, reducing healing done by 75%, and reducing mana costs by 70%.”

The primary strength of Discipline Priests lie in their powers of mitigation. Shadow Crash affects a healer’s mana cost, cast speed, and actual healing done. You can see where I’m going with this.

Power Word: Shield is instant. The casting speed debuff won’t have an effect there. It’s also not technically a heal. It’s a damage absorption. Finally it does reduce the cost of shields by 70%.

The bottom line: ~200 mana costing shields. Very nice.

Heh, I’m not going to jinx the week by predicting whether or not we’ll obtain a kill. I had an internal progression timeline for Ulduar when it came out and we’re right on schedule.

Hybrid it up on General Vezax

380033-header

This is a guest post by Paladin blogger Honorshammer of Honor’s Code.

General Vezax is the the last boss you must down before you cross swords with Yogg-Saron himself.

The General is one of most challenging fights in all of Ulduar due to his Aura of Despair. What is it that this lovely gift from the Developers does?

From WoWWiki (http://www.wowwiki.com/General_Vezax) we find:

Aura of Despair – Prevents mana regeneration throughout the fight by all means, except for Judgments of the Wise, Spiritual Attunement, Aspect of the Viper, Thrill of the Hunt, and Shamanistic Rage. Note that unlike the Play Test Realm version of this encounter Mana Potions and active abilities such as Evocation and Life Tap will not function.

My guild recently downed General Vezax. I was Retribution for the fight, but when one of our healers went down; I jumped in and started throwing some heals on the tank. That’s when I discovered the power of Judgments of the Wise for this fight. By Judging and stopcasting I was able to take over the 3rd healer role and concentrate on helping to keep our Main Tank alive, and do it on a Ret Paladin’s mana pool.

What exactly does Judgement of the Wise do?

Judgements of the Wise Rank 3 – Your Judgement spells have a 100% chance to grant the Replenishment effect to up to 10 party or raid members mana regeneration equal to 0.25% of their maximum mana per second for 15 sec, and to immediately grant you 25% of your base mana. (Source)

The replenishment aspect is useless. After reviewing the WoW Web Stats, I can see that I never gained Replenishment. However I did gain over 100,000 mana from Judgments of the wise! Because it works off base mana, it would restore the same amount regardless of the current mana pool of the Paladin.

We know that for a Level 80 Paladin, Holy Light cost 1,274 mana. So with a little napkin math, we can conclude that I regenerated enough mana from Judgments of the Wise to cast over 70 Holy Lights. That’s without the use of any Saronite Vapors at all.

How practical would it be it for a Holy Paladin to get Judgement of the Wise? Let’s look at a talents build that allows a Holy Paladin to get Judgement of the Wise, and the tradeoffs it makes to get there.

The most popular Holy Paladin build according to TalentChic is 51/5/15. Let’s look at what is needed to turn that into our hybrid build.

First off, the 5 points in Divinity have to go. Divinity is a really strong Tier 1 talent, but we simply won’t have room for it in our build. It doesn’t matter how hard the heal hits if you don’t have the mana to cast it.

Those 5 points move into Sanctity of Battle and Pursuit of Justice. Sanctity gives you even more crit for your Holy spells which should offset some of the loss of Divinity. There is a ton of movement on General Vezax so Pursuit of Justice is really nice as you move away from a Shadow Crash or into a Saronite Vapor.

Then we take the points out of Beacon of Light. This is one tank fight. Let the other healers handle the Raid; you can stay on the Tank so Beacon is a minor loss. You are going to lose the Haste from Judgments of the Pure and Infusion of Light. You will also have to heal from melee range because you won’t have the range increase from Enlightened Judgments. We had our Resto Druid healing from near melee range, so we could just have just as easily had a Holy Paladin there.

You won’t have the mana reduction from Divine Illumination. Based on General Vexax’s enrage timer, you would only be able to fire Divine Illumination more than 3 times during the fight. Are those 45 seconds of reduced cost worth the mana you can get back from Judgments of the Wise?

Assuming a little haste from gear, we’ll call Holy Light a 2 second cast. In those 45 seconds, we can get off 22.5 Holy Lights. To give every advantage to Divine Illumination, we’ll call it 23.

Holy Light costs 1271 so half it’s cost is 635. So we’ve saved 635 mana times 23 casts or about 15,000 mana. It’s about 10% of what Judgments of the Wise gives you. So Divine Illumination is gone as well. Bu-bye!

Our final move is to take 2 points out of Holy Guildance which will result in about a 4% loss of spell power from Intellect. The rest of the Holy Paladin build is pretty much intact.

With these points freed up, we continue to ascend the Ret Tree. The next point taken in Ret is Sanctified Retribution. This will increase all damage done by everyone near us, even if we are running Concentration Aura.

We want to pick up Improved Judgments so we can judge as often as possible, and trigger Judgments of the Wise as often as possible. Now we need two ‘filler’ points to move into the next Tier. There aren’t any great places to put them. I chose to put them in Crusade to increase the damage of Judgment by 3%. This build relies on judging often, so you might as well have them hit a little harder.

On the next tier, we grab Divine Purpose. The 4% spell miss will act as increased resistance to Shadow Crash and Searing Flames should one get through your interrupters.

Here again we find ourselves two points short of the next tier and not really any good place to spend them. I opted for Vengeance. Maybe you could get a stack going and hit those Judgments a little harder. It’s a filler choice so anywhere you want to throw two points will probably work.

Finally, we open Judgments of the Wise.

Here’s the final 38/0/33 build in the WoWhead tool.

General Vezax is a challenging fight. Specing for a specific fight is something that used to be fairly common in late Tier 6 and Sunwell. We didn’t need it for Tier 7 raids, but as we near the end of Tier 8, it may be something to consider again.

hybrid

Healing Ulduar: Hodir

creature_hodir

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

Hodir is a fight that requires a lot of movement. This boss is a big cuddly snowman who likes to spread the love, and the iceblocks. This fight will keep you on your toes. 

Notes about the fight:

  • Lots of movement
  • Raid wide damage

Abilities

Biting Cold – This is an aura like affect that pulses through the entire raid. This is much like the ability from Keristrasza in the nexus, you need to keep moving to keep it from stacking up on you. Each stack increases the periodic damage it deals. 

Freeze – This deals about 5k frost damage to all players within 10 yards of the target, it also roots the targets in place.

Flash Freeze – This encases the entire raid in blocks of ice. This is prevented by standing on snowdrifts. 

Icicle – Occasionally giant blocks of ice will fall from the ceiling. These deal 12,000 damage to anyone hit and have a knock back component. You can see which areas will be hit by a small circular glyph on the ground. If you are having trouble seeing the glyphs, go into your video settings and turn on Projected Textures. Before a flash freeze, a larger glyph will show on the ground before the ice falls and will leave behind Snowdrifts which must be used to avoid flash freeze. 

Frozen Blows – Reduces Hodir’s physical damage but adds a frost damage component to his attacks. This also has a raid wide frost damage effect. 

Enrage – Hodir has a 9 minute Enrage Timer 

Ability Examples:

ice      

 Icicle

 snowdrift

 Snowdrift

 freeze

 Freeze

NPCs

Hodir also comes with a selections of NPC’s that must be broken out of their icy prisons. There will be four on normal and 8 on heroic. The npc’s consists of the following. 

2x Druids: The druids are hard to miss, they’re in boomkin form. When you break them out they DPS Hodir but also cast Starlight which increases the attack speed of anyone standing in it by 100%

2x Shaman: The shamans DPS Hodir elemental style and will occasionally cast Storm Cloud on a raid member. This ability lets you buff several raid members with Storm Power which increases their critical strike damage by 135%

2x Mages: The mages will help try to break fellow NPCs out of ice blocks and will cast a Toasty Fire. The fire is literally a camp fire on the ground, but it fights off the effects of biting cold. Falling ice and Flash Freeze will wipe out the fire. 

2x Priests: The priests will smite and occasionally throw out a heal, but most importantly they will cast Dispel Magic to free players from the effects of Freeze

Execution

Your raid will head in following the Main Tank. The tank will take Hodir back towards the rear of the room. DPS will begin by breaking out the NPCs. After all the NPCs have been broken out, DPS can start in on Hodir. When DPS first engages Hodir it is a good time to blow Heroism / Bloodlust. Healers should move into position to be near the Main Tank while everyone else needs to move into position around the raid. DPS continues on Hodir until he is about to cast Flash Freeze. Everyone needs to move to the Snowdrifts to avoid being frozen. After the Flash Freeze any raiders who were frozen should be broken free ASAP. DPS will then begin on the NPCs again until all are free, and then will resume DPS on Hodir. Rinse and repeat until the big guy is done. 

Healing Hodir

Healing Hodir has two major components, 

Main Tank – Three healers should be assigned to the main tank. They should be in close proximity at all times and moving with the tank as needed. Grace from a Disc Priest helps even out the damage from Hodir. 

Raid – The rest of the healers should be spread out along the outside of the raid to cover as many raiders as possible. 

All healers will be moving quite a bit during this fight, dodging falling ice and shaking off the effect of bitting cold until the NPC’s are broken loose. Shamans will be using a lot of Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave, Druids will be right at home rolling HoTs, Paladins will be using quick Flash Heals, as well as priests utilizing renews and quick heals. It is possible to toss out a longer cast heal such as Greater Heal or Chain Heal and move before biting cold stacks, as long as you can find yourself a rhythm for move and cast. Your main goal as healers should be to find a Toasty Fire close enough to the raid to sit on. If you have the Toasty Fire buff, you can spam heals without worry of stacking Biting Cold. Since the rest of the raid will be moving around though, be prepared to move to keep people in range. Once you learn to balance the movement and the heals the fight is pretty straight forward.

Until next time, Happy Healing.