Healing Icecrown from a Druid’s Perspective – Part 2

This is a guest post by Epiphanize, a Resto Druid, and co-host of Raid Warning.

Now that we got all that out of the way, it is time to get down to business. You didn’t really show up just to listen to me go on about glyphs, did you? No, you came to heal your branches off! One quick thing: Be sure to check out the comments in my previous article; there were some good suggestions for alternative point distribution.

Lord Marrowgar

So here we are, Lord Marrowgar, a very interesting challenge for healers. However, it does give Druids a chance to show off their ability to heal on the run. This can be a relatively hectic fight, so regardless of whether you are tank or raid healing, you will need to be tossing HoTs at some points during the fight.

Tank Healing

This is the easier of two roles against Marrowgar.  During his initial phase and all the ones where he is not spinning all over the place, it is essentially a one tank fight. Since the nerf, Marrowgar does quit a bit less melee damage. So the damage your meat shield will be taking will be fairly minimal. This is pretty manageable for Trees, as we can keep the tank pretty well topped off with our HoTs.

One ability you need to be prepared for though is Saber Lash.  Saber Lash is an ability similar to Koralon’s Meteor Fists, in which two tanks will need to stack in order to distribute the damage. Your healing priority will be the Main Tank followed by the Off-Tank after a Saber Lash. As a tree, you have the added benefit of hitting both with Wild Growth before topping off the Main Tank. Other than dodging the occasional slow-motion blue flames, there is not much to deal with during this phase.

Raid Healing

As stated above, this fight can be quite hectic for a raid healer. During the first phase you will have quite a bit to manage. In 10-player, one random player will be Bone Spiked. DPS will be turning to focus on getting the player down as quickly as possible. This presents two things for you as a raid healer. You obviously will need to be focusing on healing the spiked player. I’ve managed to safely keep them up with Rejuvenation and Swiftmend, though this can also be accomplished with a few Nourishes as well. The other thing is people taking Coldflame damage, as they will often be ignoring the flames to get the person off the spike. Again this is usually handled by tossing some Rejuvenations and Wild Growth, saving Swiftmend for anyone who stands in the fire just a bit too long.

The last thing you will be concerned with during the pre-Bone Storm phases is the aforementioned Coldflame. As the raid healer, you will be responsible for topping off anyone who doesn’t get out of the way of the flames quick enough. The damage it does is not too horrible as long as no one just stands there. Its actually more of a nuisance avoiding it yourself, as you will often need to decide between standing their long enough to finish casting a heal, or cutting it short to avoid taking too much damage yourself.

Bone Storm

This phase is pretty similar for Druids regardless of your role. Marrowgar will become untauntable and spin around the room doing relatively minor AOE damage. It is still good to avoid him if possible, as it makes life a bit easier on all the healers. The big thing you will be dealing with is blue flames (of ice?) again. Only this time he drops 4 at a time. This phase is all about survival. Since you will be on the move during this, Druids will be arguably the best healer for this phase. This is where glyphs like Rapid Rejuvenation and Wild Growth start to shine in ICC. Just keep HoTs on everyone and toss Wild Growth on cooldown and you should be fine. Make sure to keep Swiftmend and your NS-HT macro at the ready in case anyone gets into trouble.

One last thing that the Tank Healer needs to consider is the position of the tanks during all chaos. The tanks will be sticking close to Marrowgar during Bone Storm in order to pick him up at the end of the phase. Not only will the tanks be taking a bit extra damage, but you will want to be nearby to keep the Main Tank healed up while everyone gets back to some semblance of order.

Lady Deathwhisper

The next boss in The Citadel is quite a bit easier on the healers than Marrowgar. If your group is good about staying out of Death and Decay and interrupting Frost Bolts, you won’t have to mash the keyboard nearly as much. For Druids, this fight is all about situational awareness and keeping in range of the players taking damage.

Phase 1

The key to Lady Deathwhisper is getting through her first phase. During this phase she will be behind a mana shield that DPS will need to burn through in between dealing with adds that spawn from either side of the room. After that, the fight is pretty much tank and spank. In my experience, this is the fight where you are most likely to only use 2 healers.

The mechanics of the adds are pretty complicated at times, so it is good to familiarize yourself with them. There will be times the tank and raid will be taking increased damage based on these mechanics. There is a lot of movement involved, so there will often be times you will have to drag your stump across the room to toss a heal or two.

There are a few other considerations during this phase. First,  Adherents will place Curse of Torpor on random raid members that increases the cooldown of their abilities, so you will want to make sure you are decursing as often as possible. There will be a bit of randomness from the Death and Decay and Shadow Bolts, so be on the look out. Again, there is going to be some bouncing back and forth because of adds, so communicate with the other healer(s) to make sure you have all your bases covered.

Phase 2

Congratulations, you have made it through the hard part. After her shield is down she becomes tauntable, only has 3 million hit points, and the adds stop spawning. Since this is often 2-healed, you will more than likely be both on raid duty and tank duty. While this phase is pretty much tank and spank, there are some things going on that affect the healers.

The tanks will be swapping as Deathwhisper places a stacking debuff on the tank that reduces their threat. So you will want to keep an ear out for who is tanking her and focus your healing accordingly. She will still be dropping Death and Decay, as well as random frost bolts that should be interrupted. Finally, she will summon on non-targetable Vengeful Shade that will follow a player around and explode if it catches them. You will need to do your best to avoid them if they follow you, and be prepared to heal someone if they get caught (if they don’t get one-shotted).  It’s a pretty quick phase though, and you will be on your way up the elevator in no time.

Gunship Battle

This is a gimmick fight through and through and is a lot of fun. There aren’t really a lot of important mechanics here for healers. Your gunship has two guns that you use to attack the enemy’s gunship.  Occasionally, the opposing ship will summon a mage/sorcerer that will freeze your guns. You will then need to send some raid members over to kill it in order free up your cannons. Back on your own ship, mobs will appear through a portal that will need to be killed, while avoiding incoming rockets and axe-throwers.


This is the easier of the two healing roles. Usually one tank and some ranged DPS will stay behind to deal with the enemy boarding party.  The portal will spawn a Sergeant and some Marines. The Sergeant is the only one that really poses any threat, as he has pretty nasty Bladestorm and Wounding Strike abilities. Most of your healing will be focused on the tank, especially if you only have ranged DPS defending. Just be prepared to work a bit extra to overcome the -25% healing debuff.

Two other items of note: First, stay out of shinnies! Rockets will be coming over to your side and the big shiny circle on the ground is an indicator your in the path of said rocket. Be prepared to heal anyone who has yet to learn this golden rule of Warcraft. Second, keep an eye on your boarding party tank. They will be taking damage as they fly back over to your ship, and not every healer is as equipped to heal in the air as us Trees. I have seen quite a few tanks bite it on their way back over as they still have the aggro from the ranged mobs on the enemy ship. A well timed heal from you can be the thing that saves them.

Boarding Party

As the boarding party healer you got the short end of the branch (no, the bad tree jokes will not stop). You will be heading over to the enemy ship with most of the DPS and a Tank to take down the mage/sorcerer while fending off the general and adds. On your way over it will be a good idea to HoT up the tank, as things will be a bit chaotic when you first get over there.

The tank will be keeping the enemy commander busy why DPS take down the mage/sorcerer. Keep an eye out because the longer you are over there the stronger the enemy gets. This will cause everyone to take quite a bit of damage. As mentioned earlier, you will need to keep some heals on the tank as he will take some damage on his way back over. Probably a good idea to leave a Rejuvenation in case you need to toss an emergency Swiftmend on the return flight. Again, a fairly straightforward fight for healers.

Deathbringer Saurfang

Phew, here we are, the final encounter of the entrance to the Citadel. This is probably the most interesting fight so far. A lot of what you need to do as a healer will be determined by your groups strategy, but Druids have a few things to keep in mind both as a tank or raid healer, regardless of how you handle Mark of the Fallen Champion.

Raid Healing

First, you do not have any way to stop the damage people will be taking like priests do. So your main role will be to heal up the damage that does get through. There are three mechanics that will be causing you trouble: Boiling Blood, Blood Nova and Mark of the Fallen Champion.

The first ability, Boiling Blood, will be case on a random raid target. If you have a Priest, they will mitigate a lot of the damage to avoid Saurfang building Blood Power. Its still a good idea, whether you have a Priest or not, to toss Rejuvenation on the Boiling Blood target to keep them topped off. The damage isn’t too bad, and one HoT should be enough to keep them safe.

Blood Nova can be more troublesome depending on how much melee you have. If this gets cast on one, a good amount of people will be taking damage. The player that get Blood Nova should run out of the raid to minimize damage and blood power gain. However, if they don’t get out in time, be prepared to throw out Wild Growth and a couple single target heals.

Finally, there is Mark of the Fallen Champion. How you handle this (if at all) is going to depend on your raid strategy. A lot of guilds, mine included, will just let that player die. This minimizes the buildup of blood power and puts a lot less stress on the healers. If you do decide to keep that person alive you will want to give them full HoTs. Yes, you may have to dust off Lifebloom for this one. I usually put up Rejuvenation and Regrowth, with a Swiftmend if needed.

Tank Healing

There is not nearly as much to deal with as a tank healer. The tanks will be switching when they gain the Rune of Blood debuff, so as per most two tank fights you will need to be paying attention. You will also need to be concerned if a player gets Blood Nova near the tank, which could cause a nasty damage spike. Your final obstacle is at 30%, where Saurfang will Frenzy. This means you need to get your stump in gear and heal faster! Other than that, he is business as usual for a tank healer.


And that’s it! You’ve Stormed the Citadel. Just in time for the Plague Works to open. Thus is the life of a WoW player. In the next installment we will be covering healing Rotface, Festergut, and Putricide, all while avoiding getting any goo on your leaves.

8 thoughts on “Healing Icecrown from a Druid’s Perspective – Part 2”

  1. On Marrowgar, instead of running around trying to avoid bladestorm, go to the very center of the room and Barkskin (it’ll be up each time) and self-hot. It’ll keep you up no problem, and you can reach the most people for hots.

    On gunship, fully hot up the boarding tank before he jumps across and then stand at the very edge of your ship (druids shouldn’t usually be boarding the enemy ship) and if the tank can pull to near the edge of his ship, you’ll be able to heal from there.
    .-= Rivven´s last blog ..Barnett and Kaplan at GDC 2009 =-.

  2. For Saurfang, I don’t believe Blood Nova gets cast on melee. Just looked through the logs for my last few kills, and only one melee got a blood nova (and I’m pretty sure it’s because he ran out of melee range to taunt a blood beast). So you shouldn’t have to worry about Blood Nova splash damage if the raid is spread out correctly.
    .-= Jasyla´s last blog ..How not to die =-.

  3. We do the Gunship fight a bit differently. We keep our healers on the defending ship and the tank who is jumping tanks near the edge of that ship. This way healers don’t have to take time jumping and play catch-up on the healing.

    For Saurfang, letting the first two marks die is a great strategy, and is how we eventually were able to kill him in 25. In 10, the marks come much more infrequently so we’re able to plow through only having to heal through one mark.

    Oh yea, as Jasyla said, he doesn’t cast Nova on targets in melee range, so you can fudge and have a few casters stand in melee range, and have more room for the beast kiters to spread out.

  4. He will actually cast Blood Nova on melee if less than 4 alive players are at range. While this is not common, we have had this happen with a melee heavy group after letting a ranged mark die. So while it does not happen all the time, it is something to think about.

    Regarding staying on the gunship and healing, I have used this strategy before and liked it. However, there can be some line of sight issues sometimes, especially if not everyone is as aware of positioning as we would like them to be.

    I will give the standing in the center/Barksin strategy a try on our run tonight. Sounds like a great strategy.

  5. Actually, Lord Marrowgar is not really a one tank healing fight in the non-Bonestorm phases. He will do a few attacks to the tank who has aggro on him but after that he will only Saber Lash until the Bone Storm phase. So if you are on tank healing, the strategy will be to fully HoT up both tanks and top off whoever is lower, as the “MT” really doesn’t take any more damage than the OT aside from those few attacks (and might be less, depending on his avoidance).

  6. For Marrowgar:

    If you have everyone save a hunter (or other ranged DPS) outside, you can stack everyone else behind the boss, preventing the need for DPS and healers to dodge the ice flames. During Bone Storm, I find that most DPS just scatter, so Wild Growth will rarely hit all 5 targets, much less a 6th from the Glyph. However, Rapid Rejuvenation is nice for this.

    Lady Deathwhisper:
    As a druid healer, I have found that our #1 priority, is to keep the curse off of people as much as possible. Every GCD that it is up, is another ability that someone is locked out of for 15 seconds. That is less healing, less threat and less damage that will be going out.

    We do the same thing. Healers stand on the edge, tank drags the commander to the edge to be in range of healers, loot is collected.

    On 10 man, letting someone die is a dangerous thing to do, imo. If it is a healer, then that means the other healer has to solo heal it. If it is a ranged DPS, that means there is less damage on the blood beasts, meaning they hit people more, and he gains more blood power anyway. If it is a melee DPS, then that is less DPS on the actual boss.

    For the most part, Saurfang isn’t too difficult to heal, provided DPS do their part properly (ie, spread out, and nuke beasts quickly, while not getting hit by them). If they don’t, and the healing becomes overwhelming, that is still a DPS issue, and not a healing issue.

    We did find that assigning a healer to be the mark healer helped out quite a bit as well. Additionally, watching his blood power to see when it is ready to go out helps with the survival of that person.
    .-= Ditto´s last blog ..Festergut [25] down =-.

  7. @Skonged

    I think it is hard to keep 4pcT9 of you are focusing on haste, also we are getting far enough into T10 content that its time to let it go. You have to ask yourself, at what is the bonus costing you too much in other stats?


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