Ragnaros is Almost Dead, and How a Resto Druid can Control an Add
Our raid team did very well this week. We blasted through the first six bosses, though we did have two wipes on Alysrazor. (Oh, how I hate that damn bird!) There was an hour left to work on Ragnaros the first raid night, and four hours the second night. All our regular raiders were present, and it was so much easier to three-heal Ragnaros than it was to try to two-heal it.
However, we just kept wiping over and over again on the first transition phase. It took us probably a good 2-3 hours to get to the point where we could get to phase 2 consistently. It was very frustrating. We had drawn up diagrams of add assignments – which is complicated by the fact that there are three different versions of the transition phase based on where Ragnaros throws his hammer – but people would still get confused about which add(s) they were responsible for. We also had to tweak the assignments a bit as we learned who was best suited for which assignment. But, at long last, we were able to start getting through the transition and start making progress on the rest of the fight.
Phase 2 of the fight is a bit chaotic at first, as it feels like there are so many mechanics to keep track of. It didn’t take us long to get the hang of it though, and soon we started working on the second transition phase. The second transition phase is a bit more difficult than the first transition phase, yet we weren’t having the same problems getting through it that we did the first transition phase. (All the practice on the first one must have helped.) By the end of the night we were getting to Phase 3, and on our best attempt we had Ragnaros down to 24%. Since you only have to get Ragnaros down to 10% (just like the Lich King), this means we were 14% away from a kill. It really did feel like any attempt could be a successful attempt by that point. So, even if Blizzard nerfs Firelands next week like they threatened to, I feel like we will know that we were capable of getting Ragnaros down pre-nerf. (I plan to post my thoughts about the Firelands nerfs later…)
Resto Druid Add Control
I am actually assigned to one of the adds during the transition phases. My DPS as Resto is laughable, so I can’t damage one enough to slow it. What I can do, however, is keep one locked down for up to 9 seconds, giving our DPS time to get their adds below 50% health so they can then focus on my add.
How do I do this? Well, I need to go bear and cat form, which allows me to use my feral stuns. I also use my Tauren racial stun.
Of course, while I’m in feral form I can’t do any healing. This hasn’t been a problem though, because there is very little damage going out in the transition phase. (Unless an add reaches the hammer, at which point we’ll probably wipe and it won’t matter whether I was healing or not.) Every so often Ragnaros will target someone and deal about 40k damage to them, which is easily taken care of by just one healer (our Disc Priest heals during the transitions, as our Holy Pally is also stunning adds). There’s a bit more healing during the second transition because of the large adds hitting a tank and putting fire under people’s feet, but as long as the fire-footed person runs away they won’t take any damage. Also, I’m only in feral form for about 30 seconds at the most, then I go back to healing.
I had to tweak my spec in order to make add control possible. I moved 3 points from Moonglow into Furor. Both are optional mana conserving talents for Resto, and some Resto Druids prefer Furor to Moonglow in general anyway. But for this stunning strategy Furor is absolutely essential because it allows you to have 100 energy when you switch to cat form. As you will see, I have no time to let my energy regenerate, so this is of utmost importance. (I don’t need the chance to gain rage when switching to bear form because I just use Enrage.)
One final point before I describe the stunning rotation: I have absolutely zero margin for error. My stuns give me exactly enough time to complete this rotation. If I screw up and press a button even a fraction of a second too late my add will get away from me early.
Without further ado, here is how to stun adds as a Resto Druid:
- Run to your assigned add spawn point and stand about 2 yards away from it, facing away from the center of the platform. You aren’t going to use any abilities that require you to be behind the target, and if you are a Tauren using your racial stun, the add will be running past you at one point before it gets stunned again.
- Go Bear form.
- When you see the fireball that turns into an add about to land, hit Enrage. This will give you lots of rage so you don’t have to worry about it decaying before the add actually spawns.
- Wait until the add is fully spawned and then hit Bash. Stuns for 4 seconds. If the add is not fully formed when you hit it — i.e. it has a name plate and is attackable — it might not be stunned and this whole thing will be a waste.
- Go Cat form. This will take a GCD, so you now have about 3 seconds left on your stun.
- Use either Rake or Mangle twice. This will leave you with about 1 second on your stun. Rake and Mangle are your best options because they only cost 35 energy, have no facing or stealth requirements, and will generate combo points for you. (If an attack misses, which is possible, you will just have fewer combo points.)
- If you are Tauren, hit War Stomp. If you are not Tauren, skip to number 9. War Stomp will extend your stun by two seconds, but it has a 0.5 second cast time. The add will start to run past you while you are casting War Stomp, but will be stunned just as it gets behind you. Thankfully, using War Stomp no longer pops you out of form.
- Spin around and use Rake or Mangle once more. With any luck, you will now have three combo points and about 1 second left on your stun. (The time it took to cast War Stomp will have allowed you to regenerate enough energy to make this possible.)
- Use Maim. If you are a Tauren, this should be a three combo point Maim and will stun the add for 3 more seconds. If you are any other race it will be a 2 combo point Maim and will stun the add for 2 seconds.
- Shift back to caster form and start healing again. Your work here is done.
Total Time Stunned if you are Tauren: 4 seconds (Bash) + 2 seconds (Warstomp) + 3 seconds (Maim) = 9 seconds.
Total Time Stunned if you had a Lapse of Judgement when Picking a Race: 4 seconds (Bash) + 2 seconds (Maim) = 6 seconds.
This might seem like a lot of work for a very small amount of gain. However, if you have ever faced Ragnaros you will know that a few seconds can easily be the difference between success and an add reaching the hammer and causing a wipe. The extra 6-9 seconds that your DPS don’t have to worry about your add is an extra 6-9 seconds they can use to DPS down the more dangerous adds closest to the hammer. They should then have plenty of time to take down your add after the stuns have worn off.