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Not One, But *Two* New Bosses Slain: Alysrazor and Staghelm

August 12, 2011

It’s a Guild First guild first!  I don’t think we’ve ever managed to take down two progression bosses in the same night until now!  And I don’t think we’ve ever been able to take down a new boss on the same evening that we started him.  (Unless maybe Shannox… I forget.)

Check behind the cut for screenshots and juicy details!

Barbequed Firebird for Dinner

Alysrazor has been a thorn in our side for three weeks now.  We’ve wiped on her far more often than any other boss this tier so far.  At first this fight seemed impossible, because our tanks weren’t putting out the DPS necessary to kill the hatchlings.  But both tanks went away and did a ton of research, played around with every aspect of their characters – from gearing to speccing to rotations – and managed to put out about 15-20% more DPS than they were before.  (To anyone who’s confused about why I’m talking about tank DPS, the tanks on the Alysrazor fight gain the Imprinted buff which gives them a 1000% increase to their DPS.  This means that the tanks are primarily responsible for killing the hatchling adds.)

However, even after our tanks figured out how to squeeze out enough DPS to kill the hatchlings fast enough, we were still wiping because the tanks would just suddenly die.  This became our primary frustration.  Our tanks were dying because it seemed like the fight was not behaving predictably, and we’d get screwed over by RNG.  (That’s “Random Number Generator”, by the way.)  The tanks were complaining that the Plump Lava Worms which you feed to the hatchlings to remove Tantrum were not spawning predictably as they should.  They are supposed to spawn four at a time, two on each side, in predictable locations, but sometimes they would do none of those things.  We’d end up with three worms on one side, or the worms would spawn right under a hatchling – even though the tank had pulled the bird right close to the wall to avoid this very thing – so the hatchling would eat it when they weren’t doing a tantrum and therefore waste the worm.  It also seemed like the 50% Tantrum buff to the hatchling’s attack speed was inconsistent – sometimes the hatchlings would just suddenly use a flurry of 4 attacks within the space of two seconds and the tank would just die.  And then there was just occasional tank error (getting hit by the worm’s lava spew, Alysrazor’s claw attack in the middle, walking over a brushfire, etc.) or an interrupter missing the odd Fieroblast that would then hit the tank and kill him.

The last difficulty with the Alysrazor fight is just one of focus and endurance.  After successfully getting through one full phase rotation the fight essentially resets and you have to do it all over again, and there isn’t any break to catch your breath.  We would sometimes have a really good attempt that would just fall apart the second time through Phase 1.  One reason for this is that the circular shape of the room combined with the chaos of running around avoiding the fire tornadoes in Phase 2 would completely disorient people.  We’d go into the second Phase 1 and no one would know which way they were facing and which side was left or right.  We put raid markers on each side so that people could just run to the color they were assigned to, and that helped tremendously.

On our successful kill we constantly reminded people to stay focused.  The biggest test of this was after the second burnout stage when Alysrazor rose off the ground and started flying again when she was at 3% health.  3%!  Everyone wanted to just ignore the adds and DPS her down, but we definitely didn’t want to wipe to ignored fight mechanics when we were so close!  We yelled in vent for people to just let our Shadow Priest finish her off in the air and everyone reluctantly went back to add duty.  It felt like the last 3% of her health melted away agonizingly slowly, while our Spriest cackled maniacally in vent and yelled, “Die, Bitch! Die!”  At last she plummeted to the ground, finally defeated.  It was awesome.

By the way, this fight works better if you only use 2 healers on 10 man, one per side.  The healers will have their hands full keeping the tanks alive, so DPS had better be good at avoiding damage.  Since I’m the only healer with a DPS spec, I switched to Boomkin.  I’m very proud that I was able to hold my own on the meters and do competitive DPS in my off-spec.  😀

You Know, The Ninth Circle of Hell is Reserved for Traitors, Fandral.

(In retrospect, we probably should have had the two giant Tauren standing behind Staghelm so you could actually see his corpse in the screenshot…)

Everything that we’d read on the Majordomo Staghelm fight said that he was one of the toughest bosses in Firelands normal mode.  Well, we killed him in 7 pulls on the first night we attempted him.  Maybe we just used up all our wipes on Alysrazor.  However, as our Hunter said last night, this fight is all about the dance, and if there’s one thing our guild seems to be good at it’s dance fights.

I’m going to assume that you’ve all read the basic strategy on other sites so I can just explain how we handled things.  If I remember correctly we transitioned out of Scorpion form at 7 stacks of Adrenaline, and I think we might have pushed 6 on Cat form…  (Someone correct me in the comments if I’m remembering that wrong…)  Starting off in Scorpion form, the fight should look something like this:

  1. Scorpion Form
  2. Cat Form
  3. Scorpion Form with Searing Seeds
  4. Cat Form
  5. Scorpion Form
  6. Cat Form with Burning Orbs
  7. Scorpion Form with death of boss

Ew!  A Scorpion!  Squish it!

As most people are recommending, we started the fight stacked up so Staghelm would use Scorpion form.  This phase is all about AoE healing and damage mitigation/absorption cooldowns.  We were extremely lucky to have a lot of cooldowns at our disposal.  One important note: If you have a DPS Death Knight, make them spec Unholy for this fight!  I don’t care if you love Frost DKs so much you made abominable baby scourge together.  Unholy DKs can spec into Anti-Magic Zone which is totally freakin’ hax for this fight.  Anti-Magic Zone completely negated the effect of Staghelm’s Flame Scythe.  It was one of the most powerful cooldowns available to us, and we used it near the end of both the first and third Scorpion phases.

Our Disc Priest had already given some thought to our cooldown usage for this fight, so he organized their usage and called them out.  I don’t remember exactly when we used each one, but here were the cooldowns available to us and some notes on how we used them:

  • Anti-Magic Zone, from our Unholy DK (as mentioned above).  We used this for the seventh Flame Scythe of the first Scorpion phase and the fifth of the third Scorpion phase.
  • We had two Warriors, so we had two Rallying Cries available to us.  I don’t remember when we used them exactly, but I know we did…
  • Aura Mastery + Resistance Aura from our Holy Pally. We used this on one of the earlier Flame Scythes in both the first and third Scorpion phases, if I remember correctly.
  • Power Word: Barrier from our Disc Priest.  The duration of PW: Barrier allowed us to use it late in the second Scorpion phase to deal with the last two Flame Scythes in a row.
  • Tree of Life Form from our Resto Druid (aka, me!)  Tree of Life has a long duration but also a bit of a ramp up time since I need time to blanket the raid with Lifebloom before it really gets going.  I used this on the second Scorpion phase, casting it just after the second Flame Scythe, and it lasted long enough to get to the next Cat phase.
  • Tranquility from our Resto Druid (me again!)  We held this in reserve as a bit of an “oh shit” button, and I used it at my discretion.

Just before the final Flame Scythe of each Scorpion phase we warned everyone to be ready to spread out.  Then, as soon as he cast the attack, we all quickly moved to our assigned places for Cat phase.

Who’s Just a Cute Widdle Fire Kitty?  Yes, You’re Just a Cute Dead Fire Kitty!

Before our first pull we assigned each person a place to stand during the Cat phase when everyone needs to be spread out.  This helped to avoid having multiple people run to the same place.  Originally our Holy Pally wanted to stand in melee so he could regen mana more easily by meleeing the boss, but he kept being targeted by the Leaping Flames and getting the melee group killed.  From all reports it seems that Staghelm knows your spec and will jump on anyone specced ranged DPS or heals.  This means that only the tank and melee DPS can remain stacked in the middle.  We had two melee, so that meant we had seven people spreading out.  I made a quick diagram to show you where we eventually assigned people:

Of course, if you get targeted with his Leaping Flames you will have to move from your assigned spot so you don’t stand in the fire.  Here are two quick tips.  First of all, be aware that the fire patches are larger than you expect them to be.  Like most spell effects in WoW, the area of the spell is larger than the graphic, and to make matters worse the graphic fades a little around the edges.  Get right out of it!  Secondly, I found that if I stood at my max range from the tank then I could just run forward when targeted by the leap and if I was targeted again it would place a second fire patch in front of the first.  This meant that I didn’t have to move to the side to avoid fire until after he’d jumped on me twice.  (Which did happen.  In fact, on one attempt I was targeted 4 times in a row.  That ended badly for me…)

Cat phase is a lot easier to heal than Scorpion phase, which means healers can use Cat phase to regen some much needed mana.  There shouldn’t be much damage going out if people are moving out of the fire quickly, and it should be easy to top anyone off if they take a couple ticks.  I also found that as long as I wasn’t the first person targeted by the leap I could quickly drink a Potion of Concentration.

When you group up again to trigger Scorpion form, be sure to start moving immediately after a leap so you have as much time as possible to reach the center before the next leap.  Move quickly so he doesn’t jump into the stack and kill everyone!

Flaming Monkey Wrenches in the Works

Just to add a bit of a twist to the fight, every third phase Staghelm will cast a special ability.  If he’s transitioning to Scorpion, he’ll use Searing Seeds, and if transitioning to Cat will use Burning Orbs.

Searing Seeds is pretty easy to deal with.  Everyone just needs to watch their debuff timer and run out of the group when they have about 5 seconds left.  To avoid two people running the same way and exploding each other you could probably have everyone just run to their assigned markers for cat phase, (except for melee – they’d just have to choose a direction, I guess), but there will still be fire on the ground from the previous phase which might make that difficult.  We never really discussed the matter.  People just ran out, avoided each other and came back.  It wasn’t a problem for us.

Burning Orbs is a bit more challenging.  For one thing, it happens late in the fight when people are already a bit stressed.  For another, it’s hard to stay organized when having to avoid giant flame patches on the ground at the same time.  There’s only two orbs in 10 man, so we just assigned the left-most and right-most pairs of players to orb duty.    The first person to take the orb should call our when their stacks are at about 5 or 6 and the second person should then take over.  (Baleroc is good practice for this.)  By the time the second person is at 5-6 stacks the first person should be ready to take over.

Everyone should try to stay aware of what’s going on during the Burning Orbs phase and be ready to pick up orb duty if necessary.  A player death or unlucky placement of a fire patch could make it difficult for the assigned players to rotate properly, and someone else might have to take over quickly.  Don’t try to push this phase for too long because the damage is going to become challenging to deal with.  By the time the orbs despawn you should definitely be transitioning back to Scorpion.

Final Notes

We used Bloodlust/Timewarp/Heroism during the 3rd Scorpion phase (#5 on my fight outline above).  The boss was at about 30% by that point.  We might have been able to finish him off during the next cat phase, but we were learning to deal with the Burning Orbs.  Staghelm was extremely low on health after the last transition, which is good, because players were starting to die off due to Orbs and Flame Scythes.  At the very end a clutch Lay on Hands from our Pally managed to keep our tank alive long enough to get a kill.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2011 5:31 pm

    Grats!!!!

    We are still stuck on the fire bird. We made good progress this week and should have her down next week.

    Thanks for all the tips for domo!

    • August 12, 2011 6:15 pm

      Thanks, and you’re welcome!

      I hope Alysrazor cooperates with you next week. (I mean, seriously, why don’t these bosses just lay down and die for us?) I’m not looking forward to having to kill her again. I was almost tempted to suggest that we just extend our lock and work on Ragnaros so we could avoid her. LOL

  2. August 15, 2011 8:26 am

    Grats! Excellent writeup, too. 🙂

  3. August 15, 2011 2:33 pm

    Congratulations!! Nice going!

  4. August 16, 2011 10:43 am

    Grats!

    My raid is about a month behind on our progression due to people not being out so we’re just finally getting in the groove. I’ve started studying Aly and Staghelm strats even though we didn’t quite down Ryo yet, but they’re the next up, so I think I learned a few useful tips here.

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