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Heroic Staghelm Down!

October 7, 2011

Look, we even remembered to stand behind his body so you can actually see his corpse in the screenshot this time!  Lots of skeletons in the shot though…

The number of skeletons is kinda misleading — it only took us two pulls to get him down this week.  We might have been able to one-shot him, except that our Holy Pally forgot to beacon the tank.  So he was merrily healing the raid through Flame Scythes and thinking, “Hmm… why is the tank dying so quickly?”  *facepalm*

However, our second attempt was perfectly executed.  Cat-Phase-With-Orbs was handled flawlessly, we easily beat the enrage timer, and we didn’t have a single death.  I gotta tell ya, it’s a beautiful thing when we’re on our game.

In a way, it’s too bad that we killed him so quickly.  We spent a few hours working on Heroic Alysrazor and made some really good progress on her.  However, we decided to move on so that we’d have two hours to work on Staghem… and then he rolled over and died without a struggle.  We also one-shot Ragnaros (though it was messy), so we were finished an hour early.  We could have spent that hour on Alysrazor and might have gotten a kill.  :/

Second Verse, Extremely Similar to the First

I already gave an overview of our H. Staghelm strategy in the comments to this post, but I’ll outline it again here for all those who don’t read comments.  A couple of caveats first:  I’m not sure this strategy would have worked pre-nerf, because we allow the raid to eat a lot of Flame Scythes using this method.  I’m not sure that would have been viable when the damage was 15% higher.  Also, because of our raid composition we have a TON of raid healing cooldowns available to us.  This means our strategy may not work for other group comps.

*EDIT: I originally had the number of Flame Scythes wrong for the first three Scorpion phases.  The strat has been corrected behind the cut.  This might be important if anyone is crazy enough to try our strategy, because if you follow the way I had it originally written you might end up with an extra Scorpion phase, which would probably be bad (if not fatal).

Follow me behind the cut for strategy goodness.

In fact, here’s a list of all the raid cooldowns our team has available:

  • Druid: Tree of Life Form and Tranquility
  • Disc Priest: Barrier (and Pain Suppression, though that’s not as useful for this fight)
  • Holy Paladin: Aura Mastery, Guardian of Ancient Kings (or whatever the Holy version is called)
  • Unholy Death Knight: Anti-Magic Zone
  • 2 Warriors: Rallying Cry x2

Many of those cooldowns are on a short CD so we can use them multiple times throughout the fight.  Barrier and Anti-Magic Zone in particular are very powerful and can soak 2-3 Flame Scythes near the end of each Scorpion phase.  I was holding Tranquility in reserve for any possible “oh shit!” moments, but we ended up not using it.  (I think this the other healers’ way of preventing me from dominating the meters too much.  *shakes fist*)

You may have already guessed that our heroic Staghelm strategy is very similar to our normal Staghelm strategy.  We still have most people stacking up and splitting Flame Scythe damage, even though that makes people lose their concentration stacks.  Why do we do this?  Because our DPS players feel like they still do more DPS in Scorpion phase without the concentration buff than they do in Cat phase with concentration.  Don’t ask me to explain how that could be, because I can’t.  Anyway, this is how we handled it:

First Scorpion Phase:  Our Rogue, Mage and DPS Warrior stand behind Staghelm while everyone else stacks on the tank.  We spread out after the 7th 9th stack of Adrenaline.  We used Aura Mastery for the 4th 6th Scythe, AMZ for the 5th 7th, and Barrier for the 6th & 7th 8th & 9th.

First Cat Phase:  Same as usual, collapsing to stack on the tank after 7 stacks of Adrenaline.

Second Scorpion Phase with Searing Seeds:  Everyone stacks on the tank, including the people who stood out in the first phase.  Yes, everyone loses their concentration stacks to Flame Scythe, but we found we were accidentally switching Staghelm between forms when we tried having people stand out.  This phase was just like on normal mode, people stacked and ran out when their seed was about to explode.  We spread out after 7 9 stacks of Adrenaline.  I think we used Tree of Life Form after the 2nd Scythe, Aura Mastery around the 5th 7th, and AMZ for the 6th &7th 8th & 9th.

Second Cat Phase: Same as the first, collapsing after 7 stacks of Adrenaline.

Third Scorpion Phase:  Same positioning as the first Scorpion phase.  We used Time Warp here and only pushed 5 7 stacks of Adrenaline.  We used Aura Mastery at 3 4, AMZ at 4 5, and Barrier for the 5th 6th & 7th.

Third Cat Phase with Burning Orbs:  Exactly the same way we handled it on normal mode.  The healers and our Shadow Priest soaked the orbs.  We collapsed after 7 Adrenaline stacks.

Fourth Scorpion Phase:  The Flame Scythes hit really hard at this point, so we only pushed 3 of them.  Positioning was the same as in the first and third Scorpion phases with three DPS standing outside the stack.  We used one Rallying Cry for each of the first two Scythes and AMZ for the third.

Fourth Cat Phase:  Handled like any cat phase, except this is where we killed the boss.  We weren’t in this phase very long before he died…  I’m not sure he even got to jump at all.  (There were 47 seconds left on the Enrage timer when he died.) I’m sure by this point the jumps would deal significant damage.

OMG Your Strategy Sucks, Suggest a Different One

We did find a really interesting heroic strategy that we considered trying this week.  However, because we’d come within 1% of killing Staghelm last week we didn’t want to change things up too much, so we didn’t try it.  It does seem like it would greatly reduce the amount of raid damage to be healed through.

Basically, for the alternative strategy you never allow Staghelm to gain any stacks of Adrenaline at all.  Instead, you keep forcing him to change forms just before he casts the first Flame Scythe or Leaping Flames.  This basically turns the fight into a tank and spank and allows most players to keep their concentration stacks for the entire encounter.

To put Staghelm in Cat form, 6 people (the tank and 5 DPS) stack together while 4 other players spread out at range.  When you want him to switch to Scorpion form one of the ranged players runs into the stack.  When you want to switch him to Cat one of the ranged players spreads out.  No one else has to move until you get Searing Seeds.

Searing Seeds is the part that seems trickiest with this strategy.  For every person who moves out to explode, another person must move in or you risk losing control of Staghelm’s shape changing.  Burning Orbs doesn’t seem as difficult to deal with, since the 4 players at ranged can split the Orb damage, and even move into the stack if necessary while still standing closest to the orb.

There seem to be several advantages to this strategy:

  • Raid damage is significantly reduced because there are no Flame Scythes or Flaming Leaps to deal with.  The only sources of damage would be melee damage to the tank, Seed explosions and Burning Orbs.
  • No adds to deal with, because Staghelm never leaps.  This allows 100% DPS on the boss.
  • No need to worry about a Flaming Leap hitting someone soaking a Burning Orb, and no fire patches on the ground cutting you off from a Burning Orb when it’s your turn to soak it.
  • DPS players and Healers can keep their stacks of concentration for almost the entire fight.  Concentration would only drop off briefly for a Seed explosion or when soaking Orb damage.  This would allow for a faster kill and no fear of hitting the Enrage timer.

Of course, there are a few drawbacks too:

  • Have to deal with Burning Orbs and Searing Seeds a lot more often.
  • The people moving in and out of the stack to make him switch forms have to have extremely good timing.
  • It might be trickier to handle people moving in and out of the stack for Searing Seeds.
  • Melee damage to the tank might become difficult to heal through because of increased Fury stacks.

Here’s a video from the guild that came up with this alternative strat.  They are Si Vis Pacem Parabellum, and I believe they are from France and on the Sargeras (EU) server, but I’m not 100% sure.  The video is in French, but you should be able to see what they’re doing:

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2011 2:30 pm

    Grats on the kill! We’re hoping to pull him next week. We kinda got involved in Baleroc pulls this week.

    • October 7, 2011 2:53 pm

      Thanks!

      I’ve heard that Baleroc is one of the most difficult heroic bosses, so we’re saving him for later. I hope you guys have good luck with him though.

  2. akeldema permalink
    October 7, 2011 9:48 pm

    Interesting strat. seems to be the complete opposite to what my guild has killed him with. we keep him in kitty the whole fight except to get his stacks of adrenaline to reset, this was the tactic we used pre-Nerf

    But I do believe your right, without the sheer amount of raid cool downs your able to field along with the 15% reduction in damage I can see him just cleaving the raid in half.

    Which is your next boss to kill?

    • October 7, 2011 11:32 pm

      Yeah, I think our strat is highly unorthodox for heroic Staghelm. When we first pulled him we figured we’d just try a slightly modified version of our normal strategy to see how bad the damage was, and to our surprise we could totally heal through it. Since it was working we didn’t bother modifying it further.

      The next boss in our sights is Heroic Alysrazor. We made some good progress on her this week, but I think people lose focus in the second set of phases and make mistakes. It’s the same problem we had getting normal Alysrazor down. Shouldn’t take us long to get her though… it feels like we’re very close.

      • akeldema permalink
        October 8, 2011 12:16 am

        Alys isn’t too bad once everyone gets into the rhythm of Kill adds, kill rocks, hide behind rock.

        she gave my guild a little bit of grief as a couple of raiders enjoy standing in the fire. I think our first kill she died in the air with only a tank left alive on the ground.
        but because everything is very predictable its pretty easy to walk in the next week and one shot her, unlike Rhyolith who can just be a huge rng fight. I think this week it took us 8 or so wipes just because of poor volcano placement.

  3. October 8, 2011 12:02 am

    Grats guys!!!! 😀

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