Stone Guard Down!
Woot! Our first MoP raid boss is down! What a rush! We even got the achievement because we remembered to have our dog pets out for the kill.
I’m sure this boss will feel really easy once we have some better gear, but at this point it felt pretty tough. Especially in terms of healer mana.
(I’m not going to explain the boss fight in this post. If you have no idea what I’m talking about in the next few paragraphs, you can read up on the fight on Icy Veins.)
I’m not sure we were using an orthodox strategy. The three dogs we had up were Amethyst, Jade and Jasper. By far the most difficult part for us was dealing with the Jasper Chains. Those things really hurt and were tough to heal through, and people were finding it difficult to balance staying together to reduce the damage taken with spreading out to get the chains to break while also dealing with the other mechanics. So we decided to try a stacking strategy in order to ignore the chains altogether. However, this meant we had to move as a group every 5-10 seconds to get out of the Amethyst Pools, which made it a bit more difficult for casters and healers to cast spells, and probably reduced our overall DPS/HPS.
The stacking strat required one tank to stand near the center of the room holding one statue, while the other tank held two statues (the active one and one other) while circling slowly around the outside of the room. Everyone else — melee, casters and healers, stacked behind the active statue. It was difficult to keep a tight stack, so people still had to pay some attention in order to stand close enough to the person they were chained to in order to negate the damage, but it was much easier than being all spread out around the room. The challenge became moving around the room as a group and getting out of the Amethyst Pools as quickly as possible, while still being able to stand still long enough to cast spells.
I’m really glad I wasn’t tanking, because the tank swapping seemed a bit complicated. (I’m not a tanking expert, but I’ll try to describe what they did as accurately as possible. Don’t quote me on this section though.) It was easier if the first active statue was one of the two that our main tank was holding. In that case the tanks swapped inactive statues at 50 energy, which ended up spacing out all the statues 50 energy apart, making the Overload timers quite predictable and more manageable. However, if the first active statue was the one that our off-tank was holding, the first taunt switch would screw up the energy timers. We eventually figured out that if the first active statue was the off-tank’s, then it was better NOT to taunt swap until the two inactive statues were both at 50 energy, then have the main tank grab the active one (which would have zero energy) while the off-tank grabbed one of the inactive statues. This would also space all the Overloads 50 energy apart, but would mean that our first Overload would be unmitigated by its corresponding Petrification and we’d have to make sure everyone had their health topped off and blow a raid cooldown to survive it. Once all the statues were staggered 50 energy apart, the trick was to make sure the main tank was holding the one that had just overloaded and the active one at all times. (And heaven help the tanks if they ever accidentally taunted the wrong statue… With an 8 second CD on all taunts, a mistake would screw up the careful staggering of statue energy and usually lead to unmitigated Overloads that would cause a wipe.)
Because of the high movement required for this strat, I had a much easier time as a Resto Druid than our Disc and Holy Priests did. However, mana was incredibly tight for all of us. To give you an idea of the kind of regen numbers we had, I currently have 7121 spirit and 10,018 combat regen unbuffed. I was also using a +1000 spirit flask and a +275 spirit food buff. I’m not sure what our priests had. This is the eventual mana-saving strategy I hit upon:
- Put Symbiosis on our Death Knight tank, giving me access to Icebound Fortitude as an extra Barkskin.
- Heal normally until my Innervate warning went off at 80% mana, then hit Innervate.
- Hit Incarnation: Tree of Life immediately after Innervate so that I can use it a second time during the fight. Lifebloom all the things and use the sweet free Regrowths with Swiftmend and Wild Growth for huge mana savings.
- Heal as conservatively as possible while still keeping people alive.
- Curse my teammates in my heart when they stand in the bad or take extra damage from chains.
- Use both Icebound Fortitude and Barkskin as much as possible (and whenever I remember to hit them… need to get better at that… >.> ) to reduce the amount of healing I need. Damage mitigated is mana saved!
- At about 30% mana wait until I take a bit of damage and then pop an Alchemist’s Rejuvenation potion. (Restoring around 60k health and 30k mana — free heal and mana back! Bonus!) I’m also wearing my alchemist’s trinket at the moment, so I think that 30k mana is actually more like 42k, if I did the math right.
- Hope and pray that I don’t run out of mana before my CDs come back up.
- Hit Innervate the second it comes off CD. I am probably around 5-10% mana when this happens.
- Hit Incarnation: Tree of Life the second it comes off CD and heal like mad.
- Hope and pray that the boss dies before I’m totally OOM.
On our boss-killing attempt I finally ran completely out of mana when the boss was at about 2% health. I had no way to get any back. Suddenly I saw our Holy Priest die and pop up as a Spirit of Redemption, and my first emotion was total relief because I knew he could heal mana-free for the next few seconds until the boss was dead. I don’t know if it was luck or strategic suicide on his part, but it might have been the difference between a kill and a low percent wipe, so yay priests!