Light & Leafy

The Shaman, the Druid, and the Lower Spire

Posted on: February 22, 2010

Last week I wrote a post looking at the lower spire of Ice Crown Citadel from the perspective of a holy priest who occasionally likes to be discipline. Now, because I promised, here are some tricks and tidbits I’ve picked up while healing on Sairyn and Fluffikins. Again, if there are any other tricks you can think of (and I’m sure you can!), please post something in the comments! I’m still learning the in’s and out’s of healing with leaves, so any other suggestions are highly welcomed!  For organization’s sake, each fight follows the format of what both shamans and druids can do, then druid specific tips, then shaman specific tips. Oy vey.

The Trash to Lord Marrowgar

Like I’ve mentioned before, the trash to Marrowgar is pretty simplistic, but there’s always something you can do to make these fifteen minutes of rep go smoothly

Hotting up the melee. It’s kind of like being a priest spreading out the renew love. Only it’s better on a druid because you can toss around hots faster than those shiny necklaces at Mardi Gras. I swear, the first few times I did the trash in ICC I didn’t even realize the packs of skeletons exploded because the druid had the melee so hotted up. Usually I go with a rejuv and 1 to 2 stacks of lifebloom, depending on how many melee dps I have in the group.

Or, you can just chain heal. No matter how hot your healers may be (oh oh, I went there!), normally your group will want to make sure each of the exploders die individually. I have my chain heal set up as a mouse over macro so that I can keep an eye on the current target’s health, with my trigger finger ready to go as soon as the skelly’s health gets to about 10%.

Interrupts! Sure, you can chain spam shackle undead to interrupt the Nerubian’s from casting their dark binding spell. But what if you have no priests?! The heals shouldn’t be so demanding that you can’t take your eyes away from grid/vuhdoo/x-perl for a moment to catch a interrupt or two. I feel a lot of the time we forget moves that don’t come into play in our day-to-day instancing/grinding. Now’s the time to work on your Wind Shear muscle memories.

Instant casts are teh best! By this point, we know the big guys will try to interrupt our spells. To those big guys I say, eat my instant casts! The only sure fire way to not be locked out if you can’t be bothered to pay attention to your boss timer warnings is to cast spells that can’t be interrupted.

Lord Marrowgar

Keep a rejuv/riptide on yourself. It’s common knowledge that Marrowgar has a crush on my druid. So, every time I see that his bone spike is coming off cool down, I plan ahead to have a rejuv on myself. Worst case scenario is that I did a bit of over healing. Best case is that the other healers don’t need to worry so much about their limp tree impaled next to Marrowgar’s butt. I’ve started to do the same with Sairyn’s riptide just in case Marrowgar decides that draenei are just as cute.

Stick to single target healing. It gets a little messier here. I admit freely that maybe my raid teams are just not as coordinated as others’. If you all manage to stay pretty close together during the whirlwind phase, please feel free to skip this and move on. If your team also runs around like litter of kittens during bath time, this might bear mentioning. On fights where everyone is taking damage, it’s instinctual to cast one spell to heal them all. Your intention is admirable, but the reality is that even if you have 5 people within your heal radius, it is unlikely they are going to be close enough to one another to bounce a chain heal all 4 times or to receive the splash of a wild growth. Generally is just simpler and more effective to hit each individual player with a quick heal and be done with it.

Guess what has the same length cool down as BOOONEEEE STORMMMMM? BARRKKK SKINNN! Not quite as epic as I had hoped. Oh well. You can still pop your skin at the beginning of his whirlwind phase in order to get safely away from his twirling axe. And it’ll be back up and ready to use the next time Marrowgar decides to bring out his inner ballerina.

Tanks aren’t the only ones who can use Earth Shield. Yes, you’ll want to keep it on one (generally the squishier tank) while Marrowgar is standing in place and saberlashing, but think of where it could be most effective during his whirlwind phase. Is there a certain dps who seems to lag a bit getting out of the way of the cold flames? Or a clothie who always gets caught behind one of the candelabras? Maybe they would be better candidates for a little earthy loving than the tanks with stacked armor and quick cold flame reflexes.

Totems are tasty.   Choosing the right totem is a topic for an entire post, but I’ll share 2 I love for this fight as a resto shaman: Frost Resistance and Stoneskin. Now, the way I see it is this: you can either use both totems throughout the fight, or you can plan ahead a little bit and set up 2 of your totem calls – one for the stationary phase and one for the whirlwind phase. Since no one’s really doing much damage during the whirlwind phase, there’s no reason to keep Flame Tongue and Strength of Earth down.  Use your second call to give your raid a little extra frost resistance and armor until Marrowgar settles down again!

Lady Deathwhisper

Curses are the most important thing ever! Both shamans and druids can remove curses. And the curse of torpor is no exception. Essentially, it will increase the cool down of spells cast by the inflicted player. Imagine my surprise when my regrowth had a cool down associated with it. If you are cursed at the same time as another player, be sure to remove your own first. If there are multiple players cursed, follow a hierarchy: healers then tanks then dps.

Hex and Entangling Roots can be used in the 25 man version of the fight. If you see a mind control running towards you, a hex can be a great way of preventing your team mate from smiting you into oblivion. Entangling roots are also a useful tool, but try to root your rather large friend somewhere away from other players so she doesn’t start slapping people around.

Purge, baby, purge! Kind of like how I mentioned priests could dispel the buffs from the purple short wearing monstrosities, only with purge! I think it might be a little harder for restos, though, because purge isn’t generally a spell I expect to be using (then again, I rarely pvp). Just a friendly reminder though: if you have a mage, give him a little time to steal the buff before you purge it. If he still hasn’t and it’s been a good 5 seconds, it’s probably a good idea to remove it before you tank ends up sprawled out on the floor.

Use heroism/blood lust when you’re on the verge of breaking her mana shield. You have 24 seconds until the next set of adds, and Lady’s mana shield is sitting around 16%. Now is the time to heroism and pop cooldowns to help you easily transition into her second phase. Don’t worry about wasting it on the shield and not on the Lady herself; if you’ve made it to phase two, you’re likely to succeed.

Frost resistance is great for phase two. If you have a paladin, an aura is wonderful to help mitigate the damage her aoe frost bolt does to your group. Luckily, you don’t need a pally to provide the resistance if you don’t happen to have one kicking around. Drop a totem, forgo the flame tongue buff, and be happy when you’re chain healing through the frost damage that people aren’t getting hurt more.

All hands on the poop deck! (hehe I wrote poop in my blog. I have the mentality of a 4 year old. /shame)

If you’re on the main boat, stand near the edge so you can heal the jumping tank as he careens towards your ship. If you’re set to be standing on one boat anyways, it pays to be somewhere you can reach both tanks. You’ll be able to spam heals on the tank who’s getting axes chucked at him as he tries to safely land back on your ship.

Trees should probably stay on the main boat. Ok, maybe I always turn into a bear so I can have the rocket butt bear. But generally speaking, I don’t bother flying over from one boat to the next. I stay on the edge of our boat to help heal the tank handling Saurfang, but unless it’s dire, I refuse to jump from one boat to the next because the jumps always switch me out of tree form. It gets expensive after awhile, and for whatever reason it lags me to hell when I’m on the way down. It’s just easier, and a bit safer, if I bounce (rocket-free) around the deck of one ship.

Honestly, shamans, I don’t have much else for you here. Sorry. *averts gaze bashfully*

DBS (Does Bake Snickerdoodles? Hrm not quite right. I need to work on effeminizing Saurfang’s abbreviation).

Healing through Marks. Typically, I assign one healer per mark. There’s not too much you can do to get through the damage except to time your cool downs to the duration of the fight, and focus on your assigned target. Marked players will require heavy healing, and even the slightest distraction could mean death. On my druid, I normally roll all of my hots, followed by nourish spam and swift mend on cool down. On my shaman, marked characters get my earthshield and lesser healing wave spam. Sometimes, if the mark happens to be near another player, I will bounce a chain heal off of him to help keep the raid topped off. On both characters, I save nature’s swiftness for that oh-dear-lord moment that usually occurs near the end of the fight.

Helping your ranged dps, one root at a time. I found that healing really wasn’t intense the first half of this fight, no matter which character I was on. So, I took to keeping my druid in her caster form to help root the blood beasts, buying the ranged dps a little more time for kiting the adds. You’ll just need to be careful to make sure no one is in melee range while the add is rooted, or the beastie will turn to nomnom on your friend.

Rawr! I’mma big scary bear! If you’re confident, you can shift into bear form and taunt a blood beast to you to get it away from the tanks and melee. Because you’re not normally a bear, it’ll be easy for the ranged dps to pull the beast off of you. You can also use this in an emergency if you see a beast ready to chow down on someone in range. If you do taunt the blood beast though, remember to start running away. It’s not doing your team much good if you’re allowing yourself to become a snack to an overgrown blood worm.  This can also be a useful strategy if you’re running with a very low amount of ranged dps.

Let’s talk about rebirth: don’t use it if you don’t know how they died. If a person died because of a Mark of the Fallen Champion, it’s pointless to battle rez them. They’ll only come back to life with the debuff again, and likely die to the amount of damage done in the seconds it would normally take to fill their life bar. This means Saurfang gains an additional 5% of his health back, and it’s a risk that’s usually not reasonable to take. There is an alternate strategy using a paladin that I’ve heard rumor of, but as I have not tried this myself, I’d rather not recommend it to any of you. If you’ve heard anything about the divine intervention strategy, I’d love to know if it was actually a plausible strategy or not.

More totem talk? Right, this probably seems like a no-brainer. But I want to remind you that you can use Earthbind totem to control the blood beasts, much like a druid’s entangling roots.  I recommend placing the totem between the stairs and your kiting dps so that it likely will not be trapped anywhere near something it can gnaw on (i.e. your teammates).

So, I believe I’ve covered everything I’ve thought of in the last few weeks. Clearly, I don’t have as many tips for my shaman friends as I do for my trees, but I’m  hoping to see more Sairyn action in the upcoming weeks, and if I find any new tricks, I’ll be sure to update. Also, apologies for the wall-o-text. I tried to cut it up a bit for the sake of space, and that plan backfired on me.

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4 Responses to "The Shaman, the Druid, and the Lower Spire"

Guess what has the same length cool down as BOOONEEEE STORMMMMM? BARRKKK SKINNN!

Squee! I gotta remember that… not like you can hit barkskin when you get spiked.

(A cheat for healing through marks… have a pally bacon the marked person and continue to heal the tank. Wewt. Freebie heals.)

I figured that out by accident, actually. I had cast BS because I didn’t run out just before the storm started like I normally do, and then I noticed it was up again in time for his next bone storm. I paid more attention to the cool downs the next weekend and it was the same thing.

MMMMM!! BEACON! That’s just a wonderful, glorious idea. I had also heard about using DI on the marked person then rebirthing the paladin, but i have never actually done it or have seen it done, so I don’t want people to go out and kill themselves and then say, but this one healer said we could do it….

The interesting thing about the mark is that living seed doesn’t appear to help at all. It just sits on the target and is never triggered by damage. Very strange. Because of this, I’m kinda iffy about suggesting methods to keep the marked person alive other than your basic boring vanilla healing (for example: pain suppression? earth shield?).

As for DI, I think they might have closed that loophole when they “fixed” priest bubbles and blood power generation, so you are right to play it safe.

But bacon does work in practice and is highly recommended! Just have a druid or another healer keeping an eye on the marked person and throwing the occasional hot/shield, since the pally will be focused on healing the tank and not paying as much attention to where the bacon love is going.

I know as a priest that pain suppression will reduce the damage taken for a time. Prayer of Mending will also bounce off the marked player.

I think I’m going to have to test my shaman’s Earth Shield. She’s the third toon to go to ICC when I’m able/willing to run that many raids in a week, so I don’t get to mess around with her skills as much.

It’s funny, I almost NEVER run with a pally healer in my 10 mans. But normally our dps is so quick we don’t have to worry about too many marks being out at the same time.

We have one pally healer who comes to our 25 mans and I’ve been having him heal the marked player while keeping his beacon on the current tank. Though beaconing the marked player does make more sense, now that I’ve actually thought about it some more. It’s funny how you do something one way, and it works, so you stop trying to figure out a more effective means.

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