Light & Leafy

Archive for the ‘guide’ Category

After defeating the dreaded Lord Marrowgar, the next deranged lieutenant of the Lich King you will encounter is Lady Deathwhisper. The Lady is the supreme overseer of the Cult of the Damned, reveling in the power the Lich King appointed her after she elected to dispose of her corporeal form.

Lady Deathwhisper is similar to many lich fights we’ve seen in the past. She primarily uses frost and shadow spells, and like Kel’Thuzad, her first phase mostly involves being able to control the numerous adds that spawn on the sides of the room. Once your team is able to make it through the first phase and break her mana shield, you’re certain to take home some pretty purples.

Phase One

When you first encounter Lady Deathwhisper, she’ll be wrapped up in her mana barrier, a protective bubble that causes all damage done to eat away at her mana rather than her health. The dps must burn through her mana before she will become vulnerable. When the mana barrier is depleted, phase 2 begins.

During the first phase of Lady Deathwhisper’s fight, adds will spawn on a 60 second timer.  In 10 man, the adds will alternate which side of the room they spawn on, while in 25 man they will spawn from both sides every time.  There are two types of adds that can be spawned:

  • Cult Fanatics – Melee mobs that will occasionally buff themselves with Vampiric Might, increasing their damage done and healing themselves.
  • Cult Adherents – Caster mobs that will occasionally shield themselves with Shroud of the Occult, absorbing spell damage and making them immune to interrupts. The adherents will also cast Curse of Torpor, which will cause the victims’ spells to have an increased cool down of 15 seconds unless it is dispelled.

Meanwhile, Lady Deathwhisper will constantly be adding to the chaos. She will target random raid members and place a Death and Decay at their feet. All members within in the green goo of doom must run away the second they see it; at 4500 damage per second, it doesn’t take long to die. She also will cast random shadow bolts on the raid group every 2 seconds. They’re really just a nuisance to heal through rather than anything truly worrisome.

Dark Transformation will cause one of her Fanatics to turn into a giant, shirtless green blob that runs around wearing purples shorts. They do a bit more damage though, so it’s best to have a tank kite them around the room while the dps smush it to smithereens.

Animate dead will resurrect a fallen Fanatic or Adherent. Resurrected fanatics will need to be killed by casters in your group as there are immune to physical damage. Resurrected adherents are immune to spell damage and will need to be killed by hunters or melee dps. See, the kitteh and warriors ADHERE to their targets, while the mages and lockies…FAN AWAY from theirs?  Curse you, fanatics. Ur in my blogz, ruining my mnemonic devicez.

Dominate Mind: Oh, and did I mention in the 25 man version she mind controls? Yep. Get out the polymorph:baby penguin! Unless you’d rather have your little ball of fury arms warrior come up to your holy priest and turn her into a fail angel.

Once a wave of adds is finished, all dps should move to Deathwhisper to bring her mana barrier down until the next set of adds spawn.

For healing the first phase of this fight on 10 man, usually one healer is assigned to watching the tanks. The other 2 cover any incidental damage from her AoE spells, and help dps her mana shield when the raid feels stable.

On 25 man, the healing gets a bit complicated. I will give each tank their own personal healer, with a pally beaconing the tank in charge of kiting any Fanatics that are turned into the lumbering green giants. There is usually no room for healers to dps, as the death and decay and shadow bolts seem to take the majority of our respective mana pools. Keep healers near anyone capable with a taunt or a crowd control mechanic; you will usually be the first to catch the attention of your insane team mates, and as most classes will be able to one shot the squishiest of healers, it’s better to have someone around who can protect you when the giant purple gnome is running straight for you.  You’ll want to have someone (or multiple people) dedicated to removing the Curse of Torpor, or your healers will be in for a nasty surprise.

If you’re having trouble getting into phase 2, it might behoove you to set one of your dps (preferably a ranged so that she doesn’t cast death and decay within her footprint) to attack her throughout the fight. Another trick you might want to try is to cast heroism when her shield is at or below 20% and just burn through.

Phase 2

This is when Lady Deathwhisper comes to deal with you bothersome scrubs herself!  The adds will stop spawning, but Deathwhisper gains 4 more abilities: Touch of Insignificance, Summon Vengeful Shade, Frostbolt and Frostbolt Volley.

Touch of Insignificance is a debuff placed on your tanks that will reduce their threat by 20% for each stack (though sometimes an impatient druid or warrior might get a stack – that just makes them gleeful). This requires some tank switch-a-rooing, but all in all it just means that as healers, you need to know which tank is getting frostbolts to the face when.

Summon Vengeful Shade will…wait for it….SUMMON A VENGEFUL SHADE! Crazy idea, right? Basically the shade is a little purple ghostie you need to get away from or it will explode and hurt you and everyone around you. You can’t damage it, you can’t root it. You just need to run with your robes hiked up and shrieking like a little blood elf… *ahem*

Frostbolts are 2 second casts that can be interrupted. If not, prepare for your tank to take some pretty heavy damage.

Frostbolt Volley has a 4 second cast that should be interrupted as many times a possible, or count on your entire raid eating a 13k icicle simultaneously. Even if you’re a resto shaman, now’s a good time to have Wind Shear on your bars.

During phase two, the most important task for healers is to be aware of their surroundings. One Vengeful Shade exploding around the same time as a death and decay or uninterrupted Frostbolt Volley is pretty much a guarantee for you to be spending the rest of the fight on the floor, tasting the death and decay (hint: it does not taste like pistachio ice cream).  Also, because the tanks will probably have to move Deathwhisper out of death and decay occasionally, it’s imperative to watch where they’re leading her; the pillars on the top of her platform make excellent line-of-sight obstructions.

The healing assignments are likely to stay the same as phase one, as Deathwhisper really isn’t any harder on the tanks than her minions were.  Focusing Deathwhisper and having her cast bar visible can be a really helpful way to prepare for a Frostbolt Volley, allowing you to queue up any AoE heals before everyone has already gotten a snowball to the face. Mass dispel is also handy to have on hand to dispel the slowing debuff that lingers after the frost spells are cast.

The most important part of the Deathwhisper fight is being able to knock down her mana shield in a timely fashion; after that it’s a simple awareness game as her health isn’t very high and her damage can be very manageable.

Good luck and happy raiding!


According to legend (or maybe WoWWiki), Lord Marrowgar was pieced together by Arthas using the bones of thousands of fallen champions scattered around Ice Crown Glacier. What this means is the first boss you see, literally from the Light’s Hammer safe zone in the citadel’s entrance, is a 4 headed monstrosity wielding a gianormus axe and using its decrepit wings to keep in from touching the ground. Charming.

Lord Marrowgar is a pretty straightforward fight using a lot of gimmicks we’ve seen in previous encounters. He has 2 distinct phases that continue to alternate until you kill him off. So long as your raid is good at “gtfo”ing of the fires, you should be able to smush him real good.

Phase One
Marrowgar will be floating menacingly in the middle of his chambers. Your tanks should run in together to avoid having the main tank eat one of Marrowgar’s Saberlashes alone (Saberlash does 200% of Marrowgar’s physical damage spilt amongst 3 targets standing in front of Marrowgar, making it essential that dps are BEHIND Marrowgar at all time. We saw a more ouchy version of this spell in Zul’Aman while battling the Lynx Avatar, Halazzi).

While the tanks are eating some nasty saberlashes, the rest of the raid will have to keep their eyes peeled for Marrowgar’s other 2 spells: Coldflames and Bonespike Graveyard. 

Coldflames are blue swirling….flames that Marrowgar will randomly cast on a targeted player. The flames will shoot out in a straight line from Marrowgar to the affected player and then past them. The flames, like most of WoW’s fires, hurt. A lot. So do your healers a favor and gtfo, k? You can also dodge the flames pretty easily: they’re large, electric blue, and will head DIRECTLY TO WHERE YOU WERE STANDING.

Bonespike Graveyard is randomly cast on raid members (though it doesn’t appear to be cast on the tanks) throughout the fight. These kind of look like obsidian obelisks (yay for alliteration!). The BSG impales a player, making them completely unable to move and does constant damage until the BSG is destroyed by fellow (mobile) team mates. Coldflames CAN be cast on players in the BSG, so healers should keep an eye out on players who are immobilized in case they need extra healing.

During phase one, we found it necessary to have one healer dedicated to each of the tanks. The third healer (a tree) was able to heal through any incidental Coldflame and BSG damage. From what I’ve read about the 25 man version, 2 healers should be able to keep both the tanks alive (especially if you’re using holy pallies swapping Beacon of Light targets, essentially having both tanks being constantly healed by 2 healers), while 4 healers will be enough to deal with the incidental ticks of Coldflames and BSG damage being tossed around.

Phase Two
From what I gathered, roughly every 30-40 seconds, Marrowgar would shift into Phase Two, which is kind of like Leotharas the Blind meets the Monster Mash. Marrowgar bounces around the room Bonestorming, applying a nasty 15 second bleed (on top of the physical damage he does every second you allow him to touch you). He continues to do Bonespike Graveyards and Coldflames during this phase, so you’ll want your healers spread out in pairs, with each pair covering one third of the room. This way, no matter where players end up, there will be at least 1 healer in their vicinity to keep them topped off.

While in phase two, you’ll want to avoid Marrowgar at all costs, and try to keep it so you are not between Marrowgar and a wall (this ends in shrieks and spirit form…generally not a pretty sight). If you DO get hit by a Bonestorm in 10 man, it’s not the end of the world. From what I’ve heard about 25 man, you’ll either need some top-notch healing, or one of the variety of “oh crap-monkeys” buttons to remove the debuff (i.e. pally bubble, dwarves’ stoneform, barkskin) 

After a short time, he’ll stop acting like the Tazmanian Devil from Loony Toons and will go back to how he was in phase one. Make sure your tanks are grouped together so one of them doesn’t eat a saberlash, and you should be good to go. 

I didn’t see any enrage timers, but it took us (and apparently Matticus) 3 of each phase before Lord Marrowgar was dead-dead-deadidy-dead.

Healery Type Epix

And there it is folks! Your first foray into Ice Crown Citadel! Good luck and happy raiding!!!

Last night, while doing my Argent Tournement dailies (I want a unicorn, dammit!), a friend whispered me. Originally, I excitedly thought he was going to invite me to Vault on my resto shaman when he wanted to make sure I had one, but that was quickly put to rest with his next queston: “how do you play a resto  shaman?” Because I knew he had a discipline spec on his priest, I went directly to specifics (keeping up earthshield, chain healing, etc.). But then it struck me that he might not have been asking for himself. His girlfriend had recently gotten her shaman up to level 80 and decided she wanted to try healing. I started to consider what would be good suggestions for anyone playing a healer for the first time….

Know your healing priorities
Getting used to being a healer can take some time. You’re not always going to have a lot to do, and you’re always playing to suit the needs of the group. Unlike dps, you can’t always focus on one target and then move to the next. I find it helpful to keep in mind a heirarchy of heals, especially during times when the pull may not have gone as smoothly as you would have wished.
      1. Tanks – If the tank dies, it’s not a done deal that everyone around you will die. But, it will make healing a LOT harder on you, and everyone may in fact die, especially if the tank is dead soon after the pull. In a raid situation, you may not be assigned to be a tank healer, but even so it’s a good habit to keep track of their health bars and help out if you notice them hovering close to death or if their healers have died.
      2. You! Yep, you’re the second highest priority when it comes to healing. A lot of healers, old hats included, often forget to heal themselves. Maybe their player bar isn’t in a place they normally look, or they’re so focused on their target that they neglect themselve. No matter how you look at it though, if you die, no one is getting your heals. And that can lead to a lot of wiping, especially in 5 mans.
      3. DPS. You DO want them alive. They sure do make killing things easier. But if you heal them at the expense of killing yourself or the tank, you may want to reassess your priorities.

Mana Regeneration Tools!
Every healer has them. And most are really good about making the most out of using them. But in the heat of battle, it can be really easy to forget to use them. I like having Scrolling Combat Text’s sound turned on to give me audio warnings, but you can also pay attention to your mana bars just as much as you pay attention to health bars. The cooldowns, no matter which healer you play, are in the 3 minute – 5 minute range, so there’s really no excuse for saving them for any particular fight. I’m not advocating wasting them every time they’re off cooldown, but if you’re sitting at a quarter of your maximum mana at the beginning of a pull, it probably behooves you to get some of the pretty blue stuff back quickly. And don’t be shy to ask for mana regeneration tools from the druids and priests in your party; even if they’re dpsing, they can still innervate you and cast hymn of hope.

Using HoT’s/Shields
Using your heal over time and shielding spells can be one of the more difficult skills to learn as a new healer. Even though I had been playing my priest for over 2 years, when I started healing on my druid I found that I was constantly renewing my HoT’s much sooner than I needed to and was wasting a ton of mana in the process. On my shaman, I started having the same problem with my earthshield, but when I tried to stop the unnecessary overwriting I started to have periods where the tank didn’t have it at all. What this boils down to is creating a way to track your set-it-and-forget-it heals. I found setting up Power Auras and Grid for those specific spells  made it move visible to me to keep track my heal-over-times , but just keeping a sharp eye on  the buffs in your regular party frames also can do the trick. Patience, above everything else, is key to using spells that do not instantly heal your targets. I know it can be nerve-wracking to see people slowly regenerating health, but if you’re tossing the HoT’s around and then using larger single heals immediately after the fact, you’re probably overhealing a lot and not being very efficient with your mana consumption.

Healers come with dispels. Depending on the class you play, you can only dispel certain types of the four dispellable debuffs (poison, magic, disease, and curses). Druids can dispell poison and curses, priests get magic and disease, shamans get poisons diseases and curses, and pallies have poison, disease and magic effecs. A lot of healers I know don’t usually think about dispelling diseases; they just heal through the damage. That’s  not necesarrily a bad thing I take that back. It is a bad thing. These debuffs aren’t always just things you can gloss over by healing people through. Sometimes they’ll leech mana or explode doing damage to everyone nearby. Knowing what you can dispel and dispelling it quickly can keep you from having to heal so hard and it can get rid of nasty debuffs that can mess with other people’s playing (slowing their attack/movement speed, interrupting them, draining their power source, etc.). Granted, there are a few things you DON’T want to remove (Grobbulus’ poison injection, a warlock’s unstable affliction), but those are exceptions to the general rule of dispelling everything to make your job and the jobs of your teammates, easier.

Yay for spell books!
If you have your spell descriptions turned on, you might find that reading them through will give you a better understanding of what you have in your arsenal of heals. Take some time to really look at all the spells you can use and think a little bit about how each might be valuable in a combat situation. When would you use rejuvination over regrowth? If only the tank needs a heal, is chain heal really the best spell to use? If the entire party is taking damage, when’s a good time to use circle of healing and when’s a good time to use prayer of healing? Getting to know your tools is kind of like getting to know friends; it might take some time, but when you really need them, you can count on them.

Cooldowns are important!
A lot of the really powerful, save your patootie spells have cooldowns. You probably won’t use them frequently, but they do exsist and you should be mindful of them. It might be worthwhile for some of them to see what glyphs and talents are out there to reduce the cooldowns and get you to use them more. Even if you were to keep them at their standard cool downs, it’s still pivotal to learn what each of your “special” moves can do and make sure you have them easily accessible in case you do need to use them.

Start small and move up!
Chances are if your a new healer, the first instance you go into should not be something like Trial of the Champion. The level 78-80 dungeons do have a bit of a ramp for players to practice in. Utgarde Pinnacle and Gundrak are a bit easier, while Culling of Stratholme, Halls of Ligthning and Trial of the Champion are a bit more difficult. Starting in a place with a lot of trash can also help you warm up before you start healing through boss encounters. Once you’re comfortable with these, moving onto heroics shouldn’t be a problem. It’s easy to get into heroics now that you don’t have to be keyed, but learning to walk before you run has its benefits. The same thing can be applied to raid healing. You may be a pro at healing 5-man dungeons, but sometimes it takes a lot of getitng used to when you start healing in raids. Even if you’ve geared yourself up nicely from an assortment of badges, you might want to step into a Naxx10 or Naxx25  before you go into Onyxia or Trail of the Crusader just to get the feeling of what its like relying on other healers as your teammates, rather than being the single person responsible for the lives ove everyone around you. 

Take some time to gear up!
When you first hit 80, it may be a good idea to try to find a group you can dps in to get your gear a little more situated before you start healing yourself. Another way to optimize this “gear” time would be to try to run with a healer of the same class and watch them as they heal. They may provide you with insight before you start throwing around heals yourself. =)

Like with any kind of new role, you’ll get better at healing the more you practice it. Playing with friends and guildies can help you overcome some of the anxiety it can bring (it is a pretty big responsbility) and can provide you a safe place to practice without others having high expectations of how the instance should run. Recognize that sometimes others will die, no matter how hard you try to save them, and don’t be too hard on yourself while you’re still learning. Every other healer had to start at square one as well, and with time and practice became the talented players they are now.

This time Divine Illumination section has decided to take a well deserved vacation on a remote tropical island far, far away from the snows of Northrend. Think somewhere in the South Seas, only with less Bloodsail Bucaneers. At any rate, it’s not like there’s actually any healing done in this fight, but if you don’t get past it, you’ll never get into the rest of the instance!

Fear not! We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program next time, but for now, let’s explore some vehicular machine-icide in the Flame Leviathan fight. FL is a fairly interesting fight, though its easy enough for most PuGs to get past. I know on my home server, there were a lot of groups going into Ulduar when it first came out just to down FL and get started on the tier 8 loots. Please note, this guide is for those looking to beat the first boss on his easiest mode. It can be used as a jumping off point for the other modes of this encounter, but we really won’t get into the detail of those specific fights.

 The Vehicles
In order to combat Flame Leviathan, you’ll have to either be riding in a vehicle or driving one.

Siege Engine Driver – Controls the movements of the siege engine. Has an interrupt with a 6 second cooldown, as well as a burst of speed which uses 1/2 of the steam power the siege engine is constantly regenerating (like rogue or kitty energy) and a ramming manuever to take down buildings.
Siege Engine Passenger -Mans the Anti-Air Turrets to kill the choppers found in the trash before FL and to take down the pyrite barrels which fuel the demolishers (can additionally be used to damage FL). Can use the cannon to damage FL directly. Also controls the shield that protects the siege engines.

Demolisher Driver -Launches passengers onto Flame Leviathan’s turrets, lobs regular cannonballs as well as special pyrite cannon balls that do massive damage with a stacking damage over time (stacks 10 times).
Demolisher Passenger – Can load themselves into the catapult to be launched on the back of Flame Leviathan, picks up pyrite to keep the demolisher driver’s ammunition stocked and controls a burst of speed to get the demolisher out of harm’s way. Also has mortar and anti-air rockets to do limited damage.

Motorcycle Driver – Can drop oil slicks on the ground which can be ignited. Picks up people who are tossed off of Flame Leviathan’s back, and can transport them or pyrite to nearby demolishers.
Motorcycle Passenger – Sits back and relaxes until they are put in a demolisher

Flame Leviathan’s Special Moves
Flame Vents – 10 second channel that does massive fire AoE around FL. Can, and must, be interrupted by siege drivers
Battering Ram – Knocks back melee-ranged vehicles and inflicts a debuff which increases damage taken by 100%
Gathering Speed – Speed increased by 5%. Can stack up to 20 times.

Basic Breakdown

Firstly, you’ll want to organize your vehicles before the encounter starts. In 10 man, a good jumping off place would be :
      -2 Siege Engine drivers
      -2 Siege Engine passengers
      -2 Demolisher drivers
      -2 Demolisher passengers (should be ranged dps, or dps who can target the additional turret should the other passenger die)
      -2 Motorcyle drivers
25 man gets a little more complicated, but the strategy my team found to work the best involved 2 teams of demolisher passengers:
      -3 Siege Engine Drivers
      -3 Siege Engine Passengers
      -5 Demolisher Drivers
      -9 Demolisher Passengers (1 demolisher permanently retains their passenger. The other 4 start with one passenger in the catapult and one in the passenger seat. After the first team of 4 turret destroyers are jetted off of FL’s back, the passengers who started in the passenger seat climb into the catapult so the first wave of turret destroyers can get back into the demolishers).
      -5 Motorcycle Drivers
 While clearing trash, it can be useful to have the 4 people who are going to be launched 2nd onto FL’s back to be riding in the empty passenger seats of the motorcycles so the demolisher drivers can still use all their moves).

At the start of the fight, Flame Leviathan will break down the far wall of the square courtyard in which you fight him.  He will immediately mark either a demolisher or a seige engine to chase after. That vehicle simply needs to kite Flame Leviathan around the courtyard, preferably in the largest path possibly. As soon as a vehicle is marked for following, the demolishers should launch their first passenger from the catapult. The demolishers should be launched one at a time to prevent missing the turrets (we found that if 2 people were launched at the same time, the encounter would try to put both players on the same turret, and one would end up falling to the ground and dying shortly there after). While the players on top destroy the turrets, the demolishers should be picking up pyrite and damaging Flame Leviathan, while the seige engine drivers should focus on interrupting the flame vents. Seige engine drivers should make sure there is enough pyrite on the ground. Stacking the pyrite dot on Flame Leviathan is the most effective way to burn down the boss. Also, keep in mind that Flame Leviathan will be gathering speed (which will be reset after his stun) and will be target changing about once every 15 seconds. Once all the turrets are destroyed, Flame Leviathan will be stunned and the players that were on turret duty will be ejected and need to be picked up by the motorcycles or by their demolisher partners if they are nearby. During the stun, Flame Leviathan will be taking increased damage, so it’s important to make sure that demolishers are stocked up on pyrite and are able to shoot their cannons (i.e. no one should be in the catapult). After the stun wears off in 10 man, the demo passengers should make sure the pyrite has been refilled then load themselves into the catapult. On 25 man, as soon as motorcycles bring the ejected players to their demolishers, the current passenger should load themselves into the catapult to allow the ejected players a spot in the passenger seat of the demolisher. Demolishers should then launch the catapult players onto FL’s back once more. Usually, this cycle repeats 3 times before the enrage timer is over. One last thing to note for any drivers – your vehicle’s health corresponds directly to your average item level. Therefore, if you are driving a vehicle you should put the highest level item gear you have on, as you will not actually be using any of your own spells. Passengers, especially those in demolishers, should wear their regular gear.

No good boss fight would be without some tricks, now would it? If you feel like you aren’t getting the pyrite refills you need as a demolisher, you might want to limit the amount of times you actually use the pyrite cannon. To keep the stacks from falling off, a good rotation can be something along the lines of *pyrite–cannonball-cannonball-cannonball-pyrite* This will keep the stacks rolling, but it should also help you conserve precious pyrite. Another tips is that ejected players will ALWAYS come down in front of Flame Leviathan. If your motorcycles aren’t there, during the stun phase it’s perfectly safe for demolishers to quickly grab their passengers before Flame Leviathan comes to life again. Another thing to consider is to mark demolishers with a raid icon so they stand out and so that motorcycles can find their passenger’s demolishers more easily.

Hardmodes –
The hardmodes get significantly more difficult with the more obstacles you add to the fight. On top of their own mischief, each tower gives Flame Leviathan 50% more health. It might be a good idea to try each of the towers by itself so you can get a feel for each of their challenges before you combine them.

Tower of Life (Freya’s Ward) – Decreases fire damage done to Flame Leviathan and spawns 1 large and 3-5 smaller adds which will attack vehicles. This can easily be killed if kited to a burning tar patch.
Tower of Frost (Hodir’s Fury) – Light blue beams which will follow vehicles around. If it catches a vehicle, it will stop moving and after a moment will call down a cascade of snow which will entomb the vehicle in ice, draining 1% of the vehicle’s health per second. The frost tomb can be broken by fire.
Tower of Storms (Thorim’s Hammer) – Flame Leviathan’s physical damage is increased by 25%. Once during the fight, Flame Leviathan will activate Thorim’s Hammer, causing pillars of light to appear which after a few seconds crash and deal AoE nature damage similar to Loken or Emalon’s lightning novas. If a player is directly upon one of these beams of light, the vehicle will take approximately 10% of its total health in damage, but because the beams are usually quite close to one another, it is easy to be hit by multiple beams and destroy your vehicle. Regardless of location, every vehicle will loose 1% of their vehicles health to each beam’s AoE damage, loosing about 20% of their health in total.
Tower of Flames (Mimiron’s Inferno) – Flame Leviathan’s fire damage is increased. Periodically will call down Mimiron’s Inferno which will cause fiery orbs to fall in a diamond shape path starting where Flame Leviathan enters the courtyard and moving clockwise, damaging everyone who is underneath it. The fire remains for a while, dealing damage to anyone crossing or standing in the flames.

Best of luck to those who attempt any of Flame Leviathan’s hardmodes! And let us know your favorite combinations of towers to have up!

What sparkles, shoots out swirly gobs of light, and keeps warlocks’ mana pools full? Divine Illumination of course! This installment finally finishes up the ghoulish halls of Naxxramas! So, hang on to your robes fellow healers (I can say that because even pallies have robes nowadays!)! Kel’Thuzad, your time has come!

The giant frost wyrm is yet again a pile of bones settled on the cold stone floor in the antechamber. A wall of ice, presumably created by the slain dragon’s magic, crumbles to reveal a narrow hallway. A hollow laugh breaks the silence as you walk down the empty corridor — he knows you’re coming. The lich Arthas has placed in charge of the plagued citadel, Kel’Thuzad, eagerly awaits your arrival.
After all, such a powerful servant of the Lich King surely has some tricks to deal with pesty adventurers such as yourselves…

Phase One Adds:
Soldiers of the Frozen Wastes – suicidal skellies that will die upon touching a raid member, causing damage to the entire raid. Low health pool and slow moving.
Unstoppable Abomination – large abominations that will need to be tanked because of their high melee damage and the 10% reduced healing debuff which can stack on their targets. Normal speed and large health pool.
Soul Weaver – When near its primary aggro target, the weaver casts a knock back spell to three nearby players that additionally causes shadow damage. Slow moving with an average boss-add health pool, the weavers must be attacked only by ranged dps.
Phase Two and Three:
Frostbolt (single) – a 2 second cast that MUST Be interrupted. Deals large amounts of frost damage to the tank.
Frostbolt (raid) – an instant frostbolt volley to the raid. Deals easily healed damage, and slows all members for 4 seconds. Happens once every 20-30 seconds
Mana Detonation – Debuff applied to a random mana user. After 5 seconds, the player will explode, causing damage to all those around him or her based on his or her maximum mana pool (Mana using melee dps will not cause extreme damage to their raid mates, but others can cause damage exceeding 25,000 HP). The player himself is not injured, but looses around 2k mana.
Shadow Fissure – Targets a random raid member, creating a large red pool around their feet. Detonates after 5 seconds, killing anyone inside the pool.
Frost Blast – Will encase the target and anyone within 10 yards in a tomb of ice, doing damage equal to 104% of the victims’ health over the span of 4 seconds, requiring all to be healed at least marginally until the ice melts. In 10 man, this ability cannot target the main tank, though in 25 man it can happen (though it’s rare).
Chains of Kel’Thuzad (25 man only) – KT will mind control up to 3 people at a time. The mind control cannot be removed and lasts 20 seconds, requiring raids to crowd control the inflicted members.
Guardians of Icecrown – At 45% health, the guardians will appear, each with the same amount of health as KT, meaning they just have to be off-tanked for the remainder of the fight. They have a buff which will increase their size and their damage significantly for each stack, giving the raid for all intents and purposes an enrage timer. They gain a stack of this buff once every 15 seconds.


The beginning phase of this fight really should be a piece of cake. Feel free to smite/judge/moonfire/lightning bolt any skellies that are getting too close to impact. You don’t really want to have to worry about them exploding and hurting your entire group. Usually, by the end of phase one you’ll still have one or 2 of the weavers around, so just be sure to dodge them or you’ll be knocked back. Phase 2 is really where things become tricky, though I personally find this fight to be easier to heal than Sapphiron. Healers should remain spread out throughout the fight, with assignments for either tanks or raid members. For 25, the raid healers should be in formation so that one is on the left side, one on the middle left, one on the middle right and one on the right side. That way, there is always at least one raid healer in range of that particular side of the room. Healers who are healing the add tanks should be on the side of the room the tank plans to be on; it’s important not to have to run to their tank because of the frost tombs, detonate manas and fissures. Raid healing will be a little heavy because of the aoe frost bolts, so healers should really try to keep inefficient healing to a minimum. Detonate mana will usually hurt anyone near a healer, because our mana pools are among the largest. The safest bet is to run as far back towards the alcoves where the adds were hanging out in phase one. So long as no one’s in a 10 yard radius though, you’ll be safe to explode =) With the way healer’s mana works, the 2k depletion from the detonate shouldn’t make much difference, unless you’re really unlucky and it continues to be cast on you. Fissures are pretty easy to avoid, especially if you have your graphics even a tad higher than the minimum setting. It just requires you to pay attention to your surroundings, and make sure you keep calm during the fight so you don’t accidentally get killed by one (but if you do, just remember than most people have in the past =D). The frost tombs are the hardest part of this phase. I like using the /range command to bring up a little tool tip that shows me who’s in a 10 yard radius around me. This way I can try to avoid being too close to anyone in range who might get the frost tomb cast on them (and, consequently on me if I’m cuddling up against them). Healers really do need to focus on healing the people in tombs; if they don’t receive at least 4% of their max health within 5 seconds, they will die. And, as a healer, that’s not something you (usually) like to see. A flash heal, penance, regrowth, holy shock or lesser healing wave should be enough to keep them up until you have more time to cast a larger spell. If there are a group of  frost tombs, a couple of healers in the vicinity should be able to keep them alive, even if only by a margin. Once the guardians spawn, the guardian tank healer(s) should be near their assignment. It’s incredibly important to burn KT through this phase, as the guardian’s self-buff will gradually become too much to possible heal through.
So as a recap — heal the people in ice, stay off the red circles and away from the big dark mind control players, and don’t ignite your mana near others!

Keep heroism/bloodlust available until the last phase. This will allow you to speed through the last 45% of KT’s health, and get you through the last phase when your mana will probably be significantly depleted. You can also use the circle in Sapphiron’s room to position people before heading into KT’s chambers. Staggering the ranged players can also help prevent unnecessary ice tomb chains. The last thing to be aware of is that if for whatever reason one of the tanks die, the tank on KT can keep a hold on the guardians if absolutely necessary. If that’s the case, however, the healers assigned to the extra tank should move onto the main tank as he will be taking increasingly more damage.

You’ve done it!  Congratulations on clearing Naxxramas! Next time, we’ll start getting into Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader!

Divine Illumination – quality installments of your favorite boss kills. Guaranteed to prepare you for all bosses between Sartharion and Anub’arak. All yours for only 3 small payments of $19.99. Please no C.O.D. Act now and receive your very own ghoul Plushy! *limited while supplies last* Not interested? Hrm. Maybe we should just start digging into the Sapphiron fight and call it a day…

Scarcely moments after Thaddius has been slain and his tortured souls released, you and your allies find yourselves teleported to an icy lair. Littered on the ground before you are countless bones, some indistinguishable under the cold blue lights. You take a step precariously into the room, wondering what horrors lie in wait for you. Suddenly, a blinding light emerges from the center of the room, and the once dormant bones noisily reassemble themselves in the form of tremendous frost wyrm. Sapphiron, once a noble blue dragon before being slain by Arthas, stands menacingly in front of your party, determined to guard the ruler of Naxxramas.

Let’s jump into her abilities after the break!

Sapphiron is a standard dragon, and as such has both a tail stun and a frontal cleave, requiring melee dps to stand between his back legs and no where near Sapphiron’s tank.

Frost Aura – After Sapphiron is engaged, he will cast Frost Aura on the raid, dealing roughly 1200 frost damage every 2 seconds to everyone in the raid. This can be mitigated with frost resistance.

Life Drain – Every 24 seconds, Sapphiron will cast this on one (10 man) or 2 (25 man) random players in the raid. Not only does the curse drain player’s life every 2 seconds, it also heals Sapphiron. Can and should be dispelled.

Chill – During the fight, blizzards will be constantly moving around the room in a circular pattern. Any one standing in the middle of one of these blizzards will take fairly high damage every 2 seconds, but their movement speed will also be slowed considerably.

Ice Bolt – After Sapphiron flies up into the air (approximately every 45 seconds), he will cast Ice Bolt on 2 (10 man) or 3 (25 man) random targets. The targets will take moderate damage and will be encased in a block of ice until it is shattered by Sapphiron’s frost breath. Anyone around the target when he or she is ice bolted will take considerably higher splash damage.

Frost Breath – Once the ice bolts are cast, Sapphiron will emote “Sapphiron takes a deep breath,” causing a 7 second channeled breath attack that will hit anyone unprotected for upwards of 100,000 damage. The only way to avoid the frost breath is to be behind a player who was ice bolted and is encased in the ice.

Sapphiron is a healing intensive fight, even more so when doing it with 25 people. On 25 man, you will likely want 2 healers to focus on the tank, with everyone spread out evenly around Sapphiron and with instructions to heal those who happen to be around him (an example of this would be to have 1 healer standing to the far side near Sapphiron’s head, another by his tail, and 2 parallel to the middle of his body). Decursing is essential, and if no healers are able to decurse, mages and dps druids will have to pick up the slack.

The first phase, while Sapphiron is grounded, is much harder to heal through than his air phase. Make sure to keep out of the blizzard as it can easily kill an undergeared player or a healer with little stamina on their gear. Healing priority should be given to those who are trying to escape the blizzard and those who are cursed (until the curse is removed). Tank healers should be near their charge at all times, as Sapphiron is a giant creature and being at the opposite end will guarantee range problems. Tanks will be hit fairly hard, and need to be carefully tended.

The second phase is mostly chance. The targets for the ice bolt are completely random, and the quicker you can make it to one, the better as you will be able to survive the frost breath. Be sure to be spread out until both ice bolts are cast so that splash damage will not be excessive and kill players who may not be at full health. After safely behind an iceblock, there is a great opportunity to make sure those around you are brought up to full health to start the next phase 1.

After he reaches 10% health, Sapphiron will no longer fly up in the air, and the healers may find the last few moments of the fight fairly intense due to lack of mana and unrelenting aura damage.

Sapphiron will enrage after 15 minutes, causing his frost aura to tick for upwards of 7500 damage every 2 seconds.

Popping heroism after Sapphiron lands from an air phase is usually the best idea as you’ll maximize the time spent using it. Just be sure the tanks have adequate threat before the dps goes all out. Another helpful trick for healers who will be decursing through the course of the fight (and maybe even doubly so for dps so they don’t have to constantly be changing targets) is a mouse over decurse macro like the one listed below:

/cast [target=mouseover, exists]Name of Spell

So, for a druid this macro may read:

/cast [target=mouseover, exists]Remove Curse

Congratulations! You’ve slain a massive undead dragon (how you can “slay” something that isn’t dead is a little beyond me…). Go and grab a nice mug of hot cocoa and a blanket before you move on to the master of the house!

Divine Illumination was so overwhelmed by the gargantuan constructs that were Patchy and Grobby, it needed to lie down and rest for a bit before it could continue forward. Now we bring to you the conclusion of the Construct Quarter — Gluth and Thaddius.

Gluth (aka Frankenpuppy, or as I like to call him, Frank)
Oh, Frank. Were you not loved enough when you were little and normal? I just want to pet you and cuddle you and make you not the diabolical animal construct Kel’Thuzad has made you to be. He’s the only boss I ever hate killing in Naxx.

Mortal Wound – Every 10 seconds Frank will cast this on his tank, reducing healing taken by 10% for the next 15 seconds. It stacks, refreshing the 15 timer, and necessitating tank swapping.

Enrage – Frank’s melee haste is increased by 100 for 8 seconds, but this can be dispelled by rogues, hunters, and shamans.

Decimate – Every 90 seconds, Frank will decimate the surrounding flesh, dropping EVERYONE (including zombies) to 5% of their total health. Tanks should have priority heals after the decimate occurs.

In addition to all this, zombies will be spawning from the grates underneath the tunnel from which players drop into Frank’s room. Every zombie Frank munches on will give him 5% of his maximum health, making it essential for zombies to be kept away from him at all times and destroyed after the decimate when their health is at a manageable level for dps to take over.

Having a dedicated healer staying in the back with the add tank is crucial for their survival, as the zombies will infect the tank with a wound that increases physical damage done by 100 and can stack up to 99 times. If it can be done, a shaman is ideal for this position as he can also place down Earthbind totems to slow the zombies and reduce the number of times the kiting tank is hit. Otherwise, assignments should be given out for Frank’s tanks, as well as instructions on priority healing and group healing assignments after the decimate.

So long as the tanks are coordinated, this fight should be fairly easy to heal through. Preparing people for decimate with preemptive hots is also a good way to buy time to heal the entire raid to full again. If zombies should get loose and start attacking players closer to Frank, the best thing to do is have their target kite the zombie back to the zombie tank, allowing them to taunt the zombies into the rear of the room. It is essential the zombie tank is helped with slowing spells, such as earthbind totem and frost trap, so the infectious wound debuff does not stack too high. Once the tanks are topped off by the decimate, the rest of the raid should be healed while they are aoeing the zombie chow moving towards Frank at an alarming pace.

Since Frank has a lot of hit points, it’s usually a good idea to save the heroism/bloodlust until after the zombie chow has been annihilated after a Decimate. Also, healers in the rear of the room with the zombie should watch out in case they also get stacks of infectious wound, and should not be hesitant to call for assistance or to switch spots with another healer if their stacks are too high, putting them at risk if they are attacked by a loose zombie.

Curiously charged with electricity, Thaddius is a titan monstrosity. Legend holds that the flesh of women and children were the main components of Thaddius’ construction, fusing their souls together inside the horrific rotting carcass. The female screams heard throughout Naxxramas before the beast’s demise are thought to be the victims used in its creation.

Feugan and Stalag – Thaddius’ minions (or perhaps creators) stand on top of two platforms over looking Thaddius. The raid is split into two equal groups, with one taking down Stalag on the left and the other taking down Feugan on the right. During this initial phase, the tanks will be thrown periodically across the pool of slime underneath the platforms, forcing an involuntary tank swap. If they do not die within 5 seconds of each other, the one who died first will be resurrected with full health.

Chain Lightning – Every 15 seconds, Thaddius will cast chain lightning on a random raid member. It will jump to two other players.

Polarity Shift – Every 30 seconds, Thaddius cast Polarity shift, giving every player in the raid a positive or negative charge. Players with opposite charges will cause damage to one another every second until they are at least 15 yards apart. Players with the same charge should stack together as every person with the same charge adds a 10% damage increase buff which will be vital for working through the large amount of hitpoints this boss has.

Ball Lightning – If no one is in melee range, Thaddius will send out balls of lightning to raid members, killing most members (i.e. anyone with less than 20k health) instantaneously.

Thaddius will enrage after 6 minutes.

During phase one, healers should be split evenly between the two platforms. If your group has an odd number of healers, the extra healer should be on the side with Feugan as he has an aoe spell that will damage the dps section on that platform. Phase 2 is less focused on healing and more on dps and proper placement (usually Thaddius is tanked in the center of his platform, with his left and right side assigned specific charges). 3-4 healers should be enough to get you through this phase’s chain lightning and melee hits (as people usually do not survive crossing the polarities).

The most important aspect of this fight is to be aware of your polarity at all times. If you are on the proper side of your polarity, you MUST be stacked on top of the other raid members with the same charge. Even if you are strictly healing, you must provide the 10% damage buff to the rest of your team to ensure Thaddius will die given the large health pool (30 million on 25 man and 3 million on 10) and short enrage timer from the beginning of the encounter. Also, if you are not needed to heal, even minimal dps is better than none. That’s right. It’s time to bring out the smites, judgements, moon fires and lightning bolts. If anyone in the raid happens to miss the jump from the platforms to Thaddius, be sure they stay away from the raid until the following polarity switch — no charge is treated as though it is opposite to both positive and negative.

Using heroism after the first polarity switch is key — you’re likely to have the most people alive at this point. Remember that dpsing is your friend, and help your groups as much as you can, even with 0 hit rating. Before the fight begins, establish a set way to move around the boss and set sides for each charge (for example, my raid team uses this set up, with directions applied as if facing the boss from the doorway to his room : Left side = negative group, right side = positive group, always move clockwise around the boss). This way, as people are getting into position after a polarity shift, people don’t accidentally cross paths. Also, Thaddius has a huge hit box and melee should use this to their advantage; they ideally should be able to stack close enough to the ranged dps so they can receive the additional stacks of the 10% damage buff and be at the edge of Thaddius’ hit box so hunters in the party can still shoot it.

Ex. of a macro used in raid chat to describe raid location and movement during phase 2 :

Congratulations! You’ve slain the last two bosses in the construct quarter (and in the process freed the souls of a loving*** puppy and countless innocent women and children; heck, Thaddius even thanks you for slaying him!). Time to rest and relax before you move onto the top area of the fortress and the big baddie Kel-Thuzad).

***I say loving because all puppies, even undead ones, are capable and worthy of love.

Each installment of Divine Illumination is guaranteed to bring kumbayah, patcholi, and a couple of magic brownies to raids. They might not be THE magical brownies, but they’re so fluffy and tasty, nobody cares if they don’t infuse THC into your bloodstream. And what better way to add to raid unity than to slaughter a few hulking scourge constructs!

The smell is what reaches you first. You thought it couldn’t be anymore dreadful than Heigan and his lack of personal hygiene; you were mistaken. A handful of the Lich King’s most gruesome monstrosities wander the plague lined corridors of the Construct Quarter, waiting patiently to be unleashed against the forces of the horde and alliance.

Patchwerk is an abomination of considerable size, strength and speed. Patchwerk has a perverse sense of humor, playing with his victims, and is proud to be Kel’Thuzad’s “avatar of war.”

Hateful Strike – Patchwerk will strike the player with the most health from the 3 highest on his aggro table. The strike will do high damage to its target. Due to common misunderstanding, it has been encouraged for melee dps to stand in the slime river behind him to avoid being hit by the Hateful Strike. Try to discourage this as it is unnecessary — Patchwerk will NOT hit the player with the highest health with the hateful strike, he will only hit the player with the highest health of the three who have the highest threat on him. He does this once per second and will only hit the main tank if there is no one else in range to take the strike.

Frenzy – At 5% health, Patchwerk will frenzy, increasing all damage by 25% and increasing melee haste by 40%.

While Patchwerk is essentially a tank-and-spank fight, it does serve as a gearcheck for what’s considered the hardest wing in Naxxramas. The tanks will need to be geared sufficiently enough to withstand the Hateful strikes, the healers to be able to heal the tanks through the Hatefuls, and the dps to burn down Patchy’s 13 million hit points (4 million on ten man) within the 5 minute enrage timer. For this fight, I usually assign 1 healer for each tank with the remaining healers as floaters. Another suggestion is, on 25 man, to have 2 healers on each tank, with any extras keeping an eye on the Hateful tanks as they will be taking the biggest hits.

I’m usually a stickler for efficient healing, but for this fight, especially for new groups, the most important thing is to ensure the tanks are alive, most often through preemptive healing. This means having all hots available rolling on the tanks at all times, ensuring they have access to lightwells, health pots and stones, using cooldowns such as Pain Supression and Guardian spirit on cooldown, and casting heals even as the tanks sit at full health. Since Patchy casts a hateful once every second, slow reaction time can easily lead to the death of a tank and quite possibly the wipe of the raid. DPS shouldn’t require healing, unless they stand negligently in the slime or are life-tapping to regen their mana. Patchy’s frenzy also requires healers to be spamming their heals — the last 5% of his life will be the hardest to heal through. So long as you’re preemptively healing, and not just reacting to damage, Patchy should be a challenging, though rewarding kill.

As soon as the tanks have the top three aggro slots, there’s no reason not to pop heroism/bloodlust to help the kill go faster. Reminding dps to not stand in the slime also goes a long way to keep both the healers’ focus and mana on the tanks. Contingency plans, such as innervate assignments for healers and battle-rez coordination, also can help save raids from wiping when accidents occurs. Also, the more heals kept on the tank, the more relaxed they’ll be while tanking this boss (Living with a tank, I got to witness first hand the amount of stress and anxiety tanking Patchy can have with a person. That’s the only fight Osyras still feels squishy tanking, on any of his tanks).

Grobbulus is a plague abomination, carrying the scourge disease within his body. Contraptions attached to his flesh allow him to inject the putrid plague into the bodies of his victims, causing them to infect any allies nearby.

Poison Clouds – Grobbulus will drop one on the ground once every 15 seconds, forcing his tanks to kite him. The clouds to fairly intense damage per second, causing death in not avoided. They expand from their original size and last 75 seconds.

Slime Spray – Grobby spews in a frontal cone attack, doing fairly high nature damage to all those in a 45 degree arc. Raid members who are caught in the spray will spawn Fallout Slime. These slime will aoe anyone in a 10 yard radius every second, and must be picked up by an offtank and destroyed. Raid members should be behind Grobby at all times to ensure multiple slimes are not spawned.

Mutating Injection – Every 20 seconds, Grobbulus will inject a random raid member with his poison. After 10 seconds, or if the poison is cleansed, the poison will explode, causing nature damage to anyone near the target and dropping a poison cloud at the target’s feet. The speed of the injections increase as Grobby looses hit points.

Grobbulus will enrage after 9 minutes of combat.

As the fight requires people to constantly be running away from the group, healing assignments are usually wonky, with plenty of back up healers focusing on the tanks and the group. Keeping all casters and ranged dps together helps keep healing organized and fluid; this group will need to move in the center of the room as the tank kites Grobby along the outside (the grates on the floor outline a wonderful path to follow).

The fight is really all about controlling the amount of damage being done to the raid. There is no way to avoid the clouds Grobby himself drops, but there are ways of mitigating the damage the clouds players are forced to drop cause. Like Patchwerk, preemptive healing is pivotal on players carrying the injection. As they will likely be running far behind Grobby to find a space place to explode, shields and hots are wonderful tools to use to make sure the player survives the explosion and the second or two they will be spend in the puddle they create. As the raid is also constantly moving, quick heals, hots and anything that can absorb damage is wildly helpful for the fight. Also, healers should be reminded to NEVER, EVER cleanse the poison off of players, lest they wind up with an expanding poison cloud in the middle of the ranged group. Grobby doesn’t hit exceptionally hard, but all healers should keep an eye on the main tank in case his or her assigned healer is hit by an injection and is running away from the group.

Heroism and Bloodlust are usually best saved until the end of the fight, when Grobbulus is injecting people at a much more frequent basis. I also found that announcing names in vent for the injections allows not only the healers to hot/shield the injected raid member, but also allows the raid member to move quickly behind Grobbulus to spawn a puddle (Behind Grobbulus is an important factor as you do not want the puddles to be in the path the tanks is taking the fatty). Also, be sure to use as much of the floor space as you can for the puddles — if you can leave them up the ramp leading to Gluth or in the recesses on the walls on either end of the room, all the better; otherwise, it’s always a good idea to stand right up against the wall so the puddle can’t expand in all directions and leave a wider patch of unusable ground.

PHEW! We’ve made it through the first 2 meanies of the Construct Quarter. Stay tuned for next time we’ll show you the dazzling conclusion that will leave you cheering in your seats! (Or at least pretend to for my mental well being =D)

Here we are again: another Divine Illumination, and a few more bosses dead! Please bear through the verbosity of these last few posts; once we’re finished in Naxx, we’ll be putting out posts with only one boss fight per entry. Onto the third section of Naxx, the Military Quarter.

Looking through the archway into the Military quarter, you gasp at the sight of legions of undead warriors honing their deadly craft. Death knight pupils and their masters train continuously, preparing themselves for the Lich King’s dreadful war. A chill runs down your spine as you realize the only thing stopping these deadly foes is your small group of ragtag heroes, any of whom can easily be swayed into the Lich King’s service with one blow of a runed blade.

Instructor Razuvius
The most feared death knight trainer, Instructor Razuvius was appointed by Kel’Thuzad personally to oversee the instruction of all the Lich King’s death knights. He’s rumored to have a move so devastating only one of his own pupils can withstand it.

Disrupting Shout – Hits the entire raid for moderate unavoidable damage once every 15 seconds.

Jagged Knife – Targets a raid member once every 10 seconds. On top of the immediate damage, the move also applies a bleed, causing 2,000 damage every two seconds for the next 10 seconds

Unbalancing Strike – Strikes the tank for 350% weapon damage as well as reducing their defense by 100 for the next 6 seconds. As this move hits for well over 100,000 damage on plate, the only people exposed to this should be his Death Knight Understudies.

Healing assignments are usually pretty easy for this fight. In 10 man, thanks to the mind control orbs, healers can focus their heals on the Understudies while one healer can take care of the residual raid damage. In 25 man, the composition changes a little in case you require healing priests to mind control the Understudies. If you use a tank to corral the remaining, hostile understudies, they should be given their own healer. 2 healers is ideal for raid healing as the disrupting shout hits a lot harder on 25 man difficulty. The rest should be used to keep the Understudies alive so that Razuvious never is allowed to freely roam through the raid.

The most important thing to heal through, especially on 25 man, is the bleed Razuvious casts on random raid members. It does a lot of damage, and if the bleed is on a person who is mind controlling the adds, it will shorten their channeling duration; this can lead to early releases which allow Razuvious or his Understudies free on the raid. Paying special attention to the Understudies is critical. While they may have a lot of health, the understudies cannot survive the entire duration of the fight if you do not heal them. Letting Razuvious kill all the understudies is not productive as he cannot be tanked in any other way.

A few tips for those mind controlling through the fight:

  1. Mark the understudies so everyone knows which will be tanked off to the side for backup and which will be mind controlled by which player.
  2. Always have at least 2 mind controls on 25 man, though 3 is preferable for beginning groups.
  3. Create a line of communication between the mind controls. In a perfect situation, the first mind control should go in with bone shield and taunt, and 10 seconds later the next understudy should put on their bone shield and taunt. Following the bone shield cool down after this first swap will help keep things paced out (i.e. after the first switch, every time your bone shield cool down is up you should be taunting Razuvious).
  4. As soon as Razuvious has been taunted off your underling, drop the mind control and recast to ensure you have the optimal channeling duration when it’s your turn to tank.

Heroism/Bloodlust should be used early on this fight. The quicker the fight goes, the less problems you’ll have with mind controls dying. Also, for new groups, having the 2 extra underlings on 25 tanked to the side away from the group is a good contingency plan in case one of the mind controls are slain. And a reminder to the mind controls — when your mind control is over or released, you will have highest aggro. A bubble will help absorb damage and prevent casting set back while you try to regain control over the mob.

Gothik the Harvester
Another instructor of the Lich King’s Death Knights, Gothik is a master necromancer who can willing summon undead minions at a moment’s notice. Apparently, he and Heigan share a sense of fashion and a love of death charger skulls…

The general rule of thumb for this fight is that the dead side should receive about twice as many healers as the live side since the dead side is more likely to be overrun and the adds hit harder. Otherwise, it’s in everyone’s best interest to split the raid evenly, with those receiving extra damage to undead targets (*cough pallies*) to be positioned on the dead side of the middle gate, near the exit.
During phase 1, Gothik will be immune to any damage. Instead he will summon 19 waves of adds over the course of 3 1/2 minutes. The adds get progressively harder as the waves come, starting with easily killed Trainees, then the death knights, and finally a few Death Knight Riders. These adds will be spawned on the living side. Once the living side kills them, their souls will attack players on the dead side of the gate. As more and more adds start coming, it is up to the healers to keep players alive through the aoe damage. The trainees on either side do not pose much of a threat, but the death knights do whirlwind for heavy damage on both sides. The riders have an annoying shadow bolt volley while alive, and an potentially nasty drain life as undead; their spectral horses also have an AOE stomp on the dead side that will slow movement speed. The trick really is to have good communication between both sides so that the dead side team does not get overrun with souls. Healing is more difficult on the dead side due to the abundance of aoe damage and lack of control in deciding when the mobs are arriving.
After 4 minutes, Gothik will hop down from his balcony and start attacking the live side group. He’s quite a squishy mage; his damage primarily comes from his shadow bolts that hit lightly on the tanks. The real thing to watch out for is his Soul Harvest debuff, which will reduce everyone’s stats by 10% each time he adds a stack (which is once every 15 seconds). Essentially, this will wipe the raid at 10 stacks, or 2 1/2 minutes after he joins the encounter. Every 10 seconds, Gothik will teleport from one side to the other. At 30% health, the center gate will open and both sides can slaughter the Harvester at will.

Heroism/Bloodlust really isn’t necessary in this fight, especially not against Gothik himself since only half the raid will receive the benefits of the buff. Healing doesn’t really get very tricky until the last section of the first phase when numerous adds are piling up, so conserving mana can be helpful to burn through the last waves of adds. If the raid happens to be strong on dps and especially AoE, an alternative strategy is to keep everyone on the living side and allow the souls to pile up on the dead side. Around the 11th or 12th wave, the center gate will open, and the undead adds will be able to be aoe’d down.

The Four Horsemen
The pinnacle of Kel’Thuzad’s Death Knight Guards, the four horsemen taunt players into their quarters. They are made of the formidable Thane Korth’azz, the fearsome Lady Blameaux, the former paladin Sir Zeliek, and the infamous Baron Rivendare.

Marks – Each horseman casts their mark on nearby players, causing increasing damage with each stack of the debuff and decreasing the threat on the target by 50%. By the fourth or fifth stack, the marks become too damaging to live through, forcing players to switch to a different target. Thane and Baron will cast their marks in unison; Blameaux and Zeliek will cast theirs in unison as well. If no one is in range to receive a horseman’s mark, that mark will be cast as a much higher damage rate upon the entire raid. After they have cast 100 marks, the remaining horsemen will enrage, wiping the raid.

Meteor (Thane Korth’azz) – Summons a meteor on top of a nearby raid member. Like the meteors in the final trash of BC’s Arcatraz, the damage is spread out amongst nearby raid members, encouraging stacking of the team killing Korth’azz.

Unholy Shadow (Baron Rivendare) – Cast upon tank every 15 seconds, doing moderate shadow damage and leaving a shadow damage dot for 8 seconds.

Shadow Bolt (Lady Blameaux) – Unlike the front horsemen, Blameaux does not melee. Instead, she will shadow bolt the player closest to her for around 8.5k

Void Zone (Lady Blameaux) – Will cast a void zone on a target within 45 yards of her. The zone does over 4k damage every second, and lasts 75 seconds.

Holy Bolt (Lord Zeliek) – Also does not melee. He will continually cast holy bolt on the nearest player.

Holy Wraith (Lord Zeliek) – A holy bolt that will chain to nearby players, increasing the damage each jump by 50%.

In 10 man Naxx, the easiest way to heal this is to have one healer on each tank for the front two bosses, and 1 healer straddling the two “tanks” in the back of the room, or having the healer soak the magic damage for one of the rear bosses and healing both themselves and the other soaker. In 25 man Naxx, the spread can change a bit depending on your preferred way of killing them. Either way, there should be one healer on each soaking tank in the back (by tank, I mean a player agreeing to go in the back of the room where the two rear bosses run to soak the damage). If you choose to dps down Baron and Thane simultaneously, there should be one raid healer and one tank healer in each group. If you choose to down Thane first, and then move to Baron (i.e. not switching) there should be 2 group healers and a tank healer in Thane’s group and only a tank healer in Baron’s group.

While there can be a lot of juggling due to the Marks the horsemen cast, the fight is fairly straight forward. At the beginning, the biggest threat is Thane’s meteor — if people are separated from the rest of the group, it can easily kill them. Stacking up is really the only way of preventing player death. 3 marks should be when the bosses are switched if you are using that strategy, allowing people plenty of time to move before the damage becomes overwhelming and a burden on the healers. As the front fights on, the tanks in the back will have to pay close attention to their own marks and the healers will have to be sure to heal themselves as much as their comrades. Any time of multi-player heal (especially binding heal) works well while waiting for the front to finish and alleviate some of the stress in the back. So long as the front stays group together, the only real possibility of a raid wipe comes from the rear bosses killing a player and casting their mark over the entire raid. Therefore, having strong healers in the back is a good idea to ensure the raid survives to take on Blameaux and Zeliek. Once the raid is in the back of the room with Blameaux and Zeliek, everyone must look after their own marks and the space around them. On Blameaux’s side, the void zones are powerful enough to kill players who stand in them long enough to finish their casts (it’s not worth getting off a heal at the expense of dying). On Zeliek’s side, everyone needs to stay spread out, as only a few jumps of Holy Wraith will be enough to kill the next unlucky player to be hit. If your raid has made it to the rear, however, you’re all but guaranteed a kill =D

Heroism/Bloodlust is best used on Thane to knock him down quick and keep the Meteor strikes to a minimum. Otherwise, it’s just on the healers to be attentive to their own marks and mana pools while keeping others alive. Don’t try to be the hero who saves the person standing in the void zone/has 6 marks on him; not only will he need to learn to move out of the icky patches, but it’s probably not worth sacrificing yourself over someone not paying attention to his surroundings.

Congratulations! After taking out a sizeable chunk of the Lich King’s army, you’ve won an all expense paid trip to the lovely Cape of Stranglethorn. Enjoy the lush greenery, beautiful beaches, and the great fishing. Take a visit to the ancient ruins dotting the coastline, complete with scalp-happy trolls and flesh eating zombies, or join Hemet Jr. on a wild hunting extravaganza. All of this, plus 4 nights food and lodging at the luxurious Booty Bay Inn. For more information, contact Zipper Travelsocket at 1-800-Go-Booty.

Every installment of Divine Illumination is jam packed with kittens, rainbows and cupcakes! Or maybe it’s just a healer’s guide of sorting through Wrath of the Lich King’s raid bosses. I think I like the first better… Last time, I covered the Arachnid Quarter of Naxx. Time to move onto what’s regarded as the second easiest section : The Plague Quarter.

Just beyond the nondescript doorway, a foul disease is being developed and continually improved upon. Multi-hued oozes and festering ghouls meet your group of adventurers as soon as you step foot over the threshold. Plague ridden gargoyles and maggots infest the corridors, but they pale in comparison to the three harbingers of destruction housed in this quarter.

Noth The Plaguebringer
Once a noted Dalaran mage and alchemist, Noth was corrupted by the Lich King and has been working to refine the technique of turning living beings into the undead. At one point repentant for his actions, Noth had his heart frozen in his chest by the lich Kel’Thuzad to prevent the adept plaguemaster from abandoning his research.

Curse of the Plaguebringer – A curse placed on random raid members (10 in 25 and 3 in 10) which if not dispelled within 10 seconds will cause Wrath of the Plaguebringer

Wrath of the Plaguebringer – Caused when Noth’s curses are not dispelled. Every player within 30 yards of the cursed victim will take a sizeable chunk of immediate damage, and additional damage every second for 10 seconds after the explosion.

Blink – Noth blinks periodically throughout the fight, moving only a small distance but having a complete aggro wipe

Summon Plagued Warriors – Noth will summon these cleaving warriors through out the fight

Teleport – Noth will teleport every 110 seconds to his balcony. From there, he will summon waves of skeleton adds for the next minute. The champions are typical melee mobs will mortal strike and an aoe shadow move, and after the first add phase, guardians will also appear and will cast arcane explosion.

Enrage – After three teleported phases, or 9 minutes, Noth will enrage, increasing damage done by 1000% and effectively wiping the raid.

The usual breakdown of healers is 1-2 on the main tank, 1 on the offtank and the rest of the group raid healing. The more important aspect of this fight is the decursing, and using all the decurses you have is pivotal, especially in groups where the decursing may be slow. Using mages and DPS druids to supplement any trees and resto shamans is always acceptable; given Noth’s long enrage timer, the small sacrifice on dps can easily save your raid from wiping due to the excessive damage the curse creates.

While people can be fairly spread out, the room is thankfully quite small; everyone should be in range of the healers at all times, with the exception of tanks running to the far corners to pick up adds. Noth’s melee damage is quite easy to heal through, and the only worries the healers should have during this phase is possibly gaining the attention of newly spawned adds or someone not being dispelled quickly. The real brunt of the weight will be put on the teams’ decursers. Setting up decursing assignments before the pull might make this a little easier, ensuring the team is cleared of curses within the 10 second detonation timer. If the raid has even one person with the curse still applied to them, the healers will have quite the time bringing everyone back up quickly and safely (i.e. without garnering the attention of the skeleton adds). If more than 3 people are still cursed, it’s safe to assume there will be casualties. During his teleport phase, adds will be coming up fairly quickly, though making sure everyone is within 40 yards of each other will help clear the adds quickly with aoe as well as making healing easier through the guardian’s arcane explosion and the champion’s minor shadow shock. After the first teleport, the encounter becomes and easy rinse and repeat and you’ll be skipping through the easiest trash in the instance toward’s Heigan’s room.

Keeping Noth in a corner will allow tanks to see the spawning mobs easily and assess their trajectory. Also, if there is any doubt that curses may be left on targets, there is always the backup plan of marking an area for cursed members to run to if they fear they won’t be dispelled quickly. Moving away from the main raid group prevents all the aoe damage from badly hurting the raid, even though the individual member will need to be healed. We also found that saving heroism/bloodlust for after his first teleport works best to get the most out of the buff.

Heigan the Unclean
A necromancer in the Lich King’s Service, Heigan is responsible for the plague cauldrons scattered around Azeroth. Heigan is also a lover of dancing and booby traps.

Spell Disruption (Phase 1) – An aura with a 20 yard radius increasing casting speed by 300%

Decrepit Fever (Phase 1) – A dispellable disease that damages the target every 2 seconds as well as reduces the health of those around the target by 50%

Plague Cloud (Phase 2) – A large amount of damage done every second to players remaining on Heigan’s platform.

Eruption (Both Phases) – Three quarters of the floor in front of the platform will erupt in green flames, dealing considerable damage each second. Players standing on the edge of the flame will likely survive, while players in the middle of the flame will perish. During phase one, the time between the eruptions is much slower to allow for kiting between the quarters of the room. During phase 2, the eruptions come much more quickly, forcing players to essentially run wind sprints up and down the room.

During phase 1, the ranged dps and healers will stand on the platform at the top center of the room. The melee dps will follow Heigan as his tanks kites him up and down the length of the room, stand in the designated safe fourth of the room to prevent being engulfed by the eruption. The most important parts of this first phase are a. making sure to stay far enough away from Heigan to avoid the spell casting debuff, and b. making sure diseases are dispelled as soon as possible. The diseases will easily kill melee dps if not cleansed, and reducing health on a tank is never a good thing. There may be a few careless deaths due to the eruptions, but there’s not too much a healer can do to save those who cannot dance. Remember, the platform is fairly big, and if you notice that you have the 300% increased casting speed, you can always back up farther on the platform.
At the beginning of phase 2, Noth will port to his platform and render it unusable for the next 45 seconds. To avoid damage from his plague cloud, I recommend prompting all the healers and dps on the platform to jump into the first zone (near the room’s entrance and on the right side when you’re on the platform) immediately after the last eruption but before Heigan ports. This prevents a lot of unnecessary damage. The next 45 seconds are crucial. You’re going to want to save your uncoordinated friends — don’t. The fight can be done with 4 people (I’ve lived it) and chances are if you stop to seriously heal (i.e. cast anything more than an instant heal), you’ll die as well. And it’s really not worth the repair bill. At the end of this phase, Heigan will hop down off the platform and effect most, if not all, of the raid group with decrepit fever. Quick dispells are essential here. The fight will flip flop between these two phases until Heigan is dead. As there is no enrage timer, the fight will go on as long as there are people alive.

Pop Heroism/Bloodlust as soon as you start the fight. This is the only time you are guaranteed to have the entire raid alive. Also, make sure that Ret/Prot pallies dispel some of their own diseases. This saves healer’s mana and can save the pallies their lives if the group is especially melee heavy. And above all, DO NOT RELEASE UNTIL EVERYONE IS DEAD! Common sense says that a raid boss at 40% health and with only 5 team members alive is a wipe. Heigan doesn’t do common sense. One raid I had had 4 people left standing, and it took us literally 8 minutes to get him down the last 30 percent. But we did it. Also, if you release and they kill the boss, you can’t get any phat lewtz. And that’s the making of one sad, plague covered panda.

Killing the two human inhabitants of the plague quarter has led you to the giant fungal monstrosity known as Loatheb. A fungal giant infused with the hideous plague, Loatheb can control the powers of healing itself. As a fun note, Loatheb is an anagram for “Healbot,” which is probably the devs’ cruel idea of a joke seeing as healing is limited to three second intervals throughout the fight.

Necrotic Aura – Every 20 seconds during the fight, Loatheb will refresh this aura using a 3 second cast. During those 3 seconds is the ONLY time during the fight that healing of any kind (including stones, potions, and deathstrike) can be done.

Deathbloom – Every 30 seconds, Loatheb will cast this on the raid. It acts like a reverse Lifebloom, doing small amounts of damage every second then blooming for a larger amount of damage

Inevitable Doom – After 2 minutes of combat, Loatheb will start casting this on the entire raid, doing a large amount of shadow damage after a 10 second incubation. As the fight wears on, the inevitable dooms come closer together, giving Loatheb a practical “enrage” timer of 5 minutes (or when the inevitable dooms have only a 5 second cool down), even though he doesn’t technically enrage

Spores – Spores will spawn during the fight. When they are killed, they grant the 5 closest players with the benefitial debuff Fungal Creep. Fungal Creep increases chance to crit by 50% and also prevents all abilities and attacks from causing threat, allowing dps to wail on the boss without the worry of pulling aggro. It also allows healers the chance to land larger critical heals during the crucial 3 second spans of healing.

For this fight, I usually assign 2 healers to the main tank, as well as 1 healer to each group. This gives the healers a bit of focus towards the end when most of the raid is taking damage and there are only 3 second intervals to heal it.

While a relatively simple fight for the rest of the group (provided the tank does not get Fungal Creep), healing can be quite challenging at first, especially for players new to healing or new to their healing class (I can easily say it was INCREDIBLY different healing this fight as a holy priest or a disc priest or a shaman or a druid). Using a strategic placement of lightwell, if it exists, can be quite helpful to allow players the chance to heal themselves during the 3 second opening. The gimmick of this fight is all about timing. Around 4 seconds before the aura is off, everyone will get the message “Necrotic Aura Begins to Wane” on their screen as a boss emote. It’s at this time that players can start casting their longer, larger spells (Prayer of healing, holy light, greater heal, healing touch, healing wave, chain heal) so they hit JUST as the aura wanes, allowing for at least one more cast before healing is blacked out again. Using a Boss Addon with timers (such as Deadly Boss Mods or Big Wigs) can help a healer’s timing significantly as well. In pinches, spells that modify cast times can also be lifesavers. Also, don’t underestimate the power of the bubble. Power Word Shield can be quite useful to save people from damage during the Inevitable Dooms and the Deathbloom’s bloom.
What to do during the 17 second blackout? Well, you can always dps. If you happen to have hots, I suggest preemptively hotting people in the group up, that way at least one tick will heal everyone during the 3 second interval to help control the over all damage. But, if you don’t have reliable hots or feel like they aren’t worth the effort (though they are), turn your attention to Loatheb for the next 13-14 seconds to help down him quicker. Just be sure to be back in time to make sure your big heal lands just as the aura fades away.

As a general trick, my team typically has melee dps run out and kill the spores near the ranged dps to prevent the tanks from accidentally acquiring the Fungal Creep (No good it the tank can’t put out threat either!). Bubbles will save lives. Don’t underestimate the power of a Discipline priest in this fight. The fact that Discipline priests can cast one bubble every global cooldown (other priests can only cast it once every 4 seconds on friendly targets) makes it easy to keep large portions of the raid shielded from damage. The most important thing to do is just to keep an eye on the timers to start casting heals so they land just as the Necrotic Aura fades.

You’ve survived the plague quarter! But, uh….could you please go wash off? Maybe use some Old Spices? Seriously dude, you spent way too much time near Heigan.

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