Friday, February 17, 2012

Fight-Specific Tricks (Dragon Soul part 1 of 2)

Read part 2 here: Fight-Specific Tricks (Dragon Soul part 2 of 2).

The last few weeks, I wrote about the basics of shadow priest DPS, and advanced shadow priest DPS tactics. This week, I'll be writing about things you can do on each fight in Dragon Soul to help your raid out. This post will not be written with LFR in mind, but some of these tricks may apply there. Similarly, while I intend to point out Heroic-specific things you can do, I simply don't know all of them. I'm only familiar with 3/8 Heroic.

Morchok is by far the easiest encounter in Dragon Soul on both difficulties. The fight consists of a stand-and-burn phase and survival phase.

During the burn phase, DPS will need to move to handle certain AoE damage mechanics. Use good movement DPS tactics to minimize damage lost, and position yourself so that the Resonating Crystal will push you towards where you want to be when it explodes.

When Black Blood of the Earth is cast, try to head for a place with two shards of Earth's Vengeance close to each-other. Once behind, you can shoot through the gap between them to continue DPSing through this phase. Failing that, it is sometimes possible to shoot past the edge or over the top of a single shard, if you stand back to max range.

Heroic: There are two Morchoks. And what do we do to two targets? That's right, we multi-DoT! Try to load up both right after the split, and when you need to run for Black Blood, try to get between them to DoT up both. (Beware, you need to LoS both sets of Blood.)

You may be called upon to help your tank soak the Double Stomp. Shadow priests glyphed with Inner Fire can survive a Double Stomp without any extra protection on 10man, but as this fight is primarily about healing, you should use PW:S and Dispersion to help take the edge off. As always, you can support the healers with your Hymns.

Warlord Zon'ozz
Warlord is often a stumbling block for PuGs and low-end guilds. The fight involves bouncing a ball around, dispels, and intense tank and AoE healing demands, at least compared to other early normal-mode fights.

During the ball phase, DPS is pretty simple, and there's not a lot you can do to increase DPS. Most wipes happen because a tank dies towards the end of this phase, or the DoTs go undispelled. Mass Dispel (possibly glyphed) goes a long way towards easing the healing burden. I would say "you can use Dispersion in case your HP gets too low to safely dispel," but really, that shouldn't happen; you have your own dispels and powerful passive heals.

At the start of the AoE healing phase, the boss gains stacks of a 5% damage taken increase debuff. There's no need to re-cast your DoTs; they update automatically with damage taken effects on the target. You should however try to pop any cooldowns that became available in the preceding ~30sec right at the start of this phase. You may be called upon to give a Divine Hymn during this phase. Try to anticipate this and not hold Dark Archangel only to waste it on healing.

Heroic: For the love of god, don't Mass Dispel on heroic. During the AoE healing phase, you'll have adds like the ones from the trash. Use cooldowns on them and prioritize the eye stalks. Multi-DoTing is your friend.

Yor'sahj the Unsleeping
Affectionately referred to as "Skittles" by my raid group, Yor'sahj's central mechanic is about choosing which of his 15 (Heroic: 20) modes you wish to fight from a selection of 3 (Heroic: 4) options presented to you at each time.

Blue skittles: You may be called upon to give a mana Hymn right after the drain finishes. Try to anticipate this and refresh DoTs immediately before. If not, Shadowfiend or SW:D immediately before the end of the drain, or Dark Archangel immediately after can ensure you have mana to work with.

Black skittles: The adds for this phase initially spawn spread out. Try to hit each with DoTs as they spawn. Switch to Mind Sear centered off of Yor'sahj once at least 3 cluster up. Cast a Mind Blast to refresh your Empowered Shadow if it falls off and you have orbs; it effects Mind Sear.

Yellow/Black skittles: You'll have two sets of adds, one of which will come simultaneously with the next set of oozes. Roll SW:P on the lot while you get into position to kill the new oozes.

Yellow/Red or Yellow/Green skittles: You'll probably be called upon to heal during this phase. Divine Hymn into Prayer of Healing alternating on each group with Prayer of Mending on cooldown. Glyphed Prayer of Mending is worth the glyph slot, as it's only a major glyph; glyphed Prayer of Healing is not.

Black/Purple skittles: Many wipes occur on this phase due to individual raid members dying from focused damage. As a shadow priest, you're quite unlikely to be the one to bite the dust, so if your raid is single-targeting adds, burn someone else's first. I contend that the best thing you can do to help raid survival is to just blast your AoE and kill them all ASAP though. If your HP drops into the sub-20% range, Dispersion to save your bacon. Do not, under any circumstances PW:S anyone.

Black/Green skittles: Unlike most black phases, the adds will be spread out. Multi-DoT is, as always, your friend.

Hagara the Stormbinder
Hagara is really easy on normal. Not so much on heroic. The fight consists of a main phase alternating with one of two elemental phases, either ice or lightning. You can see which elemental phase she plans to use next by the enchant on her weapons.

Main phase: As a shadow priest, you're pretty much ideal to soak ice lances. Mare your paladins give Concentration aura so your DPS is unaffected. At the beginning of the second and later main phases, Hagara will suffer a 15sec 100% increased damage taken debuff. This is prime time for cooldowns. In later main phases, two raiders will be ice-blocked, a la Sindragosa. Their HP is too low for multi-DoT; Mind Sear if the boss is close to both, Mind Spike/Mind Blast otherwise.

Ice Phase: At the start of the phase, position yourself between two crystals, DoT both up. Position yourself 10% counter-clockwise from the midpoint so the initial Ice Wave misses you. Once you have to move, DoT up the crystals as you pass them, and keep up mobile DPS. You can use Dispersion to let an Ice Wave wash over you if desired.

Lightning Phase: The add always spawns to the north, so get up there and start DPS. Once you start chaining the lightning, regen with Dispersion, or help heal with instant heals.

There you have it, fight-specific tactics for the first four bosses in Dragon Soul. Next week, I have an in-depth analysis of the tier-13 4-piece bonus for you. The week after that, I'll give the final four bosses of Dragon Soul the same treatment as this week's four.

...and my apologies to anyone that may have seen the original version of this page. I had some major HTML errors that made it more than a little bit hideous.

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