Friday, April 13, 2012

Heroic Spine of Deathwing

I've decided to stop dedicating entire posts to beta updates. It seems futile. The changes are just too frequent. I may do another full beta post in a month or two when things have settled out. For now, I'll just comment on beta changes at the start of another post like I'm doing now. All priests (not merely healing specs) got a new spell called Feathers from Heaven. It's placed like Lightwell, allies can walk through it to gain a burst of speed identical to the one from Body and Soul. Also, Shadow's spirit-to-hit conversion is back, and Vampiric Touch restores 15% max mana over its duration. This means we'll not have mana issues when multi-DoTing for a change.

I have been fighting this for entirely too long.
So, the guild has been stuck on H Spine of Deathwing for a few weeks now. The last remaining hurdle for us to overcome is surviving the third plate, as the bloods are spawning so quickly that they can neither be safely tanked, nor destroyed. This post is going to be a combination of tricks I've learned to help shadow priests, as well as a request for advice if anyone knows what I can improve.

Tendon Burst

I already wrote a post over at on this topic, but that was intended for regular Spine. On Heroic, the damage requirement is far more strict. On 10man, with the current 15% nerf, each DPS requires 900k damage over the 18sec vulnerability window (assuming standard 2/3/5 raid comp). While quite doable, it does demand that Shadowfiend, Archangel, and Bottled Wishes be used on every tendon. While the 90sec cooldown on the latter two is available without any additional effort, Shadowfiend requires some gymnastics to activate in time.

Activating Shadowfiend basically means spamming Mind Flay to the exclusion of all else until it's time for tendon burst, and hoping it's enough. I'd say this gives me about a 19/20 chance to have Shadowfiend by the time I need it. If I were missing even a single crit buff (5% on raid, 5% on target, 3% from Focus Magic) I'd have unacceptably high odds of it failing to come up. If my haste wasn't already reforged as low as it could go, I would reforge some of it into crit to try and smooth out my Shadowfiend uptime. Note that while crit is superior to haste for the actual burst phase, it's still inferior to mastery.

Preforming the burst itself is quite simple. Summon shadowfiend, during the GCD activate Archangel and Bottled Wishes, MSp x3, MB, MSp until MB comes up again, MB, MSp until time runs out, DP instant cast at the final moment. If it's the second burn on that particular tendon, try to replace MSp casts after Shadowfiend has expired with SW:D. Obviously, if you don't yet have your 4-piece, you're simply incapable of meeting the demand.

Handling Fiery Grip

By all accounts, shadow priests are ideal to handle the grip. On normal, it was a no-brainer to assign us to grip duty. On Heroic, this can jeopardize Shadowfiend uptime. Consider telling your guild to make someone else do it. Seriously. Especially if you can't get Focus Magic. That said, despite this, I've been on grip duty on all of our attempts. Because the Corruption probably should be made to die right before the tendon burst phase (so as to prevent a grip during it), you may want to assign two people to breaking grips, both so they break faster, but also because some "overkill" damage is desirable to get its health low. We have myself and an arcane mage on grip duty.

Sealing the Deal

We've made it to the 5th plate a handful of times, and made it past that once. The trouble is, it seems that our healers can't handle the sheer flood of Bloods that spawn with 5 stacks of Degradation (which both lowers the raid's HP and increases the spawn rate of the Blood.) So we've got two strategies that we're planning to try to get us over the final hump.

The simpler of the two, we use Heroism on the first tendon burn, use burst potions, long duration cooldowns, and have the tanks and healers assist on DPS. ...except we' can't do it. We tried a few times and got it to about 7%. A little bit more gear, a little bit better class stacking (warlocks, for example, seem non-viable, and yet, we're using one,) or another 5% nerf and we could do this. That would mean that the most stacks of degradation we would ever face would be four.

The other, more realistic plan we have right now, we collect two Amalgamations for the 5th and 6th plate. We get both to low health. Detonate one, burn. Detonate the other, burn. Hope we don't wipe while burning. Heroism should compensate for the fact that no one will have time to get cooldowns back in between. Unfortunately, we've never survived long enough to try this since we thought of it.

Those Fucking Debuffs

As I just mentioned, we haven't made it past the 5th plate since I came up with the two-amalgamation idea. Why? Those fucking debuffs. Guild leadership thought it was a good idea to rotate out a stellar tank and healer for some alt tanks and healers. And Blood of Deathwing keeps detonating. So on top of our common fuck-ups regarding add aggro, or rolls, or damage control, or damage output, or- well, you get the idea, we now also have about a 50% chance to wipe via instant death because the new healer can't dispel.

Since it's not stated clearly anywhere:

Approximately 10 sec after each Corruption is killed, a random raid member receives Blood Corruption: Death, a 16 second debuff, which, if it expires, wipes the raid instantly. When dispelled (it's magic) it hops to a random raid member, keeping the same remaining duration, and it has a chance (seems about 40%) to mutate into Blood Corruption: Earth, which applies 1 stack of permanent 20% damage reduction at 8 sec remaining, and when it expires. Dispelling that (also magic) makes it hop to another raid member, but it can't turn back into Blood Corruption: Death (the Dungeon Journal is a liar; it claims that it can.)

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