I’ve gotten quite a few questions on this bugger of a fight, and I know that I’m a little slow getting this out, but I hope it’s still timely enough to be helpful! I only have kill footage of this encounter – which went beautifully until the very end where we squeaked by on the skin of our teeth, so please forgive the “oops” at the end. I will tell you what was supposed to happen as the fight came to a close and point out where that went awry. I dealt very specifically with druid healing in this video, but will add a few more comments/tips below.
Please note that this video will be best viewed at one of the higher resolutions.
A Few Tips!
- How many healers did you use? We heal this with seven healers. Our first kill was 2 druids, 1 paladin, 3 priests and 1 shaman. Our other druid healed one of the tentacle tanks during the black phase. We’ve used any number of combinations since then and been successful.
- Oh God, my mana! This is an extremely heal intensive encounter, and mana will be very tight. I opted to run with 2 T12 and 2 T13 while learning it so that I had extra regen for the encounter. Additionally, I found that, for myself, if I didn’t innervate before the first black phase things were so hectic and every GCD in the black phase was so precious, that I often forgot to innervate until we came out of the phase and I was often sub 50% mana. As such,I try to make a point to innervate before entering that first black phase to maximize my innervates through the fight. Additionally, don’t forget to maximize your trinkets if you have additional regen focused trinkets so that you can utilize them the maximum number of times in the fight.
- Love Nature’s Grace. I can’t stress this enough! Whether you are solo healing a group or healing with a partner, make smart use of Nature’s grace so that you have it available during heavy damage phases to help boost the healing you can do during those times.
- Tree of Life. As I stated in the video, I preferred to use ToL while the debuffs were active so that I could do more effective healing for less mana and it ensured that I could maximize ToL twice in the encounter. I, personally, found it somewhat lackluster for dealing with the black phase damage and found that I often reverted to rejuv/regrowth even if I was in ToL so it made the most sense for me to use it as more of a conservation tool to help support the aggressive healing needed in the black phases. This worked very well for me, but you will need to play around with it to find the best time for you and your raid team – you may well find that you like it better at a different time in the encounter.
- Tranquility. Also as stated in the video, I favored using Tranquility during the first and third black phases. This meant that I had it available for two of the phases where the healers are spread out and have to focus on keeping their group alive. I found this imperative for solo healing a group, and extremely helpful when working with another healer. While it meant that I did not have it available for the final push – we had many mitigation cooldowns available to get us through those final seconds of the fight during that fourth black phase where you ignore everything and just burn through the boss.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When your raid is first learning this fight, navigating the black phase as a druid is brutal. Our tool kit lacks any burst AE healing, which means that you need to do a lot of prep for the black phase and smartly utilize your cooldowns and toolbox to navigate through it. If you also 7 heal, one of your groups will have 2 healers in it – and if you are struggling with the black phase do not hesitate to ask to be placed in the “team up” group. We found that priests of both specs were especially adept at solo healing a group, and that paring up our shaman and myself made life a lot less miserable for the both of us. Asking for help doesn’t mean you are a bad healer, it just means that the black phase sucks and our toolkit isn’t the most adept at navigating the damage. By our third kill, with some gear upgrades and the raid more familiar with the fight, I had no issues solo healing a group – but during progression trying to solo heal it was one of the worst healing experiences I’ve ever had.
- Mitigating Damage. Something to keep in mind is that the gaze from the eyestalks can be brutal when all 8 of them are active (especially in those 5-10 seconds the flails are alive), however, those buggers can be interrupted! You probably don’t want to make it a priority to interrupt each and every one, DPS can (and should) interrupt the ones they are DPSing to help the black phase damage be more manageable. While they do not have a cast bar, you can easily tell when they are casting because they “squat”. Additionally, everyone in the raid with damage mitigating abilities should be sure that they use them during black phases.
- Raid Cooldowns. You absolutely want to have a raid cooldown rotation for the final black phase “push”. (This would be the part in the video were we made a mistake and blew up). We set up PW:B rotations, as well as Aura Mastery and 4 piece tank cooldown rotations. Once you hit that phase it’s pure survival mode. Cycle your cooldowns and keep as many people alive as you can. I might also recommend prayer. Additionally, we used Aura Mastery and 4 piece tank cooldowns during the black phases, and PW:B throughout the fight while the debuffs were active. We found that having a PW:B as the debuff comes out immediately after your first black phases to really help keep the raid stabilized - as that set of debuffs occurs almost immediately upon entering the light phase and many people are still low life from the black phase.
There is a lot going on in this encounter, so I may well have forgotten to address something. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have questions!